Thoughts on Gengar

I have been trying some different variants of Gengar my last few testing sessions and haven’t had much success with it. I was able to beat /Machamp a few games just by out-speeding it, but have struggled mightily against Luxray GL/Blaziken FB. Here are a couple lists I have been tinkering with:

Pokémon-23
4 Gastly SF
2 Haunter SF
4 Gengar SF
2 Baltoy GE
2 Claydol GE
2 Unown G GE
2 Crobat G PL
2 Relicanth SV
1 Chatot MD
1 Unown Q MD
1 Uxie LA
Trainers-27
4 Roseanne’s Research
3 Bebe’s Search
2 Luxury Ball
3 Cynthia’s Feelings
2 Cyrus’s Conspiracy
4 Rare Candy
4 TGI Poké Turn
3 Great Ball
2 Night Maintenance
Energy-10
7 Psychic
3 Fighting
Relicanth Supreme Victors SV 79 Pokemon Card
Pokémon-26
4 Gastly SF
2 Haunter SF
4 Gengar SF
2 Machop SF
1 Machoke SF
2 Machamp SF
1 Machamp LV.X SF
2 Relicanth SV
2 Baltoy GE
2 Claydol GE
1 Unown G GE
1 Unown Q MD
1 Chatot MD
1 Uxie LA
Trainers-21
4 Roseanne’s Research
3 Bebe’s Search
2 Luxury Ball
4 Cynthia’s Feelings
2 Warp Point
4 Rare Candy
2 Night Maintenance
Energy-13
5 Psychic
4 Call
4 Fighting
Machamp Stormfront SF 20 Pokemon Card

Gengar Stormfront SF 18 Pokemon CardIn the first list, I originally had Honchkrow G PL and Call Energies, but after my last game I played I switched to Relicanth SV and Great Balls. was good, but requiring either 2 Energy or 1 Energy and a TGI Energy Gain make it just slightly too difficult to use effectively. It was helpful however, so Relicanth should serve the same purpose, but be more Energy efficient. I also originally had Toxicroak G Promo in the first list, but again found it arduous to pick spots where I could use it to its full potential.

I took the Call Energy out because I found Gastly’s “Pitch Dark” to be way too important. I would want to Call, but sometimes I needed to Pitch Dark instead just to slow down my opponent. Great Ball still gives the deck the ability to get basics out and Pitch Dark early on, albeit not going first on turn 1.

The Machamp list felt incredibly clunky to me. If my Claydol was taken out, which most SP decks can hinder in some way, I was drawing dead. It was not easy to get all my Pokémon out, attach Energies, and sustain draw.

I think I’ll try fitting in some Broken Time-Space in each list to try to aid in consistency and speed. I know it’s a card that is terrible against Flygon, but that’s supposed to be a terrible matchup anyway.

Gastly Stormfront SF 62 Pokemon CardThe main problem I am finding with is that it is difficult to draw prizes if your opponent knows what they are doing. You can only do so much; your opponent is in control of a lot of what Gengar can do. If they intelligently place Unown G’s and use TGI Poké Turns at opportune times, you can do nothing to Knock Out their Pokémon. If you get behind, it is nearly impossible to mount a comeback.

I am still going to mess around with Gengar a little more just to see if I can make anything work. If you are wondering, I chose not to use Nidoqueen RR in either list just because I feel the Gengar needs to have room for other attackers. Trying to rely on “Fainting Spell” is not the best strategy; if possible, you want to legitimately draw 6 prizes.

What do you guys think about Gengar? Am I wasting my time with it or does it still have some potential? Do you have any suggestions for my lists? Let me know!

Reader Interactions

42 replies

  1. Andre Fossto Östlund

    The first list is better becuse it has good balance between pokemon and S/S/T.

    But i dont really get why u have that many pokemon in list 2.

    many decks only use Machamp as a counter to SP decks. A buddy of mine run 1-0-1 Machamp and he is doing well with that.

    Personally i like Quick ball better then Great ball. I would add 3 qucik balls instead.

    Does Uxie LA help you? You already got Claydol, is uxie necessary?

    Keep it up!

