The New Dragon Dance: Darkrai/Hydreigon in the NXD-on Format

Hey SixPrizes! Today I am going to talk about a deck that is re-appearing as a competitive deck, thanks to the release of Virizion-EX. The deck I am talking about, of course, is Darkrai/Hydreigon.

When this deck originally appeared in the BLW–DRX format, it was a very good deck. However, the release of cards like Landorus-EX and Hypnotoxic Laser reduced its playability (although it did make Top 4 at New Mexico State Championships back in March). I believe that it is time for this former rogue to shed its dark cloak (pun intended) and come into the limelight.

The Pokémon

Deinos and Zweilouses

This deck has a huge amount of options when it comes to Deino and Zweilous selection. This is very important because choosing the right one can either make or break your tournament, depending on what you run into.

Deino DRX 93
1 Energy paralysis attacks are always welcomed on Basics.

This is the Deino usually chosen in formats past, but it could change. Anyway, this Deino has the standard 60 HP, Dragon typing, a two Energy Retreat Cost, and two attacks that are very useful to the deck’s overall strategy.

The first attack, Deep Growl, costs one D Energy and allows you to flip a coin for paralysis, similar to Tynamo NVI 38, except sans the 10 damage. This is useful in case you need to stall.

The second attack, Power Breath, costs PC and does 30 damage while forcing you to discard an Energy. This can actually be beneficial in getting D Energy in the discard for Dark Patch.

Deino DRX 94

This Deino’s type, HP, and Retreat Cost are identical to the one mentioned before. Its first attack, Guard Press, costs D and deals 10 damage while reducing damage done to Deino by 10 during your opponent’s next turn. Its second attack, Headbutt, costs PCC and does 30 damage.

Deino PLF 75

This Deino is identical to the two above, except for the fact that it is a Darkness type. This is important to consider because you can Dark Patch onto this Deino. Unfortunately, its Weakness to Fighting type Pokémon makes it susceptible to getting donked by Landorus-EX. Its first attack, Push Down, costs DC and does 20 damage while forcing your opponent to switch his or her Pokémon. Its second attack, Bite, costs DCC and deals a straight-up 30 damage.

Deino PLF 76

This Deino’s stats are identical to its same-set twin. This Deino only has one attack, Slam. This attack costs CC and does 20 damage for every heads out of two flips.

The Deino you play is definitely a metagame play, based on the popularity of Landorus in your area. Since Landorus is still a fairly popular card in some decks, I would suggest running one of the two Deinos from Dragons Exalted.

Final Choice: Deino DRX 93

The reason I went with this is to reduce the donk factor. Landorus is being played much more than Rayquaza DRV, and RayEels, the deck that used to make the most use of the card, had its main card rotated. Rayquaza can donk Dragon Deinos, while Landorus can donk Dark Deinos.

Zweilous DRX 95

This Zweilous has 80 HP, is a Dragon type, and has a two Energy Retreat Cost. Its first attack, Crunch, costs CC and does 30 damage and allows you to flip a coin. If you get heads, you get to discard an Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon. Its second attack, Dragon Claw, does 80 damage for the cost of PDD.

Zweilous DRX 96
Draw In could be good in a pinch.

This Zweilous’s basic stats are the same as the Zweilous above, except for a slightly larger Retreat Cost and 10 more HP. Its first attack, Draw In, costs one C Energy and allows you to attach 2 D Energy from your discard pile to it. This is essentially a Super Dark Patch. Its second attack, Dragon Headbutt, costs PDC and does 40 damage.

Zweilous PLF

This Zweilous is a Darkness type, has 90 HP, and a two Energy Retreat Cost. Its first attack, Bite, does 30 damage for the cost of DC. Its second attack, Body Slam, costs DCC and does 30 damage, and also causes paralysis if you flip heads.

Again, another metagame choice. The Zweilous from Plasma Freeze is a good choice because you can attach to it with Dark Patch, but it is also weak to Fighting. The other choice is Zweilous DRX 96, which has higher HP than the other remaining Zweilous as well as an attack that helps the overall strategy of the deck.

