Freed from Orochimaru's influence, Sasuke initiates a plan he has been formulating since his going to Orochimaru years earlier: to defeat Itachi. Having used his time with Orochimaru to find shinobi whose abilities can help him with his cause, Sasuke recruits Suigetsu and Karin. When looking for the final member, Jugo, Sasuke encounters a number of escaped prisoners who have advanced to the second phase of the cursed seal due to Jugo's influence. Sasuke, Suigetsu, and Karin defeat them effortlessly, though under Sasuke's orders the prisoners are not killed. Upon finding Jugo, Sasuke tries to persuade him to join them, though Jugo's fear of killing others causes him to decline the offer. It is not until Sasuke promises to keep him from killing others that Jugo decides to accompany them. His team assembled, Sasuke names the group "Snake," and they set out to find Itachi.
In the forest Snake is dispatched to search for Itachi. Deidara, being angry that Orochimaru was killed at the hands of Sasuke instead of himself, sets out to search for Sasuke, along with Tobi. Once found, Sasuke is ambushed by them. Deidara suprises Sasuke in the air and throws a clay bomb. Sasuke quickly counters by summoning a massive snake to absorb the blast above him. Activating his Sharingan, Sasuke charges at Tobi with his chokuto at blinding speed, taking him down for a limited time. His attention then focuses on Deidara, who begins attacking with several C1 explosives (small explosive clay spiders) that he throws at Sasuke. Using his lightning manipulation, Sasuke is able to reflect the explosives at Deidara. Sasuke's speed and chakra manipulation allow him to fare extremely well against the two Akatsuki members. Deidara is forced to use C2 explosives and creates a giant dragon made of clay.