– Darkness Ablaze

Date Reviewed:
September 9, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.13
Expanded: 1.63
Limited: 2.75

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

Reviews Below:

vince avatar

Suicune from Darkness Ablaze is a single prize Pokemon that is a Basic Water Type with 120 HP, Lightning Weakness, and a retreat cost of one. Wave Splash does 20 damage for a Water energy without any effect. And Aurora Loop does 130 damage for 3 energy and makes you return 2 Water energy attached to Suicune and put it onto your hand.

I can’t see much use for this card. It’s second attack is barely worth mentioning because there might be times where it would be useful to have Water energies in your hand for when you know that Suicune is going to be KOed next turn. 130 damage isn’t going to 2HKO all of the VMAX Pokemon due to their titanic HP scores surpassing 300!

Unless I’m missing something (like lack of other single prize Water attackers) of the sort, there’s almost no justification to using Suicune.


Standard: 1.25/5

Expanded: 1.25/5

Limited: 2.5/5

Otaku Avatar

Regrettably, another tardy review from Otaku.  Suicune (SW – Darkness Ablaze 037/189) is a single-Prize, Basic, [W] type Pokémon with 120 HP, [L] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], and two attacks.  The first attack is “Wave Splash” for [W], doing 20 damage, while the second is “Aura Loop”, priced at [WWC] and doing 130 damage, but also requiring you bounce two [W] Energy from Suicune to your hand.  While not terrible, these aren’t what you’d call impressive stats and effects, but let us dig a bit deeper.

Not being worth more than one Prize has become a feature worth mentioning, so good for Suicune there.  Being a Basic is still the best Stage; minimum resource requirements, maximum speed and reliability.  The [W] typing is not the best supported right now; you have Capacious Bucket, Misty & Lorelei, Frosmoth, and a few decent attackers, but nothing like Welder (for Fire), Metal Saucer (for Metal), etc.   120 HP is enough to avoid being an easy OHKO, but not to avoid being a probable OHKO.  [L] Weakness isn’t as dangerous as it used to be in Standard, now that they lack Electropower Thunder Mountain {*}, but it still isn’t good to have.

Neither is a total lack of Resistance, but it is the norm and even if it was here, it would only matter against decks with that type as their only viable attacker.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is also good, easy to pay and recover from paying.  Wave Splash is a filler attack; it lets Suicune do something if all you have is a single [W] Energy handy, but the damage is low and it has no bonus effects.  Aurora Loop does decent damage, but bouncing Energy like that is only good if you’re worried your attacker is going to get OHKO’d (legitimate concern) and/or you can easily re-attach (which Frosmoth allows).

Which leads to why we’re looking at this card: Suicune is our stand in for Frosmoth decks, because Tord Reklev took 4th-place in the Players Cup Finals using a Frosmoth/Inteleon VMAX deck.  It hasn’t been that long since we reviewed Frosmoth, Inteleon V, Inteleon VMAX, or Capacious Bucket.  Perhaps I ought to have had us review Lapras V or Snom, as it looks like Suicune is a poor fit.  Looks can be deceiving.  I wish I had time to watch Tord Reklev’s matches with this deck, let alone test it myself, but I don’t.  What I do know is Tord is a great player, so there are two reason sSuicune is in this deck: sometimes you just need to sacrifice a single-Prize attacker, and the rest of the time you need to KO Decidueye (SW – Darkness Ablaze 013/189; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH035).

Decidueye has an Ability which protects it from the damage done by Pokémon V and Pokémon-GX.  If you’re new to the game, know that Pokémon VMAX are also Pokémon V, so Inteleon VMAX can bounce an Energy from Decidueye, or use the Bench damage from its second attack to hit Pokémon other than Decidueye on their Bench, but the bird itself is safe from being damaged.  Inteleon V can do even less, sniping around it or looking at your opponent’s hand.  Lapras V can… attach an Energy to itself with the option of switching itself with one of your Benched Pokémon.  Snom can do 10 damage, Frosmoth 30.  The deck needs something that can get around this effect!

