Greninja was initially in a tricky spot in Pokemon Unite due to its unfortunate status as a worse version of Cinderace. Unfortunately, Greninja hasn’t completely shed that label quite yet but the Pokemon does stand as a solid pick in its own right.
The Pokemon X and Y starter is tailor made for maneuvering to and wiping out the enemy backlines in team fights. Greninja’s optimal pathing works around that, allowing the Pokemon to do strong work both at range and up close in order to wreak havoc on squishier opponents. Here’s the best way to build Greninja in Pokemon Unite.
— Pokémon UNITE (@PokemonUnite) June 23, 2021
Greninja is a kind of attacker-speedster and melee-ranged hybrid. The Pokemon is ideal for picking off wounded opponents trying to escape a fight, as well as squishy attackers that would rather be far away from the action than up close. The optimal build allows Greninja to out-maneuver opponents and deal as much damage as possible.
It should go without saying that players should get Bubble at level one over Substitute. Bubble’s important for getting early farm and dealing a bit of damage to opponents. Substitute comes soon after, but the game is only going to be made harder by taking it first.
An upgrade to Substitute comes available at level five, with Smokescreen being the clear choice. Though Double Team increases Greninja’s survivability, it offers nothing to the Pokemon’s offensive output. Smokescreen lets Greninja get the jump on opponents and gives increased damage when attacking out of invisibility.
For the time being, Surf is the preferred upgrade to Bubble for Greninja. Surf offers Greninja both extra mobility and the ability to quickly burst down multiple targets under the right circumstances. Water Shuriken is good, but doesn’t fit into the Pokemon Unite meta which sees things pivot to massive team fights as soon as Drednaw spawns. In high-level play, there aren’t going to be all that many of the one-on-one engagements where Water Shuriken would be most useful, making Surf the better option.
Greninja’s Unite move is fairly standard but fits the Pokemon’s kit well. Waterburst Shuriken sees Greninja toss a giant Water Shuriken that deals AOE damage. From there Greninja jumps onto the shuriken, causing it to explode and deal another burst of AOE damage which is followed by Greninja dashing in a direction chosen by the player. Alongside Surf, Waterburst Shuriken allows Greninja to quickly move around from target to target, damaging entire teams if done properly.
— Pokémon UNITE (@PokemonUnite) August 8, 2021
Greninja’s build is relatively unique, which can be chalked up to Greninja’s Torrent passive ability. When Greninja is at half health or less, it receives a significant boost to damage. This means that players will want to get below half health during fights and then stay there in order to deal as much damage as possible.
Focus Band, Buddy Barrier, and Muscle Band are the ideal combination for this. Muscle Band and Focus Band are a strong combo that allows Greninja to walk the tightrope of fighting at low health, with Focus Band offering bonus health regeneration while Torrent is active and Muscle Band increasing damage.
Buddy Barrier completes the build by giving Greninja and a teammate a shield after using Waterburst Shuriken, which both helps allies and lets Greninja gain tankiness while still being below half health. When combined, these three items let Greninja stand and trade with opponents more safely than with any other item while enjoying the bonus damage from its passive.
Other standard attacker items are reasonably strong on Greninja. Scope Lens, Attack Weight, and Float Stone are all decent alternatives, but making the most of Greninja’s passive with this combination of Held Items offers much more damage than taking a shortcut with other options.