Consumed in a Dark Trance: Making Darkrai/Hydreigon Even Better

@PokemanDanLv45Hey everyone and welcome to my second Underground article that I have gratefully been able to write thanks to Adam, so before I begin, I just want to thank him for letting me write for you all again and also take a very short paragraph to explain who I am as I haven’t been featured on SixPrizes for a short while.

My name is Daniel Middleton, but a lot of players know me as PokémanDan because of my YouTube show PokéClass where my channel is reaching amazing new heights after hitting 3,600 subscribers just yesterday. The channel is completely dedicated to the Pokémon Trading Card Game (as you can imagine) and features everything from weekly PokéClass episodes covering deck analysis, event results analysis and set reviews to games that I have played on PTCGO, one of my favorite ways to play the game at the moment.

However, this is not what I am here to talk about today. I am here to give you what I believe to be an extensive article/resource on one of the top contenders in the format at the moment — Darkrai/Hydreigon. The deck has performed incredibly well at Autumn Battle Roads so far and with the first set of Regionals coming up in around two weeks, I really wanted to give a thorough view on a deck that I have personally built and used to a decent level of success.

I feel that the deck has been covered in fairly large numbers already which is as to be expected for a deck that has been doing so well, but I just wanted to write a great resource for players out there to get a good grasp on the ins and outs on what I believe to be the best deck in the current format.

Entering Black & White-on

Ever since Darkrai’s release, I have loved the card and played it for UK Nationals last season, just missing out on Top 16, so with the movement into the Black & White-on format, I was ready to try out all kinds of Darkrai variants as we still had pretty much all utilities still available to us, if not more, thanks to the newer sets. As with anyone else, Darkrai/Hydreigon was the deck that I wanted to try first as there were already plenty of lists and discussions going round as well as a particular Japanese TCG blog giving us a large event winning list from Japan to start off with.

However, at first, I really didn’t like the deck too much. Not because of the way it worked as we had already seen this strategy work amazingly well with Klinklang BLW, but the issue I had was being able to set up a Stage 2 in a format that was already sticking to a ‘hit hard and fast with a huge EX as quickly as possible’ mentality.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with this as it has worked (and still is) where winning tournaments is concerned and Hydreigon always seemed to have trouble getting out a Stage 2 quickly enough to keep up in the game due to these other fast hitters. However, this was me using the Japanese list and felt that it was falling short quite a bit in a lot of the games I was playing so changes needed to be made to cater for this.

Japanese Summer Carnival Winning List

The list below is the exact list that won the Summer Carnival event over in Japan and I’m sure most of you have seen this before, but I just want to go over what my initial thoughts were about the list after testing with it prior to the start of the season.

Pokémon – 15

2 Deino NVI
1 Deino DRX 93
1 Zweilous DRX 95
3 Hydreigon DRX 97

3 Sableye DRX
3 Darkrai-EX DEX
1 Shaymin-EX NXD
1 Sigilyph DRX

Trainers – 31

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
3 Bianca
2 Random Receiver


4 Pokémon Catcher
3 Rare Candy
3 Dark Patch
3 Max Potion
3 Ultra Ball
2 Level Ball

Energy – 12

8 D
4 Blend GRPD

When looking at the list for the first time, everything seemed fairly standard and there was a lot of room made to create the most consistent deck possible by including such things as 13 Supporter-related spaces and 3 Sableye to back that up. I did however find some things I wasn’t so happy with after playing the deck through a fair few times when preparing for the new format earlier on and here were a few of my thoughts.

What I Liked

  • I did like having 3 Sableye, which seemed excessive at first, but it is easily the best starter for this kind of build as you want to be using a combination of Juniper, Ultra Ball, and Bianca to get Deinos on the board and the Hydreigon in your hand so that you can Junk Hunt the Rare Candy you’ve discarded early on to get those Stage 2s.
  • The energy count seemed to be perfect for drawing into enough to not only attach, but discard with Ultra Ball/Juniper throughout the game which meant you were getting at least 1 attachment per turn, but it could also go up to 2 or 3. With keeping all of those energy on the field with careful Dark Trance placements, the deck’s board position is incredible.
  • 11 Supporters plus the 2 Random Receivers seemed to keep the deck running smoothly, but did feel that maybe cutting a Bianca and putting in a third Random Receiver would be more beneficial to pair with the 3 Sableye in the list. This would keep your Junk Hunts as consistent as it could be.

