The Art of Damage Spread and Manipulation: Re-Working Gourgeist

One of the cards I’ve been enamored with since the release of XY has been Gourgeist, which is a card that has two very good attacks and for all intents and is just brimming with potential and is just screaming its spirit out waiting for someone to pick it up and have a big tournament finish with it.

Gourgeist is a Stage 1 Pokemon with two attacks. The first, Eerie Voice costs [P] and does 20 damage to all of your Pokemon. The text specifies that you place two damage counters on all of your opponent’s Pokemon, which means it gets around Mr. Mime, which is very strong. It only takes one Energy to do, so it’s extremely easy to setup. The second attack, Spirit Scream, places damage counters on both Gourgeist and your opponent’s Active Pokemon, which is good for putting a lot of damage on the field fast, as well as giving you OHKO potential when paired with Hypnotoxic Laser.

I’ve covered Gourgeist a few times on here, but I think I am finally getting closer and closer to a workable archetype using the deck. I played my most recent Gourgeist list at a League Challenge over the weekend, finishing 3rd. I won’t go into too much detail about the League Challenge except cover highlights that fit into the overall strategy discussion of the deck.

I think further talk of the deck is pointless without first seeing what exactly composes the deck, so let’s jump into the list for the deck.

Deck List

Pokemon – 13

4 Pumpkaboo XY
4 Gourgeist XY
1 Duskull BCR
1 Dusknoir BCR
1 Mewtwo EX
1 Chandelure EX
1 Mr. Mime PLF

Trainers – 39

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
3 Colress
2 Shauna
3 Ghetsis

4 Ultra Ball
2 Level Ball
4 Hypnotoxic Laser
2 Rare Candy
2 Red Card
2 Escape Rope
1 Super Rod

3 Exp. Share
2 Silver Mirror

1 Dowsing Machine

Energy – 8

6 Psychic
2 Double Colorless

The base of this deck is a high focus on attacking with Gourgeist, and that’s evidenced by the general construction of the deck. You play a full 4-4 Gourgeist line, allowing you to stream Gourgeist for most of the game. With Hypnotoxic Laser you can use Spirit Scream for OHKO’s, and Exp. Share can let you stream Energy allowing you to stream Spirit Screams with your Gourgeist which is very strong.

The fallback for the deck is a spread and move damage approach using Dusknoir’s Sinister Hand Ability. The Dusknoir line doesn’t make for the most consistent setup, but this is really just a fall back strategy for the deck and not the main focus.

Mewtwo EX is a strong backup attacker as it can be setup with one attachment, and does a decent amount of damage. You can move damage with Sinister Hand to make for easier knockouts for Mewtwo.

Chandelure EX is in there for the Virizion EX matchup. It lets you place damage counters to finish Pokemon off since you can’t really rely on Hypnotoxic Laser for the OHKO’s because of Virizion EX’s Verdant Wind Ability.

Silver Mirror is a necessity in this deck, as otherwise it’s too easily overtaken by Lugia EX and its Overflow Ability ending the game too quickly. If Plasma is whiffing its Tool Scrappers, then Silver Mirror will give Gourgeist a lot of staying power.

Lastly, disruption is big in my list for this deck. I play 3 Ghetsis and 2 Red Card, as you want to limit what your opponent can do to respond to you by limiting their hand as much as possible. Red Card and Ghetsis are great against Stage 2 decks, as they can let you disrupt your opponent enough turns to prevent their setup, and after a few Eerie Voice, you can easily clear all of their pre-evolutions from the field. If you get Dusknoir setup as well, you can then just move damage to any of their pre-evolutions as soon as they hit the field to knock them out.

I know it’s not a popular combo, and most players consider it neither Ghetsis and Red Card to be very effective, but I think these two disruption cards are highly underrated by the player base. A turn one Red Card followed by Ghetsis can easily end a game before it even started.

Tournament Highlights

Before the tournament, I ended up cutting my Mr. Mime for a second Super Rod, as I didn’t expect to play any Darkrai decks, which ended up to be a miscalculation as I played Darkrai decks both of the first two rounds.

The first round, against a Hydreigon/Darkrai deck, I got absolutely crushed. He didn’t get an overly fast start, but I couldn’t get Dusknoir out and whiffed Energy for most of the game (who knew a one Energy attack could be so hard to power up!). Without any of that, I didn’t have the means to really deal with anything.

The second round against another Darkrai deck, I was able to disrupt him super highly with Red Card, leaving him with a highly unplayable hand. He didn’t have much of a setup for most of the game, and was able to just move damage around with Dusknoir after a bunch of Eerie Voice attacks for knockouts, as well as knockout a Darkrai EX with Spirit Scream. I ended the game by moving 170 damage to a Yveltal EX to end the game.

The last round against Blastoise, I was able to disrupt him the first three turns of the game with Ghetsis or Red Card, negating his Tropical Beach every turn. Between some passive poison damage and a single Spirit Scream, I was able to move 40 damage to a Squirtle and 120 damage to a Blastoise, and then used Spirit Scream again to knock both of those out, limiting his Energy for the rest of the game.

From there I used X-Ball with my Mewtwo EX to knockout his Keldeo EX, and then retreated that to a Gourgeist (he had Suicune active and it was Brit’s Blastoise), and used Spirit Scream to put more damage on the field. From there, I moved damage to the Suicune to knock it out and then used Spirit Scream and a Hypnotoxic Laser to knockout his Black Kyurem EX for game.


It’s really tough to mark where this deck lands on the scale of competitiveness. The strategy behind the deck is very potent and it packs a lot of power, being able to OHKO Pokemon and spread a lot of damage. The disruption element is nice as it can just end games before it begins, and I like that it plays a whopping 16 Supporters, meaning you’re almost never a turn without a Supporter.

The obvious issue with the deck is being rushed. Red Card, Ghetsis and Silver Mirror help quite a bit in preventing it and were important inclusions to the deck that were added later after testing made it apparent that these cards were needed for the deck to survive in the current meta game.

I think this deck leans more on the fun side than the competitive side, but that’s not to say it isn’t competitive. If you’re looking for a fun strategy to try out, test this deck out. I think Gourgeist may gain more strength as some of the more powerful cards in the format are rotated out. It’s certainly an inherently strong card.

Image Credit: Deviant Art

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