Benchwarmer – Gengar-EX Deck Walkthrough and City Report
This article will talk about one of my favourite decks at the moment, Gengar-EX / Wobbuffet / Bats. I will try to cover all aspects of the deck and I will report about my last tournament piloting this deck. And of course the reason why I love this deck so much. Let’s get into it!
Personally Gengar is one of my favorite Pokemon. Growing up with the first generations of Pokemon Psychic Pokemon like Gengar and Alakazam always intrigued me. So when I picked up the TCG again last April, I managed to pull a Full Art Gengar-EX out of one of my first packs I bought. It was of course love at first sight, beautiful artwork, shiny, nostalgic and playable. The love for this deck really came along when I realized that my favorite Pokemon of all time was a perfect partner for Gengar-Ex being Wobbuffet. Then add the sniping Zubat / Golbat / Crobat line as a finishing touch. There you have it the perfect deck for all you Psychic Pokemon lovers, sneaky beavers and Wobbuffetishists out there.
Besides my personal reasons why to play this deck, there is more to it. Sure this is not a Tier one deck by far, but that’s just the beauty of it. Being the underdog is actually a very comfortable position to be in. I have seen people underestimate the power of Gengar several times. The main reason why people don’t see it as a threat is because of the lowish damage output, and you can’t blame them. 60 damage plus Poison for one Psychic Energy and a DCE is not that that impressive. Even with a muscle band you only 2 hit KO EXS, and 3 hit KO Mega’s. That’s where Wobbuffet’s Psychic Assault attack makes the difference. When Dimension Valley is on the field, you only need one Psychic energy to Double the damage (+ ten) on the defending Pokemon. And it ain’t even hard to switch into Wobbuffet as Gengars Dark Corridor attack switches Gengar-EX with any Pokemon you want on the bench. The numbers add up perfectly. I have tried the deck playing just Gengar-Ex / Wobbuffet, and the math just didn’t work out. So I added a thin but effective Crobat line that helps you get the KO’s you need. With just one Golbat Sneaky Bite those Shaymin-EX can fall to Gengar-EXs Dark Corridor and you can snipe those Pokemon that your opponent tries to retreat. Thanks to the bats you can Two hit any Pokemon you might face. The most important thing with this deck would be knowing when to drop your Bats and what attack fits the situation. One more advantage Wobbuffet brings to the table is its Bide Barricade Ability which blocks all Abilities (except for Psychic Pokemons Abilities) as long as he is in the Active position. Ability block is huge, people hate it when you turn around that Wobbuffet at the start of a game. No Metal Links, no Stand-in, no Irritating Pollen and most important no Shaymin-EX Set Up Ability. You just disrupt a lot of strategies and cause decks to draw death. So let’s show the list!
Your main target is to get Gengar-EX powered up on your Bench as soon as possible. The deck runs enough energy to almost garantuee the possibility to add one energy each turn. Like most decks starting first is ideal, as you will be able to attack turn two. It is a slow deck, and trying to play it to quick will get you in trouble. I know it’s weird to play slow while everyone else is using Acro Bike ,Trainers' Mail , Battle Compressor and one million Shaymin-EX. But this gives you time to think, and to watch your opponent closely as you figure out rather quickly what your next move will be. Always try to attach a basic Psychic Energy first, as it is less easy to remove by Enhanced Hammer or Xerosic Your opponent won’t be able to use Team Flare Grunt to remove energy from benched Pokemon. Depending on the match-up I try to get a Muscle Band my Gengar-EX as soon as possible, as it prevents your opponent playing Head Ringer The ideal starter is of course Wobbuffet, but don’t forget that you will block your own Shaymin-EX and its Set Up Ability. The deck runs a couple of options to get Wobbuffet out of the active position. First of all and the most effective are the two Float Stone, try to attach it when you need it because Startling Megaphone could be a huge setback unless you play against an item lock deck. In that case you want to get it out there turn one. If you can’t draw into the Float Stones, we still have Mystery Energy to retreat and to attack when needed. But as it requires another Energy attachment you will need an extra turn to get your Gengar-EX swinging. And in case you don’t hit either of those there is still an AZ or a good old Switch at the ready. The last thing you want to finish your set-up is getting as many Zubat out as possible, it really helps getting KO’s early on. Try not to waist all the Sneaky and Suprise Bite to early on as we only play a thin line and there are no Super Scoop Up in this list. Timing is key. The single most important thing is figuring out how much damage you could do the following turns, try to think ahead as much as you can and make sure you are familiar with the numbers, especially Wobbuffet’s Psychic Assault requires some math skills. The next most important thing is trying to stay ahead in the prize trade and if needed keeping the Ability lock. One of the most fun plays is promoting a Robo Substitute after your Dark Corridor attack and playing theHex Maniac Forcing your opponent to play a lysandre to get any Prices. An important lesson I learned is to never give up, stay in control and slowly bring down your opponent. This is what your the end of your first turn should look like:
3 Wobbuffet (PHF 36)
Wobbuffet should be your main starter so you need at least three of them. I know it sounds more logical to make it a four count, from my experience it hurts your consistency later on the game. Besides, the deck runs a super rod so you can recover your precious Wobbuffet. You will see that I prefer running a maximum 3 copies of each card, as I feel it increases the consistency and gives you more space and control. As explained above this card is why the deck works, and who doesn’t love to knockout big Pokemon using Wobbuffet?