What I Didn’t Like

  • 3 Bianca when only running 3 Ultra Ball seemed strange to me as I only generally run Bianca in builds that have 4 Ultra Ball in otherwise I don’t feel I am getting the most draw I can out of the card. Bianca vs. Cheren is always going to be highly debated between players and there are both good and bad sides to both cards, however, I personally would have chosen Cheren as your early game is incredibly important and Bianca isn’t ideal in the first few turns.
  • Shaymin EX is obviously a great Terrakion counter and I can’t speak much for what the metagame looked like for that particular tournament, but I wouldn’t consider it for the way the format has developed unless you know for definite the majority of your games will be Terrakion. It can be very nice as a game finisher in any other matchup, but always felt that the liability of having an extremely easy 2 Prizes on the field after starting with it outweighed the positives of having it in there, even against Terrakion.
  • Dragon type Deino and Zweilous were also risky plays for me as the hype for Secret Rare Rayquaza was huge this side of the pond. Secret Rayqauza was released at the time of Summer Carnival, but I’m not sure how many players did play the card, but the amount of play it was going to see over here meant that playing all Dark pre-evolutions of was almost necessary.A plus about this deck is that it can rarely be donked, especially with the fall in play of Tornadus EX, so adding that element to the deck by having the Dragon Deino in there, even though it has a better attack, definitely isn’t needed.

As you can see, I had mixed views about the current build of the deck that most players were basing their testing off of, but I felt that it just lacked that early game set up that it needed, naturally because it was a Stage 2 deck. Even though it does rely solely on Stage 2s, I felt that there were quicker ways to set up your attackers and Stage 2s with a bit of a shuffle in the cards used in the list I have just talked about which leads me onto my Battle Roads winning list which I believe is one of the most consistent builds I have ever built with a Stage 2 inclusion.

Pokémon – 13

4 Deino NVI
1 Zweilous NVI
3 Hydreigon DRX 97

3 Darkrai-EX DEX
1 Sableye DRX
1 Giratina-EX DRX

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Cheren
2 Random Receiver


4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Rare Candy
3 Ultra Ball
3 Max Potion
3 Dark Patch
2 Eviolite
2 Tool Scrapper
2 Level Ball

Energy – 12

8 D
4 Blend GRPD

At first glance, the list may seem a little strange with things like just a single Sableye jumping out at you by just taking a look-over, but many of these decisions had very strong arguments behind them which turned out to be apparent on the day so let me just explain a few of the major ones before moving on.

4 Dark Deino

pokemon-paradijs.comI really wanted to keep this deck as consistent as possible, and what better way to do this than up your Pokémon count of half of the strategy you need to take control of a game. Having a 4-1-3 line of Hydreigon worked extremely well as you would ideally want two Deino on the bench on your first turn, ready to Rare Candy your way to a strong early game.

When only being able to bench a single Deino per turn, I found that going second was a lot harsher as you could be staring down anything from a turn 2 Night Spear or Retaliate to a Disaster Volt from Thundurus, all of which take down your strategy while you are holding onto that Rare Candy and Hydreigon. By having the most chance of getting those tiny dark type Dragons onto the field in pairs, you will have a much stronger chance of hitting that turn 2 or 3 Stage 2.

Also note that I only played the Dark type Deino and that is all because of the points that I mentioned before, the fact that the Dragon type can be donked extremely easily by Shiny Rayquaza, a card that has seen a lot of play over here in the UK.

1 Sableye

The Summer Carnival winning list we just took another look at focused much more heavily on possibly discarding the Rare Candy (or resources you need) early on through the use of Ultra Ball or Juniper and then Junk Hunting them back into your hand to try and get the stage 2 combo going.

However, my version of the list uses Sableye as a way to pick up the resources when you are running low later on in the game when you get past the mid-point and are looking for that extra bit of consistency, or an extra resource such as Pokémon Catcher or Dark Patch.

Most of you would probably see this as fairly obvious, but I wanted to spend less time Junk Hunting and more time getting damage on the board and getting that Stage 2 onto the field as soon as possible. Including just the one Sableye made sure that I could use it on an as-and-when basis rather than it being my ideal starter.

