Monday, July 16, 2012

Hydreigon/Darkrai - The Dark Dominator

Hello everyone!

It’s finally time to begin the BW-on era in my deck articles. I’m obviously preparing for Worlds, but thankfully the deck I’m going to analyze today, is very close to Nationals winning deck – Klinklang. I’ve tested the deck moderately and in BW-on environment it works like a dream.

As you know if you are a regular visitor of my blog, the deck I’m talking about won the Worlds Qualifiers in Japan. In this article, the list I’ll analyze differs only a few cards from the winning list since the winning list was a very good list (obviously it wouldn’t have won, if it was a bad list!).

Anyways, that’s for the introduction; let’s start by looking at the list.(All the translations are from the Pokebeach, by the way).


3x Darkrai EX
1x Shaymin EX
3x Hydreigon(
Dragons Exalted)
1x Zweilos(
Dragons Exalted)
2x Deino (Noble Victories)
1x Deino (
Dragons Exalted)
3x Sableye


4x Professor Juniper
3x Bianca
4x N
4x Pokémon Catcher
4x Dark Patch
3x Rare Candy
2x Eviolite
3x Ultra Ball
2x Level Ball
3x Max Potion
2x Random Receiver


8x Basic Darkness Energy
4x Blend Energy Grass/Fire/Psychic/Darkness(
Dragons Exalted)


As I said earlier, this deck reminds me a lot of Klinklang. Hydreigon does the same as Klinklang, except it does it better. You just move around the energy from your Pokémon to other Pokémon and keep them alive with Max Potions. Since the BW-on format doesn’t have Junk Arm, the deck needs Sableye to get the Max Potions back to your hand. Changing one prize card for 2 Max Potions isn’t a bad exchange.

Also, this deck is a lot more aggressive than Klinklang. Klinklang can easily fall behind in prizes, but this deck doesn’t need to. This deck has it all: energy acceleration, energy manipulation, speed, firepower versatility… I could go on forever. The deck has almost no weaknesses since dragon types are such a good cards because of their weakness to Dragon. You need a Dragon Pokémon to OHKO a Dragon Pokémon and non-Dragon decks have a difficult time against this deck since Hydreigon is virtually impossible to OHKO in this deck.

Let’s take a look at the card explanations, which explain the deck’s assets far better than simple strategy analysis.

Card Explanations

Darkrai EX

Darkrai EX is still one of the best cards in the BW-on format. It’s also the main attacker of this deck. With Dark Patch and Hydreigon’s ability it’s very easy to load energy accelerate a fresh Darkrai EX to your bench and just heal off the damage on the damaged Darkrai EX. Darkrai EX has a whopping 180 HP and since the only real way to OHKO Darkrai EX is to use Terrakion, you need a Terrakion to defeat this deck. If you have ever played against Klinklang, you know what happens when you aren’t able to OHKO their attackers.

Darkrai EX also gives a free retreat to every Pokémon in play. As we know from Klinklang, Darkrai EX’s ability is very good in decks that can move energy around as they wish. Darkrai EX’s ability combined with Hydreigon’s ability gives any of your Pokémon a free retreat whenever you need it. The more mobile a deck is, the better it usually also is and thanks to Darkrai this deck is as mobile as it can get.

We all know how deadly Darkrai EX is since it has dominated the HGSS-on format as well and I don’t think I need to go too in-depth with its attack. Night Spear combined with Max Potion is as deadly in BW-on format, as it would be in HGSS-on format. Probably even deadlier, because the BW-on environment is a little bit slower than HGSS-on format. Thanks to Darkrai EX this deck can be one of the fastest decks in the BW-on format.

Deino (Noble Victories)  - Deino (
Dragons Exalted)

In my opinion, there isn’t too much of a difference between these cards. The other one can paralyze and the other one can hit 10 or 20 for 1 energy. The main qualities of a Basic, which has a stage2 form, is weaknesses and HP amount. The other Deino is weak to fighting, while the other one is weak to Dragon. I think these both are bad weaknesses in the BW-on format, but I would probably lean towards to the Fighting weak Deino (Noble Victories) since Rayquaza(Dragon Blast) can easily OHKO the Dragon weak Deino.

