Is Greninja A Clone Of Lucario? Special Moves, Final Smash and Play Style analysis for Super Smash Bros

By Michael On 13 Apr, 2014 At 11:35 PM | Categorized As Characters, Super Smash Bros | With 2 Comments

The announcement of Greninja as a playable character for Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS came as a pleasant surprise – especially if you are both a Pokemon and Smash Fan. The reaction to the announcement has been extremely positive – with many Smash fans ecstatic and the Pokemon enthusiasts jumping for joy – as one of the most popular new generation Pokemon will be playable.

I’ve been examining the Greninja debut trailer carefully – to attempt to decipher his specials and play style. In doing so – I may have unraveled some of the mystery behind the Ninja Pokemon.


water shuriken

Special One: Water Shuriken

His first special is a little obvious – which is not coincidentally, is Greninja’s signature move in Pokemon X&Y – the Water Shuriken. The Water Shuriken is a projectile that can either be charged in the same fashion as Samus’s Charge Shot and Lucario’s Aura Sphere or shot in quick successions. At the 1.49 time stamp – the normal Water Shuriken travels fast and does have a stun effect, unlike Fox’s Blaster. It would be safe to assume that the Water Shuriken will be integral to Greninja’s play style – its uses could extend to, but not limited to racking up integral damage, spacing and ledge guarding – much like how an adept Lucario would play in brawl. Look carefully at the Gif – a fully powered Water Shuriken causes ongoing damage to the opponent and pushes them back – it would be interesting to see what strategies players can devise for the Water Shuriken – especially with the interesting properties.



Special Two:  Substitute

At time stamp 1.52 – the famous substitute doll from the mainline Pokemon series rears its unusual face. Clearly this is a counter move like Lucario’s Double Team – which leads me to believe that this is his Down B Special. I suspect this will work like other counter, by that I mean, there will be a small time interval where the Substitution will work – therefore timing the move incorrectly will leave Greninja vulnerable.

Special Three: Updated: Shadow Sneak (not Feint Attack)

This one is a little less obvious – but I am 100% certain that Greninja’s third special will be Feint Attack. As seen at 1.44  – it looks to be another counter type move – one that deceives the opponent leaving the vulnerable. My initials thoughts told me that it could be a second effect of the Substitute move. However upon further observation, the sounds during the start of the attack animation are different – therefore it becomes apparent that these moves are different. To add, as shown in the Gifs above the Feint Attack is much faster than Substitute – almost simultaneous – while Greninja holds a pose to perform the Substitute.

Furthermore, I am confident in identifying this move as faint attack. In the footage, we can see Greninja disappearing, then reappearing to attack Wii Fit Trainer from behind. Now, if you research how Feint attack is shown in the anime – it is clear that this move resembles Feint Attack.

From Bulbapedia:

The Pokémon distracts the foe, then attacks while their guard is down.

Houndour runs to the opponent on the right or left side, then it disappears, and appears on the opposite side of the opponent.

Sudowoodo jumps into the air while the opponent isn’t looking, and while the opponent looks for it, Sudowoodo kicks it.


To strengthen my argument – Feint Attack is a move that Greninja learns at level 33 and it is also a Dark move – which fits Greninja’s typing. Put the two together, then it sort of makes sense.

This attack appears to be a terrific move to close the distance between the opponent – particularly if they are camping with a projectile – however, for balancing purposes, I bet the audio cue for Feint Attack will make it easy to predict and counter the move.

Update: Sakurai has confirmed that the move is Shadow Sneak.

