Wherever darkness lurks, Team Rocket may rise again... With the reappearance of Dark Pokémon in the Pokémon TCG, Team Rocket blasts onto the scene with its mysterious Secret Machines and its own ferocious Pokémon!
Dark Pokémon are Pokémon that are Darkness-type versions of standard Pokémon. Dark Pokémon once had slightly weaker attacks and slightly lower HP than their normal counterparts, but the Dark Pokémon of EX Team Rocket Returns are the strongest ones ever seen! Many Dark Pokémon have the same amount of HP as their non-Dark versions, as well as unique and powerful attacks or Poké-Powers. Most of the Dark Pokémon in EX Team Rocket Returns are dual-type Pokémon, so they are more versatile. Dark Pokémon also tend to team up well with other Dark Pokémon.
It's Rocket Time!
Although Dark Pokémon are powerful, they're still not quite good enough for some Team Rocket members. Beware: not only are Rocket's Pokémon dangerous, but they've developed some of their most powerful Pokémon into Pokémon-ex! Although Rocket's Pokémon are more powerful, most of them have sacrificed their original types and are now purely Darkness-type Pokémon. Rocket's Wobbuffet (47/109) is an excellent card to start a battle with. It has 70 HP, so it will survive a few turns. It has Amnesia, so you can disable your opponent's attacks. Its best capability, though, is its Dark Aid attack. Dark Aid lets you re-use Pokémon Tool or Rocket's Secret Machine cards. You may either put one from your discard pile into your hand, or put three from your discard pile into your deck.
Are you sick of getting Knocked Out by those pesky Electrodes? Sick of seeing Special Conditions ruin your plans? You'll like Rocket's Articuno ex (96/109). As long as Darkness Energy is attached to it, its Darkness Veil Poké-Power prevents all effects of attacks, except damage, to Rocket's Articuno ex. Its Freeze Solid attack lets you attach a Water Energy card from your discard pile to Rocket's Articuno ex. Its Ice Wing attack does a base amount of 50 damage, so it can cause major damage when Darkness Energy cards are attached to Rocket's Articuno ex.
Some of the Trainer cards in EX Team Rocket Returns are quite strange, but can bring you plenty of success. The simplest new Trainer card is Rocket's Poké Ball (89/109). With Rocket's Poké Ball, you can search your deck for a Pokémon with Dark or Rocket's in its name and put it into your hand. This makes it really easy to fill your Bench or evolve your Pokémon into Dark or Rocket's Pokémon. It's not a Supporter card, so you can use multiple Rocket's Poké Ball in one turn.
EX Team Rocket Returns introduces "Rocket's Secret Machine" Trainer cards. They can be powerful when used correctly. Pokémon like Dark Slowking (9/109), Rocket's Wobbuffet (47/109), or Rocket's Meowth (46/109) can take special advantage of Rocket's Secret Machine cards. However, Rocket's Secret Machine cards are not Supporter cards, so you can use more than one per turn.
One of the most versatile of the Rocket's Secret Machine cards is Pokémon Retriever (84/109). It allows you to put either one Basic Pokémon or Evolution card into your hand, or three into your deck. You can use it to re-use recently Knocked Out or discarded Pokémon. For example, if your Dark Electrode was Knocked Out, but you have a Voltorb on the Bench, you can use a Pokémon Retriever to put Dark Electrode back into your hand. Now you can evolve your Voltorb!
Don't you hate it when you start a battle with a Basic Pokémon that isn't a good one to start with? How about when you have a Basic Pokémon in play, but you have an Evolution card for a different Pokémon in your hand? Swoop! Teleporter (12/109) lets you exchange a Basic Pokémon in play (excluding Pokémon-ex) with another Basic Pokémon (excluding Pokémon-ex). The new Basic Pokémon keeps all damage counters, Special Conditions, and other effects that were on the previous Basic Pokémon. With Swoop! Teleporter in your starting hand, you can ensure that you have a suitable Active Pokémon on your first turn. During the battle, you can use Swoop! Teleporter to evolve Pokémon fast. Let's say you have a Chansey on the Bench with three Energy cards attached to it, and your Raichu was Knocked Out last turn. You want another Raichu, but you don't have a Pikachu in play. You could use Swoop! Teleporter to exchange Dunsparce with a Pikachu in your deck, then use Pokémon Retriever to get that Raichu out of your discard pile and into your hand, and finally, evolve Raichu from Pikachu on the same turn, since Pikachu was already in play the previous turn when it was a Chansey. Now you have a Raichu with three Energy cards attached to it!