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Naruto: Every Major Ninja Team Ranked From Weakest To Strongest

In the world of Naruto, children train from a young age to become powerful shinobi — but this work doesn’t occur in a vacuum. The characters in the Naruto franchise all end up on ninja teams that stay with them into adulthood. According to the rules within the universe, three-man, or in rare cases, four-man squads are optimal.

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Three children and one sensei make a unit that train together after Academy graduation. Those official teams created for training aren’t the only ones, though. Some missions require very specific types of shinobi, creating whole character combinations. There are dozens of different teams between Naruto’s manga, movies,  and the anime arcs that act as “filler.” Though many manga fans loathe the filler, they do provide for some compelling backstory and team dynamics when unexpected characters are thrown together. While many of the best-known Naruto teams are incredibly strong, some definitely have a better success rate than others.

Updated by Amanda Bruce on November 10, 2021: Given that Naruto is structured around the formation of ninja teams and their growth, there are a huge number of teams featured in the series. Not every team lasts for more than a single episode or arc, but many of them do. All of the Naruto teams have plenty of raw power thanks to their skills and training, but it's the teamwork that can actually make or break a team. If a squad can't get beyond their differences to work together, this ultimately leads to failure.

26 Team Ebisu

Team Ebisu is the weakest for one simple reason: they are the only one that fans don’t see in action once they’ve achieved some serious skills. Ebisu is the shinobi training this particular team, and he’s got his hands full. Konohamaru, Moegi, and Udon are the youngest shinobi in training seen in the early days of the franchise, so they’re certainly rambunctious, especially with Konohamaru idolizing Naruto.

This group of friends played together before they became an official ninja team, so their teamwork is pretty solid. In terms of power, though, fans don’t know just what they can do until they’ve already gone their separate ways as adults in Boruto.

25 The Leftover Team

When Tsunade was Hokage, trained shinobi were in short supply. There was always a mission that needed attention, but without chunin (or higher) around to complete it, she was forced to send genin.  Her “Leftover Team” consisted of Naruto, Hinata, and Kiba in filler arcs in the anime.

Individually, they were powerful. Naruto had raw power, Hinata had the byakugan, and Kiba had his ninja dog Akamaru to execute complicated moves. Their problem wasn’t in power but in their teamwork. Because Hinata had a crush on Naruto, she would often defer to him, while Kiba was the opposite. Protective of Hinata, he butt heads with Naruto. It made many of their missions a failure.

24 Amaru’s Escort Team

Though the Naruto movies aren’t considered part of the canon by many fans, they provide some very interesting team-ups. In Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds, a new team was put together to escort a shinobi in training named Amaru. The team consisted of Naruto, Sakura, and Hinata. In theory, this team should have been great since they had all progressed in their training at that point.

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Unfortunately, over the course of the mission, Sakura fainted in the face of a beast that fed on souls, unable to hold out against the darkness. Likewise, Hinata ended up captured with the villagers they were supposed to be helping!

23 Orochimaru Search Team 3

During the Naruto Shippuden anime, the Orochimaru Search Team is born. The team was comprised of three separate units to investigate one of Orochimaru’s bases. Team 3 includes Sakura, Ino, and Hinata, and was led by Shizune.

It’s a rare chance to get to see Shizune out in the field, but this wasn’t a fighting team. Instead, Orochimaru Search Team 3 was made for sealing. Their job was to use their very precise chakra control to seal a three-tailed beast. While the group does involve four women who have immense control of their chakra, they fail at the one task assigned to them on the mission.

22 The Sound Genin

During Naruto’s chunin exams, Orochimaru hid some of his henchmen in plain sight. In fact, the group from the Hidden Sound Village was comprised of them, and Orochimaru disguised himself as their sensei. Dosu led his teammates Zaku and Kin in the exams, and they all had abilities inspired by sound.

The trio was told to eliminate Sasuke during the exam, but with his power increased thanks to a curse mark, Sasuke nearly destroyed them all. Their arrogance got them into more trouble when Dosu challenged Gaara as well.  Gaara destroyed Dosu, effectively ending the team. Zaku and Kin stuck with Orochimaru for a while, though, before ending up as sacrifices for his reincarnation jutsu.