Dragons Exalted/Noble Victories)

Even though the winner played this Zweilous, I’m not completely convinced that this is the better choice. This Zweilous’ attacks are better, but its weakness to Dragon and 80 HP disturbs me. It may be a metagame choice, because if Fighting Pokémon were popular in their metagame, this Dragon weak is a better choice. After all, all Zweilous needs to do is to stay alive for one turn until you can evolve it into Hydreigon.

Hydreigon(Dragons Exalted)

– Dragon – HP150

Stage 2 – Evolves from Zweilous

Ability: Dark Trance
As often as you like during your turn (before your attack), you may move a Darkness Energy attached to 1 of your Pokemon to another of your Pokemon.

[P][D][D][C] Dragon Blast: 140 damage. Discard 2 Darkness Energy attached to this Pokemon.

Weakness: Dragon (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 3

Hydreigon is just like Klinklang. Except it’s one hundred times better. First of all Hydreigon has 150 HP, which is a whopping amount of HP for a non-EX Pokémon. Also, it’s weak to Dragon type, which is almost as good weakness as Klinklang’s Fire weakness. Hydreigon has the same ability as Klinklang, except Hydreigon can only move Darkness energy, not metal energy. However, thanks to Dark Patch, Darkrai EX, moving Darkness energy is better than moving Metal Energy.

However, Hydreigon gets even better. With 4 energy it can hit for 140 damage. This is enough to OHKO almost any EX Pokémon in the format that has been hit by Night Spear’s 30 damage more than once. Of course this attack also has a drawback (discarding 2 Darkness energy), but thanks to Dark Patch, discarding 2 energy doesn’t really matter.

Even though Hydreigon can be thought as supporting Pokémon, its attack is one of the best in the whole. Especially combined with Darkrai EX’s bench damage, Hydreigon is very desrtuctive force in the BW- on metagame. Even in HGSS-on metagame this deck would be a real tier1 deck since it has all the qualities a real tier1 deck needs.


Without Sableye this deck wouldn’t work. Klinklang works because Junk Arm is still in the HGSS-format, but since Junk Arm will not be in the BW-on format, this deck needs Sableye in place of Junk Arm.

Sableye is unbelievably versatile in this deck. It works as a starter and as a mid and late game Junk Arm. It’s always better to sacrifice one Sablaye and use Junk Hunt to get 2 Max Potions from your discard pile than to get your Darkrai EX killed. Sableye is only a 1 free prize while getting 2 Max Potions from your discard pile can give your Darkrai EX a 2-3 more turns to be alive. As you understand, this exchange is greatly in your favor.

You also shouldn’t forget that you can get anything Junk Hunt, from Rare Candy to Random Receiver and Pokémon Catcher. It not only can keep your opponent from taking his/her last prize, but can also give you your last prize in form of a Catcher or Dark Patch. As a Hammertime fan, I know how awesome, underrated and versatile Sableye really is. However, thanks to this deck Sableye will become a very familiar card to everyone – it’s that good and will be more than awesome in the BW-on format.

Shaymin EX

I love Shaymin EX in this deck. It’s a perfect tech for many reasons. It has Fitghting resistance, it’s a great late game attacker. It’s a Grass type (Terrakion’s weakness), but most of all it can use Blend Energy. The use of Blend Energy has been taken to new level in this deck since both Shaymin and Hydreigon can use it. The deck’s creator has really taken all out of Blend Energy’s versatile. Not only Shaymin EX fits perfectly in this deck due its stats, it’s also always a great tech into any deck.

Random Receiver – Professor Juniper – Bianca – N

This will be a very familiar supporter-build in the upcoming season. We don’t have PONT anymore, so N’s must be maxed out. This deck isn’t disrupted by late game N as much as Basic decks, since the deck doesn’t really need anything in the late game. All the energy and attackers are already on the field.

