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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Gengar (Prime)

HS Triumphant

Date Reviewed: Nov. 10, 2010

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.60
Limited: 3.40

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Combos With:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Gengar (Prime)

 

Ok, before I review Gengar Prime, we need to get one thing out of the way.

 

Despite what a lot of players were expecting, the Lost World Stadium wasn’t in Triumphant. If it ever does get released outside of Japan, then Gengar Prime will be the basis of a powerful new archetype with a unique win condition. For now, though, I will review the card as it relates to the modified format we have now.

 

Gengar has 130 HP, which is par for the course for Stage 2s, but better than you usually get with Gengar. The Dark Weakness isn’t usually a problem, unless your opponent techs for it, as Tyranitar is the only Dark Pokémon that sees play as a main attacker. Colourless Resistance is one of the nicest in the game, as Garchomp C is amazingly common. Finally, it doesn’t get any better than Free Retreat.

 

Catastrophe is Gengar’s aptly-named PokeBody. When Gengar is active, any of your opponent’s Pokémon that are knocked out go straight into the Lost Zone instead of the discard pile. This can cause an opponent real problems, as there is currently no way of retrieving cards from the Lost Zone. If you can get rid of a key attacker (like a LV X) with this PokeBody, it will be extremely difficult for a deck to recover. Note that Gengar doesn’t have to attack itself to get the effect, it just needs to be active. This means that you can use it together with Crobat G to finish off a badly-damaged Benched Pokémon, or with a card that switches out when it attacks (such as the ‘Curse’ Gengar from the Arceus set) so that you promote Gengar Prime before checking for the knock out.

 

This isn’t the only way Gengar has of Lost Zoning Pokémon. Its first attack, Hurl into Darkness, costs [P] and allows you to look at your opponent’s hand and send a Pokémon you find there to the Lost Zone for every Psychic Energy attached to Gengar. This could make life very difficult for an opponent who is holding evolution cards they couldn’t play on their turn, and it will make it very dangerous for SP players to PokeTurn any LV X that they can’t play back down immediately. Although the attack won’t get you any Prizes, it does have the ability to disrupt to the point where it can cripple an opponent’s deck if they can’t play the Pokémon they are holding. Not only that, but the strategic information you get from seeing their hand could be invaluable when planning your moves.

 

If all this wasn’t enough, Gengar has a cheap offensive attack too. Cursed Droplets costs [P][C] and lets you put four damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon in any way you like. Although 40 damage for two Energy seems poor, the flexibility of the attack somewhat makes up for it. You could use Cursed Droplets in a spread deck (it combos especially well with Gengar LV X!), to take multiple KOs in one turn and send all those Pokémon to the Lost Zone.

 

Without Lost World though, is all this enough for Gengar Prime to see play in a Gengar deck? Well, while decks like Gengar/Vileplume will probably prefer to stick with the SF Gengar and the LV X, I can see this card being used in new builds which focus either on taking Prizes with the ‘Curse’ Gengar, or on spreading damage with the LV X. It’s a unique card that is really looking to abuse the Lost Zone mechanic and, while it isn’t nearly as powerful without the Stadium, it does offer some interesting possibilities to deckbuilders.

 

Rating

 

Modified: 3.25 (for now, it’s just a possible tech in some new Gengar lists)

Limited: 2.5 (I actually pulled a Gengar Prime line at my Prerelease . . . it wasn’t anything special)

 

Combos with . . .

 

Gengar AR is probably the best choice at the moment

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Gengar Prime (HS Triumphant)
 
This has been a heavily hyped card since its release in Japan, but the omission of the Lost World stadium from Triumphant has put a damper on Gengar’s power. Is it still a worthy card in its own right?
 
In my opinion, yes. Now I’ll justify this opinion with the following review, but bear in mind that I am a Gengar player myself and so have a pro-bias. Then again, Gengar is just so damn awesome!
 
Let’s follow the usual program and start with the stats. We have a Psychic (good for mixing with techs) Stage 2 with 130 HP (the Prime boost) and a free retreat cost (hell yeah!). Dark weakness and Colourless resistance round out the impressive stats that will keep Gengar alive in today’s metagame. Dark weakness is good but may not remain that way with the number of Dark type starters and the possibility of a strong Dark deck appearing in the near future (can anyone make Absol or Tyranitar competitive again?) while Colourless resistance is good and getting better with a number of Colourless techs making their mark, while Flygon and Garchomp are as evil as ever. The high health is a new point for Gengar, and is greatly appreciated.
 