Final Choice: Zweilous DRX 96

My reasoning for selecting this Zweilous is the slightly higher HP as well as the Draw In attack, which allows you to put Energy back into play if you find the need to.

You need Hydreigon DRX 97 for the deck to properly function, so I will not present the four different Hydreigons available to us in the current format.


Darkrai EX

Free retreat for everybody!

Darkrai EX is the main attacker of this deck. Night Spear effectively 2HKOs every EX in the format and also provides some important snipe damage. He provides free retreat to Pokémon with D Energy attached, which is essentially free retreat for the whole deck.

Absol PLF

Absol is a great attacker in this deck, especially if your opponent is foolish enough to fill up his bench. Absol provides a Pokémon to Dark Patch onto as well as a Team Plasma Pokémon to attach Energy to if Frozen City is in play.

Genesect EX

I considered Genesect in this deck, but preferred to have the third Darkrai over Genesect solely because Genesect’s G Energy requirements are difficult to fulfill with this deck.

Hydreigon DRX 97

Hydreigon is an excellent attacker in this deck because it is able to Knock Out 170 HP EXs after they have taken snipe damage from Night Spear with Dragonblast, which can significantly swing both the Plasma and the Virizion/Genesect matchup.


Sableye DEX

The most important support Pokémon for any Darkrai deck, Sableye’s main function in this deck is to recycle Dark Patch and Max Potion.


Virizion-EX is great in this deck because both Blend GRPD Energy and Prism Energy give you G Energy, allowing you to provide immunity to Hypnotoxic Laser and any status condition-inducing attacks your opponent uses against you.


Keldeo is not as good as Virizion-EX in this deck solely because Dark Cloak + Dark Trance allows you to retreat any of your Pokémon for free, and Virizion shuts down Hypnotoxic Laser, preventing any status lock from happening. Thus, Keldeo is replaced in this deck by Virizion-EX.

The Decklists


This list is one focused more on preventing Hypnotoxic Laser from affecting you.

Pokémon – 15

3 Deino DRX 93
1 Zweilous DRX 96
3 Hydreigon DRX 97
3 Darkrai-EX DEX
2 Sableye DEX
2 Virizion-EX
1 Absol PLF

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Skyla
2 Bianca
1 Colress


3 Ultra Ball
1 Level Ball
4 Rare Candy
4 Dark Patch
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Max Potion
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Computer Search

Energy – 12

6 D
4 Blend GRPD
2 Prism


3-1-3 Hydreigon Line

hydreigon dragons exalted drx
The mover and shaker of this deck.

This is the optimal line for Hydreigon. The Zweilous is important if you are unable to hit the Rare Candy + Hydreigon combo quickly and is also searchable by Level Ball.

3 Darkrai EX

Darkrai is your free retreat and your main attacker. Running less than three is a mistake.

2 Sableye DEX

Some of my Poké-friends have suggested I increase the Sableye count to three, but two is enough. The main reason for this is because Sableye is not that important to this deck, but is only necessary because of the importance of Items to this deck.

2 Virizion-EX

Two copies of Virizion practically ensures that you will have one in play for the majority of the game, preventing Hypnotoxic Laser from ever becoming a factor in the game.

1 Absol PLF

Absol is a great attacker, but not worth two spots in your deck because of his lack of high HP, which prevents him from becoming a tankable attacker.


4 Professor Juniper, 4 N, 2 Skyla, 2 Bianca, 1 Colress, no Tropical Beach, no Random Receiver

I made my draw support decisions for a couple of reasons. The reason I did not include Tropical Beach in this deck is because I wanted to test a deck I could realistically play without shelling out 300 dollars for two cards. However, if you feel that Tropical Beach is necessary, I would drop the two Bianca for two Beaches.

I play no Random Receiver because I prefer to actually have the Supporter instead of a card that allows me to search for one. I’ve found that the Supporter count in the list above to be better than one with 2 Random Receiver.

