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Pokemon Scarlet and Violet: Greninja 7-Star Raid Guide

Here's how to reliably beat the Greninja raid battle.

Tera raid Greninja
Greninja is here, and it packs a punch.
Nintendo; screenshot by Adam Benjamin/CNET

We're halfway through Pokemon Scarlet and Violet's latest seven-star raid, featuring a poison-type Greninja. The first round is finished, and the second round picks up on 4 p.m. PT Thursday, Feb. 9, through 4 p.m. PT Sunday, Feb. 12. Like the other seven-star raid Pokemon, Greninja has the mightiest mark, and you'll be able to catch only one per save file. Just like previous seven-star raids, you'll need some careful strategizing to beat the raid boss. 

Here are the full details of the raid: Greninja has its hidden ability, Protean, and perfect IVs. Fortunately, that won't affect the raid itself, as terastallization negates the effects of the protean ability. We can just plan around the tera type.

Greninja has a poison tera type for the raid, and the following movesets:

  • Hydro Pump.
  • Night Slash.
  • Gunk Shot.
  • Ice Beam.
  • Double Team.
  • Toxic Spikes.

Greninja will always start the battle by using Double Team to raise its evasion and Toxic Spikes to poison your Pokemon when they return after being knocked out. It's an annoying setup to deal with, partly because missing attacks means you wait longer to charge up your tera orb and terastallize, and also because whiffing on attacks wastes precious time. After that, Greninja will mainly rely on Hydro Pump against Pokemon who aren't immune to water attacks, or Gunk Shot against water-immune Pokemon. It throws in Night Slash and Ice Beam less frequently.

The seven-star Greninja raid battle

A steel-type Vaporeon could help you counter Greninja.

Nintendo; screenshot by Adam Benjamin/CNET

Best Greninja counters

These are the Pokemon that can most reliably win the Greninja raid battles. To give yourself the best chance at victory, make sure your Pokemon is level 100 and has a nature that boosts its relevant attack stat (usually Modest for special attackers and Adamant for physical attackers). Our favorite counters are:

  • Gastrodon.
  • Vaporeon.
  • Clodsire/Quagsire.
  • Klefki.
  • Kingambit.

Gastrodon

Tera Type: Ground
Ability: Storm Drain
Item: Expert Belt / Soft Sand

EV spread: 252 HP / 252 special attack / 4 special defense 

Moves:

  • Clear Smog.
  • Earth Power.
  • Stockpile.
  • Recover.

Gastrodon is one of the premier Greninja raid counters, thanks to its advantageous typing and ability. Storm Drain prevents you from taking any Hydro Pump damage, instead boosting your special attack, to help you set up more damage. Stockpile boosts your defenses, which helps you hang around longer, making you depend on Recover less often. Open with Clear Smog to negate Double Team's evasion boost and then stockpile a couple of times before unleashing Earth Powers.

Vaporeon

Tera Type: Steel
Ability: Water Absorb 
Item: Shell Bell / Bright Powder

EV spread: 252 HP / 252 special attack / 4 special defense 

Moves:

  • Stored Power.
  • Calm Mind.
  • Swift/Haze.
  • Wish.

The water-type Eeveelution is an effective raid-buster, with a catch. If you can terastallize Vaporeon into a steel type and survive one attack afterward, it's virtually unkillable. However, it's susceptible to Gunk Shot until it terastallizes, dying in two or three hits depending on damage rolls. Shell Bell will help you sustain later in the fight when you're unleashing boosted Stored Power attacks, whereas Bright Powder lowers Gunk Shot's base 80% accuracy down to about 70%. With either item, use Swift the first few turns to guarantee you can terastallize as early as possible. Getting knocked out on turn three isn't game over if it lets you terastallize with full HP -- Ice Beam doesn't threaten you, Night Slash is only scary on a critical hit, and in your steel tera form, you're immune to the other two attacks. With Vaporeon's decently high special attack stat and immunity to water attacks on top of massive HP, stacking Calm Minds into Stored Power is a reliable way to work down the raid boss's health. You can also run Haze instead of Swift to negate Greninja's evasion boosts, but be aware that it will also reset your stat boosts from Calm Mind. It's sometimes advisable to use Swift instead of Stored Power if Greninja doubles or triples up on evasion boosts. 

Clodsire/Quagsire

Tera Type: Ground (though you may want to avoid terastallization sometimes to maintain your double poison resistance)
Ability: Water Absorb 
Item: Expert Belt / Soft Sand

EV spread: 252 HP / 252 attack / 4 special defense 

Moves:

  • Earthquake/Bulldoze.
  • Curse.
  • Recover.
  • Haze.

