Pojo's Pokemon news, tips, strategies and more!

Pokemon Home


Price Guide Set List

Message Board

Pokemon GO Tips

Pokemon News

Featured Articles

Trading Card Game
- Price Guide
- Price Guide
- Card of the Day
- Professional Grading
- Killer Deck Reports
- Deck Garage
- William Hung
- Jason Klaczynski
- Jeremy's Deck Garage
- Johnny Blaze's Banter
- TCG Strategies
- Rulings Help
- Apprentice & Patch
- Apprentice League
- Spoilers & Translations
- Official Rules
- Featured Event Reports
- Top of the World
- An X-Act Science
- Error Cards
- Printable Checklist
- Places to Play

Nintendo Tips
- Red/Blue
- Yellow
- Gold & Silver
- Crystal
- Ruby & Sapphire
- Fire Red & Leaf Green
- Emerald
- Pinball
- TCG cart
- Stadium
- PuPuzzle League
- Pinball: Ruby/Sapphire
- Pokemon Coliseum
- Pokemon Box
- Pokemon Channel

GameBoy Help
- ClownMasters Fixes
- Groudon's Den
- Pokemon of the Week

E-Card Reader FAQ's
- Expedition
- Aquapolis
- Skyridge
- Construction Action Function
- EON Ticket Manual

Deck Garage
- Pokemaster's Pit Stop
- Kyle's Garage
- Ghostly Gengar

- Episode Listing
- Character Bios
- Movies & Videos
- What's a Pokemon?
- Video List
- DVD List

Featured Articles

Pojo's Toy Box

Books & Videos


Advertise With Us
- Sponsors


About Us
Contact Us

Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Cards of 2012:

#2 - Darkrai-EX

- Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed:
January 3, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.50
Limited: 3.50

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

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

#2 Darkrai-EX (Dark Explorers) 

So . . . we are down to the last two cards, and no-one is going to be shocked that they are the two Big Bads of the format. One or both of these cards has featured in the vast majority of tournament winning decks over the last year and, to be honest, saying that one is somehow ‘better’ than the other seems like a pretty pointless debate: they are both fantastic cards. They are both right up there with the most powerful Pokémon ever released. 

But they can’t both win, so the runner-up spot happens to be taken by Darkrai-EX. This was hyped into oblivion (much to the joy of card retailers who got away with charging $70+ for it) before release, and it hasn’t disappointed. It started winning tournaments from day 1 and hasn’t stopped since. It completely dominated the top cut at Worlds 2012 where it took seven of the top eight places. 

Why did this happen? Well Darkrai has three things going for it: a superb attack that can two-hit KO any EX while also softening up the Bench; an incredibly useful Ability that in effect makes everything in your deck a free retreater; and some great support, including a Type-specific Energy acceleration engine in the shape of Dark Patch. All this means that Darkai-EX is an incredibly flexible card that enables a lot of different decks to be built around it. It can be the focus of a big hitting rush deck (either on its own or with other attackers). It can be at the heart of a tanking and healing set up deck (Darkrai/Hydreigon). It can use its Ability to make decks focused on other Pokémon viable (Klinklang variants, the old Accelgor/Vileplume decks). Put simply, any deck that uses Darkrai-EX gets access to free retreat, Energy acceleration, and a great attacker. Who wouldn’t want that? 

It’s not perfect of course. The Fighting Weakness has proven to be a bit of an Achilles heel, but if you ever wanted to know just how good Darkrai-EX is, consider this: in a format full of popular counters that can OHKO it (Terrakion NVI, and recently Landorus-EX), Darkrai decks are still more successful than anything else. 

It’s just that good. 


Modified: 4.75 (Rarely, if ever, has one Pokémon offered so many fantastic possibilities)

