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Marc Lutz

A Dark Season is Ahead

Marc Lutz talks about different Darkness decks in the current format, including Yveltal-EX/Garbodor and Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX/Garbodor.

12/01/2016 by Marc Lutz

Greetings fellow 60cards readers, it's me again – Marc Lutz. Regional season has just kicked off in Europe and in this article I will talk about a group of decks which I think will be the most consistent once throughout most of the upcoming tournaments. I'm talking about the dark type decks in the current format, or rather the 3 of the most successful ones. Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX and different Yveltal variants all including Garbodor look fantastic in this format. Especially Yveltal decks are great as they took a huge part of the Top 8 at the Dortmund Regional Championship. In this article I will go over Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX, Yveltal/Garbodor and straight Yveltal-EX/Garbodor and talk about what benefits they have over each other and why I think these are the decks to look out for the most. Without further ado let's get right into it!

Straight Yveltal-EX/Garbodor

First let's take a look at the deck Philip Schulz used to get second place at the Regional Championship in Dortmund this month. This deck revolves around Yveltal-EX as your main attacker. With 2 very powerful attacks and Garbodor as a backup against certain decks it really does put in some work. Y Cyclone is good enough to knock out most things in the metagame with 2 hits while allowing you to preserve your Energy. Evil Ball on the other hand is an attack that has almost no limitations in how much damage it does. In matchups where you can freely attach multiple Energy to a single Pokémon without the fear of getting countered by something like Mega Mewtwo-EX or Lugia-EX you can easily set up an Yveltal-EX to sweep your opponent in a couple turns. It's also rather effective against attackers that require a bunch of Energy themselves such as Giratina-EX or other Yveltal.

Besides Yveltal-EX as a powerful attacker this deck also plays Garbodor as a tech card against a large variety of decks in the current metagame. Most importantly it shuts down Greninja BREAKs Giant Water Shuriken Ability which would otherwise be a huge problem as you can't keep up with the amount of damage it provides without even attacking. With no real option in the format to remove tools from Garbodor it's pretty much safe to stay there once you attach the Float Stone to it. Other than that Garbodor is also really good against Volcanion-EX decks as it not only removes their Ability to add huge amounts of damage with Volcanion-EX's Ability, but it also prevents them from getting easy fire Energy into their discard pile for the regular Volcanion's attack. As long as you can prevent these decks from using their Abilities you can easily tear through them with Yveltal-EX's Y Cyclone attack and two-shot everything.

Those are more or less the only decks that heavily rely on their Abilities, but there are some more for example against Mega Gardevoir-EX decks you can prevent them from using Hoopa-EX and multiple Shaymin-EX to refill their bench after a huge Despair Ray attack. Keep in mind that Gardevoir-EX players can still use Lysandre to promote your Garbodor and knock it out with Gardevoir-EX regardless. Garbodor also synergizes really well with your one-of Shaymin-EX because you can simply use it before you put Garbodor into play and not worry about your own Shaymin-EX after that because you only play a single copy of it.

The last tech card we have in this deck is the regular Mewtwo form Evolutions. Its Psychic attack does 20 damage plus 20 more damage for each Energy attached to the defending Pokémon. This is mainly a tech card against Mega Mewtwo-EX because you can OHKO it if they have 4 Energy attached and you get your Fighting Fury Belt off. Other than that it still does decent damage against pretty much anything that has a good amount of Energy cards attached such as Giratina-EX and you can easily give up one Prize card because your opponent would still have to Knock Out 6 Pokémon-EX in order to win the game.

Besides that you want to max out your consistency with this deck. The obligatory four Professor Sycamore are a must as well as a full playset of Max Elixir and at least nine Basic darkness Energy. Max Elixir is a really important card in this deck. It allows you to get bigger Evil Balls off earlier in the game and thins out your deck so you draw better cards off your Professor Sycamore or N. It's also great against decks with Crushing Hammer.

