Experts' corner

Caleb Gedemer

Darkrai's Big Break — a Potential Standard Format Comeback for an Old Contender

"Woah, Darkrai-EX? I thought that lost to Field Blower?" "Wrong!" Darkrai is making a comeback in the Standard format, and you can hear all about it here. You don't want to miss out on this great read!

09. 06. 2017 by Caleb Gedemer


Hello all of you wonderful denizens of 60cards! I’ll cut right to it with a surprise, and that’s the topic of this article! Today I’m talking about Darkrai-EX decks, something I’m sure you wouldn’t have guessed in a million years. With the release of Field Blower, most players wrote this deck off as dead. Additionally, many were quick to judge its supposed Garbodor matchup, saying it was very bad. However, both of those sentiments are incorrect, and I’m excited to prove it. Let’s hop right into it!

Two Different Flavors

Darkrai has traditionally been played in the Standard format just by itself, or with Dragon Pokemon. Upon its release, the Dragonair from Sun & Moon did receive some hype alongside Darkrai, even from me, but shortly after, most people realized that the combination of a turn two Dragon’s Wish and then a pool of Energy was too much to ask for. At the time, those Dragonair lists had to accomplish way too many things in the first couple turns. You’d sometimes need a Float Stone to Retreat, one or two Energy cards, and a way to find the Dratini, and Dragonair, of course. This all built up, and the deck quickly fell out of favor and was forgotten.

On the flip side, the traditional Darkrai decks thrived. Equipped with Max Elixir, they were able to consistently do enough damage to compete with the rest of the game, no matter the circumstances. I personally won a League Cup with the deck once where I defeated two Fighting decks (Zygarde-EX variants) enroute to winning. Nothing could stop this deck, not until Field Blower supposedly did.

How did these two builds revive themselves? Well, for one, the straight Darkrai-EX build has begun to play even more Exp. Shares. Forget two, let’s talk about four! When you play more Darkness Energy as well, sometimes to the tune of fifteen, you can pretty much guarantee your Max Elixirs will hit, and you’ll be rolling over anything in your path, regardless of if your Tool cards get discarded with a Field Blower.

Dragonair is the real shocker, however, and I’m really enthralled with how fluid it’s become. Altar of the Moone really brought a lot to both of these builds, and it was definitely the missing piece for Dragonair versions, for one. Dragonair now almost always hits the turn two Dragon’s Wish, and if you can get enough Energy in play, almost every game is an absolute blowout.

I can’t say enough on how good Altar of the Moone is for Darkrai in general, though. Pretty much everything in your deck is granted free Retreat, at no drawback, and you can completely remove switching cards from your deck. That frees a ton of space, and you’re free to buff out many of your consistency options instead. Darkrai has always been one of the epitomes of consistency, so clearly, when it gains yet another option, the deck is that much better.

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