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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



- XY22 Promo

Date Reviewed:
Feb. 3, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.13
Expanded: 2.33
Limited: Promo

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Darkrai (XY Promo 22) 

The Black and White series Darkrai promo was a pretty cool card in my opinion: it was Full Art for one thing, and probably deserved a little more attention than it actually got (which was practically none). This XY Promo version, I don’t like as much. 

It’s pretty much just a variation on the old ‘Dream Eater’ theme which dates back to Base Set Haunter. You get one attack (Hypnoblast) which puts the Defending Pokémon to Sleep, followed by another (Deep Wind) which does substantial damage . . . but only if the Sleep condition sticks. 

Of course, with Hypnotoxic Laser around, you actually don’t have to wait a whole turn to use Deep Wind, while praying that the Defending Pokémon stays Asleep. So that’s something at least. In fact, if you hit heads with the Laser, you are doing 120 damage and Poison. Throw in a Muscle Band and a Virbank Gym, and in theory, you can get some nice OHKOs. 

It’s a lot of effort (and a coin flip), though, just to make this card work. Sleep is the most unreliable of all the Status Conditions, and never something you want to have to depend on. Darkrai’s Weakness to Fighting, and the relatively high Energy cost of Deep Wind are other factors that should caution you against using this card. 


Modified: 2
Expanded: 1.75
Limited: 3.25


In the great legacy of "mini-legends," - that is, legendary Pokemon being Basics but not EXs - today's card Darkrai works to make a mini-version of Darkrai-EX, something that can compete against EXs in its own right without giving up two prizes. Think of it as an attempt at getting a good attacker in without the bulk or risk of an EX. This guy's not too bad, but is he enough to run alongside his big brother and be successful? Let's see! 

Darkrai's first attack is Hypnoblast, a 2-for-30 strike that puts the opponent to Sleep. We've seen Hypnoblast before plenty of times, and barring the ability to flip a successful heads for two turns, it can be useful. For instance, Darkrai's Deep Wind attack looks to be a dull 3-for-60 attack, but on a Sleeping opponent, it does 120 damage AND heals Darkrai for 30 damage - all in a single attack! That's pretty good! 

Except for the dependency on the status. Once upon a time, I mentioned that Paralysis and Poison are probably the two best Status Conditions in the game - the former because, well, it simply is, and the latter given the support it has and the constant damage it deals per turn. Beyond that, it's mostly coin flip effects - Sleep, Burn, and Confusion are all lumped together into this. Burn flips to deal damage, Confusion is the worst in that it doesn't even prevent manual switches anymore, and Sleep flips to keep the opponent "paralyzed."  

This 50/50 dealing is what makes Sleep an unreliable Status Condition; you'll recall that Honchkrow from Phantom Forces had a similar problem with his own Sleep infliction and damage strategy. If anything, this Darkrai is ultimately a better Honchkrow because it's only a Basic, and its Sleep-dependent Deep Wind at least heals damage. 

Does that make him good? Not quite, but it does make him better. Between Honchkrow and Darkrai, I'd run Darkrai, but as far as Darkrai and Darkrai-EX go, he's just not cool enough to hang with the EX crowd. 


Standard: 2.5/5 (same strategy as Honchkrow, just better cause he's a Basic) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (it's the same thing here with the same issues) 

Limited: N/A (Honchkrow at least is in a set...that's a thing) 

Arora Notealus: You gotta laugh when you've got this big name Pokemon in the TCG like "Darkrai," and then someone comes up talking about this guy and you're like, "Oh...no, that's not so bad as Darkrai." Probably some of the more notable "mini-legends" are the Unova Dragons with their Outrage attack and Rayquaza from LTR. 

Next Time: A furry Pinocchio wood tanooki!...how else would you describe him?


