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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


 M Gengar-EX
- XY: Black Star Promos

Date Reviewed:
Dec. 12, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.75
Expanded: 2.63
Limited: Promo

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


Welcome to another week of reviews!  We’ll spend most of it covering some of the Black Star series of promo cards that have released over the last few months.  First up is M Gengar-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY166), easily distinguished from the original M Gengar-EX (XY: Phantom Forces 35/119, 121/119) because the art features the rare alternate palette (or “shiny”) version of a Mega Gengar in the artwork.  So… what’s it like in terms of gameplay relevant stats?  Starting with what is so obvious you’ll notice it before you even read the card’s name, M Gengar-EX is a Psychic Type.  Many Psychic and Fighting Type Pokémon are Psychic Weak, but most Darkness and Metal Type Pokémon are Psychic Resistant; Weakness is a much stronger (and far less balanced) mechanic than Resistance so that still works in the Psychic Types favor.  I’m not seeing any counters specific to the Type, though they’ve got some Type explicit support, the bits worth mentioning being Dimension Valley, Mystery Energy, and Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119; Generations RC11/RC32).  The first two are pretty obvious, but the last one is just a solid partner for Gengar-EX and its hit-and-run tactics.  The Psychic Type also has some potent members that don’t require being used on Type, but are enhanced by it like Mew-EX.  Not the top Type, but good. 

M Gengar-EX is (of course) a Mega Evolution, but humor me as I run through what that means for my own sake and those new to the game.  Your turn ends when you Mega Evolve one of your in play Pokémon, robbing you of a chance to attack, preventing you from Mega Evolving multiple cards in a turn, etc.  You can avoid this drawback with Gengar Spirit Link.  M Gengar-EX can tap the tiny bit of Mega Evolution Stage support, but that also means dealing with the tiny bit of Mega Evolution counters; there are some significant cards among both like Mega Turbo (for support) and Giratina-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 57/98, 93/98) (as an example of a counter).  It also means being a Pokémon-EX, so M Gengar-EX gives up an extra Prize when KO’d, has to deal with some Pokémon-EX specific counters, and is excluded from certain beneficial effects; Silver Bangle gives us an example of both of those last two.  It does come with some benefits; instead of Evolving from a Stage 2 Gengar, M Gengar-EX Evolves from Gengar-EX and being a pseudo-Stage 1 is much better than being a pseudo-Stage 3 (even needing a Spirit Link).  No Mega Evolution has failed to enjoy an HP boost when compared to its Basic Pokémon-EX counterpart, and I am aware of no Basic Pokémon-EX that is not at least 20 HP larger than its regular counterpart. 

M Gengar-EX specifically has 210 HP; 40 over Gengar-EX, which is in turn 40 over the most recent Gengar (XY: BREAKthrough 60/162; Generations 35/83).  When not facing decks built to OHKO just about anything or Darkness Type decks, M Gengar-EX should be able to take at least one hit without being KO’d.  That Darkness Weakness is pretty dangerous; Darkness Type decks are not always on top, but it seems like at worst they fall towards the bottom of the competitive lists before something reinvigorates them.  M Gengar-EX does get to enjoy Fighting Resistance, which has a better chance of mattering thanks to the aforementioned 210 HP, but Weakness is far more powerful (and much less balanced) than Resistance.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough you can likely pay it up front but high enough you’ll probably miss it later.  So far no Mega Evolution has had more than one attack; some have an Ancient Trait but that isn’t an issue here.  M Gengar-EX can use “Hollow Geist” for [PPPC] to do 120 damage and afflict the opponent’s Active with both Confusion and Poison.  Confusion is probably a non-issue unless your opponent can’t shake it… which is true of most Special Conditions, but in this case Confusion will offer some (flippy) protection that - when it works and your opponent’s attack fails - also kicks in some extra damage counter placement.  As long as Poison is being blocked it’s extra damage counter placement makes Hollow Geist effectively hit for 130.  Not the most important HP threshold, but an improvement.  For the Energy invested though, I expect more from an attack; even with stuff like Max Potion and Dimension Valley this will not be a quick, reliable set up; your strategy will have to pick one or the other.  For this investment on a Mega Evolution, I should be looking at something at least approaching a OHKO… and we’re not. 

