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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 M Gengar EX

- Phantom Forces

Date Reviewed:
Dec. 5, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 2.25
Limited: 2.75

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

M Gengar EX 

We looked at Gengar EX recently, and saw that it was pretty good. Shame about the Weakness though. Psychic Types got some nice support in Phantom Forces with Dimension Valley and Mystery Energy, plus Gengar gets a Spirit Link card to avoid the pain of ending your turn when you Mega Evolve. There is a sound basis here for using M Gengar EX if it turns out to be any good. 

Sadly it didn’t. Oh, I know that Phantom Gate attack looks awesome, allowing you to use any of your opponent’s Pokémon’s attacks without needing the necessary Energy. Imagine using this to copy Black Kyurem EX’s 200 damage Black Ballista or Dialga EX’s Full Metal Impact for 150! You wouldn’t even have to pay the discard cost! (As long as you didn’t have the relevant Energy Type attached – the attack works like Zoroark BLW’s Foul Play). 

The thing is though, in real life those opportunities will be few and far between and will be dependent on your opponent being kind (and silly) enough to help you out. What is far more likely to happen is that you will have the option to copy Donphan PLF’s Spinning Turn, Seismitoad EX’s Quaking Punch, Genesect EX’s Megalo Cannon, or Yveltal EX’s Y Cyclone. Sure, these are good attacks, but your opponent gets to use them with a Basic EX . . . you have to evolve to a Mega just to match them. 

It’s just not worth the bother, and what’s worse, it doesn’t have any synergy with Gengar EX’s neat punch-and-run strategy, which isn’t available once you evolve to M Gengar. Yep, this is a Mega which actually ruins its own deck. If you wanted to play it, you would need to take an entirely different approach: one which involved praying that your opponent benches Black Kyurem . . .  

Rating 

Modified: 1.75 (seems like it would be good . . . but isn’t)

Expanded: 1.75 (a few more things to copy, but still not worth it)

Limited: 1.25 (seriously, your opponent is even less likely to have something you want to copy)


aroramage

You remember how debatable Lysandre's Trump Card was from a couple weeks ago? Well today we've got another card that can be debated over as to how good it is, the great Mega Form of our local Gengar-EX! Is the cover card of the set good enough for the competitive scene, or does he fall just short?
 
Well, he's got one attack: Phantom Gate, which costs the same as Gengar-EX's Dark Corridor attack. Rather than dealing an absurd amount of damage like MCharizard-EX or having a strong back-up like MLucario-EX, MGengar-EX's Phantom Gate does things...differently. With it, you get to pick any attack on any of your opponent's Pokemon and use it as your own attack.
 
Now there are a lot of attacks out there, so MGengar-EX won't have any trouble finding one, but can he find one that's worth using? Given the way the format is now, that shouldn't be too much trouble either. You can have him use Seismitoad-EX's Quaking Punch for an Item-Lock, Mewtwo-EX's X Ball or even Yveltal-EX's Evil Ball for serious damage, or Lucario-EX's Corkscrew Punch to damage and draw out of it. With all these powerhouse attacks floating around, you'll be able to do a lot.
 
One could argue that MGengar-EX is at a disadvantage with the ruling on Mega Pokemon, but he also received a Spirit Link card to use with himself, allowing for a player to put him down on a Gengar-EX and then Phantom Gate any attack they want! On top of that, because of the way the game works, he can partially "bypass" certain parts of an attack. Take Dialga-EX's Full Metal Impact for instance; you'd have to discard 2 Metal Energy for the payoff, but if you copy it with MGengar-EX's Phantom Gate, you can still get the attack, and then you just do as much as you can for the discard - which if nothing attached to MGengar-EX can count as a Metal Energy like, say, Rainbow Energy, then you'll get away with not having to discard anything! It's the same ruling as with Zoroark (BW)'s Foul Play attack!
 
The only thing to really watch for is that you can only choose your opponent's attacks, and that means Phantom Gate can have a lot of mileage or none at all. Copying Quaking Punch will Item Lock the opponent, but if they can annihilate you with their next attack, it becomes a mild inconvenience. Snagging that X Ball could beat their Active, but if it doesn't win you the game, you put yourself in jeopardy!
 