21 Team Anko

One mission during an anime filler arc had three genin who were usually on separate Naruto teams unite under former exam proctor Anko. It made for one difficult dynamic. Naruto, Shino, and Ino couldn’t be more different in their ninja styles. Ino and Shino had little patience for Naruto’s antics. They were both more focused on the mission at hand, while Naruto was more focused on people they met along the way.

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Complicating matters was that the Land of Sea was where Anko last saw her mentor Orochimaru as a child, and he erased a large chunk of her memory. With their team leader losing focus, it’s no wonder this group had a hard time working together.

20 Team Ino-Shika-Cho

No, this isn’t the Team 10 most fans will readily recognize. Instead, this is a generation older than Shikamaru’s team. This version of the lineup is actually Team 10’s fathers. The Ino-Shika-Cho trio is a tradition in the Hidden Leaf Village. Inoichi, Shikaku, and Choza make up the 15th iteration of the team.

They use their family jutsu — mind possession, shadow possession, and size-changing — just like the other generations do. This team earned their rank because they were responsible for delivering a peace treaty during the Third Shinobi World War. While that mission was successful, when they reunited in the Fourth Shinobi World War, Inoichi and Shikaku lost their lives.

19 Team 3 (Team Guy)

Despite the enthusiasm of their sensei and their unique abilities, Team Guy just doesn’t rank quite as highly as the other shinobi out of the Hidden Leaf Village. Guy trains Rock Lee to be his own carbon copy, and they are both certainly some of the best hand-to-hand fighters in Naruto. Tenten is a weapons expert; Neji has the Hyuga family byakugan. They all have great strengths.

Both Neji and Tenten are smarter than the average genin they work with, but Lee tends to fixate and miss the bigger picture, much like Naruto. Though the trio learns to work well together, they find that when just a single person is added to their team, their success rate drops.  Neji also becomes the only casualty of their generation in the Fourth Shinobi World War.

18 Team 8 (Team Kurenai)

Shino, Kiba, and Hinata all had very particular skill sets that made it difficult to measure them against the typical fighting shinobi in the franchise. While Shino specialized in insects, Hinata in her byakugan form of sight, and Kiba in animalistic abilities, they were all very different.

Their real power lied in reconnaissance. Of the Naruto squads, this group developed the most excellent tracking skills. Unfortunately, they weren’t often employed in that way. Interestingly, their sensei was a genjutsu type shinobi, specializing in hallucinations. None of her students were, though! Wouldn’t they have benefited from someone who could help their tracking-related abilities instead?

17 Orochimaru Search Team 2

When the Orochimaru Search Team splits into three, two of the groups are considered “fighting teams.” Team 2 was a fighting team, but one put in place to make sure those on Team 3 didn’t get interrupted from their sealing. Yamato led Tenten, Lee, and Kiba (with Akamaru of course) to fight the members of a group of Orochimaru’s followers.

In theory, this is a very strong team. Despite Lee and Tenten not having access to as many jutsu as the others, they’re known for never giving up a fight. Likewise, Kiba has some impressive attacks. Unfortunately, the enemy this team is formed to go up against is able to take them all on simultaneously.

16 Team 7: Version 2 (Team Yamato)

When Sasuke abandoned the Hidden Leaf Village to train under Orochimaru, Sakura and Naruto also went their separate ways to train. After working with Tsunade and Jiraiya to learn new specialties, they briefly reunited under the leadership of Kakashi. Following working with him, though, a new version of Team 7 was formed under a new leader, the ANBU shinobi Yamato. Joining them was the Root member Sai.

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In theory, this team should have been stronger than the team with Sasuke. After all, both Sakura and Naruto were stronger, and their new teammates were part of secret ninja groups. The strained dynamic meant they didn’t work well together, though, and their missions suffered.

15 Team Oboro

Introduced during Naruto’s chunin exams, this team was from the Village Hidden in the Rain. Interestingly, there were seven teams from that village in the exam, but this is the only one to appear again in the series. Oboro, Mubi, and Kagari hail from a village known for training assassins rather than just fighters, so fans already know they’re tough. During the exams, it takes Team 7 and Kabuto to defeat them.

When they appear again as antagonists though, Naruto’s abilities have grown enough that he’s able to trap them all in a whirlpool… and the audience never sees them again.

