– Darkness Ablaze

Date Reviewed:
October 31, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 1.00
Expanded: 2.00
Limited: 4.00

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

Reviews Below:

Otaku Avatar

You know, I almost had us review Ariados (SW – Darkness Ablaze 103/189) earlier this month, because we associate spiders with my godmother and it would have been her birthday.  A belated happy birthday, Judi!  It worked out better for Ariados, because it is now our Halloween pick!  Ariados is pretty much all about its Ability, but I found myself needing to refer to some of its other stats, so we’ll begin where we usually do.  This is a single Prize Pokémon, lacking any specialty mechanics (like being a Prism Star).  Ariados is a Darkness type; slightly nice in terms of support, and if the attack doesn’t let us down (hint hint) then it would also be handy for exploiting the Weakness on many Psychic types.

As a Stage 1, Ariados is reasonable to run; not as easy as a Basic, but easier than just about every other Stage.  110 HP is nearly mid-range: most attacks will score a OHKO, but you can survive some of the low-damage offerings.  [F] Weakness is somewhat “meh”; it should be worse than it actually is, as there are some high profile, [F] Weak targets like Eternatus VMAX or Dedenne-GX, but I’m not aware of any Fighting decks with a reliable performance. No Resistance should be bad, but not only is a lack of it typical, but even when present it is just -30 against attackers of a single type.  A Retreat Cost of [CC] is neither good nor bad, though on a Darkness type its easier to zero out.

Let’s hold off on the Ability for just a tad longer, so we can get the attack out of the way: [DC] pays for “Poison Sting”, which does 30 damage and Poisons your opponent’s Active.  This should probably only cost [D], or cost [CC] but at least twice as much damage.  Which still would not make it good, but at least it’d be functional.  It is filler, and a little awkward to use off-type given how little it does, but it not absolutely awful.  Now for the Ability, “Spider Net”.  It is a coming-into-play Ability, triggering when you evolve one of your Pokémon that are already in play into this Ariados.  When you do, you can select one of your opponent’s evolved Pokémon, and switch it with their Active.

Gusting effects can be pretty potent, but they can also fall short.  Spider Net benefits from being an Ability, and not a Supporter.  From having no cost beyond you need to evolve into Ariados that turn, and give up a Bench space for it.  From not requiring a coin flip or other form of RNG.  Ignoring the rest of the card, the big issues are it being a coming-into-play effect, meaning it is one-and-done without combos and eats up a space on your Bench, and that it can only target Evolution Pokémon.  Basics a player want on their Bench tend to be juicy targets or injured former Actives.  Evolution Pokémon do play a role in the metagame, there are decks which are all or mostly Basics, where as few to no Evolution decks can avoid Benching Basics.

There are no Spinarak cards that are worth the effort.  Really wishing they had a representative for Night March, even though that ship has long since sailed.  I don’t think it is worth working the Ariados line into a Standard Format decks, but all hope is not lost.  Unlike some of the other recent coming-into-play Abilities on Evolutions, this one does not specify the Pokémon from which Ariados evolves.  This means it should be compatible with Ditto {*}.  This doesn’t make Ariados a must-run for Expanded decks that include Ditto {*}, but it does become a nice enough option.  Where Ariados really shines, not that it really got to due to cancellations, is in the Limited Format.  Unless you’re running a Mulligan build, include Ariados just for the Ability.  If your deck is running some Darkness Energy, then it can sometimes be handy as an attacker as well.


  • Standard: 1/5
  • Expanded: 2/5
  • Limited: 4/5

Ariados is more of a trick than a treat, but it does have future potential if – and this is a big “if” – the metagame were to shift to something with a heavier Evolution presence, in particular, Evolutions that want to hide on your opponent’s Bench.  I think it should have been able to target anything with Spider Net, or at least any Pokémon-GX or Pokémon V.  Here’s hoping it has more value in the long run.

We would love more volunteers to help us with our Card of the Day reviews.  If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email.  We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc.   😉

Click here to read our Pokémon Card of the Day Archive.  We have reviewed more than 3500 Pokemon cards over the last 17+ years!