Greninja (ゲッコウガ, Gekkouga) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It was officially revealed on June 12th, 2018 alongside Mr. Game & Watch and the rest of the returning roster. Greninja is classified as Fighter #50.
Billy Bob Thompson, Yūji Ueda, Frédéric Clou and Benedikt Gutjan's portrayals from Super Smash Bros. 4 were repurposed for the English, Japanese, French and German versions of Ultimate.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Greninja must then be defeated on Kalos Pokémon League.
Greninja, true to being a ninja-themed character, has very strong mobility; it has the 8th fastest run speed, the 10th fastest air speed, is tied for the 9th fastest falling (and fast falling) speed, the 2nd highest gravity, and possesses the 2nd highest jump height overall. However, unlike most characters who boast similar mobility (such as Sheik), Greninja boasts a surprising amount of KO options, good range on plenty of its attacks, and KO throws.
One of Greninja's most notable traits is its high mobility which complements its grounded moveset. Greninja's dash attack comes out on frame 7 and has very low ending lag, as well as the ability to cross upon shields. Its knockback angle allows for many true follow-ups and strings over a large range of percents. Its neutral jab attack comes out on frame 3, making it a good grounded combo breaker. It can also lock, which gives Greninja access to potent punishes from opponents missing techs. Its down tilt is an excellent combo starter due to its low startup, ending lag and vertical launch angle. Greninja's up tilt is a frame 9 disjointed hitbox that acts well as an anti-air and can also be a combo starter. Its smash attacks are also reliable in their own right; its forward smash is quick for its range and power, down smash is an excellent punishment option for ledge regrabs, as well as sending at a low angle, and up smash is a potent combo finisher.
Greninja also has a very strong air game due to its aforementioned air speed and jump height. Greninja's aerials are reliable for multiple situations and all have low landing lag (except for down aerial, at 30 frames). Its neutral aerial is a decent low percent combo starter due to it having incredibly low landing lag and a good launch angle. It can also KO at high percentages. Its forward aerial acts as a combo finisher from its combo starters and can KO moderately early. Forward aerial's low landing lag and disjointed nature also make it safe on shield in many situations when spaced correctly. Its up aerial is a great juggling option with low all-around lag and boasting good KO potential near the upper blast line. Greninja can also utilize its multihits to drag down opponents to create tech chase and jab lock situations. Its back aerial is a very fast follow up or offstage edgeguarding option. Down aerial can be used as a mix up to return to the stage from far above, as well as perform surprise combos on hit with both its meteor smash and sourspot hitbox.
Greninja's grab game is overall very effective, due to its grabs being among the longest ranges of any non-tether grab in the game. Its forward, up, and back throws can KO at high percentages. Down throw acts as a middle percent combo starter, as well as a strong DI mix up, especially at higher percentages at ledge as a 50/50 between DI in and out in conjunction with forward throw. Up throw acts as a versatile combo starter that can lead to juggling situations. Because of this, Greninja has plenty of options off of a grab, as not one of its throws could be considered useless.
Finally, Greninja's special moves are effective in various situations. Water Shuriken acts as a versatile zoning tool, as well as a high-percentage KO option when fully charged. At low-to-mid percents, it is also a combo starter, allowing Greninja to rush down its opponent and follow up with any aerial attack or an up smash. Shadow Sneak works as an effective recovery mix up, as well as a potent KO move from a good read or pseudo-combo finisher. Despite lacking an offensive hitbox, Hydro Pump is a good recovery move for its long distance, and can be used for gimping recoveries due to having windbox properties. Substitute is a counterattack with the unique attribute of being able to be aimed in one of 8 different directions upon a successful counter. These angled follow ups allow for Greninja to gain pseudo-follow ups as well as KO earlier by picking the optimal angle in regards to stage positioning.
Like all characters, Greninja is flawed in many ways. One of Greninja's primary flaws is its inability to break out of disadvantage state. While not as bad as the previous game, Greninja still has difficulties escaping combos due to its fast falling speed and its aerials still having relatively high startup. This can sometimes be alleviated with its back or down aerials, but both are not very effective due to back aerial's almost entirely horizontal hitboxes and down aerial's landing lag. Another option is aerial Water Shuriken, which stalls Greninja in the air and can be used as a landing mix up, as well as Hydro Pump landing mix ups.
Greninja's biggest weakness however, is its terrible out of shield game, which is arguably the worst of the entire cast. Because of his high short hop, his aerials slow startup, and lacking a fast grab (although it has good range), Greninja lacks an effective out of shield option faster than frame 14. While his back aerial is fairly quick at frame 5 (making it frame 8 out of shield), it is unable to hit opponents in front of Greninja and is very inconsistent at hitting opponents behind Greninja due to his high short hop. Jumping or rolling out of shield are potential options to reset neutral, but they are very predictable and easily read. Thus, when Greninja is pinned down in shield, he has difficulty escaping the situation without being punished. Combined with his vulnerability to combos, this gives him an atrocious defensive game.