Now the meat of the card, the attacks and abilities. Gengar gets 3, and all of them have at least some use.
 
Catastrophe is the Pokebody, and the effect is to send any Knocked Out Pokémon to the Lost Zone instead of the discard pile as long as Gengar is Active (other cards like energy get discarded normally). It does not state that Gengar has to actually score the KO itself, and with the number of Pokepowers placing damage counters in the current metagame this means Gengar is a lot more dangerous than it looks.
 
Also, you can use an attack that damages the Defending Pokémon and allows you to switch your attacker to the Bench while promoting Gengar, so that the Pokebody comes into effect even though Gengar didn’t actually attack (all effects of attacks, like switching out, are completed before any knockouts are finalised). For this strategy, I would suggest Magnezone SF (the Lightning one with Superconductivity) or Gengar PA with Curse and Shadow Skip, as both Pokémon deal 60 damage with the option to switch out (and Magnezone Prime makes teching in Magnezone SF easier, while the Gengar is a no-brainer).
 
However, the problem with this body is that, as fun as it is to put your opponent’s main attacker and techs out of reach forever, Gengar Prime itself doesn’t have the raw attacking power needed to make full use of this Pokebody. Also, the removal of Lost World from the format means that sending the opponent’s Pokémon to the Lost Zone only provides a slight strategic advantage (no retrieval), rather than the humungous advantage everyone was expecting. For now, this body is just an understated ability that is annoying to the opponent, but not incredibly disruptive or dangerous. Finally, the damage-switch-and-activate-Pokebody trick I outlined above requires at least 3 energy, so it isn’t easy to play it quickly when the whole point is to be faster than your opponent. Why else would you play Gengar?
 
But fear not, Gengar has other tricks available. The first attack, the expertly named Hurl Into Darkness (HID from now on), is absolutely brutal! For the initial cost of P (more energy do add power if you are inclined that way), you get to look at your opponent’s hand. Then, you get to choose a number of Pokémon from your opponent’s hand up to the number of Psychic energy attached to Gengar and put those Pokémon into the Lost Zone.
 
Quite simply, this is the ultimate in disruptive attacks. The best targets for HID are cards with coming-into-play Pokepowers like Uxie and Azelf (to cripple setup), but it is likely that your opponent will spam these cards onto their bench (for less than optimum advantage) to stop you putting them into the Lost Zone. The next best targets are 1-of techs that your opponent has but can’t immediately play, such as Lv X cards (Luxray GL) and Stage 1/Stage 2 techs (Nidoqueen RR, Flygon RR), thus removing your opponent’s ability to control the field and/or counter your moves. Hitting a half of a Pokémon Legend (for instance, Entei/Raikou or Kyogre/Groudon) is also a good move, and removing a main attacker from the hand is also a good idea. The priority of a target really depends on the stage of the game, as well as which cards are the most dangerous to your strategy.
 
Since your opponent will expect this nasty disruption (or will quickly learn after the first game) they may start holding their search cards in their hands and leaving Pokémon in the deck until the exact moment they need them. As such, you can do one of 2 things: force them to shuffle their hand and hope for a good target, or play Gengar SF to punish their Trainer hoarding. Guess which one I’m going to do? That’s right, I’m going to do both! Remember, Looker’s Investigation is the perfect partner in crime for Gengar SF already, and it extends well into this further disruptive strategy.
 
Of course, even if you don’t hit paydirt with either HID or Poltergeist, you will still be able to play a very good psychological game against your opponent and force them to play cards even if they won’t help at the time, just to avoid getting hurt by your attacks. Or even force your opponent to avoid drawing cards altogether, which will slow their game down to a crawl.
 
The second attack, while decent, is nowhere near as cool but still complements Gengar’s role. Cursed Drop costs PC and allows you to place 4 damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon in any way you like. Spread them out or stack them up, do whatever suits the moment.
 
The problem with this attack is the damage cap. You can’t add effects like Expert Belt or Plus Power to give Gengar extra damage, and 4 damage counters just aren’t enough to get an OHKO on something small like Uxie unless you use a considerable number of damage-dropping powers. For larger targets you can forget about it, 4 hits to get a KO (more if Nidoqueen or Garchomp C evaded your HID attacks) is taking way too long and Gengar will be wiped out. AT least you can get set up for later spread attacks, and you can tailor the damage to take out that pesky Pokémon that only just survived, without wasting the rest of the damage from the attack.
 
Admittedly, if Gengar Prime had the potential for a heavy damage attack I’d say the card was broken, so Cursed Drop is honestly a brilliant choice by the designers. It isn’t very high in damage yield, but you can use it to set up for multiple KOs later on if you calculate your moves well (think back to Empoleon MD with Dual Splash).
 
