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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



- XY BREAKpoint

Date Reviewed:
March 11, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.15
Expanded: 3.15
Limited: 4.50

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Wait, an EX? That DIDN'T make the Top 10?! I mean, that's not unheard of, but hey, it's Darkrai!! Wasn't the last one super good? What happened to this guy?

Well actually, this Darkrai-EX isn't that bad. Sure, he doesn't have an Ability like Dark Cloak, but he does have a couple of attacks that can give Night Spear a run for its money! First off, Darkrai-EX runs Dark Pulse, which actually works out pretty well...in theory. We've seen this kind of attack before on M Gardevoir-EX, where the damage output is based around the total amount of a specific Energy you have in play, the main difference being Darkrai-EX's is based on Dark Energy and it adds on 20 more damage to the base 20 damage the attack is already doing. Great late game to make a push back, but even just attaching it to Darkrai-EX gives the attack an extra 40 damage! 

And then there's Dark Head, which plays off of Darkrai's flavor of being a nightmare Pokemon of sorts. For 3 Energy, it can deal 80 damage, but - and here's the kicker - if the opponent's Pokemon is Asleep, it does 80 more damage! Now normally that'd be pretty mediocre, but we've got a couple of cards that make that last attack work: Hypno and All-Night Party. 

And just like that, a whole new deck is built. Simply run Darkrai-EX alongside Hypno and All-Night Party, pump your main Darkrai-EX with Dark Energies, put both Pokemon to Sleep with Hypno's Goodnight, Babies Ability, wake Darkrai-EX up with All-Night Party, and then decimate your opponent's Pokemon with Dark Head! It's a lot like the Machamp-EX-Ariados combo, just without the need to Poison anything and adding on a Stadium to reverse the adverse effect of being Asleep yourself. 

So what does that all lead to with Darkrai-EX? Well, the combo is a little more complicated than Machamp-Ariados, but that's only because it adds another card to the mix in order to work. That being said, it's a neat thing to try out, but if you were aiming to go competitive, he's got a slightly worse chance of working as well as Machamp-iados, and when was the last time you saw them? On the other hand, you could build off of Dark Pulse, but when was the last time you saw M Gardevoir-EX on the competitive scene? 


Standard: 2.5/5 (two good attacks that don't really compliment each other, unfortunately) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (but hey, at least he could work out well with the Dark support from the past!) 

Limited: 4/5 (there's no worries here) 

Arora Notealus: Darkrai's still a cool Pokemon, but let's face it, compared to the older version, this one is...well, less impressive. More, but less, ya know? 

Weekend Thought: Would you want to run the Sleeprai deck? Or are you more interested in running Greninja BREAK from earlier? Do you think Delinquent will see competitive play? Who knows what the future holds...


We conclude the week with Darkrai-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 74/122, 118/122).  This is a Darkness-Type; with the rise of Trevenant BREAK and staying power of Night March decks, exploiting Darkness-Type Weakness is a good deal again, plus while Darkness Resistance is universal on Fairy-Types, from what I can find their competitive presence is minimal (though not totally absent).  There are a few anti-Darkness-Type cards but they just aren’t very good and haven’t seen any successful competitive play, which I suppose is a good thing for the Darkness-Type, but its real strength lies in its support: Dark Patch helps accelerate basic Darkness Energy from the discard pile while some very strong Pokémon like Yveltal-EX empower the entire Type through basic synergy.  Without these strong Pokémon that happen to be Darkness-Types (and thus better in Darkness-Type decks), the Type wouldn’t be as good as it is.  Darkrai-EX is a Basic Pokémon, which is as good as it gets for Stage.  Yes there are some anti-Basic Pokémon-EX effects out there, some of them quite good, but there are also effects that expressly benefit Basic Pokémon in addition to how game mechanics tend to naturally favor them, thanks to one card being one copy of the Pokémon and being able to hit the field without any other stipulations. 