Giratina EX & Just the 1 Tech Slot

BulbapediaI have seen a huge variety of Hydreigon lists and some range from just the one tech space, as I have here, all the way up to 3 or even 4 which may seem excessive, but can work out all the same. However, this deck was about straight consistency so just having the one space was all I could have while keeping the consistency options such as 4 Deino.

On the day of my Battle Roads win, this card was admittedly a Shaymin EX as I was pretty scared of Terrakion ruining my day, but just 5 minutes before the tournament, my brother convinced me to change it after some testing we had done the week prior had shown it to be extremely effective.

The main reason is because of one card, Eviolite. Eviolite is slowly becoming one of the pinnacle cards of the format where it can come down to whoever misses their Eviolite drops will lose the game as they can’t buffer that extra attack from the opponent. I had to do a lot of checking up on the official rules of Giratina’s Shred attack, but it does turn out that Shred gets through things like Eviolite, but still applies Weakness, perfect for a format that had already turned out to be Darkrai and Rayquaza over here in the UK.

I could not only hit for double Weakness and KO any Rayquaza out there for two Blend and a Dark, but I could also take surprise KOs on strange techs such as Sigilyph and Bouffalant DRX while getting further surprise KOs on otherwise safe, Eviolited EXs. A Shred from Giratina always came out of nowhere and my opponent was always put back quite a bit by the attack as in situations where the board shows that you are safe, you were now down either one or 2 Prizes with a huge shift in board control.

This card was easily used in every single game as a surprise attacker to drop and use, then retreat to the bench for later use. Even on the day, I played against two straight Terrakion decks and didn’t miss the Shaymin at all as I could hit the Terrakion-EXs with Night Spear and soften them up with the snipe damage to follow up with either a Shred to get past Eviolites or Dragon Pulse if it was Eviolited earlier.

With this card, the math all works out even with Eviolite and the build worked well with just the one tech. I would highly recommend trying this guy out at least a few times to get the feel for it.

Cheren over Bianca

pokemon-paradijs.comI made the choice to go with Cheren over Bianca and my main reasoning for this was to coincide with a choice I make later on in the list by running 4 Rare Candy instead of the ‘traditional’ 3. I never usually run Bianca in decks that I don’t run 4 Ultra Ball in, as I mentioned earlier in the article, so Cheren was not only my natural choice, but it made sense as I could top my hand up to three more cards while holding onto once piece of the Stage 2 puzzle (such as Rare Candy or Hydreigon) to try and complete it.

Not only this, but sometimes when running Bianca instead, I found myself playing cards like Ultra Ball when I really didn’t want to, just to play my hand down to draw more with Bianca. This is something I don’t want to be forced to do in a game and I never really found myself drawing more than 3 with it in the early to mid-game anyway.

Bianca is really effective in the late-game due to N, but topdecking one with an already dead hand of more than 6 is something I did more often than hitting it after a small N hand size.

4 Rare Candy

As I just mentioned above, the 4 Rare Candy was a definite consistency choice as I not only wanted that Stage 2 out, I needed it. When getting a turn 2 Hydreigon, my chances of a turn 2 Night Spear naturally skyrocketed and turned out to be the case on the actual day. The combination of max Rare Candy paired with Cheren really made sure that I could get Hydreigon out as soon as possible when holding one piece of the puzzle.

I must admit that they did turn out to be more frequent dead-draws near the end game, but they made really nice Ultra Ball discard targets when fishing for crucial attackers later on in the game and made sure I was wasting as little resource as possible.

Tool Scrapper

pokemon-paradijs.comI’m going to come right out and say it, I love Tool Scrapper! One of my testing buddies, Vincent Azzolin, really introduced me into using this card into almost every competitive deck I thought about running and why? Again, because of Eviolite. I can’t stress to you enough how much of a hinderence an Eviolited EX is in this format, as I’m sure many of you know, so my list was packed with ways to get around the advantage that Eviolite was giving to my opponent’s.

