Metagame np: USUM DOU Stage 3 - Ghosts That We Knew

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take a sip babes
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Doubles Colonel


And the ghosts that we knew
Will flicker from view
And we'll live a long life

Welcome to the seventh Suspect Test of SM Doubles OU! In this edition, we will be examining Mega Gengar's position in the metagame. Mega Gengar leverages superbly on its blistering base 130 Speed and incredibly high base 170 Special Attack, which allow it to make very efficient use of its wide movepool. Its dual STABs provide excellent and almost unresisted coverage in the Doubles OU metagame leaving room for another coverage attack, such as Hidden Power Ice or Icy Wind, or one of its many support moves, including Taunt, Disable, Substitute, and many more. However, what truly sets Mega Gengar apart is its ability: Shadow Tag. Forcing opponents into awkward positions and bad matchups with Shadow Tag makes Mega Gengar an incredibly powerful force whenever it's on the field. Additionally, Shadow Tag allows Mega Gengar's partner to secure favorable matchups and either set up or take knockouts with relative ease.

While it may seem like Shadow Tag itself may be a better target for a suspect test, the council agreed that the combination of Mega Gengar's offensive capabilities and its ability are what sets it apart as a potential problem. Other Shadow Tag users, such as Gothitelle, are heavily reliant on their partners for offensive momentum while Mega Gengar is able to directly exploit Shadow Tag on its own. As such, Gengarite is the focus of this suspect test.

As usual, the only requirements to vote for the suspect are the ladder points required further below on the post. There are NO posting requirements; still, we advise everyone to actually read the arguments others present for and against Mega Gengar's overbearing metagame presence (or lack thereof) and still attempt to participate in discussion on this thread. A sheer volume of people saying one thing or another will change nobody's opinion so make sure you're actually doing something to make people think.

Important Info!: The ladder will only be open for one straight single session of nine days.

Ladder Period
Start: Friday 5/11, 8:01 PM Eastern Time (GMT -4)
End: Sunday 5/20 11:59 PM Eastern Time (GMT -4)
Gengarite will be allowed on the suspect ladder.
We will not be using COIL for this suspect. One will instead satisfy both of the following criteria in order to qualify to vote:

GXE ≥ 80.0
GXE + battle count ≥ 120

For example, a player who has a GXE of 80 and plays 40 battles will qualify to vote, but a player with a GXE of 83 and 30 battles will not.

Please be wary and ladder with your own accounts, whether it be your main account or your alts. Do not under any circumstances ladder with an account that either belongs to someone else or you share with someone else. Any suspicious accounts found that are submitted for reqs will be voided and infracted.

Remember to keep an open mind in this suspect! Please respect the opinions of others; remember, just because you believe in your side does not mean the other is wrong!

Have Fun!
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I was waiting for a goth suspect and you gv me this. okay.

gengar is great, wth a 130 speed and 170 spa it takes on a lot of the format and deal huge damage to it. however this mons bulk makes it hard to switch in to much, and the most important point is it can only access shadow tag after mega, so there is one free turn for the opponent to deal wth it

the case I often find wth gengar is that it is easily killed after I score a important KO wth trap, but a mispredict wth protect can mean gengar could die without anything being done.

I am more towards, not banning gengar rn
it is great , but doesn't need a ban


formerly Mint16
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I’ll drop my thoughts because I feel like I’ve used Gengar pretty extensively lately despite getting back into the tier only a couple months ago

Currently the current metagame favors mega Gengar for many reasons:

Bulky offensive meta: it’s at a point where Shadow Tag can provide massive momentum for a team. Insane offensive capabilities break common mons while it also has decent enough bulk to stick around given the correct circumstances (intimidate, fake out, partner’s pressure) to take advantage of a moreso passive meta than the marshadow meta, for example. Between the largely mandatory dual STABs and a 3rd move based for a teams needs, it is a force in this meta state. Disable, substitute, or taunt punishes defensive play while HP ice can nail Zygarde and non yache/AV lando-t.

Marsh is gone: the most recent ban bolsters the pro ban case, this was a big reason for the influx of Gengar usage in the first place I’d assume.

Tyranitar, Hoopa have fallen off the map: Incineroar has for the most part replaced them as the premier dark type of the format, but Incineroar cannot threaten Gengar as easily, without access to pursuit or hyperspace fury. After just 1 intimidate it can take a knock off to provide shadow tag for at least another turn. Gengar will also always have partners to deal with Incineroar, we’ve seen techs like SMB’s Z-Focus Blast Kyurem-B, or Z-Hydro Pump Suicune recently in seasonals. Just a plain Zygarde can fill the gap and more by taking advantage of the opportunities that the Shadow Tag will afford to these teams.

If we take a look at win rates for the two most recent meaningful tours, in both DLT and DPL, Gengar boasts an incredible win rate despite many mirrors. While I was skeptical in DLT about if it were banworthy (as many teams weren’t prepared for the Gengar kommo o team that kept winning), DPL stats have shown Gengar is the real deal even when being prepped for, I just don’t see much of a reason to not use this mon. Even if threatened out early game, as long is it mega protects turn 1 before switching out (which besides pursuit it can and will be able to), it will be able to come back in the mid to late game at the opportune time to take advantage as far as position with shadow tag.

Prime example of this here: (DPL TIN vs Croven)
With double dark and Manectric to pivot around shadow tag to an extent, Croven was still able to get the mega evolution to get stag up, grab a knock out right away on Landorus-T with its HP Ice, and then later support Zygarde to outright win the game quite easily. Now this may have been match up dependent but thought this would be a great replay to support that specific argument.

Maybe we have to adapt more to a point where pursuit ttar becomes more of a thing again, but then again Gengar’s partner will always interfere with this, so I’m unsure and curious of the other argument, but for now I’ll be pro-ban.


