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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

Greninja BREAK - XY BREAKpoint
Date Reviewed:
March 7, 2016


Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.00
Expanded: 2.75

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.

Back to the main COTD Page


Welcome back to another BREAKpoint week! And to come back to the point, here's a BREAK Evolution! 


Greninja BREAK is a lot like Trevenant BREAK in that he's got more than just the one Greninja in this set to choose from for options to evolve from and use with, and I'll review as many as I can in this one since there are a few. The most important things to note about Greninja BREAK are his increased HP score of 170, which puts him on par with your Basic-EX, and his Ability, Giant Water Shuriken! 

Now why is it called Giant Water Shuriken? Well because the Ability works very similarly to another Greninja's (XY) Ability, aptly named Water Shuriken. Both can discard a Water Energy from the hand, and both can deal out damage between the two - the main difference is that Greninja BREAK needs to be Active but deals out 60 damage instead of regular Greninja (XY) who deals only 30. 

...UNLESS you combine the two of them together, and then you can discard 2 Water Energy to decimate a Pokemon for 90 DAMAGE - AND YOU HAVEN'T EVEN ATTACKED YET!! 

Unfortunately, with most decks running only 12-15 Energy, the chances of you having 2 Energy to discard every turn to deal that amount is a bit chancy. Not unlikely, if Greninja (XY)'s also your main attacker, though Mist Slash is a decent 1-for-50 strike guaranteed to land. And since you only need 1 Water Energy on that Greninja, it makes it rather easy to have an excess of Water Energy in hand to discard. The other thing to consider though is that you're dealing either half a Basic-EX's HP in damage or just a little under half of most Mega-EX's, so while you're likely to 2HKO everything with Greninja BREAK and XY, you're also likely to get beat. 

Another Greninja to consider would be the Dark-type Promo, but it's more focused on his Mist Concealment and requires Dark Energy for his main attack, so unless you're planning on doing a Water-Dark mix, I wouldn't really run the two together. The Greninja from the Kalos Start Set isn't much to talk about, though Mat Block can be useful to get rid of your opponent's Energy sometimes. Technically not the best one to run competitively. 

That brings us to the Greninja from this set, and he is fairly viable to use with Greninja BREAK! Both of his attacks are only 1 Energy apiece, and they both work fairly well with BREAK's own power! Shadow Stitching will do 40 damage and bind the Abilities of your opponent's Pokemon so they can't do anything - think of it as a pseudo-Garbotoxin that lasts a turn. This can be useful against anyone not running Garbodor or Wobbuffet or some other Ability-binding Pokemon - since it's only shutting it off during your opponent's turn, you can't really take advantage of it during your turn. Add on Moonlight Slash though, and you've got a 1-for-60 attack that can go up to 80 by returning the 1 Water Energy back to your hand - so you can use it for Giant Water Shuriken on your next turn! 

...in theory. 

So Greninja BREAK is a fairly useful addition to the Greninja line-up, and anyone who's willing to run Greninjas together should be able to use Greninja BREAK just as well. Add in some quick evos, some draw power to get Energies in hand, and you could have a potentially powerful set-up for a fun deck on your hands! 

Cause let's face it, when was the last time you saw a BREAK Evolution deck in a competitive environment? 


Standard: 2.5/5 (he'll be a bit tough to get out, and he does need to be Active for his Ability) 

Expanded: 2/5 (but once he's out, you've got a real powerhouse on your hands - 60 damage is a lot to be fair!) 

Limited: 4/5 (and again, really, good luck getting him out here, I applaud you if you can do it) 

Arora Notealus: Usually, my opinion on the generation starters has leaned towards the Water starter - Squirtle, Mudkip, Froakie - the only exception being Gen IV with Chimchar up to Infernape (so I like Infernape's design! Empoleon's pretty cool too!). So of COURSE I like freaking Greninja! He's a ninja frog, what's not to like? 

Next Time: From ninjas to punks!...WHO YOU LOOKING AT?!


We start this week with Greninja BREAK (XY: BREAKpoint 41/122), a Water-Type.  The good is that this enables it to exploit Water Weakness found on nearly all Fire-Types plus a solid selection of Fighting-Types, as well as Water-Type support.  The Water-Type provides both Type specific support, like Archie’s Ace in the Hole, Dive Ball and Rough Seas, as well as cards that simply have better synergy with the Water-Type like Keldeo-EX, which can make use of its “Rush In” Ability in almost any deck, can make at least minimal use of its “Secret Sword” attack in most decks, but can do the most when taking advantage of its Water-Typing and an abundant supply of [W] Energy in Water decks.  Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101) is a second good example of Water-Type support not actually limited to Water-Type cards, but usually superior with them.  The drawbacks of the Water-Type are minor: Resistance in general is a stumbling block and not a hurdle, with all but one Type-specific counter effects failing to see significant, sustained competitive play.  Water Resistance is only found on BW-era Grass-Types (nearly all of them), while only commonly played anti-Water effect is almost accidental because it is Parallel City.  Apologies for glossing over it so often; as the card is used primarily for shrinking the opponent’s Bench I actually had forgotten that one of the three Types for which it could reduce the damage they do by 20 included Water (the other two are Fire and Grass). 