If you are playing two lists of the same deck, one with Eviolite and one without, the one with Eviolite has a huge advantage over the other and that is what I wanted to achieve with this list. I knew that most decks ran Eviolite, as it is common knowledge, so instead of just running Eviolites of my own, why not play things that disrupt my opponent’s use of it? Giratina was one in the form of a Pokémon which was very hard to see coming at any state in the game, but Tool Scrapper was a simple, “I’m going to play this and KO your EX for 2 Prizes, thank you”, kind of card.

If you run Tool Scrapper and your opponent does not, especially in the mirror, you will have a much larger chance of winning as you can still get 2HKOs on their EXs whereas they are stuck one, two or three turns behind KOing yours with the combination of Eviolite and Max Potion. This is a very simple, yet very effective card to turn the tide of a game you may have been out of the running in before and is another one of those cards that just catches your opponent off guard, to swing the prize race by that one crucial turn.

4 Blend Energy

This should be pretty self-explanatory, but I have been reading and seeing that a lot of players have slowly decreased down to 3 as they only really need it for using Dragon Blast and any other techs such as Shaymin, only need the one to be shifted onto it to be used effectively. However, Giratina does need two Blend energy for both of its attacks which becomes quite resource dependant if you only run three.

With the max amount of Blend, you may miss that odd chance off Ultra Balling away that energy for later on, but that is made up by the fact that you can consistently Dragon Blast and Shred without running out of Special Energy.

You Won a Battle Road.. So What?

pokemon-paradijs.comAs I have mentioned several times before, this was the list that I used to earn my Battle Roads victory just a few weeks ago, but why am I making such a big deal out of this? I thought that Battle Roads tournaments weren’t really that big of a deal?

Well, this may be true for the likes of the US, especially since they have gotten rid of top cuts for these tournaments, but over here in the UK, they are a pretty big deal not for the Championship Points necessarily but by means of who goes to these tournaments. England is the size of (or possibly smaller than) an average state in America so just imagine that every great, world class player from the US is piled into one state. This is what the competition is like in the UK.

It’s a tough time to do well even at something the size of a Battle Roads as the most central locations attract most Worlds competitors in the country. I’ll just quickly go over my experience at the tournament, but won’t provide a full report as I did make an episode all about that so check that out if you are interested in a lot more detail.

Round 1 vs. Johnny Hall (Top 8 UK Nats 2012) w/ Rayquaza/Eels – WIN 1-0
Round 2 vs. Alex Holdway w/ Terrakion.dec – WIN 2-0
Round 3 vs. Ben Steward-Armstead (Worlds Qualifier every year and various Top 4 UK Nats finishes) w/ Terrakion-EX/Mewtwo – WIN 3-0
Round 4 – Tamao Cameron (Worlds 2012 Competitor) w/ Hammertime – LOSS 3-1
Round 5 – Aydenn Wardle w/ Darkrai/Tornadus/Mewtwo – WIN 4-1
Top 4 – Jak Steward Armstead (Senior UK Nats Champ, Top 32 Worlds 2012) w/ Darkrai/Hydreigon – WIN 5-1
Finals – Tamao Cameron w/Hammertime – WIN 6-1

Quick note: Yes, you are seeing that there was a top cut at this tournament. The ruling for no top cuts at Battle Roads has been put in force, but this only covers the US. In the UK, we are free to have top cuts if that’s what the system allocates.

pokemon-paradijs.comThat was just a very quick roundup of my matches throughout the day and there was quite a varied field, with a slight lean toward Darkrai being the most played at the event. As you can see, my way to winning was by no means easy as I had to play 3 Worlds competitors multiple times, sometimes with questionable matchups thrown in so this was no easy tournament.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make a Battle Roads win sound more amazing than it is, but I just wanted to get across the difference in player attendance between the US and UK which I think some people look past. As a further example, the Battle Roads I went to the following week had the same people above attend, but with the likes of Tommy Roberts (World #1 CP 2012, Top 8 UK Nats 2012), Luke Burke (Worlds Top 4 in Seniors), Karl Blake (Multiple Worlds Competitor and 2nd at UK Nationals 2 years running), Ross Gilbert (Worlds 2012) all thrown into the mix and these aren’t strange faces to see at almost all of the Battle Roads dotted around our small country.

