Dark Explorers Set Analysis: What Does It Mean For Battle Roads?

Hey guys, today I’m here with the newest set, Dark Explorers. I realize that there have been many Dark Explorers articles so far, but I started this one before all of the others, and I really feel that this article can add something.

I’m pretty excited for this set and what it will bring for Battle Roads. This set has been getting a fair amount of hype, and for good reason. There are quite a few good cards in this set, and it will certainly change the field for Battle Roads.

If any of you don’t know, this is the 5th set in the Black and White series, and the second set that brings us somewhat broken, powerful, and infamous EXs. This article will cover a lot of this set’s cards, as well as insight for the Battle Roads meta. This includes new decks and how it will affect current decks. Alright, let’s get to the cards! Enjoy!


BulbapediaThe first final evolution of this set looks pretty interesting at first glance. Can it bring anything to the table? The 140 HP on a Stage 2 is pretty typical, and not that bad, but still is at risk from all of the hard-hitting Basics of the format. It has an ability called Floral Scent, which lets you search your deck for any Pokémon and put it in your hand. The Ability itself is good and would be fantastic on a Basic, but I think it just can’t work on a Stage 2.

Its attack is called Poison Powder and it does 70 damage and Poison for GGCC, which is really not that good, and is just worse than Nidoking TM’s attack. If you are already running a fun Grass deck and think you might want to put Venusaur in because it seems to “fit,” then just go with Sunflora HS. It is a Stage 1 which makes it easier to get out and has the same ability as Venusaur for Grass decks.

Venusaur’s resistance is pretty much void and its Fire weakness just lets Reshiram BLW 1HKO it. What really brings this card down though is its Retreat Cost. It has a ridiculous four retreat, so it will never really find a place in any competitive decks anytime soon.

My overall rating for Venusaur: 1.5/5



This card looks fun. Unfortunately, 90 HP on a Stage 1 is pretty low. Not low enough to make a card bad, but still low. Its weakness to Fire really makes it fall to Reshiram-EX’s Glinting Claw and Typhlosion Prime’s Flare Destroy, which hurts, but luckily they are not played that much. The absent Retreat Cost is pretty convenient in some situations, but cannot be put to good use because of its attack’s effect.

The first attack, Hammer In, is pretty bad, doing only 20 damage for G. However, the second attack, for only a DCE, is quite nifty. It is called Deck and Cover (lol), and does 50 damage, along with Poison and Paralysis. Then, you have to shuffle Accelgor and all cards attached to it to your deck.

I can see this being a mean combo with Gothitelle EPO 47. You hit them with Deck and Cover, status-ifying them, then after you return Accelgor to the deck, bring in Gothitelle. This will essentially lock your opponent for the turn as they cannot Switch out, retreat, or attack, and you get free damage out of it!

There are a few problems with this strategy but they can be fixed. I will get more into the deck itself later.

My overall rating for Accelgor: 3.5/5


BulbapediaAh, now we come to this set’s first EX. It has the tied-for-highest HP of all the EXs at 180. As already established, 180 HP on a Basic is insane, but the EX rule essentially lowers it to 90, so it’s not as outrageous as it first seems. However, it has pretty awful stats on the bottom of the card. Three retreat ties it with the EX Dragons, and absent resistance is never nice. The Water weakness isn’t too much to complain about, but it does get 1HKO’ed by Kyurem EX.

Its first attack, Fire Fang, is pretty mediocre, doing 30 damage and Burn for RC. The second attack is interesting, and I’m not sure what I think of it. The second attack is called Grand Flame and it does 90 damage for RRC, as well as grabbing a R Energy from the discard and slapping it on a Benched Pokémon. This can be okay with the amount of Fire acceleration but overall this card is really not that good.

My overall rating for Entei-EX: 2/5



Heatmor, Heatmor, Heatmor. There are varying opinions about this little anteater. If you don’t already know what this does than here is a quick (no, it’s actually kind of long) rundown of the only four things you need know about it. It has 90 HP, it is a Basic, and it is Fire type. Now, what destroyer of dreams is weak to Fire? Of course, Durant.

The fourth and final thing you need to know about this, is that it has attack for C, called Hot Lick, which does a pitiful 10 damage. However, if the Defending Pokémon just happens to be named Durant, Heatmor decides to tack on 50 damage, which, with Durant’s weakness, 1HKOs Durant except under highly exceptional circumstances which will never happen. Sorry for the run-on but that is, in my opinion, the best way to put it.

Now, it is easy to think at first that every deck will just tech Heatmor and that Durant is dead forever. And some people think that. Others think that Durant will just be able to tech around it like it did for the States format; and still others think that Durant is still a good play because the odds of a sole Heatmor tech being prized, milled, or unable to attack are too high; and still others have the mindset that most people will think the way of the first opinion and not play Heatmor with the assumption that people will think that Heatmor will be widely played and thus think that no one will play Durant, so Heatmor will be a waste of space. Sheesh, this card is complicated.

romeert.deviantart.comI think that people will still play Durant and only decks with abnormal problems with Durant will play Heatmor. Here are two final things to think about. The first is the donk factor. It is extremely common for a Durant deck to open a lone Durant and if they open something else than they are in a bad position anyway. So, if you go first, with a Heatmor/a way to get it and attack with it T1, and your opponent opens lone Durant, you get the donk. Simple as that.

I don’t remember who, but someone said in the comments on this site: “It can’t be a good feeling going into a tournament knowing that you can be donked by any deck in the format.” The second thing to think about Heatmor however, it is obviously a one-trick pony, and will quite often go through a tournament as Junk Arm fodder.

It is worthless against anything but Durant so it is hard to predict what Heatmor will do to the format. If you read all that on a card you already know then I honestly commend you. It really is interesting though.

My overall rating for Destroyer of the Destroyer of Dreams: 3/5

Kyogre EX

BulbapediaThis is another letdown of an EX. It’s okay, but not worth it for an EX. See what I mean… It has 170, which is a pretty standard HP range for an EX, but, like Entei-EX, the weakness, (absent) resistance, Retreat Cost, and to some extent, its attacks, are what brings it down. It has a whopping four retreat and a weakness to Lightning. This alone makes it basically unplayable.

For WC, Smash Turn does 30 damage and gives you the option to switch out with a Benched Pokémon. I don’t see why the effect would have any use at all, because how can you switch a Pokémon to your Bench if you don’t even play it?!?! It’s second attack, Dual Splash, lets you whack two Pokémon on your opponent’s field for 50 for WWC.

This is kind of good, and I imagine Kyogre EX would be highly played if you took away the EX rule. I guess these bad EXs make up for Mewtwo EX.

My overall rating for Kyogre EX: 1/5



140 HP for a Stage 2 isn’t bad at all. But Lightning weakness and two retreat are, especially with no resistance to back it up. Its attack and Ability look interesting, let’s check them out. Well, its Ability, Diving Draw, gives us a new draw-engine, but it’s unfortunately on a stage 2, so it’s pretty deck-specific. It lets you discard one card from your hand, in exchange for two from the top of your deck. I think that is nice, and Empoleon can see play if its attack holds it up.

Well, for W you get a Jumpluff HS’s Mass Attack. 10 damage for each Pokémon in play. This won Worlds a few years ago, so it can’t be that bad now. That was my reasoning when I first saw it, however, now we don’t have Broken Time-Space, nor a broken Rare Candy, so swarming these will be difficult. Also, a smart opponent will lower your already not-that-great maximum damage output to even less.

It seems like a good card, but sadly, the fact that its weakness is extremely popular, as well as the fact that its damage output can be controlled somewhat by your opponent, banishes it to the binder or the realm of fun decks. I really, really hope that someone will make this card playable because I really like it, but it cannot stand up in this format. Sorry, Empoleon.

My overall rating for Empoleon: 2/5


BulbapediaThis is another card that struck my eye. I don’t know how much it will be played but it looks neat. The Fighting weakness makes it get 1HKO’ed by Donphan Prime, which kind of stinks, but it doesn’t make it any more susceptible to Terrakion NVI at least. Free retreat is cool, and absent resistance is boring. It has 90 HP as a Stage 1 which, as stated about Accelgor, isn’t very good.

Its first attack, Electrigun, does 20 for C and you may discard a L Energy attached to it for an extra 40. Just a little interesting. Its second attack is much like Zapdos NXD’s Thundering Hurricane. It lets you flip four coins, and each heads nails you 40 damage, but it costs one C energy less than Thundering Hurricane, meaning it is still compatible with DCE. I don’t think Jolteon is going to be played that much, really, but it is pretty nifty.

My overall rating for Jolteon: 2.5/5


Ooh, now we get a good EX. This one’s getting a lot of hype, so let’s see why. It has 170 HP, dreaded Fighting weakness (which could be helped with Eviolite), absent resistance, and an amazing one retreat! This makes it have free retreat with Skyarrow Bridge!

The first attack, Thunder Fang, is really nothing special, it does 30 damage for LC with flip for Paralysis, which may be helpful at times, but its second attack is much better. For LLC, the funny-named Volt Bolt attack lets you snipe anything for 100! Then you have to discard all L Energy attached to it.

This just begs you to play Eelektrik and Rescue Energy with it, as well as SAB so you can snipe 100 every turn. Too bad Terrakion NVI just gives the deck fits. There is a neat solution to this later in the set though…

My overall rating for Raikou-EX: 5/5


BulbapediaI honestly don’t understand the hype, and although many people do, I’m going to try and explain my best to help people understand that this card is not as good as Cleffa HS/CL. Sure, it has double the HP as Cleffa and an actual attack, but we already had this argument with Manaphy UL, and look how that turned out. At least Manaphy had free retreat; Plusle can’t even boast that!

Also, it can be 1HKO’d by a minimum-powered Retaliate thanks to weakness, so why is it hyped at all? Well, it’s because of its first attack, which lets you shuffle your hand into your deck and draw four cards. Oh yeah, and it costs an Energy. But, if you have Minun on your bench, you get eight cards instead.

Still, it requires a slot on the Bench, and with all of my above points, I just can’t see Plusle being played over Cleffa.

My overall rating for Plusle: 2/5


This has a unique ability called Solar Revelation, which prevents all effects of attacks done to your Pokémon with Energy attached to them. I can’t see this being used because nothing in the format as of now has an attack that does an effect to your Pokémon (Donphan Prime, Mewtwo EX, Terrakion NVI, Durant NVI, Tornadus EPO, Zekrom BLW and Reshiram BLW etc.). I know there are some low-tier Pokémon that do, such as Kyurem EX and Gengar Prime, but that is no reason to use this card.

However, I wanted to mention it because I’m not sure if things like Raikou-EX’s snipe would count as “effects of attacks” because the damage is not printed next to the attack name. If Volt Bolt can be blocked against with Espeon, then I’m sure Espeon will see play but if not, not. Nothing else about Espeon is really worth talking about.

[Editor’s note: It doesn’t block damage from sniping like Volt Bolt, but it does block Special Conditions like the Paralysis from Thunder Fang.]