I’ll probably make a completely own article of BW-on season’s supporter engines, so I won’t be analyzing this build so much in this article. This supporter line is a great starting point for any BW-on deck, but I’m sure it can still be perfected.

Ultra Ball- Level Ball

Ultra Ball is so good card in this deck since it runs Dark Patches and Sableye. There is nothing I love more than Sableye – Ultra Ball combo. It’s perfect. Thanks to Sableye and Ball engine, you will get a set-up very fast. The 3-2 Ultra Ball-Level Ball line is just optimal for a deck like this. Level Ball is in this deck doing the same job as Dual Ball would do, but since Dual Ball is rotated out, Level Ball is the best card to search for Basic like Deino.

Pokémon Catcher

Well, it shouldn’t be a surprise that in BW-on format you must almost always play 4 Catchers. You don’t have a Junk anymore so you must take the most out of every single Catcher you use. The lack of Catcher will make the game a lot more challenging resource management wise and it’s only a good thing. Say bye-bye to 6 easy prizes and welcome to a more skilled gaming environment!

Dark Patch

The original list played only 3 Dark Patches, but I decided to put in a 4th since I think that makes Hydreigon more useful as an attacker. I love the fact that this deck can attack with Hydreigon and I would take the most out of Hydreigon’s attack since it’s possible. 140 damage is a lot even in the BW-era and I don’t think there is a time when you don’t want to use Dark Patches. Sometimes you might be able to even get a T1-T2 Darkrai thanks to 4 Dark Patches and as you know, T1-T2 Darkrai EX is very destructive to your opponent’s set-up.

Rare Candy

Did you remember that this card existed? I almost didn’t since it has been such a long time when I build a stage2 deck last time (except for Plume variants, haha). You really don’t need more than 3 Candies in this deck because once you have set-upped one Hydreigon, your opponent can’t really waste time Catchering it - otherwise he will be destroyed by your Darkrais.


Eviolite is always good when it comes to tanking decks like this. Even though this deck isn’t as tanking deck as Klinklang, Eviolite never goes in vain. The most important thing is that Eviolite can keep your Darkrai alive from a Retaliate. Of course Tool Scrapper will be released, so playing 4 Eviolites would be risky, because they would end up into the discard pile too often before doing any good for you.

Max Potion

As I said earlier, this isn’t a thoroughbred tanking deck. The deck is more aggressive than Klinklang. However, Max Potions still do the same job in this deck as they do in Klinklang- heal whatever you want to heal. An aggressive approach compared to tanking is what makes this deck so good and Max Potion is obviously a big part of it. Since you can move the energy away from whatever you want to heal, you don’t need to discard the energy from Max Potion.

This deck could easily play 4 Max Potions, but that’s why you have Sableye for – to reuse the Max Potions on Darkrais and Hydreigon. Without Max Potion this deck would be only another tier2 deck, but thanks to Max Potion, the deck is a clear top tier deck.


Blend Energy GRPD
– Special Energy
This card provides 1 [C] Energy. As long as this card is attached to a Pokemon, it provides either [G], [R], [P], or [D] Energy, but only 1 Energy at a time.

Well, the deck plays 8 Basic Darkness. It doesn’t want to play Special Darkness since you can’t get them back with Dark Patch. However, Blend energy is where the energy get interesting.

As I have earlier said, this deck abuses Blend energy beautifully. First of all, this Blend energy provides Psychic/Grass/Darkness/Fire energy. Hydreigon uses Psychic and Darkness energy for its destructive attack. Also, as said earlier, Shaymin EX uses Grass energy for its attack. Since Rainbow Energy is rotated out, you’ll need to use imagination how to abuse the Blend energies as well as in this deck.

Why is the deck so good?

Dark Patch

Without energy acceleration like Dark Patch, this deck wouldn’t be as good as it now is. As you know, Klinklang has an autoloss Hammertime in the HGSS-on format because it has no energy acceleration. The energy accelereation Dark Patch provides to this deck is one of the key ingredients to this deck’s success.


