Hi again. I have tried out for the Front Page twice now, and hopefully it's 3rd time lucky! ------------------------------------------------- “Still Trapped In The Trance” - Darkrai/Hydreigon Analysis Hi SixPrizes! Today I’m going to be discussing a deck that was once very competitive but over time has slipped down a Tier or 2, despite being a strong contender. As you may have guessed from the title, the deck is about Darkrai/Hydreigon and the ability to transfer Dark Energy around the field, courtesy of Hydreigon DRX 97’s Dark Trance. The idea combines with Max Potion very well and gives you the option of tanking. To start with, I will provide you with a skeleton list, containing only the bare essentials. Pokemon - 12 3 Hydreigon DRX 97 1 Zweilous 3 Deino 2 Darkrai EX 2 Sableye 1 Virizion EX/Keldeo EX Trainers - 28 3 N 3 Professor Sycamore 3 Skyla 1 Lysandre 2 Pal Pad 3 Dark Patch 4 Rare Candy 3 Ultra Ball 3 Max Potion 1 Sacred Ash 1 Startling Megaphone 1 Computer Search/Dowsing Machine Energy - 10 6 Darkness 4 Blend GFPD Open slots - 10 Although I said it would be only the essentials in this list, during building I completely under-estimated what this deck needed to function. However, 4 open spaces is 4 open spaces - what do we fill them up with? First, I’ll go over the main things in the deck, and then I’ll analyze potential techs. Pokemon Deino and Zweilous Options There is plenty of choice when it comes to deciding which of these you run, so here goes: Deino Options Deino DRX 93 The first of the 2 Dragon type Deinos, this one is the slightly more preferable option, due to its cheaper attacks. For [D], Deep Growl can be used to give a 50% chance of Paralysis, which is useful if you need to stall to set up. Power Breath, for [D][P], does 30 with a forced discard. This is a good, though slightly unorthodox, method of getting Darkness Energy into the discard ready for a Dark Patch. Deino DRX 94 The slightly inferior Dragon type Deino, with identical stats. Guard Press does 10 while reducing 10 to Deino, all for [D]. The main letdown for this card is the second attack. Headbutt costs [D][C][C] and does only 30 damage - you really don’t want to attach 3 Energy to a 60 HP Basic. Deino PLF 75 Again, identical stats, though this one is of a Dark typing - an important factor to bear in mind as it can be Dark Patched onto. Push Down, with a cost of [D][P], does 20 and your opponent is forced to switch out their Pokemon. This can be used to create a mild gust effect, with the disadvantage being your opponent gets to choose what Pokemon they bring up. The main issue with the Plasma Freeze Deinos is that they are weak to Fighting, and are thus weak to Landorus EX, so beware of the dreaded donk. Deino PLF 76 As with its twin from the same set, it is identical to all the others, though it has only one attack: Slam for [C][C], does 20 for each heads out of 2 coins. Zweilous Options Zweilous DRX 95 This Zweilous has 80 HP and a 2 Energy retreat cost, along with Dragon typing. Attack no.1, Crunch, has a cost of [C][C] and does 30 damage with a 50% chance of discarding an Energy attached to the Defending Pokemon; the second attack Dragon Claw, for [P][D][D], does a straight-up 80 damage. Zweilous DRX 96 This Zweilous has almost identical stats except for 10 more HP and an extra Energy in its retreat cost. The first attack, Draw In, acts as a Super Dark Patch - you get to attach 2 Darkness Energy from your discard to Zweilous for [C]. The second attack, Dragon Headbutt, does 40 for [P][D][C]. Zweilous PLF This Zweilous retains the 90 HP and 2 Energy retreat, with the exception of it being a Dark type. For [D][C], Bite does 30 damage, while Body Slam, for the cost of [D][C][C], also does 30 though with a 50% chance of Paralysis. So, which do we choose? The choice is yours, although my personal preference is Deino DRX 93 and Zweilous DRX 96. You need to run Hydreigon LTR 99 to get the deck to function, so we’ll just leave it at that. Darkrai EX Since its release into the TCG world, Darkrai has been an incredibly strong contender; Night Spear is an incredibly strong attack in this format, and the 30 extra damage can be a game-changer in some instances, while Dark Cloak gives all Pokemon with Dark Energy attached a retreat cost of 0. Another reason why Darkrai is so strong is from the way it gets its Energy acceleration: Dark