Being a BREAK Evolution for a Stage 2 is demanding; while so far it has meant an HP bump and will always mean access to the Abilities, attacks, Weakness, Resistance and Retreat Cost of the previous Stage (as that is the point of the mechanic), this is effectively a Stage 3 Pokémon.  If there are any bits of specific support or counters for BREAK Evolutions, then I managed to miss them; this isn’t a demand for it either as I would much rather a Stage balanced through good game design (the built in benefits of the Stage balancing the costs) than external support or counters.  We’ve tried the external approach since the game began; it has never truly worked and the period where it could fake it lasted maybe five years and ended 10 years ago, if memory serves.  So back to being the BREAK Evolution of a Stage 2; massive card and time investment as without shortcuts you need to go Basic => Stage 1 => Stage 2 => BREAK for a total of four cards and four turns, and anything other than general Evolution support won’t work as it pretty obviously is not a Stage 1 or Stage 2 itself.  Greninja BREAK isn’t quite as bad of as it seems though; the BREAK Evolution of a Stage 1 is less demanding, but it cannot make use of Rare Candy at all while here it can still skip a Stage 1.  As a Water-Type Archie’s Ace in the Hole cannot put Greninja BREAK directly into play (it would be only half a Pokémon!) but it can help you out by putting Frogadier or Greninja directly into play. 

For all the hassle, Greninja BREAK has 170 HP, putting it in line with the slightly smaller of the two typical HP scores for Basic Pokémon-EX.  Many decks do still score OHKOs against this much HP, but even a few of those will have issues because they use effects that specifically hit Pokémon-EX for additional damage, like Fighting Stadium.  Often Greninja BREAK will be able to survive a hit and… we will jump to its Ability because its Weakness, Resistance and Retreat Cost are supplied by the Greninja from which it must BREAK Evolve.  “Giant Water Shuriken” is pretty impressive; it can only be used once per turn, requires Greninja BREAK be Active and that you discard a [W] Energy from hand, but it places six damage counters on the opponent’s Pokémon of your choice.  That can OHKO a few Pokémon that see play (almost always Evolving Basics) but will probably be most significant for comboing with other sources of damage.  If you have more than one card with Giant Water Shuriken in play (a steep demand considering right now it is only found on Greninja BREAK) and can get it Active after having used a different card’s Giant Water Shuriken, you can indeed use both in one turn.  So for the incredibly demanding feat of getting four Greninja BREAK into play all at once, having the means of getting each in and out of the Active slot and having enough [W] Energy in hand at the right times so that they may each use Giant Water Shuriken, you would get to place six damage counters onto the opponent’s Pokémon of your choice four times, totaling 24 damage counters (enough to No-Hit KO a Mega Evolution!). 

So what do we need to get Greninja BREAK into play?  Thanks to Archie’s Ace in the Hole we could skip directly to Greninja but we are still going to look at Froakie and Frogadier (hint: it isn’t just because I am obsessive).  Froakie comes in four varieties spread out over six releases; XY: Kalos Starter Set 12/39 (re-released as XY: Black Star Promos XY03 and McDonald's Collection 2014 4/12), XY 39/146, BREAKthrough 46/162, and BREAKpoint 38/122.  All are Water-Types with Grass Weakness, no Resistance, no Ancient Trait and no Ability.  XY: Kalos Starter Set 12/39 has 60 HP and two attacks; for [W] it can use “Pound” for 10 damage or for [WC] it do 20 damage with “Water Drip”.  It is the only version with two attacks.  XY 39/146 has 50 HP and for [W] can use “Bounce” to attack for 10 damage and flip a coin; if “heads” you may switch it with one of your Benched Pokémon (“tails” still does 10 damage).  BREAKthrough 46/162 also has 50 HP but its attack is once again Pound for 10, though this time the cost is just [C].  This set’s Froakie, BREAKpoint 38/122 is the second version with 60 HP; its “Bubble” attack does no damage but has you flip a coin, with “heads” Paralyzing the opponent’s Active and “tails” doing nothing at all.  Generally speaking a twice Evolving Basic is there to help you set up your deck, usually for the specific purpose of its Evolutions.  As such I favor BREAKpoint 38/122 even though Bubble is overpriced as 60 HP plus maybe Paralyzing the opponent’s Active buys time to Evolve. 

