Dark Powers Unite!
Darkrai and Giratina have always been two of my favourite Pokémon, let alone them carrying the title of Legendary. A mysterious, shadowy figure who causes both people and Pokémon to have never ending nightmares and a draconic demon who was banished from this world for its violence; how awesome!
The combination of these two makes a fast and powerful deck which has only just recently shaken up the Standard Format, being a sleeper deck that was most notable for rocking the Origins Win-A-Trip Tournament in Ohio, claiming several spots in Top Cut. It has quickly became one of my favourite decks to play, due to its versatility in being able to hit hard as well as disrupting your opponent! Let’s delve into the list and strategy behind the deck:
- 2x Darkrai-EX (BKP #74)
- 2x Giratina-EX (AOR #57)
- 1x Latios-EX (RSK #58)
- 2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)
- 2x Garbodor (BKP #57)
- 2x Trubbish (BKP #56)
- 1x Yveltal (XY #78)
- 4x Professor Sycamore (XY #122)
- 2x N (FCO #105)
- 2x Lysandre (FLF #90)
- 1x AZ (PHF #91)
- 1x Xerosic (PHF #110)
- 4x Ultra Ball (FLF #99)
- 4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)
- 3x Trainers’ Mail (RSK #92)
- 4x Max Elixir (BKP #102)
- 1x Escape Rope (PRC #127)
- 1x Super Rod (BKT #149)
- 2x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)
- 2x Muscle Band (XY #121)
- 3x Float Stone (BKT #137)
- 1x Parallel City (BKT #145)
- 8x Darkness Energy (XY #138)
- 4x Double Dragon Energy (RSK #112)
The Pitch Black Pokémon is one of the two main attackers of the deck. Its Dark Pulse does 20 plus 20 damage for every Darkness Energy on your side of the field, and we can quickly get these energies onto the field with the likes of Yveltal’s Oblivion Wing and Max Elixir. It has 180HP, making it a bulky attacker, which is further enforced with the attachment of Fighting Fury Belt and a Psychic Resistance, which shields it against the likes of Pumpkaboo, Mew and M Mewtwo-EX.
A major deck rolling around the playing field at the moment is Trevenant BREAK, which item locks the ability Forest’s Curse and spreads 30 damage onto each of the opponent’s Pokémon with Silent Fear. As Darkrai-EX is a Darkness type, it can deal weakness damage to Trevenant BREAK; 2 Darkness Energy knocks out a normal Trevenant for 120, whilst an extra energy sweeps away the BREAK Evolution for 160 exactly. Being able to deal with this deck is a great way to succeed.
The alternate attacker is where the secret of this deck’s power lies. First of all, Giratina-EX has the Chaos Wheel attack, which does a respectable 100 damage with the effect of preventing your opponent from playing any Special Energy, Pokémon Tool or Stadium cards from their hand during their next turn. This can be used to combat decks such as Night March, Vespiquen/Vileplume, Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX, as well as opposing Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX mirror match-ups. You can either decide to play aggressively with Darkrai-EX, or disrupt your opponent with Giratina-EX, and with Max Elixir and Yveltal, you shouldn’t have a problem powering up both Pokémon.
The second part, however, is where the deck’s secret power dials up to ten! Double Dragon Energy counts as any energy when it’s attached to Dragon type Pokémon, such as Giratina-EX and Latios-EX, so it can be classed as Darkness Energy, fueling Darkrai-EX’s Dark Pulse to tremendously high numbers. Along with the high acceleration you get from Max Elixir, the ability to add 40 damage just by attaching from the hand is amazing, easily reaching knockout numbers of 180 and 220.
The Standard Format features a lot of powerful decks which place basics with less than 60HP at the start of games. Night March has Joltik, Pumpkaboo and Mew; Trevenant BREAK has Phantump; Greninja BREAK has Froakie and Jirachi; and Vespiquen/Vileplume has Combee, Oddish and Unown.
With some tournaments having anywhere between 7-9 rounds in a single day, being able to steal a few games here and there with Latios-EX’s Fast Raid will definitely be beneficial. Fast Raid is an attack which does 40 damage and is able to be used on the first turn of the game, meaning your opponent will not even be able to play a single card if you knock out their only Pokémon, and with so many low HP basics starting out the games of many decks in the format, just using Latios-EX and a Muscle Band will net you an easy win.
