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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



- XY

Date Reviewed:
March 25, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.13
Limited: 3.75

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Greninja (XY) 

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, without even 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 Scrapper first!). 

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 sounds 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)

Intro to
Unlimited 150


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. 

Unlimited 150.
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. 

Standard: 3.5
Unlimited 150: 3.5 (likely to rise as more Greninja are released) 

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