The Spotlight Shines on Darkrai!
05 June, 2012
Deck builders are focusing heavily on Darkrai-EX for their latest winning strategies.
The recently released Pokémon TCG: Black & White—Dark Explorers expansion is full of strong Darkness-type Pokémon and Trainer cards to support them. A lot of tough Darkness-type decks are emerging as a result, most of which feature the awesome Darkrai-EX (63/108). Take a look at some of the building blocks that make Darkrai-EX decks so effective.
Things Go Dark
Darkrai-EX is great on its own, dealing massive damage and withstanding some pretty brutal attacks. That is excellent, but what makes this card a cornerstone of Darkness-type decks is how it helps the Pokémon you play with it.
Darkrai-EX's Dark Cloak Ability gives any Pokémon with Darkness Energy attached to it a free retreat cost. Note that the Pokémon itself doesn't have to be Darkness-type—you can give Mewtwo-EX (Black & White—Next Destinies, 54/99) a free retreat by attaching Darkness Energy to it with Darkrai-EX in play. Experienced players know having free movement is tremendously valuable, and it may be one of the aspects of the game that beginning players most often overlook.
Of course, Darkrai-EX isn't there just to make all the rest of your Pokémon better. Its Night Spear attack is potent against any team it faces: in addition to 90 damage to the Defending Pokémon, you'll do an extra 30 damage to one of your opponent's Benched Pokémon. Night Spear is most effective early in matches when you can pick off weaker Basic Pokémon from your opponent's Bench before they can evolve.
Darkrai-EX has two extra advantages tied to the current popularity of Mewtwo-EX. With a -20 Resistance to Psychic-type Pokémon, Darkrai-EX has a little extra defense against Mewtwo-EX. Combine that Resistance with Darkrai-EX's 180 HP, and Mewtwo-EX won't have quite the easy time it has against most other opponents.
Get Your Z's
Zoroark has popped up several times in the Black & White series but the most recent version, Zoroark (71/108), may be the most effective. This Zoroark perfectly utilizes the strength of the Black & White—Dark Explorers expansion, loads of Darkness-type Pokémon, with its Brutal Bash attack. For 2 Colorless Energy, Brutal Bash does 20 damage times the number of Darkness Pokémon you have in play (including Zoroark, of course). With a couple of Basic Darkness-type Pokémon played to your Bench, Zoroark can be hitting for serious damage by the second turn.
Zoroark's second attack, Dark Rush, is a nice backup, but you'll be playing with fire if you rely on it to do a lot of damage. It does 20 damage times the number of damage counters on Zoroark, which can be devastating. But in this era of big damage, you're better off putting down strong Basic Pokémon, such as Darkrai-EX, to aid Zoroark's Brutal Bash and retreating to the Bench before Zoroark gets crushed.
Of the two Zorua in the Black & White—Dark Explorers expansion, one is clearly preferable over the other for Darkrai decks. Zorua (69/108) has the Ascension attack, which lets you find Zoroark in your deck and play it to evolve Zorua immediately. The faster Zoroark is in play, the quicker you can deliver early hits with Brutal Bash.
A couple of new Item cards are essential for your next Darkness-type deck. In fact, they won't be of much use to any decks except Darkness-type decks!
The first Item, Dark Claw (92/108), is a Pokémon Tool card that gives a plus 20 damage boost to a Darkness-type Pokémon's attacks on the opponent’s Active Pokémon when attached. With it, Zoroark becomes even more effective early in the game when you might be struggling to fill your Bench, and Darkrai-EX breaks the 100 damage barrier with its Night Spear attack. Because Dark Claw works only against the opponent’s Active Pokémon, the additional 30 damage that Night Spear does remains unchanged.
Another Item that will be good in Darkness-type decks, the Dark Patch (93/108) Trainer—Item card can help you attach Energy to your Pokémon quickly. It lets you attach a basic Darkness Energy from your discard pile directly to one of your Benched Darkness-type Pokémon. One way to play Dark Patch is to use Professor Juniper (98/108) to stock your discard pile with Energy from your hand, and once you draw another one, follow up with a Dark Patch to put a second Darkness Energy in play. Another method would be to play an Ultra Ball (102/108), discarding at least 1 Darkness Energy, then use Dark Patch to put that Energy onto your Bench.
The Black & White—Dark Explorers expansion contains so many good cards designed for building a Darkness-type deck, it's easy to see why they're quickly becoming favorites in tournaments. Use the cards described here to get yourself started with your own deck, then start experimenting with the many other options in the new expansion. Before long, you'll see the light of the power of Darkness-type decks, too!
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