Water Shuriken/Hydro Cannon Greninja is the #1 non-legendary non-shadow non-mega water attacker. It’s a clear improvement from the “traditional” non-legendaries: Swampert, Kingler, Samurott, etc.
However, it’s worse than most shadows and Origin Pulse Kyogre (and very similar to Surf Kyogre). If you already have a team of these, you won’t need (many) Greninja.
- L50 Greninja > L40 Origin Pulse Kyogre
For most players who don’t have a full team of those premium counters, this is a great time to build or round out your team of water attackers.
Water attackers generally see low utility, but they’re the only answers to Primal Groudon raids, which will return during Go Fest Global.
Froakie Community Day happens on Sunday, August 13, from 2pm to 5pm local time. Any Greninja evolved before 10pm will know its CD move Hydro Cannon. Additionally, Water Shuriken will added to Greninja’s permanent move pool (which means you can always use a regular Fast TM to get it at any time, but it may not be guaranteed upon evolution during CD).
General Comments and Charts
Chart with ASE and ASE Dodge can be found here.
In addition to the TL;DR, I should also mention that Greninja is a classic glass cannon. Its bulk is the lowest of all released water-type starters, similar to Kingler. Luckily, it does have higher raw DPS than all other starters, and the consistency of Hydro Cannon mitigates some of the issues with low bulk. But still, if you use a team of Greninja, be prepared to relobby during the raid.
Water Shuriken vs. Bubble
Water Shuriken is a a great PvE fast move in itself with top-tier energy generation, and a clear upgrade over Bubble when paired with Hydro Cannon.
However, what allows Greninja to achieve relevance in raids is not Water Shuriken, but Hydro Cannon – a well-known overpowered (OP) move. If you’re thinking of using a Water Shuriken/Surf Greninja… It’s not entirely useless, but you can find better options (including a WS/HC Greninja with worse IVs).
- For those who are curious, Bubble/Hydro Cannon Greninja still sits above Swampert and Kingler, but just barely, and less consistently than Water Shuriken does.
Utility of Water Types, or Lack Thereof
This might be surprising to you, but: Water attackers generally have few use cases in legendary raids.
Water is Super Effective against Fire, Rock and Ground. However, legendaries of these types are rare, and many of them are:
- Double weak to something else (Ho-Oh, Heatran, Landorus)
- Not weak to water (Reshiram)
- Or, are better countered by something else (typical contenders are Kartana, Metagross and Fighting types)
The only legendary or Ultra Beast raid bosses that are weak to Water are:
- Entei, Groudon (T5), Primal Groudon, Regirock, Terrakion, Blacephalon, Ting-Lu
That’s a very short list. For reference, Psychic attackers – which I’ve often criticized for low utility – have a list that’s basically just as short. The low utility is also reflected in my Type Utility chart and Strength and Utility (S&U) chart (explanations in this article), both of which have Water near the bottom.
Not just that, but most of these use cases are meh. Entei and Regirock are not very desirable, and with the exception of the Groudons, all these bosses are countered by other types that are more useful on their own (Fighting, Dark/Ghost, Rock/Ground) or are vastly stronger (Psychic, Steel).
Overall, water attackers practically “only” serve as anti-Groudon specialists in raids. However, that’s arguably a valuable role in itself. Primal Groudon is difficult to beat, and effectively only countered by water types. Having at least a team of cheap water types goes a long way in contributing to the raid. And what’s the easiest way to get a cheap team? Community Day.
Future Water Starters
Chart with ASE and ASE Dodge can be found here.
Primarina will land on the same level as Greninja, or slightly stronger, once Popplio CD happens. Similar TTW (and lower raw DPS), but its extra bulk makes it stand out a bit in estimator and more consistent.
Inteleon (Gen 8) with HC will blow all other starters out of water. It’s arguably even better than Origin Pulse Kyogre and rivals Shadow Swampert.
- Quaquaval (Gen 9) isn’t shown on the chart, but it sits between Inteleon and Primarina.
The question is when. Nowadays, starter CDs seem to only happen one generation every 2 years (Gen 5 in 2021, Gen 4 in 2019-20). So we probably won’t see Popplio CD until 2025 and Sobble CD until 2027, perhaps later. Your Greninjas will see great value in the mean time.
Also, just FYI, Shadow Greninja will likely outclass Shadow Swampert eventually. But then, Shadow Kyogre, Shadow Primarina and Shadow Inteleon will also outclass it.
In Gen 7-8 MSG, Greninja has the ability Battle Bond that transforms it into Ash Greninja, with vastly improved stats. However, in Gen 9 MSG, Battle Bond was changed to prevent the transformation. While the Ash form does exist in PoGo APK, it’s not clear when or if we will see it actually released – though PoGo releasing mechanics that were scrapped from MSG is nothing new (see Megas).
If it ever comes to PoGo, Ash Greninja will be an insane raid attacker, likely in the same tier as Primal Kyogre.
- It has mega-level stats with 339 base attack.
- Higher raw DPS than Primal Kyogre, but lower ER.
- Using u/Elastic_Space‘s EER and TER metrics, Ash Greninja is estimated to have similar Estimator and higher TTW than Primal Kyogre. So in short, similar or better.
Another question is whether Ash Greninja will be treated as a mega or a permanent form change in PoGo. If it uses mega mechanics, then there would be little reason to use it for the mega slot over Primal Kyogre (which has a permanent group damage boost). But if not, then a team of 6 Ash Greninja will probably be the strongest.
Past analyses on other types
A complete list of all my past analyses – on every single type other than normal – can now be found in this spreadsheet!
An article on Mega Rayquaza and Oblivion Wing Yveltal. Not sure if I can make it in time for NYC Go Fest, but definitely before global.