Patch. Being able to attach energy from the discard is unusual to say the least, though that trend was continued with Thundurus EX and Yveltal XY. Darkrai has been a dominant force in the format over the past couple of years, though I fear its time is coming to an end with the almost certain rotation of Dark Explorers following Worlds this year. Tech Inclusions Latias EX Despite a rather underwhelming 160 HP for an EX, this Pokemon has become a very solid counter to Pyroar, as it can stop them using Scorching Fang to damage you while you charge up Hydreigon ready to KO those pesky Pyroars. Following the Catcher errata, Latias EX became so much harder to play around, with only Ninetales DRX, Lysandre and Genesect EX able to get the gust effect to prevent you from stalling their respective decks. Besides Pyroar, Latias’s Ability is able to stop a multitude of other attackers from damaging it, including many main attackers in popular decks right now, such as Lugia EX and Keldeo EX. All that remains for me to say is that Latias is an extremely strong play in the current metagame, and running it could totally change your matchups. Entei EX The Virizion/Genesect matchup is one that you really want to have in your favour, because if you want to stand a chance of winning, you need to be able to stop them before they use G Booster to roll through your deck. Entei EX aids this purpose. Grand Flame is able to OHKO all of Virizion/Genesect’s Pokemon (Tropius PLB and Virizion and Genesect themselves - though I haven’t seen Tropius run in a while). Using this attack, you are able to get rid of your opposition’s Genesect EX before hastily finishing off their secondary attackers. If they are unable to trade one-hit knockouts with you, they are going to struggle. Shaymin EX If in your deck, you decide to run Keldeo EX instead of Virizion, you are going to want to include a Grass type attacker to counter the imminent threat of Blastoise decks. Also, combined with N, Shaymin can be quite a good comeback card, as the Revenge Blast damage gets higher the more Prizes your opponent takes, while N can give your opponent a bad hand to work with. 110 HP, however, is a poor amount for an EX, as it almost guarantees your opponent 2 Prizes if they come up against you. So in conclusion, Shaymin is probably going to end up as Ultra Ball feed more often than not, though it’s still a good option if you don’t run Virizion. Yveltal EX This card has become a staple in Darkrai since it was released in XY, and it fits just as well in Hydreigon. Evil Ball is an amazing attack, being able to hit for tons of damage - it is also this decks answer to Lugia EX. If you're playing Darkrai, you've got to play Yveltal EX. Cresselia EX One of the stranger inclusions in this deck, Cresselia EX’s main purpose is to serve as a damage sponge, should you run out of Max Potion. Against opposition Mewtwo or Deoxys EX, Cresselia can be used to grab 2 Prizes late-game. Cresselia can be a useful attacker, though whether you opt to run it or not is up to you. Terrakion LTR This deck really hates Darkrai/Garbodor decks, so being able to flip the game on its head, providing you have the right cards, can really devastate the opposition. The only issue is that Terrakion cannot abuse the Blend GFPD Energy that the rest of the deck feeds on, so you’ll need to tech in Prisms to use this. Hydreigon NVI Reprinted in Next Destinies, this Pokemon is insanely powerful. Being able to KO 3 Pokemon in 1 go - who’d pass that opportunity up? Doing 60 damage to the Active plus 40 to 2 of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon for [D][D][D][D] is pretty fantastic. A big bonus is that it can just be incorporated into your Hydreigon line and combines well with Darkrai EX. Absol PLF Sometimes it is nice to have a non-EX attacker hitting for big amounts of damage without taking up a lot of energy and therefore resources and time (This is Hydreigon NXD’s main issue-it uses a lot of energy to use Berserker Blade). 