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Get your Ash-Greninja in Pokémon before the 3DS eShop closes

There is only one way to get the Ash-Greninja with Battle Bond

Ash-Greninja poses in front of art of the Alola region Graphic: Julia Lee/Polygon | Source images: Game Freak/Nintendo, The Pokémon Company
Julia Lee (she/her) is a guides producer, writing guides for games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Genshin Impact. She helped launch the Rift Herald in 2016.

Ash-Greninja, also known as Battle Bond Greninja, is a special event Pokémon that you can only get one of through an event distribution. This distribution occurs through the demo version of Pokémon Sun and Moon.

Note that if you do not download the programs we list out below before the Nintendo 3DS eShop closes on March 27, 2023, you will not be able to get Ash-Greninja anymore.

To do this, you’ll need to at least download the Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon Special Demo Version. You’ll also need a copy of either Pokémon Sun or Moon, whether it’s a physical or downloaded copy. If you plan on moving the Greninja to later generation games, you will also need Pokémon Bank.

If you have all this stuff, you’re set. You can procrastinate on getting the actual Greninja once you have the demo downloaded, but we recommend just getting it all out of the way. We list the steps to actually get the Ash-Greninja below.

How to get and transfer Ash-Greninja

  1. Launch the Pokémon demo. You’ll be given the Greninja right away to play through the demo with.
  2. Finish the demo. This requires you to beat the Team Skull grunts, head up to Ten Carat Hill, complete the dragon-type trial, and defeat Plumeria in battle.
  3. After completing the demo, talk to Professor Kukui, who is now hanging out in the Pokémon Center. Tell him you want to send the Greninja to the full game. You may need to restart the game after it saves in order for Kukui to appear in the Pokémon Center.
  4. Claim your Ash-Greninja from a mystery gift attendant, who will be standing by the Nurse Joy in a Pokémon Center in whichever game you sent the Pokémon to.

If you are trying to get Ash-Greninja in a later generation game, you will need to use Pokémon Bank to transfer it from Pokémon Sun and Moon.

Note that Greninja is not available to transfer to Pokémon Sword and Shield. It will be transferrable at some point to Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, once full Pokémon Home integration is added.

What’s different about Ash-Greninja?

Ash-Greninja is a direct reference to the Pokémon anime, and this demo is the only way to get it. Notably, the Ash-Greninja has the ability Battle Bond, which boosts its stats and transforms it into an Ash-like form after you knock out a Pokémon with it.

It gets a sweet little animation and physical form change when Battle Bond is activated in generation seven Pokémon games, but based on datamines, there is no data for the physical appearance of Ash-Greninja in generation nine games. It will, however, still get a stat boost.

Ash-Greninja cannot breed either, so there’s no making more of them.