3 Ultra Ball, 1 Level Ball
Discarding Darks since 2012.

Ultra Ball is a necessity in this deck because of Dark Patch. The Level Ball gives you a little bit more flexibility with your search engine and will grab you a Deino, a Zweilous, or a Sableye.

4 Rare Candy

Absolutely essential. This is the one card count I cannot reduce in this deck.

4 Dark Patch

I have seen lists running three Dark Patch, and let me tell you right now: it doesn’t work. You need the four Dark Patch to consistently get fast Darkrais and recover from 1HKOs from Pokémon like Genesect EX, Landorus-EX, and Kyurem PLF.

3 Pokémon Catcher

I would add the fourth one if I had space, but this list is too tight for it.

3 Max Potion

Two is too few, and four is too many. Three is the most you should ever run in a deck.

1 Tool Scrapper

Tool Scrapper is going to be a highly played card in the upcoming format, thanks to the release of cards like Silver Bangle, Silver Mirror, and G Booster, as well as the popularity of Life Dew at Nationals. Tool Scrapper will help the Plasma and Virizion/Genesect matchup by getting rid of their damage adding tools, such as Silver Bangle and G Booster.

Computer Search

This deck can fit a variety of ACESPEC cards in it, but Computer Search works the best, since this is a deck playing Stage 2 evolutions.


6 Darkness, 4 Blend GRPD, 2 Prism

Prism Energy and Blend GRPD Energy are important to preventing Hypnotoxic Laser from swaying the outcome of the game because they provide G Energy as well as provide D Energy for your main attackers, putting them under the protection of Verdant Wind.

Speed Darkrai/Hydreigon

This particular decklist, while very similar to the one above, is much better at generating faster starts with Darkrai and maintaining offense throughout the game.

Pokémon – 14

3 Deino DRX 93
1 Zweilous DRX 96
3 Hydreigon DRX 97
3 Darkrai-EX DEX
2 Sableye DEX
1 Virizion-EX
1 Absol PLF

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Skyla
2 Bianca
1 Colress


3 Ultra Ball
1 Level Ball
4 Rare Candy
4 Dark Patch
3 Pokémon Catcher
3 Max Potion
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Dark Claw
1 Computer Search

Energy – 12

8 D
4 Blend GRPD


-1 Virizion-EX

The sole copy of Virizion-EX allows you to still get protection from Hypnotoxic Laser while freeing up space for cards to provide more consistency, speed, and power to the deck.

+1 Dark Claw

Dark Claw allows you to finish 170 HP Pokémon-EX after they have taken 60 snipe damage from Night Spear. This single copy of Dark Claw is usually enough to swing both the Plasma matchup as well as the Virizion/Genesect matchup in your favor.

-2 Prism Energy, +2 D Energy

With the reduction of Virizion-EX in the deck, you can focus your Energy lines more on hitting T2 Night Spears with the assistance of Dark Patch.


Genesect EX

Robot in disguise.

Genesect is a strong attacker in general and is especially helpful against Blastoise decks as well as the random Terrakion-EX / Terrakion BCR that can cause this deck a lot of trouble.

Victini-EX/Victory Piece

Victini would provide a method for 1HKOing both Genesect EX and Virizion-EX as well as a form of early game Energy acceleration.

Hydreigon NXD

This card was reprinted as a shiny Pokémon, and its attack is still ridiculously powerful. You get to do 60 damage plus 40 more damage to two of your opponent’s benched Pokémon for the cost of DDDD? That is insane snipe damage right there for a decent Energy cost, at least for this deck. It also works very well in conjunction with Darkrai EX.

Bouffalant DRX

Bouffalant is still a great attacker, and is serviceable in this deck. Gold Breaker’s C Energy requirements allow him to fit perfectly into this deck.

Mewtwo EX

Mewtwo is another solid attacker in this deck because of Dark Trance’s power to set him up out of nowhere for huge amounts of damage. Blend GRPD also allows you to make use of Mewtwo’s secondary attack, Psydrive.



