The Darkness Never Stays the Same — Darkrai-GX in Expanded

What’s up PokeBeach? I would like to start off by saying how ecstatic I am to write for such a wonderful website and promise all of you readers that I will always provide the best content possible for every article! For those of you who don’t know me, I am a 25 year old player from the Toronto, Canada area and I have been playing the Pokemon TCG for over a decade now. I started my competitive journey way back in 2005, obtaining my first World Championship invite in 2006, and I am still kicking it by making Day 2 of the World Championships, placing 14th overall at the Fort Wayne Regional Championships and recently placing 21st at the Hartford Regional Championships.

I want to discuss the deck that allowed me to rise over most of the competition at Fort Wayne, why it is good, and why I decided not to play it for Daytona Beach Regionals. That deck is of course Turbo Darkrai-EX! I also have a special deck list for all of you readers who want a new and exciting deck to play in Expanded! Let’s jump right into my list that I played at Fort Wayne:

Turbo Darkrai-EX

Pokemon (12)

3x Darkrai-EX (BKP #74)1x Darkrai-EX (DEX #63)2x Darkrai-GX (BUS #88)2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Hoopa-EX (AOR #36)1x Malamar-EX (PHF #58)1x Mew (FAC #29)

Trainers (36)

3x Professor Juniper (BLW #101)2x Guzma (BUS #115)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Colress (PLS #118)1x N (NVI #92)1x Computer Search (BCR #137)4x Dark Patch (DEX #93)4x Max Elixir (BKP #102)4x Ultra Ball (SM #135)4x VS Seeker (RG #100)3x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)3x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)2x Muscle Band (XY #121)1x Field Blower (GUR #125)2x Sky Field (RSK #89)

Energy (12)

12x Darkness Energy (HS #121)

This is the exact list that I piloted to a 14th place finish at Fort Wayne Regional Championships and I think that it was close to a perfect list for Daytona Beach Regionals as well. Let me explain how the cards work together:

Three Darkrai-EX BKP and One Darkrai-EX DEX

There are only two real ways to play this deck; either 2-2 Darkrai-EX or 3-1 Darkrai-EX; and my preference is to focus the three count on Darkrai-EX from BREAKpoint and the one count on Darkrai-EX from Dark Explorers.

The BREAKpoint variant is one of the strongest Pokemon in Expanded because it has quite a bit going for it in almost all aspects of the game. Dark Pulse is a strong attack that can be quickly accelerated via Dark Patch, Max Elixir, and even Darkrai-GX! When you combine the attack with Darkrai-EX’s Dark Cloak Ability, you have a whole team of Pokemon on your side with free retreat which will allow your deck to be quite fluid.

The Dark Explorers Darkrai-EX is not a one-trick pony, however — you can often use it to snipe off pesky Pokemon such as Joltik or use it to chip away valuable HP from the ever-so-popular Golisopod-GX from time to time.

Between the two of these extremely powerful Pokemon, I am sure you will find yourself attaching many Energy, retreating to your heart’s desire, and smashing in plenty of opposing decks in the process.

Two Darkrai-GX

The newest Darkrai to help out our deck, Darkrai-GX, is quite bit of a force on its own because it allows us to accelerate our deck faster than we ever could before. Restoration is a busted Ability because it allows you to get more Energy on your field, it allows you to “restore” a Darkrai-GX that was previously hanging out in your discard pile, and it helps us inch closer to getting off a powerful Dead End GX attack in the process. When you look at the above deck list, you can easily see the synergy between Darkrai-GX and all of our wonderful discarding cards including Professor Juniper, Ultra Ball, Computer Search, Battle Compressor, and VS Seeker (when there is a Professor Juniper in your discard pile).

Besides adding Energy to our field, Darkrai-GX can attack with its efficient Dark Cleave attack to Knock Out smaller HP Pokemon such as Shaymin-EX or Jirachi-EX. Alternatively, it can use its powerful GX attack in combination with Malamar-EX to instantly OHKO a beast such as Gardevoir-GX! With this card most likely being the most versatile out of all cards in the deck, I am sure you will find yourself in some situations to utilize this fluid card.

Two Shaymin-EX

One of the most powerful cards ever printed not so surprisingly makes an appearance in this deck as our draw power vessel in every game (unless we play against a pesky Hex Maniac or Garbodor. With all of the cards that we discard in this deck or how we can control what is left in our deck with Battle Compressor, you will find Shaymin-EX drawing the cards that you want to find more often than not! My first turn of the game often includes myself playing an Ultra Ball for a Hoopa-EX to grab one of each Darkrai-EX and a Shayman-EX to get my game going.

One Tapu Lele-GX

Tapu Lele-GX is one of the most played cards in our current Standard format and I see few reasons why I should run its lesser HP opposition, Jirachi-EX , in the current Expanded format. Aside from its incredible Wonder Tag Ability, it can also do solid amounts of damage with its strong Energy Drive attack. I personally used Tapu Lele-GX to OHKO XiaoXiao Long’s Keldeo-EX in Fort Wayne after he placed seven Energy on it with Wishiwashi-GX ‘s GX attack to do a massive 180 damage. Whichever way you decide to utilize this card, I am sure you will find a Pokemon to OHKO by utilizing Darkness Energy and Max Elixir, or find that singleton copy of N to completely disrupt your opponent’s plans.

One Hoopa-EX

As explained above, Hoopa-EX is our go-to Pokemon to search for all of our Pokemon-EX! If your opponent ever uses a Guzma or Lysandre to drag up our friend with a large amount of retreat, just slap a Darkness Energy on it and retreat for free because of.

One Malamar-EX

Malamar-EX is somewhat a one-trick pony in this deck, but it is definitely a pony that we want to ride to victory! The biggest inclusion for this card is to use Hyper Hypnosis to make an opposing Pokemon Asleep and then sweep in with Darkrai-GX to spell doom with its Dead End GX attack! I found in Fort Wayne when playing against Ross Cawthon’s crazily inventive Accelgor / Stoutland deck, that my only option was to use Hyper Hypnosis to pseudo get out of his hard lock! Similarly, I found success with Malamar-EX against Trevenant decks because it allowed me to attack with fewer Energy with a decent success rate; and Hyper Hypnosis was sometimes strong, too.

One Mew

It is my belief that a one-Prize attacker is necessary for almost every deck, and Mew seems like the optimal choice in this deck. Between hitting Gallade or Hoopa-EX for Psychic-type Weakness or popping off and copying your Darkrai-EX to use Dark Pulse, Mew is very versatile. I often find myself using Mew to search for a Tapu Lele-GX with its Encounter attack when I am experiencing a less than stellar hand or if I have no better attack to use based on the situation I am in.


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