Battle Roads are really competitive this year and our most popular Battle Roads has a similar turnout for last year’s States with 6 Swiss rounds and a Top 8 cut. I don’t know about you, but I have a feeling this year is going to be even tougher for earning an invite in the UK, something I am definitely going for this time around.

Matchup Summary for My List

Usually, I don’t summarise matchups with the words ‘Favorable’ and the like, but this time I feel that this can be done as I am talking about a specific list rather than a generic deck so I’m just going to quickly glance over the matchups I was expecting to face (or did face) and explain a little as my thinking when entering each one.

Rayquaza/Eelektrik – Even

pokemon-paradijs.comThis is the matchup that I was worried about the most going into this tournament as I have done a lot of testing with the deck recently and feel it is in the running to challenge Darkrai/Hydreigon for the top spot at the moment. You can imagine how I was feeling running into this on my first round of Swiss, especially when piloted by a player who had X-0’d both tournaments the weekend before with the same deck.

This matchup, as with any other Eelektrik-based lists, is always keeping an eye on what energy they have in their discard pile before their turn begins as well as hand size and how many you could expect to be in the for Dynamotor use. This also includes how many Tynamo/Eelektrik are already in play and the chances of more hitting the field next turn. This is a very hard thing to keep track of as a 2 card hand can easily turn into a fresh 7 card Juniper straight away, but take the most probable solution and stick with it.

You must keep this in mind as you need to know when to take a single prize off of an Eelektrik, where their limited use of Dynamotor the following turn will outweigh getting a shot in on their Rayquaza, or whether you should do it the other way around. Eviolite is big in this matchup and I only have two in the list so make sure that you only use them on fresh Darkrais, or ones that still need a three Lightning Energy Dragon Burst after taking an initial hit. Your use of Tool Scrapper will also be crucial when getting those KOs in with Night Spear for 2 Prizes.

Hydreigon is always there if you want a double prize winner near the end of the game to take out an opposing Rayquaza, but be careful when using it otherwise as you don’t want to lose it too early on as well as your Blend Energy so only use it when you have at least two other back up attackers on board. Giratina is okay in this matchup, but only as a game finisher and nothing else. The ability for your opponent to Knock it Out for two quick prizes and take away two of your Blend Energy is way too risky for you to chance in the early-mid game.

Overall, I feel this to be the hardest matchup for the Hydreigon variant of Darkrai as they take away that part of your strategy which you can abuse so much in other matchups, being able to take multiple hits and then brush it off with Max Potion to continue your attacking.

This personal variant of the deck, I feel has a very even matchup with a consistent variant of Rayquaza/Eels, but if they start getting too ‘techy’ you should be able to pull out the win with careful Dragon Blasts for 2 Prizes and tactical Night Spears at the correct points in the game.

Darkrai/Hydreigon (Mirror) – Slightly Favorable

pokemon-paradijs.comIn this particular format, mirror matches are very hard to get your head around as they can just come down to who draws the better hand and who gets the Stage 2 out first. However, what I like about this version of the deck is that you have all the options you need to tip the tide of the prize race in your favor if you do get a slow start, or you can capitalise on a speedy Hydreigon hitting the field.

Your main weapons of choice here are going to be Tool Scrapper and Giratina, both of which have your answer to what I’m going to call ‘The Eviolite Race’ as you will be heavily on the backfoot if you can’t draw into them quickly enough. Some players like to hold their Max Potions until they have taken two, 70 damage Night Spears from an opposing Darkrais, which is usually the right play as you can conserve your resources better this way.

However, with you playing Tool Scrapper, just one turn when they do this could be your one way ticket to winning the game as you can not only get 2 Prizes, but manage to get rid of crucial on-board energy for their following turn.

Giratina is also a little more difficult to play here as you do have the Hydreigon there to take a swift 2 Prizes from you, but it all comes down to…

  1. Do they have enough energy in play after you take the KO?
  2. Do they have another Deino benched or another way to get a second Hydreigon in play? And…
  3. Do you have the resources to take a KO on their Hydreigon if they have no response?

If you can recognise the correct opening where they have no other way to get a Hydreigon into play you can either assume that they won’t take the KO on your Giratina with their Hydreigon or you can put a lot of pressure on them once you take the return with your own. As mentioned when talking about Giratina earlier, you do need to time it correctly for it to have the most effect in a game and when you do get the timing right, the game can fall heavily into your favor.

