The number three pick for our Top 5
Reprints of BW: Legendary Treasures
Like the last two picks, this is
the fourth time
Darkrai EX has been printed: you may
now choose between BW: Dark Explorers
63/108 and 107/108, BW Promo
BW46, and BW: Legendary Treasures
Also like the last two picks, the
older versions of this card were
Modified legal without requiring a new
printing, which means it didn’t make my
list of picks.
was a card that amazed me, because it
Mewtwo EX (released the set before)
wasn’t a one off fluke: in the few
Mewtwo EX debuted, it had taken over
the format and crowded out the other
Pokémon-EX from its set.
The other Pokémon-EX seemed
better balanced (some would say “weaker)
Mewtwo EX, so there was much concern
that until it rotated out,
Mewtwo EX would continue to control
Then came BW: Dark Explorers
and we had three Pokémon-EX shaping the
format instead of one (Tornadus
EX being the third).
not only had to share the crown with
something else, but with what you might
consider its counterpart, the flip side
of the coin:
Mewtwo EX was the “universalist”
played in most decks while
Darkrai EX was the “specialist”
(though a somewhat broad one);
Mewtwo EX focused on raw power (more
Energy meant more damage) while
Darkrai EX focused on more strategic
power (managing Bench hits, plus being
used for the Ability);
Mewtwo EX was used almost only for
X-Ball, while it was likely that
Darkrai EX was used as often for
both of it’s attack and Ability as often
as for its Ability alone.
Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers
62/108) are the focus of multiple decks.
the obvious strengths of the cards, they
enjoyed another advantage; the metagame
isn’t as diverse as in some formats.
I don’t broach that to complain
about how many different decks are
viable but to focus on how most decks
have a very similar style and feel right
Darkrai EX exploited that; it is
more of a “strategic” beatdown because
it couldn’t bring the raw power until
the advent of
Hypnotoxic Laser and
Virbank City Gym, and even then it
wasn’t the same kind of raw power Deluge
This meant they had to be dealt
with in a different manner, and when it
was realized that focusing on just one
part of the generic strategy (generic
versus Hammer Time Versus Laser Time
Versus Speedrai) it created a pitfall
for opponent’s that misread a deck’s
This is a stark contrast to (for
example) a Deluge deck that might be
using any of half a dozen beatsticks,
but is still clubbing you upside the
head in a direct manner with most.
With the new rules, these decks are
going to be hurt.
Sure, an opening
Sableye (or anything with more than
30 HP) is safe from being KOed first
turn, but the common thing about the
EX variants was a goal to never
waste that first attack.
The deck didn’t fall completely
apart if you went second or opened with
Darkrai EX you couldn’t successfully
power-up first turn, but the best
defense in Pokémon is a good offense;
the goal was to minimize those slow
starts and the “normal” and “fast”
starts easily offset them where as now
they are mandatory.
The erratum to
Pokémon Catcher makes it much harder
to set up multiple
and avoid wasting damage on overkill,
and while it is still just talk at this
point; there is a lot of it about
running a TecH
Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze
/116) to deal with Bench damage – a flat
90 per turn (even if Items can enhance
it) may not be enough.
It isn’t all doom and gloom, though; new
Darkrai EX variants have risen.
There is only one that is well
known enough that even I have seen it:
Garbotoxin will (eventually) shut
down Dark Cloak, but in an example of
Pokémon Catcher erratum working for
Darkrai EX, you should need to
retreat a little less as your opponent
also won’t be reliably forcing up the
Benched Pokémon of their choice.
This also takes care of
Mr. Mime and its Bench Barrier.
This set also brought back too
old favorites of more traditional
Darkrai EX decks:
Energy Switch and
So despite some very real
Darkrai EX has likely just changed,
but not significantly diminished.
For Unlimited, let me first remind
players that I have to rely even more on
Theorymon here than elsewhere – there
few tournaments that use this format and
I have no data on the results, and sadly
it has been a ridiculous amount of time
since my last serious Unlimited match.
With that in mind, I believe
Darkrai EX is another solid option
if you wish to go with a more
Like all Pokémon with exceedingly
high HP scores, it impairs the most
common First Turn Win deck (which is
described in the last two CotDs).
Unlike the last two CotDs, this
is a card that requires a very specific
deck backing it, and I am uncertain as
to how best to play it.
For Limited the +39 approach is the
obvious choice but remember it isn’t
Sigilyph (BW: Legendary Treasures
66/113) has Safeguard which nearly
guarantees you lose when it hits the
In the unlikely event you’re at
an event using multiple sets, you also
have to fear attacks like Amnesia or
Torment that block one of an opponent’s
attacks from being used, because
Darkrai EX has only one attack.
The biggest risk is simply that
you’ll need three turns to build, so
even if you go first your opponent gets
two free attacks.
your opponent has two really small
Pokémon, you’ll need at least three uses
of Night Spear to win (KOing three
Active and one Benched Pokémon), for a
total of five attacks
Darkrai EX has to survive… and
BW: Dark Explorers has “okay” to
great Fighting Types for Limited while
BW: Legendary Treasures has flat
out good to great Fighting-Types for
With Fighting-Type Weakness being
so common, any player that is competent
and not unlucky will have at least one
such card in his or her deck.
Of course if you choose to build a
fleshed out deck for Limited, you will
likely avoid losing for the above
reasons but instead will have a slightly
increased risk of losing from more
traditional risks, but Dark Cloak then
turns this into a must run card: you
will make room for some basic
Darkness Energy to enable free
decks are going to have to adjust to the
new rules, but adjust I believe most
The only real surprise here is in
Limited, when I realized that the
abundance of Fighting-Types actually
puts this below its set-mates.
I didn’t include
Darkrai EX on my list as mentioned
above because it didn’t need the reprint
to be Modified legal, but had I been
focusing purely on how good a card was
in the current format it would have made
the top three and possibly the top spot.