120 damage for [D][C] is not something to pass up; the only real issue with Absol is that Pyroar is able to stop it. Druddigon FLF This is arguably the best card to come out of Flashfire, and it is easy to see why - this guy is your answer to any opposing BKEX, Rayquaza DRV or Rayquaza EX and Latias EX. For a DCE, Revenge can one-shot any of the above Pokemon, but this can only be done once one of your Pokemon has been KO’d. Despite that minor drawback, Druddigon is a great tech in this deck as an answer to Blastoise and RayBoar. Bouffalant DRX A 100 HP Pokemon that has a damage-reducing Ability with an attack that does twice the base damage if against an EX…what’s not to like about this card? That Ability means Yveltal EX needs a massive six energy attached to be able to KO Bouffalant, while Bouffalant itself is able to 2HKO that big bad evil birdie. If you decide to play Eviolite, it means Yveltal needs seven energy to one-shot Bouffalant (I haven’t seen many people do this in a while though). Pretty darn impressive. Silver Bangle/Muscle Band Each card has its pros and cons: Silver Bangle boosts an attack’s output by 30 against an EX - the only problem is this is not activated if it is attached to an EX. Muscle Band is guaranteed to boost an attack’s output by 20, though this is 10 less damage than Silver Bangle. Using Silver Bangle in this deck allows Hydreigon to KO 170 HP EX’s, while a Night Spear snipe puts Darkrai into scope for KO’ing things like Kyurem PLF. Bearing all these things in mind, let me show you my current list: Pokemon-15 2 Deino DRX 93 1 Zweilous DRX 96 2 Hydreigon LTR 99 1 Darkrai EX 1 Yveltal EX 2 Sableye 1 Virizion EX 1 Entei EX 1 Latias EX 1 Absol PLF 1 Druddigon FLF 1 Mr. Mime PLF Trainers-35 3 Professor Sycamore 3 Shauna 2 Bianca 1 Pokemon Fan Club 1 Lysandre 3 Random Receiver 2 Pal Pad 2 Bicycle 4 Dark Patch 3 Ultra Ball 1 Level Ball 3 Rare Candy 2 Muscle Band 2 Sacred Ash 2 Startling Megaphone 1 Computer Search Energy-10 6 Darkness 4 Blend GFPD Pokemon 2-1-2 Hydreigon Line Most builds would run 3-1-3 or 2-0-3 lines, but 2-1-2 allows more room for techs whilst also providing an answer against Trevenant decks that lock Rare Candy. 1 Darkrai EX, 1 Yveltal EX In testing, I found that running 2 Darkrai EX gave me a higher chance of getting quick free retreat, though I missed the extra damage that Evil Ball could do. Likewise, I also found that 2 Yveltal EX and no Darkrai gave me a better chance of getting rid of my opponent’s Pokemon faster, but I missed having the free retreat. 1 of each is the best decision I feel I made. 2 Sableye DEX Not important enough to devote 3 slots to, but too important to cut down to 1 - this is because of how important Items are to the deck. Virizion over Keldeo This is due to space. If you run Keldeo, you have to run a Grass type attacker as well, whereas running Virizion is the safer way to block status conditions while also being a good Grass type attacker. Techs I chose these based on the metagame. Latias and Druddigon are included as a counter to Blastoise and RayBoar, as is Virizion, while Entei counters VirGen. Mr. Mime is put in to protect the bench from snipe damage. Trainers 3 Professor Sycamore, 0 N, 3 Shauna, 2 Bianca, 1 Lysandre, 1 Pokemon Fan Club, 3 Random Receiver, 2 Pal Pad Draw Support decisions can make or break a deck, so here is why I chose the cards I did: -I put Shauna over N as it gets you a flat 5 cards whenever you use it rather than its power decreasing the longer the game goes on. -Bianca is useful when your hand size is low; getting it back up to 6 cards instead of 1 or 2 can be great in times of need. -Lysandre is included as I like having some sort of gust effect in the deck, and Lysandre has been extremely useful in testing. -Pokemon Fan Club is there as extra search alongside Ultra Ball, and grabbing 2 Deino on turn 1 can be a game changer. -Random Receiver hasn’t been seen in a while, but there are times when you really don’t want to go without a Supporter - this card is your savior in those times. -Pal Pad can be used to get any of the above Supporters back and is good when combined with Random Receiver. It can also be Junk Hunted back with Sableye. 4 Dark Patch Needed for fast starts. Some recent builds of this deck have got away with running 3, but 4 offers greater consistency. 3 Rare Candy Since I only run a 2-1-2 Hydreigon line, I find it is possible to only run 3 Rare Candy and still get a fast Hydreigon into play. 3 Ultra Ball, 1 Level Ball Having the 1 Level Ball gives you more flexibility, and lets you grab Sableye, Deino, Zweilous and Mr. Mime. Running Ultra Ball is mandatory, as it is the best way of getting Darkness Energy into the discard pile ready for Dark Patch. 