If your opponent doesn’t play Tool Scrapper, you should be in good shape to time your scrapping well to take those Darkrai Kos and leave them with a limited energy supply and take the game so I’m going to say that this matchup is ever so slightly favorable against the ‘traditional’ Hydreigon builds.

Straight Darkrai – Slightly Favorable (as a whole)

BulbapediaThis is a deck that has been gaining a lot of popularity over here in the UK solely because of its great consistency through the use of Sableye being able to get all of your game resources back during the race to get the first Night Spear firing off. On paper, when the Hydreigon variant is fully set up, you should have the advantage as you can manipulate your energy well and have the healing advantage of your Max Potion versus their regular Potion (if they have it in their list).

They will most probably get the first Night Spear off as they will have the more consistent start, but I like to use Sableye as much as possible before this happens so that they are still forced to take 3 EX KOs to win the game which buys you time to set up.


This version of the deck is undeniably, very annoying, with its initial discarding of energy depending on flips, but after the initial onslaught of energy removal, you should be good to hoard stuff with Sableye while trying to get attachments every turn, forcing them to use up their Junk Hunts on their Hammers.

By doing this, you are making sure that they can’t pull off massive discards through hammers and you can focus on getting yourself some setting up through Sableye while they aren’t attacking. When they start the attacking before you, then you can start upping the ante.

w/ Terrakion

Terrakion is always going to be a pain to deal with for any Darkrai player as if they have the cards they need to get a Retaliate/Land Crush, possibly Crushing Hammer away your energy for next turn and even get a Tool Scrapper on your Eviolite which you thought was going to keep your Darkrai safe, you are probably going to go downhill fast.

However, the matchup isn’t completely unwinnable as I won 2 games on the trot against Terrakion with no Shaymin to give me the upper hand and why? Because I had a very fast set up and a consistent way to KO past Eviolite. This seems to be a recurring theme of the article, but this is why I feel that the deck performed so well on the day from a deckbuilding perspective.

Giratina was also fairly useful in this matchup as it gave you that buffer to work against Terrakion without giving them the satisfaction of hitting for weakness for a change and forced them to have the Catcher in the late game for big prizes which they didn’t always have.

As this wouldn’t be a deck centered around Terrakion, careful use of Giratina can make or break games as they don’t have a way to 1HKO it at all in their deck. This is just one of those times where Giratina can not only surprise an opponent, but tip the balance of a game altogether. Also, don’t forget you have a way to 1HKO Terrakions with Dragon Pulse.

Overall, there are a fair few decks that come under the ‘Straight Darkrai’ header, but I feel that you do have the slight advantage here solely because of your Eviolite dominance over theirs. The matchups can go sour when you factor in cards like Crushing Hammer that can just work really well on the turns you don’t want them too, but get Sableye working in the early-mid game, make sure you only give up the one ‘single-prize’ by doing so and you should be on your way to getting the win.

Ho-Oh – Even

pokemon-paradijs.comNow this is a matchup that I am going to find difficult to summarise well as the variants of this deck vary a lot. You can find anything in here from Tornadus to Registeel and Terrakion to Shaymin EX, all of which offer up a different realm of possibly taking down your Darkrais. The amount of Terrakion they run is what is really going to matter in the long run as you are the most prone to this guy and Ho-Oh can boost their usually slow starts into rapid Land Crushes from as early as turn 2 with some lucky flips.

Obviously, your Eviolites are going to keep you alive for as long as possible when you are trying to take down these pesky Fighting bulls, but do bear in mind that Giratina will be the only EX Ho-Oh doesn’t really have a particular advantage over. Since there are no universal Dragons that Ho-Oh can utilise and you can deal with Sigilyph with this very card, getting some initial attacks in with Darkrai and finishing up with Giratina should keep you as safe from Retaliates as you would like to be in this game.

I should also take into account that the amount of Super Scoop Ups they not only play, but end up hitting through the duration of the game could have a massive impact on the outcome as you will only be getting two shots on their EX attackers.

Overall, a strange one to call so I’m going to call it as close as you can get for now as this may be the matchup where luck plays the biggest factor. They need the Rebirth flips and SSU heads to work for them as much as you need to get energy on the board and get those two shots where it matters the most.