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Note: I wrote this on thursday and was gonna post it in the old np thread but then:


I'm only gonna edit this slightly to reflect that there is indeed a suspect lol.


I think most everyone can agree Mega Gengar is the best Mega currently in DOU, and quite possibly the best Pokemon overall. This doesn't mean it's broken because it's the best, but it means MGar is extremely common, splashable, etc. It's public enemy #1 when evaluating a team for potential threats.

This isn't to say there isn't counterplay to MGar, far from it. Incineroar is now nearly as common, can tank a couple Sludge Bombs, and deal big damage back. Tyranitar resists both STAB moves and provides useful chip with sand. Zygarde survives anything other than a rogue HP Ice and outspeeds after a DD. There are plenty of other checks that I could list, but that isn't the point here.

The Problem:

Shadow Tag. MGar has the lovely ability to trap opponents on the field, which does a few things -

a) It nearly guarantees MGar favorable matchups. You can pick and choose when you bring it in to trap threats to the rest of your team (Tapus, opposing weakened Pokemon, etc.

b) It can give favorable matchups to all teammates. Trapping your opponent's Pokemon on the field allows for strategies like Intimidate cycling to work, weakening and neutering your opponent's side until you can send in whatever threats you have to clean up.

c) It invalidates a large portion of potential moves your opponent can make. This is kind of the big one. It's long and my main argument, so I'll break this out into another section.

How MGar limits moves:

Imagine this scenario: you have MGar and another opposing Pokemon on the field. Your opponent has two Pokemon trapped by Shadow Tag (not ghosts, no U-turn or Volt Switch), and neither are choice locked/AssVest. For the sake of the argument, I'm going to boil down actions a Pokemon can do to just 3: Switch, Attack, Set Up (any move that is not attacking or protecting. Also assume both teams have 6 healthy mons. MGar is your Pokemon #1, partner is #2. Your opponent has #1 and #2 out also.

You have the following options with your two Pokemon:

-MGar can Protect, Switch to Pokemon 3-6, attack #1 or #2, or set up (the usual set has 2 attacks and taunt/sub/disable/whatever). It has 8 options.
-‎Your Pokemon #2 has the same # of options, minus one because you can't switch to the same Pokemon MGar does, so 7 options.

Your opponent has the following options:

-Opponent #1 can Protect, Attack either of your Pokemon, or set up. That gives it 4 options.
-‎Opponent #2 has the same options, also giving it 4 options.

In this boiled down scenario, your opponent only has 8/15 or 53% of the options you have, just by virtue of Shadow Tag.

Backing it up to real Pokemon instead of just theorymon, and acknowledging the scenario is heavily idealized, I still challenge people to find cases in general where you have less options than your opponent when you have MGar out. You can find individual cases where MGar is threatened by the specific Pokemon on the field or by field conditions, but the point here is that in general, MGar heavily limits your opponent's options, to an almost unhealthy point. It's almost like your opponent is playing singles and you're playing doubles, because they have about half the options you do.

Why not Shadow Tag:

Because I think Gothitelle is ass compared to Mega Gengar. It's got one useful resistance that isn't even that common (Fighting), it's weak as hell and relegated almost entirely to a support role, and it's slow af which almost requires its use with TR or semiroom. Contrast that with Mega Gengar. MGar is a fearsome attacker in its own right, with huge SpA, the gold standard speed tier, enough bulk to get by, and 2 immunities to go with resistances to Fairy, Poison, Grass and Bug. It has all the coverage it needs between Sludge Bomb and Shadow Ball, and if you're targetting specific threats you can go with HP Ice, Focus Blast, Dazzling Gleam, etc. It doesn't have as many support options in its movepool but because of its huge offensive pressure it doesn't particularly need them.


I think Mega Gengar is a problem because it has all the decision-limiting capabilities that Shadow Tag gives it, coupled with being the best special attacking Pokemon in the tier. I don't know what I'll vote on it yet, but leaning towards ban I guess.

MajorBowman sux.


**hypnotic recorder plays in background**
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I would also like to weigh in on the gengarite vs shadow tag discussion as I think Gengarite is the real culprit here and should be banned. To me its certainly shadow tag which makes Gengar ban-worthy, but it isn't the only factor to its incredible splashability and dominance in the meta. Its not that it can trap everything, its that it traps really important pokemon and eliminates them by itself. Gothitelle is really good at what I'd call "general trapping", where if its positioned well with the right partner it can really disrupt a gameplan and remove the right pokemon; however, Gothitelle itself isn't doing the elimination of said pokemon and can make the more offensive ally susceptible to double attacks or Gothitelle can be taunt-bait. Still a valuable pokemon but I don't think Goth is ban worthy in this meta.

Gengar is in the business of more "impactful trapping" where through its own offensive presence, (like removing Tapu Fini/Bulu for Zygarde, removing Lando-t for all physical attackers, removing metagross for Bulu, the list goes on) its able to be a much more valuable element to any team than Gengar. What this has done to the meta is make a lot of very valuable pokemon dead-weight in Gengar matchups (which as DPL usage shows, is very frequent). By making fairies and slower targets like Lando-t such liabilities, you have a surge in other Pokemons winrate (Zygarde for instance) and I think the culprit here is Gengar. Zygarde has very sturdy checks (bulu, fini, lando-t with hp ice, Kartana is even a pretty good answer) but all of these are Gengar-bait and it makes playing and prepping for the gengar matchup becomes incredibly hard.

