Featured Card: Gengar Prime (and its future)

Let’s take a moment to revisit Gengar Prime from the HGSS Triumphant set. Gengar is a Stage 2 evolved Pokémon with Psychic typing and 130 HP. It has an interesting PokéBody called “Catastrophe” which we will explore later and two attacks. The first attack “Hurl Into Darkness” allows the attacker to look at the opponent’s hand, choose a number of Pokémon equivalent to the number of Psychic energy attached to Gengar, and put those Pokémon into the Lost Zone. The minimum energy required for the attack is one Psychic energy. The second attack, “Cursed Drop,” allows the attacker to place four damage counters on the opponent’s Pokémon in any configuration for a Psychic and a Colourless. Gengar has a x2 weakness to Darkness types, a -20 resistance to Colorless types, and a free retreat cost. The PokéBody “Catastrophe” causes any of the opponent’s Pokémon who might be knocked out to go into the Lost Zone if Gengar is in the active position.

The artwork on the card is my favorite among the Primes. Gengar’s expression and attitude come across very clearly in the portrait showing him to be one aggravating nasty character. The artist is Takashi Yamaguchi who did the artwork for Gastly and Haunter, Meganium Prime, several Trainers, and cards from Call of Legends.

Gengar Prime was hyped mercilessly during its release with Triumphant due to the expected arrival of the Stadium “Lost World” which appeared in the Call of Legends set. For anyone unfamiliar with the Lost World stadium card, it creates a different win condition for the game: A player may declare him/herself the winner if 6 of the opponent’s Pokémon are in the Lost Zone. Lost World made both Gengar Prime playable in a deck, and some of these decks performed well in tournaments. In our prior format, however, SP decks were simply able to take prizes too quickly to make the Lost World win condition viable. Top Cut matches often come down to prize accumulation speed, and Lost World decks typically require a lot of set up and don’t take prizes. In our present format, we see many speedy decks which foil the deliberate and plodding pace of a Gengar-based deck. I recall seeing Gengar Primes sell for more than $35US. More recently, they are priced at $5.99 – similar to any undesirable Prime card.

If Gengar’s stock has dropped so low, why talk about it now? With Mewtwo EX already dominating play in Japan, we should be preparing to play Mewtwo EX or to counter it when it appears in Next Destinies. Is Gengar Prime a viable counter to MewTwo EX?

Let’s start with a quick look at Mewtwo EX. For just a Double Colourless, Mewtwo EX’s attack “X Ball” does 20 damage times the number of energy attached to both it and the defending Pokémon. For two Psychic and a Colourless energy, the second attack “Psydrive” does 120 damage with the cost of discarding an energy from Mewtwo EX. This is a 170 HP basic beast that can make use of Eviolite for a whopping 190 HP. This Pokémon is being paired with the new Gardevoir, also slated for the Next Destinies set, whose Ability doubles Psychic energy attached to Psychic types. With Gardevoir on the bench, one Psychic energy is all that is needed for Mewtwo EX to attack with X Ball for 40 damage minimum. With 110 HP, Gardevoir will not be a simple target to snipe. In this combination, Mewtwo EX with PP attached attacks for a minimum of 80 and can still utilize the Psydrive attack for 120 to deliver 200 damage in 2 turns.
Can Gengar and Lost Zone counter this? Possibly. Traditional Gengar Prime and Mew-Gar decks might potentially cripple Mewtwo EX decks by sending the main attacker to the Lost Zone thus preventing its return to the bench with a Revive or to the deck with Flower Shop Lady or Super Rod. Mewtwo EX is too much of a tank to knock it out with light weight attacks or damage counter placement. There is a chance here to slow the appearance of Gardevoir with Vileplume (also defeating Catcher). Gengar requires only [P] to attack, so it does not add considerably to Mewtwo’s attack multiplier. Gengar could survive two 60 HP attacks while Lost Zoning necessary resources for the Gardevoir evolution or Mewtwo EXs that are returned to the hand with a well-timed Seeker.

Gengar Prime’s PokéBody Catastrophe could also make use of the required sequence of events in a knock out. Here’s an example of that concept: Granbull (HS or CL) has an attack called “Timid Tackle” which does 50 damage for [C][C] with the effect of causing 20 damage to itself and forcing a switch with a Pokémon from the player’s bench. Here’s where Catastrophe comes in. If Granbull can successfully knock out the opponent’s Pokémon, it could be switched with Gengar Prime whose PokéBody activates and sends the defending Pokémon to the Lost Zone rather than the discard pile. Why? Because all the effects of an attack must be resolved before a Pokémon is knocked out. Therefore, Gengar is technically active before the knock out.

So, a Gengar/Granbull union may be nothing more than a Stupid Deck Idea. But someone smarter than me could probably make it work.

So what’s good about Gengar Prime in a Mewtwo EX matchup?
• Low energy attack
• No weakness to other Psychic types
• Fairly high HP (in the EX era)
• Can prevent Mewtwo EX from coming back from the discard pile

What’s not so good?

• Only enough HP to stand up to two attacks at most from Mewtwo EX
• Stage 2 set up can be slow
• Cannot OHKO Mewtwo EX

Here’s a skeleton deck list for your perusal:

Pokemon – 22
T/S/S – 21
Energy – 10
3-1-3 Gengar Prime
3-1-3 Vileplume UD
3-3 Granbull HS/CL
1 Mr. Mime TM
1 Spiritomb TM
4 Pokémon Collector
4 Seeker
4 Rare Candy
2 Professor Juniper
2 Fisherman
2 Professor Elm’s
3 Lost World
4 DCE
4 Psychic
2 Rescue

Open spots – 7

Some other options:

Increase your offensive tactics by dispensing entirely with Vileplume. That would open up an additional 13 slots and replace it with Crushing Hammer, Lost Remover and Junk Arm to continually remove energy from Mewtwo EX.

Consider using Banette or Tangrowth from CL to Lost Zone energy (be careful, it’s flippy) from Mewtwo EX and prevent it from coming back from the discard pile.
Use something to apply a special condition from the Bench (like Hypno or Roserade) to disrupt attacks or place additional damage counters between turns.

Overall, Gengar Prime is a very cool looking card with a Body and attacks that are intriguing and fun to play. Ultimately, it amounts to little more than a curiosity, kind of like a drunk uncle you really like but who you’d never pick first for a backyard football game.

Artwork: 9/10
Playability in pre-EX format: 6.5/10
Playability in EX-format: 4/10

Posted by at February 15, 2012
Filed in category: Card of the Day,
  • http://www.facebook.com/imsecretlyamachine Sean Thao

    haha yes!!! Its Sean Thao (McRgaara) from youtube, you did my deck analysis awhile ago on my deck idea of Vileplume and Gengar, Although not sure if this would work or not but I just got excited seeing the Vilelostgar combo again =] Kudos for the uppdates Dan!

  • Minimanjosh101

    what about lost-zoning the granbull as well and using Mew to deal 100 with weakness v Mewtwo. Mew and gengar have always had a lovely synergy.

  • Jimmy Rose

    Thanks for your comment. You know, I hadn’t thought of that at all. I was playing a Mew-Lucario-Relicanth deck a while back, and it might have been useful there. My concern in using Mew against MewTwo EX is that the poor little guy is so fragile with 60 HP and weak to Psychic. Mew must account for energy costs, so it would be signing its own death warrant by attaching enough energy to use Granbull’s attacks. MewTwo EX would really exploit it. Outside of the MewTwo EX match up, your idea might give some oomph to Lost Gar.

  • Pokeguy

    You could put in Twins in this since you’re not taking prizes and your opponent is so you can get the cards you need 4 the set up faster