Experts' corner

Robin Schulz

Darkrai in Expanded, a different take on Gardevoir, and trying to make Zoroark-GX work

Robin goes over his latest tournament decks and takes a look at possible ways to play Zoroark-GX in both Expanded and Standard

10/19/2017 by Robin Schulz

Hello 60cards readers,
it’s been quite a while since my last time on here but I’m finally back!

In this article I’ll go over multiple topics, starting with the two decks I used for my most recent tournaments and ending with thoughts about the format with Shining Legends and beyond, including my take on different Zoroark variants.

Darkrai in Expanded – Special Event Bilbao

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve always been a big fan of the Darkrai deck and used it to get 2nd at both European Expanded tournaments last season, the Side Event League Cups in London and Sheffield. When the season got announced, including an Expanded Special Event at the end of September, I was quite excited we Europeans would finally get to play the format in important tournaments and started getting my Darkrai list up to date.

After Night March, which I consider to be the hardest matchup, took the win in Fort Wayne, I was getting very unsure about what to play again. I put some time into the Ho-Oh focused Turtonator variant that my teammate Nico ended up winning the event with, but found it to be just as bad in the Night March matchup and with not much of an advantage in other matchups, so I decided to just stick with what I know and like best. I was still debating between running techs for NM or not, and in the end decided to indeed include them, but more about that later.

The list I played is a bit different than most others at the time so I will point out the main aspects. Darkrai-GX plays a very important role in this deck and I’d say I attack with it almost as often as I do with Dark Pulse Darkrai. It can OHKO any Pokémon in the game as early as the very first turn of the game thanks to its GX attack, and the non GX attack is good enough to knock out non EX Pokemon like Garbodor or Shaymin, which are just easy prizes.

To make optimal use of Darkrai GX the list plays a total of 3 Hypnotoxic Lasers. I started with 2 but adding the additional one makes Dark End much more reliable, to the point where you almost always have one when you want to use it. Having the option of that free OHKO at early points of the game is very important in matchups like Fire or Mirror, so I’m quite confident Lasers are the correct play in here.

The 2/2 Darkrai split has become a bit unpopular, but I don’t think the 3rd Dark Pulse Darkrai is very important at all. Thanks to having Darkrai-GX as a strong secondary attacker, the only time it would really hurt to only run 2 of them is when one is stuck in the last two prizes. It’s true that Dark Cloak Darkrai isn’t important as an attacker anymore, but only playing one copy and prizing it would be very detrimental almost every time, so I’d rather have two.

Another somewhat questionable inclusion is the 4th Battle Compressor, but I definitely would not run less. Comparable to Ultra Ball, you always want to open with it because it allows the deck function. Drawing into multiple Compressors early is so strong! And as the game goes on, they never really lose their strength. Unlike in Night March where they have to save them in fear of Karen, Darkrai can freely use all its Compressors to thin out the deck as much as desired.

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