14 Orochimaru Search Team 1

The primary fighting team of the Orochimaru Search Team, Team 1 includes Shino, Sai, and Naruto, and is led by fan-favorite teacher Kakashi. At this time in the story, Naruto has worked with the other members of this team several times, just in different circumstances and with additional team members. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses by this point, allowing them to work well together.

Alas, their physical power and abilities aren’t really a match for Guren, who controls crystal. Instead, it’s Naruto’s commitment to helping Guren’s ward Yukimaru that gives them the edge, as he is able to talk Guren down.

13 Shion Protection Detail

In Naruto Shippuden the Movie, many ninja teams were formed to battle stone armies. However, Naruto’s team was assembled for a more delicate task: escorting a priestess beyond those armies to safety. Naruto, Sakura, Neji, and Lee banded together to escort Shion. Complicating their journey to a special temple were groups of fighters set against them and Shion’s visions of Naruto’s impending demise.

The team used their strengths to their advantage, dividing the protection detail so that Lee, Neji, and Naruto took on different fighters while Sakura escorted Shion. Sakura ended up being the weak link as she was the only one of the four defeated by her opponents outright.

12 Team Kabuto

During the chunin exams, Team 7 got an awful lot of help from a ninja named Kabuto. His team was also there to take the exams, but Kabuto spent a great deal of time assisting the competition. Kabuto’s teammates, Yoroi and Tsurugi, seemingly didn’t appreciate the team veteran assisting others, but that was all an act.

In reality, the group was their way to spy on the genins. They were meant to report back to Orochimaru. Despite most of their power demonstrated in the series when they weren’t teamed together, they aren't that weak of a team. They stayed perfectly in character and no one was the wiser.

11 Team Minato

Before Minato was Naruto’s father, he was also a sensei. Minato was the shinobi responsible for training Kakashi, Rin, and Obito, all of whom had a huge effect on the Naruto franchise. But despite the tight friendships in this trio, their teamwork was a bit strained at times.

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Rin was in love with Kakashi while Obito was in love with Rin, and some fans theorize that Kakashi was in love with Obito. Ultimately, their fighting wasn’t quite up to par as Rin had to sacrifice herself to save the other two, and Kakashi believed Obito perished as well. Years later, it turned out Obito became a villain named Tobi while Kakashi trained Naruto in battle.

10 Team 10 (Team Asuma)

The version of Ino-Shika-Cho that most fans are familiar with includes Ino, Shikamaru, and Choji. Their sensei Asuma Sarutobi had his hands full with a trio that was image-obsessed (Ino), lazy (Shikamaru), and worried about their next meal (Choji). But in spite of these personal character flaws, the group knew their strengths and weaknesses intimately.

While Shikamaru and Ino were better at distance combat, they were able to control the outcomes of battle thanks to shadow and mind possession jutsu. Choji, with size-changing jutsu and incredible strength, was able to handle the closer enemies. Though their inherited abilities limited just what they could do in battle, out of all the Naruto teams, this one worked the best together and often came out on top.

9 The Sound Four

Trusted to be Orochimaru’s bodyguards above all of his other henchmen, the Sound Four includes Jirobo, Tayuya, Kidomaru, and Sakon. Technically, the group is the Sound Five as the fifth member rotates as a leadership position from Kimimaro to Sasuke Uchiha over the course of the Naruto series.

The core four are responsible for creating a barrier to protect Orochimaru when he battles the Third Hokage. It is their barrier that allows Orochimaru to destroy Konoha’s leader. They are also the group that battles one Konoha team that went after Sasuke. The Sound Four came very close to succeeding, nearly fatally injuring Choji, Neji, and Kiba in the process.

8 Eight Man Squad

Though Sasuke originally defected from Konoha to study under Orochimaru and become more powerful, that didn’t last. Instead, he eventually challenged and defeated his former mentor. When that happened, Naruto was more determined than ever to bring him back to the village. Naruto convinced Lady Tsunade to allow a team to seek out Sasuke’s brother Itachi. They believed he would target his sibling. Thus, the Eight Man Squad was then assembled.

Including members of Team 8 and the new version of Team 7, the squad was led by Yamato and Kakashi. Unfortunately, it relied a lot on Naruto and Kiba, not allowing the others to shine. If everyone's abilities had been utilized, the team might have had more success and power.