Being a Pokémon-EX is technically all bad, barring the occasional would-be Evolution that gets to be a Basic instead.  That perk doesn’t apply here, but as usual Darkrai-EX gives up an extra Prize when KOed, cannot make use of certain beneficial effects and is the target of multiple detrimental effects because of its status as a Pokémon-EX.  Usually being a Pokémon-EX comes with improved HP and effects, but it isn’t guaranteed; everything I mentioned prior is guaranteed.  Speaking of HP Darkrai-EX has 180, the higher of the two typical Basic Pokémon-EX scores.  I believe all currently available Mega Evolutions have more (the lower score I can recall there is 190), and there are a handful of other Basic Pokémon-EX with even more HP.  Also a few other exceptions sprinkled throughout other Stages or mechanics, but in the end, 180 is about as good as it gets.  Still within OHKO range so one can’t be too careful, and this goes double when taking double damage from Fighting-Types due to the card’s Weakness; thanks to the multiple damage buffs Fighting-Types tend to stack, even Darkrai-EX falls not just within OHKO range but OHKO range with the better single Energy attacks.  The Psychic Resistance doesn’t balance this out (Resistance offers far less protection than Weakness offers a risk), but it is still appreciated as “No Resistance” seems to be the most common, and on occasion Psychic Resistance can and will come in handy.  For this section that just leaves the Retreat Cost of [CC]; you can and should include options to lower this or bypass manually retreating. If you must pay full price, though, this is low enough to still be workable. 

Darkrai-EX has no Ancient Trait or Ability but does sport two attacks.  The first is “Dark Pulse” for [CC], which does 20 damage for all [D] Energy attached to your Pokémon.  The price allows you to use a Double Colorless Energy if you need to, but the damage bonus means you really want to use [D] Energy of some sort instead if at all possible.  This attack is somewhere between “good” and “great”; even if you just have [DD] attached and no more in play, you do a solid 60 for two.  If you can get and keep Energy in play, the damage output can get impressive, though it is unlikely you’ll reach the 180 (or 160 plus other boosts) needed to OHKO the majority of targets.  The second attack is “Dark Head” and it costs [DCC] to do 80 damage, plus another 80 if the opponent’s Active is Asleep.  WIthout the clause triggering, it is a underwhelming but still not awful; toss in a Muscle Band or Fighting Fury Belt and you’ll have a possibly adequate 2HKO of typical Basic Pokémon-EX (and smaller) Pokémon.  Less Mega Evolutions and a few other exceptions, that covers the competitive metagame.  If the opponent’s Active is Asleep and you’ve got something (or somethings) to bump up the damage, Dark Head jumps from a possibly adequate 2HKO to a promisingly potent OHKO of all but the aforementioned exceptions (Mega Evolutions, Pokémon-EX with Fighting Fury Belt, etc.). 

Since Darkrai-EX is a Basic, there are no lower Stages to address before we get to how it can be run, but there is another Darkrai-EX, the original released as BW: Dark Explorers 63/108 (and 107/108), BW: Black Star Promos BW46, and BW: Legendary Treasures 88/113.  It has the same attributes as the new version, but has an Ability (Dark Cloak) and attack (Night Spear) instead of two attacks.  Dark Cloak is a phenomenal Ability, zeroing out the Retreat Cost of any and all of your Pokémon with a source of [D] Energy attached.  Night Spear is no slouch either, requiring [DDC] but doing 90 to the opponent’s Active and hitting one Benched Pokémon of your choice for 30.  This was the first rival to Mewtwo-EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99; BW: Black Star Promos BW45; BW: Legendary Treasures 54/113) and at times it even seemed better; a dedicated (original) Darkrai-EX deck could actually go from zero to powered up and attacking in a single turn… and this was back when attacks were allowed on Player 1’s first turn!  It predated Muscle Band but an obsolete piece of Darkness-Type support is Dark Claw, which was simply Muscle Band for Darkness-Types only!  The thing was this Darkrai-EX also saw play in many non-Darkness-Type decks, because cards like Prism Energy or even just a few basic Darkness Energy included still enabled Dark Cloak to provide a precious perfect Retreat Cost.  Before Float Stone, Darkrai-EX and Dark Cloak were how you optimized Keldeo-EX and its “Rush In” Ability. 

