Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dakrai EX/Terrakion/ Mewtwo EX

Terrakion is the anti-metagame card number one.
Hello everybody!

I just finished my entrance exam and now need something to distract me from the overthinking so here I go writing another entry once again. There is nothing like Pokémon when it comes to taking the stressing thoughts out of my head. In today’s entry I’ll discuss another Darkrai variant – Darkrai/Terrakion/Mewtwo EX.

After my Nationals victory the amount of Sableye/Darkrais increased everywhere and for example in Germany’s top32, there were 8 Sableye/Darkrai variants. I think they have been increasing in the U.S. Battle Roads’ as well. If you were running list similar to mine and did well in a tournament, be sure to let me know! I think before the Sableye/Darkrai entry, Terrakion/Darkrai/Mewtwo was the most discussed one because it won both Argentinian and Norwegian Nationals. And it’s no surprise that it won those tournaments because it’s a very strong deck with good typing against the most popular decks of the current metagame.

Anyways, let’s start with the list.


3x Darkrai EX
2x Mewtwo EX
2x Terrakion
2x Smeargle
2x Shaymin


2x Random Receiver
4x Professor Juniper
4x Professor Oak’s New Theory
2x N
2x Ultra Ball
2x Dual Ball
4x Junk Arm
4x Dark Patch
3x Pokémon Catcher
2x Eviolite
2x PlusPower
1x Switch
1x Energy Switch
2x Super Scoop Up
1x Energy Retrieval


8x Basic Darkness
5x Fighting Energy


As you can see from the list, this deck doesn’t have any cool tricks. It’s pretty much just like any Basic-variant in the current format. In fact, the strategy of this deck is very close to Six Corners’ strategy – just with the Pokémon that is the best Pokémon against your opponent’s active Pokémon. Against Eelektrik decks Terrakion is a very strong option, vs. CMT you might be forced to use Mewtwo EX and almost against everything else Darkrai will just tear them apart.

The deck is very mobile thanks to 2 Shaymins and Darkrai, which gives a free retreat even to Terrakion, which is in most decks more than a clunky tech. Shaymins combined with free retreat also conserves your energy and for example in Darkrai mirrors Shaymins play the key role alongside with SSU.

The deck also has energy acceleration of its own kind thanks to Dark Patches. Thanks to Dark Patches, you don’t have to run Exp. Shares, which most Basic decks need to run. With Dark Patch and Shaymin, you can easily load any of your attackers in a single turn.

Card Explanations:

Darkrai EX

The main Pokémon of this deck (oh really?!?!). Just like Mewtwo EX was a must attacker in every new deck in HS-NEX era, now it seems that Darkrai have to be in every single new deck as well. And why shouldn’t it – it’s a pure beast. Even though Darkrai doesn’t necessarily work as a main attacker of this deck, it’s till the core of this deck due its ability. The deck’s starter is obviously Smeargle, which you want to have a free retreat. The deck also has Mewtwo EX, which retreat cost is 2 – you don’t want to pay that much for a retreat. Not to forget that this deck also runs Terrakion, the antimetagame Pokémon with a whopping retreat cost of 4. All this issues are solved with one Darkness energy to the Pokémon and a Darkrai EX on the bench. The ability combined with Shaymin’s power and the versatility of these attackers, makes the deck as strong as it is (tier1).

Mewtwo EX

Mewtwo EX plays a huge role in this deck. That’s because it’s the best attacker against Darkrai’s worst enemy – fighting decks. The other attacker of this deck(Terrakion) doesn’t really give you the edge against fighting decks. And even though Mewtwo EX is good against Fighting decks, it doesn’t completely cover this deck’s weakness to pure fighting decks. One must also not forget how Mewtwo EX really is. It can single-handedly win you the game if your opponent can’t counter OHKO and it has 5+ energy attached to it. It’s also a necessity if your opponent happens to have a fully loaded Mewtwo EX on their side. Fully-powered Mewtwo EX will run through Darkrais easily and to counter OHKO your opponent’s Mewtwo EX straight back, you need your own Mewtwo EX. You might think that Mewtwo EX lost its meaning when Darkrai came around but that’s not true, Mewtwo EX is still one of the best solutions even AGAINST Dakrai, even though Darkrai has a resistance to Mewtwo EX.