With a card like this, it's all about timing and what you've got to work with, meaning that to really be able to utilize this guy to his fullest takes a lot of skill and a little luck. Course that little luck is probably why most people haven't been using him as much as Gengar-EX. I mean, why power up to a debatably good or bad attack when you can just as easily use something like X Ball or Quaking Punch yourself?
 
Rating
 
Standard: 3/5 (a unique card that just requires enough luck to be tossed into casual)
 
Expanded: 3/5 (about the same here; keep in mind if you copy Rayquaza-EX's attack, unless you actually discard Lightning and Fire Energy, the attack will do nothing)
 
Limited: 4/5 (especially if you get Spirit Link with it; the card pool is overall much smaller here, so you can take advantage of MGengar-EX's attack more readily)
 
Arora Notealus: I kinda wished they'd do with the Secret Rare Megas what they did with earlier Secret Rares and give them the Shiny Treatment. Mega-Gengar looks way cooler in Shiny form!
 
NOTE: On my AZ review, I mentioned how using him on an Evolution wouldn't be good as it would discard the Basic form, but looking it up, the original translation refers to all of the Pokemon in an Evolutionary line to be returned, so this changes my perspective on him. I'd put his Limited score up at 3.5 in that case.
 
Weekend Thought: I mentioned in Target Whistle's review that Yugioh has several cards that appear as negatives but that can actually prove to be positives. As a brief example, there's a card called Fine that forces you to discard 2 cards; while in most cases this would be bad, there are cards like the Dark World series that actually benefit from getting discarded from the hand. 
 
So for this Weekend Thought, either think of a card in the TCG that appears to give the opponent a benefit - like Target Whistle bringing a Pokemon back - or think of some way to benefit your opponent. Then try and think of how you can take advantage of that advantage!


Otaku

We end this week with M Gengar-EX (XY: Phantom Forces 35/119, 121/119).  Why?  Well there weren’t really any good, generic support Pokémon in this set and this week has been about getting those cards reviewed… instead of constantly citing them and either explaining them in brief (over and over and over again) or hoping you were already familiar with their usage and effective quality.  M Gengar-EX actually made my Top 10 list, but as I later found out it functions more as (very) optional support for Gengar-EX, which is why we reviewed Gengar-EX as a runner-up instead (click here if you need a refresher).  So this seemed “close enough” for review purposes, to prevent us looking at something even more random.

M Gengar-EX is a Psychic-Type in a set that bolstered their support: Dimension Valley and Mystery Energy are also recent reviews.  They still aren’t the best supported Type, but are at least the “bottom of the top” now instead of being all Mewtwo-EX based (for the Type’s strength).  In terms of Weakness/Resistance, Psychic is still a good Type since it does double damage to popular attackers like Mewtwo-EX, though it also faces Resistance from most Metal-Types and Darkness-Type Pokémon (Yveltal-EX just happens to be a noteworthy exception).  Being a Pokémon-EX and Mega Evolution includes some serious downsides; an extra Prize when KOed, incompatibility with certain pieces of support like Milotic (XY: Flashfire 23/106) and subject to counter cards like Silver Bangle (which is well known enough I probably could have skipped the link).  Gengar are normally Stage 2 cards, but for better or worse M Gengar-EX is a Mega Evolution, a sort-of-but-not-quite Stage 1 Pokémon (effects that refer to “Evolutions” apply, but not effects that specify Stage 1, because in game terms it is not a Stage 1).  They have the nasty drawback of ending your turn when you “Mega Evolve”, but are allowed higher-than-normal HP scores and seem like their attacks are at least supposed to be better than normal. 

