Introduction

This weekend in San Jose, California, I finally get to take a break from the Standard Format and play in an Expanded format Regionals. Between Orlando, Ft. Wayne, ARG Richmond, and London Internationals, I can say I've had my fill of the Standard format. I'm saddened to say the Expanded Format feels so much healthier and consistent than the Standard format, as Expanded Format has an insane card pool. You'd think the format with absurd power cards like Ghetsis, Archeops NVI, Seismitoad EX, and Trevenant BREAK would be a little imbalanced, but Standard feels so hit-or-miss with its consistency. While watching the stream of London Internationals and Ft. Wayne, it seemed like one player was either dead drawing, missing a few Max Elixir, or playing against a complete counter-matchup to lose the game. Obviously, there's some degree of skill involved to win these events and I'm not taking anything away from the players that did well, but overall, I think the games I play in the Expanded Format are less matchup oriented, as every deck has their own niche way to taking away games from a difficult situation, while the Standard format doesn’t offer the same.

Even though the Expanded format has a diverse pool of decks to play, a majority of them have been fleshed out. Trevenant BREAK, Yveltal/Maxie's, Greninja, and Seismitoad EX/Crobat are consistently putting up results and put themselves a tier above the rest. Some strong rogue type decks like Raikou/Eelektrik, Accelgor/Wobbuffet, and Turbo Darkrai are able to make the top cut, but not take home the win yet. I'd expect players to base their deck decisions off of a combination from both Arizona and Philadelphia Regionals Top 8s, meaning they'll be prepared for Greninja and Trevenant BREAK while toying around with new Dark and Seismitoad EX lists.
Today, I'm going to break down 1 of these decks that made the top cut, courtesy of Chris Sikala: Darkrai EX/Giratina EX.

Table of Contents

I. Different shade of Darkness
II. Card Choices
III. Extra Options
IV. My List
V. Matchup Rundown
VI. Conclusion

Different shade of Darkness 

The concept of Turbo Darkrai is nothing new to the game. I originally wrote this deck off as another “run of the mill, rush your opponent and hope you dodge Yveltal BKT” deck. After chatting with Jamie DePamphilis, a respectable player who piloted a list close to that of Sikala's to a 10th place finish at Philadelphia, I was intrigued to see how the deck plays out in my testing circle. Jamie basically told me, "This deck is unfair and you should see it for yourself". After hours of testing with my local friends, I'm inclined to agree with him.

I was able to consistently put between 4 or 5 Dark Energy on board on turn 1 with the help of Dark Patch and Max Elixir. If I was able to get 2 Dark Energy down on a Darkrai EX BKP with the 3 other Dark Energy in play, I threatened to OHKO a Yveltal BKT the following turn with a Double Dragon Energy attachment. While this concept is similar to that of Turbo Darkrai, the extra 20 added from a single attachment of Double Dragon Energy meant I didn't have to rely on any damage boosts from Reverse Valley, Muscle Band, Fighting Fury Belt, or Hypnotoxic Laser. I was floored with the consistency of the list and how often I could get a turn 1 Giratina EX online, that I opted to write this article about the deck rather than my original plan, Raikou/Eelektrik. I'll talk more about the deck later on, but let's dive into Sikala's list, Jamie's changes, and how I believe their card choices brought them success at Philadelphia Regionals.

 

Darkrai EX/Giratina EX (Chris Sikala)

Pokémon(9)

  • 3 Darkrai EX BKP
  • 1 Darkrai EX LTR
  • 1 Hoopa EX AOR
  • 2 Giratina EX AOR
  • 2 Shaymin EX ROS

Trainers(38)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 2 Lysandre
  • 1 AZ
  • 1 Hex Maniac
  • 1 Colress
  • 1 N
  • 1 Xerosic
  • 1 Pokémon Ranger
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 VS Seeker
  • 4 Dark Patch
  • 3 Max Elixir
  • 2 Trainers’ Mail
  • 2 Fighting Fury Belt
  • 1 Escape Rope
  • 1 Battle Compressor
  • 1 Float Stone
  • 1 Computer Search
  • 2 Parallel City
  • 1 Reverse Valley

