– Darkness Ablaze

Date Reviewed:
August 21, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.50
Expanded: 3.00
Limited: 3.50

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

Reviews Below:



8th-place in our countdown goes to Decidueye (SSH – Darkness Ablaze 013/189; SSH – Black Star Promos SWSH035)!  Decidueye is a single-Prize Pokémon, and doesn’t belong to any specialty mechanics like (from the previous generation) Prism {*} cards or Ultra Beasts.  Decidueye is a Stage 2 Pokémon, meaning it demands more time and cards to hit the field.  As a Grass type, Decidueye can exploit weakness on some Fighting and Darkness types… including the new Eternatus VMAX.  It’ll also have to deal with -30 Resistance on Sword & Shield-era Metal Types.  There are anti-Grass effects, but they’re not often used, but there are some decent pieces of Grass-support, even in Standard.

Decidueye has 140 HP, which is a bit low for a Stage 2; Decidueye is probably a little more likely to be OHKO’d than not.  [R] Weakness isn’t a happy thing, though it is more likely to reduce such attackers reliance on more expensive attacks than enable OHKO’s that weren’t already happening.  The lack of Resistance is typical, and while it could have helped for a single match-up, Resistance is far less influential than Weakness.  A Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough you can probably pay, but high enough you might prefer an alternative.  For example, this is low enough that Air Balloon can zero out Decidueye’s Retreat Cost completely.

Decidueye knows one Ability and one attack.  “Deep Forest Camo” is an Ability that prevents Decidueye (“this Pokémon”) from being damaged by the attacks of your opponent’s Pokémon V (Basic or VMAX) or Pokémon-GX (regular or TAG TEAM).  Other effects of attacks still happen, and an attack that this a Pokémon other than the one with Deep Forest Camo still does damage.  Even with these chinks in its armor, Deep Forest Camo is primo protection!  Single-Prize Pokémon can still wreck Decidueye, and if you’re in Expanded, you have no special protection against Pokémon-EX, but many of the biggest threats have to use alternate attackers to get around Decidueye’s protection.

“Splitting Arrow” is Decidueye’s lone attack, priced at [GC] so its relatively easy to fuel.  Splitting Arrow let’s Decidueye hit your opponent’s Active for 90 plus you hit two of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon for 20 damage (you choose which two get hit).  You’re well below the modern 2HKO amount, but you are softening up future targets on the Bench at the same time.  The total damage is good for the Energy, but this attack might be mediocre except for the Ability.  The two of them together make Splitting Arrow rather effective.  Still, as I stated earlier this is a Stage 2 Pokémon… so what hurdles do we need to jump through in order to field it?

Decidueye evolves from Dartrix evolves from Rowlet.  We just got an interesting Rowlet, though I’m not sure if it is an effective one: SSH – Darkness Ablaze 011/189).  A Basic Grass type with 50 HP, [R] Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [C], it is an all-but-guaranteed OHKO.  It has the Ability is “Sky Circus”, which lets you ignore the Energy cost for its attack if you used Birdkeeper this turn.  Birdkeeper isn’t a bad card, but you may want or need to use something different, or just not have a copy to spare that turn.  The attack is “Wind Shard”, and for [CCC], it lets Rowlet do 60 damage to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon.  This isn’t bad, but it isn’t good enough to make me want to risk a Rowlet.  The Dartrix are all filler, but you’ll need some for two reasons.

  1. Even if you wish to rely on Rare Candy, Item-lock is back in Standard and never left Expanded.
  2. If you decide to use Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX, you can use its “Super Growth” attack to evolve a Benched Rowlet into a Dartrix, and then the Dartrix in Decidueye.

