Today we take a look at what I think is by far the most
frustrating card to be released in the XY set:
Greninja. Why frustrating?
Because Greninja has an
astonishingly good Ability . . . and yet I don’t think
the card is really playable.
The Ability in question, Water Shuriken, lets you put
three damage counters on
any of your
opponent’s Pokémon if you discard a Water Energy from
your hand. It stacks too, so you can use it once per
turn for every Greninja
you’ve got in play. That’s up to 120
damage, spread however you like,
attacking. When it’s put like that,
Greninja seems to be a
ridiculously powerful card: it can soften up the biggest
EX for an easy KO, finish off damaged Pokémon on the
Bench, or clear away Bench sitters like
Aromatisse XY and
Garbodor (if you use Tool
So, why isn’t the format swarming with
Greninja decks? Well for a
start it’s a Stage 2, and getting multiple Stage 2s out
and keeping them on the Field is extremely difficult
when powerful Basics are knocking them over turn after
turn. The cost of Water Shuriken is another issue,
requiring you to run a fair amount of Basic Water Energy
and some method of recovery. Another issue is that
Greninja’s attack is
lacking. 50 for one Energy
great, but to be honest you wouldn’t mind paying a bit
more for a bit more damage. As it stands, you would need
all four Water Shuriken to get to the level where you
could OHKO an EX with Greninja.
That clearly isn’t going to work, so you need to find
space for another attacker to run alongside it:
Kingdra PLF is the obvious
choice because it likes Water in the discard to fuel its
attack and can return the Energy back to the deck.
However, that is yet another Stage 2 you have to run in
multiples and that makes for a clunky deck that is a
nightmare to try and set up.
I really would like to think that sooner or later the
format will shift so that this card becomes awesome.
That Ability is just too good to go unused. Maybe with
some better partners, some more support for Evolutions,
or just a slowing of the format, this card will fulfil
its potential. Right now, it’s just for fun.
Modified: 2.75 (Greninja’s
day will come . . . won’t it?)
Limited: 3.75 (Water Shuriken is great here and the
cheap attack is just gravy)
Being Stage 2s makes it kind of difficult for starter
Pokémon to stand out these days, but Greninja and
Delphox from XY seem to both be playable cards! Like
most Stage 2s it’s down to their Abilities to make them
good and Greninja has a nice, original effect. Being
able to discard an Energy to do 30 more damage, anywhere
on the board, can be really helpful to secure KOs. The
sort of Water decks that will get the most out of this
effect are those that attack fast and cheap, that can
afford to use their Stage 2 slots on Greninja for damage
as opposed to Blastoise for acceleration. Currently,
Empoleon is the best cheap attacker for Water decks but
with the release of Greninja EX perhaps the 2 versions
could work together to spread damage all over for very
little Energy in play.
Greninja should be even more playable in this format,
the only problem for Greninja at the moment is that its
only other version is the poor starter deck one so you’d
have to run it as a 1-1-1 line. That said, it’s not bad
even as just a tech line as it can help support spread
decks (which are much more viable in this format) by
placing damage on benched Pokémon to ensure the right
number to ensure KOs. Once we see more good Greninja
cards a deck built around the Pokémon might become
possible, the new promo version just revealed in Japan
continues the sniping theme and also has a cheap attack.
One more quality Greninja with a cheap, powerful attack
or a snipe/spread theme would almost certainly make
Greninja an interesting deck to try.
Unlimited 150: 3.5 (likely to rise as more Greninja are