How to train a Greninja amiibo in Smash Ultimate

by Sinsei, Guest Contributor

I have won a SUAL tournament and made Top 8 4 times, only missing Top 8 once, where I finished 9th. I have well over 30 hours training Greninja, and I am currently the highest rated Greninja in North America.

Why Greninja?
Greninja is an amiibo that can really only become better as optimizations are made by trainers. Greninja can be one of the most exciting amiibo to watch as seeing AI perform combos and kill confirms you taught is a rush.

AI Issues

There are a few issues with Greninja’s AI that should be noted before training one. The first is that Greninja’s AI is extremely fragile this means some of Greninja’s moves cause the AI to spam them. Down air is a move that Greninja loves to use, but it’s terrible in a competitive setting. It does not kill, deals only medium damage, and is extremely unsafe when whiffed.

While it’s also a good kill move, Greninja should avoid Side special. Side special, when whiffed, is very punishable. Combine that with the fact the AI likes to spam it, and you have more overall downtime and lower DPS. He’ll also use Shuriken at the ledge, and that’s also not a good idea. As a general rule of thumb, avoid using the B button when training Greninja.

There’s also a few general AI issues that can cause a problem with Greninja. Greninja has some weird off-stage habits: I’ve come to find that while a great option for normal smash, the AI will almost refuse to use Back air off-stage and will instead prefer Forward air to edgeguard, or unusually, Up air. (I’d like to mention my reluctance to us Up air off-stage. The AI will try to drag down opponents with it, but it knocks them vertically. It really accomplishes nothing.)

Overall playstyle

Greninja is going to play substantially different than what you’d expect an amiibo to play. Greninja fortunately has a few combos built into his AI, so we’re going to take advantage of those.

Primarily, Greninja functions as a grounded combo amiibo using Dash attack and Down tilt to combo and build damage. He’s going to use moves like Up smash and Forward smash to build damage. Then, he’ll use Dash attack Forward air for the KO. Unlike most optimal amiibo, you’re going to run when training Greninja – you want him to use Dash attack, and he can’t use that when he’s walking.

Moves to use – Dash attack, Up smash, Forward smash, Down smash, Down tilt, Forward air (should only be used during combos)

Moves to avoid:
Down air, Side Special, Up tilt, Shuriken, Forward tilt, Up air

AI COMBOS (either built-in or learnable)

Down tilt Forward air (Only full hop version)
Down tilt Side Special (While occasionally hype, this often will miss and ruin a potential confirm )
Down tilt Forward tilt (Down tilt Forward Smash is the better alternative for this)
Down tilt Neutral air (The AI will delay the Neutral air so you will often miss or be punished. Don’t use this combo.)
Dash attack Neutral air (Not a bad combo damage-wise but lacks potential to kill)
Dash attack Forward air (built-in, but still very important to teach)
Back Air Dash attack (Not worth teaching, as it only works at very low percents)

How to train Greninja
(For everything below, remember as a trainer to really focus on not missing any of these combos during training. We need it to always connect the second hit. You must be tight with execution while training to reduce this to a minimum.)

For percents 0-30, focus on using Dash attack Up smash – This is a great way to start a match as it deals great damage.
In the same percent window go for Down tilt Forward smash another solid way to deal DPS which works even leading into the mid percents.
After connecting the combos above, connect some raw Forward smashes. During mid percents, many of Greninja’s combos are offline and they work as a damage builder to transition to kill percents.

KILL CONFIRMS – I recommend doing these all and rotating between them. For some matchups, your Dash attack Forward air will not kill, which is why you want your Greninja to be just as capable of killing off Down tilt combos and kill confirms.

  • For percents ranging roughly from 60-90, Dash attack Forward air comes online. Try to connect this at the ledge to kill with it.
  • Down tilt Up smash is a great way for your Greninja to kill of the top. Some stages have large side blast zones while having small blast ceilings, which makes this combo important for specific stages.
  • Down tilt Forward air has two versions, which are the Short hop and Full hop versions. For the Short hop version, percents ranging from 90-110 work best for most characters. The Full hop version will come online later, at 130-140 percent.
  • While not exactly a confirm, I recommend going offstage if only occasionally during training, as it will create another option to steal a stock.
  • Another good way to steal a stock is a ledge trap. Often this is where you should be using Down smash and Forward smash to kill. Avoid standing still at the ledge and try to keep a roll’s distance away, unless you intend to edgeguard.

Why it Works

As Greninja is a primarily grounded fighter, he can come into contact with some rather bad matchups. Projectile-based characters in particular, or characters who abuse a large hitbox are going to be strong against Greninja. Mii Gunner’s Missile, Ness’ PK Fire, Link’s Boomerang, and Pit’s Forward smash can all kill Greninja quite easily.

My initial idea to combat this was to train a Greninja that opted to use aerials to start combos but in the current meta the presence of anti-air moves, this is a sub-optimal option. I’m not saying Greninja cannot win these matchups, but they’ll make him struggle. However, Greninja can do great vs aerial based amiibo and lighter amiibo where Greninja’s confirms can kill very early.

This all combines to make the best Greninja in the scene, and the first successful one. Greninja will have to work for it, but he can turn up some high-tier matchups in his favor with sheer training.

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