When Darkrai Met Sableye: Speed Darkrai Deck Analysis

My laptop was acting kind of like this.

Hello again, SixPrizes! You may or may not remember me from my previous article discussing my Top 8 Autumn Battle Roads Report with Darkrai/Hydreigon. In my absence from posting articles (my laptop was severely malfunctioning), I attended a few Cities in my area, where I unfortunately did not perform as well as I would have liked to.

With States coming up fairly soon, I would like to talk about a deck that I feel has gained a lot from Plasma Storm, and the deck that I feel most comfortable playing at States: Speed Darkrai.

Sample Speed Darkrai List

Pokémon – 8

4 Darkrai-EX DEX

3 Sableye DEX

1 Keldeo-EX


Trainers – 40

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Skyla

2 Colress


4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

4 Energy Switch

4 Dark Patch

2 Ultra Ball

2 Dark Claw

2 Ether

2 Pokédex

1 Computer Search


2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 12

12 D

How It Works

For those who may not be aware of Speed Darkrai, it is a deck based around Darkrai EX and Sableye DEX to make sure you get to attack with Darkrai EX’s Night Spear as (potentially) early as Turn 1, although a Turn 2 Night Spear is not uncommon. Below I will talk about the cards necessary to make this happen.

Darkrai EX

DarkraiEXDarkExplorers63Darkrai EX is the main attacker of the deck, using Night Spear for DDC dealing 90 damage to the Defending Pokémon and 30 to one of the opponent’s Benched Pokémon.

His Ability, Dark Cloak, gives all of your Pokémon with D Energy attached a Retreat Cost of 0. This Ability serves as a great counter to opposing Hypnotoxic Lasers or Pokémon Catchers.

Sableye DEX

Sableye is by far the best partner for Darkrai EX, and for good reason. Sableye’s second attack Junk Hunt allows you to retrieve 2 Item cards from your discard and return them to your hand for one D Energy. With this, you theoretically have unlimited uses of crucial Items like Pokémon Catcher, or Energy Switch.

Energy Switch

This Item card, originally printed in Black and White, does exactly what the name says; it allows you to switch a basic Energy card attached to one of your Pokémon to another of your Pokémon.

This is useful in situations where you may need that extra D Energy attached to Darkrai EX for a Junk Hunt from Sableye, or vice-versa to Night Spear with Darkrai. Because this deck does not run Hydreigon DRX 97, Energy Swtich gives Speed Darkrai a similar form of energy manipulation.

Dark Patch

Dark Patch provides excellent energy acceleration for Speed Darkrai, as it allows you to attach a Basic D Energy from your discard to one of your Benched Dark Pokémon. In some situations, it is advised to intentionally discard D Energy via Ultra Ball or Computer Search, if you have the Dark Patch in hand to earn an extra energy attachment.

WIth Dark Patch being an Item Card, it is often picked up with Sableye’s Junk Hunt.


ether plasma storm pls 121pokemon-paradijs.comAlso known as “The EtherDex Engine,” it provides an alternate form of energy acceleration when you need that extra boost that may not be able to be filled by Dark Patch. Ether makes you reveal the top card of your deck, and if it is a basic Energy card, you can attach it to one of your Pokémon.

Pokédex has perfect synergy with Ether, as it lets you look at the top 5 cards of your deck and rearrange them in any order. This assures that you make full use of your Ether’s potential.

Dark Claw

A Pokémon Tool that when attached to a Dark Pokémon, it increases the damages of it’s attacks to the Defending Pokémon by 20. This allows Darkrai EX to hit for 110 as opposed to 90 (before Weakness and Resistance).

Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym

Arguably the best two cards to come out of Plasma Storm. Hypnotoxic Laser is an Item card that automatically inflicts Poison to the defending Pokémon, and as a bonus, on a coin flip you can also make the Defending Pokémon fall asleep!

As if that wasn’t good enough, Virbank City Gym is a Stadium that adds an additional 20 damage for Poison in between turns. This combo will most definitely help you score crucial KOs to aid you in your victory.


States will be the first opportunity that Plasma Storm will be able to truly define the metagame, and throughout my testing, I feel comfortable sharing the matchups between Speed Darkrai and other top tier decks that will be present at States.

