Thursday, December 6, 2012

Featured Writer: Axel Sonnleitner - Dusknoir.dec

Esa's favorite card from Boundaries Crossed!
Hi all!

I have exam week this week, so I won’t probably be able to write an article this week, but thankfully I got an article from The Deck Out’s 3rd featured writer – Axel Sonnleitner from Germany. I’m very happy that Axel was able to write for The Deck Out since he’s from Europe and I like to give chances to European players to show what they are really made of. I really enjoyed Axel’s article and I’m sure you do as well.

Anyways, I’ll let Axel introduce himself since I’m as new with him as you guys probably are. As always, feel free to ask any questions regarding the deck and I’m sure Axel is ready to answer them. Also, let me know what you thought about the article and if these occasional featured writers are a good idea (I think they are!)

Now, let’s enjoy Axel’s article!

Hello Everyone,

My name is Axel Sonnleitner, and i'm a competitive Pokemon TCG player from Germany.
I started playing this game almost exactly a year ago with my GF and her brother. I really was into Trading cards games since Elementary school and played Yu-Gi-Oh and a little Pokemon back then, but never competitively. During the last year I really wasn’t that successful, my best was place 53 at the German Nationals, thats why my hopes for this year are really high, and my goal clearly is the invite. So I took it pretty serious this year and played only Meta to get those precious points. Of course this got boring after some tournaments, and thats why I thought I should do something more challenging and decided to write an article about one of my favorite cards in the new set: Dusknoir.

When looking at Boundaries Crossed the first combo with Dusknoir you’ll see is Flygon, which in theory sounds nice: Dealing 120 damage every turn without needing to attack sounds great.
However if you opponent only benches 2 Pokemon, you won’t do 120, but 40 dmg per turn without having a good attack to boost that number. Additionally is setting up 2 Stage 2s consistently in our format is almost impossible.
So I tried the “Stage-2 plus Big Basics” strategy.

My first list focussed on spreading large amount of damage with Kyurem and Registeel EX, so you have an optimal Damage/ Energy ratio.

Prof. Redwood posted an article about a similar deck on 6P, with the only difference of landorus instead of Registeel.
I personally think it’s too risky to play Landorus at cities because of the huge Weakness to Keldeo, even though I have to admit the registeel variant is inferior to the landorus one.

I don't know how many Keldeo decks actually will be played but I won't gamble for championship points so early in the season....
Sparing the above all spread variant have something in common: if your opponent knows how to play against you, you’ll find yourself in a difficult situation, as he can roughly control how much damage you are able to do.

So lets get back to my goal: covering the weaknesses of Dusknoir, which are:
- stage 2
- high retreat
- darkness weakness
- no usable attack

As stage 2 becomes less of a problem because of Skyla/Comp search, the retreat costs still hurt. So you basically have two options: Switch or Darkrai.
As Darkrai basically covers all of the mentioned ( Comp search reuse with Sableye for easier set-up, nullifying the retreat and being able to attack) the choice became obvious.

The List


3x Darkrai EX
3x Sableye
3x Duskull
3x Dusknoir
1x Zorua (Ascension)
1x Zoroark (Foul Play)



3x Professor Juniper
4x N
2x Skyla
3x Random Receiver
4x Pokémon Catcher
4x Dark Patch
4x Ultra Ball
3x Dark Claw
3x Rare Candy
1x Town Map
1x Tool Scraper
1x Computer Search



13x Basic Darkness Energy


Card Explanations

Darkrai EX

Darkrai EX is definitely one of the best, if not the best EX in format. There’s probably everything said about it : Great attack, great ability, great energy acceleration, great HP, and a crucial weakness to fighting.


The best Darkrai supporter out there. Here applies the same as to Darkrai: Everything’s said about it.


No other options, so this is obvious. It has 50 HP, which isn’t great, but enough not to be donked by Mewtwo or Rayquaza , 1 retreat, which is ok, weakness to darkness that is nearly irrelevant here and an attack which confuses for [P], which is ok.
I didn’t include Blend or Prism because I really don’t feel like it worth the consistency loss.


Here we go. The heart of the article: Dusknoir.

As I already mentioned Dusknoir’s weaknesses above, let’s jump to what makes it so good: its ability.
    Sinister Hand
As often as you like during your turn (before you attack), you may move 1 damage
counter from 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon to another of your opponent’s pokemon.

This ability gives you a lot of options during a game:
    - it allows you to knock out support Pokemon without needing to burn catchers
    - it allows you to catcher stall while still knocking out what you want
    - it allows you to take prizes even though your main attacker may get knocked out

However it comes with one major drawback: It’s Speed.
Because you are knocking out your opponents pokemon in your turn, he has 1 more round to work with them, which may decrease the effectivity of knocking out his Pokemon. An Blastoise player for example will have one additional turn to attach energy, decreasing his reliance on Blastoise during his next turn.
But as Dusknoir - if played correctly - prevents your opponent from having a Squirtle surviving longer than in your turn, he will not be able to get out a second one, which should swing the match up in your favor.