My overall rating for Espeon: 1.5/5 OR 4/5


BulbapediaHere is a funny card. Two retreat is pretty bad, but I suppose you can’t really expect a coffin to move around that much. The weakness to Dark may be written off at first, but then you remember that the set is named Dark EXplorers, so you can assume there will be viable Dark-types in the set. It has 100 HP as a Stage 1, which is a little better than what we’ve been seeing, but still not on the level of Donphan Prime.

Its first attack is called Chuck, and it lets you trash as many Pokémon Tools from your hand as you like and deal 40 damage for each Tool you choose to discard. I like this. Mienshao NXD comes to mind because, although it is a Stage 1, it is the only reliable way to get Tools out from your deck. Mienshao can also double as your dark counter.

The second attack is much like Azelf LA’s Lock Up, except for double the energy cost and double the damage. I cannot see that being used. One problem with (attack #1) is that, besides Junk Arm (and Good Rod and Recycle), there is no way to recover Pokémon Tools. So you cannot rely on Cofagrigus for an entire game, much like Magnezone.

I can see this being somewhat good with Rocky Helmet being attached and a whole other host of Tools. You can discard 3 Tools against a musketeer or dragon (besides Virizion, in which case you would just KO), leaving it with just a little HP, and if they want to attack, then Rocky Helmet would just finish them off. Just a fun idea.

My overall rating for Cofagrigus: 3/5


Aerodactyl, the only “Revived” Pokémon in the set and only the third ever so far. Thankfully, it is much better than the other Revived Pokémon. Its Ability is called Primal Scream, and it adds 10 damage to your attack power. This alone is pretty good, and, to my understanding, it is stackable. Not that this will matter much; it is hard enough to get out being a Revived Pokémon, and I think it will only see play in the future if there are good Revived Pokémon.

I think that because no deck really has room to fit in the necessary cards just for the Ability. But wait! It has an attack too! Oh… never mind… just 40 damage for CCC. Maybe later Aerodactyl.

My overall rating for Aerodactyl: 1.5/5

Groudon EX

BulbapediaThis big, scary, earth-monster thing brings us to our fourth EX of the set. As a card, it is quite interesting, and there are varying opinions about it. It has 180 HP, which is tied for the highest of an EX, as stated before with Entei. Its weakness and resistance are almost as good as you can ask for, but the four retreat is awful.

It resists Lightning, which is pretty much the most played type, and any damage done by Lightning Pokémon is reduced by 40 if Groudon EX holds an Eviolite. This turns Bolt Strike into a 3HKO, Disaster Volt into a 5HKO, and Glinting Claw is now out of the question even more than it was before!

Also, this barely makes Magnezone Prime have to Lost Burn five energy for the 1HKO. That’s a record, by the way.

Let’s see if its attacks can hold it up. Tromp is the first attack, and, like Kyogre EX, the first attack is pretty mediocre. This one might actually be able to be put to use, but it’s still pretty bad. For FC it does 20 damage and 10 to everything else on your opponent’s field.

Giant Claw is the second attack for FFC. It is much like the various “Second Strike” attacks we have seen. Giant Claw deals 80 damage, plus 40 more if the defending Pokémon already has two damage counters on it. That is pretty solid, and I can start to see Groudon EX get some spotlight because of it’s resistance to Lightning and Giant Claw. We shall see…

My overall rating for Groudon EX: 4/5


When I first looked at this guy, I was like: “Ugh.” But then I thought a little and he/it could be useful. As a Stage 1, he has 120 HP, which is really good, even though basics have higher HP nowadays. It has a resistance to Lightning, which is always welcome, and also protects it from being 1HKO’ed by Bolt Strike.

It has three retreat which, in my opinion, is totally unnecessary. It also has a weakness to Water, like Groudon EX, which is a nice type to be weak to. Unfortunately, this also means that the rare Kyurem NVI’s Glaciate will 2HKO it.

The first attack is called Tunnel Strike, and all it does is snipe for 30, which is fair, but not that good. Its second attack, however, is pretty eye opening. For FF, Dig Uppercut deals 50 damage and you can pick out any card from your discard pile and put it into your hand!

Guess what, we just found another potential partner for Cofagrigus! It reliably gets Tools back, and doubles as a Dark counter! While on the weak side, it can be useful and is the type to be.

My overall rating for Excadrill: 3/5

Umbreon DEX 61

BulbapediaI’m just going to go over the attacks on this one because it’s not very good but deserves a little mention. For C, Confuse Ray deals 20 damage and Confusion which is not really that bad of an attack but it’s on a Stage 1. For DCC, it’s going Sharpedo TM style. Shadow Shutdown deals 60 damage, and if you land two heads out of two flips, all of the Defending Pokémon’s Energy go to the discard!

If you are lucky, you could run this with Sharpedo TM and Fliptini for a fun and annoying deck. Just wanted to mention that and Umbreon could prove handy. Also, it could fit into Leafeon/Amoongus deck.

My overall rating for Umbreon: 2/5


Ohmygosh, another Cofagrigus partner! This one is actually highly viable though. 70 HP for a Basic is solid for it not being a legendary, and the absent weakness and resistance can’t really hurt. The one retreat means it is very mobile with SAB as well. So far, pretty good.

So what makes this card viable? Well, it’s certainly not its Confuse Ray attack, which does 10 damage and a flip for confusion for C, but rather its second attack, Dumpster Diving.

Okay, whatever, it’s actually called Junk Hunt, but I’ll still call it Dumpster Diving, because that’s just more awesome. Anyway, for a single D Energy (or a Prism/Rainbow), you get any two Items from your discard pile! This is amazing! If you are trying Cofagrigus, forget Excadrill! Sableye’s your go-to here. Dumpster Diving is especially good because you can also grab Junk Arms which can later be used for anything you need.

I imagine this being a staple in any deck that already runs Dark, Prism, or Rainbow Energy and perhaps beyond that! Of course not in Vileplume though. That’s a funny thought. “I’ll use Dumpster Diving for two Trainers that I can’t use so I can Juniper them next turn”. That’s not going to happen.

My overall rating for Sableye: 4/5

Darkrai EX

Alright, here is another one of the most hyped cards in the set. It is a 180 HP dark-type EX. It has a very unfortunate weakness to Fighting, but a very nice resistance to Psychic. The semi-sore Retreat Cost of two is easily taken care of by its nifty Ability, Dark Cloak.

Dark Cloak states that any of your Pokémon with any D Energy attached to it has no Retreat Cost. I think this is quite nifty, especially since Prism is pretty played and because it can be counted as Dark as well as the energy needed to attack.

Darkrai’s attack is pretty good too. For DDC you deal a solid 90 as well as a snipe for 30. Too bad with the expected uprise in 40 HP Tynamo play, you won’t be able to snipe Tynamo that often. At least you 3HKO Eels, but the past advantage of surprise 30 snipes are gone.

The attack cost and resistance means that a Mewtwo EX needs eight Energy to 1HKO a fully charged Darkrai EX with Eviolite. I don’t think Darkrai EX deserves this level of hype, but it will be the cornerstone of the armada of new Dark decks sure to come

My overall rating for Darkrai EX: 4/5


Vile, vile Krookodile. This Pokémon has always had disruptive aspects to it since it came out in Black and White, but was never really played. Lets see if the first Dark-type Krookodile to be printed can outshine the others. Well, its first attack keeps the disruptive trend going. It is Dark Clamp and for DCC, it does 60 damage with a retreat lock.

This isn’t that useful because most decks run Switch, so it could only be useable with Vileplume. Even this wouldn’t be that good, because it is hard enough to get two Stage 2s out in this format, and you’re only doing 60 damage for DCC. It helps a lot, though, that it is compatible with DCE, Special Dark, and Dark Claw (more on that later). For a Stage 2, its 150 HP is really good, as well as a nice Psychic resistance.

Unfortunately, like most dark Pokémon, it is weak to Fighting. It has a disgusting three retreat, but that is easily taken care of by Darkrai EX’s Dark Cloak, which should be played in all dark decks. Moving on to Krookodile’s second attack, Bombast. Is that even a word?!?! It sounds quite funny actually.

Anyway, for DDCC, it does 40 damage for each Prize card you have taken. Immediately, for me, the words: “reverse Revenge Blast” come to mind. Normally, this attack on a Stage 2 would be quite awful, but, as stated about Dark Clamp, it is compatible DCE, Special Dark, and Dark Claw which might make this card at least semi competitive. It really seems like this card has potential, even if it’s just for the kind of gimmicky deck that I would use.

My overall rating for Krookodile: 2.5-3/5

Zorua DEX 69


There is only one thing about this card worth mentioning, which puts above all the other Zorua as the Zorua of choice; that is, unless you’re playing Stage 1s, in which case you would use Zorua BLW. Well, no one plays Stage 1s anymore anyway. The thing that makes it better than the other Zorua (I want to put an S to pluralize that so badly!), is its first attack, Ascension.

Ascension requires a D Energy and states: “Search your deck for a card that evolves from this Pokémon and put it onto this Pokémon. (This counts as evolving this Pokémon.) Shuffle your deck afterward.” It’s not great, but it’s handy, and it’s enough to make it Zorua of choice, so I wanted to give it a shout-out.

My overall rating for Zorua: 0.5/5 (I mean, come on, it’s a pre-evolution, it’s awful by itself)

Zoroark DEX

Now, I definitely wouldn’t mention Zorua if there wasn’t a noteworthy Zoroark, so here it is. A 100 HP stage 1, pretty typical. Resistance to Psychic and weakness to Fighting, like almost all Dark types. Two retreat, pretty bad. Wait! What? Two retreat on a Zoroark?! What is this madness? (Darkrai says hi.) Oh yeah, hi Darkrai.

Now I feel better, but still, two retreat on a ninja, stealth, illusion fox thing is pretty high. Now for its attacks. For CC, it has this brutal attack called… Brutal Bash. It does 20 damage for each Dark Pokémon you have in play. This means, that in a full-fledged dark deck, you can consistently be whacking for 120. This is absolutely wonderful for just a DCE!

Also, there is the yet-to-be-mentioned Dark Claw, which just makes this card even better! It has a second attack too, but who needs that when you have something as good as Brutal Bash? Well, I’m not going rushing to the next card just yet, Zoroark’s Dark Rush attack is nothing to scoff at. For DD, it does 20 damage for each damage counter on it.

So, without Dark Claw OR Special D Energy, you can 1HKO a non-Eviolited EX if you have 90 damage on Zoroark. Of course, like all dark Pokémon’s attacks, this just gets better with Special Dark and Dark Claw, so we can start to see why the dark type is getting the hype it is. At least the Pokémon creators kept the game fair and didn’t make Zoroark a Basic.

My overall rating for Zoroark: 4.5/5

Tornadus EX

BulbapediaHere is another good EX. And by good, I actually mean awesome. This card is the saving grace for all Dark and Lightning decks, which would otherwise be screwed over against Terrakion NVI. Tornadus EX, being a Colorless type, easily becomes a staple and, with an Eviolite, requires Terrakion NVI to 4HKO it or 3HKO it with two PlusPowers. Do the math.