Zekrom/Eelektrik – Favorable

This deck is still around and I won’t dwell too much on this one as it is almost identical to the Rayquaza variant mentioned above, as you have that innate ability to pick off their Eelektriks while being able to snipe off their other Pokés and get more damage on the board elsewhere. The main issue you will face in this matchup is an Eviolited Zekrom as they will be able to two shot you regardless of whether you have Eviolite attached or not whereas you can only two shot them, but only take 1 Prize in the process.

The ‘techs’ for this list, Tool Scrapper and Giratina, come back once again to be invaluable in taking their initial Eviolite advantage away with the added bonus that they don’t have any unpredictable response to Giratina with Mewtwo EX being your only main threat. I would say this would be one of your favorite matchups to see as you can easily take down their energy acceleration and they have no real advantage over your attackers like the Rayquaza version does.

(Of course, all of these matchups are completely hypothetical and not everything goes to plan all the time, we are playing Pokémon after all. However, these matchups are all written/predicted with both decks getting the ideal set-up in mind. I just hope that it gives you a little taster of how my thinking behind each matchup goes when playing this particular version of the deck.)

All of the matchups covered above are even at worst which is never a bad thing, as luck is always a factor in this game. However, when you have your setup complete, which this build is optimised to do, you should be well on your way to taking each matchup in your stride with the simple techs that have been added here, which you can see are universal to a lot of matchups at the moment.

Changing It Up

Now I have focused a lot on my own list, which was the main element of the article, so I just want to finish up on how you can finetune the list to meet your own requirements from the build, mainly going over the various cards I have seen or tested in the various hours put into this deck.

Shaymin EX

pokemon-paradijs.comThis is the forgotten one which I replaced at the last minute before I was introduced to Giratina. But it is still a very solid inclusion in the deck. Not only does this even out your Terrakion matchup a little bit more, but it also provides you with some form of surprise comeback when things aren’t quite looking your way in the game. If your opponent has a much better set up than yourself and are on the home stretch in taking the game, this guy could be your comeback plan by taking out their main attacker which has set up the win for the following turns.

If you still have a Hydreigon at your disposal, all you need is a single energy on the field and one to attach (one of those being a Blend) and you can set up a game deciding sweep from out of nowhere. The only thing I am completely wary of is starting with it as this alone can instantly put you into an uphill battle with such an easy 2 Prizes just waiting to be taken at any time.

Terrakion and Prism Energy

This is something that I have started to see crop up in a few places in reaction to Darkrai being such a dominant player at this current point in time. Not only are you able to utilise Darkrai yourself, but you have a way to use Terrakion where it works at its best by springing out of nowhere. Suffering a KO and dropping this guy with a Prism Energy can provide a swift advantage in the mirror from a seemingly bad spot and works well when it all comes together.

However, you will need to cut two Blend Energy for a couple of Prism to cover the Fighting cost of either of Terrakions attacks which will always prove to be a little awkward when it comes to consistency. Even with these issues, you can make it work and Terrakion is extremely good at calling ‘Check Mate’ in the mirror.

By this I mean that if you have a Darkrai taking KOs up front, you complicate things for your opponent by dropping this guy with a Prism attached, threatening the game winning move if they dare to take a KO. This alone can win the mirror, but you must note of the consistency drop when including this big change in the deck.

Sigilyph DRX

This Pokémon has slowly made its way into competitive play by being that guy that can stop your opponent in their tracks for that one turn you need to recoup some form of set up through its Ability. By being able to halt any powerful EX in its tracks, you are able to put a stop to almost any deck using its main attacker to deal damage which usually results in them needing to use a very underpowered ‘backup’ attacker to deal with it.

Not only can this buy you crucial turns in the game, but it can also be a very handy attacker thanks to Blend Energy which can take Mewtwos down in a second and deal out some fairly nice damage to prepare any Pokémon for a KO later on.

Consider playing this if you want a very versatile option against big Mewtwos that may come your way and it is also very handy when you are playing a mirror that also plays its own Mewtwo when otherwise it would be able to sweep up the rest of their prizes.