2 Muscle Band I put Muscle Band into the deck for extra damage, as it is gutting to sometimes end up 10 or 20 damage short of a KO - Muscle Band solves that. Sacred Ash over Super Rod I included Sacred Ash as more often than not, you are going to end up with Pokemon in the discard rather than Basic energy (That can be brought back into play with Dark Patch anyway), so Sacred Ash serves a better purpose than Super Rod. Startling Megaphone over Tool Scrapper With Tool Scrapper, you only get to discard 2 Tools in play, whereas with Startling Megaphone you get to discard a maximum of six. I hope I don’t have to explain why this is better. Computer Search Computer Search and Dowsing MCHN are the two best ACESPECs for this deck, but since you have Junk Hunt and you’re running a Stage 2 line, Computer Search works better in this deck. Matchups Given that Hydreigon can basically tech against any deck and that other decks can vary hugely, the matchup section is tough to describe. However, I’ll try best I can. Blastoise PLB/Keldeo EX/Black Kyurem EX PLS – 60/40 This matchup is surprisingly easy - Virizion is able to get big damage onto Keldeo EX and can also one-shot Blastoise, while Latias EX and Druddigon are your answer to Black Kyurem EX. With Pokemon Catcher on a flip, it is much harder to play round Latias, but it can’t block BKEX, so if you want to do that, I suggest including Sigyliph DRX. Fairybox - ??? I’m not going to give a percentage for this matchup, as it totally depends on what Pokemon they include. For example, they could run Pokemon that you are strong against or they could run Pokemon you’re weak against. I think the best option whatever they run is to attack constantly with Yveltal EX, as this damage does not really depend on what your opponent puts up against you. Empoleon DEX/Dusknoir PLB – 70/30 There are some Pokemon that are brilliant in one matchup and Latias EX fits that description perfectly for this matchup. If you can get that up early, it will be hard for them to do anything unless they run Leafeon PLF. In this case, you have Entei EX to deal with them; once the Leafeons are KO’d, this matchup becomes very easy. Make sure, however, that you don’t get too many Energies onto the field, or Leafeon will be able to get big damage on your side of the board. Rayquaza EX/Emboar NXD – 60/40 to 40/60 This matchup is all about your opponent – if they run Rayquaza LTR or Reshiram NXD then it is really quite hard to win this. Baby Ray is able to take care of Darkrai EX and Latias doesn’t really help in this matchup. Darkrai EX/Garbodor LTR – 30/70 This is probably the hardest matchup you will have to face as a Darkrai/Hydreigon player. Garbodor is able to shut off Dark Trance, and once this happens, you’ve generally lost. Even the 2 copies of Startling Megaphone will not help very much, as they generally run more than 2 Tools. The best way to approach this matchup is to target their Trubbish early game with Night Spear. If you are able to KO 2 Trubbish before they get a Garbodor in play, you will find the matchup a whole lot easier. Virizion EX/Genesect EX – 75/25 The priority for you in this game is getting Entei EX out and charged up ready for Grand Flame. Once you have done this, target their Genesect EX and get them out of the way. After that, you should find it rather easy to take out the rest of their attackers and win the game. It is even more favourable as Latias EX can block the 2 main attackers, with the only ways to break the lock being Red Signaling around it and wiping Latias EX out with G Booster, but Startling Megaphone can get G Booster out of play; this makes the matchup really good. Lugia EX/Deoxys EX/Thundurus EX – 45/55 This matchup is a bit iffy. If your opponent gets a fast setup the game becomes very hard, but if you get a fast Yveltal out you can have the better run. Despite this, the matchup is quite hard. Given that Lugia can take 3 Prizes at once, the game can be over after they’ve taken 2 KO’s, but getting 2 Lugia EX out of the way has to be your priority. Conclusion Thanks for reading the article everybody and I hope you have been inspired to try Darkrai/Hydreigon, a versatile deck that can be tailored to any metagame. If you have enjoyed it, let me know via PM. See you around Pokefans! -------------------------------- Please give feedback and thanks for reading!!