Never mind, I’ll do it for you. Tornadus EX has 170 HP, and a resistance to Fighting. Unfotunately, like Tornadus EPO, it has that horrible weakness to Lightning. This means that Raikou-EX or Zekrom BLW can 1HKO it if it’s Active. Uh-oh. Well, you just need to keep reminding yourself that it is Lightning’s and Dark’s best bet against Fighting, and to try to avoid dropping it against Lightning.

The one Retreat Cost is helped with SAB. Its first attack, Blow Through, requires just a DCE, and does 30 damage. This alone is pretty pitiful, but its effect is nice. If there is a Stadium in play, you do 60 damage instead!

Its second attack, Power Blast, does 100 damage for CCC, with a flip to decide if you discard an Energy attached to it. This shouldn’t matter in the Lightning or Dark decks it’s going to be played in because they have back-from-the-discard acceleration, but could be a pain to CMT players. This is definitely a good card.

My overall rating for Tornadus EX: 4/5

Woo-hoo, now for the Trainers.

Enhanced Hammer

Hmm. It looks cool, but it’s just a worse version of Lost Remover. At first I wondered why the heck they even made this card, but then I remembered there was such thing as a rotation, so they (the card makers) probably wanted Special Energy removals after the rotation. This obviously implies that there will be a rotation to BLW-on.

Also, I saw a scan for Drifblim from the dragon sets on The Beach which did more damage for each Special Energy in your opponent’s discard pile, so that is obviously supposed to be used with Enhanced Hammer.

My overall rating for Enhanced Hammer: 1/5

My overall rating for Enhanced Hammer after rotation if rotation is to BLW-on: 3.5/5

Dark Claw and Dark Patch

BulbapediaI wanted to cover these two together because they are so closely tied in that they bring dark decks to life. Dark Claw is a tool, only to be used on Dark Pokémon, that adds 20 damage to that Pokémon’s attacks. This is just phenomenal, and makes it so that it is not too hard for Zoroark DEX to 1HKO EXs. That is quite scary.

Dark Patch is an item that, believe it or not, provides Energy acceleration for Dark types. It basically just provides a one-time Dynamotor for Basic Dark energy. This and Dark Claw will drastically shift the format in favor of Dark types from where they were. Now it is easy to see why the Dark type has the hype that it does, and just remember Tornadus EX if Terrakion NVI keeps popping in your head like it does to me.

My overall rating for Dark Claw: 4/5

My overall rating for Dark Patch: 3.5/5

Random Receiver

This card, I believe, is getting justly hyped as the Pokégear 3.0 replacement. It’s an item that says to reveal cards from the top of your deck until you hit a supporter, which you have to keep. I’m sure everyone knows how frustrating it is to whiff Pokégears, something that happens all too often, so this guarantee card is bound to see play.

Also, this will encourage Dual Ball over Collector, just because most of the time you would want hand refresh over Basic search.

My overall rating for Random Receiver: 4/5

Ultra Ball

BulbapediaA lot of people already know what this does because it was supposed to be released in nEXt Destinies, but wasn’t. It is an item contributing to the “ball engine,” which lets you discard two cards from your hand in order to search your deck for a Pokémon.

I still think Pokémon Communication is better, but this could be useful in things like RaiEels (name sounds a little like RaiEggs, doesn’t it?) to get L Energy in the discard.

Not really much else to say about this card, but I am very unsure of how it will effect decks. I think saying it will replace Communication is a bit over-hyping, but we shall see.

My overall rating for Ultra Ball: 3/5


Twist Mountain

Twist Mountain is a Stadium that lets each player flip a coin once per turn, and if that player nails heads, they get to play a Revived Pokémon from their hand that could normally only be played with the unreliable effect of a Fossil. Too bad Archeops and Carracosta are unplayable.

Well, at least Aerodactyl is pretty good, but I don’t know if any deck will have enough room to actually play one or two copies of this and one to three copies of Aerodactyl just for the Ability. I don’t think Twist Mountain is very viable right now. Maybe in the future if they make some good Fossil Pokémon will the Fossil deck idea finally be alive again.

My overall rating for Twist Mountain: 1.5/5

Phew, that’s a lot of interesting cards for one set! So…

How Will Dark EXplorers Effect Current (pre-DEX) Decks?

This section is going to be a mini breakdown of some of the pre-DEX decks, including new tricks and what will happen to them.

Zekeels (or Zeels)

BulbapediaThere are varying opinions about what will happen to Zekeels. For sure it will include Raikou-EX, and that will help for various reasons and various uses. It does get Ultra Ball, which will be played in it so that you can get early search and early L Energy discards which are both helpful. Of course, Random Receiver will replace Pokégear 3.0 and Tornadus EX will just boss off Tornadus EPO as the Fighting counter. Overall, Zeels is still a contender.


The “T” in CMT will definitely get replaced. Well, kind of. It will go from Tornadus to Tornadus EX so it is still similar. Tornadus EX has more donking power for the same amount of energy and just provides more protection against Terrakion NVI. As a result of Tornadus EX replacing Tornadus EPO, and because Tornadus EX is much better against Fighting, I expect Eviolite to become more popular in CMT as well as Virizion EPO being less popular.

However, this deck is terrible against full-fledged Raikou-EX decks. This is obviously because of Tornadus EX’s weakness and because Raikou-EX discards Energy after its attack, thus making Mewtwo EX weaker. Also, Tornadus EX can be 1HKO’ed by either Zeel’s or RaiEel’s Zekrom’s Bolt Strike, which is just another 2 Prizes down the drain.

BulbapediaSo, because if this, CMT can be shifted a bit to a Terrakion-focused version or just quicker and more focused on taking out Tynamo early. But, if you want to go with the straight CMT, kill-Tynamo-fast version, you still have to think about DarkArk. Tornadus EX thankfully can 1HKO Zoroark DEX, but the matchup is still unfavorable because all (or nearly all, if you play interesting techs) of the Pokémon in DarkArk are resistant to Mewtwo.

It just seems that CMT will struggle with DarkArk unless they play two or three Terrakion NVi and use them wisely. Also, I’m just going to get this out of the way now so I won’t have to say it about every deck, Random Receiver will replace Pokégear 3.0 in all decks that don’t play Collector, which as we all know, CMT should not play Collector. Overall, CMT will probably see some play, but will struggle in the long run.


pokemon-paradijs.comThis is basically covered in the Heatmor section, but not completely. All I have to add is this; Some players will find clever ways to have a surefire way to beat Heatmor (besides just throwing in extra attackers), but most players will avoid Durant just because of the threat of Heatmor, regardless of how much Heatmor is actually played.

Mono-Terrakion and Landorus/Terrakion

Mono-Terrakion still might be a solid play because of all the Dark and Lightning, but I don’t think it will because of Tornadus EX. Also, it can struggle with aggro-Mewtwo attempts. Landorus/Terrakion is still a good play because it can beat Mewtwo with Mewtwo and it could easily tech in a couple Zekrom BLW to create a psuedo-Donphan/Dragons deck with Landorus to at least have a chance against Tornadus EX.

Groudon EX is something that these decks will include and might even replace Terrakion NVI as it is better in most aspects.


I honestly don’t know much about Troll and how it plays. I’ve never played a game using Troll but I get that the basic strategy is: 1) Get cheap KOs early with Tyrogue HS/CL and Pokémon Catcher. 2) Use Tornadus EPO as early-early mid-game attacker while powering up multiple Terrakion NVI. 3) Use a bunch of Terrakion as heavy hitters. 4) Abuse Super Scoop Up, PlusPower, and Rocky Helmet all the way.

Based on this knowledge (someone correct me if I’m wrong), Troll has a decent chance at staying alive. Any deck with Terrakion and an alternate attacker is automatically in the running just because Dark and Lightning are so good. Also, considering you can run over four Tornadus and Tornadus EX combined, Troll can include Tornadus EX for more power against non-Dark or -Lightning decks, but then you would probably want to run Energy Retrieval because of Power Blast’s effect.

Tyrogue doesn’t exactly lose anything either. With two PlusPowers, Mischievous Punch can 1HKO Zorua DEX, which is really all it gains from Dark EXplorers, but nothing to scoff at.


pokemon-paradijs.comLast but not least, here is Reshiphlosion. It has always been a solid deck, and even won Worlds, but it is really losing popularity because its T2 Blue Flare ratio is not consistent enough. It gets Entei-EX to play with, and I’m sure some die-hards will play Reshiphlosion, but I’m not sure it will stand up in the coming format. I am interested in how it does at BRs though, as I really don’t have a solid guess for it. Oh yeah, and it gets Ultra Ball which is nice.

The aforementioned decks, in my opinion, were the only ones worth mentioning. I did not mention things like Reshiboar or Truth, nor decks like DarkArk, because that section was only for the high-performance decks for the States-Regionals format.

Also, this article is getting long enough already, and decks like Reshiboar and Truth are kind of dead. Not completely, and they may make a comeback with Groudon EX and Entei-EX, but they would be kind of a waste. Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, here are the…

New Decks

Of course, with every new set, there are completely new decks created, focused around cards from that set. Dark EXplorers is certainly no EXception. I have created four decks built upon Pokémon found mainly in Dark EXplorers, but obviously, no deck can have Pokémon from only one set, so the decks have some Pokémon from other sets. All of the decks have been tested, but most of them have not been tested that much.

Also, know that I will not give a full analysis on each deck, but just give an overview and matchups for some of them. Two of the decks are completely rogue and two are completely predictable. So, without anymore of a wait. Here are my favorite four Dark EXplorers-based decks!


This deck also goes by Dark.dek or Dark Rush, but I prefer DarkArk. Here is the list I have been using:

Pokémon – 17

4 Zorua DEX 69

3 Zoroark DEX

1 Zoroark BLW

3 Darkrai-EX DEX

4 Absol Prime

1 Cleffa HS/CL

1 Shaymin UL

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Juniper

4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

4 Sage’s Training


4 Dual Ball

4 Junk Arm

4 Pokémon Communication

3 Dark Patch

3 Dark Claw

2 Pokémon Catcher

Energy – 11

7 D – Basic

4 Darkness – Special


pokemon-paradijs.comAs you can see, this is very mainstream. The strategy is to go aggro Zoroark DEX early, and gradually shift to Darkrai EX. Multiple Absol can fill the bench as Dark-type Pokémon, as well as putting Pokémon-EX into Zoroark DEX range with the handy-dandy Eye of Disaster Poké-Body. It can also donk if you get lucky enough!

Although mainstream, this deck has a little tech-iness to it. Zoroark BLW, Cleffa, and Shaymin have all proved themselves multiple times and are amazing in this deck. Zoroark BLW can easily 1HKO EXs with or without Absol’s help because it can abuse Dark Claw and Special Dark.

Outside of EXs, Zoroark is helpful in other situations too, again because of Special Dark and Dark Claw. It can easily 1HKO Genies and Dragons. There is seemingly no end to what this guy can do! Shaymin helps with instantly charging the active with Dark Patch and is always a generally helpful card. Cleffa is the big surprise here. I found it amazing clutch and used it in many, many games.

