PKMN.NET :: Pokemon of the Week #32 - Gengar :: #33 of Pokémon of the Week - Generation 6 :: Columns
Pokemon of the Week #32 - Gengar by Richard and Blaziken at Sun 07 Sep 2014 00:00:00 UTC

Welcome to the thirty-second issue of 6th Generation's Pokemon of the Week! This week we'll be covering not only the first ever Pokemon of the Week I did last generation, but the only Pokemon to have a form that could potentially be banned from any competitive play at all. This week we discuss Gengar.

Pokemon Overview

Gastly's body is made of poisonous gas. Despite lacking substance, it can envelop any living thing to cause suffocation.Haunter lurks in the darkness, watching its prey and causing paranoia. When they're completely unnerved, it springs out and licks with its gaseous tongue to steal their life force. Gengar hides in the shadows, tropping the tempurature around it significantly. It then absorbs the heat from its victims, causing them to shake violently. It then slips through the shadows unseen and steals the life force from its incapacitated prey.

Competitive Corner

Base Stats: 60 HP / 65 Attack / 60 Defense / 130 Sp. Attack / 75 Sp. Defense / 110 Speed

Writing Gengar's dex entries always creeps me out. Anyway, Gengar is one of very few Pokemon to have been OU since generation 1, which is a testament to how good it is. It also helps that Ghost is the least common type of any of the types we currently have, and very few of them are any good. Gengar did it first, and Gengar does it right: fantastic 110 Speed gives it a huge edge against the plethora of base 100 and lower Pokemon in the tier, and 130 Sp. Attack deals hefty damage. However, as you'd expect from a Pokemon from Gengar, it's got many tricks up its sleeves to beat Pokemon through unconventional methods. Destiny Bond drags an attacking foe to the grave with it if it's knocked out that turn, Disable to prevent opponents from using the same move to beat it, and Pain Split along with Substitute makes it very difficult to kill, despite its cardboard defenses.

Even better for Gengar, Ghost now deals neutral damage to Steel, easing prediction significantly and making Shadow Ball more spamable. The addition of Fairy type, as well as the recent Mawilite ban makes Sludge Bomb a decent secondary STAB that's more powerful than Shadow Ball, something Gengar appreciates.

There are problems, though. Dark has been buffed in multiple ways this generation, also no longer being resisted by Steel, Knock Off gaining a massive buff as possibly one of the best moves in the game for anything that learns it, and the rise of Bisharp is something that pesters Gengar greatly, as it's a reliable revenge-killer once Gengar's Sub is broken. Substitute is mandatory, not optional, because of Gengar's terrible frailty. Even with these problems, Gengar is a top threat, and has been for 15 years.

Death To Stall
Gengar@ Life Orb
Timid nature (+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Sp. Attack / 252 Speed
Pain Split
Shadow Ball
Focus Blast

Gengar's access to Pain Split, Poison typing and Levitate makes it a fantastic answer to stall. It can switch into Toxic without fear and throw up a Substitute to prevent any other status effects, while also being immune to Spikes. Pain Split allows you to recover health lost from Substitute and Life Orb, while also doing something pretty important: lopping massive chunks of HP off of Chansey, forcing it to heal more often. Shadow Ball and Focus Blast provide perfect neutral coverage; Shadow Ball is a good STAB attack, while Focus Blast deals with Tyranitar and Bisharp.

As the title implies, this set is meant to give stall teams trouble, and it does that very well, given the many common switch-in opportunities Gengar has against common stall Pokemon, including Chansey, Mega Venusaur, Gliscor (that lack Knock Off), and Clefable. For this reason, entry hazard support is highly recommended, especially Spikes, to wear these Pokemon down as they're forced to switch out of Gengar most of the time. Stealth Rock is helpful too, and should generally already be on nearly any good OU team, but it worth mentioning for also hindering offensive teams greatly.

