Gourgeist – Evolving Skies

Date Reviewed:  September 25, 2021

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.00
Expanded: 3.00

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

Reviews Below:

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For our laid back weekend review, we’re looking at Gourgeist (SW – Evolving Skies 077/203).  After all, we did take a look at Pumpkaboo (SW – Evolving Skies 076/203) on Tuesday, though perhaps it was a bit less obvious than other lead-ins.  I don’t know why, but I seem to have a certain fondness for Gourgeist.  It is hardly my favorite Pokémon, but I still like it even though I’ve never even played a Pokémon game that contained it!  Maybe it is because I ran a damage spread deck built around Gourgeist (XY 57/146) way back when I was new to the PTCGO.  I’m telling you this now because I like this card, but it is mostly likely Johnny Bait.  Still, let’s run through what it is and what it can do, just in case there’s really a diamond in the rough here.

We’re going to jump to the card’s attack, “Pandemonium”, as that is its defining feature.  For [CC], you reveal the top six cards from your deck, doing 60 damage per [P] Pokémon you find there.  After that, you shuffle the revealed cards back into your deck.  This means Gourgeist is not a generalist; it needs to be in a mostly or mono-Psychic deck.  The attack can whiff and do zero damage, or it can do up 360 damage, enough to OHKO anything, at least disregarding all but printed HP scores.  Of course, early game this is going to be more miss than hit… but what if we save Gourgeist for the mid-to-late game?  Remember, you always shuffle the six revealed Pokémon back into your deck.  This will not keep you from decking out if you get down on cards, but it does mean you can thin your deck, using up non-Pokémon cards while using recycling effects to throw Pokémon back into your deck.

Now for the rest of the card.  Gourgeist is a baseline Pokémon, lacking a Rule Box.  It also lacks even the less jarring game mechanics, like a Battle Style (which currently has no downside).  What this means is that Gourgeist doesn’t need to do as much as something like a Pokémon V because it doesn’t give up as multiple Prizes, and can tap pieces of support that they don’t enjoy.  Pieces of support like Twin Energy, allowing Gourgeist to attack with a single manual Energy attachment, even in Standard.  What does Gourgeist’s [P] typing mean for it?  I’m not sure how common [P] Weakness will be post-rotation; take a look for yourself to see why I’m not sure.  None of the Standard-legal [P] support seems especially good for Gourgeist, but in a sense, Gourgeist itself is [P] Pokémon support because…

…Gourgiest is a Stage 1 Pokémon that evolves from Pumpkaboo, and we now have a Pumpkaboo you might be running for its own sake.  Running a Stage 1 isn’t as easy as running a Basic, but it is a lot easier than running a Stage 2.  Adding a Stage 1 when you’re already running its Basic is a lot closer to just adding a Basic Pokémon to your deck, in terms of difficulty.  The caveat is Pandemonium needs your deck to contain at least six other [P] Pokémon if you want it to reach that beautiful 360 damage, and probably a lot more.  Still, Gourgeist might be able to sneak into other Psychic decks for these reasons.

Yes, we still have more to cover for the card itself.  It has 120 HP, too high for Level Ball but not high enough to be more likely to survive an attack than less.  Still, 120 is on the oxymoronic sounding high end of low HP scores, so it isn’t awful.  This HP score is low enough that [D] Weakness probably won’t matter, as only attacks doing 60 to 110 damage get a OHKO they didn’t already have coming.  However, 120 is enough that the -30 [F] Weakness might save Gourgeist’s life on occasion.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is neither high nor low.  As for Expanded, I’d say that Gourgeist has about as much of a chance as in Standard.  The usual applies; more counters, more alternatives, but more combo pieces.  For example, not only do you have Double Colorless Energy and Triple Acceleration Energy in addition to Twin Energy, but you have Dimension Valley so that any single Energy compatible with Gourgeist can fuel Pandemonium.

Again, in case you skipped it above, I like Gourgeist far more than I should, and even though I’m trying to strip out the bias from my Ratings, I’m probably rounding up when I ought to be rounding down.


  • Standard: 3/5
  • Expanded: 3/5

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