Now, I’m sure you’ve noticed the abscence of Tornadus EX here. Before building this deck, I believed that all Fighting-weak decks needed a counter to Fighting, preferably Tornadus or Tornadus EX. But, I found while testing this deck, that Tornadus EX is actually not good in this deck. I almost couldn’t believe it, but there were numbers staring me in the face, so I cut Tornadus EX.

Tornadus EX is still a great Fighting-counter for other Fighting-weak decks, but there are reasons why it’s bad in this. One, it ruins the point of Zoroark DEX, have as many dark Pokémon in play as possible. But Shaymin and Cleffa do that too. Two, the damage output. 100 damage in this deck is really, really low. Well, you could say, Darkrai EX only does 90. But, keep in mind, Darkrai’s attack can be boosted by Special Dark and Dark Claw, Tornadus’ cannot.

Also, Darkrai snipes. Against Fighting, I found it is just better to beat down with Dark, exchanging KO for KO, instead of 2HKOing with Tornadus EX, letting your opponent Catcher around and taking valuable prizes.


Note: Wins and losses are from DarkArk’s side. This will be the case for the other decks as well. Also, I did not do a set amount of games for each matchup. I did what I thought would be best. For example, if I went 4-0 against a deck, I would not continue to test because I have already “proven” that the matchup is at least somewhat favorable.



Wins (version with Tornadus EX): 1 Losses (with Tornadus EX): 4

Wins (without Tornadus EX): 3 Losses (without Tornadus EX): 2

Wow. Tornadus EX sucks! Just kidding, as talked about before, it is not ideal in this deck. After I revised the deck to the list above, without Tornadus EX, it came down only to which deck went first each game. Every game, the deck that went first always got T2 KOs with Earthquake/Brutal Bash and the deck that went second fell behind on the prize race on T2 before it got a chance. And yes, it is that easy to 1HKO a Donphan.

So, if you lose the opening flip against this deck, then you basically lose unless the deck/player is sub-par or they whiff the T2 Donphan. I don’t even know why I tested against this deck, it’s not that popular, but I suppose it was good to because DarkArk is weak to it.


Wins: 3 Losses: 3

In my testing, whoever went first won. It was like with Donphan; T2 Brutal Bash and T2 Disaster Volt, with some EXs getting in on the action later. If you opponent whiffs on a T2 attack then you have to go super-aggressive as fast as possible. Obviously, it is great to abuse Catcher to pick off Tynamo, Eelektrik, and Smeargle (if they run it) with Absol. Absol’s use is kind of limited so any opportunity to use it is great.

One thing that is kind of obvious but I found interesting, is that Zoroark BLW is great here. With only one Special Dark and a Dark Claw, you can 1HKO Thundurus EPO, Tornadus EPO (again, if they run it), Zekrom BLW, Zekrom-EX, and potentially Mewtwo EX. That is something to keep in mind for this matchup. Also, in case you were wondering, I was not testing against the same Zeel I used for States, but a more normal one.


Wins: 2 Losses: 4


I don’t really know what to say about that win/loss record. RaiEels not that different from Zeels. Also, the games were not determined by who went first. The games did not really have anything worth noting; except that there was a Volt Bolt donk. RaiEels can’t really abuse Catcher because of Dark Cloak, which is good. And it is easy to pick off Eels, which is good, so I really don’t know how DarkArk didn’t have a positive record. Maybe six games is just not enough.

As for how to play this matchup, you need to go really aggressive on the Eels, and baiting Volt Bolts is great too. It is really inconvienient that Zoroark has 100 HP exactly. At least the Zoroark BLW trick tech can copy Volt Bolt and easily pick off Eels, and with Absol/Pokémon Catcher helping, winning this matchup, in theory, shouldn’t be too hard. I will provide my Raikou/Eel list later, as it is a new deck.


Wins: 4 Losses: 0

I figured that four straight wins against a former giant in the metagame was enough to prove that DarkArk should be able to take this matchup. Try to take cheap prizes with Zoroark DEX against Tornadus and Celebi when you can, but it is also great to go aggro Darkrai. Mewtwo can’t 1HKO Darkrai, and Darkrai can’t 1HKO Mewtwo either. But, Darkrai can 2HKO it, as well as setting another Mewtwo up for a 1HKO by one of your two Zoroark, or 2HKO a Celebi by sniping.

There are two problems with this matchup, one which is beyond the player’s control. With four Absol, four Zorua, a Cleffa, and a Shaymin, it is easy to get Tornadus donked. It is somewhat easy to get two Basics in your starting seven. However, even if you have a lone Basic, if you go first, and if you start out with any of the 12 draw Supporters or four Dual Ball then you’re probably okay.

The second problem, similar to the first, is that so many Pokémon in DarkArk are in Tornadus range. Which means that they can get many cheap prizes with most CMTs running four Catcher and four Junk Arm. You could just not drop Pokémon down, but that would ruin Zoroark DEX. That is another great reason to go straight Darkrai.


Wins: 4 Losses: 0


(Same first sentence as CMT) It is just so easy to plow through everything with Darkrai. Just get two set up and you’re good to go. Here is one very important thing to remember when facing Durant with this deck: never, ever, be tempted to use Zoroark DEX (or Zoroark BLW, because that will fail).

Even if you start Zorua, you need to keep too many Pokémon on your bench for it to 1HKO Durant. Even with Darkrai’s Dark Cloak in effect, you cannot keep energy on ALL of your Pokémon, especially against Durant. Always steamroll with Darkrai.

One other thing that this matchup has going for DarkArk, is that Durant is bound to Devour some Basic D Energy in this first few turns so you can speed up your set up with Dark Patch, which is very helpful. As with all EXs that sweep Durant, pile many Energy onto your attacker because of Lost Remover and Crushing Hammer. Don’t stack enough so that Rotom/Mewtwo + Black Belt can 1HKO you, but just so that you can be somewhat safe against the onslaught of Energy Removals.


Wins: 3 Losses: 3

Hey look! Another even record! Pretty much the same thing. T2 Gaia Hammer or T2 Brutal Bash. Even if you do go first, though, this matchup is still difficult. You need to swarm Zoroark and just beat them down, trading prize for prize each turn.

Whenever you can, since you only can use 4 Zoroark, it is important to take KOs on Landorus with Absol at any opportunity. This is easier said than done, because you need two Special Darks and a Dark Claw to 1HKO, but it is still possible and is very helpful.

It is also very important to hold onto all of your Darkrai EX because they can easily be Catchered and 1HKO’ed by Terrakion NVI. Groudon EX may seem intimidating, but it does give up 2 Prizes. It can easily be 2HKO’ed. So, even if they get it out, you can still maintain a Prize trade. Remember when I said to hold on to all of the Darkrai? Well, if everything goes decent, you should be able to keep up a Prize trade until the last prize; 1 Prize for each Zoroark, and one cheap KO with Absol.

Then, you can play Darkrai to easily take the last prize. Overall, if the builds of these two decks are good, and neither one gets unlucky whiffs, then it really boils down to who goes first despite the Fighting weakness. DarkArk, and other variants of Dark for that matter, are surely strong contenders for Battle Roads.

Why I Think This Variant is Best

Mark A. HicksI think Zoroark/Absol is better than Zoroark/Weavile because Absol is an amazing opener. Putting some EXs in Special Dark + Dark Claw + Brutal Bash range really can put you ahead and is better than some petty one-card disruption and takes up less space. Also, since Absol will have Energy on it a lot because of retreating into Darkrai on T2 (w/ Dark Cloak), Shaymin should be treated as a necessary staple for this deck.

As for Darkrai EX/Tornadus EX; it is more of a different deck than a different variant, but it utilizes the Dark engine so I’ll include it here. It simply does not have enough power. The attackers are nice and bulky but they are EXs, and any deck with not-very-many EX attackers can have trouble. Also, it is just plain easier to go with something you have tested for hours than something you have not.

I myself will not play any Dark decks at Battle Roads, because I have no way (unless I want to go broke for a couple BRs) to get all the cards needed, but expect them at yours.

The Next Deck, Gothigor

Pokémon – 23

4 Shelmet NVI

4 Accelgor DEX

1 Karrablast NVI

3 Gothita EPO 43

1 Gothorita EPO 45/46

3 Gothitelle EPO 47

1 Smeargle UD/CL

2 Mewtwo-EX NXD

2 Doduo UD

2 Dodrio UD

Trainers – 29

4 Professor Juniper

4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

2 N


4 Dual Ball

4 Level Ball

4 Poké Ball

3 Rare Candy

2 Pokémon Catcher

1 Super Rod

1 Junk Arm

Energy – 8

4 Double Colorless

2 Rescue

2 P


youtube.comThis deck is very complex and odd-looking so it may take awhile to explain. I mentioned this deck idea in the Accelgor section. I thought it was a great idea so I followed through with it. The basic idea is to hit every turn with Accelgor’s “Deck and Cover” attack. (Where did they come up with that name anyway? Deck and Cover, really?) After you return Accelgor to your deck, you bring in Gothitelle EPO 47. This essentially locks your opponent out of their turn. Gothitelle blocks all Items, most importantly Switch and Catcher, while Paralysis blocks attacks and retreats.

You can use Accelgor’s attack nearly every turn with the heavy draw engine and ball engine, while using Dodrio to free retreat Gothitelle every turn. Speaking of ball engine, I’m sure you noticed I chose to run Poké Ball over Pokémon Communication and Ultra Ball. Now, I wouldn’t blame you if you thought: “Wow, Grant’s not very smart, he runs Poké Ball. Wait. What is Poké Ball?”

However, I have a good reason for running Poké Ball. But, since it is a card pretty much never played, even though it’s been out since Jungle, I want to give you a quick refresher. It is a simple Item with “ball” in it’s name, fitting nicely into the ball engine, and it simply states: “Flip a coin, if heads, search your deck for any Pokémon”. I think this is pretty good actually.

pokemon-paradijs.comI chose this over Communication and Ultra Ball because the whole game until the last few turns there are really no cards to burn. On Communication: you will need nearly every Pokémon you can get until the lock is established and in this deck I prefer a flip over a Pokémon trade. As for Ultra Ball, this deck cannot stand early/mid-game discards, especially for just a Pokémon; that is the same reasoning I used for only having one Junk Arm, two discards is not worth an Item in this deck.

Also, you can search out any Pokémon besides Gothitelle with just Dual Ball and Level Ball. However, even if the whole game goes well, your opponent can still attack immediately after a KO. Not much can 1HKO a Gothitelle without PlusPower, but most decks have something that can, which is why it’s good to set up another Gothitelle. If you have another Gothitelle set up, then you can just continue the lock.

However, in some cases you may not want to. This is because most decks’ only option to revenge KO a Gothitelle is Mewtwo EX. Mewtwo EX needs four energy to 1HKO a Gothitelle. So, you could just drop one of your own Mewtwo + DCE for the revenge KO, putting your opponent at the bad end of the Mewtwo war as well as behind on resources.