Mewtwo EX

Moving on quite nicely from the previous section we have Mewtwo, another card I had seriously considered including instead of either Giratina or Shaymin as this deck allows Mewtwo to do what Mewtwo does best. Stack energy onto it and sweep up the rest of the game, as mentioned just a moment ago. With Hydreigon giving you the ability to keep as much energy in play as possible, you can set up really strange situations for your opponent in the late game, especially if they don’t run their own Mewtwo or Sigilyph to deal with it straight away.

With Mewtwo being able to take down any EX in one X Ball, you can set up a 4 Prize, two turn swing in the game while your opponent believes they had full control of the board up until that point. Definitely a worthy addition to the deck, but not so strong if your area plays a lot of Eels with easy access to both DCE and Mewtwo.

Bouffalant DRX

pokemon-paradijs.comAnother card to consider as an alternative attacker is the latest Bouffallant, continuing the trend in being a revenge attack from its still legal BW counterpart. With so many EXs featuring as main attackers at the moment, this afro-growing bull can finish off any already damaged EX while taking a 2HKO on a fresh one, even with Eviolite.

This Pokémon is another attacker that shows how strong the neglection of Eviolite can be by being able to take the otherwise-3HKO in just two attacks on specifically EXs with the added bonus of buffering other damage that may come its way the following turn. An excellent all-colourless attacker that can have a field day in a format full of EX-based decks.


And I’m going to finish off with a fairly outlandish concept which I have seen floating around recently, Reshiram-EX. This card was quickly considered one of those EXs that you were always disappointed to be pulling from a pack, not only because of it being released in a Promo Tin, but because it frankly just wasn’t that good. Even with this mindset, players are starting to include this in this deck simply because it can hit for the magical 150 needed to take down Pokémon such as Hydreigon and can work with the Darkness enfused Blend Energy also used by Hydreigon itself.

Doing 150 is always going to be a great asset for a card in a format filled with the energy moving Dragon, but the attack is ruined by the residual damage you (or couldn’t) be doing which rests on the fate of a coin flip. Doing 50 damage to yourself after taking out a Hydreigon is something you definitely don’t want to be doing as that 50 damage puts you in closer range from a returning KO the following turn from whatever you may be playing.

pokemon-paradijs.comSure, you could have Eviolite attached and only risk the extra 30 damage and Max Potion it off later, but I feel that the slot would be best used with another tech frankly because it just isn’t that good against much else. Hydreigons can be dealt with in other ways through just careful play, but it does simplify the matchup just that little bit.

If you don’t have the Eviolite then expect some trouble to be coming your way if you hit tails, otherwise you can reap the benefits of KOing something fairly important for one specific matchup. It can deal big damage, but there’s just something that doesn’t sit quite right for this deck.

And there you have a couple of extra options if you want to switch up the attackers in this particular deck. As you can see, there’s quite a large number you can choose from, most of which are going to come down to you predicting/observing the metagame you’ll be playing against on the day. Either way, this is partly to blame for my favoring of the deck as you can put in specific techs that you can spring into play when entering the late game and quickly catch your opponent off guard. This alone can win you games and is one of the main reason I love the way the deck plays.

To Conclude

Mark A. HicksOverall, these are my thoughts, feelings and thinking behind the decisions in not only my own list, but what you could further add to the list to cater more for your playstyle or metagame. I personally feel that not only does this have one of the best all-round on-paper matchups at the current state of the game, but I have the most fun playing this deck with its various options in building and piloting the deck.

And this is where I am going to end the article. I hope that you have had as much fun reading the article as I did writing it and hope that you at least took something from seeing my thoughts on this particular deck. I would like to thank Adam once again for giving me this opportunity to write to you all in the Underground.

If you did enjoy this article then please let Adam know by giving it a thumbs up and I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have over in the UG Forums.

Thanks again and I wish you all good luck at your upcoming Battle Roads/Regionals,


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P.S: ‘Shameful Plug’ – I know this is Pokémon site, but if you happen to be into the game Minecraft, then please check out my second channel ‘The Diamond Minecart’ ( which I am currently running with my brother. As with my Pokémon channel, I am committed to putting out great content on both channels and hope that you enjoy what I capture and create as much as I enjoy doing it. Thanks! (Channel is a little less PG than my TCG channel – Just a warning!)

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