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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Gourgeist

- Phantom Forces

Date Reviewed:
Dec. 12, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 2.25
Limited: 3.25

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


aroramage

Today's card is...interesting. Not just for being a Grass/Ghost type in the games, and not just for being partially based off of a jack-o-lantern, and not just for coming in all sorts of sizes for all your crazy needs. It's interesting for many different reasons, but is Gourgeist just an interesting card to work with or can he be competitive?
 
Let's start with this Ability, Gourgantic. Normally you'd be running Psychic Energy in a deck with Gourgeist just based on his Type, but with this Ability, he gets a huge HP boost when he's got a Grass Energy attached to him. Luckily you don't have to run any crazy hybrid Psychic-Grass decks (unless you're really feeling a Giratina-EX (DEX) deck) in order to use this Ability - all you need is the Rainbow Energy, and it'll fulfill all of Gourgeist's needs! And give him 200 HP to start with, meaning he needs twice as much damage to get KO'd!
 
The other interesting bit is his attack, Horror Note. It's a hefty 3-Energy for what it is, and it's a variable damage-dealer based on the number of cards in your hand. If it were 20 damage per card, it'd be usable after a Professor Sycaper, or even if it worked with the cards in your opponent's hand - I think the designers might have been overcompensating for the power of this attack when they started whacking it with the nerf-stick.
 
So is Gourgeist good enough to pass by with these interesting pieces? Probably not; Enhanced Hammer can reduce Gourgeist's HP back to 100 if he's using Rainbow Energy, and you'd have to hold back on a lot of cards to make Horror Note even remotely worthwhile which won't matter cause without that Grass Energy Gourgeist will get quickly swept under the rug. He's a fun casual deck at best, definitely not a competitive powerhouse.
 
Rating
 
Standard: 2/5 (interesting, but not viable)
 
Expanded: 2/5 (same here)
 
Limited: 3/5 (the extra HP will allow for great stalling here, but again I wouldn't rely on that Horror Note)
 
Arora Notealus: So Gourgeist just kinda wander around town on a new moon and sing songs that curse people as they're walking around...that's a bit harsh, don't you think? Who knows who might be out hanging around for a nice evening stroll when a Gourgeist waltzes by singing its merry tune?
 
Weekend Thought: Which one of this week's Pokemon would you give the EX treatment? Would you change their attacks to help out, or would you give them some super powerful attacks?


Otaku

The final review for this week is Gourgeist (XY: Phantom Forces 45/119).  I will admit up front I’m gonna be biased in favor of this card simply because I’ve grown fond of Gourgeist (XY 57/146 and the confusingly numbered XT Trainer Kit: Noivern Half Deck), which I use regularly on the PTCGO.  In fact… I actually had this card on my Top 10 list for XY: Phantom Forces, though I quickly realized I had grossly overestimated it.  So did I call a good, a bad or a mediocre card “great”? 

Being a Psychic-Type is fairly good; XY: Phantom Forces added to their support, plus thanks to the popularity of Pokémon like Mewtwo-EX, exploiting Psychic Weakness is most valuable.  Psychic Resistance can be a pain as it is found on most Darkness-Types and Metal-Types, but as you know if you’ve either been paying attention to the actual game or reading these CotDs, Resistance is no where near as significant as Weakness, so in the end, this is definitely a net positive for Gourgeist.  Being a Stage 1 is not, however; while they are in far better shape than Stage 2 Pokémon right now, Basic Pokémon rule the roost as they are faster and require less space. 

Gourgeist has 100 HP, which is relatively small but not horrible; it might survive a hit if the opponent’s deck isn’t focused on good damage or has an incomplete set-up, including simply whiffing on a Muscle Band or the like.  If you read the card before this, you’ll know that this HP score won’t always be relevant, but more on that when we get to the Ability.  Darkness Weakness is one of the worst forms of Weakness for a card to have right now, probably right after Fighting, possibly before, after or tied with Psychic.  There is little hope you’ll survive a hit from a Yveltal-EX or even regular Yveltal (XY 78/146; XY Promos XY06); either just need a Muscle Band for their smaller attack to do the job.  Gourgeist does enjoy Fighting Resistance, and while -20 doesn’t mean a lot at least it is to a commonly played Type that often relies on precision KOs.  The three Energy needed to retreat is chunky and needs to be dealt with; fortunately most decks already have good reason to run multiple cards to lower and/or bypass manually retreating, so it doesn’t burden things as much as it might have years ago when that wasn’t a “thing”.  Slight upside is if you’re using this in Expanded, it will be a legal Heavy Ball target. 

