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"Substitute" may also refer to an alternate character.
Greninja Down B SSBU.gif
Greninja using Substitute in Ultimate.
User Greninja
Universe Pokémon
Article on Bulbapedia Substitute (move)

Substitute (みがわり, Scapegoat) is Greninja's down special move.


Functioning as a counterattack, Greninja strikes a pose and, when attacked, disappears in a puff of smoke with a log or a Substitute doll taking its place; it then reappears with a strong flying kick. The log or doll can be hit and flung around by damage, and can even stop one-hit projectiles such as Shadow Ball or Charge Shot, or activate hitbox-detecting attacks like Upperdash Arm and Quick Draw, making it a situational shield. It disappears after a few seconds.

This move is functionally similar to Lucario's Double Team as a counterattack; however, a direction can be held after a successful counter to perform the countering attack in that direction. The counterattack can be directed in eight directions, including diagonally. If aimed downward, the counterattack will meteor smash, although Greninja will likely self-destruct if this is done offstage.

While the counterattack itself is flexible, the counter itself is rather limited due to its average counter-frames, a rather slow startup, and high ending lag. Additionally, Greninja is not intangible during the kick, hence the attack can get interrupted by quick attacks such as a jab infinite, or even backfire with Greninja hurling straight into an enemy's powerful move.

In Ultimate, Substitute has received buffs and nerfs but was buffed overall. An extreme problem with Substitute was its inconsistency due to a lack of intangibility and opponents often being able to dodge the attack, but was extremely powerful in return, even having a strong spike hitbox. Substitute is more consistent as it slows down opponents and it now grants Greninja invincibility while also having a larger counter window, making it safer. However, it has higher-end lag on whiff while all variants also have more lag, but lower KO power as well in return.

Instructional quotes[edit]

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS case foldout GreninjaHeadSSB4-3.png Deceive with a substitute, and then counter an attack.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Move List GreninjaHeadSSBU.png Evades an incoming enemy attack by summoning a substitute and then counterattacking.


Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:

1. Substitute 2. Exploding Attack 3. Substitute Ambush
Exploding Attack in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
Substitute Ambush in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
"Evade an incoming enemy attack by summoning a substitute, and then counterattack." "Vanish momentarily, and then reappear with a powerful explosion. Not a counterattack." "Evade an enemy attack with a substitute, and then launch a slow but extra-powerful counter."
  1. Substitute: Default.
  2. Exploding Attack: Greninja disappears for a brief moment and then reappears with an explosion around itself. This move does not counter.
  3. Substitute Ambush: This move is similar to the default move, but Greninja disappears for longer and hits harder. A log is spawned instead of a substitute doll if no direction is held.

In Smash Tour[edit]

The Substitute Doll appears as a green trophy item: if a tour item targets the player who used it, the effect will be redirected to another random player. This also applies to exclude the player who used it from the effect of items that target all players.


The Substitute Doll trophy is available in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, obtained by scoring 90 or more KOs in Solo Endless Smash while playing as Meta Knight.

Substitute Doll's trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Substitute Doll
NTSC If it looks like a Pokémon and it gets attacked like a Pokémon, it's probably a—Oh, no, it could also be a Substitute Doll. This cute plush figure appears out of nowhere when a Pokémon uses the move Substitute. Is that a smile on its face or a grimace of determination? Only the doll knows, and it's not telling.
Game Boy: Pokémon Red & Pokémon Blue (09/1998)
3DS: Pokémon X & Pokémon Y (10/2013)
PAL If it looks like a Pokémon and it gets attacked like a Pokémon, it's probably a- Oh, no, it could also be a Substitute doll. This cute plush figure appears out of nowhere when a Pokémon uses the move Substitute. Is that a smile on its face or a grimace of determination? Only the doll knows, and it's not telling.
Game Boy: Pokémon Red/Blue (10/1999)
3DS: Pokémon X/Y (10/2013)


Substitute being used in Generation VI.

Substitute is a Normal-type status move in the Pokémon games introduced in Generation I. When used, the Pokémon loses 25% of its maximum HP from its current HP and leaves the screen, replaced by a substitute doll. The substitute has its own HP which is equal to the HP the user lost to create the substitute, but derives its type and stats from the currently active Pokémon - the move Baton Pass allows for switching Pokémon without losing the substitute. When the Pokémon is attacked by any move that isn't sound-based, the substitute takes damage instead - once a substitute loses all of its HP, it fades away. When the Substitute user wants to use another move, the Substitute and Pokémon will temporarily switch places to allow said Pokémon to use the move. If the Pokémon does not have enough HP to make the substitute, the move will fail, although in Generation I, a Pokemon will faint itself if used with 25% or less HP.

While the move is widely available to almost all Pokémon via TM or Move Tutor, Greninja is one of the few Pokémon able to learn this move by leveling up as well. Its usage in Smash is a reference to the substitution/body-replacement techniques used by ninja in popular folklore to escape danger. The log occasionally left behind is a notable hallmark of this.


Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name
Japan Japanese みがわり
UK English Substitute
France French Clonage
Germany German Delegator
Spain Spanish Sustituto
Italy Italian Sostituto
China Chinese 替身
South Korea Korean 대타출동
Netherlands Dutch Kloon
Russia Russian Подмена


Sakurai shows us a glimpse of what's really going on behind the scenes.
A substitute in place of Masahiro Sakurai.
  • A Substitute doll was seen in the Super Smash Bros. Direct, taking Masahiro Sakurai's place as he introduced the Poké Ball Pokémon.
  • Substitute is the only counterattack in the series capable of meteor smashing.
    • This is the strongest meteor smash in the game in terms of knockback.
  • Like Double Team, Substitute is a non-offensive Normal-type move in the Pokémon games.
  • In the European Portuguese version of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, the description for Exploding Attack is erroneously the same as Substitute Ambush's. This is not the case in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.
  • If the Shadow Assist Trophy freezes Greninja while performing Substitute, the counter hitbox will remain active and trigger if hit. Greninja will not place the substitute and attack until being unfrozen, but will remain intangible in the mean time.