I did not include Dusclops as stage 2 decks have to keep up with the speed of the “Big Basic” Decks and skipping the stage 1 gives you exactly that.

Zorua & Zoroark

Zoroark is in there to counter Darkrai’s weaknesses which aren’t already covered by Dusknoir.
While at first I included it as an Mewtwo counter because it can hit for 120 on turn 2 while discarding energy to decrease the damage mewtwo deals, i realized how good it is against Landorus. Dealing 150 or 170 for only 2 Energy with a non-EX is just amazing.


Best Draw Supporter in the format, with the drawback of discarding your hand.
I included 3 because it sometimes forces you to discard vital cards.


Best Shuffle & Draw Supporter in the format, with great consistency boost in the early and disruption potential in the late game.
I would include 8 if it would be allowed.


One of the most hyped cards in Boundaries Crossed, allows you to search for crucial items like candies or catchers when you need them most.
I included only 2 because in my opinion it lowers your consistency.(I know the comp search- skyla engine is great, but it won't help you if you have it as your only supporter in a 2-3 card hand, as either you waste one turn or enter topdeck mode)

Random Reciever

Great with Sableye because it prevents you from having a bad hand longer than 1 turn.

Catcher, Dark Patch, Ultra Ball

I doubt there will be a deck that relies on Darkrai as attacker that can work without these cards.

Dark Claw

Permanently boosts your damage output by 20.
I prefer it over Eviolite because this deck needs as much damage on your opponent’s field as possible.

Rare Candy

Makes Stage 2s playable.
Only 3 included, because you can search them with Skyla or reuse them with Sableye.

Town Map

A card that has to be in this deck.
Because you already are taking you prizes before you attack, you are able to use them immediately. Add the knowledge of what your are taking and you’ll receive a great combo.
In my opinion 1 is enough as you won’t be able to use it more than once, however it being prized can cause serious problems with maintaining your strategy. So if you feel the 10% of it being prized is too risky feel free to up the count to 2 if you can find space for it. The 3rd is an overkill as the probability of 2 being prized is around 1%.

Tool Scraper

It’s in here because of Garbodor. Of course it comes in handy against Eviolites, but this deck can catcher around them. If you are sure Garbodor won't be played in your area, leave it out.

Computer Search

Simply a great card for this deck. It provides you with the missing pieces for a turn 2 Dusknoir or Darkrai, it discards dark energies, it can save you from bad hands and it can be reused with Sableye. There’s no reason not to play it (besides not owning it).

Dark Energy

Needed for all of your attackers, and it provides free retreat with Darkrai.

The Strategy against the Meta Decks

Darkrai/ Hydreigon

It depends on who gets set up faster. Once they are set up you are going to have a bad time because you can’t OHKO them and if they hit their Max Potions, you will have 30 damage to work with which won’t help you that much. Try to get their Hydreigon down as fast as possible and keep enough damage on the field to prevent a Deino from surviving into his round.
Keep in mind that Zoroark can Oneshot Hydreigon with Dark Claw.

Landorus/ Mewtwo

Concentrate on the T2 Darkrai. Landorus is able to ko you in T3 and once they are able to do that you almost stand no chance. If you are able to outspeed them, the odds will swing heavily in your favor.
Another matchup where creative plays with Zoroark are recommended...

Eelektrik/ Rayquaza

Use the available damage to KO their Eels or Tynas and this one should be fairly easy.If they play Victini, you're going to have a bad time.

Blastoise/ Keldeo

Basically the same as against Hydreigon: Try to deny their Blastoise or take it down as soon as possible. Taking down the Blastoise should be easy, because Darkrai with DC does 110+30= 140 dmg. Keeping Squirtles off the field is a bit more challenging because of its ability, so you will need to use your Catchers more carefully.

Terrakion variants

In this matchup you have to exploit Terrakions biggest weakness, its speed. It will be able to oneshot you in turn 3, so you will need to have enough damage done then. Never KO anything with your attack, because you will probably loose after the second retaliate. Dusknoir really wins you this matchup, as they will not be able to attack you for more than 60 dmg a turn if you play it correctly.

Closing Thoughts and Tech-options

I had a great time playtesting this deck, because it is fast, consistent, and offers a lot of possibilities in the late-game.
Especially the last point was something that really bothered me in the decks I played before:
The late-game was always somewhat predictable and boring.
In Darkrai/Hydreigon for example all you could do after you set up your Hydreigon was doing 90 and hoping to get the Catchers/ Max Potions you need.
With this deck you are really flexible, especially because you can take your prizes while knowing them and being able to use them in the same round. (I know all you are doing is 110 and moving damage, but it feels nicer with the possibilities you have).