  2. J-Wittz

    I would try some kind of hybrid between list 1 and 2– why so many energy? As both are low-energy attackers, I’d never have more than 9 energy in the deck. I’m a big fan of 3-3-3 energy, with fighting, psychic, and multi, but everybody has a different personal preference. I’d rid the deck of the unknown Q and fit in a fourth bebe’s or a second uxie or another switch/warp point type card. Cynthia’s is good, but never found it good enough to run 3 copies of it, and especially not 4 copies like in your second list. It’s a speedier deck and I think it will benefit from things like a 4th bebe’s or even a couple copies of Looker’s. People seem to frown upon looker’s these days but I find having the possibility of leaving your opponent off with a really bad hand or a handful of trainers is a very nice one. For that same reason I’ve been a pretty big fan of team galactic’s wager, still :P. I know chatot is certainly becoming “all the rage” in decks again, but I might even debate taking it out for space (I like chatot though so I’d probably keep it in :P). I’ve always loved the two luxury balls deck choice :).

    But the main problem with this deck has already been stated– it’s a very messy deck. You can’t run straight gengar because then everybody who’s been around the block a few times will play around you very easily. But you still need the crobats in order to have a donk factor with gengar. So then you add relicanth as an option for when they have unknown G’s and poketurns, but now you need to run fighting energy. And while you’re at it, you better put in machamp. But now you need machamp X in order to have a better attack threat vs. bigger things like Flygon and speedrill and such. And you’re going to need warp points, and poketurns, and uxies and claydols for draw still,and what do you get? A big mess :P. As for now, gengar most centainly can’t do it all. Let’s wait for the level X to roll around– maybe then he’ll have a little more viability

    • alex d  → J-Wittz

      Yuck, Call is a MUST in either deck in my opinion. At least 3. When you don’t start with Gastly… you’ll regret not running Call.

      • J-Wittz  → alex

        I’ll have to try it out, but I feel like a deck that’s supposed to run for quick, one energy KO’s like speedrill and kingdra never benefited from call because it mucks up your hand when you really need a specific enegy, and you have no means of getting those energy unless you get a roseanne’s or the draws that you need. Maybe that’s why he has an unknown Q in there, it can prevent all of your bad starts with free retreat

  3. J-Wittz

    I would try some kind of hybrid between list 1 and 2– why so many energy? As both are low-energy attackers, I’d never have more than 9 energy in the deck. I’m a big fan of 3-3-3 energy, with fighting, psychic, and multi, but everybody has a different personal preference. I’d rid the deck of the unknown Q and fit in a fourth bebe’s or a second uxie or another switch/warp point type card. Cynthia’s is good, but never found it good enough to run 3 copies of it, and especially not 4 copies like in your second list. It’s a speedier deck and I think it will benefit from things like a 4th bebe’s or even a couple copies of Looker’s. People seem to frown upon looker’s these days but I find having the possibility of leaving your opponent off with a really bad hand or a handful of trainers is a very nice one. For that same reason I’ve been a pretty big fan of team galactic’s wager, still :P. I know chatot is certainly becoming “all the rage” in decks again, but I might even debate taking it out for space (I like chatot though so I’d probably keep it in :P). I’ve always loved the two luxury balls deck choice :).

    But the main problem with this deck has already been stated– it’s a very messy deck. You can’t run straight gengar because then everybody who’s been around the block a few times will play around you very easily. But you still need the crobats in order to have a donk factor with gengar. So then you add relicanth as an option for when they have unknown G’s and poketurns, but now you need to run fighting energy. And while you’re at it, you better put in machamp. But now you need machamp X in order to have a better attack threat vs. bigger things like Flygon and speedrill and such. And you’re going to need warp points, and poketurns, and uxies and claydols for draw still,and what do you get? A big mess :P. As for now, gengar most centainly can’t do it all. Let’s wait for the level X to roll around– maybe then he’ll have a little more viability

    • alex d  → J-Wittz

      Yuck, Call is a MUST in either deck in my opinion. At least 3. When you don’t start with Gastly… you’ll regret not running Call.