Altogether, Greninja's playstyle requires players to think like an actual ninja: utilizing Greninja's superb mobility and fast attacks to rush down opponents, saving the slower attacks for potential mixups, mindgames and surprise KO options, and remaining unpredictable to prevent being trapped into disadvantageous positions.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Greninja has been greatly buffed from Smash 4 to Ultimate. Its playstyle's traits have been further improved in the transition, while the general engine changes benefit said playstyle.
Most of the universal changes notably benefit Greninja. As with all other characters in the game, Greninja's already quick mobility is faster like most characters, which benefits its hit-and-run playstyle, allowing Greninja to close in the distance and escape to reset the neutral game much more easily. The ability to run cancel into any ground move allows Greninja to further exploit its amazing ground mobility, allowing for easier setups into its combo starters, such as up and down tilt and dash attack. Furthermore, the reduced landing lag on Greninja's aerial attacks gives it an easier time landing, while the universal 3-frame jumpsquat improves Greninja's ground-to-air potential. The implementation of spot dodge canceling improves its potential punish game, due to its wide variety of combo starters and fast frame data. Finally, the changes to air dodge mechanics slightly improve its previously below average edgeguarding game.
Aside from the universal changes, Greninja has also received notable direct buffs. The biggest ones were to its grab game: its standing grab is faster and its pummel, previously one of the worst in Smash 4, deals less damage but is significantly faster, which allows Greninja to deal much more damage before throwing the opponent. Greninja's forward throw has higher knockback, allowing it to KO in an emergency, as with up throw. Its up and down throws also have better combo and juggling potential due to the universal changes to mobility - down throw notably now allows for potential KO confirms into forward and back aerial. Other buffs include Water Shuriken having more range, improving Greninja's camping ability. Greninja now has a new down tilt that has lower ending lag and sends at more favorable angles, and its dash attack sends at a higher angle, further improving Greninja's combo game. Greninja's KO power has also been buffed, with forward smash and forward aerial receiving higher knockback, up smash connecting better into its second hit, and down smash having faster startup. Lastly, Substitute now slows opponents down and offers Greninja intangibility during all of its attack variations, bringing it in line with other counterattacks.
On the other hand, Greninja is not without its nerfs. Notably, the ability to tech footstools has made footstool combos harder to pull off, which hinders Greninja's combo ability (specifically from its down aerial); however, this nerf is alleviated by Greninja's buffed combo game, due to other universal changes that impact it more positively. Substitute's attack variants are all weaker while also being more laggy overall, which compensates for the attack's new intangibility. In exchange for its buffed mobility, Greninja is now lighter, which brings it slightly more in-line with other combo-centric and/or hit-and-run characters, while not compensating much for its vulnerability to combos.
As a result of receiving multiple buffs with relatively few nerfs, Greninja has improved significantly from Smash 4, and has retained its status as a viable character in Ultimate, with above average representation and some strong results in competitive play thanks to smashers such as iStudying, Jw, Lea, Somé, and Stroder. Because of this, Greninja is considered as a high or even top-tier character by many professional players.
Throws and other attacks
Greninja has received a mix of minor buffs and nerfs via game updates. Several glitches have also been fixed over time.
For a gallery of Greninja's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
In the early metagame, players quickly noticed that Greninja had been buffed from Smash 4, with improved versatility and speed and, despite losing its footstool combos, gained a stronger combo game thanks to improved frame data on moves such as dash attack, up throw, down throw, and neutral air. Despite this, Greninja is not a very popular pick due to its high learning curve. Nevertheless, smashers such as Stroder, Venia, Jw, and Lea have proven that the character is a very viable pick, and Greninja has been solidified as a upper high-tier character.
Most historically significant players
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.
See also: Category:Greninja professionals (SSBU)
Classic Mode: Your Turn, Greninja!
Greninja fights against characters that represent different types from the Pokémon games: for example, Charizard and Bowser represent the Fire type, while Mewtwo, Ness and Lucas represent the Psychic type.
Note: All rounds except the sixth round take place on Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Stadium 2. If applicable, each stage will also shift to their appropriately-typed form at the earliest possible opportunity. (The stages remain in their default form in rounds 3 and 5, as none of the stages have Psychic or Fighting-themed forms.)
Role in World of Light
Greninja was among the fighters that were summoned to fight the army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, Greninja was present on the cliffside when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. Greninja leaped into the air to avoid one of the beams, which hit Lucario instead. Greninja was hit shortly after and vaporized, getting imprisoned by Galeem afterward along with the other fighters, sans Kirby. A puppet fighter cloned from Greninja is later seen alongside ones cloned from Fox, Samus, Link and other fighters.
Greninja was one of the many fighters that fell under Dharkon's control upon Galeem's first defeat, and it can be found in the Mysterious Dimension at The Dark Realm. It can be seen impeding the path, making it an obligatory unlock.
Greninja is later seen among several other fighters, making their last stand against Galeem and Dharkon. It also shows up in the bad ending where Galeem emerges victorious against Dharkon, witnessing Galeem engulf the world in light.
Greninja's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Greninja in World of Light allows the player to preview the spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a fighter spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Each fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
Fighter Showcase Video