3 Gengar-EX (PHF 34)
As explained above, a three count does the job. You usually won’t need 3 Gengar-EX anyway as it rarely dies, people will knock out your walls and when they Lysandre they will more often KO Shaymin-EX cause it is easier to OHKO. Don’t forget the first attack called Night Attack, sometimes you can get your last Price on the Bench using this attack combined with one Surprise Bite you can put 60 damage anywhere to snipe for the victory.
3 Zubat / 3 Golbat / 2 Crobat (PHF 31-33)
I know it seems like a thin line but unlike a straight Wobbuffet / Bats deck you don’t need drop bats every turn. There isn’t enough room in the deck for a bigger line anyway. And I feel that playing more Bats in this deck makes it more clunky.
1 Shaymin-EX (ROS 106)
This is your backup plan. If you can avoid putting it down then you should! If all works out, Wobbuffet will be blocking your Ability anyway. This is just another way to ensure your perfect set-up, as mentioned above. People will target your Shaymin-ex if they can’t OHKO your Gengar-EX and will get the two Prizes. Bank space is precious so get it out of there.
4 Professor Sycamore
This needs no explanation. One of two cards that are represented four time in this deck. No surprises here.
I like playing Shauna and I do realize that most players will prefer Professor Birch's Observations. Feel free to pick the one you prefer as it is important to play cards you are comfortable with. Two Shauna or Birch should do, if possible you would want to always play the Professor Sycamore, these two are only there for those cards you really don’t want to discard and again it adds consistency towards getting your ideal set-up.
Tierno? Yeah, Tierno. If you weren’t disgusted by the Shauna already, you will be now. I added it back when I was play-testing before Breakthrough came out and I liked the result. It saved alot of hands with good resources. Tierno doesn’t really fit in fast paced decks in my opinion, but you are playing slow and controlled and I many cases drawing three cards is just good. No shame here. I switched it for one copy of Giovanni's Scheme for a while but it never seemed to work out in my favor. Although I have to say that if I had run Giovanni’s Scheme at my last City Championship, I might have ended with a better record. Again feel free to pick between those two, I feel like they are both good cards depending on what match-ups you will face.
Lysandre, the game changer. I run two because I feel that this card is way to important to only run one. Don’t be the guy saying “If I would’ve had the Lysandre, I would have won!”, just be the guy that Lysandre’s his way to victory all day long.
Pick up those Shaymin-EX and your damaged Gengar-EX, losing your energy is not that bad as you should have a second Gengar at the ready at all time. AZ also picks up your Crobat to keep the snipe damage flowing. It also functions as a switch to get your Wobbuffet out of the Active position.
Xerosic slows down opponents, is useful to get rid of that annoying Head Ringer and can really disrupt your opponent. In a Special Energy filled meta Xerosic always deserves that tech card spot.
1 Hex Maniac
When you aren’t able to get your Wobbuffet in the Active position, Hex Maniac is there to help you out. I mentioned the Robo Substitute / Hex Maniac combo before, and I think it is a real nice play that helped me get some victories. Blocking your opponent’s Psychic Pokemon Abilities can be useful, most notably Bats and Hoopa-EX
4 VS Seeker
My second and last four count. Get back all those draw supporters and tech cards. Why wouldn’t you run four?
3 Ultra Ball
Ultra Ball helps you get that crucial set-up, just go and get those Pokemon that you did not draw into. Ultra ball for Shaymin-EX can help you out of death hands. 3 count for consistency.