      • J-Wittz  → alex

        I’ll have to try it out, but I feel like a deck that’s supposed to run for quick, one energy KO’s like speedrill and kingdra never benefited from call because it mucks up your hand when you really need a specific enegy, and you have no means of getting those energy unless you get a roseanne’s or the draws that you need. Maybe that’s why he has an unknown Q in there, it can prevent all of your bad starts with free retreat

  4. Drew Stillwell

    Gengar will ALWAYS be a threat to think about when deck building and testing. It’s ability to snipe virtually anything on the field for good damage is great, and if you don’t know how to limit its success, you likely won’t have a chance at winning.

    As you mentioned, one of gengar’s biggest weaknesses is that your opponent controls a lot of the damage you can put out, whether it be through guarding their important pokemon or limiting their amount of T/T/S in their hand. Thankfully, as you have shown in your lists, we now have relicanth SV to punish the first half of your damage output. If they throw 2 unown G on their two powered pokemon and keep trainers out of their hand, you can grab a relicanth and snipe something for 60+ damage, which, if you managed to put some damage on a claydol or something via crobat/shadow room, you can KO with ease.

    As for nidoqueen, I think mother gengar is the most effective way to run a gengar deck, as you make it extremely difficult to avoid fainting spell, as well as give yourself constant healing on the bench utilizing free retreat and swarming gengars. The best part about nidoqueen, though, is that it makes for a decent attacker when your opponent is limiting your gengar’s damage. Nidoqueen gives to gengar that essential straight-out damaging attack that is not always possible with straight gengar.

    So all in all, does it have potential still? Yes. Will it give you autowins against every deck? No. Do you need to be smart to play it and play against it? Yes.

  5. Andre Fossto Östlund

    The first list is better becuse it has good balance between pokemon and S/S/T.

    But i dont really get why u have that many pokemon in list 2.

    many decks only use Machamp as a counter to SP decks. A buddy of mine run 1-0-1 Machamp and he is doing well with that.

    Personally i like Quick ball better then Great ball. I would add 3 qucik balls instead.

    Does Uxie LA help you? You already got Claydol, is uxie necessary?

    Keep it up!

  6. Andre Fossto Östlund

    The first list is better becuse it has good balance between pokemon and S/S/T.

    But i dont really get why u have that many pokemon in list 2.

    many decks only use Machamp as a counter to SP decks. A buddy of mine run 1-0-1 Machamp and he is doing well with that.

    Personally i like Quick ball better then Great ball. I would add 3 qucik balls instead.

    Does Uxie LA help you? You already got Claydol, is uxie necessary?

    Keep it up!

  7. Adam Capriola

    Thanks for the input everyone.

    nardd, yeah I was thinking today that maybe I should try running a beefed up Nidoqueen line and actually attack with it.

    J-Wittz, I put 4 Cynthia in the Machamp list just to try out. It has so much crap in it that I felt like I needed all the recovery I could possibly get.

    yoyo, I usually love Call energy but it just sucks that when you start with Gastly you almost need to Pitch-Dark. Any other basic you obviously want to call. Maybe some combination of Call and Great Ball would work.

    I’m going to take all of these suggestions and tinker with the lists. I honestly haven’t had the opportunity to really fine tune any of these decks, but will really concentrate on them the next few times I test.

  8. Drew Stillwell

    Gengar will ALWAYS be a threat to think about when deck building and testing. It’s ability to snipe virtually anything on the field for good damage is great, and if you don’t know how to limit its success, you likely won’t have a chance at winning.

    As you mentioned, one of gengar’s biggest weaknesses is that your opponent controls a lot of the damage you can put out, whether it be through guarding their important pokemon or limiting their amount of T/T/S in their hand. Thankfully, as you have shown in your lists, we now have relicanth SV to punish the first half of your damage output. If they throw 2 unown G on their two powered pokemon and keep trainers out of their hand, you can grab a relicanth and snipe something for 60+ damage, which, if you managed to put some damage on a claydol or something via crobat/shadow room, you can KO with ease.