Summary: While trapping is what makes Mega Gengar ban-worthy, its ability to trap more offensive targets and important pieces of opposing teams sets it apart from Gothitelle and leaves Gengarite alone as the ban-worthy element.
I have been playing this format for a much shorter period of time than most of the others who have already commented on this thread, but from my time I found that Gengar is a problem. I understand why people would not think its ban is needed as it helps stabilize some teams from just straight losing to tapus and other fairies, allows a lot of pokemon that normally wouldn't be seen in the spotlight to shine (for example kommo-o), and in general is a lot more splashable on teams at this time due to its diverse move pool and ability to limit your opponent while benefiting you. However, with this being said these reasons have been proven to be very overwhelming in the current meta to the point where a good portion of teams you will see have Gengar because its the best way to play at this time.

There are some counter strategies out there such as running Manectric which may as well be the second most common mega due to being faster than Gengar and being able to snarl and pivot around, but that's about all the diversity you'll see. Gengar has such a stronghold on this metagame that it almost gets boring to watch and play since the outcome is typically very similar. Gengar is so important in match ups that you even see big games come down to "who will win the shadow ball speed tie" as that will decide who can trap and set up better than their opponent in the end. On top of this people are learning new strategies with their trap such as the newly influential sticky web araquanid teams that are running around allowing you to trap -1 speed pokemon making set up much easier.

Speaking of set up, I believe the number one reason this vote is going down is due to the newest version of Gengar set up which has zygarde on it. With Incineroar getting intimidate, it only buffed Gengar even more giving you an intimidating Fire/Dark type to deal with the Steels, Psychics, and other Ghosts that would give it issues otherwise. This gave an open slot to the ground type of Landorus-T, allowing teams to fully abuse the powerful core of Gengar, Incineroar, and Zygarde with the support of tapus such as Bulu or Fini and other key players.

I know I am discussing different team types instead of Gengar itself, but that is because I wanted to describe just what exactly it does. Gengar has so many options it can pull off on so many different team styles. You could splash it on a rain team to basically remove any counter weather play. You can put it on a team with Bulu to counter other Tapus and splash Dazzling Gleam for Kommo-o on it. You can taunt trap supporting role pokemon making them feel almost useless, or you can abuse trapping pokemon that can't touch it and set up a Substitute to allow it's stay power to last even longer. That's not even going over the other ideas like encore, disable, trickroom, and so on that it can throw out there.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that Gengar is such a diverse move pool that you almost never know what to expect. It's speed stat is insane and it's special attack only compliments it more. Its bulk is good enough to where you can easily support it to make it last even longer, and with the ability to trap it's not like your intimidates are going to waste. Speaking of trap, its ability to trap denies most forms of counter play unless you make some heavy reads and switch before it can get in which is not even a safe bet, or if you run pivoting options on most of your pokemon. This one pokemon has taken over the metagame forcing specific archtypes to be played if you want a shot in higher stakes games, and in general has forced player to run specific pivot moves to even have a chance.

Finally before I end this post I would like to discuss what could happen with it gone. I could see a main concern being that pokemon like Metagross would take over the metagame just like Gengar did, or that fairies would take over due to their biggest threat being eliminated. It's hard to read just where the meta will go, but I feel these fears can be broken down and taken care of a lot easier than just relying on one pokemon to take care of all the issues. With incineroar getting intimidate now, it makes mega evolving with Metagross riskier as well as forces it to have an attack to hit it or else incineroar will always take care of it 1v1. There are also other perfectly good answers to Metagross such as Aegislash, Celesteela, Genesect, and so on that can be used as a method of handling it. As for the fairy issue, I just see this as an excuse since we have so many viable poison, steel, and even fire types that can help deal if the team is built right. Even the feared next big mega, Metagross, would help deal with them easily. Its just the reason we typically never see these answers on teams is because Gengar does the job better than them all and can easily beat most of them too with its powerful stats.

Gengar runs the metagame with its diverse movepool, great stats, strong synergy with support and set up pokemon, and most importantly its ability. It's stronghold on the metagame is so bad that you'll most likely see a Gengar on a team in a big tournament match just because its basically hurting you not to run it, which leads to most games coming down to who wins the speed tie. Gengar limits a player's ability to outplay their opponent and can end games if it gets the trap right on one turn. Yes it allows for certain pokemon that couldn't normally to shine, but that shouldn't be a reason to keep such an overpowered pokemon in a metagame that is very unhealthy because of it.

If you have any feedback you want to give me or a discussion you want start up with me, feel free to reply and I'll definitely respond. I want to see opinions of others since in the end you guys know more than me and could very easily sway my conclusion in the vote.


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Gengar has always been an exceptionally good Pokemon. It just so happens that in SM we now find ourselves in a metagame where its ability to tactically remove opposing threats creates matchup problems. I do think there are mons that match up substantially better against Gengar than a lot of what is commonly used that would handle it better, and so there's some room for the meta to keep evolving. But the Tapus and the importance their field effects are never going anywhere, and Gengar's ability to decimate them with Sludge Bomb means even in the most adapted metagame, Mega Gengar's ability to win terrain control and also eliminate good Pokemon in their own right will probably always be too good. And that's just based on the Tapus alone. I probably won't ladder, but if I did, I'd vote ban.
Im with Lunarr on the swaying ban decision, im also fairly new however i have multiple years of experience playing vgc. Every year its been legal mega gengar has had a role in the meta. While this may not carry over to DOU with the games i have played its role was very clear: trap threats, and remove them.

Going into the suspect test i was very against banning gar, however now that im getting close to voting reqs my opinion on mega gar has changed drastically. Currently i am pro-ban, however that may change as I continue laddering for voting reqs.
A few days ago I had a conversation with a room administrator about gengar. On that day I was totally anti-ban, today I really do not know what to vote for. The gengar situation got really complicated, but still I see structure in the common teams and weaknesses of gengar that help to face it. I noticed that other players, both in the room and here in the forum are not sure what to vote for, I believe it is the most complicated suspect of this gen so far.

I will talk some anti-ban arguments and how I believe Gengar has become the problem it is today. (I will not say pro-ban arguments because many other players have written here).