In summary, Gengar Prime is freaking awesome but it is not, I repeat NOT a main attacker. This dreadful ghost is the king of the disruptors, and that is how it should be played!
 
Modified: 4.5 (plenty of partners and so much mayhem you can wreak! I don’t care about bias, this is the gospel truth!)
Limited: 3.5 (it’s hard to play a Stage 2 in this format [I know you get tired of hearing it but it’s true!] but if you can use HID on their good attackers you can take the game as a gift!)
Combos with: Gengar PA, Gengar SF, the hopefully never-to-be=printed Lost World (I still hate that card, because it goes against the game as we know it: new victory conditions are great but not being able to counter or copy them is awful!)

conical

11/10/10: Gengar Prime(Triumphant)

Today, in case you're not sure, is Wednesday. And we have Gengar Prime, who is busy trying to do its best Michael Jordan impression, sticking its tongue out while attempting something awesome.

Indeed, awesome could be a word to describe this Gengar someday. The first thing one might notice with this card is that it really likes the Lost Zone mechanic. Its Poke-Body sends any of your opponent's Pokemon to the Lost Zone if they get KO'd. Also, its first attack, Hurl Into Darkness(what a great attack name) sends a number of Pokemon cards in your opponent's hand to the Lost Zone equal to the number of Psychic energy on Gengar. Both the Body and the attack are nearly broken, and unlike Absol Prime, who also had a solid attack and Body, there exist cards that can abuse Gengar's abilities. Gengar AR can use Shadow Skip to KO an active Pokemon, then switch to Gengar Prime to send it to the Lost Zone. Alternately, something like Jirachi UL and Energy Switch could accelerate the energy on Gengar, making Hurl Into Darkness more effective.

The problem with Gengar Prime at the moment is that sending Pokemon to the Lost Zone doesn't have much effect on the game. Sure, they can't retrieve their Pokemon, but it's more of a minor annoyance than an actual threat. Hurl Into Darkness is a great disruption attack, but it quickly loses steam once your opponent runs out of Pokemon, or just plays around the attack. And in terms of damage, it has a second attack, Cursed Drop, which places 4 damage counters, which in my opinion is pretty weak in this environment.

I'm sure the other reviewers will say something similar, but Gengar really needs the Lost World stadium that may or may not be released next set. It is unclear whether the stadium will make Gengar a viable threat(the mechanic of the stadium may be too slow to be usable), but it should make Gengar more viable than it is now.

Modified: 3.25/5 Limited: 2.75/5 (It's pretty situational here)

Wes1234
Crazed Eeveelutionist

Hello again, Pojo readers.  In continuing our HS Triumphant Prime week, we come to a pokemon that has received so much hype, it joins Luxray GL Lv X and Uxie Lv X in the list of cards that people will likely stubbornly hang onto.  Is it justifiable, though?  Lets take a look.
 
Base stats are what you would expect from a typical stage 2.  Psychic type in irrelevant due to lack of damage.  130 HP is average nowadays for a Stage 2.  Darkness weakness isn't great.  Remember Monday's COTD?  Yeah, it can one-shot it, and Umbreon UD will hit this guy pretty hard, too.  Umbreon Prime, too, one shots it as well, but it's currently being caged up in many binders at the moment (still worth mentioning, though).  Colorless resistance is very nice with the likes of Garchomp C and its Lv X everywhere.  Free retreat, though, is phenomenal, and allows it to be abused with combos that I will later outline in this review.
 
Gengar Prime comes packed with the source of its hype: a Poke-Body called Catastrophe.  When it's active, your opponent's pokemon are sent to the Lost Zone when they are knocked out instead of being discarded.  The wording of this Poke-Body is key to understand potential combos with it.  It must be active at the time of a pokemon being KO'd.  This means that, and Japanese rulings and the ruling with Glaceon Lv X both back this up, you can use a hit-and-run attack (such as Magnezone SF's Gyro Ball or Gengar AR's Shadow
Skip) to switch to Gengar Prime.  Effects are applied BEFORE KOs are declared.  If the damage from the attack was enough to kill off the opponent's pokemon, Catastrophe will activate and send it to the Lost Zone.
 
