Monday, March 18, 2013

Darkrai / Lasers rolling the States

Warp Point > Escape Rope
Hello everyone!

It’s been a while since I last made an old school tournament report. It was fun playing in a tournament with a new format since ECC was with the older format. I also felt like – spoiler alert – the tournament went very well even though I didn’t win the whole thing. Also, at last league we built the decks from the MD-on format and I once again understood why I back in the days loved the game. It was 5% coin flipping, 80% skill (playing and deckbuilding), 15% luck. Nowadays, the numbers are pretty much the other way around…

I also want to thank especially Simon Eriksen and Tord Reklev for the input for the deck. I took the risk that there would be no Klinklangs and it paid off. The problems. I had this deck were pretty interesting (not the usual Darkrai EX problems). I also had dice with me in the tournament and I would be forced to give a die to each person who wins me. My goal was to let one die slip away. Did I succeed? Let’s start the report, so we can find out!


4x Sableye
4x Darkrai EX


4x N
4x Professor Juniper
3x Bianca
2x Random Receiver
1x Skyla
4x Ultra Ball
4x Pokemon Catcher
4x Dark Patch
2x Energy Switch
2x Dark Claw
1x Eviolite
4x Hypnotoxic Laser
2x Virbank City Gym
1x Scramble Switch
2x Max Potion
1x Escape Rope


11x Darkness Energy

Card Choices

So, I ended up running the standard Darkrai/Lasers without Keldeo EX. The reason? I hate opening with Keldeo EX and I don’t see it bringing that much advantage against the deck that do run Hypnotoxic Laser, because they can just Catcher it and in the worst case scenario, put Keldeo EX to the asleep! Also, Escape Rope (see Warp Point) is a super fun card and it was very useful in many situations. I was deciding between Switch and Escape Rope and ended up going with Escape Rope after (as convenient for the format) flipping a coin in order to decide what to run.

Also, Scramble Switch was another reason for no Keldeo EX. I have been hyping Scramble Switch from the very beginning and for me it’s the staple ACE Spec. for any Basic deck. You should be able to make the deck consistent with Supporters and then add Scramble Switch to bring some more flexibility and mobility to the deck.

1. Round Darkrai EX/Hydreigon

I didn’t really know what to expect from this match-up except that if I got a fast Darkrai EX, I would probably be able to overrun the whole deck. However, in this match I had the same problem as in the most games this day – I didn’t get Darkrai EXs to the bench in the first turn! Even though I run 4 Darkrai EXs and 4 Ultra Balls. Naturally this slows down my set-up considerably and that’s exactly what happened.

Nonetheless, I was able to set up faster than he, because I N’d him whenever he Junk Hunted Computer Search and Ultra Ball + Candy. So, I was able to take the lead, but his Max Potion caused me some problem in the mid-game. I also noticed that he had discarded 3 Catchers. I thought that since Hydreigon has trouble fitting cards to the deck, there wouldn’t be a 4th Catcher. Unfortunately, I was wrong and he had the 4th Catcher, and he was able to KO my damaged Darkrai EX from the bench. Probably the thing, which turned the game into my favor was when I was able to Asleep his Darkrai EX and he flipped tails. He didn’t have Switch cards, so I took 2 free prizes and finished the game with another Catcher + Hypnotoxic combo. A Very tough game and it almost lasted 30 minutes!


2. Round Darkrai EX/Lasers/Keldeo EX

I don’t like playing Darkrai EX mirrors, because frankly speaking the player wins who draws better. The match-up isn’t rocket science and the only thing that can unbalance the games is random Hypnotoxic Laser flips when the other person doesn’t have an access to switching cards. Well, this game went just like Darkrai EX mirrors usually. I started the game, got a T2 Night Spear and the only thing that slowed me down was one unfortunate heads and tails from Hypnotoxic Laser. I don’t think he drew any prizes since I just teared through with a single Darkrai EX. Also, Escape Rope was superb here, because it saved me a Catcher and I got his Keldeo EX to the active spot nonetheless. Bad game (just like most Darkrai EX mirrors).


3. Blastoise/Keldeo EX/Mewtwo EX/Musharna

I really didn’t believe in Musharna in Blastoise, because it slows down the set-up, but as I struggled the 5 first turns in drawing a Darkrai EX on the bench (wtf?), he got a decent set-up. At one point, there was a Mewtwo EX with 9 Water energy attached to and I failed to KO it. Thankfully, he hadn’t a Catcher at this point and when I came stalling with Sableye, he was forced to retreat with it. After that turn, I naturally Catchered it. I was able to spread damage all over his bench and the game went down to a very interesting situation.