This is great because if you save both of your Mewtwo, and your opponent sees you’re playing a lock deck, they will probably think you don’t run Mewtwo, so they will be reckless with theirs. This is also a lifesaver against CMT. Smeargle was thrown in the deck because it is great for clutch and starting, and the deck already had Dodrio UD.



Wins: 4 Losses: 2

Just go with the basic strategy for this matchup. Accelgor lock. Set up another Gothitelle if possible in case of the surprise Zekrom-EX + DCE + Double Dynamotor revenge KO. Then lock it back up. If they revenge Gothitelle with Mewtwo, obviously start the wars, because this deck runs two and most Zekeels run two. Make sure you save the Mewtwo in your hand as long as possible so your opponent won’t see it coming.

Since no non-Pokémon-EX can 1HKO a Gothitelle in this deck (besides a lucky Zapdos NXD), you should easily get ahead in the Prize trade once the lock goes up. Definitely a favorable matchup.


Wins: 1 Losses: 3

Despite the numbers, this is not that bad of a matchup. It is easily winnable unless your opponent knows exactly how to play against the deck. Most Accelgor decks will play Sunflora and Vileplume instead, so your opponent will be a bit flustered when they cannot Volt Bolt your Accelgor-getting engine.

The natural reaction for most players would be to go aggressive on the Goth line, which is great for you, because that just isn’t consistent and won’t work. Maybe they will even try to target all of the Shelmet! However, the key to beating Gothigor with RaiEels is to go after the Dodrio at every possible opportunity. That is the key. Rescue Energy and Super Rod help a little with this though.

Gothigor will win if they don’t go after the Dodrio, but most likely if you aim after the Dodrio/Doduo all game then the RaiEels player should win. The only reason Gothigor won one is because I didn’t even know how to play for RaiEels for the first game and went after other stuff.


Wins: 4 Losses: 2

pokemon-paradijs.comThis matchup is in your favor, and if you get set up then you pretty much have the win sealed. Gothitelle is priority here, like with most matchups, and avoid benching Doduo until you have Accelor/Goth lock ready to go, because of Catcher. Obviously, also because of Catcher, you want to bench multiple Shelmet and Gothita early on so you can get set up.

Don’t worry of they get ahead three or 4 Prizes, that’s what CMT does, and this deck can easily come back. Mewtwo surprises is the big lifeline here, and you have to play smart. The only reason, I think, that Gothigor didn’t have more wins, is because both decks (mainly Gothigor) had extremely odd luck.

This can be expected sometimes with the flippy ball engine, and you can play around it, but CMT is a great matchup if you do everything correctly and don’t go something like 0-4 on flips early game.


Wins: 5 Losses: 1

I honestly thought about teching in Heatmor for this seemingly unfavorable matchup, but going with the normal strategy should definitely work. Trainer lock shuts down Durant completely and just forget the common sense of not using draw supporters. Keep up the lock and take an easy win.

If for some reason you are forced into an unfriendly corner, go aggro Gothitelle. It’ll actually be fine if you know they cannot retaliate with something like Rotom + Black Belt or Mewtwo. If there is a threat of Mewtwo than obviously don’t stack energy on a Gothitelle, but build up your own Mewtwo.

DO NOT wait for the surprise (Mewtwo + DCE) drop thinking that they will need 4 energy for the 1HKO on Gothitelle because they have Black Belt. You can build up Mewtwo, they won’t be able to use Catcher under Gothitelle. But, to avoid complications, try and keep up the normal lock under (almost) any circumstances.


Wins: 3 Losses: 3

pokemon-paradijs.comI thought this would be a better matchup honestly. If they play Shaymin UL or Smeargle, that is great because it’s a free prize because you can KO them with poison going back to your turn, which is a really, really, good thing to be doing. Oh, yeah, in my testing, whoever went first won, so if you go second you’re screwed.

Just kidding, it’s not guarenteed. It’s pretty even because it’s kind of hard to get twelve back to back Deck and Covers while maintaing Gothitelle backup for each one KO’ed by Terrakion/Landorus. And early Catcher prizes really hurt.

Why I Think This Variant is Best

There is really only one other variant to talk about here, and that is Accelgor/Vileplume/Sunflora. Mainly, it is just easier to go with something you’ve tested with and has done decently, than an untested variant, but I really do think the Gothitelle version is better. This deck NEEDS access to Items. Catcher prizes against a built up Mewtwo with your own or a free prize on a 70 HP Pokémon is great.

Random Receiver, although not in my list, can also be a great addition to this deck, and with or without Sunflora, you need setup trainers. Also, Sunflora can be sniped, balls cannot (in this game). Additionally, when you Knock Out something with Deck and Cover or poison going into your opponents turn, you basically have to send in something that you don’t want Knocked Out.

With the Gothitelle variant, you have more bench room and can build up another Gothitelle, so, if your opponent can 1HKO a Gothitelle, you can easily maintain the lock. The only reason to choose Vileplume/Sunflora over Gothitelle is because of consistency, but if you falter at the very end you can clean up with Mewtwo.

Overall, after testing, I would recommend this deck if you haven’t decided, but want Accelgor. Also, you could use Communication over Poké Ball, but I haven’t tried it. I just like Poké Ball more in here. On to the next deck…

Deck #3, RaiEels

Pokémon – 17

4 Tynamo NVI 38

3 Eelektrik NVI

3 Raikou-EX

2 Tornadus EX

2 Zekrom BLW/NXD

1 Mewtwo-EX NXD

2 Smeargle UD/CL

Trainers – 28

4 Pokémon Collector

4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

3 Professor Juniper

3 Sage’s Training


3 Junk Arm

2 Pokémon Communication

2 Pokémon Catcher

2 Eviolite

2 Switch


3 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 15

10 L

3 Rescue

2 Double Colorless

pokemon-paradijs.comNow, most Eel decks will be more Zekrom or tech based, and will run 1-2 Raikou. This is a full-fledged Raikou deck that is fun and effective. The ideal strategy is to get out 2 Raikou, 2-3 Eelektrik, an SAB, and a Rescue on both Raikou. With that you can snipe for 100 every turn, which is amazing. However, it is a little hard to get all of those out, but the deck can still work without that exact strategy.

Tornadus EX is obviously there because it is the ultimate Fighting-counter boss, and, paired with Eviolite, can give fighting a hard time. Zekrom is there because Raikou-EX and Tornadus EX just don’t have the raw power to strike the active, but serve different purposes. Feel free to try Zekrom-EX, I’m sure it would be helpful, but I chose not to include it in this list because there are already a lot of EXs.

I don’t have matchup sections for this deck or the next, but the goal is simple. Against Eelektrik decks, snipe Eels. Against Celebi decks, snipe all the Celebi, or Catcher + KO Tornadus EX if they play it down, or just 1HKO it if it’s already active. Against DarkArk or Zoroark Rush, Prize trade, set up multiple Eels, and 2HKO Darkrai when you can. Against Fighting, go aggro Tornadus/Mewtwo.

Smeargle is to be sent up in between KOs and is excellent clutch draw, should you ever need it. It also can force your opponent to play awkwardly, to avoid giving you a supporter that you probably don’t even need, with your ample supply of supporters. Most of the other odd choices were explained in my last article about Zeels, which is a very similar deck.

And, Last But Not Least, Cofashao

Pokémon – 17

3 Yamask DEX

3 Cofagrigus DEX

4 Mienfoo NXD

3 Mienshao NXD

1 Darkrai-EX DEX

2 Sableye DEX

1 Heatmor DEX

Trainers – 32

4 Cheren

4 Professor Oak’s New Theory

2 Bianca

1 N


4 Junk Arm

4 Pokémon Communication

4 Exp. Share

4 Rocky Helmet

3 Pokémon Catcher

1 Eviolite

1 Super Rod

Energy – 11

4 Double Colorless

4 Rainbow

3 D – Basic

pokemon-paradijs.comThis is a fun little rogue deck that I thought of when I saw Cofagrigus DEX. I have built it and played with it, but not nearly enough to give it a matchups section, or to have me sold on taking it to BRs. I mentioned the vague idea in the Cofagrigus section, but here is a breakdown of the deck.

Most of the time, get Mienshao Hauling In on T2. However, for some games against fighting-weak decks, you might want to T1 use Mienfoo’s Triple Smash, and finish it off with Mienshao’s Meditate on T2. Once your hand is full of tools with the help of draw supporters, top decks, and Haul In, start attacking with Cofagrigus.

Cofagrigus can 1HKO anything, but most things you would have to waste an extra tool because it has just a little over an amount divisible by 40 of HP. ex: Zekrom BLW. So, it would be helpful to equip a Cofagrigus with a Rocky Helmet, which is an extremely underrated tool by the way.

If/when you run out of steam with Cofagrigus, start attacking with Darkrai or Sableye. Sableye is preferred so you can start steamrolling with Cofagrigus again after 1-3 Junk Hunts. Darkrai is helpful for Dark Cloak and can soften things up with its snipe for Cofagrigus.

I didn’t use any draw/discard Supporters such as Sage’s Training or Juniper because you kind of need as many resources as possible in this deck, unless you’re Littering them away. This deck itself has serious problems with Durant so Heatmor is there just in case you face it.


dublejmedia.comI think that’s all I have to say about Dark EXplorers, so, to wrap it up, I’ll give what I think will be the top 5 decks:

1. and 2. Dark and Eel variants. I cannot put one over the other at this point, they will dominate BRs.

3. Fighting variants. Troll, QuadBulls, and Fighters (Groudon, Terrakion, Landorus, and Exp. Share) are all in the race and are great because the top two are weak to it, even though they do get Tornadus EX

4. Accelgor/Plume and Accelgor/Gothitelle. They will certainly not be the most played, but some players will put in the proper amount of testing and realize that this deck just might be the play for BRs. (like me)

5. Celebi variants. This includes the traditional CMT, CMTechs, and CMTerrakion. They definitely lost power due to Raikou-EX, Tornadus EX, and to some extent Darkrai EX, but they maintain the same strengths and will do well in BRs.

~ Honorable Mention ~ Durant. This pesky ant will still see some play and I wouldn’t be surprised if it took a couple early BRs, just because people would not prepare for it under the assumption it was dead because of Heatmor. Make sure to take precautions, Durant still will be played.

Mark A. HicksI really hope you enjoyed this extremely long (10,000 + words) article. I aplologize for the lateness. I started this even before Roarkiller’s Dark Explorers article, expecting it to be done at a proper time, but I really took the hours to test and think out this article.

Please let me know any comments, disagreements, or questions you have regarding this article, and remember to clike “like” if you think this article deserves it. Thanks for reading and helping me become a better writer.

~ Grant

Reader Interactions

127 replies

  1. Gaetano Alberto Malta

    Absol prime in Dark.dec (or DarArk) is not that good…it’s great T1 to DONK, but if you fail after that is quite useless (better filling the bench with Zoroark and Darkrai to go straight with the deck strategy)
    …and Tornadus EX is really needed to count fighting (Groudon EX will eat you for breakfast)! :P

    Waiting 4 answer (and final rating) on Espeon! :D +1!

