This has to be one of my favorite MUs in Pokkén Tournament to play and spectate. Both characters are considered the most technically demanding of the cast both in Wii U and Deluxe edition for the Nintendo Switch
This MU has a 50:50 spread as. Disclaimer, I do not currently own the Deluxe edition of Pokkén Tournament, but I have played notable Gengars such as SleezyWeezel, Voltflare (KekMcGee), Ashgreninja1, Kira A (Italy), Snuffychris605, and Laranjo on Wii U. As well as RoksoTheSavage, StarLuigi, and Madluk in DX offline friendlies.
How to win as Garchomp: In this guide I hope to explain how to play each phase effectively, ways to challenge Gengars projectiles and infamous iframes in duel phase, and how to deal with Mega Gengar. The first thing I will discuss are support sets of which I have found very useful in the MU. The first of which is my favorite support set for Garchomp.
Mismagius/Ninetales - Mismagius with its tracking can prove very difficult for Gengars to escape when called. Don't misunderstand. Full screen or midscreen is by no means a free mismag call. With the frame data of mismagius having 54 frames of recovery. Gengar's bA/4A is i23. more than enough time to react and punish if it is randomly called. Mismagius however can be used as an answer to shadow ball charged or uncharged full screen or midrange in duel phase. At that point only uncharged shadow ball can hit you out of mismagius which is very miniscule as it does stagger you back but it puts mismagius in front of you. Another benefit to Mismagius is that it allows for unblockable sand tomb (2A) set ups and mix-ups. Note that Mismag will give an attack buff for 6 seconds. There are two prime uses for Ninetales in this MU. To delete charged shadow ball and corner trapping. Since ninetales is frame 1 invincible, it does it's job of getting rid of the shadow ball, but it isn't a viable midscreen/ fullscreen option. The other application is synergy building with low stance, it can be negated by 4[A] (charged shadow punch) which will hit from behind.
Espeon/Umbreonn - Like Ninetales, Espeon has two main purposes. However I think Espeon's usages are more viable than Ninetales. Espeon's two usages in this MU is to negate the attack debuff that sludge bomb gives, and to restore recoverable health from Gengar chip damage. Umbreon is the universal "get off me" support. Umbreon can also be used offensively in combos (wall combos specifically) to keep Gengar's synergy in check.
Snivy/Lapras - Snivy is a good tool to deal with astonish+ permeate cancels in neutral. It is +16 and causes knockdown to set up for oki. Lapras has similar usage but It can be used as approach option (+10 on block)) and the fact is you can combo with both. Snivy can only combo airborne opponents while Lapras will launch.
Pachirisu/Magikarp - Erases projectiles for 3 seconds and grants iframes. Mainly used in the MU to deal with Shadow ball (Gengar 5A) in duel phase and to avoid mix-ups on oki. Magikarp is the true Obamacare. When called it will make any interaction in your favor. The only way out is for the opponent to land a grab so you are free to press any attack you want. It also counter pierces when active and the when the moment the 10 second active support ends. It will give the opponent a hard knockdown and places a 14 second speed dubuff on the opponent. This support set is best utilized with the support cheer skill. Pachi for round 1 (as it has 20 sec charge) and Magikarp will be guaranteed for round 2 and the final round.
Mega Raquaza/Mimikyu - Mimikyu is the better support option because it provides the synergy and attack debuff which is more suited to limit Mega Gengar when the opportunity arises. It also does allow for unblockables and shield break set ups. Mega Ray's main usage is to punish the ending lag of Gengar iframes.
Latios/Yveltal - Yveltal is the recommended support mon for the MU because preventing Gengar from getting synergy is crucial. Yveltal can be used in combos. In neutral, be aware that the laser and the last hit will pierce the puddle has no hitstun so if the laser didn't hit, they can escape. So remember to use it once you have a combo going.
Frogadier/Eevee - Frogadier will help establish the neutral in field and duel as well as provide openings to approach by forcing chip damage, blockstrings, and mix-ups. Another factor benefiting frogadier is the fact that it does hitstop on counter attacks meaning that it will freeze the armor frames while giving you the ability to grab or attack the vulnerable frames. Eevee gives a 10 second attack buff and allow lights to hit bursted opponents (burst armor). Very handy for securing the life lead on a confirm and going toe to toe with Mega Gengar.
Rotom/Togekiss - The recommended support would be Togekiss because though Gengar likes to dominate the air, he can use his iframes to avoid Rotom calls (exception being Gengar 8X). Togekiss is more useful because it augments Garchomp's fast walk speed in field, running stance and dig in duel phase
Field Phase: Field phase is the easiest part of the MU. Garchomp has the movement speed to run around Gengars projectiles. Garchomp can use fY to delete/punish Gengar's other projectiles. Like in the Pikachu MU, Garchomp will gain significant frame advantage from utilizing the Homing Cancel/Perfect Block technique.
