- 1 Overview
- 2 Moveset
- 2.1 Character Attributes
- 2.2 Universal
- 2.3 Field Phase
- 2.4 Duel Phase
- 2.5 Pokemon Moves
- 2.6 Synergy Burst
- 3 Strategy
- 4 Fighting against Gengar
The ghostly Gengar is one of the hardest characters to learn, but also one of the trickiest to play against. Gengar appears to be mediocre on the surface, having poor range on its attacks, sluggish speed, a floaty jump and low HP. However, what Gengar does have is a myriad of feints and evasive actions, using its large bag of tricks to confuse and outsmart its foes. It also has the scariest Synergy Burst in the game that replaces most of its moves with powerful, hard to avoid attacks, and a very threatening Burst Attack. Gengar certainly lives up to its Technical categorization, requiring intimate knowledge of its arsenal as well as consistent execution to pull off its more damaging combos. This is not a character for beginners, and it's best to have a good grasp of the game's mechanics and common playstyles before attempting to learn Gengar.
- HP: 510
- Type: Technical
One of Gengar's most notable traits is the gratuitous invincibility in its combat actions. As a general rule of thumb, Gengar cannot be hit any time it isn't visible, which occurs very often. One such occurence is in all of its dashes, meaning that Gengar cannot be hit while dashing forward and backward, and even sideways in Field Phase. Like many characters, Gengar can evade high attacks in low stance, while it is one of the few characters that can dodge low attacks in high stance. Gengar also has the ability to move while in either stance, travelling forward faster than its normal walk in high stance and backward faster in low stance. As far as standard movement goes, Gengar's walk speed is below average. Its jump is floaty but it has plenty of aerial options to alleviate it.
In Field Phase, Gengar spooks the opponent while in Duel Phase, Gengar tosses its foe airborne and rams into them. Getting a grab with Gengar leeches the opponents HP and Synergy for yourself. Gengar's grab is very standard with moderate range and low startup, making it a decent punish move for attacks with low cooldowns. It is also handy for piercing shields and counters, making it a vital move in Gengar's mixups. It's worth noting that Gengar's grab is tied for the most damage in Field Phase, though it deals average damage in Duel Phase relative to other fighters.
Counter Attack (X+A)
Gengar makes a scary face at its opponent. This move doesn't make for a very good attack due to its poor range, but it does its job adequately for absorbing attacks. Gengar's only other move with counter properties is Sludge Bomb, which can't be used on command every time, so you need to rely on this move to negate projectiles, alleviate pressure and the like. It's worth noting that Gengar gets some extra invincibility on a CADC due to the unique properties of its dash, letting it avoid some traps and setups against counter moves. It causes a crumple on a critical hit, letting you combo into Curse for nice damage.
Gengar vanishes for a short while, during which it is invulnerable to attacks. The obvious use for this move is to dodge attacks while in the air, but since it stalls your position, it can also cause your foes to mistime attacks. It can be canceled with any aerial attack in either phase, letting you immmediately punish things like baited anti-airs or counters.
Shadow Stealth is a special state Gengar can enter from select moves, in which it will remain submerged in the ground as long as the button is pressed, up until a maximum duration where it will pop back up. You cannot be hit while in Shadow Stealth, but opponents can see your position indicated by a round shadow, and you are vulnerable to attacks while emerging from the ground. Usually used to do cancel unsafe blockstrings and move to a safer distance, or in combos to interrupt the second half of Astonish.
Charge Strong Attack
Gengar does several punches, then psyches itself up resulting in some Synergy gain. This move has several odd properties that make it a surprisingly useful tool despite the awkward input and animation. The move can be canceled with either jumping or entering Shadow Stealth for the entirety of its duration, which reduces the risk of using it erronously. The last hit of the combo is safe on block too, as long as the lenghty ending animation is canceled afterward. Charge X's finds most of its use as part of Gengar's juggle combos, as the first three hits keeps the foe airborne and lets Gengar cancel into jump attack to continue the juggle. It can also be used to end combos as the final hit causes a knockdown, letting you finish the whole animation safely and gain free Synergy from the move.