Gengar has an excellent synergy with its speed, spatk and shadow tag, which tends to deal a good amount of damage to the opponent. However gengar is a glass pokemon, it is not strong enough to nuke the large amount of offensive bulkys in the tier. He is easily threatened by the dark types of the format, such as hoopa, incineroar and tyranitar, and even with focus blast or dazzling gleam, it would not be enough to kill all of them. At this point I mean that gengar has no defense, strength and movepool enough to face the dynamics that a common team of DOU composed of tier 1 and 2 pokemon has. Gengar has serious problems facing weather teams, especially rain and sand. Both resist well to its attacks, threaten its teammates and have a dangerous offensive power. Trick room teams also scare gengar, removing its speed privilege and exposing his low defenses, the most common teams that I saw spinning around gengar have difficulty to stop oranguru, and even if they have some trick, the support of an incineroar, scrafty or hariyama can solve. This makes the player wait for another opportunity to use gengar safely. In both situations, the weather and trick room teams, Gengar gets stuck, often letting its teamate fighting alone in exchange of abusing predictable protects.

Some time ago, gengar wasn’t a so common mega, Salamence and metagross were much more common, even scizor appeared a few more sometimes. I believe what led to this centralization of gengar was a snowball caused by the large amount of bans and suspects in a short period of time and how the meta began to walk. Marshadow is gone, snorlax is gone, metagross has become mega tier 1, gothitelle and shadow tag returned to focus along with the use of manectric, this formed a perfect scenario for gengar. Honestly the folks here have a terrible habit of looking for suspect faster than they seek to adapt: swagger suspect and ban, then 2 suspects of marshadow, suspect deoxys-a, snorlax, and now gengar (not counting the huge babycry for an ally switch suspect). I think this is a clear sign of instability in the tier, even because I've seen real good players and even administrators and moderators rethinking the ban of the jirachi for example. My fear is that this ban of gengar will continue with this snowball, but even defending the anti-ban over there, I can see some possibilities for the ban adjusting the tier as well. Nothing is clear to me, I really do not know what to think, I imagine this will only fix next gen.


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I have some thoughts on the suspect test style itself, rather than a strong opinion one way or another about Gengar.

Typically during laddering for our suspect tests, I try to pay attention to the pressure and options of the suspected Pokemon to try and have an informed opinion. Does it feel oppressive, uncompetitive, or have significant luck-based elements inherent to the Pokemon? What is the counterplay available, and how can I push the suspected Pokemon as far as it can go? During this suspect test, I played a total of 1 Gengar on the ladder. I laddered with Gengar myself, so it wasn't as if I didn't get any experience at all, but I didn't get the opportunity to explore various ways of approaching Mega Gengar with my own team. If I'm honest, I played about 2 tournament-viable teams altogether out of 35 games, with the others being such classics as Alolan Golem hard TR, Rain Typhlosion, and level 1 Endeavor cheese. As a result, I don't feel like I have an educated opinion at all about Gengar from experience, which seems to me the point of the suspect test in the first place. While I can read others' posts, talk with friends about the theory behind Mega Gengar, and reason through the arguments for and against, without actual experience fighting the Pokemon we're suspecting, it's difficult to have a well-informed opinion. Exclusively from my experience laddering, Mega Gengar does not feel like a broken Pokemon, but I know that its impact is more relevant when you're fighting a team you could expect to see in tournament rather than what low-to-mid-DOU ladder offers. I just almost feel I've wasted my time laddering, as I didn't learn anything different from what I knew before, and it has not affected my stance on Mega Gengar in DOU in any significant way.
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Mgar is a fantastic mon In the current meta and definatly the best mega. Although I don't believe it's practically unkillable in most circumstances (like marsh and lax were). I think many very common mons in the meta, such as incineroar, scarf lando, kyuB, aegi, and +1 genesect. I also believe it can be easily stopped by setting up tailwind or trick room, because M-gar has mediocre defenses. I know that shadow tag is an incredible ability, and that does make it a bit hard to kill sometimes. But due to the fact that it's just not "uncheckable" like marsh and lax were in a lot of situations, I don't believe it is banworthy.
Mgar is a fantastic mon In the current meta and definatly the best mega. Although I don't believe it's practically unkillable in most circumstances (like marsh and lax were). I think many very common mons in the meta, such as incineroar, scarf lando, kyuB, aegi, and +1 genesect. I also believe it can be easily stopped by setting up tailwind or trick room, because M-gar has mediocre defenses. I know that shadow tag is an incredible ability, and that does make it a bit hard to kill sometimes. But due to the fact that it's just not "uncheckable" like marsh and lax were in a lot of situations, I don't believe it is banworthy.
But Mega Gengar can pick and choose what situations it is in pretty much. Sure Incineroar eats it up, but it can just come in while Incineroar isn't on the field and then the only way for your check to get in is to have something die. Mega Gengar may have more pokemon that beat it, but those pokemon will never be able to swap in to resist a hit, or prevent your other pokemon from dying. Shadow Tag and those monstrous stats make for a pokemon that can be practically unkillable.
This suspect test probably has me as close to the fence as a suspect test has ever gotten me to be. I believe the reason for this is the short amount of time that Mega Gengar has been dominent in the current meta.

Snorlax took the spotlight in dou relatively quickly after marshadow's ban and the pokemon and its repsective checks were explored for nearly the entirety of SPL and a small amount of time before hand. Teams explored a myriad of ways to try and limit the amount of times snorlax was able to set up and a single team could be seen carrying all of taunt, knock off, and a phasing move. Even with all of these anti-snorlax measures, the community still decided that it was too easy to establish a favorable position with snorlax and quickly sweep the opponent's team. I feel that, whether due to the limited time, or simple unwillingness people haven't really explored gengar counterplay. Pursuit ttar has seen a small amount of play, but I haven't seen many other dark types explored or see more play, such as hoopa-u or muk-a, and maybe I just haven't been keeping up on replays but I haven't seen any shed shell mons either.

