Today we are looking at
Darmanitan (BW: Boundaries
Yeah, it is another of the cards I
barely realized existed in this set.
Let’s see if I missed something
important or if it isn’t a surprise I
is a Fire-Type Pokémon.
If you’re reading these reviews
out of order (the last two days were
Emboar (Black & White 20/114,
BW: Next Destinies 100/99, BW
Promo BW21) and
Entei EX (BW: Dark Explorers
13/108, 103/108) support the basic
Fire Energy card, but nothing really
supports the Fire-Type itself.
I will add a piece of support for
the Energy-Type I left out yesterday;
Blend Energy GRPD.
Obviously this applies to all eight
types with a corresponding basic
Energy-Type, since they are included on
Blend Energy or the other, which is
part of why I didn’t include it before
(plus Monday’s card had a better
Still, I’ll mention it today for
Blend Energy GRPD makes it so much
easier to work an (R) Energy requiring
Pokémon into a deck alongside those
requiring (G), (P), or (D) Energy (which
would usually be Grass-, Psychic, or
Darkness-Types, of course).
There isn’t a lot of Weakness for
Darmanitan (or most other Fire-Type
Pokémon) to hit right now; so it is
mostly down to hitting a few splashed-in
Grass-Types (likely the only Fire Weak
Pokémon in those decks) or a few
important Metal-Type Pokémon (which can
be in a mostly Metal-Type deck or
similarly be the only Fire Weak Pokémon
run in their respective decks).
At least you don’t have to worry
about anything being Resistant.
As a Stage 1 Pokémon,
Darmanitan requires twice the space
(per copy) as a Basic Pokémon, and
compared to them, will have a turn delay
before seeing play.
This is a drawback, and hopefully
the Basic Stage will be well enough
designed to compensate.
Its 110 HP isn’t thrilling
either, but neither is it especially bad
in the current card pool; it will
usually survive one hit, so being just a
little easier to OHKO with a “big” hit
is just a little below what the
“average” good card has.
Water Weakness finally became a huge
problem with BW: Boundaries Crossed;
Keldeo EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed
49/149, 142/149) needs either a
PlusPower or one of three Energy
attached (for its attack) to count as
(W), and it will score a OHKO.
Conversely the lack of Resistance
is mostly a non-issue; most cards lack
Resistance, the Type conversion from
video game to TCG makes it a challenge…
I don’t like it but I understand it, and
as such view having it as a bonus, not a
For the final Stat, we come to the
Retreat cost of two; this may be the
least appealing score to have in this
Ignoring the card pool, it would
be roughly “average” in terms of
functionality; low enough you can pay,
high enough to hurt.
However the card pool has
multiple tricks to mitigate that cost
while also having
Heavy Ball, a search card that
allows Pokémon with Retreat costs of
three or higher to be fetched from the
Darumaka (the lower Stage for this
card) even has one version with such a
Retreat as well.
If it was a design option,
bumping the card up somewhere else while
giving it a bigger Retreat would
probably have been a good move.
has two attacks.
Continuous Tumble requires just
(C) and is a “flip until ‘tails’”
It hits for 20 points of damage
per “heads”, which like the HP is just a
bit low for this format.
It is good that it always makes
Darmanitan (no matter how unlikely)
a threat; odds are against someone
flipping nine “heads” in a row, but it
isn’t impossible (just improbable).
While still unlikely, a run of
four or five isn’t fun for your opponent
Unfortunately, since you’ve got a 50%
chance of completely whiffing, even
though this seems like a decent return
for the bulk of the card pool, the 10%
(off the top of my head guess) of the
card pool that makes up the competitive
scene is such that Continuous Tumble
would need to hit for about 60 points of
damage per “heads” in order to hang with
Damage Counterpunch also is suited to an
older format, though this one is so
close to being worthwhile it almost
For (RCC) the attack does 60
points of damage with the effect clause
adding an additional 60 points of damage
Darmanitan has any damage counters
120 points of damage for three
Energy is fantastic even now, even on a
Stage 1 Pokémon.
The Energy requirements are open
enough that you could use virtually any
kind of Energy acceleration currently
Unfortunately since a lot of attacks hit
so hard, you’ll find it hard to use
Counterpunch more than once at full
strength, and sometimes not even once.
Counterpunch would be amazing if
we had an easy method of placing a
single damage counter on
So… what is the best
Darumaka to use with
BW: Next Destinies 17/99
has a nasty (since today’s
Darmanitan wasn’t chunky enough for
Heavy Ball) Retreat of three, but it
also has the best HP of its siblings at
None of the five other versions
(yeah, six distinct releases for this
one!) has impressive attacks, so that HP
score seems like the deciding factor.
What about the other
Darmanitan… should we be using them
There are four versions, but the
only one I think is worth considering
for even fun play is
Darmanitan (BW: Next Destinies
This was once tossed around as a
Mewtwo EX counter, but to my
knowledge never quite made it.
It differs from today’s card by
being a Psychic-Type with Psychic
Weakness and a three Energy Retreat.
Its claim to fame is a “flip
until tails” attack with a cool name (DarMAXitan)
that does 50 per “heads”.
Neither card seems good enough to slip
into a serious deck.
Still, you could back them with
Victini (BW: Noble Victories
14/101, 98/101) and run them together
for a “fun” deck.
Now, if you do flip well, it can
fake being a competitive deck; OHKOs are
OHKOs after all, and even 2HKOs are
Your main disadvantage (besides
the fact that you could have a bad run
of luck and flip mostly or all “tails”)
is you would mostly be throwing Stage 1
Pokémon at big, Basic Pokémon.
I would favor BW: Next
Destinies 60/99 over today’s CotD or
run them equal, however.
For Unlimited, you could build an
adequate “Beatdown” deck.
It would still mostly be “for
fun” because you’ve still got First Turn
Win decks, First Turn Lock decks, more
traditional donk decks, soft-lock decks,
and of course scores of other possible
Still this is the format where
you can find cards to cover almost all
the weaknesses of the deck.
Lastly, if you pull this card in
Limited, you’re actually doing well!
Darumaka in this set isn’t an ideal
card to run, but especially in Limited
conditions it isn’t impossibly bad: a
Basic Fire-Type, with 70 HP, Water
Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat of two,
and one attack that for (RC) does 30
points of damage to the Defending
Pokémon and (if you get tails on a
mandatory coin flip) 10 to
It is however a Common and
Darmanitan itself is only an
Uncommon, improving odds of pulling
Thanks to Continuous Tumble, you can
even consider running the line
completely off Type.
However, if you can squeeze in
even a few (3-5) basic
Fire Energy, you’ve got a decent
Darumaka, a decent attack in
Continuous Tumble, and an amazing attack
in Damage Counterpunch!
If this set didn’t have so much
Water it could be a top pull (well…
other than a Pokémon-EX, of course).
For the third time this week, we’ve got
a Pokémon that reminds me how it seems
like sets anymore are meant for two
different formats; one composed of the
current top performers, maybe even the
cards that are “almost” as good as
those… and then one consisting of
isn’t poorly designed, it just showed up
to a format dominated by cards that are
powerful, likely overpowered given the
rest of the card pool.
I wouldn’t take it to a
tournament for serious play, but it at
least should be fun for League unless
everyone else runs