Darkness-type Strikes Back — Classic Dark Box in Standard

Hello readers! It’s me again, Gabriel Semedo, bringing you another Pokemon TCG article. This time I’m going to talk about an old acquaintance, the Dark Box deck with the classic Darkness-type Tag Team Pokemon-GX squad.

With too many Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX in the format, I decided to give some Dark Box variants a try. After testing with options like Malamar VMAX, Crobat VMAX and even Grimmsnarl VMAX, I felt the best version was the classic Dark Box with Darkness-type Tag Team Pokemon-GX. Even with weak and outdated attacks for the current format, it is possible to take advantage of some interesting attacks from these Pokemon.

The big challenge in exploring Dark Box is not knowing if the deck is able to beat Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX, but learning and building a list capable of winning several other matchups without spoiling the positive matchup that the deck already has against Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX. Because of that, I decided to explore Dark Box in order to arrive at a list adapted for the current Standard metagame. In my article I explain in detail all the choices I made in my final list.

Classic Dark Box

The concept has been around since Worlds 2019, but it has never been one of the best decks of the format. Consistency and speed issues were reasons Dark Box was not so good. If a list was consistent, then it didn’t have enough power. A lot of time has passed and it looks like with about two months to go before the upcoming rotation, Dark Box is finally competitive in Standard.

The strategy remains the same, with Weavile-GX to move Darkness Energy cards between your Tag Team Pokemon-GX. At first, it’s easy to notice that the Darkness-type Tag Team Pokemon-GX are a little outdated and some effects don’t make as much sense as they used to. Umbreon and Darkrai-GX deals 60 damage to a Pokemon-GX on the Bench, while Mega Sableye and Tyranitar-GX can take an extra Prize if it Knocks Out a Pokemon-GX. These attacks made sense two years ago, but now have lost many targets as Pokemon-GX become increasingly extinct in the Standard format. Another example is Greninja and Zoroark-GX, which despite being a straightforward card, the damage of its attack that was previously something respectable in the past is not as strong anymore. But while these Pokemon have bad attacks, if we combine all these attacks into a single Pokemon, then we’ll have a reasonably strong Pokemon. After all, this is the function of Mewtwo and Mew-GX, isn’t it?

The arrival of Galarian Moltres V allows Dark Box to have more Darkness Energy on the field, allowing you to use the very strong Umbreon and Darkrai-GX’s Dark Moon GX attack. If you manage to use this attack on the second or third turn, your opponent may concede the game.

It is also worth remembering that although we are living in the Pokemon VMAX era, there are a lot of Pokemon-GX among the main decks of the format. It is important to remember that Mega Sableye and Tyranitar-GX can take three Prizes by Knocking Out Dedenne-GX, Mawile-GX, and Oricorio-GX. This deck is able to deal satisfactory damage from the second turn, while you gather Darkness Energy to use Dark Moon GX. Also keep in mind that Red and Blue together with Galarian Moltres’ Ability Direflame Wings allows you to put up to three additional Darkness Energy per turn onto the field.

Pokemon (19)

2x Galarian Moltres V (SWSH6 #97)2x Weavile-GX (UNM #132)2x Sneasel (UNM #131)2x Silvally-GX (COE #184)2x Type: Null (UNM #183)2x Mewtwo and Mew-GX (UNM #71)1x Greninja and Zoroark-GX (UNB #107)1x Mega Sableye and Tyranitar-GX (UNM #126)1x Umbreon and Darkrai-GX (UNM #125)1x Guzzlord (COE #136)1x Marshadow (UNB #81)1x Dedenne-GX (UNB #57)1x Crobat V (SWSH3 #104)

Trainers (29)

3x Boss's Orders (SWSH2 #154)3x Red and Blue (COE #202)2x Guzma and Hala (COE #193)2x Professor's Research (SWSH35 #62)4x Tag Call (COE #206)4x Quick Ball (SWSH1 #179)4x Pokémon Communication (TEU #152)2x Big Charm (SWSH1 #158)2x Air Balloon (SWSH1 #156)2x Viridian Forest (TEU #156)1x Dark City (UNM #193)

Energy (12)

10x Darkness Energy (XY #138)2x Capture Energy (SWSH2 #171)

Card Explanation

Two Galarian Moltres V

This is the most fundamental Pokemon for this deck’s strategy. It is thanks to Galarian Moltres V that Dark Box has become a competitive deck. The big difference is its Ability Direflame Wings, which allows you to attach an extra Darkness Energy every turn from the discard pile to itself. If you assume a current Pokemon TCG match lasts about five turns, then you can return five additional Darkness Energy with Galarian Moltres V.

Now that you know the importance of Galarian Moltres V for Energy, I need to warn you that Galarian Moltres V will also be an important attacker in virtually every match. Its attack is useful and when Knocked Out, it gives only two Prizes to the opponent. Whenever possible, the idea is to force your opponent to draw more Prizes than they should to win. For that, you need to know the right order to attack with your Pokemon, as they have different Prize values. Avoid the possibility of your opponent being able to Knock Out two Tag Team Pokemon-GX in a row. The idea is to use one Tag Team Pokemon-GX, then Galarian Moltres V, then finally another Tag Team Pokemon-GX. It doesn’t have to be exactly in that order, but keep in mind that the opponent must be forced to Knock Out three Pokemon to win the game.

Two Sneasel UNM and Two Weavile-GX

Thanks to Weavile-GX, it is possible to perform the magic of getting six Darkness Energy cards to Mewtwo and Mew-GX to use Dark Moon GX. Despite being a crucial Pokemon for this move, the deck isn’t as dependent on Weavile-GX to function. Galarian Moltres V can power up and attack without the help of Weavile-GX, while Greninja and Zoroark-GX also has a good attack that doesn’t depend on Weavile-GX.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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