Hey SixPrizes.com fans! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Frank Diaz, and I’ll be writing for SixPrizes Underground . My most notable Pokémon accomplishment is 3rd place at the 2010 World Championships. This gets us to my first article here.
I played “Cursegar” for US Nationals, the Grinder, and Worlds. I finished in the Top 32 at Nationals, and managed to grind into Worlds with the exact same list as the one I played for the main event. In this article, I’ll analyze the list I played. I’ll try to explain why I used the cards I did, why I used the number of each card, and provide various further insights.
Until the Worlds booklet is printed, this is the only place you’ll find this list. Just think of it as some of the first Underground exclusive content. ;)
Pokémon – 24
pokemon-paradijs.com4 Spiritomb AR
This guy is what makes the deck work. He’s easily the best starter in the deck, and combos so nicely with Gengar AR. 4× is definitely the correct play, as it’s something you want to start with, and will sometimes be used throughout the game. If you can’t manage to get the AR Gar working, you might have extras on this guy, but Felicity’s Drawing can help you there. The best start for this deck is one of these guys with a Psychic Energy and a Pokémon Collector.
3 Gastly SF
This guy is amazing. It’s very nice to have the basic in this deck support the opening strategy. If you don’t start with Spiritomb, you want to start with Gastly. His free attack keeps them locked, and his Trick Gas lets you switch to Spiritomb without having to pay the retreat cost. Some players at Worlds like Justin B. and Jimmy O. played 4 of this guy in their decks. While 4 is probably the best number, for space reasons I cut one of them. I didn’t really have a problem with playing 3, except for a game that I won where 2 of them were prized. This is a matter of player preference, and either a Pokémon Communication or Felicity’s Drawing could be cut to make space for another one.
2 Haunter DP
2× on Haunter is definitely the correct play, but there is a lot of debate as to which Haunter is the best. I played the DP one because it has free retreat. The others have their perks, but being able to evolve into Haunter and retreat to Spiritomb early is very good. His one energy attack isn’t bad if you have to use it. Many of the northeastern players played this Haunter, while players in other regions played the others. The 3rd place Seniors player played different Haunter, so it really is a matter of player’s preference.
pokemon-paradijs.com2 Gengar SF
Gengar SF was once a format dominating card. Not as much anymore. People once ran as many as 3 Unown g and various ways to get around Fainting Spell. Not as much anymore. The decrease in popularity of this card led to the decrease in counters to it. The decrease in counters to this card made it a very good play in both Nats and Worlds.
Many standard lists only ran only 1 of this card, but all of the best ones ran 2. This guy is the best way to answer an early Donphan, Kingdra, or Jumpluff. It also forces many tank decks to risk letting their Steelix or Torterra die. So many decks have trouble finding answers to Fainting Spell, and many players have trouble playing around unexpected Poltergeists. With Nidoqueen, the Uxie trick is relatively ineffective as an answer to Fainting Spell. With Night Maintenance, you can make their tanks flip into you 3 times. This guy provides answers to early rushes and late game tanks. Poltergeist combos with the trainer lock, and Fainting Spell combos with Gengar AR’s ability to switch to the bench. Overall amazing card, that was key to my success.
1 Gengar AR
This guy is the main attacker of the deck, and rightfully so. He combos so nicely with Spiritomb, and provides strong straight damage. Because he moves back to the bench, he often doesn’t die all game long, which makes Expert Belt a good card to put on him. His power is also very good with the other Gengars. Even if he doesn’t get powered up, sitting on the bench with his Curse power working is fine. Only playing one is kind of risky, but because he seldom dies and can be searched relatively easily, I was able to get away with it. Many games I relied on the other attackers in the deck rather than spend time powering this Gengar up. If you face a slower deck, you have time to power him up and should.
However, against a faster deck you might need to power up a SF Gengar first, then you still have the option of building a Gengar AR. You often can’t afford to build up a AR Gengar, but in the games you do, you should win. Every game I lost through the Grinder and Worlds was a game in which I didn’t get Gengar AR working. That doesn’t mean I didn’t win many games in which he didn’t get going. Not being able to get him out just gave me a chance to lose.
pokemon-paradijs.com1 Gengar LV.X
The big guy. He’s mostly just used for the extra 30 HP. Playing him at the right time on a SF Gengar can mess up their ways around Fainting Spell. His power is really solid against decks with LV.X Pokémon, but it doesn’t happen as often as you might think. It’s a nice card to have, and can make a lot of matchups easier, especially SP.
2 Baltoy GE
Pretty standard. 2× is correct, because you need to get it out early and often. I chose the one with a draw attack to help out turn 1. The psychic one would also be a good play because of Moonlight Stadium, but the low chances of having both at the same time early made me decide against it.