Now, there's no official ruling out yet for this next scenario, but based off the Body's wording, it will NOT send pokemon to the Lost Zone if they were damaged by an attack with Rescue Energy attached to them.  This is because Rescue Energy sends the pokemon straight to the hand, rather than to the discard, then to the hand like Floatzel GL Lv X.  In Floatzel GL Lv X's case, the pokemon would go to the Lost Zone instead of being discarded, thus negating its Water Rescue Body.  It should be noted, though, that placing damage counters and special conditions bypasses Rescue Energy.
 
Anyways...  Catastrophe...  Yeah...  Good reason for the hype thus far...
 
Next up is Gengar prime's attacks.  Though, only one really matters, as Cursed Drop only places 4 damage counters on the opponent's pokemon for [PC] (it's still usable, especially with Gengar AR's Curse, but it isn't the main source of its hype.  Hurl into Darkness is a very affordable [P] that lets you peek at the opponent's hand (legally) and choose a number of pokemon up to the number of [P] energy attached to Gengar Prime and put the chosen pokemon into the Lost Zone.  This is amazing disruption ability.  When Lost World enters the Metagame scene, it will become broken.  Seeker will be a common combo with this to ensure at least one pokemon enters the Lost Zone.
 
I'd say that Gengar prime does live up to its hype.  It has caused havoc in Japan's metagame, and it will do the same here in the US when Lost World arrives.
 
Modified (before Lost World is released): 4  Amazing card to switch into via hit-and-run attacks to use Catastrophy, and its cheap disruption ability can turn the tide of a game.  Lost Zone = no Pokemon Rescue, Palmer's Contribution, etc.
 
Modified (after Lost World is released): 4.5  With Lost World, this will be as broken as Luxray GL Lv X is, if not more-so.
 
Limited: 3.5  As per the format name, its option are.... limited...  It can disrupt with Hurl into Darkness, only... the pokemon will already be in play.  Seeker can help, but they'll just scoop up a trash pokemon to be Lost Zoned.  Curse Drop's spread and the nice 130 HP are the only things you can abuse here.
 
Combos with: Seeker, Gengar AR
 
- Wes1234
Crazed Eeveelutionist


Otaku

I had another massive CotD ready for today and I realized… I wasn’t really reviewing today’s CotD.  I was reviewing the deck we’ll get if/when they release a Stadium known as Lost World in Japan.  Lost World allows either player, during his or her own turn, to declare him- or herself the winner if six or more of his or her opponent’s Pokémon are in the Lost Zone.  That card makes today’s pick into a fearsome deck.  Until then… it is merely “interesting”.

 

So we look at today’s CotD now for what it can do for it’s self.  A Stage 2 Psychic (technically Ghost) Pokémon, this Gengar enjoys a pretty good 130 HP: historically Gengar haven’t been especially beefy.  In fact, this is the largest “normal” Gengar: the only bigger ones are its Level X form and the (no longer legal) Gengar ex!  This version has a double Weakness to Darkness-Type Pokémon, which could be a real problem: never underestimate the benefit if Darkness Energy (Special Energy version) boosting damage.  The Colorless Resistance -20 should prove pretty handy.  The free Retreat Cost is of course perfect!

 

Gengar Prime has a Poké-Body and two attacks.  The Poké-Body (Catastrophe) sends any of your opponent’s Pokémon that are Knocked Out to the Lost Zone, but only if Gengar Prime is active.  This can really wreck the default recursion cards most players run.  The first attack (Hurl Into Darkness) requires only a single Psychic Energy, but if extra Psychic Energy are attached the attack becomes more potent.  It allows you to see your opponent’s hand then send a number of Pokémon up to the number of Psychic Energy attached to Gengar to the Lost Zone.  This can let you see what’s coming and sabotage some of your opponent’s best plays.  The second attack only requires another of any Energy to use, making Cursed Drop pretty affordable.  You then get to spread four damage counters amongst your opponent’s Pokémon in any way you like.  This is good when viewed in isolation, but I have to question it on its own: this is the card’s “big” attack, and if we had to rely on it to trigger Gengar Prime’s Poké-Body, it’d take two turns to hit a small benched Pokémon.  Your opponent on the other hand would have two turns to KO Gengar Prime with their Active Pokémon, who presumably would be a solid attacker and take out Gengar Prime at that point.