Ranged Attack (Y)
A slow, ghostly ring that weakly homes in on the foe and passes right through projectiles. This move is nothing more than a minor nuisance. It has a massive startup time, travels absurdly slow, you can't have more than two of them active at the same time, and it can't help your approach since it doesn't interact with enemy projectiles. Its not threatening to the foe on hit and it can be evaded anyway. This is a move you'll only really use at long range or after a phase shift knockdown, where you won't get punished for the long startup, and used as an annoying distraction in conjunction with your actual offense.
Side Ranged Attack (s.Y)
Gengar sends out a moderately fast projectile while somersaulting sideways. Like Gengar's neutral Y, this move is similarly slow with the ability to pass through projectiles. However, it goes a bit faster at the cost of its size, while repositioning Gengar sideways. It faces similar problems as well, namely its sluggish startup animation and being a bad option in projectile wars due to being easy to avoid and ignoring enemy projectiles. Use it mainly for the dodge flip Gengar does as it sends out the projectile as you can evade moves with it. If you are in range it can link reasonably well into f.Y for a phase shift.
Forward Ranged Attack (f.Y)
Gengar leaps into its shadow, extending it to attack the foe. A bit sluggish and lacking in range, but it does make Gengar completely invincible while it's in the ground. It's one of Gengar's phase shifting moves in Field Phase, but it rarely sees any use, since the range where f.Y would hit is also typically where Gengar can utilize its stronger mid to close range tools like Homing Attack and grab. It's not safe on block and since the attack only covers the ground, it will completely whiff jumping opponents. You might occasionally catch foes with this as a follow-up from Y or s.Y, but there's really no reason to use it otherwise.
Backward Ranged Attack (b.Y)
Gengar unleashes dreadful psychic power in a sphere around it. This move is slow and lacks range, but since it hits every direction around Gengar, it can be a good defensive option. The sphere itself counts as a projectile, so you can use it to cancel out incoming projectiles too. The tradeoff is that this attack is its moderate startup, so it will often get interrupted by persistent pressure, and has a punishable recovery window as well if it fails to hit.
Jumping Ranged Attack (j.Y)
A ring of fire that tracks the foe. Gengar can charge the attack to increase its strength and size. One of Gengar's better Field Phase projectiles, having decent homing, high priority and a large hitbox when charged, but it again suffers from the slow startup and travel speed like its other ranged attacks. It has a blind spot nearby underneath Gengar, so if your opponent gets within melee range while you're charging, you're going to eat a punish. The best time to use it would be after a phase shift caused by yourself that leaves both players on opposite ends of the stage.
Homing Attack (XX)
Gengar performs an uppercut, followed by a body tackle. This is one of Gengar's most useful tools in Field Phase, mainly due to the properties of its homing dash. Gengar sinks into the ground partially, letting it low profile a great number of attacks. This makes it a great approach tool, as you can simply pass under many characters' ranged attacks. However, it tends to fail against physical attacks, as well as projectiles that sweep the ground. The actual homing attack itself is pretty standard if a bit lacking in speed and range, though it can be used as an anti-air.
Jumping Attack (j.X)
Gengar vanishes then launches itself forward like a missile. This attack can be angled vertically; holding forward will make Gengar shoot at an upward trajectory while holding back causes it to hurtle toward the ground. It has a brief period of invincibility at the start of the attack that is often used to evade and punish your foe's action with a phase shift. Its multiple angles make it a capable air-to-air or air-to-ground move depending on the situation. While it's slightly unsafe on block or counter, you can cancel it into Astonish to get yourself out of trouble.
Weak Attack (5YY)
Gengar sticks its tongue straight out then lunges forward with its whole body. This is a simple, quick combo without much range, usually used for basic pressure up close. Both attacks are fairly safe on block and cancelable with Pokemon moves, letting you continue with a mixup or a short ground combo depending on whether it hits. It is one of Gengar's fastest moves in Duel Phase, but its lack of range really limits its use.
Forward Weak Attack (6YX)
Gengar whips its tongue forward, with a possible follow-up where it whips its tongue up. This is a move with awkward startup and a committed lunge that can get you into bad situations if you use it carelessly. It is one of Gengar's longer-reaching attacks, giving it use as a mid-range whiff punish, and it is safe on block from the right distance. You can feint the attack by canceling into Shadow Stealth, or cancel into a Pokemon move on hit if your foe defends against the attack with guarding or countering. It will miss most crouching fighters, but on the flipside it can leap over low profile attacks. The follow-up is a bit more unsafe, so only use it after you confirm the first attack struck true. It acts as a launcher and is a great starter for Gengar's damaging juggle combos.