An unlikely hero, Clodsire has a lot of staying power against Greninja. The Water Absorb ability allows Clodsire to turn a traditional weakness (water-type attacks) into HP recovery, and its natural typing means it takes only 25% damage from poison-type attacks. Clodsire does suffer double damage from Ice Beam, but otherwise it's a powerful special tank with enormous HP, strong special defense, and access to Recover. Use Haze to eliminate Greninja's evasion boost and then sink into a few Curses to boost your attack and defense. From there, unleash Earthquakes for double damage. Clodsire's non-Paldean counterpart, Quagsire, is also a good counter without Clodsire's ice weakness, and you can get its pre-evolution by trading an NPC in Cascarrafa. 

Klefki 

Tera Type: Steel
Ability: Prankster 
Item: Leftovers

EV spread: 252 HP / 252 special attack / 4 special defense 

Moves:

  • Stored Power.
  • Calm Mind.
  • Iron Defense.
  • Sunny Day.

This Pokemon benefits from its steel/fairy typing, which gives it resistance to dark-type attacks and full immunity from Greninja's tera-boosted poison attacks. Klefki also has access to the same "stack Calm Mind into Stored Power" combo that Vaporeon has, which I can further boost with Iron Defense. And a natural immunity to poison negates Greninja's powerful Gunk Shot move. Open with a Prankster-boosted Sunny Day to lower Hydro Pump damage, which will otherwise wipe out about half of Klefki's HP. 

Kingambit

Tera Type: Steel
Ability: Defiant
Item: Shell Bell

EV spread: 252 HP / 252 attack / 4 defense 

 Moves:

  • Zen Headbutt.
  • Swords Dance.
  • Iron Defense.
  • Sandstorm.

Kingambit is another steel type that benefits from poison immunity and makes for an OK counter, though it's less consistent than others on this list. A strong physical attacker, Kingambit can run Swords Dance to boost its attack and unleash supereffective Zen Headbutts on the poison-type Greninja. The downside is that Kingambit does not resist Greninja's powerful water moves, which hit Kingambit for neutral damage. It's worth noting that Zen Headbutt has only 90% accuracy, which makes this strategy higher-risk than bringing other counters, especially after Double Team. The lack of recovery moves for Kingambit means you're virtually required to run Shell Bell as your held item to help you sustain through the raid.

Greninja fainting in tera raid

With the right Pokemon, you'll be able to defeat and catch Greninja.

Nintendo; screenshot by Adam Benjamin/CNET

Other Greninja raid tips

Greninja will reset your Pokemon's stat boosts around turn three, so use those first three turns to try to charge up your tera orb instead of stacking stat boosts. Once Greninja nullifies your team's stat changes, then it's time to set up for more powerful attacks. Just be aware that Greninja will use Double Team another one or two times later in the fight, making it more difficult to hit.

You can choose to run more of a supportive build instead of offensive builds, as many of the counters listed here have solid defensive stats. However, when you bring a support Pokemon to a seven-star raid, you're relying on your other three teammates to do a ton of damage, which can be a gamble with random teammates. In premade groups, you can build support-based teams that are able to knock out the raid boss in one shot with careful planning. But after losing plenty of Cinderace raids to a lack of damage, I recommend offensive builds if you're relying on unknown teammates.

Remember that the clock is your real enemy in seven-star raids: The only way to win is to efficiently take out your opponent's HP. Big bursts of damage are the most effective way of doing that, which is why I recommend stacking Calm Mind into Stored Power as one of the most reliable ways to fight Greninja. But staying alive is also important, as getting knocked out by Greninja will instantly remove a section of the remaining raid timer, which puts a bigger squeeze on a limited resource. Pay attention to how much damage you're taking from each attack, and use your recovery moves and your cheers to keep your Pokemon healthy enough to survive the next attack.

If your HP is in the red, don't waste your terastallization unless you can knock out the raid boss this turn or heal up to a safe range. Instead, it's better to terastallize after getting knocked out, so you get more time with your tera type. Using three or more moves in your tera form is almost always more valuable than using only one move a turn earlier.

And don't feel bad about leaving a raid if the team preview looks bad. Some players might be tempted to bring psychic types to combat Greninja's poison tera type, but they'll die quickly to Night Slash. Once you start the raid, you're stuck in it, so bounce beforehand if you think it's a losing battle. 

When you defeat Greninja, you'll be able to catch it one time, and you'll receive an Ability Patch and TM 91 for your first victory. You'll also be able to earn lots of Experience Candy L/XL, poison tera shards, Ability Capsules, Rare Candies, vitamins and items to sell upon repeat victories. Good luck out there!

Vaporeon sleeping

Give your Pokemon a rest after you beat Greninja -- they've earned it!

Nintendo; screenshot by Adam Benjamin/CNET