Jebulous Maryland Player Darkrai EX
It's the beast that has made so many combination of cards possible.
With its ability, it makes retreating insignificant now.  Status conditions (besides sleep and paralysis) are meaningless when it's on the field.  Things that had 3-4 retreat, can now get out of the active spot with 1 energy.  Catcher stalling doesn't work when it is out.
With it's attack, the way people play Pokemon is different from before the rotation.  Eelektrik decks are dying out because 'Night Spear' not only OHKOs Eelektrik, but also damages Tynamo to the point where it won't survive on the Bench.  In fact, 30 HP Tynamo (and other Pokemon) aren't even played anymore because of this attack.  'Night Spear' also softens up high HP Pokemon on the Bench.  Play your cards right and you can set up multiple KOs from the attack.
You can see how much of a monster it is from looking at the Hydreigon/Darkrai deck.  In fact, the rise of play in Terrakion was seen because of Darkrai.  It was a cheap way to counter it.
Just so much has happened with Darkrai coming out, I doubt I can cover everything (especially since I'm just writing a summary).
After my Eelektrik deck fell apart, I started playing different decks with Darkrai.  When I played with Hydreigon, it seemed like I was always 1 turn behind my opponent setting up.  I switched it up to a Hammertime variant, but haven't played much recently.
One City Championships I went to, 5/6 decks I played were Darkrai variants.  It's one of those cards that turned the format into 'you play Darkrai' or 'you play to counter Darkrai' (with some wiggle room).
My biggest beef with Darkrai is that it completely ruined my idea of making a deck with Jellicent.  I wanted to abuse its Ability, but Darkrai overrides it.


At last we come to the penultimate Card of 2012, and the #2 slot goes to Darkrai EX (BW: Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108, BW Promo BW46), a card that also took second place in our BW: Dark Explorers Top 10 list!  You can read our original reviews for it here.  So… what, if anything, has changed since it debuted over half a year ago?


We now have Landorus EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed 89/149, 144/149), a Fighting-Type Pokémon-EX capable of attacking for solid damage (30 Active, 30 Bench) for just (F), making that Fighting-Type Weakness even more dangerous, and we simply have more competition for strong Pokémon-EX in general eroding some of the hold Darkrai EX had on the format… just like Darkrai EX did to Mewtwo EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99, BW Promo BW45).


Of course, just as Mewtwo EX remains formidable even now, so too does Darkrai EX; it seems to have been taken down a notch.  The new cards have created some more new decks, but they have also created some new combos, which have given new strengths to Darkrai EX.  There are new decks that star it as an attacker, for example, and cards like Skyla make it easier to pull useful Trainer support like Dark Patch.


Older tricks that were good for decks not focused on Darkrai EX have been enhanced.  Most reading this should know that you can partner Keldeo EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed 49/149, 142/149) and as long as you’ve got a source of (D) Energy attached to Keldeo EX and nothing is negating Abilities, you’ll be able to Bench your Active and Retreat to whatever Pokémon you really want up front; not quite a free Switch each turn!


Darkrai EX is still seen in several decks as a main attacker, as an easy trick to zero out the Retreat of your Pokémon, and often for both reasons!  Consulting a list of first place decks for the Masters bracket of Cities 2012-2013 that totaled 121, 38 contained Darkrai EX and in a prominent position (e.g. important enough to be used to categorize the deck).  That is over just over 31%, or nearly one in three decks!  Similar percentages held true for second place and third/fourth pace for that division as well.


For Unlimited, Darkrai EX still looks like a good card.  Its biggest enemy in many ways would be the dominance of decks that win or lock the opponent down first turn; with the resources of Unlimited, you could build a slightly more traditional donk deck that would be effective, just not as effective as the ones that win first turn.  I have not had any time to experiment with this, however, so this is pure speculation on my part.  I can’t help but think there might be some combos enabled via the Ability, as well, but none jump readily to mind.


For Limited play, Darkrai EX is effectively a must play.  While not impossible, it is highly improbable that you would not pull enough cards to make a deck that is at least 1/3 Darkness-Type cards… and of course there is always the option of just running a Darkrai EX and 39 Darkness Energy, though if your opponent has a Fighting heavy deck that would be a very hard fight.




Unlimited: 3.5/5


Modified: 4.25/5


Limited: 5/5 



All in all, I think it is easy to see why Darkrai EX took the number two spot on the list.  It isn’t in every deck, but it is in several as either main attacker or a back-up attacker or as a form of Retreat aid.  It isn’t in nearly as many decks as yesterday’s CotD, Computer Search, but it is still in a staggering amount for a Pokémon with Energy specific requirements (for both attack and Ability), and it makes a bigger difference in all of the decks it appears in than Computer Search.


Darkrai EX was indeed my number two pick as well.  I think by now this makes the number one pick quite obvious, but check us out tomorrow when we make it official.

Copyright© 1998-2013 pojo.com
This site is not sponsored, endorsed, or otherwise affiliated with any of the companies or products featured on this site. This is not an Official Site.