The good news is that the two Darkrai-EX compliment each other; the original went from “main attacker” to “alternate/back-up attacker” a while ago, which also meant cutting it down to one or two copies per deck.  Given that you can only lose three Pokémon-EX before you’ve lost the entire game, even when focusing on today’s Darkrai-EX as an attacker, you should have room for at least one (maybe even two) of the original Darkrai-EX.  So what else should you have with Darkrai-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 74/122, 118/122)?  You can either focus on Dark Pulse and flooding the field with [D] Energy, on Dark Head and inflicting Sleep, or you can try to do both.  The third and final option is the one I see most and it even managed to make Top 8 at one of the 2016 WInter Regional Championships.  When it works it is a thing of beauty, and when it doesn’t it can still do a solid job because it isn’t like you have to skip much else that would be in other typical Expanded Darkness-Type decks.  Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym aren’t the “must run” combo that they once were, but are still a common enough general approach; it is just with Darkrai-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 74/122, 118/122) they have the added benefit of potentially setting up for a massive Dark Head attack.  Likewise Dark Patch was already there for accelerating Energy to any of your Darkness-Types, but now you work in some copies of Max Elixir. 

Standard play doesn’t have Dark Patch, which is where the build-up has been from the previous two CotDs.  Hypno (XY: BREAKpoint 51/122) provides a reusable, reliable source of Sleep with its “Goodnight, Babies” Ability that leaves both Active Pokémon Asleep, while All-Night Party or Zoroark (XY: BREAKthrough 91/162) plus Float Stone ensure you can get your own Active out of Sleep.  Both might be a good idea if you can manage; while if Abilities go down the entire combo goes down, the surge in Pokémon Tool usage we have experienced has been followed up by an increase in Pokémon Tool counters, while Stadium wars are and have been a thing.  For Limited play, where you typically have a 40 card deck and four Prizes (Pre-Releases are the most common example of Limited play), Darkrai-EX should be amazing.  This is almost the exact kind of Pokémon you would run totally on its own; no other Pokémon (so that this is your opening Basic), and preferably no more than six non-Energy cards (to ensure an Energy each turn).  If you go first, you won’t even miss any additional attacks, while if you go second you only “lose” one attack, with Dark Pulse starting at 60 damage and you just adding another basic Darkness Energy each turn.  Max Elixir and Fighting Fury Belt are even in this set, so if you get those it becomes even better.  I don’t recall if there are any cards that do more damage based on the Energy attached to the opponent’s Active, but that and Garchomp (XY: BREAKpoint 70/122) are the only real threat to worry about… besides some of the other Basic Pokémon-EX. 


Standard: 3.8/5 

Expanded: 3.8/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: Darkrai-EX isn’t the new dominant attacker, but it is a great card.  When I first saw it, I didn’t think much of it as it seemed to rely too much on other factors, but I misread the metagame and so it looks like Darkrai-EX is going to enjoy at least a period of prosperity.  It scores the same in Standard and Expanded even though circumstances are rather different; in Expanded it has more support but also a lot more competition.  In Standard you lose Dark Patch and the Hypnotoxic Laser… but you also lose the competition from various other decks.  Also while I am still quite impressed by it, don’t forget how dangerous Fighting Weakness can be in a format where many decks are already including Gallade (XY: BREAKthrough 84/162); as long as the opponent played a Supporter that turn (like Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick to get Gallade into play), Gallade just needs a Double Colorless Energy to OHKO Darkrai-EX (even if Darkrai-EX has Fighting Fury Belt attached). 

So why didn’t this card make our Top 10?  I had only just started to understand that the attacks I thought were too demanding… weren’t.  That this could easily work alongside the original Darkrai-EX in Expanded and that it was worth the hassle in Standard.  I had it as my 10th place pick in my own Top 15 for the set, but in the end it only managed to make 16th place for the Pojo Top 20 with 6 voting points.  It definitely should have rated higher on my list.

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