Just like with Klinklang, this deck would be nowhere without the energy manipulation. However, while Klinklang only moves energy around, Hydreigon plays a big part in getting prizes. Most decks usually have some weaknesses, it may be their inconsistency, slowness or lack of high damage. However, thanks to Hydreigon this deck is able to succeed in what most Darkrai EX based decks fail to do – deal a lot of damage with a single attack. Hydreigon’s 140 damage is a lot, but if it would hit 150 damage… Well, it would be broken.

Dragon Type

Dragon type has its pros and cons. You would think that weakness to Dragon is only a pro, but in fact it’s both – a pro and a con. Dragon weakness is good since there are only a few Dragon type Pokémon in the format at the moment, but at the moment, most of them are playable.

Overall, Dragon type is more of a pro. Even though they are playable, there is s only 1 card you should be afraid of a lot – Garchomp. I’ll analyze Garchomp/Altaria in my next deck entry, so if you aren’t familiar with the deck yet, be sure to check it out.


As I said multiple times in this entry, this deck has it all. Darkrai gives a great mobility to the deck. The deck can be aggressive, but at the same time it has huge tanks as attackers. It also can move energy around as much as it wants to and it can attach energy from the discard pile via Dark Patches. You shouldn’t forget that this deck has 3 different types of attackers, which mostly cover each other weaknesses while doing massive amounts of damage. Sableye starter is just an icing on the cake, which makes the deck perfect. The deck has all the qualities a BDIF should have and even though the BW-on season hasn’t even started, I can easily say this is one of the top2 decks of the early season.


All in all, it’s pretty obvious what I think about this deck. It won the Japanese Worlds Qualifier and it was no fluke. The deck is one of the strongest decks in the BW-on season and I believe we’ll be seeing this deck all season no matter what kind of cards will be released. The most interesting thing about this deck and concept is its versatility and that in hands of a skilled it can be modified into a whole new level. Even if the deck itself won’t be around in the Worlds 2013, the concept will be.

This was my very first BW-on deck entry, so I hope everyone enjoyed it. Feel free to leave requests of what BW-on decks you would like me to analyze in the future. Also, feel free to leave any comments or questions for this article.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great article, as always. My friend and I have playtested this with minor changes, and we really can't see what can beat it. Even Garchomp (which we also playtested) couldn't keep up. Can you see any weaknesses, other than bad luck?

  2. I've been testing this deck since after US Nats.(Testing with my buddies that aren't going to Hawaii) Against Garchomp, the games tend to get pretty close since they're so fast. Once this deck gets set up it's a complete monster, but Garchomp gets set up by turn 3 almost every game. After several close matches, I threw in a Mewtwo. This nigga completely destroys Garchomp when you play him down late game. If you move 5 energy to him you will be taking down at least 2 garchomps. I also have Sigilyph in my list to deal with other mewtwos.

  3. Black Plague can beat it.

  4. "Well, the deck plays 8 Basic Darkness. It doesn’t want to play Special Darkness since you can’t get them back with Dark Patch."

    Also because Special Darkness isn't in BW-on.

    You also mention it would make Hydreigon deal 150 damage. It wouldn't, because Hydreigon is Dragon-type, not Dark-type.

    Aside from that, nice article but it seems very theoretical. I understand that the meta is still new (and you're going to Worlds so I assume you're still focused on HGSS-on, like me) so you probably haven't playtested a lot and it's hard to tell how are the match-ups, against which decks, etc.
    But maybe you could have mentioned some techs ? At least Sigilyph, which is in the original deck.

  5. Really your list took out Sigilyph so now you lose to a large Mewtwo. So you autoloss the mirror is your opponent runs Mewtwo. Also unless you get T2 Hydreigon you are in trouble against Garchomp/Altaria imo. Especially if you didn't start. I think the deck is just a tad slow. Still a great deck though. Also it has a bad matchup versus Eelektrik variants with multiple Zekrom EX. Thoughts?