The side special attack Shadow Sneak is a move that makes Greninja suddenly disappear and ambush opponents. If you press and hold the button, Greninja will move a greater distance. Another unique feature is you can move Greninja around freely while charging up.


water pulse


Special 4: Hydro Pump/Water Pulse/Aqua Jet

Discovering the title of this attack will be hard. To be honest – it could be a revamp Surf, Hydro Pump, Water Pulse or even Aqua Jet. I am leaning towards Aqua Jet, despite Greninja not able to learn the move in Pokemon X&Y. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this will be his Up B special. How exactly the attack will work, is still unclear. Is this like Pikachu’s Double Quick Attack? Or is ita single move that can change trajectory? What effect does the attack have on the opponents? These questions have yet to be answered.

greninja night slash

Final Smash: Night Slash

Fortunately, we did get to see a glimpse of Greninja’s final Smash at the end of the trailer. Greninja jumps into the night sky – slashing the dazed opponent multiple times before one final attack, which presumably knocks out the opponent with massive damage. I am confident that Greninja’s final Smash is Night Slash – I cannot identify any other move that is remotely close to what we saw in the trailer.



Play Style Analysis

I’m not sure how others feel, but I can draw many parallels between Greninja and Lucario, which leads me to believe that Greninja is, in fact, a clone (or semi-clone) of Lucario. Essentially, Greninja to Lucario is like Ganon to Captain Falcon, Toon Link to Link and Wolf to Fox – a clone but with distinctions that make them unique.

Just think about it carefully! Greninja’s Water Shuriken is like Lucario’s Aura Sphere. Greninja Substitute has similarities to Double Team and his Up Special (which I think is Aqua Jet) is a decent equivalent to Luc’s  Extreme Speed.

With this said, it is clear that Greninja is quick, agile and elusive – the same cannot be said for the floaty Lucario. As a general rule of thumb – a fast and agile character will typically have low damage output per attack and have relatively poor killing ability compared to the heavies. I suppose Greninja will be like Sheik, Fox, Zero Suit Samus and Meta Knight in brawl – in that they will all be able to rack up damage quickly, but will have some trouble in finishing the stock.

My instincts tell me – that the Water Shuriken will be a pertinent attack to Greninja’ssuccess, especially as a ledge guarding measure. Furthermore, as shown in the trailer – Greninja has very little trouble in performing consecutive attacks – which further reiterates my point that Greninja will be able to rack up damage very quickly. Until, I know the damage outputs and knock back stats for Greninja’s Smash attacks and aerials – it is difficult to make an adequate assessment as an overall fighter.

In terms of weakness’s – Greninja maybe a light weight character – which generally suggests that he can be KO’d easily by a powerful smash attack. In addition, Greninja Up Special does not cover great distances, nor does it appear to have great priority – which could suggest that Greninja is weak to characters that have superb ledge guarding capabilities.

Unfortunately, this is all information I can derive from the trailer. But I do believe – Greninja will be a formidable Smash Character, especially since he has a great weapon in his Water Shuriken.


For more on Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS stay informed at Mii-gamer.

More Smash Bros Articles:

Super Smash Bros For Wii U/3DS: Mega Man Analysis – Moves, Final Smash and Playstyle

It Appears Ridley Will Not Be A Playable Character In The Next Super Smash Bros

Lots of New Smash Bros Screenshots; including New Items and gorgeous Final Destination

First Screenshots of Greninja for Super Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS


About - Michael is the proud owner and Editor-in-Chief of! He has a Bachelors Degree with First Class Honors ( try to guess his Degree), and has been writing about video games for many years. His favorite Nintendo franchises include the Legend of Zelda, Super Smash Bros. and Pokemon. When Michael is not playing video games – he is usually outdoors riding kangaroo’s, playing cricket or sleeping (or doing all three at the same time).

  • Daniel Jeanbaptiste

    B: Water Shurike – different from Aura Sphere
    Side B: Shadow Sneak – different from Force Palm
    Down B: Substitute – Party different from Double Team if it adds % each use
    Up B: Hydro Pump – different from Extreme Speed
    Final Smash: Night Slash – Not a Mega Evolution

    It Shadow Sneak not Feint Attack

    • Ihatefatkatz

      sorry kid – i think you failed to grasp the concept of clones (semi-clones) in Super Smash Bros. You are taking things way tooooooooo literally.
      If i go by your logic then Wolf would not be a clone of Fox

      I’ll add the shadow sneak into the article since sakurai confirmed it yesterday 😛