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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 SM: Burning Shadows Cards

#4 - Darkrai-GX
- S&M: Burning Shadows
- #BUS 88

Date Reviewed:
August 22, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.88
Expanded: 4.33
Limited: 4.67

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Now Darkrai-GX is a really interesting Pokemon in this too, and I would say he might even be one of the best GX printed in the set at the least. It will definitely be something to keep an eye on at the very least. 

The reason mainly stems from his Ability, Restoration. Basically if Darkrai-GX is in your discard pile, you can put him on your Bench and attach a Darkness Energy to him from your discard pile. That's a pretty powerful Ability to have, since it instantly summons out a 180 HP GX to your field that's already partially powered-up to his moves. This also means that your opponent can't really get rid of Darkrai-GX, since he can just come back at any time. 

Dark Cleave is the only attack he's got aside from his GX Attack, and at 3-for-130 it's a pretty powerful move. On its own, it can 2HKO anything in the game, and on top of that it's not affected by Resistance. Not even Fairy-types can really stop him! It's a pretty solid attack in its own right, to be sure. But then there's his GX move, and this one can really turn things around on your opponent. 

Dead End GX costs the same as Dark Cleave, but it does absolutely no damage. Why? Because it can instantly KO the opponent's Pokemon, provided it's affected by some Status Condition. Unfortunately, there aren't many ways to actively affect your opponent free of charge in Standard - the one that comes to mind with any consistency would be Hypno (BKP) and his "Goodnight, Babies" Ability. Combined with the Stadium All-Night Party, that's the easiest build-up to Dead End GX, but it really doesn't seem like it's worth it after you've used the GX move. At that point, you'd probably wanna just switch to Darkrai-EX from the same set to capitalize on the Sleep condition, which makes Darkrai-GX more of an emergency back-up. 

That may be the only combination in Standard, but Expanded looks to open up a few doors with Darkrai-GX with things like HTL and Dark Patch floating around. Perhaps the hype surrounding him will focus more on this format than in Standard for the time being. Still, Restoration will probably make Darkrai-GX an important threat to the format, so keep that in mind as his presence lingers. 


Standard: 4/5 (a built-in comeback ability is always nice) 

Expanded: 4.5/5 (but I'm sure he'll love the support far more) 

Limited: 5/5 (and with his Dark Cleave, it'll be hard to stop him) 

Arora Notealus: Darkrai-GX is a powerful force in the game, just from his presence. He might not be the answer to things like Garbodor (GRI), but he is nothing to snuff at. 

Next Time: Another GX? But this time an evolving one...


Darkrai GX (Burning Shadows, 88/147) surreptitiously undulates into the meta from the Burning Shadows expansion set.  A 180 HP Basic Pokemon, it has two attacks, both of which cost two Dark and one Colorless energy.  Dark Cleave does 130 damage, and Dead End-GX automatically KO’s the opponent’s active Pokemon if it is affected by a Special Condition.

The Special Condition part doesn’t pose much difficulty.  The Pokemon I’ve seen most commonly paired with Darkrai GX for this so far is Salazzle (Guardians Rising, 16/145).  Salazzle will make Dead End-GX possible, but it also adds just a little extra damage so that Dark Cleave will instead do 160 or possibly even more.

Darkrai GX also has an ability (Restoration) that allows it you to pull a Darkrai GX out of the discard pile and put it on your bench.  Then you can also attach a Dark energy from the discard pile to that Darkrai GX.  This can help accelerate Darkrai GX’s three attachment cost, and it has good synergy with Darkrai EX’s (Breakpoint, 118/122) Dark Pulse attack.

Unfortunately for Darkrai GX, it seems to play second fiddle to Darkrai EX.  I found that in most matches I was just using Darkrai GX for its Restoration ability, and, if I tried to make it an attacker, that I was generally trying to force it as Darkrai EX was usually doing more damage.  I did manage to use Dead End a couple of times, and that is a very strong GX attack.  However, overall, Darkrai GX was more of a tech in support Pokemon than the feature, main attacker Darkrai EX is.


Standard: 2.5 out of 5


Back in January, Darkrai GX would have seen significantly more usage.  It can consistently hit for 130 damage, and it can fairly easily OHKO any Pokemon in the game with its GX attack.  In today’s meta, however, that just doesn’t quite cut it.  I went 3 W 3 L in the six matches I played with it, and the two Darkrais combine to make a decent deck, but it just isn’t top tier by any means.