I had 1 prize remaining and had run out of all of my Catchers. He had benched Blastoise (30 on it), another Blastoise (50 on it) and an undamaged Musharna and an undamaged Keldeo EX as the active Pokémon. I had an undamaged Darkrai EX with Escape Rope and Dark Claw in hand. He had used his supporter and I knew that I would get the game if he doesn’t anticipate my Escape Rope and get his last Keldeo EX on the bench in some way. He uses Musharnas Ability and gets Keldeo EX on the bench with it. My dreams come falling down.

After the game I asked why he played the Keldeo EX on the bench. The answer was “I don’t know”. Ugh :D And boohoo, I lost my first SixPrizes die!


4. Round Ho-Oh EX/techs

Ok, since we once again only had top4 and 5 rounds due to the huge loss of players, I needed to win all the next games. Thankfully Ho-Oh EX is a very favorable match-up and I didn’t worry too much as he happened to open with a lone Ho-Oh EX. I was able to Poison the Ho-Oh EX in the first turn, but struggled drawing into Virbank City Gyms. I let the Ho-Oh EX lose 140damage and then started Catchering on the benched attackers. What I tried to ensure in this match-up was that there wouldn’t be ANY Retaliates coming. If my opponent wanted to use his Terrakion, he would need to attach 3 energy to it and I would be – hopefully – ready with a Hypnotoxic Laser + Dark Claw. Darkrai EX decks now have a weapon against tanked Terrakions and that’s exactly what makes Darkrai EX/Lasers so good in the current metagame – you have an OHKO to Terrakion AND to Blastoise. ‘Nuff said, he eventually got the Terrakion out and I had already dealt 30 to it, so it was an easy KO.


5. Round Darkrai EX/Lasers/Keldeo EX

Well, it was obvious that I would face a lot of mirror matches, and even though you can say that my deck is built in a “mirror-mode”, they are always very difficult games. And things don’t get easy when my opponent goes first and has 2 Darkrai EXs fully loaded when I have in play 2 Darkrai EXs (without energy) and 1 Sableye with 1 Darkness energy in T3. I was completely ready to scoop the game, but I still tried to play with Junk Hunts as much as possible. I had 2 Max Potions, so I could afford taking a lot more attacks than my opponent and that was my only possible opening in the game. This is exactly what happened and I hanged in the game with the help of Scramble Switch, Escape Rope, Max Potion and Junk Hunt. Probably the ugliest thing in this game was all the flips of the game. My set-up was very slow, because first my Darkrai EX slept 1 turn and after that my Sableye slept 2 turns. Not to mention I didn’t hit a single Hypnotoxic laser heads during this game (except one, which I’ll explain later). And I literally flipped over 8 Lasers thanks to Junk Hunt. Probably the most important moment was when I Catchered Keldeo EX, Poisoned it and had Dark Claw Darkrai EX ready. Laser, tails, Juniper, Laser tails, Laser tails. You kiddingz? Well, nonetheless time was called as my opponent played fairly slowly. It was 2-2 prizes and it was my turn 2. I didn’t have a way of getting a Catcher, because I had all of them in discard pile and my opponent would win the game.

UNLESS. After carefully considering all the options, there was one skill-intense –way of winning the game. Flipping heads on my about 10th (all the previous were tails) Laser and hope that he will flip tails from Asleep. After that it would be turn 3 and as he couldn’t retreat, I would win the game, by drawing the one prize. I flip the Laser- HEADS! Woot. About a time. I give a turn to my opponent and he rolls the die… TAILS. Probably my ugliest way of winning EVER. And I’ve been playing competitively for 10 years.


Top4 Kumis.dec^2

1st Game

Ok, so this was a Lugia EX-based deck, which had everything and anything in it (just like most Kumis’ decks). I think Kumis is the only player in Finland that can get these kinds of clunky and versatile decks working. I already asked Kumis to write an article about his deck here, so I hope, you’ll soon once again enjoy his deck article!

Anyways, in the first game, even though I went second, I got a very decent set-up with Sableye and got a Darkrai EX out in T3. From that point onwards, I had the control of the game. I just avoided playing another Sableye on the bench (Free 2 prizes for Lugia EX) and eventually Kumis’ deck run out of steam, because it could only attach one energy per turn and Lugia EX isn’t the most optimal attacker against decks that have Max Potion…

5-1 (1-0)

2nd Game

Kumis’ deck had a lot cards that would be able to donk my Sableye, but I opened with 2 Sableyes, so there really wasn’t an issue unless a T1 Lugia EX would be coming. Well, Kumis use Laser in T1, heads, hits 30 with Tornadus EX and I flip tails from sleep. I really struggled getting ANYTHING in this game and I think I didn’t even draw a prize in the game. Whenever I Junipered, I just drew in the energy and whenever Kumis used Laser or Hammers, he flipped heads and I flipped tails. Probably the funniest moment of the game was when Kumis used Colress for 3. And he drew what he needed! Even though I lost, I wasn’t worried, going first is still a huge advantage.