This big guy wins you so many match-ups. Especially the two most played match-ups of the current metagame – Eels and Darkrai. A three energy Terrakion OHKOs any Pokémon from Zekrom EX to Darkrai Ex. You can make Terrakion even stronger by attaching Eviolite to it and after that especially straight Darkrai decks are in huge trouble. As already mentioned, Terrakion has a huge retreat but thanks to Darkrai’s ability, Terrakion is in this deck as mobile as a 30HP Tynamo. Mostly you’ll attack with Retaliate and Revenge OHKO Darkrais but sometimes you might have time for Land Crush. Terrakion is one of the best cards in the current format because it can easily OHKO the most played EXs while it’s rarely even OHKOed back. Not to mention it isn’t even an EX-Pokémon!


Nowadays Smeargle is a staple in every single deck. It’s played even in stage2 and Vileplume decks! In this deck Smeargle is especially good because you want thing into discard pile and you want to be fast as well. Thanks to Darkrai and Shaymin, Smeargle will give you T2 and sometimes even T1 Darkrais after you’ve Junipered two times in T1.


Just like Smeargle, Shaymin is becoming more and more staple in every single metagame. That’s because with Shaymin it’s easier to load enough energy to Mewtwo EX to OHKO Darkrai EX. It’s also becoming more and more popular because with Shaymins power you can take the full advantage of Darkrai’s ability. (for example putting Smeargle to the active spot, use Portrait and then retreat the Smeargle and move the energy from Smeargle to your attacker). The deck also runs SSU to reuse Shaymins and heal of your damaged EXs when you’ve moved the energy away with Shaymin. I wouldn’t run this deck without 2 Shaymins because Shaymin is a very vital card for this deck’s strategy.

Random Receiver - Professor Juniper -  Professor Oak’s New Theory

This card combination should be in every deck that doesn’t run stage2 Pokémon. These are the best draw cards of the current format – period.


I was deciding between 2 and 3 Ns with this deck. Unlike Hammertime Darkrai, I think this deck needs N since it will often end up into a prize exchange race. And in prize exchange race, there is nothing as important as playing Ns at the right time.

Ultra Ball - Dual Ball

This deck needs Dual Balls more than Ultra Balls because unlike Hammertime, you want to get multiple basic at a time. By multiple basics I mean Shaymin + something you want to move energy to. Ultra Ball is good and bad card at the same time. You can get Basic Darkness energy to discard pile but at the same time, you might be forced to discard cards you don’t want to discard. You might also want to run 3-1 Dual Ball- Ultra Ball line, if you feel that Ultra Ball is too much discarding for you.

Junk Arm

You know.

Dark Patch

Dark Patch is the only from of energy acceleration in this deck, so you want to run 4 of them. Running 4 of them also gives you a higher chance to get a T1 Darkrai EX running. T1 Darkrai EX gives many decks huge trouble. Dark Patch can only attach energy to Darkrai so you need Shaymin/Energy Switch to move those energy around if you want to give them to your other attackers. That’s why you should always have 1 Darkrai EX sitting on the bench, just waiting to get energy accelerated.

Pokémon Catcher

Nothing too surprising about Catcher in this deck, You can Catcher their benched Darkrais to the active spot if you want to Retaliate OHKO for 2 prizes. Catchers are just plain good especially for getting the last prizes.


Eviolite is VERY important in this deck. In fact, I think this deck would be just bad if it didn’t run Eviolite. Eviolite gives your attacker the extra-life you need. Most importantly it takes Terrakion from the OHKO range of almost everything, There is only a handful of cards in the format that can OHKO Eviolited Terrakion. Also, when you have Eviolite attached to Darkrai, you’ll force your opponent to have a PlusPower if they want to OHKO your Darkrai with Terrakion. Eviolite makes all the difference.


PlusPower is a natural counterpart for Eviolite. Like mentioned, you need a PlusPower for Terrakion to OHKO an Eviolited Darkrai. That’s why PlusPower are mostly for in this deck. However, the good thing about PlusPower is that, it can be useful at any part of the game.