In this case, the HP score is 220; this is enough to be very hard to OHKO for decks not exploiting Weakness, and is the median score for what we’ve seen for nine or so Mega Evolutions officially released in outside of Japan.  Cards revealed/released officially/unofficially in Japan and outside of Japan indicate this is going to change… but that is then and not now.  Darkness Weakness is a very dangerous thing; not only is Yveltal-EX is one of the few attackers that can reasonably score a OHKO but Darkrai-EX just needs a Muscle Band to also do the dead, as can Absol [Plasma] if the M Gengar-EX player has a full Bench.  I can’t call this the worst Weakness to have, but it’s among the worst.  On the bright side, this card enjoys Fighting Resistance; with 220 HP the -20 that is normally a small bonus becomes almost significant as Landorus-EX is going to need +70 damage worth of boosting even using the optional discard effect of Land’s Judgment to score a OHKO (note: most decks running Landorus-EX will have such options available).  For smaller hits like Landorus-EX using Hammerhead (which is usually its go-to attack), an Active M Gengar-EX is going to last a lot longer than most other Pokémon.  Finishing off the bottom of the card, M Gengar-EX has a single Energy Retreat Cost, which is easy to pay and any effect that lowers Retreat Costs by even just one turns it into a perfect free retreater, very good indeed. 

Mega Evolutions get just one attack, and M Gengar-EX busts out Phantom Gate, for which the Japanese counterpart to this set was named.  For [PCC] Phantom Gate allows you to choose one of your opponent’s attacks to use in its stead.  This attack is meant to function like Foul Play on Zoroark (Black & White 71/114; BW Promos BW09; BW: Next Destinies 102/99).  You don’t have to worry about the Energy requirements printed next to an attack you’re copying but you do have to do everything else the attack requires.  I add the emphasis because if it is optional, you can choose not to do it.  This leads to some interesting results.  I mentioned Landorus-EX earlier; copying Hammerhead is straightforward, but copying Land’s Judgment is a little less intuitive for many as you can do either the base 80 damage or if you have a source of [F] Energy attached you can invoke the optional effect, discarding all [F] Energy attached to M Gengar-EX to up the base damage of Phantom-Gate-copying-Land’s-Judgment to 150 (80+70) points of damage.  If using Phantom Gate to copy Full Metal Impact off of a Dialga-EX (XY: Phantom Forces 62/119, 122/119) and you have any source of [M] Energy attached, you must discard it but if you don’t then you still can perform the attack without trouble: you just do as much of the attack as you can.  Also, remember that an attack must actually be printed on something you can copy; for example G Booster is an attack printed on G Booster that Genesect-EX can use, but that means M Gengar-EX can’t “read” it.  Phantom Gate is as strong as the options your opponent’s Pokémon present to you in conjunction with whatever advantage you can eek out via the copying; sometimes you’ll be getting a bargain, sometimes a fair deal but sometimes you’ll be horribly overpaying since you are attacking with a Mega Evolution and Phantom Gate needs [PCC]. 

On its own, this card isn’t impressive; it isn’t hopeless either but giving up a turn for a Darkness Weak, 220 HP attacker that needs three Energy to copy things isn’t going to get you ahead in the competitive scene.  Fortunately you can use Gengar Spirit Link to avoid ending your turn via Mega Evolution, though if you want to later cash in on some of the other great Pokémon Tools (like Muscle Band) you’ll need to use another card to remove Gengar Spirit Link afterwards.  Gengar-EX has already proven itself a solid, competitive card in porter decks built around it, which also gives M Gengar-EX an “in”.  If you really want to focus on M Gengar-EX itself, it isn’t too hard to also include enough porter elements to fall back on that strategy when your opponent has nothing good to copy, but M Gengar-EX is probably better used as support for Gengar-EX; when the porter strategy fails, you bring up something beefier and (hopefully) can copy something good from your opponent.  You might be able to better blend the two strategies by using Celebi-EX so that M Gengar-EX can also tap the two attacks on Gengar-EX, which means it can more freely alternate which approach you’re using.  Dimension Valley is probably the best Stadium for M Gengar-EX as copying attacks for [PC] is much better than at the full [PCC] price, though it is still not something you can easily power up in a single turn. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: M Gengar-EX doesn’t really cut it on its own, but thanks to the support available it seems like a decent option for Gengar-EX decks to incorporate, neither good enough that you must run nor so weak you shouldn’t consider at all, but almost right in the middle.  Unless its Limited play, where if you also pulled Gengar-EX and are planning on using it, then you should indeed also run this.  Copying attacks is a very hit-or-miss tactic, but when its being used to supplement something else, that isn’t a problem.


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