With this being said, I do not necessarily think that gengarite should not be banned. I believe that gengar is slightly comparable to a mixture of both jirachi and marshadow in that it is both an offensive threat and set up enabler. It has a formidable offensive presence and a coveted speed stat that, combined with its great offensive typing, allows it to threaten key offensive and defensive pokemon, most notably the tapus. However, the reason it is often used is to allow the setup of it's team mates, like zygarde. Though, it does so by killing the checks rather than keeping them from threatening the setup mon.

I also understand the argument that, while mega gengar may have a sizable amount of checks, its ability keeps you from switching your checks in and are unable to fulfill their assigned role within their team. I feel like this is definitely something to keep in mind when you are deciding your vote, but with that, there are a decent amount of viable pokemon who can utilize volt switch or u-turn to switch themselves out. This can often times result in that mon taking damage prior to their switching and I merely wish to present that for consideration rather than as a counterargument, seeing as volt turn is not a direct substitution for hard switching. Another counterpoint I would like to present is the use of shed shell. This does allow you to simply hard switch out and its only cost is the use of the item slot. One qualification that many deemed "broken" pokemon have met is forcing pokemon to run either moves or items that do not help in other matchups, or that they would not run if the "broken" mon were not part of the format. Some recent notable examples of this are chople berry ferrothorn (for marshadow) and dragon tail scrafty, zygarde, and kyurem-b (for snorlax). Shed shell, similarly, would only be beneficial when facing shadow tag and provides absolutely no benefit otherwise.

While I do not necessarily disagree with the point that forcing otherwise useless changes can help to identify mons that deserve to be suspect tested, I would point out that other tiers, specifically ou, do not seem to have a problem with this. While ou ≠ dou, and other tiers handle tiering decisions and tiering policy interpretation differently, I feel as though it can be helpful to look for examples in how they have handled their tier when handling ours. Three specific ou mons (though there are likely more) come to mind that run a specific item to help their matchup vs. a single pokemon (who, ironically enough, are all trappers). They are shed shell ferrothron, skarmory, and toxapex. Both steel types use shed shell in order to evade trapping from magnezone and toxapex utilizes shed shell to be able to switch into magma storm/earth power heatran. As far as I know there has been little outcry over having to use shed shell in order to keep these key defensive pokemon from being taken out by trapping mons. I don't know whether or not this speaks to how using items/moves to improve one matchup isn't that bad of a thing or just how overwhelming trapping, in its many forms, can be.

So rather than a post intended to sway votes, or explain why I am voting one way or another, this is more just me rambling about some thoughts I have had related too the suspect and more than anything to simply say: I don't know.

Is mega gengar broken? it could be
I just don't believe we've given players and the meta enough time to adapt to it in order to decide if it has viable and reasonable counter play and I wish we had waited a little while longer (perhaps till the end of dpl) before starting the suspect test. I am currently undecided in my vote so I hope people to continue to post their thoughts and I look forward to reading them so I can have the most informed position possible
I’ll drop my thoughts because I feel like I’ve used Gengar pretty extensively lately despite getting back into the tier only a couple months ago
we’ve seen techs like SMB’s Z-Focus Blast Kyurem-B
how dare u.

Honestly i was a little surprised when the suspect thread was posted, while i obviously noticed the recent rise in Gengar teams and the Incineroar/Zygarde teamstyle developing, still only after DLT ending and just 5 weeks of DPL where it became more relevant i still felt like it was more of a recent trend and i didn't have a very good gasp of it. Personally i have yet to use it in a tournament game and while there was some replays / statistics i could see i think both of these tournaments due to lasting only 5 rounds it just didn't feel like there was enough information out there, compared to most other suspect tests. This rushed reaction to the recent tournament success of the style (mostly Mint16 winning DLT and Hippos getting the strongest SM record in the regular reason of DPL) reminded me of the Deoxys suspect and made me very skeptical when i first saw it.

After watching all the replays available of higher level tournament games and talking to other people, while still convinced the timing of the test was not an optimal decision (why not wait untill the DPL is over, so we get 6 more good SM replays before we vote?), i decided to get some games against it and review all the games that were available from the recent tournaments. My personal experience with Gengar before was limited to the standard Zapdos bulky offensive teams (like this one that we have seen over last couple months and that im still convinced aren't broken in any regard. While Gengar by itself is a pretty strong metagame call at the moment, with the higher usage of balance and viability of Metagross as the other most popular mega, we have played in such a format for quite a while and only recently it became so popular and effective. Therefore i assumed it had to do with the introduction of Intimidate Incineroar allowing Gengar teams to run set up mons, most commonly Kommo-o and Zygarde and thats the kind of teams i looked at the most.

My impression at the moment is that the playstyle that has developed around this core is very unhealthy for DOU, while not being close to as broken as the other things i voted ban on so far, i just think it makes for plenty prediction games that the opponent has to get right just to say in the game, centralizes the metagame and forces it to adjust making to even more unstable. The core of Gengar/Incineroar and a set up user of choice (Zygarde / Kommo-o) almost always ends up in a position where the opposing team has to accept the set up at some point and just position well enough so none of the checks to the wincon enter the playing field while mega evolved Gengar is in, since it traps and counters almost all of the viable answers to those two. It makes for plenty prediction games that are almost impossible to win for the opposing team and thats part of the reason i think it has such strong winrates. The fact that 3 out of 4 mons mentioned are among the pokemon most viable in DOU doesn't help either, even if the trapping game doesn't work out, they can still use their other offensive aspects to win games.