High Stance Weak Attack (8Y)
Gengar morphs into a tall whirlwind, during which it can move horizontally very slowly. While most characters' 8Ys give them partial invulnerability against air moves, Gengar's makes itself completely invincible against all attacks, which makes this move a strong defensive measure to alleviate pressure. The tradeoff for this is its horrible horizontal range that causes it to whiff on foes outside of point blank range, as well as being punishable on block, so don't get predictable when using this move for defense. As an anti-air, it does a good job of stopping foes jumping in or over Gengar due to its tall hitbox, but since the opponent can quickly recover in the air you can't get much reward out of it.
Low Stance Weak Attack (2Y)
Two low tongue swipes at the opponent's feet. This attack isn't used very often due to its low damage, since it can't be followed up with any moves after a hit, and its range isn't exceptional either. It is Gengar's fastest grounded attack in Duel Phase which can be handy for difficult punishes, and it low profiles certain attacks while advancing Gengar forward slightly. It also has the throw crush property for breaking potential grabs, especially since Gengar's other throw crush, 8X, is too slow to consistently punish throws.
Midair Weak Attack (j.Y)
Gengar spins surrounded by a ring of spirit fire. A fast and safe attack to use that covers Gengar's whole body, and though it lacks range its useful out of Permeate to quickly retaliate against a dodged attack. It has a lot of use in Gengar's combos, giving plenty of frame advantage when hitting a grounded opponent, and being able to cancel into Astonish to initiate or prolong a juggle. Other than its limited range, its duration can be a weakness as it locks out Gengar's other aerial options until it hits or Gengar lands, leaving you vulnerable to anti-airs.
Strong Attack (5X)
Gengar vanishes and then does a forward hook when it reappaears. There are actually three versions of this move which shifts Gengar's initial position depending on which direction you hold. This move is good for evading and punishing a predicted attack, since Gengar is invincible when its invisible. Holding the button delays the hit and prolongs Gengar's invulnerability, while making the strike cause increased blockstun, crumple on hit, and counter pierce. It is cancelable into a Pokemon move, which allows for additional damage or to slip away with Shadow Stealth.
High Stance Strong Attack (8X)
Gengar warps above the foe and drops down with two upward kicks. Gengar's 8X throw crushes like other fighters', but it has such a long startup that your opponent can recover in time to guard against your attack, especially against shorter characters. This is yet another attack with startup invincibility when Gengar isn't visible on the screen, but it's not use for evading or punishing moves like other similar attacks due to how late it hits. It's situationally useful against persisting moves with long horizontal moves that your other moves might not dodge completely. You can make Gengar go forward or backward by adjusting the upward angle of your input, but be warned that Gengar will not correct itself if it warps to the other side of its foe, making the move miss completely. Either kick acts as a launcher, letting you go into a juggle combo on hit.
Low Stance Strong Attack (2X)
A sweep kick that can be followed by a double palm thrust on impact. The first hit can low profile attacks and launches the foe, but can only be followed up by the second hit which pushes foes far away, unless you're close enough to the edge to wall splat. Typically used as a damaging combo ender to finish a juggle with a bit of timing, though it can also be used to approach under high-hitting attacks albeit it is much slower and less safe than using 2Y.
Midair Strong Attack (j.X)
Gengar vanishes then launches itself forward like a missile. This move functions nearly identically to its Field Phase counterpart, except you hold your direction up or down to angle Gengar's flight path up or down respectively. It has Gengar's trademark startup invincibility when it is invisible, and tends to get used more as an evade and punish move compared to similar ground moves, since Gengar has the option of canceling into Astonish and subsequently Shadow Stealth to either start a combo or make the attack safer. Additionally, it shifts Gengar backward after the invulnerability ends, which can help you dodge or bait enemy attacks better.