7 Team 7: Version 1 (Team Kakashi)

Despite their inexperience when they were initially a team, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura were certainly determined while working with Kakashi. They never took defeat easily. This could have been a repeat of Kakashi’s own team with Sakura’s crush on Sasuke and Naruto’s crush on Sakura, but the trio persevered.

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They even managed to go up against Orochimaru in disguise during their chunin exams without losing their lives. Of course, Sasuke did end up with a curse mark and eventually left the team as a result, so despite their raw power, they couldn’t be ranked too high. There are a few Naruto teams that beat them for the top spots.

6 Sasuke Recovery Team

Following Sasuke’s defection from the village, Shikamaru had the chance to put together his own team to bring him back. As the only member of his class promoted to chunin, and the greatest strategic mind among them, he’s the clear choice for team leader. That said, he might not have assembled the best for the Sasuke Recovery Mission, one of the longest arcs in the Naruto anime.

Shikamaru chose Naruto, Neji, Kiba, and Choji, and gave them each tasks along their route, anticipating he would be able to keep them in line. Unfortunately, Naruto wasn’t great at following orders and put them all in danger once or twice. In the end, Rock Lee and another team of ninjas had to bail them out of trouble.

5 Hanabi Rescue Team

Following the events of the Fourth Shinobi World War, Naruto and his friends had another adventure. The Last: Naruto the Movie made an impression on fans when it saw Hinata’s little sister Hanabi captured. A rescue team was put together including Naruto, Hinata, Sakura, Sai, and Shikamaru.

This team definitely plays to its strengths with Shikamaru providing strategy, Naruto firepower, and Sakura getting them out of complicated genjutsu. Hinata makes several sacrifice plays, but is eventually rescued and helps save the day. One of the few specialized teams to have a completely successful mission, this group might have shown the best use of their skills in the franchise. Only a handful of teams beat them out for the strongest spots.

4 The Sand Siblings

Temari, Kankuro, and Gaara entered the Naruto franchise with a seemingly sinister edge. They were tough, made snide remarks, and were insanely powerful. During the Chunin Exams, their team flew through their assignments before getting to their final matches.

In addition to their skill sets (Kankuro’s puppets, Temari’s control of wind with her fan, and Gaara’s manipulation of sand), they had the added bonus of being actual siblings. They didn’t just train together; they lived together and had the pride of their village to motivate them. They just miss the top three spots because much of their strength relies on Gaara housing the one-tailed sand demon Shukaku inside of him.

3 The Akatsuki

Unlike theothers, the Akatsuki is not a traditional ninja team. These shinobi weren’t put together for a mission or for their Academy graduation. Instead, this group came together on its own. Formed by Yahiko, Konan, and Nagato during the events of the Third Shinobi World War, this group wanted to create world peace.

Over time, different members joined the group, like Sasori, Deidara, and even Orochimaru, and their goals became corrupt. Given that this group was made of powerful shinobi who abandoned their villages for another life, many different skills were present in the group. It created an almost complete representation of the potential power of the shinobi world. They were incredibly powerful, but their selfish tendencies tore them apart.

2 Legendary Sannin

Though they all went down very different paths, one assigned team of ninjas became legends. Orochimaru, Tsunade, and Jiraiya trained together under the man who would become the Third Hokage. While working together, they each showed aptitudes in very different areas.

Jiraiya became a Toad Sage, Tsunade specialized in medical ninjutsu, and Orochimaru began to experiment with ways to become more powerful. Their greatest moment actually came after their team was officially disbanded. The three united during the Second Shinobi World War to take on the villain Hanzo. They were the only ninjas to survive him, earning them the legendary title. Each of them was incredibly powerful on their own but together, they were unstoppable.

1 Team Return The Favor

The Sand Village siblings once had to save the Sasuke Recovery Team. Not one to be outdone, when the Sand Village ninjas were in danger, Shikamaru took an even bigger team out to help them. At the time, Shikamaru was the only one who was ranked as a chunin. The rest of his team were all genin.

Of all teams in Naruto, this one is the biggest. Naruto, Sakura, Neji, Rock Lee, Hinata, Shino, Kiba, Ino, and Choji were all involved in the mission. The only ones missing from their generation were Tenten, and of course, Sasuke. Nearly every possible shinobi ability was involved in the group. In this situation, Shikamaru had learned from his mistakes from the past, and everyone’s abilities were put to good use. The group ended up saving the day just in time.

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