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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Darkrai Lv. X

Great Encounters

Date Reviewed: Nov. 4, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: See Below
Limited: See Below

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Darkrai LV X (Great Encounters)

Muahahahahahaha . . . it’s Darkrai LV X, not so much a card as a cautionary tale for Pokémon players everywhere: especially those who are tempted by the lure of hype.

As a Pokémon, Darkrai is pretty high up on the scale of scary: a creature consisting of tattered shadows and fog that causes people unending nightmares, it is one of the very few (the only?) Pokémon to be portrayed in the video games as being actually evil.

When translations/spoilers for this thing began appearing online, Darkrai started getting the sort of hype that makes all last year’s fuss about Lost World seem like a storm in a teacup. Japanese copies of the card (which were playable outside of Japan back then) changed hands for extortionate amounts of money, and when the English version hit town the going rate for a single copy was $100+.

It didn’t take very long for the bubble to burst and for Darkrai LV X’s value to plummet. There were two main reasons for this: firstly, it was released as a tin promo, making all of those ‘early adopters’ who shelled out big money very sad Bunearys indeed; secondly, it turned out to be more or less rubbish.

But how could this be? Just look at Darkrai’s amazing PokéBody that makes all Dark Energy count as Special Dark! See how its broken attack puts your opponent’s Pokémon into a deep Sleep and is capable of inflicting OHKOs on anyone who gets unlucky with their coin flips! How could it possibly fail? Well, the answer to that question lies in the format that existed at the time. A format dominated by the combination of Gardevoir and Gallade. Sure, they might even let your resource-laden Darkrai LV X take Prize, then they would slap a Scramble Energy on Gallade, hit it for Weakness, and send it straight to the discard pile. Sure, you could try setting your second one up (under Gardy’s Psychic Lock), but the same fate awaited it. Essentially, the card was unplayable as an attacker.

Yes people tried to use it as a bench-sitting tech in Tyranitar decks, or as part of a combo with Weavile SW and Blissey MT, but LV X Pokémon do not make the best bench techs (they need to be active to Level Up), and its presence tended to clunk up T-tar and Blissey more than it helped them out. I don’t believe Darkrai was ever part of any genuinely successful deck while it was legal, and the number of people trying to make it work eventually dwindled to zero.

The moral of the story? No matter how great a card looks in isolation, it is the format that determines its worth. Remember that, and you won’t ever have nightmares over the amount of cash you just dropped on a piece of pure hype.


Fear Factor as a Pokémon: 4.5

Fear Factor as a TCG card: 1.5


Happy Friday, Pojo readers! Today we're ending Scary Pokemon Week by reviewing a Lv. X card of one of the scariest Pokemon around. Today's Card of the Day is Darkrai Lv. X from Great Encounters.

Darkrai Lv. X is a Level-Up of a Basic Darkness Pokemon. Darkness Pokemon weren't really that common when Darkrai Lv. X was legal, aside from a random tech or two. 100 HP is fairly decent for a Basic Level-Up, although the value would be considered a bit low by today's metagame standards. Fighting Weakness is standard for Darkness-types, but there weren't too many of those around when Darkrai was legal, save the ubiquitous Claydol that no one attacked with. Psychic Resistance was helpful against AMU/Plox and would be good against Gothitelle and Mew Prime now. Finally, Darkrai has a Retreat Cost of 1, which is easily payable.

Darkrai has a Poke-Body and a very interesting attack. Dark Shadow has the simple effect of effectively turning all of your Basic Darkness Energy into Special Darkness Energy, which really cranks up the damage output of your Darkness Pokemon. In fact, our current Modified would love an effect like this right now, giving Tyranitar Prime and Hydreigon more power. Back when Darkrai was legal, there weren't many Darkness-types for Darkrai to combo with, unfortunately wasting the body somewhat.

Endless Darkness, Darkrai Lv. X's form of offense, starts off at a rather unspectacular 40 damage for two Darkness and a Colorless (though this damage will be boosted to 60 or 70 given how many Darkness/Special Darkness Energy are attached). The attack also puts the Defending Pokemon to sleep, only forcing your opponent to flip two coins for sleep: if either one is tails, the Defending Pokemon is still Asleep, and if both are tails, the Defending Pokemon is Knocked Out! Although the KO is rather unreliable, keeping the opponent Asleep can be very powerful, especially if your opponent is bad at flipping heads.

Modified: N/A Darkrai Lv. X hasn't been legal for a while now, but I would tend to think that it would do better now than when it was legal. Tyranitar Prime and Hydreigon are both powerful Pokemon that need a partner, and Darkrai Lv. X would provide that. All of the Darkness-type boosts that are coming out in the Japanese set Dark Rush would also help Darkrai's case. I'd give it a 3.75/5 if it were legal today.

Limited: 5/5 Darkrai Lv. X is amazing in Limited if you pull it. Dark Shadow may only be of limited usefulness due to a lack of Darkness-types in GE, but Endless Darkness is truly amazing, as chances are your opponents wouldn't have a way to deal with Darkrai's bolstered Asleep condition.

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