Another problem i have with Gengar in the tier is the centralization of the metagame that it recently has been causing. The impression i have recently been getting is that there are the two main bulky offensive archetypes, centered around it and Metagross that discourage creativity as it simply not worth the opportunity cost of using one of them. There always are some anti-metagame styles like rain or trick room, but even these get harder and harder to run with stuff like Taunt Gengar + Fake Out Incineroar making the latter almost never worth running (example:, while the former can be easily adjusted for and put in a very uncomfortable position depending on the match up (examples:, I don't think a bit of centralization in the format is necessarily always bad for it, but when combined with the other arguments i have mentioned before i think shows another way of Gengar making the current metagame worse for its players.

A different topic that i feel is worth discussing now, as i see other players have the same impression i do, is that the doubles suspect system is absolutely ineffective, doesn't provide any filter on who gets to vote and who doesn't (outside of eliminating those who don't have the time to laddder) and is simply a waste of time for anyone that cares to be a part of the vote. Everyone who laddered for this test can probably relate to the frustration of getting 30+ games and maybe getting to play 1 or 2 people who are actual DOU players with teams that resemble the current metagame format in any way. What upsets me the most is not that people who want to have a voice need to do this pointless chore, which i'd be willing accept if it meant we have an effective tier making process, but that in my opinion its absolutely not, if any random person with a basic understanding of how pokemon works will get requirements to vote as long as they are willing to put in a little bit of effort. Every time we test something we get this same issue of people who don't actually care about doubles coming in and getting their vote so it counts towards their TC badge or whatever other motivation they have. To be honest there are probably people in the doubles community too, that don't really understand the format and aren't qualified / experienced in it enough to make a reasonable suspect decision, but they to anyway, since getting reqs is just this easy. I know its really easy to point out all of the flaws of what we currently use, while finding an alternative to what the entirety of Smogon has been using is way more complicated and possibly helpless, but still i believe we at least should get to discuss it, as at the moment it has become so ineffective it has failed most of it purposes and keeping it just to conform is simply not fair to the people who care about doubles metagame development.
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I very heavily agree with Frania's statements about the Doubles ladder. I am one of those people that, in all honesty, did this suspect for the TC badge (this was the last one I needed actually). Granted while I this was my only motivation for participating, it really felt frustrating when I came across the same 5-6 players 3 or maybe 4 times around over the course of qualifying, often having to wait 10-20 minutes at a time just to fight one of the people that I had already faced off against in the 1100 rank range. Suspects, from how I come across them, are very critical to the success and development of a tier, as you remove an unhealthy or overcentralizing element from the metagame. Considering that each suspect is there for a reason, I usually expect suspect ladders to be very challenging, against the teams I fight, and the notoriety of players I face. That was not the case at all with this ladder. I was able to look at the DOU thread, took a M-Gengar team from EmbCPT's SPL team dump, and was able to get these reqs within the day I started, only losing to players that, to my knowledge, are prominent members of the community. With all due respect to the community, this suspect ladder didn't challenge me, and playing against the same 4-5 people that bring meme teams to forfeit 3 turns later when their TerraCott is dead is not at all how I wanted to achieve requirements.

As for Mega Gengar, I am leaning towards banning it. Having the ability to pick and choose when you want to trap your opponents, with which partner really is stupid to really handle, also considering Mega Gengar's prominent offensive capabilites. Especially in matchups where I had to go against Kommo-o, Incineroar, or Zygarde, foes that are supposed to be hard checking or countering Gengar, it was very simple to trap my opponents and switch to the appropriate teammate, forcing my opponents into a defensive option that I could very easily take advantage of because they had no way of beating the combination of Mega Gengar and its teammate otherwise. Even in cases where Gengar was down, I would have already had many opportunites to cripple the opponents enough with Intimidates, Disable to lock foes out of their only offensive option against it, or speed control and different setup that had set my partner up for success. Mega Gengar's ability to hamper any kind of team through various offensive options, unlike Gothitelle, make it very difficult to effectively put down without risking your position further in the battle, and therefore make me lean towards ban.
As someone who really didn't use Mega Gengar until like 2 weeks ago, I'll drop my thoughts on using M-Gengar while laddering.
Before this suspect ladder, I had approximately 1 Mega Gengar team that wasn't a complete gimmick.
When this suspect ladder came out, I was caught off guard, as I didn't even consider Mega Gengar to be a major threat. So for the first time ever I decided to take this suspect seriously, as one of my friends mentioned that I my playstyle didn't mesh with Mega Gengar. It was a perfect opportunity to see if I could find some synergy with Gengar.

I was surprised to find that Mega Gengar is actually pretty useful, and I was seriously underrating Gengar as a Mega Pokemon. It's very powerful and Shadow Tag is a very useful ability. I actually took this suspect seriously and I used a variety of teams on the suspect ladder to see 1) using Mega Gengar was, and 2) how facing Mega Gengar without a Mega Gengar was, and here is what I personally found.

1) While Mega Gengar is very powerful and S-tag is a great ability, It is very frail.
This means I can't switch it in to any attack, but I either have to wait until one of my Pokemon dies, or I have to create an opportunity using something like Volt Switch, U-turn, Eject Button, or Shed Shell Amoonguss. I feel that because Gengar isn't capable of taking so many hits, often times you have to swap it out so that it doesn't kill itself. Even with its 170 SpA and a partner which can setup/kill its opponents, a lot of times I had to be careful with Gengar or else it would get taken out prematurely. This either led to having a lot of pivoting moves to try to put Gengar in a favorable spot, or needing to sack one or two mons before being able to send in Gengar

2) Gengar needs to Mega Evolve before it becomes useful.
Gengar has to waste 1 turn on the field before its ability becomes useful. And because of its relative fraility, on Turn 1 Mega Gengar usually ends up protecting. I found that more often than not, people use this 1 turn to their advantage to send in something that can pressure Gengar and/or its partner, and on Turn 2 a lot of the time Gengar is swapped out and has to wait to come back in. While it's only 1 turn, this one turn helped out in a lot of suspect ladder matches (I'll comment on the suspect ladder quality later on) to help alleviate the pressure that Mega Gengar exerts, and conversely, I found the need to swap out Gengar on turn 2 or else I was risking losing Mega Gengar on Turn 2.