Clefable's Shadow
Gengar@ Black Sludge
Timid nature (+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: 28 HP / 148 Sp. Attack / 80 Sp. Defense / 252 Speed
Shadow Ball
Disable / Sludge Wave / Taunt

This Gengar serves as a reliable answer to a great many common OU threats. Substitute provides a buffer from damage and status, and allows Gengar to safely do a few things I'll discuss momentarily. One of those things is Will-O-Wisp, crippling Bisharp, Tyranitar, and most physical attackers in general. Shadow Ball is used in the third slot as Gengar's main form of dealing damage, since it has good neutral coverage.

The last slot gives Gengar a few choices, depending on preference. Disable works well with Substitute - the first turn you setup a Sub, and the second you Disable the move they used to break it. This works especially well when dealing with Choice Band and Choice Specs users, shutting them down completely. Be careful, however, as this strategy is common and easily worked around if the opponent has two attacks that can break Gengar's Substitute. Sludge Wave is an option here for added coverage and a stronger STAB. It also deals well with Clefable and deals more damage to Sylveon. Finally, Taunt can completely shut down defensive Pokemon like Chansey, Clefable, and cleric Sylveon, which can really complicate stall teams, especially with entry hazards up.

The EVs are very strange, but they accomplish a couple specific things. The HP and Sp. Defense EVs ensure that Gengar's Substitute cannot be broken by Mega Venusaur's Giga Drain, or Clefable's Moonblast, allowing it to safely setup on them. Maximum Speed is necessary on a Pokemon with Gengar's excellent base 110 Speed, and the rest is dumped into Sp. Attack to make Shadow Ball stronger.

Mega Evolution: Gengar

Base Stats: 60 HP / 65 Attack / 80 Defense / 170 Sp. Attack / 95 Sp. Defense / 130 Speed

Mega Gengar is the first Pokemon form to ever face a (currently ongoing) suspect test in Uber. If this goes through, it will be banned from any Smogon Singles play at all. Before I go on, if you don't already know why, take the time to read on before making a snap judgement. This is highly controversial, so it's important to learn the facts. First, and very importantly, since 5th generation the Uber tier is treated both as a banlist and a tier, not just a banlist. Smogon makes little attempt to balance the Uber tier, only banning things that are fundamentally uncompetitive, such as Moody.

Mega Gengar is not being suspected because it's the strongest Pokemon ever. It's not being suspected because it's impossible to defeat, or even outplay it in the right circumstances. Mega Gengar is being suspected because it is arguably uncompetitive. The combination of Shadow Tag, Perish Song, and Destiny Bond usually nets it a minimum of 2 kills per game. Random things have begun running Shed Shell, sometimes multiple things per team, just as insurance to not be trapped helplessly against Mega Gengar and Perish Song stalled to death. Mega Gengar chooses what it kills by trapping whatever it wants and removing anything that cannot kill it in one turn. One. If you don't have Pursuit and cannot kill Mega Gengar in one single turn, you lose against it, pure and simple. You then have to remember that Mega Gengar is capable of more than just a Perish Song set, and can easily go offensive, so even if you pack Shed Shell Blissey and escape to something else, it could easily be switching into a Focus Blast, which 1-2HKOs almost any Pursuit user that is supposed to remove M-Gengar.

The arguments against Mega Gengar being banned is that Uber has always been a tier that has no banned Pokemon forms, it's a free-for-all. Banning a Pokemon (/form) from Ubers has never happened, and if this does go through, this will set an uncomfortable precedent of banning Pokemon from a tier that began as a banlist. This test has both sides raging, so let's just take a look at the movesets and you can take a stance for yourself.

Destiny Demon
Gengar@ Gengarite
Levitate [Shadow Tag]
Timid nature (+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Sp. Attack / 252 Speed
Sludge Wave / Sludge Bomb
Focus Blast
Destiny Bond

Offensive Mega Gengar picks a target to kill and does it. Sludge Wave is the most powerful STAB attack it has access to and is chosen over Shadow Ball for a few important reasons. Offensive Psychic type Ubers often outspeed and OHKO Mega Gengar, while defensive Psychic types can usually take a Shadow Ball and still OHKO back or phaze Gengar out. Sludge Bomb can be used here for a slightly weaker hit with a 30% chance to Poison, which can add up to more damage and put even more pressure on the opponent if it does Poison. Focus Blast deals with Steel types that are immune to Poison. Taunt stops defensive Pokemon from healing or using a status move, while Destiny Bond will bring an opponent down with it when Mega Gengar's usefulness has expired.