We have four Frogadier to pick from as well, but this time with only one release for each of them: XY: Kalos Starter Set 13/39, XY 40/146, XY: BREAKthrough 47/162, and XY: BREAKpoint 39/122.  All four are Stage 1 Water-Types with Grass Weakness, no Resistance, no Ancient Trait and no Ability.  XY: Kalos Starter Set 13/39 has 80 HP and two attacks; Water Drip returns but this time it only costs [W] to hit for 20, with the second attack being “Aqua Wave” for [WWC] to do 40 damage and flip two coins each good for an extra 20 damage per “heads”.  Once again, the other three each possess only a single attack.   XY 40/146 still sports 80 can use “Lick” for [WC] to hit for 30 damage and flip a coin: “tails” means you do just the base 30 while “heads” means you do the damage plus Paralyze the opponent’s Active.  XY: BREAKthrough 47/162 has only 70 HP, with its “Cut” attack doing 30 damage for [CC].  XY: BREAKpoint 39/122 is the one that surprises us; while it also has only 70 HP its attack is “Water Duplicates” which allows you to search your deck for up to three Frogadier to put on your Bench.  It is far from perfect with its HP and potential to whiff (as Frogadier may be Prize, in hand or in the discard) but it might just be worth it to run (and sacrifice) a Frogadier to put two or three more directly into play.

Somewhat surprisingly, we have three options for Greninja as well; normally it seems like we have less as the Stages climb.  They are XY: Kalos Starter Set 14/39, XY 41/146, XY Black Star Promos XY24 and XY: BREAKpoint 40/122.  All are Stage 2 Pokémon with no Ancient Trait; all but XY Black Star Promos XY24 are Water-Types with Grass Weakness and no Resistance.  XY: Kalos Starter Set 14/39 has 140 HP, Retreat Cost [C] and two attacks.  For [W] it can use “Mat Block” to do 40 damage, plus you get to flip a coin; the damage happens either way but on a “heads” you also get to discard an Energy attached to the opponent’s Active.  For [WWC] its “Aqua Edge” does a vanilla 80 damage.  XY 41/146 drop to 130 HP but has an Ability and an attack; the former is “Water Shuriken” and is the predecessor of Giant Water Shuriken, as you would expect.  Unlike Giant Water Shuriken, the regular version only does 30 damage for the same cost of discarding a [W] Energy from hand once per turn, and like Giant Water Shuriken if you have more than one card with Water Shuriken in play, each can use the Ability once per turn… but unlike Giant Water Shuriken you may use this Ability while on the Bench or Active.  The attack is “Mist Slash” which costs [W] and does 50 damage which is unaffected by Weakness, Resistance or any effects on the opponent’s Active Pokémon. 

XY Black Star Promos XY24 shakes things up a bit by being a Darkness-Type with Fighting Weakness, and Psychic Resistance, though its 130 HP and Retreat Cost of [C] are the same as or similar to the other Greninja.  It also has one Ability and attack, with the former being “Mist Concealment” and the latter being “Shadow Bullet”.  The Ability only triggers when you Evolve one of your in play Pokémon into this Greninja; it is immune to both the damage and the effects of attacks by your opponent’s Pokémon during your opponent’s next turn.  For [DC] the attack does 60 to your opponent’s Active and 20 to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon (your choice).  As a reminder, a BREAK Evolution does not copy the Type of the Pokémon from which it Evolves, and while it is considered to technically have a copy of the coming-into-play Ability the ruling is that it will not re-trigger from BREAK Evolving; I believe it is a timing issue (by the time Greninja BREAK has Mist Concealment, it is already in play).  XY: BREAKpoint 40/122 is the newest option, released alongside Greninja BREAK; it has the slightly lower 130 HP but its Retreat Cost is completely free, a simple but valuable asset.  It has two attacks; for [C] it can use “Shadow Stitching to do 40 damage while shutting down the Abilities of all your opponent’s Pokémon in hand, in the discard pile or on the field or that move into one of those areas, until the end of your opponent’s next turn.  For [W] it can use “Moonlight Slash” instead, which does 60 damage and gives you the choice of returning a [W] from itself back to your hand for an extra 20 damage.  That doesn’t scale; you cannot bounce multiple Energy for even more damage. 