There are many things you could add to this deck, but a Stage 2 takes up too many spots to be able to take many cards out without getting serious consistency issues.
Nice additions to this deck are:
    - Keldeo - to get out of paralysis lock and to get Darkrai “patchable”
    - Switch - to do the same as Keldeo as an item
    - Potion - to keep your Darkrai alive for one more turn
    - 2nd Town map - to decrease the odds of all being prized
    - Mewtwo - to counter Mewtwo (you will need energy switch too)

Thats all I have to say to this deck, feel free to experiment with the list and let me know if you found something to improve it.
I hope you enjoyed that article and I apologize for the delay.

PS: If you need somebody for test matches on or on PTCGO add me on facebook ( or write me an email (

PPS: Matjis Moore proved me wrong about flygon exactly one day after i finished this article when he finished 4-2 on Regionals playing Flygon/Dusknoir, losing only to me (in a close match where we both drew dead most of the time) and to this years German Nationals winner, Steven Mao.

Esa’s Ending Note: Don’t forget to ask questions and give your opinions!


  1. 9 supporters and 3 rr
    Isnt that a bit low ? even tho you can get them back with sableeye
    Anyways great articel :)

    1. In my experience the Sableye-RR-Comp-Skyla-Combo is enough to compensate the low supporter count.
      Also being able to see your prizes makes it easier to get out of dead hands in the late game.
      Increasing the supporter count probably wont hurt this deck, so if you feel like adding some, do so :)

  2. How can you do 150dmg with zoroarks foul play if you dont discard any fighting energys?

    "IF you discard all F energy you do 70 more dmg"

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. You do discard all attached, which are none. Its the same when you copy Raikous Volt Bolt.

    3. No, it does not work that way. This was explained multiple times throughout multiple forums, and you need a fighting energy to discard to get the effect of discarding a fighting energy. The extra damage only happens AFTER you discard fighting energy. The part that's different between Volt Bolt and Landorus, is the fact that Landorus says "IF you do..." which means you have to have discarded at least 1 fighting energy.

    4. Here's a link to the ruling on PokeGym.

  3. Hello Axel, Hello Esa,

    thank´s for the great article, i was thinking of a similar concept for a few week´s. I love Dusknoir and the possibilities it offers. The combo with town map is one of my favorit play´s.
    Keep on writing alex, it was great to read your text.
    I apologise for mistakes i may have made.

    Best regards from munich.


  4. "Dealing 150 or 170 for only 2 Energy with a non-EX is just amazing."
    - checks energy line to see 13 dark energies
    - stops reading scrub article

  5. Wouldn't Dusknoir's Ability get around Squirtle's? Since Dark Hand is an Ability, wouldn't that bypass Shell Shield?

    1. Yes, it does. That's why the author says it's easier to take down Squirtle as soon as they're played (once you have Dusknoir) than most decks

    2. Oh, looks like I missed the part you're talking about. Instead of needing only 30 damage then using Night Spear, you need a full 60 damage to move.

    3. Shell shield is a great ability against Darkrai for sure, but with Dusknoir it can be avoided, provided that you kept enough damage on the field.

  6. Dusknoir/Dusknoir/Landorus EX

    1. I guess you meant Dusknoir/Darkrai/Landorus...
      I haven't tested Landorus because I couldn't do a consistent enough list. If you have one, let me know :)

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Nice article, but there's something I'm confused about on the list. Is it aiming for a T2 Night Spear/Dusknoir, or does it aim for just a strong late game? Thanks.

    1. The list above is focussed on speed, which doesn't exclude the strong late game. One you're set-up, you are easily able to disrupt your opponent so he will never completely set-up and the late game will be much easier for you.

  9. What does Dusknoir bring that Chandelure can't do?
    Chandelure will also allow you to set up KOs on the opponent's bench and combines weel with Night Spear, while being more dangerous (Dusknoir needs counters on the field already to be of any use, and you're still limited to 120 damage a turn).
    Litwick is a better starter too.

    I like Dusknoir but it feels that for it to be useful, you already have to be winning.

    1. Luby, you can choose what to KO with Dusknoir. So you could even not KO anything until you can take all 6 prizes in 1 turn. That makes N useless against you. That can also put fear in your opponent to not bench something, as he knows it could get KO'd right away. Also, Dusknoir makes the 30 damage from night spear huge. With Chandelure you are forced to run 3/4 Switch to get the maximum benefit from it, so the deck space gets reduced.

  10. Everyone: My bad that I missed the Zoroark and Landorus EX part of the article, even though I proofread it! I'll let Axel answer rest of the questions and comments once he has time!

  11. I feel honored that you mentioned me in the article Axel:P
    And great article:D I really like the strategy:)

  12. Great deck you are right flygon would not be that much good in this deck but what about flygon/darkrai/dusknoir with optional switches if you dont get darkrai

  13. Too bad duskull can be donked by sableye, energy, and dark claw

  14. Very nice the strategy of this deck. Ill try here in my city.

  15. I tried your list. Its great. But i did some modification by using munna long hypnosis and mushmarna foreworn...


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