How J-Wittz Got His Groove Back: A Look at Darkrai Toolboxes

Discussion in 'UG Article Talk' started by JWittz, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. JWittz

    JWittz Active Member

  2. TechnoLegend

    TechnoLegend Active Member

    Thank you so much for such an indepth article on a variant of my favorite deck.

    In regards to terrakions, more hammers in a great way to counter them, unless it is a straigh fighting energy deck always taking out the fighting energy seems to work great for me.

    Excuse me while i add that 4th Sableye to my deck...
  3. Reshiphlosion

    Reshiphlosion The Swarm

    Yay J-Wittz is back! :D

    I abandoned terrakion/darkrai, but I might pick it up again due to this article... thanks for writing it!
  4. Crawdaunt

    Crawdaunt Active Member

    This article has made me actually want to try out Darkrai/Terrakion. A deck concept I just haven't bothered testing personally much. Thank you! Probably going to run 2 Prism and 2 Fighting in my list. :)
    koji likes this.
  5. airhawk06

    airhawk06 Active Member

    So much to say. So excited.

    Good article! Even better to have you back!

    I thought the article was very good. I love your Darkrai EX/Terrakion list. I am curious how comfortable you are with only the Prism Energies to power up Terrakion. With Hammertime outperforming expectations and the general proliferation of Special Energies the last few weeks, I would be deathly afraid to go to Regionals with no other way to power up Terrakion. What do you think?

    I certainly agree that Eels (both types), Darkrai/Hydreigon, Ho-oh, and speed Darkrai decks will be the majority of the field. However, I certainly would not be surprised if several other decks performed well or even win a Regional. In particular, I feel there is undeveloped potential in Empoleon/Accelgor, Darkrai EX/Chandelure, and Garchomp (without Altaria, but with Terrakion + toys). Have you testing much with any of these?
  6. lightning

    lightning 頑張れ


    You have a really legitimate concern about the Prism Energies. I personally think that while the Enhanced Hammer scare is a very real one, Prism Energy is still a better play than Fighting Energy. I only say this because I've been working on my Darkrai/Terrakion build for about a month now and have got burnt on unwanted Fighting Energy in my hand (and later in the game as well) more than a few times, most recently in a BR just two days ago. Opening with a Sableye and drawing into nothing but a Fighting Energy can be pretty frustrating as it often holds you back from using the T1 Junk Hunt crucial to regaining the Dark Patch(es) necessary to fire off a T2 Night Spear, hampers your ability to cause early disruption with otherwise ill-spent Catchers, and so forth. Vulnerability to Enhanced Hammers and being unable to utilize Energy Switch are definitely drawbacks, but the versatility of Prisms makes up for it in my opinion. It's extra important to carefully consider where and -- especially -- when you want to drop them, but at least in my local meta I haven't seen enough Enhanced Hammers being played to deter me from incorporating Prism Energies into my deck. I think Crawdaunt's suggestion of playing 2 Fighting, 2 Prism might minimize the drawbacks of both by a little bit. Definitely gonna try out both 4 Prism as well as Crawdaunt's idea. What do you think of the 2-2 split?

    Anyways, thanks for the excellent article, J-Wittz. Personally, I'm a huge advocate of no-Hydreigon Darkrai builds. I'd like to back this position up by sharing my thoughts on Darkrai/Hydreigon as well as Darkrai variants, so please let me know what you all think of my opinions. Oh, and by the way, this is my first post on sixprizes. Looking forward to chatting in the coming weeks and months!

    To begin, the reason I'm committed to not including everyone's favourite dragon in my own Darkrai builds stems from the extremely heavy testing I did with Darkrai/Hydreigon over the summer which revealed two things to me: 1) the deck is an absolute BEAST if you can get the "network" online and hit your Max Potions as you need them, and 2) it's a bit of a crapshoot since everything is hinged on whether or not you can get Hydreigon(s) up and running and keep it/them alive. Can you drop 2 Deinos in one turn and claw your way into a hand containing both a Hydreigon and Rare Candy (or more) the following turn? Can you keep your Hydreigons from getting lit up by opposing Garchomps, Rayquazas, Rayquaza EXs, and Zekrom EX? If your answer is "yes" that's fantastic, but I just can't get over the consistency issues that this deck has. I'm sure many people will disagree as the deck is certainly a powerful force to be reckoned with in the hands of a good player, and it's clearly top tier material, but I've personally been quite pleased to move on to other Darkrai variants.