Shadow Ball (A)
Gengar throws out a ball of malevolent energy. You can transition into Shadow Stealth anytime during the startup and charge of the move. When uncharged, Shadow Ball is a standard projectile that travels quickly and has high priority, decent for slowing a foe's approach but not enough to win a zoning war. What's really interesting is how it behaves when charged, which causes it to barely move at all while doing a greater number of hits. A charged Shadow Ball is effectively a damaging barrier between you and your foe, giving you protection and space to set up or pressure the foe. One particularly nasty mixup is grabbing the foe right before Shadow Ball hits, which is very hard to defend against. Being a lasting hitbox also makes it great for wakeup pressure. The ball does not disappear when you get hit, so it can even stop combos if your opponent manages to evade it initially.
Hypnosis (f.A or 6A)
Gengar vanishes and reappears while emitting a short hypnotic ray that acts as a grab. Catching a foe with it makes Gengar perform an incapacitating punch from behind. Gengar can enter Shadow Stealth during the move's startup to cancel it. There's a brief period of invulnerability when Gengar vanishes at the start of the move which can be used to evade and punish attacks, but using Hypnosis for this purpose is considerably more risky since a mistimed dodge can result in you taking a critical hit. Since it is a Pokemon move, you can cancel into it from some of Gengar's normal moves to break counters, and its long startup and active state can let it tick throw guarding foes at the end of a blockstring. Hypnosis phase shifts in Field Phase but leaves foes stunned for a considerable bit in Duel Phase, though it's best to follow up with just a simple grab to deal damage while building Synergy.
Shadow Punch (b.A or 4A)
Gengar punches into a dark portal, causing two fists to emerge from portals appearing at the opponent's current location. This is a great anti-zoning tool since it has effectively infinite range, preventing foes from simply turtling with projectiles at a distance. Additionally, the portal in front of Gengar can negate projectiles with the right timing. The angle of the fists make it difficult to sidestep, so foes must either go forward, retreat or jump. The initial punch can strike foes at close range, and is often used to end Gengar's blockstrings safely. It's also a good special to cancel into when close to the wall as it causes a wall splat for further combos. Gengar can charge the attack to cause the fists to strike behind the foe. This is not used often and usually only to force passive foes closer or in certain wall combos.
Sludge Bomb (Hold and release A)
Gengar spins around and scatters 3 poisonous puddles that inflict the Attack Down debuff. The spin does minor damage and hitstun while the puddles will not make foes flinch on contact. Outside of counter attack, this is Gengar's only move with counter properties, and it lasts for the whole duration of the move which makes it a great defensive measure that can reliably interrupt your foe's normal strikes. It can be used in the air and is often done so to avoid grabs from the majority of the roster, while stuffing your opponent's attempts to anti-air. The Attack Down puddles are an added bonus to improve Gengar's longevity given its low HP. A drawback to Sludge Bomb is that it is very weak, and it requires holding a button which prevents you from using Gengar's other A moves.
Gengar creates a massive image of itself that bursts out of the ground, then vanishes and reappaears with a dive kick. You can control the distance of the shadow image and the angle of the kick by holding a direction while inputting the move. Gengar can enter Shadow Stealth any time before it disappears for the dive kick, after which it will simply emerge from the ground. Usually this cancels the attack altogether, but there's a small window where you can cancel the dive kick, but still cause the giant shadow to come out. It is extremely important to master the timing of this Astonish cancel, since it is a crucial part of Gengar's pressure and combos.
As a whole, Astonish is very unwieldy with its long duration. If the initial attack is blocked, the dive kick is very telegraphed and easy to avoid. Even if the first half hits, the dive kick will often fail to connect, and even when it does it results in a knockdown with no follow-ups. These issues become irrevelant if you can consistently cancel the dive kick while keeping the shadow burst, since Gengar now has a means of safely returning to the ground by forcing foes to guard against the first part of Astonish, while it goes back into a neutral standing position ready to continue pressure. It is also a key part of Gengar's juggles, popping foes up to prolong an aerial combo, and it helps that most of Gengar's air options can be canceled into this move.