Suicune falls 10 damage short of OHKOing Decidueye, but this deck runs two Galarian Zigzagoon and three Scoop Up Net: Galarian Zigzagoon into an Aurora Loop and you have a pseudo-OHKO that likely can be repeated.  If you look at the Decidueye/Galarian Obstagoon list that was one of the 9th-place finishers, none of its attackers do more than 90 damage in one shot.  They also have two Galarian Zigzagoon, plus two Galarian Obstagoon and four Scoop Up Net, so it is possible to score a pseudo-OHKO against a clutch Suicune, but it ain’t easy.  They’d need to play Bench three copies of Galarian Zigzagoon in a single turn, or Rare Candy a Galarian Zigzagoon into a Galarian Obstagoon.

Isn’t there something better?  You could try running an off-type attacker, but Frosmoth’s Ability only works with Water Energy and Water Pokémon, attaching to your Bench.  If you’re looking for a Standard-legal, Basic [W] attacker which can OHKO Decidueye, the only options are

  • Black Kyurem (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 61/236)
  • Cramorant (SW – Rebel Clash 051/192)
  • Kyogre (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 53/236)
  • Lapras (SM – Team Up 31/181)
  • Wishiwashi (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 62/236, 240/236)

Why not use one of these?  Black Kyurem and Lapras are [M] Weak, which is a bad deal in the current metagame, while Kyogre is [G] Weak, so Decidueye can OHKO it!  Everyone of these except Cramorant have Retreat Costs of [CCC], giving them a higher risk of being stuck in the Active position at a bad time.  Finally, the attacks themselves matter:

  • Black Kyurem needs four Energy and your Stadium in play (list runs two Training Court)
  • Cramorant needs five [W] Energy (list runs nine Water Energy)
  • Kyogre needs four Energy, discards one, and still needs a Galarian Zigzagoon
  • Lapras needs five [W] Energy (list runs nine Water Energy)
  • Wishwashi’s needs the same Galarian Zigzagoon combo, but its Ability has a 50% chance of shuffling it into your deck if it has any damage counters on it at the end of your opponent’s turn.

Suicune is starting to make a whole lot of sense now.  The deck would have to run more Stadiums or Energy or switching options or Weakness Guard Energy or various other cards to compensate… and remember, this is a Frosmoth/Inteleon VMAX list, not a Frosmoth/Lapras VMAX list; those Galarian Zigzagoon are probably sticking around even if there’s no Suicune in the deck to use them.

In the Expanded Format, Suicune might still be your best [W] type, single-Prize attacker.  However, I don’t know if Frosmoth is finally going to take hold here, or if Archie’s Ace in the Hole => Blastoise (BW – Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW – Plasma Storm 137/135; BW – Plasma Blast 16/101) is still the better deal.  Frosmoth could use Archie’s Ace in the Hole to reach the same speed, but wouldn’t have to be entirely dependent upon it… but Blastoise can attach Water Energy to anything, letting it tap a wider ranger of attackers.  Including other single-Prize options.  If Decidueye takes flight in Expanded, [W] decks can just use Keldeo-EX to crush it… and they’d likely want Keldeo-EX anyway for its combo with Float Stone.  If you’re running a mostly or mono-Water deck, Suicune is a solid Limited Format pull; Aurora Loop is an every-other-turn attack, or else requires loading extra Energy ahead of time, but that’s an option here.


  • Standard: 3/5
  • Expanded: 2/5
  • Limited: 3/5

Suicune occupies a niche I didn’t realize existed until I saw Suicune in a high-performing decklist with Tord’s name attached.  Even then, I had to actually look at the other single-Prize, [W] attackers, as well as what cards one would want them to attack, to realize the “better” options aren’t because of their Weakness, Energy needs, etc.  I have no clue how long Suicune will remain the best, but I’m glad we got to review it after someone had demonstrated Suicune’s usefulness.  Even with all my years of experience, I don’t know if I would have thought to look at how it stacks up against Decidueye and how the alternatives stack up against everything else.

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