Gengar, The Shadow Pokémon. It hides in shadows. It is said that if GENGAR is hiding, it cools the area by nearly 10 degrees F. Lurking in the shadowy corners of rooms, it awaits chances to steal its prey's life force. The leer that floats in darkness belongs to a GENGAR delighting in casting curses on people. It steals heat from its surroundings. If you feel a sudden chill, it is certain that a GENGAR appeared. To steal the life of its target, it slips into the prey's shadow and silently waits for an opportunity.
In honor of Halloween being this week, it came time for us to choose from the small pool of Ghost types. And boy did the creepiest one get picked. Between stealing life force, stalking you, and casting curses on people, Gengar keeps itself pretty busy. Ingame, Gengar held the niche of being the first fully evolved Ghost Pokemon to be created which had the advantage at the time of being one of two types to be super effective against Psychic, easily the most powerful type at the time. The only problem was that until 4th generation, both of Gengar's types (Ghost/Poison) were physical, while Gengar was entirely oriented around it utilizing its Special Attack; thus it could not utilise its STAB moves. From the competitive angle, there have only been two Pokemon in the series' history that have survived in the OU tier since RBY, one of which being Gengar. And it is easy to see why. With a base 130 Special Attack combined with Base 110 Speed and an effective offensive movepool has kept Gengar afloat while the tier changed around it. Despite its great offensive stats though, its defenses are minimal; this generally forces those using it to use glass cannon-esque sets on it. The other drawback to Gengar is its weakness to Dark types, more importantly Pursuit, as Pursuit from any common user cripples Gengar if not managing to KO it. Though its drawbacks may seem to outweigh the offensive power it has, the immunities to Normal, Fighting, and Ground benefit Gengar greatly against commonly used Pokemon, and give a gimmicky feel to it while still being a potent sweeper.
Levitate: Ground moves have no effect, and neither do Spikes. Very handy ability, as it leaves Gengar with only three weaknesses (Ghost, Psychic and Dark), and gives it immunity to Spikes, handy when your KO'd by almost any move when at full health.
"How about a magic trick? I'm gonna make your moveset disappear. Ta-daa!"
Now that I've brutally misquoted Heath Ledger, we can move on to the set. This is probably the most likely Gengar set that you're going to see, due to the fact that it is really deadly when used effectively. Substitute is to give you a buffer against Paralysis, Pursuit users, and make Disable far easier to pull off. The goal is that once they've taken down your Substitute, Disable ruins the move that likely had the best chance of getting Gengar out of the way. It also helps ruin mono-attacking walls such as Ferrothorn, Blissey, Chansey, etc and offensive Pokemon that only have one or two coverage moves. Shadow Ball and Focus Blast give Gengar perfect neutral coverage, with Shadow Ball getting STAB, making it all the easier to either cripple an opponent by removing it's only method of Gengar annihilation or KOing them with a powerful attack that is going to hit them for either normally effective or super effective damage.
Clefable's shadow being gifted with life...somehow.
This is almost identical to the SubDisable set, just more focused more on offense. Life Orb recoil added with Substitute damage make Pain Split ideal for this set, as you can inflict enough damage yourself without having to rely on your opponent hitting you. Add this to residual damage like entry hazards and weather and you've got yourself one powerful Pain Split. For those of you who don't know, Pain Split basically averages your HP with your opponent's, thus the more your opponent has and the less you have the better. Shadow Ball and Focus Blast are still there for that lovely perfect coverage and help with setting up Pain Split because of the Life Orb.
Oppa Gengar Style
Overused pun is overused, but I figured it needed to get in once before/if the fad dies down. Anyhow, by this point you've probably realized most Gengar sets look the same, but all are dependent on what you want it to do. This one, for example, gives you the choice of what you want to hit harder. HP Fire allows you to kill more annoying Steel types like Jirachi, Skarmory, Scizor and Ferrothorn without (a) relying on the terrible accuracy of Focus Blast or (b) just for the desire to be able to hit them super effectively. Thunderbolt on the other hand allows you to hit bulky Water types (basically anything but Jellicent, which Shadow Ball hurts more than Thunderbolt would). Leftovers vs Life Orb is purely dependent on what you want, power or longevity.
Dark Pulse, Destiny Bond, Explosion, Hypnosis, Mean Look, Perish Song, Protect, Taunt, Thunder, Trick, Will-o-Wisp
Double & Triple Battle Options
Although Chandelure being better in this sort of battle (thanks to STAB Heat Wave), Gengar has it's niche as it is faster than Chandelure and no weakness to Water types. It's sets are generally the same as in Single Battles, but Protect is thrown on just for the sake of not getting hit by an attack from an ally or just for prediction.
Anything that sets hazards can be a good partner for Gengar as it can be used as a good spinblocker, thus keeping your hazards around. Tyranitar can be a good partner for the Pain Split set, providing residual damage and resistance to everything that's super effective against Gengar. Anything that takes hits well is also good as Gengar can't take any damage well.
As Gengar has basically no defenses, just hitting it solidly generaly finishes off Gengar. Pursuit users, and priority users like Scizor and anything with Sucker Punch can generally OHKO Gengar with no problems. Blissey/Chansey can also take anything Gengar throw at them and heal it off, albeit not being able to do much in return. Checking Gengar is also far easier to do than downright counter it, as Gengar is outsped and KOd by most Choice Scarf users. Basically anything that outspeeds Gengar or are only 2-3HKOd by it and can OHKO in return are generally the best options.
You better not haunt me
- Shadow Ball
Being used in NU, Haunter has got a decent Speed to go with its Special Attack; Add a Choice Scarf to it and it will outspeed most opponents. This set will work similarly to any Choice Scarf set for Gengar and allows you to hit hard and fast. You can also choose to use Trick to screw up your opponent's strategy by locking them into a certain move
I always feel like, somebody's watching me
A decent SubDisable set here. Works akin to Gengar's one. You can go in and do the damage and recover behind your substitute while disabling your enemy's moves. The attacking moves both use STAB, or you can use HP Fighting to try and take out any Dark-type Pokémon that may appear
It was a graveyard smash
Another standard set. You use the substitute to protect yourself from massive damage while the other moves can decimate the foes readily as you go on through
We have a Gastly leak!
- Shadow Ball
Though Gastly is considerably outclassed by Misdreavus, it has a beastly Special Attack for any Pokémon. This set will monopolise on the Special Attack and will give you an added Speed boost with the Choice Scarf. However, you could also screw up the opponents by Tricking the Choice Scarf onto them, screwing up any strategy they may have had
You look positively Gastly!
Like the previous set, this one focuses upon Gastly's Special Attack, with the added boost from the Life Orb. Hypnosis, while low in accuracy, can be devastating and this set essentially prevents people being able to switch in against it. Put the enemy to sleep and spam the STAB moves
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