  6. It won A Worlds Qualifier in Japan. There were four Qualifiers and it won ONE of them.

    And I'll agree with Freeze here. I feel like this deck would have a hard time against a super-charged Mewtwo, like Klinklang, so Sigilyph sounds like a good addition to me, in theory, at least.

    Still, a good analysis and certainly one of the decks I'm most looking forward to next season.

  7. I think it doesn't exist the "perfect deck", but this deck is really close to it ^^
    I enjoyed the article, but you don't say anything about Rayquaza EX, that can OHKO Hydreigon, maybe you assume that you'll take its Eels away before Rayquaza can even be charged or you assume that Hydreigon will have a good time against every dragon-type pokemon?
    Just a point: Special Darkness won't be in the BW-on format, so you won't have that deal jaja

  8. i really do think this deck is ran wrong and can be so much better. this deck should be ran like klingklang and be running diverse types like entei for fire, shaymin for grass, terrakion and/or groudon for fighting to counter all the good decks in the format but still using darkrai for an occasional attacker if need be.

  9. you should definitely do a deck analysis on the OTHER Dragon deck which is Garchomp/Altaria. Apparently Hydreigon & Garchomp are rivals in the Dragon Exalted set

  10. I'll definatly replace my Klinklang EX deck with this one, this one simply sounds better and more fun. And indeed this one too has many potential teches like Klinklang. I'll probs try play this but with some prism energies due i like using groudon.

  11. I've been testing this deck and it can destroy anything it comes across. Until I played 6 games against Gothitelle/Gardevoir. I lost 4 times, I can't get around the turn 2/3 trainer lock.

  12. Jack: I think this deck doesn't have real weaknesses, because you can put a counter against anything in this deck. Blend energy and Hydreigon is such a broken combo. This is a very very strong deck. However, it's good to remember that if the deck is overpowered, counters are sure to be invented against it.

    Jason: Yeah, Garchomp is one of the only decks (that is revelead at the moment) that can stand a chance against this deck, because it's a Dragon type deck. If you are to take care of Hydreigons early game, this deck will struggle a bit. Mewtwo EX seems like a very decent tech.

    Luby: Lol, good catch! I made that mistake often with Delta Pokémon as well since the Pokémon weren't their real type. I didn't want to put the Sigilyph to the list, because all I want to do is to explain how the deck works, not offer everyone a fully complete tournament deck. Sigilyph is a great tech in the deck, but if everyone starts netdecking the exact list that won Japanese World Qualifieres, it will be pretty boring. Also, as discussed earlier, Mewtwo EX is a very decent tech against in this deck as well. This deck has endless tech options, so I didn't feel like I would list all of them, it would've taken forever, haha.

    Freze: See the earlier Sigilyph comment. I really haven't tested against Eelektrik deck that runs a lot of Zekrom EXs. I've never even seen one of them and probably will never see since Terrakion will be very popular until it's rotated out. Theorymon-wise Zekrom EXs causes trouble, but a fast Zekrom EX combined with Catcher in the BW-on environment just doesn't feel as likely as in the current format.

    Anonymous: Yeah, it's jsut difficult to super charge a Mewtwo EX in a BW-on format since we don't have Shaymin! But true, the winner played Sigilyph and since the deck can run Psychic Pokémon (thanks to Blend Energy), Sigilyph is more than a decent tech to the deck.

    skim-BCN: I haven't tested the BW-on environemnt that much, so all I could do is watch the results from Japan. And in Japan Rayquaza EX wasn't popular. It seems great in theory, but I think what you said rings the truth. It's too clunky with Eelektriks and even though it's good, I think there are better and easier ways to OHKO a Hydreigon than to use Rayquaza EX for it. After all, Rayquaza EX can OHKO any card in the format.

    Chester Henson: Indeed, this isn't a Klinklang, because as I said, it's more of an aggressive version. Playing a lot of different types would end up this deck being a tank deck once again. It's all about what's your play style. As I said in the conclusion, even if this version of the deck won't popular in Worlds 2013, the concept will be.

    Anonymous2: yeah, Garchomp/Altaria will be my second deck analysis!

    Zhaituki: Yup, you can tech anything to this deck. It's that good.