Darkrai, our 4th place finisher, is one of my favorite legendary Pokémon for quite a long time because of what has been represented in the Pokémon franchise in terms of the video games, TCG, and amine. But this is the TCG that I'm about to review and I'm going to stick to it.

So, once again, I stumbled in PokeBeach to check out latest stuff, and this card got me the most attention. Darkrai-GX! Just like EX, it gives away two prizes if KOed. Both Darkrai-EX has seen sporadic plays: One had a great ability and a good attack (Dark Cloak and Night Spear); Another had two decent attacks that gave us ideas on how to use it (Dark Pulse and Dark Head). How will the new Darkrai fare?

This card has the same 180 HP, Fighting Weakness, Psychic resistance, and retreat of 2. It has an ability, a decent attack, and a ridiculous GX attack. Restoration allows you to grab this card from the discard to your bench AND grab a dark energy to be attached to Darkrai-GX! This makes cards that make you discard cards from your hand such as Ultra Ball and Dowsing Machine inconsequential! Battle Compressor also helps a lot as well so that you don't have to draw into those cards via top decking. Dark Cleave cost DDC for 130 damage while bypassing resistance; Fairies won't get the damage reduction from this monster! 130 is the new magic number for 2HKOs due to GXs having 250 HP so far. Dead End is Lunar Fall on steroids (lot easier to use and slightly less restrictive) because it takes only a special condition in order to OHKO the defending Pokémon. The scary thing is that you can employ Pokémon or item cards during your turn to inflict status conditions such as Ariados (Ancient Origins) or Hypnotoxic Laser!

So how do we run Darkrai-GX? Since Darkrai-GX has a different name than Darkrai-EX, you can have up to four of each card if you like (this could be 8 Darkrai cards!). Darkrai-EX (Dark Exolorers) has a free-retreating ability and a decent attack doing 90 and 30 snipe for DDC. The other Darkrai (BreakPoint) has a bigger impact the more you load up darkness energies on your Pokémon as well as doing 160 if the defending Pokémon is asleep due to HTL or Hypno (BreakPoint). Both can complement the new Darkrai-GX as it can retreat for free if it's in trouble or help load up dark energies for Dark Pulse in the other Darkrai. Dark Patch (BW Dark Explorers) is an item card that fuels dark energy from the discard (Aqua Patch from SM Guardians Rising does the same job for attaching water energies from the discard to one of your benched Water Pokémon), so you could actually power your Darkrai cards from zero energy into attacking with 3 energies! The fun doesn't stop there! Reverse Valley and Dark Claw/Muscle Band/Fighting Fury Belt can ramp up the damage where KOs can actually matter! Hydreigon Dark Trance can conserve Dark energies so that you can flush all damage away with Max Potion. Unfortunately, I wouldn't advise putting all of these mentioned cards in one deck, since it could slow your deck down tremendously, so I would choose a path.

This card doesn't even have to be limited to dark decks, since it can be used for other applications, such as sending Darkrai from the bench to the discard by M Gardevoir's Despair Ray in order to do 10 more damage (as well as avoiding KOs due to discarding Darkrai, along with any damage it has taken). With Exeggcute (BW Plasma Freeze) to do the discard as well, Gardevoir can actually consistently do 190 damage every time it outs 4 Darkrai-GX and 4 Exeggcutes to the discard because both Pokémon has methods to bring themselves out from the discard to being in play (Exeggcute’s Propagation and Darkrai-GX’s Restoration), ready to be discarded again! You must have Sky Field to achieve this, however.

I just realize that this is a lot of cards to mention about that works greatly.......in Expanded. In Standard, there's not many cards that can do ridiculous things for Darkrai-GX, even though there's still Darkrai from BreakPoint, FFB, and Reverse Valley. And a method of free retreat is Float Stone. This card is great for Limited, since you can deliver a solid hit with Dark Cleave that can 2HKO the Burning Shadows set, although you probably won't be able to take advantage of an instant KO with its GX attack. I don't know how many fighting Pokémon are in this set, but that may pose some problems for the +39 deck.

Overall, Darkrai-GX has impressed me once again just like its previous EX forms and I will definitely get as many of this card as I can!


Standard (pre-rotation): 4.5/5

Standard (post-rotation): 4.5/5

Expanded: 4.9/5 (Yes, I'm overrating it!)

Limited: 5/5

Summary: Much like Darkrai-EX (Dark Explorers), this GX is more than the sum of its parts and you would probably see this card almost everywhere. Besides having a deck that specifically counters this card such as fighting weakness and ability lock, try to find other shortcomings to keep it in check, or you may be starting to struggle every time. If you can't read some paragraphs, the short story of my review is that it works great in dark decks and M Gardevoir. If I can think of other strategies and ideas, I may update my review later.