2 Claydol GE
A must have. On a good start I would try to get out 2 Claydol, but on any start I was looking to get at least one out. It’s so important to have that draw power, and Spiritomb can have that happen turn 1.
1 Nidoran RR
Not much to say here. It gets you to your Nidoqueen. In some bizarre circumstances you can grab a supporter with him. It’s a bad situation if you need to do that.
1 Nidorina MD
This Nidorina is better than the RR one, which has more aggressive attacks. The ability to grab 2 Pokémon from the discard is just too useful. I play 1 of the stage 1 so that I can set up through ‘Tomb. It’s very useful in a lot of circumstances. I definitely used Darkness Grace for Nidorina throughout my events.
pokemon-paradijs.com1 Nidoqueen RR
She does so much for this deck. The number one thing she does is make my opponents’ ways to avoid Fainting Spell ineffective. Uxie has trouble killing Geng with Queen around, and a surprise Queen hurts their other options. Also, the ability to switch among several attackers which Queen heals can be very effective against decks that don’t snipe well, like Donphan.
Furthermore, spread decks get severly hindered by Queen. A notable matchup for this effect is Tyranitar, who will usually use an attack or two on the one energy spread. Queen makes those attacks null.
Her first attack helps the deck with some speed and recovery after knock outs. Her second attack is useful because it provides some heave straight damage. Also, it only requires only one Psychic energy, which is nice because you have plenty of extra colorless energy in the deck.
1 Duskull Shiny
This guy isn’t bad. If they start with a lone Unown Q, Hoppip, or Magikarp, he can take a win. The no energy requirement means that you can retreat and still use his attack. A free 30 damage isn’t bad later on either. Grab that extra damage while putting energy on the bench; it could be worse. It’s a move I made during my top 16 win against Yamato at Worlds.
pokemon-paradijs.com1 Dusknoir DP
If they don’t see this guy coming, and happen to bench more than three Pokémon, this guy will win you the game. Even if they see this coming, they’ll have to stick to only three benched Pokémon. This isn’t easy for pretty much any deck. He has a pretty solid attack late game, which can be very clutch. I could see adding a Dusclops to the deck, but because Dusknoir is usually best as a surprise, I didn’t opt to take this route.
1 Azelf LA
A standard play in pretty much every deck. There are plenty of single cards in this deck, so having the ability to grab them from the prizes can be crucial. A surprise Lock Up can be very effective. I tried to use Lock Up against Michael Pramawat’s Spiritomb in game three of the semifinals with the time winding down, it would have won the game, but I couldn’t draw into the Moonlight Stadium to get my own Spiritomb out of the active position. He in turn used lock up on my Spiritomb to grab the first and only prize of our third game.
1 Uxie LA
Amazing straight draw. Even in a slower set up deck like this, you sometimes need the quick draw ability that Uxie provides. Its attack, of course, can be useful. It can get around Gengar’s Fainting Spell in the mirror match. I used that against Justin B. at Worlds. Only one Uxie is necessary because this is a relatively slow deck, and usually can afford to invest time in setting up Claydol rather than needing the urgency of Uxie.
Energy – 11
pokemon-paradijs.com5 Psychic Energy
This is a pretty bare minimum number in my opinion. With 5 Psychic, you can power up around 3 attackers a game. When playing this list, Psychic energies and where they are must always be kept in mind. If you have one or two prized, those tend to be important prizes to draw. Most Night Maintenances are played to get back 1 or 2 energy. In most games, I used every single Psychic energy. Because of all of this, I could see adding one more of this card, but I also feel that 5 is sufficient.
4 Call Energy
This card adds a lot of consistency to the deck. A Spiritomb start with Call Energy is solid, and can often set the stage for a turn 1 Judge. This is a card I often had extras of mid-to-late game, and so it was often Felicity’s Drawing fodder.
2 Warp Energy
Warp Energy are super important in decks with Spiritomb. It can get you out of a Chatter or Lock Up lock. Also, it can switch a subpar starter into a Spirtomb after searching for the ‘Tomb. It remains good throughout the game in a number of situations. If they bring up your Claydol, this is a decent out. If you need to bring Spiritomb active mid turn to stop a Power Spray, this card is excellent. If you need to level up a Gengar and attack with another Pokémon, this card is good. It’s so useful in so many situations, and is especially important in this deck because you can play it with a Spiritomb active
Trainer/Supporter/Stadium – 25
3 Roseanne’s Research
I could certainly see playing 4 of this card. It’s very good early game, helping set up the deck. Later on, it becomes almost exclusively used to find Psychic Energy. A very solid card that will be sorely missed with the rotation.
pokemon-paradijs.com2 Pokémon Collector
This card is usually better than Roseanne early game. It’s usually worse late game. The brute force of grabbing an extra card from the deck is very solid. After both Claydols have died, this guy not only gets you three cards which are potentially helpful, but also thins your deck more than Roseanne does. That’s a key plus for this card.
