Gengar - Crimson Invasion
Gengar – Crimson Invasion

– Crimson Invasion

Date Reviewed:
December 13, 2017

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.80
Expanded: 2.75
Limited: 3.63

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

Reviews Below:


The highlight of Gengar (SM: Crimson Invasion 38/111) is its “Gnawing Curse” Ability; each time your opponent attaches an Energy card from hand to one of his or her Pokémon, he or she has to place two damage counters on that Pokémon. As always, placing damage counters is about shortening the lifespan of the target Pokémon, barring situations where one needs to trigger an effect. Two damage counters isn’t a huge amount, but it is enough to shift a near OHKO into an effective OHKO, near 2HKO into an effective 2HKO, etc. I don’t recall this kind of effect having a lot of success in the past, but Gnawing Curse may be the first time this kind of effect triggers for each Energy card attached from hand and multiple instances of Gnawing Curse can stack. The prominence of Gardevoir-GX is also very significant. The other effect on this card is the attack “Fade to Black” for [PCC], doing 70 damage and leaving the opponent’s Active Confused. The damage output is a bit low for the Energy, and Confusion is does nothing half the time, but when it all works out, Confusion plus Gnawing Curse will add to the damage done while preserving an Active Gengar.

Being a [P] Type is helpful is [P] Weak attackers like Buzzwole-GX remain prominent, maybe also to make use of Dimension Valley, but Fade to Black isn’t impressive enough for me to wish to use it outside of emergencies or major opportunities. It normally goes without saying, but Gengar is a “regular” Pokémon; no special rules or classifications, but this means it only gives up one Prize when KO’d, can take advantage of cards like Counter Energy, and doesn’t have to worry about an opponent’s Choice Band upping the damage it takes. That last one is pretty relevant to its 130 HP; this amount tends to be around the point where surviving an attack is more likely than being OHKO’d, especially when one of the main means of buffing weaker attacks won’t matter. [D] Weakness definitely matters; Zoroark-GX is very much a thing, and I wouldn’t rule out a variety of various past [D] Type heavies making a comeback (sometimes their third or fourth!). Though unlikely, the return of the [F] Type to competitive relevance is a small boost for Gengar. Finishing off this section, that free Retreat Cost is glorious; the available versions of Gastly and Haunter lack it, but at least you’ll enjoy easy retreating once you reach the end of the line.

Gengar is a Stage 2 Pokémon; apart from obscure tricks like using the “Lifesplosion” attack found on Cradily (BW: Plasma Blast 4/101), you’ve got to either Evolve Gengar directly from Gastly (via Rare Candy) or from a Haunter that itself Evolved from Gastly. The additional time and cards this require are quite relevant, but more on that later. The best Gastly offers in either the Standard or Expanded Format looks like Gastly (XY: BREAKthrough 58/162; Generations 33/83; XY: Black Star Promos XY132) looks like to me; [P] gives you a 50% chance at both Confusion at Sleep, hopefully buying time and setting up for more later. Haunter surprises by having two sound options. XY: BREAKthrough 58/162 (re-released as Generations 33/83) has a useful Ability while SM: Crimson Invasion 37/111 a useful attack. Unless specific circumstances elevate one of these (or Rare Candy) usage, blend the three together. There is one other Gengar to consider as well: XY: BREAKthrough 59/162 (re-released as Generations 34/83) has the same stats as for today’s, but with two attacks. Possibly an even split in a deck built around Gengar would make sense, but most of the time, you’ll probably want the Ability or the attacker more reliably than two copies will enable.

Gengar has some nifty tricks but, so far, it hasn’t placed well in Standard or Expanded; I don’t know if that is because no one has discovered the right deck or because no one skilled enough has built/run it at an event, but I suspect it is because for all that is going right for Gengar, including Gardevoir-GX being such a great deck, too many other decks barely notice Gengar. Something expecting to be OHKO’d have to be taken out by multiple copies of Gnawing Curse (give or take some other form of damage counter placement). While some targets shave a turn off the KO count, enough others don’t really care that I lack confidence in the tactic. Unless you can field your own solid attacker while also getting two or three copies of Gengar to the field ASAP… and the deck also has to contend with fast decks that will already have a good attacker (or attackers) to the field and powered-up before you even get a chance to Evolve. Throw in the decks that don’t attach much Energy from hand, and things start to go against Gengar. It isn’t a Pokémon to forget, but if it is going to prove good, I think we’re still missing something.

