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Josh Marking

Halloween Time with Gengar!

This article includes everything you need to know about Gengar for Standard and Expanded!

10/30/2015 by Josh Marking

Halloween is only a couple of days away, so why not have an article dedicated to the Holiday itself? This article will cover everything and anything about Gengar! Gengar is a deck that has only seen a glimmer of success and that was at the World Championship. Sean Foisy piloted the deck through Day 1 of Swiss and all the way to Top 8 of the World Championship! Another thing to note is that Sean Foisy also had a teammate who piloted the deck past Day 1 of Swiss and made it to Top 32, Alex Hill! In this article, I have an exclusive interview with Alex where we talk (mostly he talks, really) about Gengar and everything you need to know about it. After that, we will take a look at the deck for Standard and Expanded to see if it has potential for Cities!

The Interview!

First off, I want to give a big shout out to Alex Hill for taking his time to do this interview.


Let’s take it back to Worlds. Why did you decide to play the Gengar deck?

"My team and I were testing a lot of different decks before Worlds. We thought that Seismitoad decks and Night March were the two biggest threats based on what other people were talking about. We had our choices down to three options: Gengar/Trevenant, Archie's Blastoise, and Groudon with Healing Scarf (which helped a lot against Golbat/Crobat). Archie's Blastoise wasn't beating Seismitoad enough in our testing (but Jacob Van Wagner did it, so maybe our list wasn't good enough) and Groudon wasn't beating Night March enough. Gengar/Trevenant solidly beat any Seismitoad variant, even if you didn't get the turn-one Wally. The Poison was usually too much for them to handle. The Night March matchup was slightly better than 50/50, mostly coming down to the opening coin flip, actually. Once you locked them out of Items, they usually had no response. So, we thought Gengar was the best play for the metagame we expected (and we were pretty close to being right!)."

What decks did you play against during the tournament and did you win or lose?

Day 1:
Round 1 - Kyogre (LL)
Round 2 - Raichu/Hawlucha (WW)
Round 3 - Seismitoad/Manectric/Garb (WW)
Round 4 - Night March (WW)
Round 5 - Seismitoad/Crobat (WW)
Round 6 - Mega Manectric/Tool Drop/Garb (LL)
Round 7 - Landorus/Crobat (WW)
5-2 (advance to Day 2)

Day 2:
Round 1 - Seismitoad/Crobat (WLL)
Round 2 - Raichu/Crobat/Leafeon (LWW)
Round 3 - Seismitoad/Garb (WW)
Round 4 - Groudon (WW)
Round 5 - Night March (WLW)
Round 6 - Seismitoad/Garb (LW)
Round 7 - Night March (LL)

"Day 1 was pretty straightforward. I lost to two decks focused around Mega Pokémon. Other than Groudon, all Mega Pokémon usually beat Gengar. Otherwise, I beat all of the matchups that I expected to win. Funny story, I was actually paired against Tyler Ninomura in the last round before a repair. When I found out we were no longer paired, I asked Tyler what he was playing. He said Kyogre and I knew I had really dodged a bullet.

"Day 2 was really difficult. I lost to Mees in the first round in a matchup that should be favorable because I dead drew Game 2 and he was able to keep my Shaymin Asleep Game 3. I won four straight games against good matchups before tying against Jason Klaczynski. He took a game off of me because of a bad N to two and I won a very close second game right before time was called. Then I lost to Andrew Mahone's Night March in a "casual" $1000 money match that we called "Round 7". I went second Game 1 and missed the turn-one Wally Game 2, so I gave him too much time to set up."

Sean Foisy piloted the deck to Top 8 at worlds. Do you know what happened in his Top 8 match [against Merlin Quittek]?

"He went second.

"But actually, he lost the first game after losing the coin flip. He got the T1 Wally going first in the next game and they moved onto Game 3 pretty quickly. In that game, he went down pretty bad early but started to mount a comeback with an N to two. Sean knew that Merlin had already used most of his Energy cards so he was going to Lysandre up a Shaymin that had a Hard Charm attached and start using Tree Slam on it. Merlin wouldn't be able to switch out and three Tree Slams would be able to Knock Out the Shaymin and two Benched Pumpkaboo, one of which had the last DCE in Merlin's deck. Unfortunately, Merlin drew a Lysandre off of the N to two and picked off a Jirachi on Sean's Bench to win the game."

Would you make any changes to the list?

"We had a really good list for Worlds but still had some dispute among us as to the final few cards. Sean actually played four N and three Float Stone while Christopher Schemanske and I played three N and four Float Stone. I stand by the fourth Float Stone, but another draw Supporter would have come in handy in several games.

"A fourth Wally or a couple of Battle Compressor would have also been nice to hit the turn-one Trevenant more consistently. If I had realized before the event how crucial it was to winning the Night March matchup, I probably would have tried to fit those in. Also, an AZ to scoop up a stranded Pokémon like Shaymin or a Trevenant without a Float Stone could be nice at times, but probably is too difficult to get out under Item-lock."

Has the deck gained any new cards from Ancient Origins or BREAKthrough?

"I haven't really thought much about the deck since Worlds. Nothing in Ancient Origins jumps out as being too helpful. Faded Town is decent but does basically the same thing as Virbank City Gym. Bench space is really limited and Trevenant is definitely the best wall, so I don't think any new Pokémon would really help the deck.

In BREAKthrough, Judge could be really useful. Any sort of hand disruption becomes extra strong when paired with Item-lock as well."

Looking forward towards Cities, do you think this deck could be good in Expanded or in Standard?