3 Robo Substitute
Once again, this is up to you. These three could as well be Super Scoop Up, Trainers Mail, Pokémon Catcher or anything else you like. I choose to play the Robo Substitute because I believe that staying ahead of the Price trade is really important. Just make your opponent kill it, nobody likes to waste a turn killing an item. The deciding factor why I picked it over Super Scoop Up is the coin flip. I just want to trust my deck and stay in control and not hope for a lucky flip.
All my decks run one switch, you need it and you will regret not putting it in there. It is one of the many options to get your Gengar in the active spot, which is the main goal of the deck.
1 Enhanced Hammer
Discarding Special Energy is always good, if you can fit it in your deck it is worth doing so. Originally I ran two but it always got in the way of more important card. It’s just a little tech, but it works.
1 Super Rod
You will lose some Energy and Pokemon while setting up, and they are all useful and shuffling some of them back in the deck might win you the game.
2 Float Stone
This card is what made the deck really shine when Breakthrough was released. Float Stone is that essential add-on that makes the deck so much better.
3 Muscle Band
Three Gengar-EX, three Muscle Band. Simple!
3 Dimension Valley
With the Stadium in play the Bats have no attack cost, Wobbuffet just needs one Psychic Energy to get huge finishing blows and Gengar can attack with just two basic Psychic Energy, useful against Enhanced Hammer, Aegislash-EX and even Giratina-EX .
6 Psychic, 3 Double Colorless and 3 Mystery Energy
Three counts again for consistency. Three Gengar-EX = three DCE, three Wobbuffet = three Mystery energy. It seems like a lot of energy but you want to have Energy every turn. If you learn when to play what Energy and what Energy can be discarded you will see it works.
Overall the deck runs smooth but slow. Don’t expect it to do anything else. I believe that tweaking a deck with your personal play style is the key to success, nobody should ever say what you have to play and I believe that creating your own list from scratch is still the way to go. I just wanted to show an example of a deck that has worked for me. And I do hope that this article gave some new insights to the deck. In the end we all want to have fun playing Pokemon, and playing Gengar / Wobbuffet / Bats has been a blast. Try it!
23/01/2016 Beerse (Belgium) City Championship report
I piloted Gengar / Wobbuffet / Bats at this City Championship. The exact list I showed above. It wasn’t the biggest Tournament (21 Masters) but the general skill level was high and the environment was relaxed and friendly. Let’s get into this. .
Round 1 Glenn Philips (BE) Manectric Bats
First game started slow for both players but I managed to keep my opponent from drawing cards as his only out was a Shaymin-EX while I managed to keep Wobbuffet at his favorite position for the biggest part of the game. Once he used Lysandre to get rid of the Ability block he was already facing an uphill battle as I was set up perfectly and took some prices. He never recovered and I slowly took down his deck. Game two I made a huge mistake that cost me the game. First of all it took a while to get the deck rolling and I did put down Dimension Valley while It wasn’t that necessary for me at that time. My opponent managed to snipe my Gengar-EX and could attack for free and for weakness using Crobat, and my Wobbuffet did not enjoy this. He combined this with his super scoop ups and managed to put down enough damage. I tried to stall the game to reach the 50 minute time limit but he finished the game by taking a KO on my Gengar-EX 30 seconds before time was called. I was desperately searching for the AZ that would have won me the game but could not draw into it. A tie was a fair result for both players. Overall I think this match-up isn’t that bad, if you don’t add the float stone to Wobbuffet and use your other retreat methods he will have to Lysandre to get some damage done. But watch out when you bring Dimension Valley into play, I had to learn in it the hard way and my opponent just played it smart.
Round 2 Rob Loots (BE) Seismitoad/Archie’s Greninja
Believe it or not, this was the match-up that I was prepared the most for. Rob is my deck testing partner and he was the one that came with the idea to pick up Pokemon TCG again back in April. I played this match-up countless times, so I knew his exact list and was confident that this game should be a win. Game one was slow but I was always in control, knowing what to play at what times to keep his Greninja, Empoleon and Swampert quiet turned out to be a huge advantage. Item lock doesn’t hurt my deck that much so I slowly worked my way to a game one victory. Game two was way harder, I had to discard 3 Golbat and my Super Rod with one Sycamore, leaving me with no answer to the Rough Seas healing and having to three hit KO Seismitoad-EX. And of course my opponent knew my exact deck list and took advantage of the situation. So I did my best to put damage where I could and to slow his game down. He almost had me beaten but had to dig so deep that he decked out one minute before time was called. Little tougher then I expected but I won the game.