Generally be at ijY range. At this range, you'll be able to properly react to everything Gengar throws out. Pocket Sand tipper range is another option because you can still react and fY is a great tool for catching the ending lag of Gengar's iframes and out-prioritizing his projectiles.
fY is your friend. It's straight deletes charged shadow ball. uncharged has no tracking so walk to the side and fY or side homing to punish. Gengar's should never use jY or j[Y] because fY negates it. Not to mention since shadow ball is a projectile, RL X or ij]X[ will delete the projectile as well. The other projectiles Gengar has nY, and sY are unique in the sense they phase through projectiles. These can prove to be a predicament for Garchomp but there is a way to gain the upperhand in that situation.
The perfect blocking technique though universal to all characters (the motion of instant homing canceling into block), will favor Garchomp in this MU because Gengar's projectiles mainly consist of single hit attacks. With Garchomp's movement in field, he is rewarded with short bursts of frame advantage that will allow faster movements and punishes. Getting successful perfect blocks will make moves that aren't punishable super punishable, so it is not only important to know which moves can be perfect blocked but also know the frame advantage given. (perfect block frame data source: Mitchel and Gengar Discord) These are the moves that can be perfect blocked with the frame data given from blocked/p.blocked. nY (-8/-12), sY (-4/-16), X homing attack (-8/-24), X>XX gap between attacks (-20), bA (+8/-18), b[A] (+17/-18), jA astonish divekick (-6/-22) (Note that the dive kick can be anti air'd), CA counter attack (0/-8), and [CA] charged counter attack (+12/-8). The other benefit to the perfect block technique is that it can tech throw and hypnosis attempts on oki and in neutral.
Gengars do have an option select against Garchomp homing attack using CADC iframes. Which works on all two attack homings. So it is important that you never use homing attack unless it is a true punish. The other option is nA (dragon claw). only -8 not the end of the world on block but reactable mid and full screen (i19). However dragon claw is used to target shadow sneak. Specifically the ending lag of when Gengar reappears from shadow sneak. Be aware of distance as you cannot cancel dragon claw. So it is crucial to use it as a method to hit vulnerable CA frames (since its a multi hit) and as mentioned punishing shadow sneak. Homing attack can do the job just as well (not for dealing with Gengar's CA OS) because it comes out at a faster frame (i17) and it is more versatile because you can jump or block before the attack comes out whereas Dragon claw, you cannot cancel out of the attack.
Do not attempt to approach Gengar via dig. Since Gengar homing like the M2s acts like an anti air, it can cover every option Garchomp has from dig. Considering the synergy Gengar gets from winning field phase Using dig as a movement option is not a good idea. In DX where Dig projectile invincible frames are increased it can beat Gengar’s shadow ball but that’s still doesn’t compensate for the fact that since dig is so televised Gengar can always react and punish.
Always be on the lookout for Gengar RL X (scooby), jA (astonish), and RL A (sludge bomb). RL A has blue armor for 17 frames including start up but the animation lasts for 23 frames. So ij}X[ or RL X will snuff out when correctly timed. RL X though -57 on block can be canceled into shadow sneak or jump canceled. So its a good neutral option for them to go for. Since it is a midlow, pre-emptive jX will high profile the attack. Astonish on the other hand can be the most dificult to deal with. It is important that you should respect the range of astonish as the dive kick followup will high profile Garchomp CA. If you are out of range of astonish, side homing will true punish astonish.
Duel Phase: Duel Phase is trickiest part of the MU. If you don't know what to look for, you will fall victim to the Gengar chip set ups and iframes. In neutral the objective is finding ways to catch Gengars out of his frames cancel and finishing him off with the most damage possible. To do this, you will need to stay Grounded. This phase requires Garchomp to play neutral and in this section I will discuss how to effectively do so
Keep your distance. Seriously Gengars have no real option to zone Garchomp full screen. 5A and 4A are his only full screen zoning tools. All of which can be CARC'd on reaction. Though 4[A] pierces, it takes 43 frames to come out. Use that to close the distance by a quick CARC Dragon claw (5[A])/RS.X or if you have X already charged immediately enter running stance to go into 5[A]/RS.X depending on the distance. Your objective is to secure the life lead then retreat back to force the time out.
Charged shadow ball is another matter. It's harder for Garchomp to challenge it in duel phase. Remember its a midlow attack and ij]X[ does delete projectiles (tipper of the drill). The execution to do it isn't viable when they do a meaty 5[A] on oki since jumping avoids mid-lows frame 5 not 1. Gengars will use 5[A] on oki or full screen. In the DX version of the game Dig (6A) was given more projectile invulerable frames meaning Dig will out prioritize both versions of shadow ball. However it still will not work when they use it on oki.
Since Garchomp is a tall character, cross up jY is a strong neutral option for Gengar in close quarters combat. Gengar jY is +8, i11, multi hit (3 hits), and special cancelable. As tempting as it is, Stone Edge (4A) is NOT the answer. Gengars can use the special cancel to permeate away to punish or back off. This also lessens the effect on our main anti air (RL.X/]X[), but does not invalidate it. To anti air jY, the trick is having what would be the first hit of jY (jY1) whiff. This allows Garchomp to anti air Gengar.