3) My opponent has a brain as well.
While the Mega-Gengar user tries to put 2 unfavorable mons on the playing field, a competent opponent would avoid trying to be put in a situation where there are 2 unfavorable mons on the playing field. Contrary to what the other posts say, the suspect ladder this time felt more competitive this time for some reason, running into more viable teams and less sunspam or oranguru/shuckle teams than other suspect ladders. Opponents would actively send out pokemon that would either threaten Gengar or can pivot out to avoid being setup bait and get swept. On paper, Gengar feels like an omnious threat that can trap, help setup, and sweep with its partner with its broken Shadow Tag ability, incredible speed and SpA stat. In practice I found that it almost never happens, and that both myself and my opponent would actively try to avoid said scenarios.

All of the above said, I'm reasonably convinced that Mega Gengar is a threat that you need to prepare for, but not banworthy. While Mega-Gengar exerts immense offensive pressure and Shadow Tag is a great ability, it dies way too easily and requires one turn before Shadow Tag becomes active. To be honest, I got sick of my Gengar dying that I ended up finishing reqs with Megagross.
In fact, I think we're suspecting the wrong Pokemon...

This motherfucker though.

I think that for Shadow Tag to be useful, it should be able to consistently stay on the field. Is Gothitelle passive? Yes. But with Ally Switch and Heal Pulse, Recycle+Pinch Berry, Helping Hand to aid its partner, Trick Room, and Protect (it can't use all 5 moves, I know, but you don't know what it carries), it makes its presence known and ignoring it will get you punished. Unlike Gengar, it can switch in on its opponent's moves and live (or activate its pinch berry), not use up a Mega slot, has access to healing, can heal its partner as well, and has Shadow Tag on Turn 1. In general I found Gothitelle to be way more of a burden than Mega Gengar, as it's much more difficult to pressure, you don't have that 1 turn grace to swap in response to your opponent, it can swap into your moves, and can heal both itself and its partner.

Tl;dr Mega-Gengar is good but not banworthy, BAN GOTHITELLE.
This motherfucker though.
I think one thing to consider when evauluating mega-gengar, especially when you are comparing it to gothitelle, is that the two pokemon fill very different roles. Gengar doesn't facilitate set-up through staying on the field and absorbing hits and providing reliable support, it takes out checks to your win condition/set-up mon with its high special attack. Gengar isn't meant to switch in to things. The same could be said when comparing, say, zapdos and tapu koko. Tapu koko can't take hits, or set up tailwind, but just because it can't do that doesn't mean it's bad. It acts as an offensive pivot and performs that job rather well. And the reason why most of the community feels like gothitelle isn't a suspect worthy pokemon was outlined pretty well in your post: it doesn't really do anything. It provides next to no offensive pressure and you have to rely entirely on its partner to do damage. This often leads to it being subject to double targeting in order to easily remove it. It's moveset is often entirely supportive and if its partner is somehow taken out it is now a huge momentum sink and isn't really able to do anything. Just be careful to recognize what a specific pokemon's role is in a team, in the future, when you are evaluating how well it performs this role.

As for your other points, you are correct that mgar isn't able to apply stag t1 and that can be a hindrance when wanting to trap mons, but it can easily get off a mega evolution early on either by threatening mons out or protecting, and while you are correct that a capable opponent will not easily let themselves be put into a situation where gar gets a free switch in vs. two vulnerable mons, gar doesn't have a myraid of checks and no matter how well you play you will not be able to keep gar checks on the field at all time
Alright, I suppose Gothitelle is a different topic and I shouldn't have mentioned it at all; my original intention was to illustrate the one turn it takes for shadow tag to activate compared to gothitelle who gets it on turn 1, but I did get carried away talking about Goth in more depths and in a rather strong way than I should have.

I should be careful to stay on topic in the future.
That being said...

As for your other points, you are correct that mgar isn't able to apply stag t1 and that can be a hindrance when wanting to trap mons, but it can easily get off a mega evolution early on either by threatening mons out or protecting, and while you are correct that a capable opponent will not easily let themselves be put into a situation where gar gets a free switch in vs. two vulnerable mons, gar doesn't have a myraid of checks and no matter how well you play you will not be able to keep gar checks on the field at all time
I'm going to mention that an early mega evolution happened pretty much every time I faced Mega Gengar, and likewise I was mega-evolving Gengar early on as it was to my advantage. Despite this, I still felt that the 1 turn it takes before shadow tag activates made it manageable enough that it should not be banned.

True while its hard to have stuff that completely checks Gengar on the field at all times against anyone competent, at the same time it didn't feel like a dedicated Gengar check was necessary to pressure Gengar/feel pressured on my Gengar because of Gengar's relatively low bulk. This is from the experience I had using and facing Mega Gengar.

Anyways, I'm not really here to start a debate/argument, just dropping my thoughts as someone who really doesn't see Mega Gengar as that big of a problem after facing it and using it.


**hypnotic recorder plays in background**
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Something I want to add a note on because i talked about it with Bowman today and has been talked about a lot in 'anti-ban' arguments is Gengar's bulk. While mega gar is by no stretch of the imagination a bulky pokemon, its typing and bulk make it about as bulky as it has to be.