Gengar deforms into a whirlpool of cursed energy, sacrificing some of its HP to increase its Synergy Gauge. Foes caught by the whirlpool will not be stunned until the final hit which causes a crumple, but Gengar is invulnerable to most attacks while Curse is going on. You can move very slightly in horizontal directions during Curse as well. Curse is generally used as a specific combo ender when you crumple your foe, such as through a critical counter attack or a charged 5X, as it is pretty useless otherwise. It doesn't combo from most other attacks, and foes can block most of the hits on reaction if you just throw it out, then punish the recovery. You can occasionally use it to duck under slower high attacks while building Synergy.
Gengar has a slow Synergy Gauge charge rate, but the longest Synergy Burst duration out of any Pokemon in the game. In Burst Mode, Gengar is without a doubt the single best character in the game, with massive screen spanning projectiles, overwhelming attacks and an invincible reversal. While Gengar might have difficulty entering Synergy Burst more than once in an average best of 3 round match, it is always a major tide turner and a strong asset that Gengar can fall back on.
Gengar's grabs gain new animations and a massive damage boost. Mega Gengar has the single most damaging grab in Field Phase, while its Duel Phase grab is tied in highest damage with several other Pokemon in Synergy Burst. Its counter attack fires a short range shot with improved range while a fully charged counter is a lasting barrage that is great for pressuring. Shadow Ball is larger and does more hits while Hypnosis does not switch sides with the opponent. As a side note, Hypnosis combos reliably into Shadow Drop. Sludge Bomb creates larger poison puddles. Lastly, Gengar loses access to its rapid punching charged X attack.
Gengar's ranged attacks are greatly strengthened in Field Phase:
- Neutral Y now sends out three ghostly projectiles that fan out with no tracking. There is no limit on how many there can be on the screen so good timing will let you fill the stage with them.
- Side Y now looks like Gengar's j.Y projectile and travels faster.
- Forward Y is a laser with infinite range that sweeps upward. A potent long-range projectile that also anti-airs, but can be sidestepped. Also pierces counters.
- Homing Attack can still dodge attacks during the homing dash. The actual attacks are now two claw swipes, resulting in wider and longer-lasting hitboxes.
- j.X involves Gengar rolling forward like a giant ghostly hedgehog but functions similarly to its normal j.X.
Mega Gengar is too big to duck under high attacks, but its Low Stance now lets it armor enemy low attacks. It can also absorb high attacks briefly upon transitioning into High Stance, comparable to a parry from other fighting games. Gengar's moveset receives massive changes in Synergy Burst:
- 5YY are two claw swipes, both of which have wide, lingering hitboxes for better pressure. 6Y no longer exists.
- 8Y summons a tornado in front of Gengar, and you can adjust the distance from you with a diagonally upward input. It no longer renders Gengar completely invulnerable, but instead can be used to form huge walls that block approaches and juggle enemies easily.
- 2Y is a low claw swipe. Larger hitbox than the normal 2Y but retains its speed and low profile properties.
- j.Y has improved range but is otherwise the same.
- 5X is a rolling attack with a massive hitbox. It can be charged to pierce counters and launch enemies up for combos.
- 8X makes Gengar warp up and fire a beam at a 45 degree angle downward, creating a column of energy where it hits the ground. The energy pillar can anti-air. If you're holding forward during the input Gengar will switch sides with the foe and automatically adjust itself to the perfect range for the attack, which is a great way to ambush the foe for damage. It doesn't work well if they're near the wall though.
- 2X fires a laser across the ground. It forces your opponent to jump and is a nice long-range harassment and punish tool.
- j.X looks similar to 5X but functions like normal Gengar's j.X.
- Curse now does hitstun on all hits instead of only the last.
Burst Attack: Shadow Drop
The icing on the cake that is Mega Gengar is its threatening Burst Attack. Gengar is one of few fighters in the game that received the rare grab-type burst attack, which ensures that blocking and counters cannot guard against it. It also gets instantaneous invincibility the moment it activates the attack, which means it cannot be interrupted during startup, making it a threatening counter and reversal move. As is par for the course for a Burst Attack, it also deals a massive amount of damage to anyone caught by it. It's only weakness is its reach, and it will not hit airborne foes at all. Shadow Drop is a dangerous addition to Gengar's moveset, and just its availability can influence how your opponent plays. It's hard to simply stay out of range as you can still harass with your powerful projectiles, while a jumpy foe will be vulnerable to your various anti-airs.