In fact, you may want to include both in the same deck.  As for what else to run in the deck, that’s pretty open right now.  You could use a hit-and-run style attacker, in which case Decidueye may be there not to attack at all, but just to act as a wall.  You may include other Pokémon good at soaking hits, to cover for Decidueye against single-Prize Pokémon, the few attackers that can get around its Ability, or (in Expanded) the odd Pokémon-EX.  Disruptive effects can keep an opponent from setting up an out to Decidueye’s Ability… or you might focus on backing up Decidueye with an extensive list of Trainers, and running few to no other Pokémon besides it and its lower Stages.

Decidueye even has prospects in Expanded; while Pokémon-EX present a potential Achilles’ Heel for for Decidueye, as does stronger Ability-denial, you gain more combo partners.  I have to wonder if the old Decidueye-GX/Vileplume (XY – Ancient Origins 3/98) decks might see a revival.  Lock down Item cards to disrupt your opponent, and while Decidueye-GX has to share lower Stages with Decidueye, the former helps with your lower damage output while the latter provides the shield the deck needs.  Decidueye is one of the Pre-Release promos, so I believe that means – if you get it as such, your 23-card Evolution pack will contain the line, but I could be mistaken.  Unless you’re running a Mulligan build around a Basic Pokémon V, try to work even a 1-1-1 Decidueye line into your deck… to counter that strategy!


  • Standard: 4/5
  • Expanded: 3/5
  • Limited: 4/5

I think, at worst, Decidueye will spawn a new budget deck, but I think it will be a competitive deck.  Not a deck that dominates the metagame, but potentially a highly competitive one, and probably something in the middle of the pack.  Its Ability does not offer total protection, but ignoring damage from most of the strongest attackers in the metagame is plenty good!  If this was a Stage 1 – even with less HP and damage output, I don’t think there would even be a question.  Decidueye was my 6th-place pick, but 8th-place still feels reasonable.


Now that I had a lot of fun with Hydreigon, it’s time to look at the 8th bast card of Darkness Ablaze: Decidueye! This card made the list because of its ability, Deep Forest Camo, which prevents all damage done to this Pokémon from your opponent’s Pokemon-GX and/or Pokémon-V. I believe it also includes VMAX Pokémon since they’re also Pokémon-V, much like how Mega Evolutions are still Pokemon-EX. If that’s the case, then Decidueye’s staying power is greatly improved! For the current Standard Format, there is Pokemon-GX and Pokemon-V roaming around, but Expanded has Pokemon-EX, which Decidueye ISN’T protected from.

So what else can Decidueye do when it’s on the Active taking no damage from certain mechanics? It has an attack called Splitting Arrow, which cost GC for 90 damage and also does 20 damage to 2 of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon. That’s a decent amount of damage on the board for the cost, though one wishes you could do more damage because HP scores keep rising. Even though Decidueye is a Stage 2, it can be evolved quickly by using Rowlet & Alolan Exeggcutor’s Super Growth attack to evolve Rowlet into Dartrix, and into Decidueye.

Despite having a built-in protection, not all decks are using Pokémon-GX and/or Pokémon-V as attackers. There are plenty of very good non-GX/V Pokémon that are capable of dealing triple digit damage. Blacephalon’s Fireball Circus and/or Ultra Necrozma’s Luster of Downfall are some examples, and they can OHKO Decidueye, so I guess that’s something to watch out for. They can also get by via turning off abilities, so that GX/V Pokémon can damage Decidueye.

One wonders in Expanded if it’s worth including other Decidueye cards on today’s card. Perhaps the only notable Decidueye card to use alongside this card is Decidueye-GX. It’s Feather Arrow Ability lets you put 2 damage counters on 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon. There’s nothing wrong with free damage, and it could help you achieve KOs that your main attack would otherwise fall short of. While you can have 4 Decidueye and 4 Decidueye-GX in your deck, you can only have up to five opportunities to get those Decidueye in play via 4 Rowlet and a Ditto Prism Star.

This is another one of those possible promos you can pull from the Build and Battle Kit.


Standard: 3/5

Expanded: 3/5

Limited: 3/5

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