While you might still disagree on whether gengar should or should not be banned, I wanted to at least try to draw discussion away from this 'gengar doesn't have phenomenal defensive stats, therefore its easy to KO and not broken' because I don't think its actually relevant. Gengar survives the attacks it needs to, that is from the pokemon its trying to trap (fini, bulu, koko, zygarde [with the minimal bulk gengar often runs], metagross/genesect iron head). I'm not trying to say that gengar is walling things like gothitelle is, just that gengar is as bulky as it needs to be to perform its role effectively in almost all games it's in and its useful resistances (namely to fairy types) are a decent substitute for defensive stats.


take a sip babes
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Doubles Colonel
Ok first of all I just want to address a couple of the complaints I've seen in the thread. When council was deciding on the timing of the suspect, we wanted to have it done before DOU tour started so the entire tour had the same metagame. Similarly, we didn't want it to affect DPL, so we timed it such that the voting would occur during finals. Even without considering this info, I didn't feel like a Gengarite suspect was premature at all. I had been hearing rumblings of people thinking it might be unhealthy for a while. Mega Gengar had always been one of the top megas, but it became so good that it warranted examination. Keep in mind that the council suspecting Gengarite does not mean that the council unilaterally thinks Gengarite should be banned. It merely says that we recognize it as a potentially unhealthy part of the metagame and that we think it's worth putting under the microscope.

I also wanted to talk a little more about Gengar vs Goth vs Shadow Tag as a whole. The reason we decided to go with a Gengarite suspect and not a Shadow Tag suspect was because Gengar directly takes advantage of Shadow Tag itself while also supporting its teammates, but Gothitelle can only do the latter. While Goth is obviously a great pokemon (in my opinion), it can't win games on its own. By using it, you're essentially saying "I trust Goth's partner to do all the heavy lifting offensively while Goth just sits here and supports it," and we thought that was enough of a weakness for Gothitelle to not be included in the suspect test. Gengar, on the other hand, can trap and eliminate a lot of threats singlehandedly while simultaneously allowing its partner to secure a great matchup, which is what we identified as the potentially problematic element.


The rest of this is my personal opinion and no reflection of any other council member. First off I just wanted to apologize for not being super accessible the last couple weeks. I had finals and graduation and a really tough week emotionally as I was leaving Oklahoma so I just couldn't commit much time to Pokemon and did the bare minimum until I moved back home and had some time to decompress. I should be back to normal now though, so thanks for bearing with me.

As far as my opinion on Gengar, I was always of the opinion that it was good but not busted and I think I still am. While it has some really good stats and a disgusting ability, I think it falls just short in a lot of areas too. Sure it can trap and eliminate some stuff, but some of the things it wants to eliminate are just outside of KO range. Similarly, it has very functionable bulk (which some people are discounting, see milk's post above), but not enough that it will just sit around without dying. It can usually come in and trap a couple things before dying, which makes it a great pokemon that's worth the mega slot, but in my opinion not overwhelming. The turn before it mega evolves is also a huge weakness to me, as Gothitelle's biggest strength is its immediate Shadow Tag pressure while Gengar has to take a turn to mega evolve before Shadow Tag is in effect. On this turn, Gengar's opponent is free to switch around to get into a more optimal position, as most teams are/should be carrying at least a couple mons that naturally do better against Gengar (dark types, anything with good special bulk, steel types, etc). The things that check Gengar are things that I think either naturally end up on teams or should end up on teams, so it doesn't seem too restricting to me to expect people to have Gengar checks. I haven't decided how I'm voting yet, but I think I'm leaning no ban.
Been sick for a while but better late than never i guess, and what I write here is my personal opinion. Personally speaking, I really don't think MGar is quite broken as we think it is and I greatly enjoy that metagame that we have rn. As it stands, from what I see, people just aren't preparing for Mega Gengar enough at all in the sense that we have to give respect to top metagame threats; people can still fall into the trap of running (balance) teams with fastest pokemon: 110 / 130, teams which are usually begging for trouble from the teams Mega Gengar represents. While it can be fair to say that the fact that having to specifically prepare for it can be proof for Mega Gengar being actually too much for the metagame, I think its "overbearingness" and level of centralization is an overblown fact.

The fact that it's a Pokemon that takes away something fundamental to this game--switching--is why this suspect is even done, that much is clear. This fact, in addition to the metagame not adjusting to reasonably yet, is quite core to why it probably should be banned. However, I personally don't really see eye to eye to it that much. I believe we're only really rating MGar this highly is because of the fact that it's both signficantly powerful and unprepared for in this meta. This wouldn't be to say that this suspect was rushed; rather, we just didn't give the chance for counterplay to pop up for this flavor of the month and we jumped the gun too early considering we are at a point where there is already signficant cries for Shadow Tag specifically, both Mega Gengar and Gothitelle.

I only see Mega Gengar as a quite strong Pokemon, yet one that's also flawed enough to a degree that we shouldn't be sending it to DUbers. It's not really that overwhelming, and for all it does, it also comes with a cost in a Mega stone. While it does have good stats for an attacker with bulk that gets the job done, it's not really that standout without its ability, cost-considered. When it comes to this mon, we should move forward with more preparedness and counterplay to it, ergo I'll be voting no ban on this one.


**hypnotic recorder plays in background**
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It's been 2 months since the Gengarite suspect and the meta seems to have settled a bit. Is there anything that you currently see as unhealthy or worthy of suspecting? Anything currently banned that you think should be retested? We would love to hear from you!
Epic gengar retest :ok_hand: :fire: :greed:

In all seriousness I think the meta had settled a bit but not in a way that makes Gengar any less problematic. Kommo-o is used a bit less so that gengar comp isnt as splashable but what made Gengar suspect-worthy/ban-worthy before is still true. Its trapping is just as potent, it restricts team comps as much as it did before and while the way its used now is a bit different I still think, personally, Gengar is the only real ban-worthy pokemon in the meta.
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