2 Bebe’s Search
2 Bebe’s is a little low for most decks, especially this type of deck. This list, however, runs an unusually high number of other supporters. With a relatively high number of other supporter, I felt that a lower number of Bebe’s was warranted. I added some extra Pokémon Communication to make up for having 2 Bebe instead of 3.
2 Felicity’s Drawing
This is fairly unusal. Con Le played one Felicity’s and some other players played one or more of this card. It was great to see that other players came up with the same innovation that I did, because it suggests that it is a correct, or at least logical play. This card provides extra straight draw power, which is almost never a bad idea. It’s very good when trying to recover from a sniped Claydol. It is also very strong in conjunction with Cosmic Power when looking for that one or two critical cards mid game.
Another key point with a little more subtlety is that it discards bad cards which means that when you Judge or are Judged later on, you won’t draw those bad cards. These are all strong reasons to play the extra draw that is Felicity’s Drawing, and why I opted to use it.
Judge is an amazing card that can often be a game winner. With the Call Energy, and Spiritomb’s ability to get things into play, this guy can be a powerful disruption card early, without being too risky to attempt. It’s very good right after a big play, to throw opponents off. It’s pretty good with Poltergeist because they have to draw 4 cards, like it or not. Decks without Claydol, like Sableye or SP, have issues with this card.
When playing against an SP deck, one of the key things to keep track of is how many resources they’ve used. If you see 4 Cyrus’s Conspiracy in the discard pile, this guy is likely to be effective. 3 of this guy is usually a perfect number to get a good lock in.
3 Rare Candy
This card is fairly essential to any stage 2 deck. Some builds ran 4 of this guy. I chose to run only 3 because of the high number of stage 1s in the deck, and trainer lock, which hurts the ability to play this early. That said, this is a very important card. Mid-to-late game, getting big guys into play can be very important. There are plenty of times that you need X stage 2 – NOW. This lets it happen.
2 Moonlight Stadium
This card is very important to this deck. I could see trying to play 3 of it. Some important decks, however, don’t play any counter stadiums, so anything past the first one can be a waste of space. It’s excellent at turning Nidoran, Duskull, or even Gastly into a Sprirtomb start early. Retreating Spiritomb each turn while attacking with Gengar AR is also an important use of this card. A very clutch card. If I had drawn it early in my game 3 against Pramawat, I might have made it to the finals.
1 Night Maintenance
This card is so another very important card. I usually used it to get back at least one or two energy, as the deck runs a rather low number of Psychics. Aside from that, it was mostly used to get back Gengar lines, specifically the LV.X. Pretty much every game Night Maintence was very important.
pokemon-paradijs.com2 Warp Point
My personal favorite card. I’ve won countless games and events with this card being my last play. This was a great counter to an early Bright Looked Claydol active. Also, it could correct any start after I benched a Spiritomb. Overall, I felt that the offensive and defensive board control that this offered warranted playing 2, a slightly higher count than many other decks.
2 Expert Belt
This card is great on a Gengar AR, making him swing for sizable damage each turn while hiding the extra prize on the bench. I also liked putting it on Gengar SF at an unexpected time to make his Fainting Spell less counter-able, and to make a surprise Poltergeist more likely to score a KO.
1 Luxury Ball
A key card to help set up. We all know that one of these should be in every deck unless there is a really good reason not to have it. Having non-supporter Pokémon search was important in getting out the one-of tech lines.
2 Pokémon Communication
This is a relatively high number of Communications for this type of deck, but because of the low number of Bebe’s Search, I felt it was necessary. This deck could get away with playing one less of this card, but I like the added consistency it brings with it. Sure you can’t play it with Spiritomb active, but in that case, you probably aren’t in too bad a shape anyway.
There’s the list. Unfortunately this deck won’t have much life in the new format, as other decks will take its place. Vileplume/Gengar has been getting a lot of attention, and when the next set comes out Gengar Prime will certainly change the metagame. These are, and will be the new incarnations of this deck, leaving the old one in the dust.
Hopefully this provided some good insight into the deck I chose to run at a number of major events. I know it went a little long, but I wanted to make sure I gave each card the credit it deserved. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. I’ll be very active in the comments on this article, so don’t hesitate to provide feedback.