    As for nidoqueen, I think mother gengar is the most effective way to run a gengar deck, as you make it extremely difficult to avoid fainting spell, as well as give yourself constant healing on the bench utilizing free retreat and swarming gengars. The best part about nidoqueen, though, is that it makes for a decent attacker when your opponent is limiting your gengar’s damage. Nidoqueen gives to gengar that essential straight-out damaging attack that is not always possible with straight gengar.

    So all in all, does it have potential still? Yes. Will it give you autowins against every deck? No. Do you need to be smart to play it and play against it? Yes.

  9. Adam Capriola

    Thanks for the input everyone.

    nardd, yeah I was thinking today that maybe I should try running a beefed up Nidoqueen line and actually attack with it.

    J-Wittz, I put 4 Cynthia in the Machamp list just to try out. It has so much crap in it that I felt like I needed all the recovery I could possibly get.

    yoyo, I usually love Call energy but it just sucks that when you start with Gastly you almost need to Pitch-Dark. Any other basic you obviously want to call. Maybe some combination of Call and Great Ball would work.

    I’m going to take all of these suggestions and tinker with the lists. I honestly haven’t had the opportunity to really fine tune any of these decks, but will really concentrate on them the next few times I test.

  10. kwisdumb

    Yeah, I think you’re going to definitely need to put some Calls in either deck, and I think you could get away with 1-0-1 for Machamp. Not really certain that you need the Lv. X.

    Gengar is a fun deck to play though, good luck making a list!

  11. kwisdumb

    Yeah, I think you’re going to definitely need to put some Calls in either deck, and I think you could get away with 1-0-1 for Machamp. Not really certain that you need the Lv. X.

    Gengar is a fun deck to play though, good luck making a list!

  12. Kyle Morris

    Gengar is too flippy and can be played around. I notice a couple of players using it at worlds but i thought that was a terrible choice.

  13. alex d

    Gengar is inconsistent. Not in getting set up like most decks would be considered “inconsistent,” but rather inconsistent in how it completes its objective.

    I always thought the deck was awful and preyed on players who don’t playtest enough for it or don’t make good choices… but it folds in the face of a more powerful player…
    Which makes it great in smaller tournaments like BRs and CCs, which is where this deck saw its largest success.

    This does NOT mean it is good for a larger tournament, where lots of great players are concentrated in one spot. This showed at Nationals, where even after it won more BRs than any other deck (or maybe that was Beedrill, but Gengar was up there), it failed at Nationals. In Masters anyway.

  14. Alexander Stewart

    Well Gengar/Queen/Relicanth is working Fine for me, I find SP matchups are easier then the Flygon/Champ matchup just for the reason Poltergist can do some Crazy Damage. even Against Dialga, Gengar Combined with Relicanth makes the matchup much easier.

  15. Kyle Morris

    Gengar is too flippy and can be played around. I notice a couple of players using it at worlds but i thought that was a terrible choice.

  16. alex d

    Gengar is inconsistent. Not in getting set up like most decks would be considered “inconsistent,” but rather inconsistent in how it completes its objective.

    I always thought the deck was awful and preyed on players who don’t playtest enough for it or don’t make good choices… but it folds in the face of a more powerful player…
    Which makes it great in smaller tournaments like BRs and CCs, which is where this deck saw its largest success.

    This does NOT mean it is good for a larger tournament, where lots of great players are concentrated in one spot. This showed at Nationals, where even after it won more BRs than any other deck (or maybe that was Beedrill, but Gengar was up there), it failed at Nationals. In Masters anyway.

  17. Alexander Stewart

    Well Gengar/Queen/Relicanth is working Fine for me, I find SP matchups are easier then the Flygon/Champ matchup just for the reason Poltergist can do some Crazy Damage. even Against Dialga, Gengar Combined with Relicanth makes the matchup much easier.

  18. William Gilbert

    Not a really a constructive comment, but I dig the great balls in the first list. I feel it’s really underated card.

  19. William Gilbert

    Not a really a constructive comment, but I dig the great balls in the first list. I feel it’s really underated card.