"Unfortunately, I think Gengar was mostly just a one-trick pony (or whatever Gengar is). It struggles a lot against any Mega Pokémon and Manectric and Rayquaza are both seeing some play right now in both formats. Also, Giratina would destroy the deck as it's currently constructed. Even if you changed all of the Mystery Energy to Basic Psychic (which would seriously hamper your ability to get the turn-one Trevenant), you probably still would have trouble against Giratina, especially if they can get a Muscle Band down to OHKO Trevenant. Even if they can't, you won't be able to play any Float Stone down so it doesn't really matter too much.

"Another card that is going to make the deck harder to use is Parallel City. I usually like to have a Bench of two Gengar, Trevenant/Phantump, Shaymin, and probably another Trevenant/Phantump. The Benched Shaymin is really useful to Sky Return to finish off a KO and replenish your hand later. If my opponent limits my Bench space to three, I would have trouble getting Phantump down and Evolving them in a timely manner.

"The last thing that really hinders Gengar is the resurgence of Yveltal. We had a format at Worlds without Dark Patch and there was no Yveltal at all. However, most of the deck is weak to Darkness Pokémon, so an Yveltal deck would eat you alive. There are too many bad matchups for Gengar now."


Once again another big thank you to Alex Hill for doing this interview! If you want to articles by Alex, make sure to click here. Make sure to check those out if you like his interview.

Looking forward towards Cities!


In Expanded, I will have to agree with Alex and say that this deck is not the best choice. To me, the main reason is because of Yveltal. If the Yveltal player goes first, before you can set up a Trevenenat, you are going to be in a lot of pain. During that turn, your opponent can get down multiple Dark Patch, a Keldeo with a Float Stone, and burn all of their Item cards to help not draw back into them. Even if you do get to go first, your opponent will still be in a favorable position because of Gengar's Weakness, which is enough to ruin your chances of winning. This Yveltal threat alone is the real reason why to NOT PLAY THIS DECK IN EXPANDED.  If for some reason you still want to play a Gengar deck for Cities in Expanded, here is an updated deck list.

This deck was modified from Sean's list. I took away one N, two Silent Lab, and a Lysandre. I cut the two Silent Lab because these Stadiums are easy to bump because most decks play their own Stadiums and usually play two or three. The Silent Labs also make it a weird situation if you do need to use Shaymin but can’t because you have locked your own Shaymin. This does open a new threat for Keldeo and Virizion to use their Abilities and shut down Gengar's Poison, however. The N and Lysandre are preferences and I needed space for other tech cards. I added in two Battle Compressors, an AZ, and a Float Stone. Like Alex stated, getting the turn-one Trevenant is crucial to start the lock game early and with the help of Battle Compressor, you can discard your Supporter cards turn one and then abuse VS Seeker.

Another thing Alex pointed out was that the deck needed more switching cards and that’s where the AZ and fourth Float Stone shine. The deck doesn’t use Dowsing Machine, so having maximum amount of Float Stone is crucial to help move those pesky trees. AZ helps out because you don’t have to commit a Float Stone to some random Pokémon that got Lysandre'd the previous turn and you can pick up damaged Pokémon if needed. To show how the deck performs in Expanded, I played it for Expanded Thursday, which you can see down below. If you haven’t heard of my YouTube channel, make sure to check it out for daily Pokémon videos! I had to throw in some self-promotion, of course!


For Expanded, I agreed with Alex's assessment that Gengar is a bad choice, but I will disagree with him and say that it’s an amazing play for Standard. Even though you will lose cards like Laser, Colress, Computer Search, and N, you don’t have to worry about Yveltal being in the format. Turn-one Trevenant is just really good in this new Standard format because you can slow your opponent down so much. A lot of decks in Standard are relying on Trainers' Mail, Ultra Ball, and VS Seeker to set up now. Once you get a Trevenant out, they can’t use any of that! The last thing to note is that you can’t play Keldeo-EX and Virizion-EX in Standard, so the Poison will stick onto the Active unless your opponent manually Retreats or plays a switching Supporter card like AZ.

Alex did point out that the deck has hard matchups against Mega Pokémon and Giratina. I will agree with this assessment, but we have new options in this deck to help fight against these evil decks and take a win against them. Without any further ado, here is my new list!

The deck now includes Enhanced Hammers and Xerosic. This can help out your Giratina matchup and probably swing it in your favor. If you are able to discard all the Giratina’s Double Dragon Energy, then they can’t attack you and will just flat-out lose. Not only can it help out against the Giratina deck, but it can help out in matchups that live off these Special Energy like Mega Rayquaza and Vespiquen.  Another new Item in this deck is the Head Ringers. This can help slow down Mega Pokémon because now they have to end their turn to Evolve. If you are still worried about the Giratina matchup, you can attach a Head Ringer to it and it will need five Energy to attack you! Virbank City Gym rotates out going into Standard, but we can replace with a Stadium that is just as good, and that’s Faded Town! Not only does this help out in the Stadium war, but it can help do the extra damage to those Mega Pokémon that Alex was scared of. I think this version has great potential and I have been testing it out a lot since the announcement of Float Stone being reprinted in BREAKthrough.


Hopefully this article has helped you learn something new about the Gengar deck. We discussed how the deck is probably not a good choice for Expanded because of Yveltal. On the other hand, I think the deck is an amazing choice for Standard because of the reprinting of Float Stone and the rotation of the support Pokémon like Virizion and Keldeo to get rid of the Poison effect.  I once again want to give a huge shoutout to Alex for doing the interview and giving us some insight on this deck.  It will be interesting to see if this deck is truly a one-trick pony like Alex said or if it still has more to offer. Thanks for reading this article and if you enjoyed it, make sure to give a Thumbs Up and check out my YouTube channel! Have a great day!

-Josh "Squeaky" Marking

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