      • airhawk06  → bowser

        The one that doesn’t focus on Zoroark. Darkrai EX is the star of the Dark types. Straight speed Darkrai or Darkrai/Tornadus will be the best dark types.

        • theo Seeds  → airhawk06

          How? It is so much better to have Zoroark because it is, well, broken, and Darkrai-EX is kind of bad by itself, especially against Fighting decks. Dark Patch doesn’t accelerate to Tornadus, so it takes a turn up to power up even if you do get the DCE.

          Darkrai, Zoroark, and Absol/Weavile/Mandibuzz. That’s how it works.

        • airhawk06  → theo

          Darkrai is easily better than Zoroark. It 2HKOs everything (which Zoroark does not do if you cannot keep a full bench). It takes a “bonus” prize every two to four turns. It is much more durable, thus it is more difficult to take prizes off. Zoroark gets OHKOd by a ton of stuff out there. It is more difficult to stream stage ones than basics and more resource intensive. Finally, Zoroark is dependent on the number of Pokes on your bench. If you run collector to “guarantee” a full bench (which it actually does not do), you lose speed to the format. If you run a ball engine to keep up with the speed of the format, your damage output can be too variable.

    • Grant Manley  → Gaetano

      For Espeon, if it blocked Raikou’s and Darkrai’s snipe, then it’s 4, if not, 1.5. Simple as that.
      Absol puts EXs in OHKO range of a non-EX, what’s not to love about that?
      It seems like you (and some others who posted comments) didn’t read the whole article, especially the parts where I ANSWERED YOUR QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU ASKED THEM.

      • theo Seeds  → Grant

        It doesn’t. Damage is not an effect of an attack excluding damage.

        If Raikou said “Place 10 damage counters on one of your opponent’s pokemon” then it would block.

      • Gaetano Alberto Malta  → Grant

        I had read those parts XD…just couldn’t agree, ’cause I’ve already discussed about it a lot…

    • theo Seeds  → Gaetano

      Tornadus-EX is needed? How? You already win to fighting if you stick to Zoroarks instead of Droppin’ Darkrais most of the time. You don’t need to play an EX that hurts your other matchups and messes with the deck’s strategy.

      Absol is good because it fills the bench, and takes up less space than, we’ll say Weavile, because a 3-3 line of something is 6 cards, but 3 cards is 3 cards, and the other 3 cards that you get out of that can win games.

      • Gaetano Alberto Malta  → theo

        Everything in the deck is 1HKO by Groudon EX and Terrakion…Tornadus EX is 3HKO by these guys (that’s enough for me to run 1 or 2 Tornadus EX.). Only way to stop it is Lost Remover/Enhaced Hammer to discard the DC…

        IMO what would really mess the strategy is properly dropping Absol to fill the bench, ’cause after T1 he does nothing else than filling!…believe me I really love the T1 Absol, but 3-3 Weavile enriches your strategy…Imagine to discard an opponent supporter each turn!

        • theo Seeds  → Gaetano

          Absol has a use, and that is to power Brutal Bash. It’s a matter of personal preference, dude, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to play it.

          Also, what is Tyrogue good for other than a donk? People play Tyrogue A LOT.

          Tornadus-EX is a crappy starter, sucks in all other matchups, and that 3HKO turns into a 2HKO, because you WON’T get the first hit off with it.

          Brutal Bash through the matchup. That’s how you win. Sure, you get OHKOed. Terrakion does too, and Groudon gets 2HKOed for 2 prizes.

          EACH turn? You need to read Weavile again.

        • Gaetano Alberto Malta  → theo

          Brutal Bash can be powered by Sneasel & Zorua waiting to be evolved, that’s not Absol specialty.

          I love Tornadus EX…That’s not his perfect deck ’cause it’s not a darkness Pkmn, but he’s so fast…

          Of course: each turn you drop it :P XD

        • theo Seeds  → Gaetano

          Absol takes up less space then Weavile.

          Good luck filling your bench with 6-7 basic pokemon in your deck without a secondary pokemon.

  2. Hunter

    Okay Grant, I, as many others love your articles but I think this one is good, but not as great. You went over and above, did a thorough article, WAY too long for non UG, but I had to disagree with a whole lot of your rating. Empoleon-2/5 and Jolteon-2.5/5 SERIOUSLY??!! I think you need to rethink your rating because in week one of BRs, I think half of your rating will be wrong, especially if your in Seniors. Empoleon has a chance in our division. Rethink

    • Brandon13Jones  → Hunter

      I would like this more then once if I could.

      I also think that Raikou should be down -0.5 or -1 point to make it at 4.5 or 4. It’s great, but not the best card in the set.

      Empoleon should be around 3.5. The card is a draw engine and an attacker all by itself, and it does some decent damage (2HKOs everything not packing a Water resistance [and a ton of hp])

      I also hate what you said about Empoleon. “Banish it to the binder” and “FUN DECK?” I don’t think so. It will see play, trust me.

        • Brandon13Jones  → Grant

          Don’t get me wrong on that comment, I did enjoy your article, and loved the decks that you posted.

          Just a few things, such as that, that I didn’t agree on.

        • Benjamin Bolival  → Grant

          They are probably dreaming of Turn 2 rare candy Empoleons to sweep the field. Hopefully piplups dont get donked at turn 1 by CMT decks or the turn 2 Empoleons dont get OHKOed by turn 2 fully energized Thundurus.

    • bowser  → Hunter

      There’s a lot people who are fierce defenders of empoleon. I am highly skeptical however. Although rating jolteon above it was a bit humorous

      • Hunter  → bowser

        I’m not exactly a ‘fierce defender’, I’m just knowledge able of how good he actually is in playtesting. He might take a few wins at the start because of everyone playing Dark, Entei, Quads and not Zeels.
        Message to Grant: I pulled 2 Tornadus during pre-release and bought 2 Raikou. I’m set for BRs!

        • Benjamin Bolival  → Hunter

          I beg to differ. Not everyone will have the money to have the new shiny decks for battle roads opener so guess what ? they will bring their tried and tested zek eels decks to battle roads.

    • Benjamin Bolival  → Hunter

      Since BR format is still HGSS-on and more imortantly because Zek Eels is still a good choice for a deck to bring to BR, I do not expect Empoleon to shine.

    • Grant Manley  → Hunter

      How many Empoleons have you seen on your side of NC in seniors? I’ve seen 1 Empoleon once, and it did horrible. There was one that T4’ed in Masters, but that ran Porygon-Z.

  3. Dave Enzo

    Bit of a typo in the second paragraph there

    “I’m pretty excited for this set and what it will bring for Battle Roads. This set has is getting the fair amount of hype, and for good reason.”

    Very solid article tho and i like some of your bulds alot lol thanx for the excellent read!

  4. David

    You really need to do more testing games. 20 at least otherwise the info isn’t very accurate.


    say the 6 times out of a hundred where durant would somehow beat a heatmore deck where the 6 games you tested.


    Otherwise great article keep up the good work

  5. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    Jolteon, Cofagrigus and Excadrill all scoring higher than Empoleon?

    Tell you what . . . come back after BRs and tell me how many Empoleon decks you see vs how many Jolteons.

    • Grant Manley  → Jak

      Ok, I rated Jolteon a little too high, I’ll admit that, it should’ve been 1.5-2.
      However (this goes for everyone), Empoleon is a Stage 2, that has two Retreat, and a lightning weakness. I just don’t get it. I stand by my decision and if any Empoleon decks make top 2 or something I’d love to hear it.
      I meant to test a Cofagrigus deck but didn’t get to it. I think it is an opening for a rogue deck though. Excadrill can also be somewhat playable.

      • theo Seeds  → Grant

        Empoleon is underrated by some and overrated by others. It is a cool Tier 2 deck with a couple major problems, but it’s still a cool card.

        The whole Stage two thing haunts it too much, however. I think Empoleon is good, but the lightning weakness will probably mean it dies once a turn, and because it’s a Stage Two you need a lot of resources to get another one up. It has some draw power, but not enough to make up for the fact that it will be OHKOed every turn by the BDIF, and also Zoroark.

        If it found a non-clunky way to make up for the weakness, it could be Tier One. Until then, Empoleon will have to stay at the bottom of BR’s results, and be about as common as EelZone.

        • Brandon13Jones  → theo

          I agree. It will see a fair bit of play, and maybe it will even take a BRs if it’s lucky.

          I do think that this deck is pretty great and will only get better with time, though.

        • Mark Hanson  → theo

          I think part of the hype comes from it’s success in Japan. But I think people are also forgetting that Japan has now rotated to BW-on, and has Dragon cards which make Empoleon’s lightning weakness less of an issue. Empoleon is a card to watch for in the future, but I don’t think it’ll be that great yet.

      • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Grant

        So . . . Empoleon would have to make ‘top 2’ to prove you wrong, while Cofagrigus and Excadrill deserve higher ratings because you think they are ‘somewhat playable’?

        Seems like you are applying different standards there.

        If no Excadrill decks make the top 2, would you care to downgrade that rating too?

        • Grant Manley  → Jak

          They are more playable than Empoleon. Empoleon will be played because apparently people think it’s good, and someone is bound to get lucky and not vs. much lightning, and possible even top4, but Cofagrigus and Excadrill are underrated, but, IMO, better than Empoleon. If we could somehow get numbers for BRs, and the amount of Empoleon decks top cutting is more than the Cofagrigus or Excadrill deck top cutting, based on the percentage of those respective decks being played, then yes, I’ll change my opinion. I just can’t see Empoleon being good. I’ve stated why, and I am entitled to my own opinion, stupid as it seems.

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Grant

          Again you apply the double standard. If Empoleon actually does well at a BR, then are already calling it ‘lucky’ (before it even happened!)

          If Cofagrigus and Excadrill don’t do well, it’s because they are ‘underrated’ and no-one plays them.

          So whatever happens you can dismiss Empoleon’s success and excuse Excadrill’s failure. Do you see anything wrong with this? It’s like it’s more important to stand by your review than acknowledge the truth about a card’s playability.

          That kind of stubborn thinking will only stop you from making any progress as an article writer or a player. .

      • noah wagner-carlberg  → Grant

        there are plenty of lightning counters that easily fit in. donphan and rainbow energy comes to mind. terrakion and EXP share comes to mind. the fact is it can do a lot of damage for a little energy, creates its own consistency, and can even exchange equally with EXes. as a side note, adding fighting as half of the deck gives it a very favorable matchup against dark types. i honestly think you need to test this kind of idea before throwing it out the window and rating it lower than a bunch of crap uncommons that are unplayable trash. sure excadrill et al may be fun ideas for a fun rogue league deck, but empoleon has tier 1 potential. even if this format is unfriendly towards it, you never know what may happen in the future, therefore most cards should be considered on their potential, not usefulness in this format. not that the current decks shouldnt influence the rating, but you really sort of jumped to conclusions without thinking about the card. i really like this article overall though, very in-depth and well written as a whole.

      • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Grant

        So . . . after the first weekend of BRs, Empoleon has taken a win and 3 top 4 places.

        How are Jolteon and Excadrill doing?

        • Grant Manley  → Jak

          Really?!? Ok fine, Empoleon is doing a lot better than I thought. It is hard for me to believe that a stage 2 lightning weak attacker that your opponent controls its damage output is doing that well, but whatevs.

  6. Random Ol' Geezer

    Love your article! i’ve been tweeking up a gothigor of my own. In my build, instead of Dodrio, I use Darkrai EX for Gothitelle’s retreat, attaching a darkness nrg early game. You should think about it. Again, great article.

    • theo Seeds  → Random

      But Dodrio is better. You don’t need a darkness for it to work. It may be a Stage One, but this is a slow deck and it will be able to make up for that.

      • Eric Smith  → theo

        With Raikou in the format now, Dodrio is not a safe play. And who cares if you need to run Dark since Deck and Cover just takes colorless energy anyways?

        • theo Seeds  → Eric

          I didn’t think of Raikou, but if Raikou is paralyzed it can’t attack just like anything else.

          Double Colorless. Double Colorless is necessary to chain Deck and Cover, or some form of energy acceleration, none of which are compatible with both Accelgor and darks.

  7. Josh Pokroy

    Empoleon is a sick deck fun to play but also very good, overall I did not like the article to much more of the same stuff to me

  8. Mike Lesky

    I like how Raikou Ex is rated higher than Darkrai Ex and Tornadus Ex, easily the best two Ex’s coming out of the set when Raikou doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. Also, Entei Ex is severely underrated here. I don’t like calling people out on things, but it doesn’t seem like you have put much to any testing in at all backing up these statements.

    • bowser  → Mike

      i have to question raikou-ex too just because of its ground weakness. zekrom-ex is fading because of that issue, giving up 2 prize cards to easily

    • Christopher Henson  → Mike

      I liked, did not love this article. But I would hardly call anything weak to lightning (in today’s format) a “best” card of a set, and I’ve dropped $20+ bucks for only two pokemon cards in this format: Mewtwo EX and Tornadus EX. Fighting types are also prevalent but obviously lack acceleration, which they make up for with type advantage against eels/dark.dec. Advantage to Raikou IMO due to the paper rock scissors matchup. I will run, but not risk featuring Tornadus EX. I think Raikou EX’s combination of both eel acceleration, one retreat cost and its sniping attack make it the best, followed by Darkarai and THEN Tornadus EX, whose greatest strength is directly tied to its value: compatability. Raikou discards energy which is also a plus IMO with the purple kitty lurking about.

      • theo Seeds  → Christopher

        You, sir, are mistaken.

        Raikou is good, but it doesn’t really have a spot in anything but as a one-of in Zekeels.

        Darkrai is GREAT. It is a mainish attacker in the deck that will probably prove itself as either the BDIF or the BDIF runner up.

        Tornadus, well, we’ll see about Zekeels’ results and if it doesn’t do so well, Tornadus-EX will be good.

        GREAT is better than good, last time I checked.

  9. K2theAblaM

    In what format is Zoroark better than Darkrai EX and Tornadus EX? Your rankings are so way off it’s insulting..

    Raikou is the ONLY card deserving of a 5/5?

    Jolteon is better than Empoleon? huh?

    It’s like you didn’t even read the cards and rated them on their art alone lol.


    • Grant Manley  → K2theAblaM

      Zoroark can easily hit for over 120 on T2, those EXs can’t, Zoroark is so good it shouldn’t only give up one prize, but it does.

      IMO, yes, I stand by that.

      nope, see my other replies.

      I wouldn’t be an FPC if I did that :P.

      Oh well, I try my best, sorry.

      • Micah Tate  → Grant

        Tornadus EX can easily hit for 60 T1 and 100 T2 and Darkai can get it’s attack off T1 if you’re somewhat lucky, but consistently on T2

        • theo Seeds  → Micah

          Tornadus-EX can do 100 T2. Dark Patch, Slugma, Celebi, and Pachirisu all work. But mostly Celebi.

        • Micah Tate  → theo

          I think you meant to say T1 and with shaymin UL on all of those except for celebi. But yeah, I was just stating how I believe it will most commonly work out for the decks it will be in.

        • Micah Tate  → theo

          Every form of energy acceleration is pretty obvious now (except for the incredibly rogue Mareep/exp. Share/Shaymin combo); I didn’t mean to be nit-picky =/

      • K2theAblaM  → Grant

        “I wouldn’t be a FPC if I did that :P”

        ^ And yet, you somehow managed to get a trash review onto the front page.

        I laugh every time some random writer posts a lists and labels it as “Untested” or every a writer posts BLATANTLY wrong information (Bash Zoroark > Tornadus EX & Darkrai EX lol, Raikou Best card in set LOL) It just shows you know NOTHING about these cards or what role they play in the format..

        No worries though, Your article speaks more to the quality of this site than your inability to evaluate cards.

        Carry on…

        • Grant Manley  → K2theAblaM

          “you somehow managed to get a trash reveiw on the front page”
          Trash reveiw huh? A lot of people don’t think so. What if the article was the same with only the ratings taken out? Would it still be a trash reveiw? My opinion is that Raikou is the best. “It just shows you know NOTHING about these cards or what role they play in the format.” Because I have no clue that KO benched Eels once per turn starting on T2 is enough to ruin an Eel deck, the tied for first most popular deck. Zoroark: 120+ on T2, doesn’t give up two prizes, essentially is a basic if you go first because of Ascension. That is broken. Also, I DID PLAY GAMES with the latter two decks, and the lists are viable not perfect. I did not test enough to post matchup sections, BUT I DID PLAY THEM. THEY ARE NOT THEORYMONED. I’m sorry you think this is a trash reveiw. That is your opinion and I think that is not true, as well as many others.

        • K2theAblaM  → Grant

          Read the comments. Almost everyone is calling you out on your suspect ratings. You even had to RETRACT your opinion on Jolteon after getting called out…

          Say what you will, but people are smart enough to identify a crappy review (and a crappy list for that matter) when they see it, whether or not you hear about it through the comments section or that “fixed” rating section.

        • theo Seeds  → Grant

          Okay, WHO doesn’t think so? Everyone who doesn’t think this wasn’t a great article, please state so.

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Grant

          I wouldn’t read too much into the +9. My initial comment about the inaccurate ratings has 16 Likes.

        • Grant Manley  → Jak

          “My initial comment about the innacurate ratings has 16 likes”. If that many people think I had innacurate ratings, on top of all the comments, that means there have been many dislikes. For this article to be this far on the plus side with all the dislikes means I CAN “read into” the +9. I have a question for you and the people with the same opinion as you on this site. Would this article be as bad as you guys apparently think it is IF THE RATINGS HAD BEEN LEFT OUT, but everything else was the same?

        • airhawk06  → Grant

          Please learn about how the front page rating system works. The dislikes are no longer factored into to visible rating. So, you have 9 random people who have liked your article. Virtually every article will pull some likes from people who are too kind. Judging by the comment section, this likely has 15+ dislikes, they just don’t get factored in anymore.

        • theo Seeds  → K2theAblaM

          “Trash review” isn’t helping him getting any better. Please do a better job of, well, not insulting him.

          Just because the site has a few bad articles doesn’t mean the site is bad. Underground is a great program from what I’ve heard, and even some front page articles are really good. Adam does a good job, and articles like this give him a bad image.

        • Stephan Blake  → K2theAblaM

          “Trash Review”…
          All right, if it is such a trash review, let’s see you write a 10,000 word Dark Explorers review that is better than this one. You shouldn’t bash these things, FPCs put a lot of work into their articles. Instead of insulting this by calling it a “Trash Review”, tell him what he can do to make a better review next time! Saying that it is a “Trash Review” isn’t helping anything, and makes it look like you are just trolling.

          And, BTW, Zoroark > Darkrai/Tornadus.

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Stephan

          K2theAblaM may, or may not be able to write a 10,000 word review. That’s irrelevent. it would’t make this one any better either way. You do not need to write a review yourself in order to have an opinion on one.

          Yes, calling it ‘trash’ is pretty rude, but when you put something up on a public website you have to be able to take that kind of stuff, just as you would take the ‘great article’ comments. The harsh truth is that no-one cares how much time and effort was spent. They only care about the quality of the content.

          That’s a fantastic argument in support of Zoroark btw. They way you used that ‘greater than’ symbol has me completely convinced.

        • Stephan Blake  → Jak

          Yes, I agree with most of your points, but I just think that calling it a “Trash Review” was going a little far.

        • Tyler Kittelson-Burke  → K2theAblaM

          Wow. you have to be such a hater about it. And if your gonna hate don’t do it on 6P. “Trash Review” pah.

        • Lynx Meche  → Tyler

          Does anyone agree? Well first there’s no point in posting that as a reply to yourself instead of just editing. Or, you know, if people agree they’ll reply to you or like your post or ANYTHING else more relevant than asking.

          As on the actual agreement, no, I don’t. In fact, he’s not being a “hater.” (It’s also in my list of five least favorite words and I will instantly take your opinion much less seriously if you use it). He has an opinion. And just because his opinion is that “this is bad” doesn’t mean he’s hating. Was trash a strong word? Yeah, but that means he has a strong opinion that this article wasn’t any good, especially if his excuse is “well I’m FPC” when, to be honest, it’s incredibly rare that anyone is turned down for it. If anything, if you’re going to run around mini-modding and calling people names on week-old posts, I’d say I’d want you to keep it off 6P.

        • Tyler Kittelson-Burke  → Lynx

          Hey, sorry guys. I didn’t mean it to sound bad or insulting or anything. I was just a little upset about someone calling it a trash review. I don’t know about you guys but I actually thought it was a pretty good review. That’s all. Are we cool?

  10. bowser

    thanks for the article, you brought a lot of good things to the table, including gothigor, i halfway get it now.

  11. Alton Aderhold

    Zorua definitely deserves better than a 0.5. You have to give it more credit for ascension. I do not understand how you are rating these cards. Some are on, some are way off. Are you rating the card compared to the EX’s or compared to other basics?

    • Grant Manley  → Alton

      About Tornadus, see my reply to Eli Norris.
      On Zorua, I rated it on its capabilities. Zorua itself is not good at anything but evolving, into a different Pokemon. Lost Remover is better because you CAN, it is extremely rare, but you CAN take special energies out of the discard but not the Lost Zone. I thought Zekrom EX was in very many Zeels…

  12. Eli Norris

    Hmm… I’m dissappoint that you placed Raikou over everything and Zoroark over Darkrai AND Tornadus…

    Oh, and the Empoleon. Have you uh.. tested at all?

    Jolteon is pretty bad. A stage one that does 1 for 60 and a discard is a lot worse than…well… everything playable right now.

    • Grant Manley  → Eli

      I didn’t test Empoleon, I underestimate it; as said before, it’s a stage 2 with two retreat and a lightning weakness. oh yeah, I’ll go edit my other replies to say that your opponent can control its damage output.
      How is that good? Raikou can snipe 100. That’s amazing. Darkrai is good, almost as good as Raikou, I think it deserves a 4.25, but I don’t do those in ratings.