Switch – Super Scoop Up

If the deck wasn’t mobile enough, well now it is. Switch isn’t necessary since Darkrai gives you a free retreat but 1 Switch is a very good choice for every deck if your opponent’s happens to use random Special Condition cards (i.e. Tynamo’s Thunder Wave).

Super Scoop is mainly in this deck because you want to heal your damaged EXs and reuse your Shaymins. The other option is just to run Max Potions but to be honest, I like SSU better even though they are flippy. Max Potion is just, well, meh.

Energy Switch

Energy Switch is just a Junk Armable Shaymin. And sometimes you only need move one energy from your Pokémon to another so playing Shaymin at that point is overkill. Energy Switch may also surprise your opponent because they are always expecting for Shaymin but they may not expect Energy Switch (i.e. in situation’s when your bench is full).

Energy Retrieval

Energy Retrieval is an insurance card. You can just discard it at any point of the game and after that you’ll always have both – Darkness and Fighting – energy at your service. I love Energy Retrieval in every dual-typed deck that runs Terrakion because you don’t want to miss any of the Retaliate chances you get during games.


8-5 line of energy runs just as good as it should. One option is to run Prism energy instead of Fighting energy but after that Energy Retrieval will be useless. Prism energy is also more vulnerable to cards like Lost Remover that are becoming more and more popular thanks to Hammertime. The difference with Basic energy and non-Basic energy makes all the difference in that match-up. Prism energy could be used for Mewtwo EXs second attack as well but I don’t think it will be useful in any of the important match-ups.


The deck is really good (what else can you expect from a tier1 deck) but it also has its weaknesses. Let’s see what are the main weaknesses of this deck.

1) Fighting variants

I already mentioned about this in the Mewtwo EX part. The deck has no real answer against Fighting because the deck doesn’t play Tornadus EX or other Fighting resistant attackers. If you’re facing a Landorus/Terrakion or a straight Terrakion, you’ll probably have a very tough match ahead of you. If you want to find an answer to this problem, you want to probably run Prism Energy and Virizion/Shaymin EX. Shaymin EX is a very strong answer agains pure fighting decks because it’s both Grass type and Fighting resistant.

2) Lack of Energy acceleration

The deck has energy acceleration but the acceleration isn’t unlimited unlike in Eelektrik decks. Once you have burned all of your Dark Patches, all you have left is manual attachment. If you run Prism Energy instead of Fighting energy you’ll especially be in trouble against decks like Hammertime because they can just discard all your energy and then win the game.

3) Prize exchanges

Darkrai is the most popular and probably the best deck variant around the metagame and that’s why you will probably face a lot of mirrors with this deck. Especially in mirror match-ups you’ll sometimes run into a brainless prize exchange (just like with Mewtwo EX in the past format). This prize exchanges usually happen with Terrakion OHKOing a Darkrai. Sometimes you might even end up into old-fashioned Mewtwo war with this deck! By all means try to avoid that because it won’t probably end well since you have no real energy acceleration for your Mewtwos.


All in all, I think this deck is a real tier1 deck and will stay like that until the rotation. I wouldn’t be too surprised if it won U.S. Nationals or Worlds. It may seem a bit clunky and it may even be a bit clunky in the early game but as soon as you’re set-upped, it will steamroll through most decks. The deck is very versatile and mobile and what’s even more important, it has no really bad match-ups. A skilled player can pilot this deck through every obstacle in a tournament.

I hope you enjoyed this entry and let me know what you think about it. All the questions and comments are also more than welcome! Also, let me know, what other Darkrai variant articles you want to see in my blog so I can start preparing them.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great entry once again :) . Keep up the good work!

  2. Nice article! By the way, the week after Norway Nationals, Darkrai/Terrakion/Mewtwo also won Denmark Nationals. And Darkrai/Sableye had a notable presence at Norway Nationals too, finishing 1st in Seniors and 2nd in Juniors.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. A similar variant also won Italian Nationals in Masters.

  5. Nice article! Darkrai EX/Tornadus EX next time? :D

  6. Hey Esa! Nice article you have written once again. Will you be covering the Dragon Blast / Dragon Blade expansion and possible decklists anytime soon? I've been anticipating a review of Garchomp/Altaria deck.