5-2 (1-1)

3rd Game

Unless, my opening hand is full of crap and I don’t have a supporter… Well, this often happens during tournaments and for some reason it usually happens to me when it’s the most important game. Thankfully, Kumis N’d me in his T1 (I guess he had a crap hand as well), but I still didn’t manage to draw anything good.

I really wondered during this game, how it was possible to miss Dark Patches, Ultra Balls and Darkrai EXs as often as I missed them during this tournament. Well, nonetheless, the I was able to disrupt Kumis with Lasers and Sableye and got 150 to his Lugia EX. Terrakion makes an entrance to play and Kumis attaches to it. I have a plan ready with Max Potion + Scramble Switch, but Kumis N’s me just at the right time. Kumis was also able to flip almost too well from his Crushing Hammers and it really slowed me down. One tails at some point and the whole game would have been different.

It all came down to this. I N Kumis to 2. He has the “wrong” blend attached to Terrakion. So, he needs a Prism energy from his deck in order to Retaliate my Darkrai EX. If he doesn’t, I win, if he does, he wins – another do or die situation. I N him, attack… and he draws the energy! I’m so frustrated that I ask Kumis’ for his remaining deck and check how many Prism Energy he had left in his deck – and you guessed it – only one. Way to cut your opponent’s deck!

5-3 (1-2)


So obviously I was not happy with the result as I had a chance to go all the way in the tournament, but didn’t have the luck needed for that. When it comes to the list, I would only make one change – Eviolite into Dark Claw. I did nothing with the Eviolite, and Dark Claw would have been more useful in many situations. Otherwise, the deck run very well and I really loved Escape Rope instead of Keldeo EX, because it brought more depth to the deck.

The final top4 looked like this

1.Viljami S. - Rayquaza EX/Eelektrik/Victini Ex/Rayquaza
2. Kumis – Kumis.dec^2
3. Me – Darkrai/Lasers
4. Mauri V. Rayquaza EX/Eelektrik/Rayquaza

As I felt really comfortable with the deck, I don’t feel like I need to change anything to the next weekend, when my last States will be. I got 70 Championship Points from the tournament and I need AT LEAST 70 more Championship Points from the last States Championships in order to get at least one bye to Nationals.


No regrets. I got CPs, get to the top cut and the only thing I missed was the first tournament win of the season. However, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to do it next weekend after tweaking my deck a little. It really makes all the difference – if I’m able to win, I might have shot at 2 byes, if I don’t get to top4, I won’t probably have any byes! It all comes down to this…

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the report! Feel free to comment or ask anything!


  1. Why only 1 escape rope if you dont use keldeo? because keldeo you can use it several times, but escape rope only 1 (unless you pick it up with sableye but dont think that would be usefull T5..

    Also not sure about the Scramble switch, i know its REALLY GOOD, but with CS you can discard the energy needed to darkpatch and well... get whatever card you want...

    Not really sure, could you explain me a little bit more about this things?

    THX, love reading you articles :D

  2. Esa, how old are you?

  3. Very interesting. We had a regional in Switzerland last weekend with only 1 rayeels deck in top 8^^ In top 4 there were 1 darkrai variant, 1 landorus/Lugia und 2 Garbodor/Landorus decks. The last one doesn't seem to be very popular in Finland?

  4. Anonymous1: Keldeo EX is very dangerous against big Basics deck, because if they Catcher it and you don't awake from the Asleep, you just gave away 2 free prizes and your only way to switch cards. Also, with a deck that has only 8 Basics, you will be opening with Keldeo EX too often. Some people like it, some don't, but whatever your stance is about Kelde EX, the fact is that it isn't a necessity in Darkrai decks.

    Scramble Switch vs. Computer Search is a debate that can be carried on forever. As I said in the article, you should be able to make the deck consistent with the supporters - you only have one ACE Spec. lot in your deck - use it carefully. In my opinion, using ACE Spec. to increase consistency isn't the optimal way to do it. Also, Scramble Switch won me 2 games and I won the second mirror match only, because he ran Computer Search. If he had run Scramble Switch, I would have lost the game and got the advantage in the mirror thanks to it. Also, it's sick with Max Potion. If you haven't tried it out, you should, because as I have said from the very beginning of the release of Plasma Storm - it's the best ACE Spec. out there.

    I hope that helped to understand a bit more about my card choices!

    Anonymous2: At the moment I'm 21-years old.

    Anonymous3: Yeah, I didn't believe that RayEels would be able to do that well either, but somehow it managed to get 2 top4 placements. And yeah, I don't think Garbodor is that popular. There was probably one 1 Garbodor in the whole tournament,

  5. i have a question: how lugia ex deck runs?

  6. Tried this deck out today after losing a majority of the time to Landrous decks (playing traditional laser deck w/ Keldeo ex)and beat me friend 3 to 0 games. Very nice deck and the scramble switch is absolutely necessary! So much better than Computer Search!


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