  20. John Rea

    I like the machamp deck. You might want to take out relicanth sv,

    please tell me why it’s in this deck :D

  21. John Rea

    I like the machamp deck. You might want to take out relicanth sv,

    please tell me why it’s in this deck :D

  22. hey m8, i like the concept! you could put in the new gengar line and also a gengar lv.X to really sup it uyp or put a niqoquen set in as there really good!
    i owuld say 7/10

  23. CoMiT

    hey m8, i like the concept! you could put in the new gengar line and also a gengar lv.X to really sup it uyp or put a niqoquen set in as there really good!
    i owuld say 7/10

  24. Well this probebly wont help you any but i run Gengar with Tangrowth SF and i have had awesome success especially against Gyarados and Kingdra decks, i only run 1 rare candy and one BTS and Miasma Valley. Tangrowth X heals my Gengar and Leftover combined with Tangrowth SF’s ability keeps my Tang tank from dying and by the time i finally get him out there im doing 60 to the active and 20 to 2 of the benched which is awesome, and if i get there claydol active i can usually knock it out no problems because of it’s weakness to grass. It doesnt sound like Tangrowth and Gengar would work well together but they really run great for me. Oh and i much rather run pokedex because it allows you to get many more pokemon this way. I also run a 2-2 Claydol line and a Uxie with four Poke Drawer +, i dont however run Reli although i have given it some serious thought.

  25. Adam Capriola

    I don’t understand the logic behind Tangrowth, it seems pretty bad to be honest. I’m guessing you’re not playing against a lot of super competitive people?

    •  → Adam

      Ok well i will be the first to admit Tangrowth SF/Gengar SF isnt going to be a Tier 1 deck idea but i wasnt kidding when i said it ran well for me. I play against allot of competitive decks. The meta in my area (oklahoma) play allot of flygon and SP varients(and yes i get ridiculed allot for my deck) and i have not had very many problems. Like i said if i start with Gengar and then send out tangrowth to wrap things up i do extreamely well. Especially when my last gengar is about to be knocked out, i level him up and use compound pain to amplify the damage done to all of the pokemon i have already injured then when tangrowth makes his way into the active position he usually warrents me a few prizes in one or two turns. The only real problems i have are facing Infernape 4/Blaziken FB or decks running a nidoqueen tech because they heal off 20 damage before my next attack so most of my spread is useless. Also Tangrowth tanks them late game and usually they have already exausted there pokemon capable of OHKOing him.

  26. Michael Randolph

    Well this probebly wont help you any but i run Gengar with Tangrowth SF and i have had awesome success especially against Gyarados and Kingdra decks, i only run 1 rare candy and one BTS and Miasma Valley. Tangrowth X heals my Gengar and Leftover combined with Tangrowth SF’s ability keeps my Tang tank from dying and by the time i finally get him out there im doing 60 to the active and 20 to 2 of the benched which is awesome, and if i get there claydol active i can usually knock it out no problems because of it’s weakness to grass. It doesnt sound like Tangrowth and Gengar would work well together but they really run great for me. Oh and i much rather run pokedex because it allows you to get many more pokemon this way. I also run a 2-2 Claydol line and a Uxie with four Poke Drawer +, i dont however run Reli although i have given it some serious thought.

  27. Adam Capriola

    I don’t understand the logic behind Tangrowth, it seems pretty bad to be honest. I’m guessing you’re not playing against a lot of super competitive people?

    • Michael Randolph  → Adam

      Ok well i will be the first to admit Tangrowth SF/Gengar SF isnt going to be a Tier 1 deck idea but i wasnt kidding when i said it ran well for me. I play against allot of competitive decks. The meta in my area (oklahoma) play allot of flygon and SP varients(and yes i get ridiculed allot for my deck) and i have not had very many problems. Like i said if i start with Gengar and then send out tangrowth to wrap things up i do extreamely well. Especially when my last gengar is about to be knocked out, i level him up and use compound pain to amplify the damage done to all of the pokemon i have already injured then when tangrowth makes his way into the active position he usually warrents me a few prizes in one or two turns. The only real problems i have are facing Infernape 4/Blaziken FB or decks running a nidoqueen tech because they heal off 20 damage before my next attack so most of my spread is useless. Also Tangrowth tanks them late game and usually they have already exausted there pokemon capable of OHKOing him.

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