    To comment briefly on the variants I've tried out, I quickly moved on to Hammertime after becoming disenchanted with Hydreigon. I managed to pilot the deck to a 6-0 win at Battle Roads three weeks ago. Hammertime is fabulous for the disruption and speed it offers, but I feel that the typical build is a bit one-dimensional in terms of attacking power and an obvious weakness to Fighting types. I added a Mewtwo EX and Shaymin EX to my version along with a few Blend Energies, which leveled out the playing field in certain match-ups considerably. I also played 4 Energy Switches instead of the typical 3 in order to use Max Potion more effectively, as well as set up quick Night Spears, X Balls, and Revenge Seeds. Hammertime is a solid concept and I found it extremely enjoyable to play, but I wanted to try out more ideas that would have a better match-up against Eels variants and decks with one-energy attack requirements. So, I decided to change things up again for the next Battle Roads.

    However, I ended up being so busy last month that after my Hammertime win on September 8th, I wasn't able to play Pokemon again until the night before BR two days ago. More playtesting would have saved me from a few misplays and I probably would have played a sharper game all around, but I was still pretty happy with what I brought that day. I went with Darkrai/Terrakion/Mewtwo/Bouffalant, and had a great time with it even though I didn't go all the way. Part of this was due to Pokemon TCG horror stories including a nightmare hand that forced me to Juniper 3 other Junipers in my second turn just to hang in a particular game, and having another match with 2 Terrakion and 2 Darkrai prized, but despite the face-palming disappointment associated with these situations, I feel that my list should have been stronger to begin with. Bouffalant worked well as a bench-sitting deterrent and changed the way some opponents played against me, but didn't inspire fear like a lurking Terrakion does. Nor can it OHKO anything major (apart from Shaymin EX) or even take out Sigilpyh in a single shot, which makes it inferior to Terrakion for the vast majority of situations. Likewise, Mewtwo gave me some extra firepower (note: I played 4 DCE since it can be abused by both Mewtwo and Bouffalant), but turned out to be more of a liability than anything. After the tournament was over, I cut those guys out of the list as well as the DCE, and put in 4 Crushing Hammer, 2 Enhanced Hammer, and an extra Energy Switch. I sorely missed the disruptive power of Hammertime and was more than happy to re-introduce it into my arsenal. In conclusion, my current list is actually fairly similar to what J-Wittz has published here, but I'm very interested in making some adjustments after reading this article.

    J-Wittz, I think that the most interesting takeaway here is the commitment to consistency in your deck-building philosophy. It seems like a no-brainer but the vast majority of us have been eager to strip down the Supporter line to around 10 Supporters and 2 Random Receivers in order to plug in more techs or Trainer options. I'm definitely going to try adding 2 Bianca and 1 Ultra Ball to my list and look for the impact. Thanks again!
  7. koji

    koji last name ever, first name greatest

    hey j-wittz, I remember watching your videos way back in triumphant and i got underground membership. and you didn't write any articles!! but I'm glad you're back. looking forward to some more stuff from you later in the year!
  8. JWittz

    JWittz Active Member

    Thanks everyone for all of the support through comments and likes! I really appreciate it. If this article ends up helping you guys in any way, I'd be happy to write more as I get into the swing of things :).

    Glad to be back :). In response to your Prism energy fear, I think Lightning followed up with a post that's very similar to my opinion. Most of the time, I won't even drop a prism energy until it's time to Revenge for this reason. Even if it means waiting a turn, I've found that pulling the trigger on a terrakion is pretty hard not to set up if you also have a prism in hand. Between dropping a dark on him first and energy switch, there's plenty you can do to get that first energy on him. In addition, are there any decks that run Enhanced Hammer in addition to Sableye-based ones? I'm sure people could tech it into about everything, but I feel like the card doesn't have nearly as much power in, say, Eels, and I'm sure that you could decide in some matchups better than others when it is "safe" to drop a Prism. All things said, like Lightning suggested, I could see a 2-2 Prism/Fighting split work out as well.

