PKMN.NET :: Pokemon of the Week #5 - Greninja :: #5 of Pokémon of the Week - Generation 6 :: Columns
Pokemon of the Week #5 - Greninja by Richard and Blaziken at Sun 02 Feb 2014 05:00:00 UTC

Welcome to the fifth issue of sixth generation's Pokemon of the Week! This week we'll be covering the third and final Kalos starter. This week, we discuss Greninja.

Pokemon Overview

Froakie secretes flexible bubbles from its chest and back, which reduce the damage it would otherwise take when attacked. It keeps a watchful eye on its surroundings, beneath the facade of a happy-go-lucky personality. Frogadier hones its speed by scaling buildings. It can climb a 2,000 foot tower in a minute's time. Greninja throws shurikens made of compressed water - when thrown at full force, they're powerful enough to slice through metal. It is known to use ninja tactics to disappear and reappear, confusing its enemy before going in for the kill.

Competitive Corner

Base Stats: 72 HP / 95 Attack / 67 Defense / 103 Sp. Attack / 71 Sp. Defense / 122 Speed

Okay, finally we're to the good Kalos starter. Greninja is one of the most unique Pokemon in existence, and that is thanks to the Hidden Ability it has, Protean. With this, Greninja changes its type right before it uses any attack to match that attack type, meaning the it receives STAB on every move that it gets. This lends Greninja amazing sweeping abilities, since every attack it uses is at 1.5x the normal power it would be. Add in a brilliant special movepool, a blistering base 122 Speed stat, and some good support options in Spikes and Toxic Spikes, and Greninja can provide many different things for your team

Unfortunately, Greninja is not without faults, and it's pretty easy to see where they are. Base 103 Sp. Attack is good, but not amazing, and it can easily fall short of some vital KOs. Greninja's defenses are laughably pathetic as well, with base 72 HP, 67 Defense, and 71 Sp. Defense, meaning that any hit that isn't resisted is probably going to knock it out. Despite these flaws, Greninja has everything it needs to be a great choice for any team, and it's one I'd strongly recommend at least trying out.

Toad Sage Jiraiya
Greninja@ Life Orb
Naive nature (Speed, -Sp. Defense) / Timid nature (+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: 252 Speed / 252 Sp. Attack / 4 Attack
Hydro Pump
Ice Beam
U-Turn / Dark Pulse / Hidden Power Fire
U-Turn / Dark Pulse / Hidden Power Fire

Greninja's movepool makes it very difficult to counter and to deal with. Hydro Pump is chosen here as it is the strongest competitive move Greninja has access to, and though it doesn't provide any fun Protean shenanigans, Water is a good offensive type. Ice Beam is always useful in the OU tier, hitting common Dragons Super Effectively, while also providing great coverage in general.

The last two slots serve very different functions depending on what you choose. Dark Pulse is useful for 2HKOing standard Jellicent, while also helping Greninja beat Starmie and common Ghosts. Hidden Power Fire, however, allows Greninja a means of disposing of most Ferrothorn, especially if they've taken any prior damage (Stealth Rock really helps here). U-Turn allows Greninja to do some damage while escaping to a teammate, maintaining your momentum in the match. Any two of these moves are good options, so use your own discernment and think about what your team would appreciate the most.

I feel I should mention Grass Knot, but mainly just to advise against it. The Pokemon that it hits Super Effectively at the moment are few and far between, and they're usually hit harder by Dark Pulse. Unless you really dislike Gastrodon or Quagsire, there's not much reason to ever use Grass Knot in the current metagame. This could change if certain Pokemon rise to popularity, but always do some damage calculations and ask yourself why you're considering Grass Knot before putting it on a set. That said, Grass is fairly good as a defensive type, and will help with taking both Grass and Electric type attacks that may be aimed at Greninja.

Similarly, Shadow Sneak is occasionally useful for the Fighting immunity, but it's horribly weak and isn't worth the move slot that it takes up.

Hazardous Hopper
Greninja@ Life Orb / Focus Sash
Naive nature (+Speed, -Sp. Defense)
EVs: 252 Speed / 252 Sp. Attack / 4 Attack
Spikes / Toxic Spikes
Hydro Pump
Dark Pulse
U-Turn / Ice Beam

Greninja has access to two entry hazards, and is fast enough to ensure you can get at least two layers up most of the time. Spikes is usually the best option, since it deals damage to anything without Levitate, Magic Guard, or Flying type. This also has a cool side-effect of changing Greninja to Ground type, giving it an immunity to Electric attacks that may be aimed at it. Hydro Pump is the strongest STAB again, and returns Greninja to Water type, which has fairly good defensive synergy, and can mess with Rotom-W quite a bit. Dark Pulse is chosen here to hurt the two common Magic Bouncers, Xatu and Espeon, to stop them from ruining your fun.

U-Turn is a great option in the last slot, as it allows you to maintain momentum and lay more hazards later if the current situation is too risky to do so. Ice Beam, however, can hurt common Dragons and stop Greninja from becoming setup bait.

When using this set, it's important to know when it's a good idea to lay entry hazards, and when it's a bad idea. This set should usually be played offensively like the last set, waiting for opportunities and expected switches to lay entry hazards to further put pressure on the opponent.

In-Game Information

If you're reading this to decide what to do with your Greninja, congratulations! You've picked the best starter for X/Y! Unfortunately, your Greninja probably has Torrent, unless you've gotten a Protean Froakie from a friend or something. Regardless, Greninja's pretty solid in-game. The crappy defenses let it down sometimes, but it has a great offensive movepool that more than makes up for that. Here's what I'd recommend:

Dark Pulse
Ice Beam
Grass Knot / U-Turn

You like that? Yeah, it's basically just the competitive set, with some more in-game friendly options. Surf is a reliable STAB move, as well as a nice means of transport, that has better PP than Hydro Pump. Dark Pulse is your secondary STAB move for when Surf isn't a good choice. Ice Beam is for coverage... Grass Knot is also for coverage, though it's generally not fantastic. U-Turn can be used if you don't like Grass Knot... honestly, the move in this slot is pretty much filler. You could even use Hydro Pump here for a stronger STAB if you'd like.

My Thoughts

Greninja is really cool. Honestly, it's one of the coolest Pokemon designs we've had for a while, and I really enjoy it. It's unique, it's pretty strong, and it's got a sleek design. There is one thing, however... why the tongue scarf? Frogadier had a cool bubble scarf going, and that seems more thematically fitting. A tongue scarf makes it easy for an opponent to grab you as you dart around. However, Greninja's shiny color more than makes up for this. Koga would be proud.

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