This is a fairly even matchup, but the edge belongs to the Darkrai/Hydreigon player. The reason I say that is because Darkrai/Hydreigon can effectively remove any damage accumulated from Megalo Cannons with Max Potion without sacrificing any Energy while Virizion/Genesect cannot. The Tool Scrapper also helps in this matchup significantly because it helps to reduce the usage your opponent gets out of G Booster. Hydreigon is a huge factor against Virizion/Genesect because you can 1HKO all of your opponent’s Pokémon-EX with Dragonblast after a single Night Spear snipe.


kyurem plasma freeze plf
Your biggest worry.

This matchup is very, very even. The two decks will often get stuck trading 2HKOs, which is great for the Darkrai/Hydreigon player. However, if your opponent manages to charge up a Kyurem for a Blizzard Burn with a Silver Bangle attached and three Deoxys-EX on the bench, you are in trouble. If this happens, you need to wipe that Kyurem off the field.

The generic key to defeating Plasma is to wipe all of their Energy off of the board by killing their energized attackers. An Enhanced Hammer tech would definitely improve this matchup, but their simply isn’t room for it.


This matchup hinges on whether or not the Blastoise player starts swinging into you with Black Kyurem-EX PLS. If that does wind up happening, Hydreigon can 1HKO it. He can also 1HKO Blastoise, effectively shutting off your opponent’s Energy acceleration. Basically, this deck can handle 2HKOing Keldeos but not 1HKOing Keldeos or Black Kyurems.


The Darkrai/Hydreigon player has a copy of Tool Scrapper, but one is usually not enough. However, it can allow you to pull off a Dark Trance + Max Potion, which can ruin the Knock Out your opponent has been setting up. If you are facing a Landorus/Cobalion build, you may be in for a rough ride. A key factor in this matchup is the fact that the Garbodor player will almost certainly be playing Hypnotoxic Laser, which is not good for you. If you can hit the Tool Scrapper, you can remove it with Virizion-EX’s Ability.

This is not a matchup you want to run across if you are playing Darkrai/Hydreigon. If you happen to run into a Darkrai/Garbodor deck, you may be in slightly better shape. However, if it is a good build, the DarkGarb player will be running both Enhanced Hammer and Hypnotoxic Laser, which are not good. This matchup is still winnable thanks to Tool Scrapper, but it is not going to be an easy ride for the Darkrai/Hydreigon player.


ghetsis hydreigon

Darkrai/Hydreigon is a going to be a strong deck in the upcoming format. Its ability to consistently 2HKO EXs in combination with the Max Potion tanking Hydreigon brings as well as Virizion’s ability to block Hypnotoxic Laser make it a deck that can give any other deck in the format a run for its money. This deck is definitely worth consideration as you make your deck choices for Autumn Battle Roads as well as Regional Championships.

Thanks for reading,

Tyler Vencill

Reader Interactions

35 replies

  1. Chris

    Great article, I was thinking on running this deck for a few BR, so this is an article I have been looking for, here’s some things you might’ve missed:
    1. Shaymin EX was and will be a great tech for this deck since virizion will make you immune to HTL and can survive a megalo cannon.
    2. Zwellious is not necessary since there is no way to item lock except zebstika which looses eels.
    3. Dusknoir is going to be such a great card in this deck since night spear spreads damage and really opens up end-game possibilities.

        • poet larsen  → Chris

          that is asking for a lot in a super super tight list. Its hard to setup one stage two, but to setup two…..

        • Grant Manley  → poet

          You’d want two Hydreigons on the field most of the time though, and I think a 4-0-3 Hydreigon line is much better than 3-1-3. You don’t need Zweilous because it makes the deck slower and more Rare Candies become dead cards when you evolve via Zweilous.

        • poet larsen  → Grant

          I know that you want at least 2 hydreigons on the field, but in this format that is not so easy. Kyurem only needs a silver bangle to take one hydregion down, which makes things very difficult. The issue with this deck is that if it loses several energies from a pokemon then it will really struggle. I have been testing this deck and its just so hit or miss; you either setup and almost always win, or you cant get anything going and your deck falls apart

        • Nabeel  → Empoleon1107

          Silver Bangle math — Kyurem hits 120 + the bangle adds 30– that takes out Hydro. AND if they have 3 deoxys out (and you know they do) then everything is OHKO

    • Cody Barnes  → Chris

      No item lock except zebstrika…You really think nobody is gonna play PLF dragonite, especially at battle roads?

