Hey guys! It’s no secret that although I’ve been playing the Pokémon TCG since the game came out, it’s been far too long since I’ve been truly competitive. Let me tell ya, being on the sidelines sucks! Even when I did play, I just didn’t play enough to really “get it” and my results showed it. This is why I’m starting this series; I want to play again. Not only do I want to play though, but I want to play at a level that I can be truly proud of.
I hope most of you know by now that I was a commentator at both US Nationals and the World Championships this year! It’s true that commentating’s become my biggest passion, but there’s nothing quite like shuffling up a deck of cards. I’ll hopefully have a chance to commentate again this coming season, but in the meantime, why not try and win some tournaments?
Throughout the year, I’ll be dishing out strategy articles, tournament reports, and deck analysis – the works! You can even expect to see regular PTCGO videos on YouTube. Whatever I do to prepare, I’m giving everyone a front row ticket to the show. Fair warning though, it might not be pretty! I’m rustier than a Blitzcrank, so this might take a while.
This week we’ll focus on a deck I just can’t seem to let go of, Darkrai. I do realize that it took a pretty big hit with Energy Switch rotating out, but it’s still important to give decks like these a shot. The season’s long and there’s plenty of time to get acquainted with the format. I’d rather start with something I know and work from there. Unfortunately, Darkrai’s issues don’t end at Energy Switch, and it has a few hurdles to jump through if it’s going to compete against the rest of the best. Let’s get to it.
|Pokémon (9)||Trainers (41)||Energy (10)|
|4 Darkrai EX||4 Professor Juniper||10 Darkness Energy|
|3 Sableye||3 N|
|1 Absol||3 Skyla|
|1 Victini EX||1 Colress|
|4 Pokémon Catcher|
|4 Dark Patch|
|4 Ultra Ball|
|2 Enhanced Hammer|
|2 Tool Scrapper|
|2 Random Receiver|
|2 Hypnotoxic Laser|
|2 Dark Claw|
|2 Virbank City Gym|
|1 Energy Search|
|1 Victory Piece|
This list is pretty adventurous, I know! The loss of Energy Switch makes extremely fast starts almost impossible, which heavily weakens the deck. The four copies of Switch aren’t necessarily there to help against your opponent’s Hypnotoxic Lasers, which will likely be far scarcer than they were last season, but are meant to help alleviate the loss of Energy Switch. Without Switch (or the Keldeo/Float Stone combo), Dark Patch becomes far too weak, and the deck likely wouldn’t work.
I know it looks like I skimped on Hypnotoxic Laser, but in reality, I added a 2/2 Laser/Virbank line to the deck. Simply put, Virizion EX makes Laser much weaker, and nobody wants to topdeck multiple dead cards in any given game. Originally, I wanted to have a counter Stadium for Tropical Beach, Virbank City Gym, and even the random Pokémon Centers that would just be so difficult to beat. Really though, Darkrai just doesn’t deal enough damage on its own, and I had to try and fit a small Laser line to the deck, not only to help counter my opponent’s Stadiums, but also because being able to deal 140 damage (with Dark Claw + Laser/Virbank) is crucial against 170 HP Pokémon.
Finally, the addition of a 1/1 Victini EX/Victory Piece line is more of an experiment than anything else. Virizion/Genesect has to be a difficult deck to beat. Their energy acceleration, coupled with the ability to OHKO your Darkrai really puts too much pressure on the deck, and I felt like we needed an answer. I fully expect the deck to be popular early on, as the hype surrounding these Grass type Pokémon is pretty surreal. At one point, I even toyed around with the idea of having multiple Victini EX in the deck and playing Prism Energy (and maybe even a couple Blend Energy to boot.) Ultimately though, as funny as it’d be to play multiple Victini EX, the amount of Special Energy required to use the little rodent would devastate Dark Patch’s utility. Plus, this is deckbuilding 101 – don’t overcompensate for decks in an unknown metagame!
I expect this deck to at least be good enough to give me a reasonable look into the new format. Blastoise has to be a very bad matchup and Victini definitely doesn’t do anything to alleviate that! It’ll be interesting to see if the matchup is so bad that you simply have to run the Garbodor version of the Darkrai deck, or if you still have a puncher’s chance against Blastoise.
Go ahead and check out the YouTube video down below! It’s meant to accompany this introductory article and provide a couple of matches with the Darkrai deck. As far as “Don’t Call It a Comeback” is concerned? I think the beauty is in the fact that I likely won’t play perfectly, or anywhere near it, at first. It’ll be interesting to see what happens throughout the season, however.
This is an open invitation for all of you. Let’s enjoy the ride together. No pressure, Crimz!
P.S. It’s my turn to do a mailbag this week, so e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll answer your questions on Sunday!