Grateful Greninja — An Innovative Take on Everyone’s Favorite Frog

Hi everyone! I’m excited to be back after a short hiatus, one over which I traveled west to Anaheim, California for the World Championships. In the main event, I played a Gardevoir-GX build on which I worked extensively with Cody Walinski and our very own Ryan Grant. We all played the list to varying degrees of success, but unfortunately, none of us were able to make it to the second day of play. This said, I was quite disappointed, but at the same time, knew I had a chance to make up for it the very next day at the Anaheim Open.

The Open went very well for me. I made the Top 12 cut, and even though I lost immediately, I took home 80 Championship Points in the new season of play. This past weekend, at the time I’m writing this, I made the Top 8 at two League Cups: I finished fifth and second, respectively. That said, I’m already up to 145 Championship Points this season, and well on my way to my sixth consecutive qualification to the World Championships!

Over the course of last month, I was hard at work testing a variety of decks for Fort Wayne, Indiana Regionals. I think Trevenant is an unbalanced card, and the archetype is without a doubt the frontrunner in the format. I really wish it had been banned along with Archeops and Forest of Giant Plants, but it is what it is, and today I’ll be talking about a deck that can beat it: Greninja BREAK. To qualify myself on the deck, I’ve made Top 8 at a Regional Championship with the deck in the Expanded format last year, and I worked on Cody Walinski’s finals list heading into the World Championship with him, and others. I hope I can really shed some positive light on an awesome deck that’s set for a major revival!

Editor’s note: The bulk of this article was written before Fort Wayne Regionals.


Greninja’s last Expanded format showing was a second-place finish at the San Jose, California Regional Championship last December. There, Kenny Britton’s build was demolished by Mark Garcia’s Yveltal-EX deck with Archeops. After that landslide finals victory, most people realized that Greninja BREAK had a poor matchup with Yveltal decks, the biggest cog of the Expanded format, a deck that you need to beat in order to do well at an event, and packed the deck away for another day.

Forest of Giant Plants was the final nail in the coffin for Greninja BREAK decks in Expanded, since it unlocked the keys for a few broken decks like Vileplume / Decidueye-GX and Vileplume / Lurantis-GX, among other Grass-type decks in general. Greninja has a Weakness to Grass Pokemon, so it’s always best to steer clear of anything that can cause trouble like Decidueye-GX and Lurantis-GX. With Forest of Giant Plants removed from the game, those two decks seem highly unlikely to be played, and that said, Greninja should be smooth sailing in the Expanded format, as long as Trevenant’s Forest Curse doesn’t cause too many problems.

Again, now that Archeops and Forest of Giant Plants are gone for good — thanks to its Expanded format ban — Greninja BREAK is poised for a comeback. Since the deck hasn’t seen much refinement since its last placing so long ago, there’s a lot of work to be done to iron out the kinks. Luckily, I have a fantastic list, something that you won’t see anything like anywhere else. I’ve done a lot of testing to make things work right, and I’m happy to share it with you. Let’s take a look at it…

Deck List

Pokemon (17)

4x Froakie (BKP #38)4x Frogadier (BKP #39)4x Greninja (BKP #40)3x Greninja BREAK (BKP #41)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Alolan Vulpix (GUR #21)

Trainers (33)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)3x N (FAC #105)1x Wally (RSK #94)1x Teammates (PRC #141)1x Guzma (BUS #115)1x Fisherman (BKT #136)1x Ace Trainer (AOR #69)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Dive Ball (PRC #125)3x Ultra Ball (SM #135)1x Super Rod (BKT #149)1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Muscle Band (XY #121)1x Field Blower (GUR #125)1x Computer Search (BCR #137)1x Choice Band (GUR #121)4x Rough Seas (PRC #137)

Energy (10)

7x Water Energy (GEN #77)3x Splash Energy (BKP #113)

Card Explanations

4 Froakie

I haven’t been using Talonflame with Greninja BREAK in the Expanded format lately, and that said, I wouldn’t go lower than four Froakie. Three is the magic number when you play Talonflame, in an effort to increase your odds of starting it, but since you’re not going to be playing it, this is the only count that makes sense.

4 Frogadier

Water Duplicates and getting Greninja out in general are integral to this deck’s strategy, and that said, you need as many Frogadier as you can get. If you were to Prize a Frogadier, things can go south quickly, so the maximum copies of the card allotted to you is essential to this deck’s success in tournaments.

4 Greninja

Some of you may be wondering why a single copy of Greninja from XY isn’t included in this lineup. While I think the (regular) Water Shuriken Ability is fine and dandy, it’s always better to just have more copies of your main attacker in nearly every matchup. That said, it’s best to stick to the Moonlight Slashes and Shadow Stitchings of the world.

3 Greninja BREAK

Giant Water Shuriken is insane, and so is 170 HP on a non-EX/GX Pokemon. Having three BREAK in this build is essential to success, so don’t go any lower. In the past I have fiddled with two as a space-saving measure, but when you Prize one, you’re in for a world of hurt, so I wouldn’t suggest it.

1 Tapu Lele-GX

When I first saw this card being included in some Greninja BREAK lists I was sort of repulsed; that is, until I tried it. I will admit that if you’re playing three or four Ultra Ball, this card should be included. The power of Wonder Tag is too much to pass up on, especially since you can combo it with Wally in the Expanded format. Additionally, the 170 HP mark is difficult to reach, so you shouldn’t be in too bad of shape if your opponent aims to target it. I love that every Ultra Ball in the deck becomes an instant out for a Supporter card too, which is critical in a generally inconsistent deck such as Greninja BREAK.

1 Alolan Vulpix

Since you can’t fit Talonflame in this list, I prefer to have a single copy of Alolan Vulpix. After you’re done using Water Duplicates, you can move onto your setup phase, where you’re going to want to get as many Greninja into play as possible. Having the option to use Beacon is almost just as good as Aero Blitz, since a lot of the time with Talonflame a player will opt to search for Evolution Pokemon to continue setting up, anyways. It comes at an easier price to play, as a one-of in a deck that’s usually crammed for space.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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