Gengar VMAX is Consistent Again with Single Strike Urshifu!

Hello to all CFB readers! Nathalia Fernandes here again with another Pokémon TCG article and this time, I’m going to talk about the Gengar VMAX list that I intend to use at Sao Paulo Regionals that’s a little different from the conventional one.

With only a few days to go before I’m back to participating in a regional after two years, I decided to intensify my tests a little more to be able to find the ideal deck choice for the competition and among all the options I tested, I think I’m enjoying Gengar VMAX the most, both for its strength but also for its good positioning in the metagame.

It’s very clear to say that Gengar is a good attacker against Mew VMAX. Even if it is still not enough to guarantee a very favorable matchup, it guarantees at least a balanced matchup, but what surprised a lot of players is that Gengar VMAX is a great attacker against Arceus VSTAR as well, as it can knock it out with just one attack thanks to its Single Strike Energy. With ease of knocking out the two main Pokémon of the format, Gengar already proves that it deserves to be part of the tier one of the metagame, but it doesn’t stop there. Gengar VMAX is also able to play on equal terms against other decks of the format, such as Rapid Strike Malamar and Suicune / Ludicolo. 

But if the deck in theory has balanced matchups against the metagame, then what is the bad matchup of the deck? And the answer is: itself. In the same way that Gengar VMAX can win everything, it can also lose anything because the biggest villain of the deck is consistency. We recently had the Salt Lake Regionals and we had three Gengar VMAX decks in the top 8, which was a surprise to many, including me who has been enjoying and testing the deck for a while. My surprise was not because of the deck’s capacity, but because there were only six Gengar decks among the 73 best players in the competition and half of them made it to the top 8.

One of the reasons for having little Gengar VMAX in the competition may have to do with the consistency factor, something that is taken very seriously by players, especially for the so-called “pro players.” As strong as a deck is, it should be able to execute its strategy almost all the time and at this point, Mew VMAX and Arceus VSTAR are better. In the eyes of a competitive player, consistency is not an option but an obligation, and if the deck cannot develop its strategy several times in a row, then it should not be considered an option. I also take consistency seriously and have stopped playing several decks that I liked simply because I couldn’t reach the level of consistency needed to participate in a competition. 

But all in all, I don’t think Gengar VMAX is that inconsistent and it all depends on the build you’re using. In today’s article, I’m going to analyze the Gengar VMAX list that I intend to use in the Regional. Its big difference to the lists that did well in Salt Lake City is the greater focus on consistency that I decided to give, in exchange for less offensive power. The reason I opted for these changes is that if Gengar VMAX comes into play quickly with some Single Strike Energy, you’ll probably be fine in the game, without the need to use tech cards to try to recover from a bad start or turn. weak.



Header - The List


4 Gengar V
3 Gengar VMAX
1 Single Strike Urshifu V
1 Single Strike Urshifu VMAX
4 Houndour
3 Houndoom
2 Bidoof
2 Bibarel
1 Crobat V

4 Professor's Research
3 Marnie
3 Boss's Orders

4 Quick Ball
4 Ultra Ball
4 Battle Vip Pass
3 Switch
3 Urn of Vitality
1 Tool Jammer

3 Tower of Darkness

4 Single Strike Energy
3 Hiding Darkness Energy


Gengar Vs. Mew and Arceus

Gengar V (156/264)Gengar VMAX (271/264)

Finding a strong and easy-to-use Pokémon to play toe-to-toe with Mew is already very difficult to find already, but try to imagine one that plays against Mew and Arceus. Gengar VMAX is a rare example of this, and it’s no wonder that this Pokémon was featured in the Salt Lake Regionals champion deck. While the first Fear and Panic attack is enough to knock out any Pokémon against Mew VMAX with just two energies, the second attack, G-Max Swallow Up, is the highlight as it can deal an average of 290 to 310 damage, a value capable of knocking out even Arceus. VSTAR with Big Charm.

Gengar V is also a good attacker, but in the current metagame you will almost always want to attack with Gengar VMAX, for the simple fact that in most cases, Gengar will KO the defending Pokémon while the opponent will hardly be able to do 320 damage with one attack.

Another Way to KO Duraludon VMAX

Single Strike Urshifu V (TG18/TG30)Single Strike Urshifu VMAX (TG29/TG30)

One of the great differentials of this list is the inclusion of a copy of Single Strike Urshifu V and Single Strike Urshifu VMAX and the main reason is to continue to have the opportunity to knock out a Duraludon VMAX without needing Path to the Peak.

If you don’t remember what Urshifu VMAX does anymore, the G-Max One Blow attack does 270 damage and can go through any effect, including Duraludon VMAX’s Skyscrapper Ability, and with three Single Strike Energy on, the damage goes to 330, enough value to get the knockout. If Duraludon VMAX has Big Charm, just use Tool Jammer to nullify this tool.

But Single Strike Urshifu is far from being just a tech against Duraludon VMAX and in fact, despite the presence of Mew VMAX and Rapid Strike Malamar that hits the weakness, he is in a great position in the metagame. It hits the weakness of Arceus VSTAR and serves also to help Gengar VMAX in matchups where the opponent might have some Fighting Type tech, like Galarian Zapdos V in Arceus or Stonjourner in some Single Strike decks.

Houndoom vs. Single Prize Pokémon

Houndour (095/163)Houndoom (TG10/TG30)

You probably already know that the main function of Houndoom is to provide Single Strike Energy acceleration for Gengar and Single Strike Urshifu, but in the matchups against Single Prize decks, especially Rapid Strike Malamar for being the most popular single prize deck and considered the strongest by some, Houndoom is a fundamental piece for you to be able to exchange prizes equally, as Houndoom can easily knock out RS Malamar.

