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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Dusknoir

- Boundaries Crossed

Date Reviewed:
Aug. 4, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.45
Limited: 3.99

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Dusknoir (BCR/PLB) 

Hello and welcome to an interesting week on Pojo’s CotD. Otaku has been very busy and unearthed some cards that haven’t been reviewed for a while, but are pretty widely used at the moment and look set to remain powerful come the rotation. 

We kick off with a look at Dusknoir, a card with a fantastic Ability that was just waiting for players to come along and (ab)use it. What Sinister Hand does is allow you to manipulate the damage you place on your opponent’s Pokémon . . . as much as you like. This can serve two main purposes: firstly it makes spread damage much more potent: if you can pile up the counters you inflict, then you can take KOs where you like on the board. Secondly, it means that no damage has to go to waste: need 50 to KO the opponent’s Pokémon but are using an attack which does 90? Well then, just shift four damage counters on to something else to set it up for a future knock out. This increases efficiency to the point where it is possible to KO two Pokémon in three turns, rather than four, which can make all the difference. 

So, where does Dusknoir find itself used? In decks that have a spread element such as those using Flygon BCR’s Sand Slammer Ability; in decks that often manage a bit of ‘overkill’ and could use the greater efficiency (like Empoleon DEX/Miltank FLF); and it also finds a home in decks where you actually don’t want to KO the opponent’s active because you’ve got it under some kind of lock (as with Accelgor DEX’s Paralysing Deck and Cover attack). Honestly though, Sinister Hand is such a useful Ability that I’m sure it will continue to find partners as long as it stays in the format. 

Dusknoir is that rare thing in today’s TCG: a Pokémon that requires a bit of intelligence and skill in order to use it to the best effect. I approve of this. 

Rating 

Modified: 3.75 (terrific support for a lot of Pokemon, but it is a Stage 2, so not the easiest thing to slot into a deck)

Limited: N/A


aroramage

Hey guys, welcome back! This week's going to be a little different, as we're taking a look at some of the most popular cards that have shown up in the Nationals of the Pokemon TCG! We've reviewed them all before (well, I haven't, but they're here!), and now we're going to take another look at them!
 
Today's card was a central part of Ishaan Jagiasi's deck, which ended up winning its way to the top of the Senior Division! Yep, Dusknoir from Boundaries Crossed helped take someone all the way to the top! There's also a very popular deck that showed up in the Nationals using a combination of Dusknoir, Flygon (DRX), and our good friend Accelgor (DEX)!
 
Before we get into these decks and how they work, let's take a look at Dusknoir himself! He's a Stage 2 with an expensive Shadow Punch that only does 60 damage that is unaffected by Resistance. Hey, a solid puncher on Darkrai-EX!...well, except for that Dark Weakness that would instantly KO him in a one-on-one. Clearly, Dusknoir's not an offensive threat.
 
Or is he? Dusknoir isn't exactly an attacker, but as seen here, he can be dangerous, thanks to his Ability! Sinister Hand acts similarly to Dusknoir (FLF)'s Shadow Void, except that instead of moving damage counters on your Pokemon around to Dusknoir, he moves the damage on your opponent's Pokemon around in any way you want. Basically, Sinister Hand is an offensive Shadow Void!
 
And that's where these decks come into play. See, Dusknoir can move damage counters around willy-nilly, even if it KOs Pokemon or puts them in range for an attack to come through and wipe them out! With the F-A-D deck, you keep Dusknoir on the bench and evolve your other guys into Flygon and Accelgor as soon as you can. Then, you use Accelgor's Deck and Cover attack to inflict an okay 50 damage on the Defending Pokemon. "Is that it?" you ask. Not even close! Deck and Cover also Paralyzes AND Poisons the Defending Pokemon AND it returns Accelgor to your hand.
 
"Wait, what's the point in that?" Well, with no Active Pokemon, you have to put a Benched Pokemon into play. Enter Flygon, whose Ability inflicts 10 damage on EVERY opposing Pokemon in between turns; that's a total of up to 60 damage overall before your opponent's turn even begins! Combined with the Poison, that's already 70 damage on the Defending Pokemon alone, and by your next turn that goes up to 90 damage (provided they don't switch out), with a potential for an extra 50 damage depending on how many Benched Pokemon your opponent has. At that point, you just move counters around and KO whoever with Dusknoir (which assuming all things go well with a full Bench and no switches should be about 190 damage), swap out Flygon with Accelgor, and start the whole process over again.
 
Ishaan went in a different direction with his deck, using Miltank (FLF) as his headliner and utilizing Empoleon (DEX) for draw power as well as an offensive backup! Both Miltank and Empoleon have super-cheap super-powerful attacks, with Miltank's depending on a Stage 2 on the Bench (like, say, Dusknoir) and Empoleon's providing up to 120 damage if both players get full Benches (though more likely that's somewhere around 70-90 damage, since you'd at least want your Bench to be full for this combo). With those two dealing heavy damage, and Dusknoir moving counters around, Ishaan managed to top over at Nationals in the Senior Division! What a play!
 