Do you like trash? Because this deck loves it! Garbodor has the Garbotoxin ability, which shuts off all other Pokémon’s abilities (excluding Garbotoxin) whenever there’s a Pokémon Tool card attached to it. Decks like Greninja BREAK and Bronzong will suffer if you enforce Garbodor against them, just by attaching a Float Stone and shutting down their Giant Water Shuriken and Metal Links abilities respectively. A late game N can also be a lot more harmful to your opponent as Shaymin-EX’s Set Up will not be able to draw them extra cards, leaving them helpless as you bombard them with Darkrai-EX and Giratina-EX.
There is one apparent flaw with this deck, which is that all of your attackers are Basic Pokémon, and Jolteon-EX laughs in the face of Basic Pokémon with its Flash Ray attack, which prevents all damage done to it by Basic Pokémon. One way to combat this is to use Escape Rope, which forces your opponent to switch their Active Pokémon with a benched Pokémon. You can then use a Lysandre to send it back up to the Active spot, now completely rid of its Flash Ray protection.
Unfortunately, there will be times when you cannot pull off this combo, as you need both your single Escape Rope and a Lysandre or a VS Seeker in hand. Also, Escape Rope is ineffective against Jolteon-EX if your opponent has no bench Pokémon, which is a board state they will sometimes aim for. Having these things in mind, the next expansion might have an answer to our problem…
The next expansion, Steam Siege, has been confirmed to be legal for the World Championships, and there are a few new things that could be considered for inclusion.
Swapping out Escape Rope for Pokémon Ranger, this new card dispels all effects currently on each player’s Pokémon with so many uses in this deck. It is much easier to deal with the likes of Jolteon-EX’s Flash Ray, which protects itself from damage from this all basic deck; Regice’s Resistance Blizzard, which blocks attacks from Pokémon-EX; opposing Giratina-EX’s Chaos Wheel, blocking your ability to attach your own Double Dragon Energy to your Dragons; Jirachi’s Stardust, which your opponent can use to stall after discarding your Special Energy, and even for those unlucky times when you flip tails on Yveltal’s Darkness Blade.
The other new Supporter from Steam Siege has you choose one of your Basic Pokémon in play and switch it with another Basic Pokémon from your deck, while any attached cards, damage counters, Special Conditions, turns in play, and any other effects remain on the new Pokémon. You can attack with Dark Pulse, then next turn quickly switch Darkrai-EX with Giratina-EX, attach a Double Dragon Energy and attack with Chaos Wheel. Bad starts can also become good starts, as stranded Shaymin-EX can easily turn into an attacker without wasting turns for energy attachment, as they can go right onto Shaymin-EX before using Ninja Boy.
As the deck runs with Darkness Energy, a Mega Evolution heavy field could call on the powers of Umbreon-EX, whose Endgame (which does 70 damage) allows you to take two extra prize cards if you knock out a Mega Evolution with this attack, for a total of four prize cards! Now with Ninja Boy, you can be truly espionage and keep your Umbreon-EX a secret, switching out an active Darkrai-EX with the energy already attached to swing for the end game (pun definitely intended).
I would find room for this card, which shuffles two Special Energy cards from your discard pile back into your deck. Giratina-EX is very reliant of Double Dragon Energy, and opponents can abuse this by targeting all four with Enhanced Hammer and Xerosic, which will take away your ability to Chaos Wheel, as well as cut the damage of Darkrai-EX’s Dark Pulse by up to 160! Being able to shuffle your discarded Double Dragon Energy back into your deck will allow you to lock your opponent for longer, as well as keep the pressure on with Dark Pulse by attaching from hand and buffing it by 40 instead of the basic 20.
Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX is a deck that covers a wide variety of match-ups, with lots of different pieces coming together in this magnificent puzzle your opponent could have lots of trouble solving. Cards can easily be swapped and changed depending what you expect to go up against in games. The versatility this deck has is incredible, and it’s what I love about it. With the World Championships just around the corner, the power this deck has will definitely be shown off on the main stage!
Till next time readers!