Unless it is the Limited Format; Gastly (SM: Crimson Invasion 36/111) still isn’t great here, but like its Evolutions, it becomes better. Haunter and Gengar won’t have a cakewalk, but they should have some chops here.  Gengar showed up as Vince’s #9 pick (thanks to Vince for saying so – saves me some awkward wording); this earned it two voting points.  Gengar actually tied with two other cards, but won this by appearing on one of the two extra-large lists in the 11+ section; one of the other two also did this, but appeared lower (and on the same exact list), while the third had just a single top 10 appearance.  Gengar didn’t make my own top top 15 (mine was the other list larger than 10), but it definitely caught my eye, and I wouldn’t mind Vince proving right in the long run.


Standard: 2.9/5
Expanded: 2.5/5
Limited: 3.75/5


This Gengar from SM Crimson Invasion is meant to be a bench sitter due to it’s ability, Gnawing Curse, which states if the opponent attaches an energy to their Pokemon, put two damage counters on that Pokemon. This ability stacks, so if you have four of them, then that’s EIGHT damage counter for that designated Pokemon! This ability could make Pokemon that provides multiple/unlimited energy acceleration a huge liability.

As good as this ability is, some caveats include Gengar’s 130 HP, which happens to be the new magic number for 2HKOs. It’s attack, Fade to Black, costs PCC for 70 plus confusion…in hopes to do some stalling. This damage output makes Gengar not so much as an attacker. Having four Gengars is incredibly demanding; while you can take advantage of stacking abilities, they eat up your bench space a lot and is at risk of being dragged active, ready to be KOed.

I had Gengar in my #9 pick.

Standard: 3/5
Expanded: 3/5
Limited: 3.5/5


Gengar (Crimson Invasion, 38/111) returns to the meta in the Crimson Invasion expansion set. A Stage 2 Psychic Pokemon, it has the potentially devastating ability Gnawing Curse.  This ability mandates that your opponent put two damage counters on their Pokemon every time they attach an Energy card from their hand.

I tried this with Drampa GX (Guardians Rising, 142/145) and with a spread deck, but I haven’t had as much success as I would have liked.  I’m only 2 W 3 L with Drampa Gengar, and 1 W 5 L with the spread deck version with Promo Koko and Meowstic (Generations, RC15).  I use Po Town with these decks, and I feel like I put a ton of damage across the board on all of my opponent’s Pokemon.  It’s too bad that Aegislash (Breakpoint, 62/122) is a Stage 2 Pokemon because it seems like Painful Sword would be great here, but I know in my mind that it’s just too hard to get that many Stage 2 decks developed, even with Counter Catcher as a potential stall tactic.

But since that’s the only option left, here’s the decklist I put together:

##Pokémon – 25

* 2 Tapu Koko PR-SM SM31
* 2 Tapu Koko PR-SM SM30
* 4 Gastly BKT 58
* 4 Haunter BKT 59
* 2 Gengar CIN 38
* 2 Gengar BKT 60
* 3 Honedge BKP 60
* 3 Doublade BKP 61
* 3 Aegislash BKP 62

##Trainer Cards – 25

* 4 Professor Sycamore STS 114
* 2 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 3 Skyla BKP 122
* 1 Special Charge STS 105
* 3 Evosoda XY 116
* 2 Nest Ball SUM 158
* 4 N NVI 92
* 3 Counter Catcher CIN 91
* 3 Rare Candy SUM 129

##Energy – 10

* 4 Counter Energy CIN 100
* 4 Double Colorless Energy EVO 90
* 2 Psychic Energy SUM 162

Unfortunately, because of the issues resulting from the PTCGO update, I only got to play one match with it.  I had significant issues with PTCGO after the update.

If you were unable to open PTCGO after the upgrade, please click here: 

I posted an article detailing the steps that I went through to getting PTCGO to work again.  It was not a lot of fun and took me well over an hour.

As far as Gengar Slash goes, I’ll try to update that next week.  I won the one match I played.  It wasn’t against a meta deck, it was against Gourgeist Tauros, and he actually had double Octillery so I was able to use Counter Catchers to strand Octillery in the active a couple of times.  Aegislash’s Painful Sword came through in the last turn to take three prizes and win the match, but it was very close.  One less Flying Flip and I think my opponent would have wound up on the winning side of the contest.


Standard: 2.5 out of 5


Oh there’s a decklist out there for your Gengar, for you and your prior incarnation from BKT.  This may or may not be it though.  Like I said, I’ll work on it some more at some point in the future.

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