I’ve mentioned Gengar-EX (XY: Phantom Forces 34/119; 114/119) before, but let’s make it official.  It is a Psychic Type, Basic Pokémon-EX with 170 HP, Darkness Weakness, Fighting Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC], no Ability, no Ancient Trait, and two attacks.  The first is “Night Attack” for [C] which allows you to select one of your opponent’s Pokémon and place three damage counters on it.  The second is “Dark Corridor” for [PCC], doing 60 damage, Poisoning the opponent’s Active, and giving you the option of sending Gengar-EX to the Bench.  This card was first reviewed here, and Gengar-EX did manage a porter deck that has been competitive at least some of the time.  Night Attack is a decent Bench hit for the cost, especially after Dimension Valley; placing damage counters instead of doing damage meant it was unaffected by most Bench protection effects.  Dark Corridor is built around combos; not just Dimension Valley to turn it into a two Energy attack, but various “dance partners” to promote after attacking, usually something with a protective or disruptive Ability.  This is your only Gengar-EX option, but it’s a good foundation.  I think we scored it pretty accurately back in the day.  I don’t believe this has been reprinted, so for now it is only legal for Expanded play. 

The other M Gengar-EX is XY: Phantom Forces 35/119 (and 121/119) has similar stats to today’s version, but with 10 more HP and [C] less Retreat - so 220 HP and Retreat Cost [C] - a good start.  Its attack is “Phantom Gate” and it costs [PCC], definitely more affordable than Hollow Geist, but unfortunately somewhat unpredictable, because it allows you to copy the an attack from one of your opponent’s Pokémon.  You get to ignore stuff like printed Energy costs, but other conditions still apply.  Some attacks are much easier to copy than others, and sometimes even being easy to copy isn’t enough.  For example copying Night March off of Joltik (XY: Phantom Forces 26/119) requires you have Night March Pokémon in your own discard pile, otherwise it will do zero damage.  Even if you did have them, you’re using a Mega Evolution with an attack that costs [PCC] to replicate an attack that costs [CC].  Night March decks often use their own Mew-EX or Mew (XY: Fates Collide 29/124) to copy this attack as well, so even with Dimension Valley to shave [C] off the Energy cost, odds are you’re paying [P] more than your opponent.  When you do pull off a strong attack at a discount, though, it is great.  We reviewed this M Gengar-EX here; Baby Mario seems to have had this card’s number while aroramage and myself were too generous.  It too is legal only for Expanded play. 

So should you run today’s M Gengar-EX?  Probably not.  It is Standard legal but unless I missed an new (or reprint) of Gengar-EX, you have no way to actually get it into play.  If we get something, then it would be mediocre at best, barring matchups where exploiting Psychic Weakness is important.  In Expanded, Hollow Geist just isn’t worth the effort as it is four Energy (or three plus Dimension Valley) just for a reliable 2HKO instead of a OHKO.  It also isn’t legal for Limited play since it is a promo, and so not included in any product compatible with this format.  Otherwise if it were reprinted into a set it would be “okay”, assuming the set also included a version of Gengar-EX (and maybe Gengar Spirit Link as well). 


Standard: 1/5 

Expanded: 1.75/5 

Limited: N/A 

Summary: M Gengar-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY166) has a pricey attack that has some combo opportunities in Expanded, but that is where there are answers to all such combos, and other cards do it better.  That is better than in Standard play where, as far as I can tell, you lack a Gengar-EX to play it (Gengar Spirit Link is absent as well).  This shiny can’t even shine in Limited play because it is a promo.  Not a thrilling start to the week, but at least it is a promo that didn’t get stuck in Japan.


M Gengar-EX in his shiny form! SUPER COOL!! 

Arguably this is the better form of M Gengar-EX, depending on what you're looking for. While the original's Phantom Gate can copy any attack and is as versatile as the card pool itself, this M Gengar-EX has Hollow Geist, a 4-for-120 move that both Poisons AND Confuses! A bit of a crazy set of bits and pieces there, but not a bad set of Status Conditions to mix together. You can keep damaging the opponent between turns, and unless they retreat, they'll have to face the 50/50 chance that they might either hit you or take even more damage. It's actually not as bad as it seems. 

Course Crisis Vine is the much better combination of Paralysis and Poison, but M Gengar-EX brings something else to the table at least. Unfortunately, Hollow Geist might be a little overcosted for what it provides - it really should be 3-for-120 that does both Status effects to be competitively viable, but then again when was the last time you saw anyone playing the Phantom Forces M Gengar-EX? 



Standard: 2.5/5 (if I'm not mistaken, I think this is the only one available in Standard right now, but without Gengar Spirit Link it's pretty meh) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (even with it, it's still gotta compete with his cousin, which just gives a M Gengar deck options - copy attacks or hit hard for Status)

Limited: N/A (and of course, he's a promo, so there's really nothing to worry about in regards to his usage in a single set) 

Arora Notealus: Shiny Gengar is a really cool Pokemon and probably one of the more distinct shiny Pokemon out there. Sometimes you just need more than a slightly different shade of green in order to distinguish a shiny from something else, AND NO, THE STAR ANIMATION ALONE ISN'T THAT HELPFUL. 

Next Time: Darkness approaches, and a Pokemon arrives to signal...the horizon...

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