The Ghost-type Pokemon Gengar doesn’t only have a scary design, it’s terrifyingly powerful too.
While it is capable of dropping tons of damage, Gengar unfortunately has very low Stamina and Defense. Along with the 261 Attack stat, it’s clear that Gengar is meant to be a glass cannon. It’s because of this that having a Gengar with a good moveset is so important.
This Pokemon doesn’t have enough health to stay in battle for long, so it needs to take advantage of the turns it has by doing maximum damage. These moves are concentrated on simply getting the best damage output.
Which moves will compliment this Ghost-type Pokemon?
Gengar’s best quick move option is Lick. It’s a legacy move at the moment, so trainers will need an Elite TM to get this move. Fortunately for players, none of the other moves in this moveset require an Elite TM, so trainers can save that resource for other Pokemon.
Hex does more damage, but is significantly slower than Lick, which is only a 500 ms move. After STAB is calculated, Gengar ends up doing 12 DPS with Lick as well as charges 12 Energy. That’s a large amount of Energy from one of the weaker moves, and it will give Gengar access to its powerful charge moves that much faster.
The charge move that requires the least amount of explanation for Gengar should be Shadow Ball. It’s flat out the strongest Ghost-type move Gengar has at its disposal. Very few Pokemon can match the damage output that Gengar has with a 100 base power move with STAB that only requires 50 Energy. Gengar is just about guaranteed to drop multiple Shadow Balls in every match.
There was a small debate as to whether or not Shadow Punch was a potential alternative when it was released. It has nowhere near the power that Shadow Ball has, but it only requires 33.3 Energy, so some trainers thought that being able to use three Shadow Punches would mean more damage.
The issue with Shadow Punch is that even if Gengar could charge up two of them, it would still be less damage than one Shadow Ball. Shadow Punch only has 40 base power. Due to its lack of bulk, it’s rare that it will ever get the chance to charge a full bar. In that case, it’s much better for the Pokemon to at least get a strong move off with half the bar.
Gengar has a couple options for its second charge move. Focus Blast has the most utility, though. Being a Fighting-type move, this will allow Gengar to counter Normal-type Pokemon like Snorlax and Regigigas.
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While Sludge Bomb may also have STAB with Gengar, it only really helps with Grass and Fairy Pokemon. Psychic could be used against Fighting-type Pokemon, but Gengar beats them with Shadow Ball anyways, unless they carry a Dark-type move like Crunch. There really isn’t a stand out option here, but Focus Blast is worth it just for the raw power.