So the Ability I alluded to earlier is the wonderfully named Gourgantic; if Gourgeist has any [G] Energy attached, Gourgantic jumps its maximum HP to 200!  As Pokémon uses damage counters on the cards to track damage, if this Ability is disabled, not only will it shrink back down to 100 HP but all the damage it has taken will remained; a half-KOed Gourgeist with Gourgantic in effect and 10 damage counters on it will become a KOed Gourgeist if the opponent can discard all your attached [G] Energy or simply turn off the Ability completely.  These are very real risks for the card, plus its Darkness Weakness from earlier is still a concern; Yveltal-EX can easily hit for 100 damage with good set-up.  Resistance can help stretch out that massive HP, which is nice.  Backing all of this up, Gourgeist has the attack Horror Note for [PCC], which does 10 damage times the number of cards in your hand.  You’ll need at least nine cards in hand to get a decent return on the Energy and ideally, you’d want something like 15 cards in hand so that with a Silver Bangle you’d be scoring a OHKO.  That is really unlikely, so this card needs help to be more than a meatshield. 

Gourgeist Evolves from Pumpkaboo, of which there are two currently legal.  Both are Psychic-Type Basic Pokémon with 60 HP, Darkness Weakness, Fighting Resistance, Retreat Costs of [CC] and no Abilities.  XY 56/146 (reprinted twice in the confusingly numbered XT Trainer Kit: Noivern Half Deck) can simply Confuse the Defending Pokémon for [P].  When you’re desperate, this slightly elevates your chances of survival.  XY: Phantom Forces 44/119) can do 10 for [P], but has Night March at a price of [CC], doing 20 damage times the number of Pokémon in your discard with Night March.  There is also one other legal Gourgeist I already mentioned: you can see its original CotD here, though I hadn’t returned to reviewing yet at that time.  It has the same attributes save for a Retreat Cost of just [CC].  For [P] its Eerie Voice attack places two damage counters on each of your opponent’s Pokémon while its Spirit Scream for [PP] drops both Active Pokémon to 10.  It has shown some merit for competitive play (though not a lot) as it can both spread a lot of damage counters (instead of easily blocked damage spread) with Eerie Voice as well as score a OHKO via Hypnotoxic Laser and Spirit Scream. 

The two Gourgeist don’t strike me as playing well together as they serve different purposes and the support that works best for them doesn’t always work well for the other.  Even in terms of just Energy required, the older Gourgeist uses nothing but [P] while the new one will also need [G] to trigger its Ability… and as I’m about to explain, probably won’t actually need [P] to attack.  So whether they are used as a focus or just a strange supporting attacker, they don’t really belong together.  To use today’s version, I am thinking the best approach is to build a Night March deck where Gourgeist is your main attacker via Celebi-EX.  Coupled with Dimension Valley, this would allow Gourgeist to attack for [CC] for big damage, more easily than maintaining a monstrous hand size for Horror Note.  Another piece of the combo is Virizion-EX; not only will any [G] Energy attached to a Pokémon then protect it from Special Conditions (via Verdant Wind) but Emerald Slash can help prep multiple Gourgeist at once with two basic Grass Energy cards, so that the deck isn’t as vulnerable to cards like Enhanced Hammer.  I’ve seen this deck in action and it is scary if you don’t have the correct cards to counter it. 

I don’t think its one of the top competitive decks.  Night March so far seem solid and at least somewhat competitive… but remember how much I went on about Battle Compressor, Lysandre’s Trump Card and VS Seeker?  Well that combo tends to make life miserable for a Night March deck, but I’ve run into enough to think most people either haven’t been running it so its hard to say if Night March will remain strong because I was flat out wrong or if it will wane once people realize they should already be running Battle Compressor and VS Seeker, so one more slot for Lysandre’s Trump Card is probably worth it.  Gourgeist doesn’t seem to be the top Nightmarch deck, though as the glass cannon approach with the easily OHKOed attackers is more straightforward and reliable, winning due to the Prize Advantage of something so small OHKOing Pokémon-EX.  Expanded might improve Night March decks (I’m not sure) but not enough to raise the score for this card.  Night March is amazing if you pull enough of them for Limited… but if not Horror Note and Gourgantic should still make this a formidable Pokémon, well worth running unless you’ve got a good +39 candidate or you just can’t make room for a Psychic-Type Stage 1, the basic Psychic Energy it needs to attack and some basic Grass Energy so you can trigger the Ability.  The Ability is needed as it compensates for how Horror Note is still not all that great in a format where your hand might be huge or tiny, but probably mostly the latter.  Honestly, my main concern for it is how it is dependent both on Abilities and Items, making it vulnerable to both Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) and Seismitoad-EX, especially when the two are run together.

Ratings 

Standard: 2.5/5 

Expanded: 2.5/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary: Not quite as good as it needs to be, overall Gourgeist at least shows effort on the design team’s part and doesn’t miss by as much as many cards we’ve reviewed before (some this week).  Don’t forget about it in case some worthwhile combos emerge in the future, or if the ever changing metagame renders this the best Night March deck without gutting Night March decks in general.


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