Spotlight Pokemon: Greninja

Greninja is a versatile Pokemon with a great hidden ability.

Greninja, the new water starter in Pokémon XY, is this week’s Spotlight Pokémon. It is Water/Dark type, so it takes double damage from Grass, Fighting, Fairy, Electric, and Bug type attacks. It takes half damage from Fire, Water, Ice, Ghost, Dark, and Steel type attacks. It takes normal damage from the rest of the types.

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Well, it’s not a Ninja Turtle, but it is just as good. It has excellent Speed, a decent Special Attack, and a Hidden Ability that makes it a perfect Special Sweeper. Greninja’s base stats are…

  • HP: 72
  • Attack: 95
  • Defense: 67
  • Special Attack: 103
  • Special Defense: 71
  • Speed: 122

Greninja is the final form of the water starter, Froakie. Froakie evolves into Frogadier at level 16, then Greninja at 36. It is only Water type until the final evolution, where it adds the Dark type.

Greninja has one normal Ability and one Hidden Ability. The normal ability has the same effect as all the starters and is called Torrent. When HP is below 1/3, Water power is increased 1.5 times. It is a decent ability if you get low on health without dying, but otherwise not very useful. His Hidden Ability, Protean, makes him stand out as a Special Sweeper, though.

Protean changes Greninja’s type to whatever attack he is about to us. That lets him get the Same type attack bonus (STAB) from any attack he uses. That extra 1.5 times damage goes a long way.

To Sweep or not to Sweep

Another great thing about Greninja is that he can learn Spikes and Taunt. This allows him to be a great lead as well. Also, because of his good speed and Special Attack, he can be used as a mix between a lead and a Sweeper, which is what I use him for.

My Greninja has Spikes, Taunt, Surf,and Dark Pulse. He is fast so I can usually Taunt other leads that want to use hazards or stat boosting moves. I can lay my own Spikes down afterwards and I have Surf and Dark Pulse as hard-hitting STAB moves. This way I can send him in as a Lead, or just Sweep using Surf and Dark Pulse.

If you want to go the pure Sweeper route, then Protean is the ability you want. Hidden Abilities are only available in the Friend Safari, so you have to hope you can catch one in there, or trade with someone who has one.

A good moveset would be Surf/Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, Extrasensory, and Dark Pulse. Hydro Pump does more damage, but has a lower accuracy, so it is up to you to decide which you want to use. Extrasensory is a strong Psychic attack that has a chance to make the target flinch. Dark Pulse is the same just Dark type. Ice beam is a hard-hitting Ice attack that make the target freeze.

Remember, with Protean, each move will change your type to that move’s type. This can be used to your advantage, or hurt you if you’re not careful.

That wraps up this week’s Spotlight Pokémon. If you have any more questions, or suggestions on future Pokémon, let me know in the comments.


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After gaming for 25 years, Synzer leveraged his vast knowledge of RPGs and MMOs into a job as a games journalist, covering the games he loves. Five years later, he's still writing about Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon, and Knights of the Old Republic. Synzer has a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing. You can see him in action on his YouTube channel (https://bit.ly/2F97BrR) and Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/synzergaming).