            Why are chase Darkrai cards always good? There’s that Darkrai EX (BW Dark Explorers) that sees a huge amount of play during its entire lifetime for its Dark Cloak ability to give everyone on your side with Dark energies free Retreat; and there is another Darkrai EX (XY BREAKpoint) that has the Dark Pulse attack which is just a nuke, pure and simple, and it also sees a lot of play thanks to its high reliability. The now legendary Turbo Darkai deck is built around its powerful potential. And now, there is a new chase Darkrai card coming in this expansion. But this time, since it is released in the Sun and Moon era, it is a Pokémon-GX.  But how does this one stack up to its other chase Darkrai brethren? Is it any good as its older brothers?

            Darkrai GX is a Basic Pokemon-GX, a Dark type with 180 HP. So in terms of HP counts this new Darkrai is basically the same as its other Darkrai friends, which really is not something to shout about. Weakness to Fighting means that it is severely threatened by Marshadow-GX, which is predicted to come as the best tech attacker to Basic decks, although you can use one yourself to improve your mirror match. Resistance to Psychic is also welcome to handle threats like Espeon-GX and Garbodor (SM Guardians Rising) better. Retreat Cost of 2 is a bit of a pain, because it needs more resources to save itself, but the addition of the Stadium “Altar of the Moone” (SM Guardians Rising) does give it free Retreat because it uses Dark energies.

            Like the Marshadow-GX review I’ve done before this, Darkrai GX has an ability, one standard attack and 1 GX attack. And I’ll save the ability for last, as the Ability here is what makes Darkrai. Dark Cleave is not so much your vanilla attack; it may have cost 2 Dark and 1 Colorless energies, but it deals 130 damage, which is a good stock number to hit, and also thanks to its Ability, energy acceleration isn’t too much of an issue. Slap a Choice Band (SM Guardians Rising) to it and you are hitting 160 to Pokemon-EXs and Pokemon-GXs, beating Marshadow-GX, and a Professor Kukui (SM Base Set) will bring it to 180, enough to defeat the majority of Basic EXs. But the best thing about it is that it ignores Resistance, which means you can hit Dark-resistant Pokemon, such as Fairy types for the full 130 damage. That is a lot, as players facing Darkrai decks will bring up a wounded Fairy type to tank hits, only to find them stumped by the no Resistance factor of Dark Cleave. Finally Dead End GX costs the same as Dark Cleave, and it OHKOs the Active Pokemon with a Special Condition, or the more commonly heard term; status conditions. We do have a lot of options to apply status; examples include Salazzle (SM Guardians Rising) for its Hot Poison ability, and Hypnotoxic Laser (BW Plasma Storm) in Expanded. However, this GX attack is more a game finisher than anything else; it’s a complementary.

            However, the main reason to use Darkrai GX, more than anything else, is that its ability is mad. Restoration essentially ensures a Darkrai GX have the option to never stay in the discard pile; you can bring it back to the Bench, along with a Dark energy attached if possible. The first good thing here is Energy efficiency and acceleration; you can ensure all your unprized energies are in the game, incrasing efficiency, and it also accelerates energy by getting one Dark energy already in Darkrai GX. In its most obvious pairing, such as Turbo Darkrai, this helps it to get more energy to deal more damage with Dark Pulse to opposing Pokemon, and against the less obvious partners, like Mega Gardevoir EX (XY Steam Siege) you can essentially keep having 10 more damage for each Darkrai you can essentially recycle, making Despair Ray much more potent in this regard, in the fact you can consistently boost damage.

            Despite all its unique qualities, it unfortunately is still plagued by Ability lock options; as Restoration is the heart and soul of Darkrai GX, shutting it down will halt its march. Pokemon such as Garbodor (XY BREAKpoint) , Alolan Muk (SM Base Set), as well as Hex Maniac (XY Ancient Origins) before rotation, Darkrai is notably weak to these distruption decks and will need counterplays for it. But despite all that, between its 2 good attacks, a mad ability in the fact that it always recycle itself throughout the game means that Darkrai GX is a solid card and should be watched out.

Standard: 3.5/5 (before rotation) / 4/5 (after rotation)

Expanded: 4/5 (a must for Mega Gardy and Turbo Dark decks)

Limited: 4/5 (It can hold its own, because the only real threat here is Machamp GX and there are lots of counters to Machamp GX)

Next on SM Burning Shadows reviews:
Rosalina’s Avenging Angel is back for more. No more games now.

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