This week we are going to look at some of the recent Black Star promos.  Our second candidate is Darkrai (XY Black Star Promos XY22).  As mentioned in yesterday’s review the Darkness-Type ain’t what she used to be: direct support is almost non-existent in Standard now though thanks to cards like Yveltal-EX the indirect support is pretty solid (though that also comes at a price I’ll address later).  Hitting for Weakness isn’t unheard of but its not especially common while Resistance is growing more common as it shows up on Fairy-Types… a Type which includes Klefki (XY: Furious Fists 73/111), a Basic Pokémon with an Ability that makes Resistance on Fairy-Type Pokémon jump to -40: -20 isn’t too bad to work around but -40 is significant enough to matter quite often, at least if you can’t switch to a solid, non-Darkness-Type attacker.  There is even a few direct Darkness-Type counters though thankfully they are so ineffective we aren’t going to look at them in detail.  In Expanded, its a bit better because one amazing (and frankly overpowered) piece of Darkness-Type support is both legal and still well worth it: Dark Patch. 

Being a Basic Pokémon is currently the best and pretty much has been for years due to the pace of the game; it has been consistently fast enough even longer than that and without the artificial support propping up the top Evolutions, the way they and their lower Stages have been designed can’t compete.  Granted even with artificial support or being made ridiculously powerful, it doesn’t help that most big, Basic Pokémon are “too fast”, often having a solid if not their primary, quality attacks available in just a turn or two while Evolutions still need a minimum of two turns to set-up right now.  Bad for game balance, good for Darkrai… to a degree, and I’ll again get to that later.  Yes, I’m going somewhere with this. 

Darkrai sports 120 HP; just 10 below the max printed on legal-to-play Basic Pokémon (excluding those featuring special mechanics, like Pokémon-EX).  This is that range (about 110 to 130) that makes a card just a little more likely to survive an attack than be OHKOed, and even that fluctuates based on how important it is to take that particular Prize as quite a few decks can hit 140 or 150 without needing a particularly lucky and/or skill intensive set-up though only a few can do so turn after turn without being in a good place.  The Fighting-Type Weakness is quite dangerous; no surprise as its a Type that tends to hit hard, reliably, for low Energy (anymore, for just one Energy) and not only enjoys the general buffs but a few specific just to them.  Any Resistance is appreciated and Psychic Resistance is a solid option because Mewtwo-EX is still a solid option.  The single energy Retreat Cost is easy to pay in both the sense you’ll often have the Energy attached and be able to cope with the Energy loss.  Later on this could become more useful: Darkrai-EX is still a regular Bench-sitter and spare attacker in Darkness-Type decks, due to its Retreat Cost canceling Dark Cloak, but its also likely to rotate out sooner rather than later. 

Darkrai sports two attacks; the first is Hypnoblast which costs [DC] and does 30 damage while afflicting the Defending Pokémon with Sleep.  Sleep is both one of the best and one of the worst Special Conditions; the bad news is that it can go away on its own but the good news is that while it lasts, your opponent can’t retreat or attack.  Still the Sleep Check between turns to see if the Sleeping Pokémon wakes up makes it quite unreliable.  Thanks to the standard set by Pokémon-EX, this attack is a little slow and a little weak.  The second attack is Deep Wind for [DDC]; it does 60 damage but if the opponent’s Active Pokémon is Asleep when you hit it, you do an additional 60 damage (so 120 total) and heal 30 damage from Darkrai.  Darkrai isn’t so big that healing 30 is likely to save it; most of the time it will either have taken no damage or will remain just inside of or outside of OHKO range, but for those borderline cases and getting rid of damage taken while on the Bench it is appreciated.  60 for three is terrible but 120 for three is good.  While the two attacks are intended to combo together, they aren’t meant to be a strong combo that carries itself, so I won’t demand that they be; your opponent will get two chances to wake up after you afflict their Pokémon with Sleep.  The Energy costs are not especially friendly to generic Energy acceleration; good for long term game balance, but bad for Darkrai itself. 