This deck also has some neat tricks up its sleeve. Parallel City is a great card in this deck. It has three different effects and both of them work really well here. You can either reduce your Bench to three and get rid of Shaymin-EX or a damaged Yveltal-EX to prevent your opponent from picking up cheap Prizes or you can use that effect against your opponent which is especially powerful against Mega Rayquaza-EX or Mega Gardevoir-EX decks. It's also great against the Rainbow Road Xerneas deck which is less commonly seen, but still good. The other effect of the card is that all Grass, Fire, and Water types deal 20 less damage across the board. It's decent against Volcanion decks because you already prevent them from using their Abilities with Garbodor and Parallel City gives you a nice little extra defense against them. However, more importantly, you can use this card against Greninja decks to stop the new promo Greninja, which does 20 damage to all enemy Pokémon for a single Energy. This attack is usually used to put 20 damage on Garbodor and then follow it up with a Lysandre+Moonlight Slash turn to knock it out. With Parallel City in play this is no longer possible because it negates the promo Greninja’s attack in its entirety, which is great.

It also plays a copy of Delinquent which is a crucial card in the current format. Pretty much every deck nowadays plays at least 2 Stadium cards, which are often important for their gameplay, so you should almost always have a target to play Delinquent. If you get the chance to have your opponent discard their entire hand to a Delinquent, it gives you a huge lead in the game. Keep that in mind for your own game and don't play your hand down to three or fewer cards if possible. Since you get to decide which cards get discarded, you can always keep the VS Seeker or Professor Sycamore to refill your hand after a Delinquent.

This deck's matchups are decent across the board. Your setup doesn't require that many cards and Garbodor is a good counter against a lot of meta decks. There are some matchups which could oppose a problem for this deck such as Mega Mewtwo-EX or Mega Gardevoir-EX because the combat is somewhat awkward against them but it's not an autoloss by all means. The only matchup you really struggle against are decks with lightning type attackers such as Raichu variants or the Raikou/Jolteon-EX/Electrode which also placed Top 8 at the Dortmund Regional Championship. However these kind of decks are seen less frequently these days so it shouldn't be that much of a problem. Overall I think this version is tied with the mixed Yveltal/Garbodor decks in terms of their power level. Let's dig right into the next Yveltal deck.


This is the deck my good friend Steven Mao used to get Top 8 in Dortmund. It is very similar to Philip's deck in terms of Trainer and Energy lineup, but it does play the regular Yveltal as well. The Yveltal from the XY base set is a very straightforward and solid card on its own. Mostly used for its Oblivion Wing attack which fuels your Bench with Darkness Energy in the early game after you discarded them with Professor Sycamore or Ultra Ball or even in the late game if you need to get back some Energy which is especially good against decks with Crushing Hammers. The damage output of this attack isn't that good compared to the other attacks, but it can still be used to set up knock outs with your other attackers.

The other Yveltal from XY Breakthrough has much more of an impact most of the time. With both a great Ability and a devastating attack it really fits the dark theme of Yveltal decks. Its Fight Night Ability negates the effect of all Pokémon tools in play. With so many Pokémon tools being played in the current format this is a really good Ability to have. Even though you play Garbodor in your own deck this Ability is so strong that it's still worth playing in the same deck. It's mostly used to prevent Spirit Links from helping Mega Evolution based decks set up in the early game such as Mega Mewtwo-EX or Mega Gardevoir-EX. That's the reason why this version of Yveltal is so much better against these kind of decks than the straight Yveltal-EX version. Other than that you can use it to shut down Fighting Fury Belt's HP buff which might even allow you to pick up some cheap Prizes without even attacking.

This Yveltal's attack is also really strong. Pitch-Black Spear does 60 damage and an additional 60 damage to one of your opponent's benched Pokémon-EX for just a Darkness Energy and a Double Colorless Energy. This attack is great against EX-heavy decks because you can just keep spamming the attack to eventually pick up 4 Prizes in a single turn. It's also good to target down benched Shaymin-EX as you can knock them out in two hits and draw 2 Prizes.