    Anonymous3: You should try something like Mewtwo EX, Sigilyph or Mew EX against the Gothitelle/Gardevoir deck. I'm sure they will have hard time if you have techs that can OHKO their Gothitelles. After all the deck has 2 stage2 Pokémon.

  13. Well what I've found that even if the Zekrom EX comes a bit late you can put early game pressure with another attacker and then like T4 or so start to kill the Hydreigons with Zekrom EX. Also I think Zekrom EX is going to be common BW-on because it OHKOs Hydreigon and Garchomp. Eels will have ways to play around non-energy acceleration Terrakions and the only energy accel Terrakion I can think of is Eels so mirror.

    Also do you think Hydreigon/Darkrai is a bit slow versus Garchomp?

  14. I wonder if Bronzong's Heal Block ability would be useful against this deck. Plus if you were to attach a Big Cloak tool to it, it could take an extra hit from Darkrai's 30 damage bench attacks. It would also cripple the usefulness of Sabyle in the deck by quite a lot. Though it still isn't that great of a solution due to Pokemon catcher dragging Bronzong off the bench, and once he's active you're kind of screwed since he has FOUR retreat cost. Plus Garbordor could negate Bronzong's Heal block. He also wouldn't be much use against most other decks, so it's not a great overall choice. Still, if Max potions are going to be a common tactic now, it might be more useful than I think.

  15. the list has 61 cards btw but it is a great deck

    1. No it has 60 cards. Esa just marked the pokemon total number wrong. It has 14 pokemon not 15.

  16. I love this deck. One time I beat Gartaria so closely that it came down to whether or not I decked out. But I won. And ever since then I've been sweeping Gartaria with Rayquaza/Emboar (?) and this deck. Gartaria doesn't have the best matchup against this deck without terrakion, but... With terrakion, that is harder, but, just like Esa said, use Hydreigon carefully. :)

  17. I tested Hydriegon/Darkrai for a bit and just couldn't get it to work. I'm not 100% on the deck quite yet, regardless of its success in Japan.

  18. Cool article once again Esa. Some considerations:

    Cheren vs Bianca - I'd think Cheren gives more depth in searching for that Rare Candy-Hydreigon, but I'm not too sure.

    Registeel EX - could it have a spot in this deck as a tech? It could be quite a good spreader early game, complementing Darkrai's Night Spear damage.

    Random Receiver vs more Supporters - how relevant would adding more Supporters be compared to Random Receivers, especially in a Stage 2 deck?

  19. I´ve tested this deck against Garchomp/Altaria a little. I had a little slower start and my opponent destroyed everything. We swapped decks and this time Hydreigondarkrai got a good start and defeated me. Whoever sets up first wins pretty much.

  20. Umm.. my friend said he destroyed this with Zeels? IDK? but I think this is bettter.

  21. This is a great deck! Almost every matchup, given a good start, wins! Although RayEels could prove a worthy opponent, seeing as Rayquaza EX can 1-shot everything in the deck with enough energy.

    1. Umm, RayEels is easy. Just OHKO it with Hydreigon.

    2. I totally forgot about hydreigon..... good to know though.

  22. I played mirrors of two different versions of this deck today, Mine which has Shaymin and Mew as techs vs. my friends deck which has Shaymin and Sigilyph as techs.
    Had some fun matches I won 2/3 and it pretty much always came down to the cards each player drew in the first 3 turns... well that's what tier 1 decks do against each other, the one who draws better and gets a better starting hand wins or atleast gets a nice head start.
    A nice trick that I could do in game 2 with Mew was copy his Shaymins' Revenge and get 2 prices that way, unfortunately that wasn't enough to net me the win but all in all I'm pretty confident in the list I have now, thanks for the netdeck though used it as a base from where to build onwards
    - MikkoakaRare

  23. im new to pokemon , but can i just use Prism energy instead of Blend Energy or can Shaymin Ex search for Blend Energies ??

    1. You need to have Blend energies so that they work on Hydreigon. Neither can be searched for.


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