If you want to run a Darkrai, there are only two other options in Expanded or Standard right now and neither are “plain”; you’ve got Darkrai-EX which we already established you’re probably going to be running in any deck using Darkness Energy but which only eats up a slot for today’s card in the generic sense; their names are treated as different so you could run up to four of each if you wished.  There is also Darkrai (BW Black Star Promos BW73), an example of some of the promos that have slipped through the cracks and missed being reviewed.  It is a Team Plasma affiliated Pokémon so I’ll refer to it as Darkrai [Plasma], but as the brackets and fact I’m not italicizing the “Plasma” part should indicate, it does have the same name as today’s card so they will occupy the same (up to) four slots in a deck.  Darkrai [Plasma] is still a Basic Darkness-Type Pokémon with Fighting Weakness, Psychic Resistance, no Ability and two attacks.  Its HP is marginally worse at 110 and if you don’t have an effect like Dark Cloak or a card like Switch handy, its Retreat Cost of two can get annoying (though its still something you’ll likely have the capacity to pay).  For [DC] it can use Hide In Shadows to Bench itself while hitting for 30 or Dark Hole to destroy all Monsters in play.  Wait, wrong game: this Dark Hole does 90 damage and with a successful coin flip afflicts the Defending Pokémon with Sleep.  This wouldn’t be too bad except it costs [DDCC]; even with Team Plasma and Darkness-Type support, that’s just too much. 

So is there a use for today’s Darkrai?  Yes and no.  If you want a competitive Darkness-Type attacker you’ve got Yveltal-EX, one of the best attackers in the game right now.  If you need a Darkness-Type attacker that isn’t a Pokémon-EX, you’ve still got Yveltal (XY 78/146; XY Black Star Promos XY06) and Absol (BW: Plasma Freeze 67/116), which are far better attackers in a generic Darkness-Type deck.  There is something you can do with today’s card, though.  Take Malamar-EX, Honchkrow (XY: Phantom Forces 52/119), Muscle Band (or Silver Bangle), Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym.  You also will probably want some copies of Energy Switch as well.  That is a lot but we aren’t talking about trick combo but the focus for the deck.  Honchkrow has the wonderfully named Nightmare Mambo attack for [DCC] that also hits for 60 or 120 if the opponent’s Active Pokémon is Asleep; it won’t heal itself but Nightmare Mambo only requires [DCC] allowing Double Colorless Energy to speed things up.  It is a Stage 1 plus has a Different Weakness and Resistance so both are useful at different times.  Muscle Band bumps the damage up to 140 against anything while Silver Bangle makes it 150 against Pokémon-EX.  Hypnotoxic Laser both provides a chance to inflict Sleep and will inflict Poison, and with Virbank City Gym on top of all of that, you’re looking at an effective 170 to 180 damage, enough for a OHKO.  Malamar-EX is included because if you can spare an Energy attachment for it, its Ability will guarantee the Defending Pokémon is Asleep (a pretty important thing), plus its a Darkness-Type with a decent (but flippy) attack.  You should get a deck that is more reliable (yeah, even though it depends on Sleep) and competitive than your typical “fun” deck but definitely not something you should expect to Top Cut with. 


Standard: 2/5 - It almost depresses me to rate this card so low; its definitely not as good as it could be, but despite the score its actually pretty solid.  There is only so much space in decks and this is just outclassed by the current, dominant Darkness-Type attackers. 

Expanded: 2.75/5 - As above, but with Dark Patch back its a little better, especially for the above suggested deck.  It doesn’t get that much better though, and is still not the best option for attackers. 

Limited: N/A - It would be a top pick if it were to be reprinted in Limited legal fashion, adjusted for what the set was like.  Even though the second attack would be unreliable, its a big, Basic Pokémon.  Unlikely to be adequate for a +39 deck, though. 

Summary: Darkrai isn’t bad in the “no redeeming features” department; I think the second attack divides the damage in the wrong way as it would be a better card without becoming overpowered (at least relative to the rest of the format) if the first attack only required [D] or [CC] and if the second attack required [DCC] and had the damage doing 90+30.  In fact, even just changing that damage split would have really improved the card.  It is bad when you compare it to what dominates the metagame, being an inferior choice because there are overpowered options.  Yes, that is what I was building to; its hard to have a good-but-balanced Darkness-Type attacker compete with something as good as Yveltal-EX (let alone the rest of the competitive metagame).  Most of what can help it also ends up hurting it, leaving it as something to play when you want something mostly but not totally different.

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