Dusknoir's still going to hang around the format, though we'll have to come up with a new set of strategies if we want to use him to this effect, since Empoleon, Accelgor, and Flygon are all rotating out in Modified. But hey, with Miltank as a powerhouse and the upcoming Stadium in Furious Fists, maybe Dusknoir's going to have a niche?
 
Rating
 
Modified: 3/5 (he loses some partners in the format, but that shouldn't detract from his value; it just will take some more creativity!)
 
Expanded: 3.5/5 (as you can see, Dusknoir has a long-standing history here in this format, and he'll continue to help out in whatever way he can)
 
Limited: 3/5 (if you're sticking around a Boundaries Crossed only world, he'll help you out just fine)
 
Arora Notealus: Spooky scary, spooky scary~
 
Next Time: Why does everything smell so bad in here?


Otaku

Hello readers!  This week we will be looking at some of the cards that played role at the U.S. Nationals, as a precursor to the pending World Championships.  We begin with Dusknoir (BW: Boundaries Crossed 63/149; BW: Plasma Blast 63/149), originally reviewed by the staff here about 20 months ago.  Two significant differences between then and now were the errata to Pokémon Catcher, nerfing it so that it required a coin flip to succeed, and the implementation of the current first turn rules. 

This perhaps explains why Dusknoir missed out on the Top 10 list for BW: Boundaries Crossed.  Well… no, not really; hindsight is 20/20 and if you look at the Top 10, you’ll see several cards that never really had the impact we expected.  So what actually makes Dusknoir so good?  It certainly isn’t being a Stage 2; that just slows it down and makes it require additional space… though it would be horribly broken as a Basic Pokémon so that is good.  Being almost never matters; you shouldn’t be attacking with it so the available support, Weakness and Resistance just aren’t going to matter.  The 130 HP does matter, especially with the Darkness Weakness; this card has always been in a format where it was a probable OHKO, especially for Darkness decks that were already a force back then.  The chunky Retreat Cost of three made it a legal Heavy Ball target which has been handy, but its status as a Bench-sitter has made that a less obvious Achilles’ Heel: fortunately most decks just adjust by running something to reduce or completely bypass said Retreat Cost. 

The only attack on the card is terrible so let us get it out of the way; four Energy on something robust needs to score a OHKO so 60 and ignoring Resistance doesn’t cut it even for [PCCC].  So at last we come to what you already knew; Sinister Hand has long been an amazing Ability; rarely do attacks hit for the exact amount of damage needed to KO the target, and often you have to attack something you’d rather ignore for a more important Pokémon on the Bench.  Sinister Hand solves these problems, which are most pertinent for Pokémon good at scoring 2HKOs and especially those that could only score near OHKOs, which usually meant a lot of wasted damage.  At the U.S. Nationals, Ishaan Jagiasi won the Seniors Division using an Empoleon (BW: Dark Explorers 29/108; BW: Plasma Freeze 117/116) deck to do just that. 

As Dusknoir usage has already been persevering against the many decks with potent Darkness-Type attackers, I don’t expect it to prove any less useful for the duration of the NEX-On format.  As Darkness-Type decks lose Dark Patch, there is some chance that it will in actually become a little better in the pending BCR-On format.  I expect it to have a presence in BW-On as well; a significant contributor to it and many of its preferred partners having less of a presence when BW-On was the Standard format was because of the previous iteration of rules and pre-erratum Pokémon Catcher.  I am not confident I can predict how BW-On will unfold (in fact I am confident that I don’t know); for now I will cautious predict a performance similar but different to NEX-On.  If you are fortunate enough to pull a Dusknoir line in Limited, run it unless you also pull a Pokémon-EX that would work better in a deck on its own: even a 1-1-1 line is a powerful presence here, on the Bench, meaning you don’t need to worry about the Energy concerns. 

Ratings 

Modified (NEX-On): 3.5/5 - A powerful presence but as a Bench-sitter backing up something else. 

Modified (BCR-On): 3.75/5 - Not having to worry quite as much about that Weakness is quite significant, even if a few decks will still be packing things like Yvealtal-EX. 

Expanded (BW-On): 3.5/5 - A bit more to deal with, but most of what really concerns Dusknoir, it is already facing in NEX-On. 

Limited: 4.95/5 - Technically you might pull something good enough to skip it, if you get a Pokémon-EX worth running a +39 build.  Note that you can’t run the Secret Rare version due to a lack of lower Stages, so its score is N/A in BW: Plasma Blast. 

Summary:  This card is a nightmare if your opponent is good at getting damage onto the board, and it extreme cases it can be used to maintain locks, including taking six Prizes in a single turn.  It is almost useless completely on its own, however, and that helps reign it in a bit.  Dusknoir is one of those cards you really should track down if you lack it; just be greatful most decks don’t require more than two.


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