    As for the decks! Empoleon Accelgor is definitely interesting (especially when it rocked me at a Battle Road by getting 4 Empoleon out on turn 5), but after more testing, it doesn't seem like it's the safest play out there. You have a strong matchup against Darkrai/Terrakion, but it's pretty awful vs. the lightning-based (and 4 switch-based) Eel variants. I haven't tested the other two variants, so I'm just theorymoning at this point, but I'll leave it at this: I didn't like Darkrai/Hydreigon (At least for now) because I had trouble setting up the best stage 2 in the game. For all three of these decks, I'd have a hard time pulling the trigger on a deck that requires a stage 2, while also knowing fully well that the best stage 2 in the format is going to be played by a ton of people. This format is pretty cruel to a bad setup, and I'm not sure I could pull the trigger on any other Stage 2 right now.

    Thanks for the post - you've practically written an article of experience right there! Your results are very similar to the many reasons I've been more interested in Darkrai/Terrakion than anything else lately. Good luck with your build, and I hope I helped!

    I'm not sure what you mean - I wrote tons of articles around the Triumphant era! Or are you simply saying that you recently got Underground and I haven't been writing anything?
  9. briaah

    briaah Beware of flying donuts.

    Wow, nice article! I've always wanted to try Darkrai/Terrakion and this article has given me some great advice on how to do that. Even if I don't end up playing Darkrai/Terra there's definitely a ton of good advice in there.

    Oh, um, just thought I'd mention, when you were talking about prism energies in your article you said junk hunt has a fighting energy requirement but I think you meant darkness right? Just thought I'd point that out....
  10. JWittz

    JWittz Active Member

    Thanks for the catch! I'm sure everyone knows what I meant, but I'll get adam on that as soon as I can ;)
  11. cabd

    cabd Taking over for Tamoo as the girly looking mod.

    I must have played a fellow UG member on TCGO because they were running your list card for card.
  12. JWittz

    JWittz Active Member

    Ha! How did it go for them? :p
  13. DrMime

    DrMime Grand Poo-Bah

    I dunno about the Prism...I find I frequently need to Energy Switch that first energy off of Sableye to be able to Night Spear, Retaliate or Land Crush turn 2, and I can't do that to a Prism. I think that draw-attach-pass with the fighting energy on a benched Darkrai or Sableye is an okay play in this situation. (Unless you played an RR into a supporterless hand and you want it back, but then you'd have gone through two hands on your turn, and you probably would have gotten a dark energy off of one of them. Otherwise, I can't think of what you'd absolutely *need* to Junk Hunt for turn 1, though sure, I understand that it's better to Junk Hunt than to do nothing.)

    But I completely understand the merits of the Prism play--great idea.
  14. Joai

    Joai Grinded into Worlds 2011...

    Great to see you back in the writing scene! Talk about Ho-oh more next time! That deck makes playing Pokemon competitively, fun again!
  15. DCalpha

    DCalpha Underground Member

    Wuz up J-wittz.... I still have the J-wittz lvx card......yeah yeah to pat you on the back, everyone on the west coast still praises it...;p

    Good to see one of the nation top players back up on that pedestal....XD

    Hope you do well this format, I already have a few Roads wins...also hoping for a win this reginols. Top cutting ever year is good in all but the win would really get a points boost. Anyhow good to see you back. I have always enjoyed the articles and are strategy conversations.... Thanks for the write up.... And good luck...;)
  16. zcbivens

    zcbivens Member

    It was such a pleasant surprise this morning to log on to six prizes and see an article written by my favorite Underground writer of all time. Im so excited that your back in the Pokemon scene! Fantastic article!
  17. tokyovampire

    tokyovampire Starpower!

    Fantastic article! And it is great to see the J-Wittz back in action. :) I have been fairly happy with the speed and consistency of Hammertime, but it seems to come down to flips in several matchups and I can't flip heads to save my life on Crushing Hammer. Darkrai/Terrakion seems very very very interesting though and I will have to do some serious testing with it.
  18. Vysekun

    Vysekun The Ninetales and the Grapes

    Just wanted to say 'thank you' to you Josh.

    This article, your list and your insight, along with the insight and list @Quarterturn wrote about in his recent article helped me build my Darkrai/Terrakion/Sableye deck to win my first Battleroads with this deck.
    tokyovampire, DCalpha and Adam like this.
  19. DCalpha

    DCalpha Underground Member

    Vysekun...... Congrats on the first Roads win.
    Vysekun likes this.