Energy(13)

  • 9 Darkness Energy
  • 4 Double Dragon Energy

Darkrai EX/Giratina EX (Jamie DePamphilis)

Pokémon(10)

  • 2 Darkrai EX BKP
  • 2 Darkrai EX LTR
  • 1 Hoopa EX AOR
  • 2 Giratina EX AOR
  • 2 Shaymin EX ROS
  • 1 Sabeleye DEX

Trainers(36)

  • 3 Professor Sycamore
  • 1 Lysandre
  • 2 N
  • 1 Hex Maniac
  • 1 Colress
  • 1 N
  • 1 Xerosic
  • 1 Pokémon Ranger
  • 1 Pokemon Center Lady
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 VS Seeker
  • 4 Dark Patch
  • 4 Max Elixir
  • 2 Trainers’ Mail
  • 2 Fighting Fury Belt
  • 1 Battle Compressor
  • 1 Computer Search
  • 2 Parallel City

Energy(14)

  • 10 Darkness Energy
  • 4 Double Dragon Energy

Card Choices

2 Darkrai EX BKP/ 2 Darkrai EX LTR

The main split between their 2 lists that I notice are the counts of Darkrai EX. Chris opted to play a consistent attacker line with 3 Darkrai EX BKP line with only 1 Darkrai EX LTR. This, coupled with his inclusion of AZ, Float Stone, and Escape Rope allows for sufficient retreat even if the Darkrai EX LTR is prized. While testing Jamie's list, I enjoyed having the safety net of the second Dark Cloak as I found myself usually opting to retreat any active Darkrai EX I found on my opening turn so I could attack with the other Darkrai EX ASAP without forcing myself to put a Float Stone on it. Overall, I think Jamie's 2/2 split felt safer and smoother, but I could see where having the extra Darkrai EX BKP could help out when you opt to clear a damaged one away with Parallel City.

2 Giratina EX

Giratina EX is included here to ramp up the damage output of Darkrai EX's Dark Pulse. There are also a number of decks that "take the loss to Giratina" in this format or need to fish out a Pokémon Ranger from their deck in order to keep up with Chaos Wheel. I've found it useful in testing when trying to regulate Double Colorless Energy from decks such as Seismitoad EX, Yveltal/Maxie's, and Vespiquen/Flareon, but overall it's been an underwhelming attacker. I think its protection from Megas will serve more purpose in the deck as a way to safeguard your Double Dragon Energy from being removed from the board.

Sableye DEX

I've always been a fan of Sableye DEX. Junk Hunt is just an insane attack that allows this deck to reuse resources such as Dark Patch, VS Seeker, and Computer Search. The key thing here about its inclusion in Jamie's list is it being the only non-EX Pokémon in the deck, making it a 7th prize Pokémon. This means even if your opponent KO's it, it makes no difference towards how they are going to end up winning the game based on prize trade. My ultimate goal with this card is to use it in a scenario where forcing my opponent to Lysandre around Sableye isn't an ideal play, meaning they'll more than likely have to play N against me. This can set them back quite a bit in the mid to late game where they may be low on prizes but need certain resources in hand to close out the game. Ideally, I use Sableye here to fetch a Dark Patch or Computer Search for a game ending play, force out their N, and redraw into those same resources I just Junk Hunted without caring about the prize Sableye is sacrificing.

1 Hoopa EX / 2 Shaymin EX

Much like every other heavy Pokemon EX deck, we'll want to include a copy of Hoopa EX and 2 Shaymin EX for pure consistency. Since this deck opts not to play Ghetsis or Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick, Jirachi EX isn't necessary and Shaymin EX allows us to ramp up Max Elixir plays earlier in the game.

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