Another technique that has significant usage in the MU is Counter Attack Run Cancel (CARC). However you must be very precise in this technique to get it's benefits. This is a feature unique to Garchomp and is a very technical option. If you are unfamiliar with CARC, I recommend watching KandiSAI's CARC tutorial and practice this technique until mastery An example of which is Gengar 6YX. 6YX isn't a block string but 6Y is special cancelable and 6YX can cancel into a permeate (Gengar jR). That leaves you to guess with ]X[ their option out of 6Y of which will can be baited out by not doing anything. Utilizing CARC will cover every option they do after a 6Y on block. Garchomp has 9 options out of CARC but the strongest of which is ij]X[. CARC>ij]X[ is the option that covers everything Gengar does after 6Y and one of his hardest inputs to master. (Credit goes to OrlandoFox for labbing this)
Because Gengars have access to many moves having frame 1 invincible frames, They are quite adept at avoiding meaty set ups. However Gengars have considerable endlag once after the invincible frames go away. So once you get Gengar on a hard knock down, the trick is baiting iframes and punishing them. Gengar's back dash for example is invincible from frame 1-22, but the entire dashing animation takes 41 frames. That leaves a significant window of 19 frames to punish. Another example is 8X. It's i35, invincible against lows frame 1 and invincible from frame 3-24 and 11 vulnerable frames (note that it's trajectory can change with 7,9 directional inputs). Meaning it can be anti air'd with 8Y/RL.X on reaction. His other iframe reversals are 5X/[X], (which also can change angled with 4 or 6 directional inputs), and Hypnosis (6A). 4,5,6X comes out at i31 (charged i51) and is a mid-low. this gives the opportunity to avoid it and punish with falling jY, our optimal combo starter or ij]X[. Hypnosis on the other hand comes out at i27 and is invincible on frame 5-18 totaling 14 frames of vulnerability before the grab comes out. Note that if you are confident in your meaty set ups, this won't be a problem on oki but when Gengars are minus it is a way to escape pressure. So when you are plus, the best follow up is to back off to bait and punish the iframe reversals. (Fun note, the classic 2Ar-ij]X[ mix-up is very strong against Gengar as ij]X[ will pass through their 8X reaction and will recover fast enough to whiff punish)
Mega Gengar: By far the the most threatening burst mode in the game. A lot of what was mentioned above as viable options gets shutdown when Gengar enters burst. Ideally you want to win before the opponent has the chance to mega evolve but against Gengars with good synergy management, it will be something a Chomper must know how to deal with. At the end of the day you're best bet to beat Mega Gengar is to Mega-Evolve yourself.
Build synergy whenever possible. Garchomp has a several means to build synergy. The major ones are winning field phase and getting critical hits. Those methods will of course depend on either winning field or making a successful read. In field similar as Lucario can gain synergy by using bA (force palm) whenever possible, Garchomp can build synergy by using bY. Garchomp lowstance increases his synergy every time his tail hits the ground. In neutral Gengars do not have a reliable full screen zoning method so whenever possible take the time to low stance in duel and bY in field. (side note - running stance does grant synergy)
In field phase what you want to do, is walk to diagonally back to avoid the fYs and be at the point where Mega Gengar's nY (which has three discs instead of 1) will not hit. Another important thing to note is that sY becomes a grounded jY of sorts (in appearence and in hitstop) and is used to pin down CAs to pierce with fY. When Gengar mega evolves his sY, Homing attack, nA and counter attack become multi hit attacks so the perfect block technique will only work on nY.
In duel, It is important to know the frame data on Mega Gengar because he becomes a different character. (4,5,6)X is no longer i31 but i19 and invincible from frame 13-34 (charged i48 invince frame 43-64) It is a midlow with a disjointed hitbox so you need to jump on reaction to the charged (ij]X[ works but the timing is hella strict), if they try to go for it midscreen and the uncharged can be stone edge'd or bursted on reaction midscreen with good timing . 5A is no longer -8 but 0 on block, 8Y is no longer -12 but -8 and also can be charged (which is also -8), 2Y is no longer -4 but +4. But the two moves that you need to respect and deal with is 5Y and 8X. 5Y because it can special cancel into hypnosis the only thing that can combo into burst attack. There are 5 mix-ups from 5Y/YY on block and they are 5A (which is a blockstring with 5YY), 4A (shadow punch), 6A (hypnosis), 2A (curse) or not follow up a and be -8. Curse is a blockstring and has hitstun when normal curse does not except the last hit. But they are doing chip damage (5 per hit) which gives synergy. 4A is not a blockstring but there is less then a 5 frame gap so stone edge isn't the option so counter on reaction to shadow punch. Hypnosis is the only thing that can combo into burst attack so avoid it at all costs. Mega Gengar 8X is i35 that is invincible frame 9-24 and 52-57 (plus invincible to lows frame 1), can be angled, and is a throw crush. So its a "free get me out of the corner". It can be punished with a CARC on reaction but the timing is very strict.
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