  2. Alvaro Acevedo

    I have 1 problem with darkrai hydreigon deck,his name is latias EX.I tested and he destroy my because i cant ko latias with any of my pokemon(Darkrai cant,Hydreigon cant,Virizion cant)and with absol you can attack but you only run 1 copy and i run 2 copy and no they win becuase with silver mirror Auto-loss ,so I recommend put more attackers or more pokemon like shaymin Ex,giratina Ex or mewtwo EX

  3. Simon Narode

    Maybe I’m missing something, but what came out in Plasma Blast to make this deck competitive all of a sudden?
    It can’t really tank with Dark Trance/Max Potion because practically every competitive deck can OHKO a Darkrai, even without Hypnotoxic Laser. Kyurem w/ Bangle, Black Kyurem EX, G Booster, Keldeo with a million energies, etc.
    Maybe it’s the best Darkrai option when we lose Energy Switch, but it still doesn’t seem well-suited for the metagame.

    • Empoleon1107  → Simon

      Virizion EX. Virizion prevents Hypnotoxic Laser from affecting it, thus balancing out the playing field to an extent.

      • Twan van Vugt  → Empoleon1107

        The thing is, many decks will drop lasers because of virizion ex. For example plasma will stick to Silver Bangles to hit 180 with Kyurem

        • Joseph Lee  → Twan

          Honest question from someone who does not know:

          Why is Virizion EX vs. Hypnotoxic Lasers different than most Pokémon Tools vs Tool Scrapper? I would expect either stasis (not every deck can run Virizion EX well) or for HTL usage to wax and wane opposite Virizion EX usage.

        • Twan van Vugt  → Joseph

          Good point. The thing is, Virizion/Genesect will be a popular deck going into BR since we do not yet know how good it is. When the deck isn’t as hyped and popular anymore, we might see rise in Lasers. The thing is that Lasers take up a lot of deck space so they might be hard to fit into a list which runs tool scrapper and silver bangle/mirror

  4. nske

    Play testing this with mew and entei techs. So far. Plasma is not a match up you want. And with 2 enhanced hammers. Squeeezed in it does help. 4-3 or 3-3 help. But 3-1-3 just sounds bad.

  5. skyshaymin49

    I definitely like the idea of Hydreigon NVI/NXD to play it down, use dark trance to attach 4 energy to it and Beserker Blade to KO a few EX’s at once, taking 4-6 prizes in a turn, and winning out of nowhere because your opponent never thought to take out your second Deino. The only problem is its ability makes Virizion not provide free healing to it because Blend Energy would only provide Darkness. This is kind of a double-edged sword because you can use prism on it even though it’s not a basic. Also, with Prism, you can tech Terrakion for the mirror or plasma. Also, you didn’t mention Giratina as a possible tech. It OHKO’s any Dragon Pokemon with no downside.

      • skyshaymin49  → jason

        Doesn’t Hydreigon’s Ability make them provide Darkness Energy “Instead of their usual type,” not “in addition to their usual type?”

        • Gerardo Del Toro  → skyshaymin49

          That is incorrect. It isn’t like you are declaring what type of energy they are each turn, nor is it restricted in what sort of energy it can be. Blend Energy also counts as a Grass energy, but only provides 1 energy (for attack requirements) at a time.

  6. Caladore

    Darkrai had its send off/last hurrah at worlds. This deck is going to be bad without energy switch and clunking up a tight deck with a 3-0-3 line of a bad pokemon to pull off essentially the same thing is pretty bad I think. Even if it is played I can’t see it being a huge contender.

      • Gerardo Del Toro  → Joseph

        I think what he meant that since we are losing Energy Switch, this alternative for Darkrai-EX is bad. Essentially, he thinks that the Hydreigon line is a worse Energy Switch. He didn’t mean that you should use Energy Switch in the deck, which wouldn’t even be legal…

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