Round 3 Dennis Mampaey (BE) Vileplume/Noctowl
This is one off the most fun games I played in a long time. I have faced Dennis a few times before at our Antwerp League nights, but this time he told me he brought a different deck then his usual Night March list he likes to run. Vileplume is actually a favorable match-up, so I had good hopes to get the W. Game one was a disaster, I did not get a Wobbuffet in play while Dennis got his turn one Item lock leaving me with a bunch off items. His Noctowl had no problem knocking all my Pokemon out. Game two was way better, instead of him locking me I had full control. Using Wobbuffet to get out of the Item lock and switching into Robo Substitute to lock his Items. This is a rather unconventional way of playing my deck as you have to decide every turn if you want to give your opponent Items or Abilities. I managed to win the second game with enough time on the clock to play a third game. This was the most exciting game, he got his lock early on but I was able to disrupt him with Xerosic, Enhanced Hammer and lysandre out all threaths. One of the most notable plays was Dennis using Lysandre to get my Wobbuffet active so he could play his items to set up again. This match up was the complete opposite of what you expect playing Gengar-EX / Wobbuffet. I finished this game by knocking out two Shaymin-EX.
Round 4 Pedro Medina (BR) Yveltal/Zoroark/Regirock
Not much to say here, I clearly didn’t test this match-up and did not perform well. The Dark Weakness hurts and I did not find an answer at this time, I feel like this is by far the hardest deck to face. Game one didn’t go well, I got my set-up but he just rolled over me. I tried a different aproach game two, I tried to get my damage using just my Wobbuffet and my bats, but I almost drew through my whole deck without even drawing one Golbat. Despite my opponents bad start I could not take advantage. Reflecting back to these games I think that sticking to your original strategy is still the best way to play this one. You just have to try to keep your bench size small to not get surprised by Zoroark and trying to get the first hit on the Yveltal-EX No shame here, Pedro played this one better than me and deserved to win this.
Round 5 Kurt Van Doninck (BE) Typhlosion
Round five was the last round of swiss and would decide if I would get to Top eight. Despite only losing once, I had to win this to get through. I did the worst thing you can do here, I underestimated the power of my opponents deck. I knew what Typhlosion did but I did not think he would be able to set it up fast enough. Game one was a quick one, Kurt didn’t draw into his Rare Candy, leavingCyndaquil and Quilava to be knocked out by my Gengar-EX, he was only able to get one Thyplosion out and managed to get some prices with it, but I two-shot it and won the first game. Game two was harder, he went first and got a Typhlosion turn 2, and he kept on knocking out my walls and even one Gengar-EX. I tried to KO all his Cynadaquil and to put damage on his typhlosion using my Bats. I came out on top by killing all his Pokemon while he was just one Lysandre short to get the victory.
Top 8 Rick Verwaal (NL) M Manectric-EX / Raikou
I managed to achieve my goal, I was glad to have made top 8 at my first ever City Championship. But of course I wanted to win the tournament. When I saw Manectric-EXwith a Manectric Spirit Link hit the table I knew it would be a hard game, my Psychic boys are able to beat MegaMan but I really have to dig deep for it and there is a small margin for error. Game one was frustrating, I drew death and conceded minutes later. Game two was better but my opponent always managed to get Rough Seas in play and he played a copy of Pokémon Center Lady. The biggest advantage I have against MegaMan is him being unable to OHKO me. But Rick powered up a Raikou and I could not target it right away and he managed to finish off my poor Gengar-EX. I lost the game, if I had one more turn the game would have been mine but Rick played a flawless game and he did deserve to win. He went on to win the tournament, so again no shame and I would like to congratulate Rick with his City Championship victory.
(L) 7th place finish
1 Rick Verwaal (NL) MegaMan / Raikou
2 Tristan Wagner (NL) (not sure but I think it was an Yveltal / Zoroark list)
3 Bryan de Vries (NL) Seismitoad-EX / Bats
4 Glenn Philips (BE) Manectric-EX / Bats
5 Pedro Medina (BR) Yveltal / Zoroark / Regirock
6 Gawein Wagner (BE) Raichu / Bats
7 Me (BE) Gengar-EX / Wobbuffet / Bats
8 Benjamin Pham (NL) 90% sure it was ToadTina
Hope you enjoyed my article, feel free to comment and share your thoughts.