Three of these four Greninja have been reviewed in the past; thanks to the significant changes in the game with respect to Stage 2 Pokémon like Miltank (XY: Flashfire 83/106) providing an inexpensive beatstick - especially for Bench-sitting Stage 2s - while Archie’s Ace in the Hole provided a super shortcut for Water Stage 2s and Standard got rid of some major Stage 2 competition with the last rotation (especially for Water-Types), things have definitely changed.  First was XY: Kalos Starter Set 14/39 where it failed to impress, but now while it still isn’t something to run, it comes a little closer.  Aqua Edge is still overpriced, especially as by now we all think of Greninja as being something that gets by on few Energy attachments, though Mat Block would be welcome in our Special Energy heavy environment; the competition (plus coin flip on Mat Block) ensure I won’t be recommending this version.  XY 41/146 was second, but it is now better than it was at the time of its revie.  It actually made good (alongside the previously mentioned Miltank) in Blue Milk decks for a short time, declined, then got a small bump back into fringe competitive play thanks to Archie’s Ace in the Hole.  While you are not allowed to discard a single [W] Energy for both Water Shuriken and Giant Water Shuriken at the same time, you can use both Abilities if Greninja BREAK Evolved from this Greninja; three Water Energy cards in hand, two copies of XY 41/146 in play and one of those Active and Evolved into Greninja BREAK means you can place a total of 12 damage counters in play, enough to take out a Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) before you attack!  As such this is going to be my main recommendation. 

As the third reviewed, XY: Black Star Promos XY24 is only a year out of date instead of two, but unfortunately it isn’t as likely to benefit from the differences.  You just cannot Evolve into it fast enough, so there will always be gaps in its protection, even if you use bounce effects to spam Mist Concealment, in addition to all the cards that could bypass it anyway.  XY: BREAKpoint 40/122 should have been a fourth review in its own right, but besides having a lot of cards to squeeze into the smaller-than-normal gap between sets (thanks to Generations being an extra set released between normal quarterly expansions) we are still in that awkward place where reviewing a BREAK Evolution properly requires addressing it lower Stages.  With so many Water-Types, I decided not to cover a Water-Type Stage 2 that would at best be used as a one-of alongside its BREAK Evolution… but by now I think I goofed and we should have covered it separately.  Blocking Abilities can be brutal in certain match-ups, while constantly dropping Energy for multiple Water Shuriken, one Giant Water Shuriken and to fuel attacks each turn might just be too much.  XY: BREAKpoint 40/122 also has the best attack in terms of damage with Moonlight Slash. 

Looks like only a single Greninja BREAK deck managed to Top 32 in the final weekend of the 2016 Winter Regional Championships (the only weekend where XY: BREAKpoint was legal).  Yes, still referencing The Charizard Lounge though I am now aware that Pokemon.com has deck lists for the Top 8 of the Master’s Division for each Regional (some of the older Regionals include the Seniors and Juniors Divisions, but I haven’t read those yet).  Looks like The Charizard Lounge is now adding in links to decklists, but again I haven’t gotten around to reading most.  Grafton Roll’s build (the one that made Top 32) is not what I expected; he includes a lone copy of Dedenne (XY: Furious Fists 34/111), I am guessing because it is decent to open with as well as helping against Energy heavy attackers (especially the Lightning Weak like Yveltal-EX).  Octillery (XY: BREAKthrough 33/162) is there to provide draw support throughout the game while entire Greninja BREAK line is present (no Archie’s Ace in the Hole at all) is there as a 4-4-2/2-2 line; everything is the XY: BREAKpoint version except for that split on the Greninja, which is between  XY 41/146 and XY: BREAKpoint 40/122.  The deck uses less Energy/Energy recycling cards than I expected.  Pokémon.com also has an article covering a Greninja BREAK deck and… it looks pretty good to me, both the article and the deck.  So while I can’t offer you much, at least I can direct you to those resources. 

Greninja BREAK looks like it will have some chops for Standard and Expanded, but not at the level Trevenant BREAK managed.  Considering Pokémon BREAK were pretty much non-entities on the competitive scene before this latest back, being played at all is quite impressive.  For Limited, you’ll struggle to pull the entire line but if you manage it, you’ll have the backbone of your deck.  It won’t be a guaranteed win, but mostly because even opening with a Froakie and having each successive Stage show up on time, it will be four turns before Greninja BREAK hits the field.  Sometimes Greninja BREAK won’t show up at all and below XY: BREAKpoint 40/122 the line can’t do damage (even if the effects they do have are useful), so you’ll need to flesh things out a lot as a precaution. 


Standard: 3.5/5 

Expanded: 3.5/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Greninja BREAK requires a lot to make it work, but it does seem to work in the end.  Give it a go if you can track down everything you need.  Greninja BREAK just managed to sneak into our collective Top 15, but it tied with 14th place with eight voting points, and as you may recall our actual Top 9 and Top 10 picks only had 11 voting points; it was quite close for the bulk of the list, with gaps we would normally see between two places instead being the gap from fifth place to fifteenth!  On my personal list I had it as my eighth place pick and I still think it deserved about that.

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