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CurseGar is a competitive deck archetype in the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Although it saw the most play during the 2009-2010 season, after the release of the Platinum: Arceus expansion, it is still considered a somewhat viable deck. After the rotation of Great Encounters, and with it Claydol, at the end of the 2009-2010 season, CurseGar saw a massive drop in usage because its main drawpower was no longer legal. Modern variants of the deck use an engine based around Uxie and a variety of Supporter cards in place of Claydol. The deck's name reflects the Platinum: Arceus Gengar's Poké-Power, Curse, to distinguish it from another archetype based around the Stormfront Gengar.
The deck's ideal start is Spiritomb, with at least one Gastly and Baltoy on the bench. While slowing the opponent's setup through Spiritomb's Keystone Seal Poké-Body, which prevents Trainer cards from being played, the player uses Spiritomb's Darkness Grace attack to evolve Baltoy into Claydol and/or Gastly into Haunter and, later, Gengar. Generally, the CurseGar player attempts to evolve as much as possible before Spiritomb is knocked out. Claydol, in combination with the deck's line of Supporter cards, is often able to get out multiple Gengar early in the game, even if Spiritomb is knocked out on the first or second turn.
Once Gengar is out on the field and has attached to it, it can begin attacking with Shadow Skip. While Shadow Skip hits for an underwhelming 60 damage, it gives the CurseGar player the option to switch Gengar with one of their benched Pokémon. After using Shadow Skip, the ideal choice to swap out with Gengar is another benched Spiritomb. This prevents the opponent from playing Trainer cards during their turn, while at the same time moving Gengar to the safety of the bench so it is not damaged. To retreat Spiritomb on the CurseGar player's turn, he or she will use Moonlight Stadium or Unown Q. Essentially, CurseGar keeps up a cycle of doing 60 damage per turn while completely preventing the opponent from both playing Trainer cards and damaging Gengar.
- Gengar - This Gengar is the main attacker in the deck. As previously mentioned, it does 60 damage, plus 10 to one of the opponent's benched Pokémon, for . Shadow Skip's effect of moving Gengar to the bench protects it from any deck focusing on damaging the Active Pokémon, while allowing CurseGar to keep the Trainer lock running by bringing Spiritomb active during the opponent's turn.
- Claydol - Claydol is the deck's primary draw support. With its Cosmic Power Poké-Power, which allows the player to put up to two cards from their hand onto the bottom of their deck to draw until they have six cards in their hand, permits continuous hand refreshment. Additionally, it allows CurseGar to run four Judge to drop the opponent to four cards, but gives the CurseGar player an out should they draw four useless cards.
- Spiritomb - Spiritomb, in addition to being the deck's ideal start, is used to absorb damage in place of Gengar while keeping a Trainer lock on the opponent throughout the game.
- Uxie - Uxie, although not considered a critical part of the deck's success, can be played from the hand to draw cards when Claydol is not available.
- Moonlight Stadium - Moonlight Stadium is used to allow Spiritomb to retreat for free the turn after it was brought active following Shadow Skip. Unown Q serves a similar purpose.
- Judge - Judge provides CurseGar with a disruptive effect. It forces both players to shuffle their hands into their decks and draw new hands of only four cards. While Claydol provides a way for the CurseGar player to recover from a bad Judge, this effect can be crippling for decks that either do not run Claydol or have not yet gotten it out.
The deck list appearing below is not official; it is meant to represent an average build of the archetype, not specifically constructed for any regional metagame. Being that this is merely an archetype, a player may wish to change any part of this deck when building his or her own version.
Possible Tech Cards
The following cards are often used in CurseGar in place of certain cards included in the above list.
- Gengar LV.X - In builds less concerned with the 'attack-and-switch' aspect of CurseGar, Gengar LV.X can be used to spread damage with Compound Pain after Shadow Skiping damage onto several of the opponent's benched Pokémon. It is a good combination with the Platinum: Arceus Gengar and is a common inclusion.
- Mewtwo LV.X - Mewtwo LV.X provides a simple way to beat decks based around Pokémon SP, common in CurseGar's era, that did not include Dialga G LV.X. Mewtwo LV.X fits easily into CurseGar because it utilizes Psychic-type Energy cards, which are already included in the deck.
- Azelf - Although CurseGar runs multiple copies of most cards critical to its strategy, players concerned with having an important card prized may choose to run one Azelf.
- Crobat G - Crobat G simply provides a way for CurseGar to take unexpected knockouts, should an attack be 10 damage short. Its Flash Bite Poké-Power does 10 damage to one of the opponent's Pokémon. Crobat G is easily searchable through a variety of effects, and generally does not harm the deck's consistency.
- Poké Turn - Poké Turn is used exclusively in combination with Crobat G. After Crobat G is dropped from the hand, Poké Turn can scoop it up to either use again or free up a needed bench space.