However this card is a little bit awkward in the mirror match because you can't increase its damage output with Fighting Fury Belt due to its own Fright Night Ability. This means you're dealing repetitive 60 damage against 130 HP Pokémon which means you would need 3 attacks to knock out a regular basic Pokémon which is quite slow. You can chose to play a tech Giovanni's Scheme to add some extra damage to your attacks if you want. You can also go for the Yveltal-EX Y Cyclone attacks to get a knock out in 2 hits but then again you open yourself up to opposing Pitch-Black Spears against your Yveltal-EX.

Steven also decided to play a tech Jirachi. Jirachi is great against decks that play a lot of special Energy such as Giratina-EX/Garbodor, but it’s also good against other Yveltal if they have a Double Colorless Energy attached. Overall it’s a good tech decision in the current metagame. Especially against Giratina-EX decks which usually play a ton of Energy-removal including Crushing Hammer, which could be a problem for this Yveltal version because you might run out of Energy cards.

Other than that this deck is very similar to the straight Yveltal-EX version in terms of playstyle and build. You got your Max Elixirs to get ahead in Energy attachments and try to overwhelm your opponent with Yveltal's attacks. If you expect to see a lot of mega evolution decks I would say go for this version because of the Fight Night Yveltal, otherwise I think the straight Yveltal-EX/Garbodor deck is much better because it is more consistent and Yveltal-EX should be the stronger attacker in general. Of course both versions are super viable right now. Let's take a look at the last one which is Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX!


This deck runs a similar engine to both of the decks I've explained above, but it uses different attackers overall. Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX / Garbodor sees a lot less play than the Yveltal / Garbodor versions, at least in Europe, but is still a super strong deck in my opinion. The synergy between Darkrai-EX and Giratina-EX is super interesting and comes from Double Dragon Energy. While it is attached to Giratina-EX it provides any Energy type times two which means it not only sets up Giratina-EX's Chaos Wheel attack, but also adds a huge 40 damage to Darkrai-EX's attack while it is in play. This deck has a really aggressive playstyle which is why you also play Hoopa-EX in this deck most of the time. You try to go wide on turn one with multiple Max Elixirs and you also go for a Double Dragon Energy attachment almost every turn to pump up the damage output of your Dark Pulse attacks as fast as possible. Use Parallel City to get rid of your benched Shaymin-EX and Hoopa-EX so your opponent can't make good use of them with something like a Lysandre.

Darkrai-EX is your main attacker in this deck and only used for its Dark Pulse attack. Similar to Yveltal-EX's Evil Ball attack it deals more damage if you have more Energy attached. However this attack counts all darkness Energy you have in play which is also why Double Dragon Energy is so good in this deck. With 4 Max Elixirs in this deck you can easily get 80-100 damage done with this guy even on turn 1 which is just ridiculous. In combination with Fighting Fury Belt and a rare weakness in the current metagame Darkrai-EX is a powerhouse and can easily pick up multiple Prizes before going down. The fact that itself only needs 2 Energy attached and still gets full power from all Energy you have in play is really good especially when facing decks with Lugia-EX or Yveltal-EX.

Giratina-EX not only provides the Double Dragon Energy bonus for Darkrai-EX, but is also a solid attacker on its own and can even autowin some matchups due to its incredibly powerful Chaos Wheel attack. It does require more setup than other decks due to the lack of Double Colorless Energy in this deck, but you can still get it going early with the help of Max Elixir. Chaos Wheel is an insane attack as it prevents your opponent from playing any Pokémon tool, special Energy or stadium cards during their next turn. That is really good in combination with Parallel City because your opponent can no longer remove it from play as long as you keep attacking with Chaos Wheel. The giant stump effect from Parallel City in combination with Chaos Wheel pretty much autowins you the matchup against Mega Rayquaza-EX which could be a problem for Darkrai-EX on its own. The special Energy disruption is also great against other Giratina-EX decks because they usually rely on Double Dragon Energy and Double Colorless Energy only. Giratina-EX's Ability is also really useful if you don't put Garbodor into play. For example against Gardevoir-EX decks you force them to have the Hex Maniac in order to deal with your Giratina-EX which is not that big of a deal, but it would otherwise be a really problematic matchup due to Gardevoir’s darkness resistance and Giratina’s Fairy Weakness.