 

Perhaps the most important combo we have for this card with the current card pool is Gengar Lv.X.  Gengar Lv.X rewards damage spread.  In one attack, Gengar Prime can drop a damage counter on four of your opponent’s Pokémon.  Gengar Lv.X can then use its effects for maximum impact.  As a refresher, Gengar Lv.X has a Poké-Power that allows it to bounce an opponent’s Lv.X Level-Up card, potentially shrinking an injured Pokémon for a KO.  Gengar Lv.X adds one attack to Gengar, and that is Compound Pain.  Compound Pain only affects already injured Pokémon, but if a Pokémon has at least one more damage counter on it, it takes another 30 points of damage!  So if you go second, you can Rare Candy into Gengar Prime, use Hurl Into Darkness to peek at your opponent’s hand and maybe eliminate a threat before it can come into play.  Next turn attach another Energy and use Cursed Drop, spreading a single damage counter on four of your opponent’s Pokémon (unless of course there is less than that in play).  On your third turn (sixth turn of the game), drop Gengar Lv.X and another Energy so you can use Compound Pain.  If you go first, the progression is slightly different (can’t use Rare Candy first turn after all), and you might skip Hurl Into Darkness.

 

Now the question is… what about the other Gengar?  I see two Gengar from the Arceus set, and one from Stormfront.  The Stormfront version is phenomenal.  It has a Poké-Power allows you a coin toss when it is KO’d by damage on your opponent’s turn, and if the result is “heads” your opponent’s Active Pokémon is KO’d as well!  The 20 less HP isn’t going to matter much since the deck would still almost certainly run Gengar Lv.X.  While Stormfront Gengar can’t spread damage, it has an excellent sniping attack.  Instead of sizable across the board damage, you can basically 2HKO anything with a Poké-Power and less than 120 HP.  Its Poltergeist attack gives you the potential raw brute force that both Gengar Prime and Gengar Lv.X lack.  The other two Gengar are clearly not as good, so we shan’t discuss them further.

 

This creates another problem as a control deck is the obvious place for Gengar Prime… but it is also a natural place for Gengar of Stormfront.  People have been running Vileplume/Gengar decks for a bit, now: locking Trainers in hand and taking advantage of the restricted amount you can play of Stadiums and Supporters a turn to set up for the big attack of Gengar of Stormfront.  Another potential dance partner, and perhaps one more suited for Gengar Prime, would be to partner with Ampharos of Platinum.  Your quick damage spread then doubles as Poké-Power denial thanks to Damage Bind.  I would assume that Miasma Valley is a natural choice for any deck using Gengar Lv.X.  You might even consider working in Monday’s CotD: Absol can open and with a Call Energy aid in set-up, while its Poké-Body smacks any Basic Pokémon that are played.  On top of a Miasma Valley, both Gengar Prime’s Cursed Drop attack and Gengar Lv.X’s Compound Pain should rack up fast KOs.

 

In Limited play, Gengar Prime is all about control.  Alternate between ripping your opponent’s hand of their best Pokémon – or the Pokémon they need to play their best Pokémon, as Evolution lines aren’t going to be as robust here.  Other turns use Cursed Drop to spread some damage.  Odds are you won’t open with Gengar Prime, and that is fine: while Hurl Into Darkness is best when used as soon as possible, it still comes in handy at any point in the game, and Cursed Drop just gets better since player’s will often retreat injured Pokémon to hide on the Bench in this format.  Just remember that Gengar Prime won’t be able to slug it out with anything remotely tough, so take advantage of its low Energy costs by keeping a back up hitter energized.  Retreat Gengar Prime as soon as you sense a threat approaching.  With good planning and foresight (aided by seeing your opponent’s hand), you should be able to dodge a lot of incoming threats, and feed them to whatever you have supporting Gengar Prime.

 

Ratings

 

Modified: 3.25/5 – If this was the only legal Gengar, Gengar Lv.X would still combo so well with it so as to ensure it would still see play.  This version just isn’t strong enough to replace the Stormfront version without Lost World.

 

Limited: 4/5 – A prime pick, even if it isn’t a brute on its own.  It is still has the HP to take hits and the attacks are quite, quite strategic.

 

Summary

The (Poké)mon who would be king if Lost World was here, Gengar Prime finds itself struggling for space in a crowded Archetype instead.  Without it, you might consider throwing caution to the win with Gengar Lv.X decks by running one copy of this in lieu of one of the Stormfront versions: the Stormfront version has more raw power, but it requires luck for the Poké-Power, and a good opponent might be able to “dodge” both the Poké-Power and the attack.  I just don’t know if trading in some reliability is worth the increase in versatility: considering it isn’t obvious, that should be a good enough reason to at least play test it.

 

I am still selling my former collectables on eBay.  I’ve had a lot of hobbies over the years, so at various times I’ll have comic books, manga, action figures, and video games on the auction block.  You can take a look at what’s up for bids here.  Just a reminder, Pojo is in no way responsible for any transactions and was merely kind enough to let me mention the auctions here. ;) 


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