Bibarel Brings Another Level of Consistency

Bidoof (120/172)Bibarel (121/172)

Bibarel is nothing new for Gengar VMAX, but not all players prefer to use it, mainly due to lack of space or to prioritize other cards that also provide consistency, but I think Bibarel is needed for the deck. From the second turn, Bibarel will offer you draw power to continue the setup and also to find your Supporter or Urn of Vitality, something that is not always possible to do just using Professor’s Research and Marnie.

Another advantage of Bibarel is the great synergy with Ultra Ball, because when discarding three of your cards from your hand to look for a Pokémon, your hand is consequently with few cards. This implies the lack of resources or even the impossibility of using a second Ultra Ball that is in your hand because you can rarely use two Ultra Balls in a row without Draw Power, since for that you have to discard six cards from your hand.

Crobat Turn One for Setup, If Needed

Crobat V (044/072)

In theory, the idea behind Crobat V is to use it when in an emergency situation, but in practice I find myself using this card more than I would like and almost always on the first turn with the aim of doing a satisfactory setup. A good first turn setup can vary by matchup, but keep in mind that the perfect setup would be two Gengar Vs, two Houndours and a Bidoof on the field.

Standard Supporters

Professor's Research (147/172)Marnie (169/202)Boss's Orders (132/172)

You see less and less of this classic Supporter lineup in today’s top decks, as we have several great Pokemon options that can do the job of Draw Power or even Boss’s Orders, but in Gengar VMAX, it’s still necessary as the strategy takes up space on the deck and on the field.

I Surrendered to the Battle VIP Pass 

Quick Ball (216/202)Ultra Ball (186/172)Battle VIP Pass (225/264)

I confess that I wanted to avoid using Battle VIP Pass on Gengar as much as possible, because unlike Mew VMAX, these cards after the first turn will hurt Gengar VMAX much more due to the lack of Draw Power and Cram-o-matic. On the other hand, Mew needs a turn to setup for practically the entire game, since three Genesect Vs on the field can offer you a draw power of up to 18 cards per turn, Gengar VMAX will need to continue to develop its setup in its next turns while Bibarel only offers you a draw power of up to five cards per turn.

But despite all that, you have to keep in mind that the first turn is by far the most important turn of the format and many times, you lose the game just because you didn’t manage to do a good first turn. At that point, there’s nothing to discuss – Battle VIP Pass does what no card or any other mechanic I tested could do, because finding a Battle VIP Pass in the first turn would basically find two Quick Balls or Ultra Balls in the same hand and with the huge advantage of not having to discard important resources from your hand for it.

A Choice Belt and Big Charm at the Same Time

Tool Jammer (136/163)

After the Salt Lake City Regionals, it became very clear that Tool Jammer is the preferred choice among Gengar VMAX players, but before that I could see that players preferred to use Choice Belt or even Big Charm. Of course, these two Tools have unique advantages in certain situations, but in most cases, the Tool Jammer can do the job of either the Choice Belt or the Big Charm. Let me explain.

If you need to KO an Arceus VSTAR with Big Charm and your Gengar VMAX doesn’t have the amount of Single Strike Energy to do so, then you can use a Choice Belt to perform the KO, but you can also use Tool Jammer to nullify the Big Charm of the opponent. On the other hand, against Mew VMAX, if the opponent does 340 damage with Melodious Echo with four Fusion Strike Energy, Power Tablet and Choice Belt, you can avoid this KO with Big Charm on Gengar, but you can avoid this KO with Tool Jammer as well by nullifying opponent’s Choice Belt.

Tower of Darkness vs. Path to the Peak

Tower of Darkness (137/163)

This type of choice is quite risky, as the deck loses one of the best cards in the game, but on the other hand, it gains much more in consistency. Of course, by making this change some matchups will be more difficult, especially Mew VMAX, but conversely the positive matchups you had with Path to the Peak don’t become bad, they just become much more balanced than before. In exchange for that, you get a much more consistent Gengar VMAX than the others, something that can even give you a bigger advantage in mirror match and against all decks that also make use of Path to the Peak.

Energy Count

Single Strike Energy (141/163)Hiding Darkness Energy (175/189)Urn of Vitality (229/198)

The energy count is low, but enough to guarantee the Gengar VMAX power up for the entire match. However, if you decide to invest in some other tech like Stonjourner or Morpeko, you might have problems. If you manage to use three Urn of Vitality to return two Single Strike Energy, then at most you have 13 energies available, and a Stonjourner needs three of them and that Pokémon will most likely be KO’d the next turn it attacked. If you still opt for techs, then my suggestion is to use one more copy of Urn of Vitality as well.


Header - Final Thoughts

This different view on Gengar VMAX came to me because of some big reasons. First, because of the inconsistency I was feeling with Gengar which I don’t feel anymore. Second, because of the slight decrease of Duraludon VMAX and Mew VMAX and the rise of Gengar VMAX and Arceus VSTAR, which makes Path to the Peak less important and encourages me to want some Fighting tech to improve the matchup against these two rising decks, which warrants the inclusion of SS Urshifu V and SS Urshifu VMAX.

In short, the list analyzed today is a little more focused on matchups against Gengar VMAX and Arceus VSTAR and less focused on Mew VMAX in Duraludon VMAX, even though you have resources in a great list to win from all the aforementioned matchups. It’s just a slight priority shift in the metagame.

That’s all for today, I hope you liked it and until next time!

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