Garbodor again is in here to help in the Volcanion and Greninja matchup. Even better than the Yveltal decks it is in this deck against Greninja. Garbodor in combination with Parallel City and Giratina-EX's Chaos Wheel attack usually puts Greninja in a really tight spot. Parallel City cannot be removed from play and Greninja’s damage output is really limited in this situation while Giratina-EX can easily knock out everything with 2 hits. It also prevents them from playing Bursting Balloons which is a card most Greninja decks play 4 of. Against Volcanion-EX decks it is the same thing. Garbodor and Parallel City turn down their heat a lot and Giratina-EX's Chaos Wheel attack stops them from playing most of their cards. It also prevents them from playing Float Stone which lets you have some good Lysandre turns if necessary.

This list is a really aggressive one and goes for Dark Pulse attacks on turn 2 and knock outs starting turn 3 if possible. I don't think Energy removal is necessary in this deck because you already have Giratina-EX's Chaos Wheel attack which is some kind of Energy disruption against a selected type of decks at least. In my opinion it is much better for this deck to go for the pressure gameplay instead of playing reactive cards because you are very limited in your options as you only have 2 attacks you can use in most games. You do not have Double Colorless Energy in this deck so you can't go for Sky Returns either. Hitting multiple Max Elixirs on turn one is really important for this deck so I would always go for the maximum consistency in this deck with 4 copies of each core card in the deck. You can also go for a 10th Darkness Energy to increase the odds of hitting with Max Elixir.

Some tech cards you can put in this deck are Jirachi or Pokémon Center Lady. Jirachi is obviously good against decks that rely on special Energy such as Giratina-EX/Garbodor decks, but it also helps in one of the weaker matchups which are decks that run the Breakthrough Yveltal. Since you run a large variety of Pokémon-EX in this deck you can easily fall to Pitch-Black Spear if you aren't fast enough. Most of the time they use Double Colorless Energy to go for that attack and Jirachi helps you in that situation. Pokémon Center Lady in the other hand kind of does that in reverse. When they hit you for double 60 damage you can use Pokémon Center Lady to mess up their math a bit and might catch them off guard. It's also good against Greninja if they happen to flip heads on Froakie's Bubble attack which could happen. Other than that the card is not completely dead in other matchups as a 60 damage heal can be useful against pretty much anything and you can make repeated use of her with VS Seeker.

Besides that this deck is really straightforward and doesn't rely on many tech cards which is why it is so consistent. However I do still think that both Yveltal versions are better suited for the current metagame than this Darkrai-EX/Giratina-EX/Garbodor deck simply because they have more options with the toolbox type of deck Yveltal provides. Darkrai-EX is a really powerful card, but if you can't go off in the early game you're having a hard time getting back into the game while both Yveltal versions don't necessarily have to be that fast in order to execute their gameplan.


I'm sure these Darkness decks will continue having success in the upcoming tournaments even though people might target them due to their great achievements at the last regional championship here in Europe. It is really difficult to target them without giving up too many percentages against other decks in the metagame. The only real thing that hard counters Yveltal decks at the moment are lightning decks. They're not really bad, but they have a hard time winning against Volcanion and Mega Gardevoir-EX. While Mega Gardevoir-EX is not a huge part of the metagame at the moment, Volcanion-EX is the most played deck right now and you just can't take that loss going into a large tournament most of the time.

Alright guys, that's it for this short article from me. I hope you liked my insight on those decks and as always if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments and I will gladly answer them. See you soon.

- Marc Lutz

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