  7. Where is the donation button Esa!?!? :)

  8. Thanks everyone!

    Anonymous1: Thanks a lot, glad you enjoyed!

    Ahh, yes, how did I miss Denmark AND Italy, lol. So it has been doing even better than I knew! Well, it's no surprise - the deck is very strong.

    Anonymous2: You can find the Darkrai EX/Tornadus EX article here:

    Joel Chan: Thanks a lot! I'm pretty sure I'll focus on HS-on until Worlds since I'll be attending Worlds but after that I'll write articles about BW-on decks. And Garchomp/Altaria will be the first in line!

    Anonymous3: Haha, well if even thetopcut doesn't get any donations, I think there is no need for one in my blog. And since I got a summer job and I'll keep doing UG articles, I don't need the donation button!

  9. Hi Esa, I have a few questions for you regarding this deck/Hammertime, it'd thank a lot if you can answer these for me x)

    1) Why did you decide to take Hammertime to your Nats and not this deck? Are Hammertime's matchups better in general?

    2) Which deck do you think has de advantage one-on-one? Hammer or Darkrai/Mewtwo/Terrakion?

    3) In your Nats report you said Vileplume eats Hammertime alive. However, in my testing (especially against Kumis.dec, great deck!)I really didn't find that to be true. It's true that now I already know how to play against Kumis.dec (Eviolite on Darkrai to protect against Terrakion OHKO's and Tornadus give Kumis.dec a really hard time), but do you think Darkrai/Mewtwo/Terrakion has a easier time against Vileplume variants?

    4)Finally, why do you say you prefer Dark Claw to Eviolite on Hammer? Eviolite helps a lot against Vileplume variants, and forces the opponent to have the Pluspower on non-trainer lock Terrakion attacks, which may give you the game if they don't get it.

    I appreciate your time, I'm still testing for my Nats and these answers would help me a lot Esa. Thank you and keep up the great work!

  10. >:U aaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh too many people are going to get creamed by vaniluxe because no 1 will play any switch cuz retreat is free thx to darkrai!! going to play vaniluxe at battle roads tomorrow. guna rock.

  11. Once again, great article! About the decklist, I don't reely like SUU... it's so flippy and I prefer to run -1 shaymin +1 energy switch. You don't want to get a shaymin as starter D:

  12. one of the juniors at my league has been running your EXACT list of hammertime and has placed 1st in 2 brs now. thank you!

  13. Anonymous1:

    1) Hammertime had a surprise factor back then. It was an unique deck and in a big tournament surprise factor is always a key to victory. I think this deck is as good as Hammertime but the surprise factor was the reason why I played it at Nats.

    2) The match-up is 50-50. It comes down to the openings of both players, coin flips and the players' skill.

    3) The Vileplume match-up can be easily fixed with one Mewtwo EX. That's why I think Mewtwo/Tornadus/Darkrai has a better Vileplume match-up. But nothing stops you from teching Mewtwo EX into this deck.

    4) Dark Claw is a very aggressive card, but as you could see I played more Eviolites than Dark Claws. Both are good and it depends very much on the metagame, whichever is the wise play. The cards are very situational in the end.

    Darkwing34: Very nice to hear that. Congratulations!

  14. Darkrai/ mewtwo/ terrakion sucks against zek/ eels variants, between raiku sniping, mewtwo's being catchered in and terrakions getting one shotted by a pluspowered zekrom.
    Good deck against darkrai decks cause terrakion is a tank but that's it .
    In my opinion your hammer time deck smokes this deck.

    1. Actually the deck has a very positive matchup against Zekrom Eelektrik variants. Darkrai deals with the Eelektriks very nicely, and an eviolited Terrakion absolutely demolishes the rest of the deck, especially since a pluspower will hit through an eviolited Raikou EX, Zekrom EX, etc. Zekrom Eelektrik also doesn't OHKO anything in this deck, except maybe Mewtwo EX, so the Shaymin/Max Potion and SSU combination is also killer. Just thought you shuold know

    2. I go this deck coz it is the top competitive deck ever to have been used


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