60/40 vs. Keldeo/Blastoise

keldeo ex boundaries crossed bcr 142pokemon-paradijs.comKeldeo/Blastoise is a Stage 2 based deck that is reliant on a bit of a slower set up, but once it does, it becomes a tough opponent to overcome. The key to defeat Keldeo/Blastoise is to eliminate their Squirtle as soon as possible.

You don’t want Keldeo-EX knocking on your door with a boat load of energy that they just placed down. Keldeo-EX denies status effects from Hypnotoxic Laser and cancels out Pokémon Catchers, so it may be difficult for you in the wrong situation.

35/65 vs. Landorus-EX/Mewtwo EX/Lugia EX

Landorus-EX is a huge problem for Darkrai EX, and should not be taken lightly. With the new EtherDex engine I’ve mentioned before, I’ve heard stories that it is possible for Landorus-EX to perform a Turn 1 Land’s Judgement.

Speed Darkrai players should try to avoid Landorus-EX as much as possible with Pokémon Catcher in this matchup, but keep in mind, they have Switch to counter that, so you could be in trouble early.

It is recommended to include a single copy of Keldeo-EX to counter Landorus-EX. Lugia EX will be there to take that extra Prize in the late game, so watch out for that as well.

75/25 vs. Rayquaza EX/Eelektrik

Rayquaza EX having the potential of 1HKOing anything is tough for any deck to face. However, Eelektrik NVI is arguably the largest Pokémon Catcher bait in the format, and once the Dynamotor engine falls apart, so does the deck.

Fortunately, Darkrai EX 1HKOs Eelektrik, so shutting down their engine becomes child’s play. If you set up quicker than they do, you will almost always emerge victorious.

25/75 vs. Klinklang PLS

klinklang plasma storm pls 90pokemon-paradijs.comThis is probably the single most difficult matchup for Speed Darkrai. Klinklang PLS’s Ability “Plasma Steel” prevents damage to Metal Pokémon from EX’s. This is considerably difficult when your only non Pokémon-EX is Sableye DEX. If in the situation that Klinklang does get set up, take out their non-Metal Pokémon that may be out (Terrakion NVI and Keldeo-EX are common techs in Klinklang).

Once that’s done, target that Klinklang that really grinds your gears… This means you’re going to have to attack and kill Klinklang with Sableye’s Confuse Ray. Not a pretty sight, honestly.


Speed Darkrai is a very fast deck that can overwhelm and intimidate your opponent and win you games quickly if you “play your cards right” so to say. So long as you use your resources wisely, you shouldn’t have trouble with many of the competitive decks in the format.

I highly recommend playing this at States; it is relatively cheap to build, and very effective.

I hope you guys enjoyed my second article, and now that I have a laptop to write them on, expect to see more in the future. To those who decide to run this deck because of this article, I thank you, and wish you good luck in your play testing and tournaments.

Reader Interactions

17 replies

  1. Twan van Vugt

    This is a nice mix of etherdex darkrai and laser Darkrai. How does this go as far as consistency? Especially the 2 Ultra Ball is a tad low, but the rest looks decent!

    • Kenneth X Ecker  → Twan

      Thank you! The 2-2 Etherdex engine has been working really well for me, and I can just Junk Hunt them back if I really needed to. It provides that extra little but of energy acceleration on top of the already great Dark Patch to make a Turn 1 Night Spear that much more feasible.

      I chose 2 Ultra Balls because I felt that it wasn’t necessary to max out Ultra Ball when the focus is to perform a Night Spear as soon as possible. The spaces in the deck were better used to max out Energy Switch and Dark Patch, in my opinion.

      • Grant Manley  → Kenneth

        On the contrary, max Ultra Ball is a staple here because it allows a T1 Night Spear more often because it’s a discard outlet. Article was short, but it covered most everything needed to know about the deck so kudos. I think you forgot to mention that Keldeo EX is mandatory to help against Hypnotoxic Laser as well as an out against Landy. 4 Darkrai is overkill imo. You could cut an ESwitch and a Darkrai for 2 more Ultra Ball to make it a little better imo. Klinklang’s not a bad matchup because you can Catcher and Hypnotoxic spam with Sableye and hit for 30 w/ Confuse Ray then murder everything with Darkrai when the KKs are gone. Would’ve liked to see Garbodor matchup (I’d guess like 5-95 but still…) but +1 for the article overall.