This set helps teams remove problematic Pokemon, while also providing a strong offensive presence on the team, something the next set doesn't provide. Entry hazards are appreciated as always, especially Stealth Rock and Sticky Web, and Gengar can also block Rapid Spin and trap Defog users and kill them.

Wobbuffet's Phantom
Gengar@ Gengarite
Levitate [Shadow Tag]
Timid nature (+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: 248 HP / 84 Sp. Defense / 176 Speed
Perish Song
Disable / Substitute

Perish Song Gengar is the main (but certainly not the only) reason that Gengarite is being suspected. Perish Song is the crux of the set; the opponent can't switch out, so their only hope is to kill Mega Gengar before the timer is up. Your mission is to ensure this doesn't happen. Protect stalls out a turn, dropping the counter to two. Taunt protects Gengar from status and most importantly, Roar. Disable is to be used after Protect, to cut off the move they're attempting to kill you with. If they don't have two moves to knock you out, you've pretty much ensured victory. Substitute can be used in the last slot to block status and stall out another turn of Perish Song as well. Disable is better against choice-locked Pokemon and support Pokemon, while Substitute is more reliable against Pokemon that often have multiple attacks that can kill Gengar.

A Wish passer or even a Healing Wish user can be great to support this set, allowing it to rinse and repeat many times if it's reasonable to do so in your current match-up. The EVs give Gengar enough Speed to outspeed Arceus, with the rest dumped into making it as specially bulky as possible, since most of the Pokemon in the Uber tier are special attackers.

Sticky Web support is also helpful for this set, to ensure Gengar outspeeds as many threats as possible, trap them, and kill them. Paralysis support is also helpful, for the same reason.

In-Game Information

Getting a Gengar in-game requires you to be able to trade, but that's not hard to find these days. Haunter can be found on Route 14, Route 19, Frost Cavern and Victory Road, giving you many of opportunities to catch one. From there, just trade to a friend and back, and you've got a Gengar! Here's what I'd recommend:


Shadow Ball
Sludge Bomb
Focus Blast
Thunderbolt / Psychic

Gengar's a very straightforward Pokemon to use in-game. Shadow Ball and Sludge Bomb are a great STAB combo, especially in X/Y where Fairy types are common. Focus Blast gives perfect neutral coverage alongside Shadow Ball. The last slot is kind of filler. Thunderbolt has wonderful Super Effective coverage. Psychic allows Gengar to quickly and reliably remove opposing Fighting types, if that's helpful to your team.

My Thoughts

Gengar has a wicked cool design, and while Mega Gengar took some getting used to, I like it as well. The dark and creepy Pokedex entries add flavor to the design, and being made of gas both explains the Poison typing, and adds an extra element of terror to the Ghost design: it's not only a scary ghost, but it can suffocate you. I've also got a bit of a personal connection with Gengar. While it's not one of my favorite Pokemon, back in the days of generation 1, my dad tried to get into Pokemon because I was into it. While that didn't last, his favorite Pokemon was Gengar, so I've always named my Gengar after him. Now both of our favorite Pokemon's ultimate forms are in the Uber tier. Only the best Pokemon for my family!

...Unless you're counting my mom and sister's choices of Marill and Horsea.

Digg this! | | Reddit | Stumble Upon | Facebook

Tags: None!

Delicious_Scout on Sun 07 Sep 2014 11:16:07 UTC.
But Marill and Horsea are cute!
Spriter on Sun 07 Sep 2014 20:29:00 UTC.
but Azumarill is OU! Joking aside, fantastic article concerning both formes, and good that you've helped clarify it a little more for me concerning the suspect test. I didn't realise that was why it was being suspected.