      • Micah Tate  → Grant

        Raikou is good, yes, but he only really deserves a 5/5 in mirror eels matches, otherwise he’s not that playable. Against CMT you’re not going to disrupt them at all by sniping celebi/smeargle, and against dark deck you almost always want to take out the active zoroark/Darkrai and against durant…yeah…. Tornadus EX can donk with nothing but a DC and stadium in hand (given that you start with him), there have been entire decks based around just Tornadus EX and Aerodactyl, he’s not just a fighting counter.

        • Micah Tate  → theo

          I have never heard anyone give CMT less than a 40/60 matchup against Zekeels, Durant won a regionals, inevitably facing many Zekeels in swiss and one in Topcut, and Darkrai decks have already been declared the BDIF by many players. Zekeels may arguably still be the BDIF but it certainly doesn’t autowin against the rest of the meta.

        • Micah Tate  → theo

          Eh, matchup isn’t that bad, heavily dependent on who goes first though.

        • theo Seeds  → Micah

          Really? It seems like Zekeels could handle being hit for 60-70 on T1 if there was no donk, and then just Bolt Strike 3 Tornadus-EXs.

        • Micah Tate  → theo

          Can’t get a boltstrike until T3 since they are using that 60+ damage to KO your early Tynamos and later 100+ to KO any eels that you may have setup. Then as soon as you use Boltstrke they can KO you active Zekrom and you’ll be set back to the start. However, if you go first, you can better swarm tynamos and eels, then with that boltstrike prizes are tied and a choice has to be made between your eels or your attacker and the scenario is completely switched into the Zekeels player’s favor. So yeah, really.

  13. Grant Manley

    Oops on the win/loss records for the matchups, it looks like the images distorted them, so sorry about that. (even though I didn’t insert the images)
    Thanks Adam for publishing this article even though it’s late.
    Thanks everyone for reading and giving honest opinions. I am sorry for putting what you didn’t like but those ratings were my opinion, except that I messed up on Jolteon. I stand by my opinions on Raikou and Empoleon though.


    P.S. If I do another set review it will be shorter, unless you guys like it this long. Any other suggestions not already in the comments?

    • Ross Gilbert  → Grant

      The length of the article is good! I love longer articles.

      The 2 main problems seem to be a disagreement with opinions and advice and the fact that it came after a wave of similar articles. If you got it up earlier and maybe ran through your ideas with a few people before posting the article (and i’m sure there’s loads of ppl on here would be willing to help) i imagine your next article will be awesome. And if it is, the longer the better :D

    • Lynx Meche  → Grant

      I missed this when it was posted apparently last week, and found this by chance, so sorry it’s late. Here’s a few things if you want to get it out faster for a different set: write it waaaaay before release and alter it as new decks come out on the forums, though this option takes a bunch of keep-up and maintenance. The other thing is just going to cut down time spent writing, but is far more practical: drop the deck lists from the set review itself unless you can get it out in the same week as prerelease, as all it will do is slow down progress.

      Put any decks in an entirely different article, and then write out more detail on the strategies or whatever important, and spend some more time testing and possibly altering the lists as you go, though I have no clue if you changed the lists or made it and then juts ran with it.

      Tip on a different matter, people are complaining about how cards rank next to each other. Take all of the cards and line them up by number ranking. If anything looks out of place next to the others, reconsider the rating. (An easy way is to keep a set of columns labelled 1-5, and put the Pokemon’s name under the number as you write about each one so you don’t have to sort them all at the end.)

      Long is good. People are more likely to complain that an article isn’t detailed enough than about it being too long. When in doubt, just write more.

  14. airhawk06

    Look, I hope you don’t take any of this personally.

    I was going to write up a list of things I disagreed with. However, when I was thinking about this list it just kept growing and growing. A lot of the rating were off. The Espeon question should have been extremely easy to resolve. IMO (and this will not be settled until after BRs), a decent amount of your deck advice is a little off. Also, five to seven games are not enough to come to good conclusions about match ups like 95% of the time.

  15. Mark CRUZ

    I honestly think Zorua deserves a 5/5 rating because it is one of the main reasons why zoroark is so viable and amazingly fast in a deck. Ascension is like a rare candy back before it got nerfed but in this format.

  16. Mark Hanson

    Someone rightly pointed out to me that Gothigor can take up less space by using a Darkrai and having a Rainbow energy or Dark Energy to attach to Gothitelle to give it free retreat for the whole game. If you got creative, you could even use Dark Patches to Accelerate Accelgor’s DCE cost, and provide a backup attacker in Darkrai that can score you multiple KO’s in a turn with a Catcher (probably only to win the game though, taking the last 2 prizes.).

    • Twan van Vugt  → Mark

      Sorry to bust your bubble, but Dark Patch doesn’t work like that. It only works for dark-type pokemon. Other than that the deck ideas look pretty good. Some matchups might be off but the ideas a nice. (like how accelgoth has a favorable matchup vs Zeels)

      • Mark Hanson  → Twan

        Ah, I should clarify. “Got creative” implies Shaymin UL :P But th main idea is to have Darkrai as a backup attacker that can help you take 2 prizes in a single turn. Think about locking someone with Accelgor, and then leaving it with 20-30 HP, catchering out something like an Eel, and then using Darkrai to take the double KO. And if they ignore Darkrai and go for the Gothitelle, then you still have a fully charged Darkrai they have to deal with, which can stall for time while you set up another Gothitelle/Accelgor.

  17. Austin Stephen

    No Max Potion in the RaiEels list? For shame!

    I actually run Celebi/Skyarrow along with Cilan in my AccelFloraPlume deck. That way you can search out all the components you need in 1 turn. Lots of bench space (1 Plume, 1 Celebi, 1 Sunflora, 2 Accelgor and 1 of whatever else) at a time but it works because of the energy acceleration. Still not sure what to run for knockouts though… A Poké with Agility or a damage soak with 1/free retreat like Raikou/Tornadus EX?

  18. Martin Garcia

    Well, this article is kinda . . . bad. I mean, the information is, not the article itself.
    Seems to me you need to test a bit more some of the cards here before calling them “unplayable”, “they lose power” or giving thema 5/5 rate.

  19. Alex Hedge

    You rated JOLTEON higher than Empoleon??!!?!

    With Terrakion, it is amazing.

    I can tell you how many Jolteon based decks will Top 4 at battle roads without looking at the results – none at all.

  20. Isaac McClintock

    Dark rush is actually does 20 damage TIMES the amount of damage on this Pokemon. I have had it 1 HKO ex’s. Just wanted to clarify that.

  21. Lynx Meche

    This got off to a bad start. It doesn’t matter that you started before Roarkiller’s was posted. Because Roarkiller also started before his article was posted, as did several other people. If you want in early, start writing as soon as possible, write often, and write fast. A long article means it will take longer and it looks more like you’re starting off by making excuses. It’d work better if you’d just acknowledged that you know you’re behind than naming names.

    As for how this can “add something,” I didn’t read anything new in this. Not just information from the other articles, this has all been talked about before on the forums, other sites, word of mouth, even those decks aren’t new concepts. This could’ve been cut down a lot and made yourself look a lot less braggy.

    Everybody already talked about the ratings. I won’t discuss it further.

    There’s too much discussion on Donphan Prime in the article. It’s not often played and bringing it up is okay, but too much is compared to it as opposed to any other Fighting type that’s actually used. The decks are playtested, but I can’t say I’ve ever seen Donphan/Mewtwo/Zekrom, for example. It’s like testing against Reshiboar or Leafeon/Roserade; results generally unimportant.

    Seriously, it’s good that it’s long, but it’s nothing new and the ratings are highly arguable. It would’ve been a lot better (and could’ve even scored a high rating) if the first half was scrapped or restricted to the forums, and the second half was expanded on.

    • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Lynx

      ‘It doesn’t matter that you started before Roarkiller’s was posted. Because Roarkiller also started before his article was posted’

      I got a laugh out of that and the dig at Reshiboar.

      Great post.

  22. Grant Manley

    I’m not sure what you guys got out of the second to last paragraph, but when I said I started this before Roarkiller’s article, expecting it to be done at a proper time, I meant that I expected MY ARTICLE to be done at a proper time.
    @Innocent_Shine – Yes, I was a little behind. I wasn’t trying to make anyone to look bad, or to make myself look better, but just tried to explain everything. “I didn’t read anything new in this”. Really? I didn’t know any writers had covered Accelgor/Gothitelle, full-fledged Raikou, or Cofashao, but you’re an editor, so I suppose you’ve seen a lot more than I. I started writing this right after my states article was posted, which is as early as I really can if I want to write only one article at a time. That was before the english complete set was released, so I edited it slightly when the set was released to have attack names, t/s/s, etc. I tested against Donphan a little with DarkArk because it’s weak to it, but didn’t really discuss Donphan much outside of that. I thought Donphan/Mewtwo (with or without Zekrom) was a tier 2-2.5 anti-meta deck for the states-regionals format, but wasn’t THAT popular, which is why I didn’t include it in the “What Will Happen to Current Decks” section.

  23. Ray Bryan

    I CAN’T NO ONE THOUGHT OF THIS IDEAD FOR RUNNING AERODACTYL AND TWIST MT. WITH EITHER REGGIGIGGAS, OR ANY TROLL DECK R A QUAD BULL. Throw in a groundon ex for EXtra power. AND PEOPLE SHOULD BE PUTING IN ZAPDOS R THE NXT DESTINES ZEBSTRIKA WITH ITEM LOCK AND SNIPE IN A RAIKOU/ EEL DECK. AND RUN THUNDUERUS INSTEAD OF ZEKROM CAUSE THUNDURUS GETS YOUR ENERGY OUT OF THEDECK and builds up faster and not an ex. 1 retreat cost with SAB, sure less damage but still discards the 1energy A energy , heck I’m thinking of running just a forces of nature deck around the 3 guys have 4 of each the trio and 2 tornadus ex with SAB. A tech deck sort .of …so I would say that you need to think of each cards synergy better with past cards and now.

  24. Julia Follan

    Great article, I don’t know what people are complaining about: I think Empoleon isn’t that good, because it’s a Stage 2 with Lightning weakness. Whatever it does, that makes it difficult to play, to say the least, in a format inundated with Eels. Now I don’t know what other formats are like, but mine is full of them in my age group.

  25. Grant Manley

    As far as I know, no one has answered the question I have asked twice in the comments here: Would this article be as bad (in the eyes of those who think it’s bad) if I had just cut the ratings? I have read over it and I don’t see how it would’ve been any worse than other set reviews without the ratings. I stand by most of my ratings here beside Jolteon and BRs are showing me up with Empoleon but other than that, if I just dropped the ratings… WOULD THIS ARTICLE BE AS BAD IN THE EYES OF THOSE WHO THINK IT’S BAD? Would it even be enough to +1. This is mainly aimed at K2theAblaM because he just strongly criticized my article without giving any input to help me improve.

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