        • Kenneth X Ecker  → Grant

          Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll have to try it out in my testing…

          I mentioned Keldeo EX being a recommended addition for the Landorus EX/Mewtwo EX/Lugia EX matchup, as it is an amazing counter to it. I did not mention the help it has with Hypnotoxic though, with Darkrai’s free retreat, the poison isn’t a lingering issue… But I guess Keldeo EX breaks the Sleep Lock, so there is that…

  2. Bella Brown

    Nice article.
    Even though it was quite short, it made it less time consuming and a very enjoyable read, as well as covering the right information.

  3. Vasco Prazeres

    First of all, great article, kudos :) I was wondering, though, how bad of a matchup Klinklang PLS really is against this deck. Considering you have 4 Hypnotoxic Laser, can’t you just catcher up the Klinklang and Poison/Sleep it (shutting down its ability)? If Darkrai has Dark Claw attached and Virbank’s in play, it’ll then deal 110 + 30, KOing the Klinklang.

    • Kenneth X Ecker  → Vasco

      Abilities are not shut off by Special Conditions like how Poke-Power’s and Poke-Body’s were in previous formats. You’d have to Catcher stall with Sableye and Confuse Ray it to death, which can be an arduous process.

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → theo

          Abilities have only existed since BLW

          Poke-Bodies were not shut off by Special Conditions (Raichu LV X is a weird exception)

          Poke-Powers were shut off by Special Conditions. (Read the text on Dialga G LV X, Pidgeot FRLG, Meganium ex or any other Pokemon with a Power)

        • theo Seeds  → Jak

          Forgot that Powers didn’t work with Special Conditions, but my point about Abilities is the same. Let me put it this way: Passive effects have not been shut off by Special Conditions since FRLG was released.

  4. Alex Mayfield

    you have the wrong idea vs pls kk. You want to try and kill whatever they are attacking with. the deck has no form of acceleration, if you can kill whatever it has its energies attached too, it has serious problems.

    • mz1hC  → Alex

      If the only attacker you have in a deck is an EX, then it will be difficult to counter a KK PLS deck once its setup. Seeing as it plays almost like Darkrai/Hydreigon, the opponent will definitely be playing Max Potion. If you don’t have your energy on your Darkrai by the time they have their Klingklangs setup, then the only real option you have is to catcher it out, Virbank + HTL and attach a Dark Claw to Sableye and start attacking with that, otherwise include a non EX attacker in your deck just in case you have a slow setup.

  5. Joai

    I played against a metal klinklang deck with this deck. Hypnotoxic laser is the MVP in that matchup….they will run out of resources trying to retreat….Basically it turns into a war of attrition…just keep them at bay as best as you can….

  6. Alan Naranjo

    I would tech in Tornadus EPO. it 2HKOs Cobalion with a laser and isnt ohko’d by Cobalion. Pretty good tech and it can be pretty good accel early in the game. but it is easily ko’d in any other matchup

  7. Eric Porter

    I like the article because it has alot of truth to it. But one thing i have to disagree with is the matchup against Rayeels it is a much closer game because even if you can kill the eels its still very possible to lose because secret rare rayquazas shred attack and the fact that sooner or later Darkrai will run out of steam.This is just from my expirience playing Darkrai and me playing rayeels since it came out if anything i would put it at a 50/50 or at most 60/40 in darkrais favor. But great article.

  8. Jack Stensrud

    Great article, Kenneth! Definitely running this at states. I made a few small changes, such as dropping the 4th N and adding a tool scrapper, just in case they put down an eviolite and playing Garbodor. I also chose Scramble Switch as the Ace Spec, both because I don’t have a comp search, and because it helps to drop a Keldeo out of nowhere and hit a Landorus for 130. Aside from that, I have kept the deck the same. Great Job!

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