Darkrai, Part 2: Actin’ Extra in Expanded

Table of Contents

  1. Article Introduction
  2. Thoughts on the Expanded Metagame
  3. Expanded Turbo Darkrai Skeleton Decklist
  4. Tech Cards
  5. Deck Match-Ups
  6. My Personal Expanded Turbo Darkrai Decklist
  7. Closing Thoughts

1 – Article Introduction

Hey Cut or Tap readers, I am back with the second piece of my article, finishing a special two-part series focusing on the power of utilizing a deck in Standard and Expanded. I have been looking all around websites that focus on the Pokemon TCG and there are barely any articles that talk about a similar deck between two formats. The card of choice today is the one and only Darkrai EX from Breakpoint! This card is a very strong EX Pokemon sitting at a whopping 180 HP, has an attack that feeds on energy manipulation, and has another attack that is extremely vicious if your opponent’s Active Pokemon is Asleep! Darkrai EX is one of my favourite Pokemon cards printed over the past few years because it seems like it is always a contender, and it is versatile in many situations! I hope you thoroughly enjoy all of my insight below on both formats and can use this information to help you gain some very precious Championship Points this year.

2 – Thoughts on the Expanded Metagame

I have personally found that our new 2016-2017 Expanded format appears to be quite different compared to last year’s Expanded format, for reasons that I can barely press my finger on. Perhaps it’s that so many players have hopped onto our “e-Sports” game and the market has been saturated, or that many websites like even our own Cut or Tap exist to grow the game from the competitive standpoint. At the same time, I see Expanded as almost exactly the same: Yveltal/Maxie continues to be good, Night March looms throughout the format like the pesky deck it always was, and there are a bunch of other decks that always seem to pull out a top placement despite many bad matchups like Trevenant BREAK variants.

It is a great blessing to be able to have a variety of decks to choose from going into a tournament, and facing a variety of decks from your opponents throughout the day, but it’s also a huge headache when testing and/or deciding the most optimal play for a tournament. The choices we currently have going into Expanded do leave us enough “wiggle-room” to tech against decks that are issues, or even make unique plays. I do stand firm that Expanded is currently a better format than Standard (based on variety and skillful plays), but that doesn’t mean there are blatantly obvious issues with some aspects of the format…

Expanded has some stupidly overpowered cards, due to the fact we have been using some cards for almost six years now! Ghetsis is actually one of the most overpowered, skilled and unskilled cards I have ever seen printed! I have had games where I have absolutely nothing in my starting hand, I look down because I am probably about to lose the game, I play a lonely Ghetsis, my opponent shows five to six Item cards and they absolutely crumble, allowing me to win the game. I have also been on the other side of a horrible Ghetsis, leaving me with an almost unplayable hand, and I fizzle out within the next few turns. On the other hand, I feel a late-game or mid-game Ghetsis is where the true skill of the card comes into play, similar to mapping out your Prize Cards when you know your opponent is going to try to late-game N you into nothing. I have played Ghetsis in multiple late-game scenarios where I know my opponent has Trainer cards because they played a Puzzle of Time and held onto cards, or they have used Junk Hunt on a Sableye DEX to set-up a checkmate position, or I otherwise looked at the odds of what my opponent could potentially have in their hand and dropped a Ghetsis to switch the board position back to my side.

Hypnotoxic Laser is another card that can alter a game quickly with its Sleep side-effect on its own! There have been multiple situations where my Pokemon will stay asleep way beyond normal odds (read as two to three turns), allowing my opponent to steal a game I was winning from right beneath me. The card gets decidedly better when paired with a Virbank City Gym, allowing for extra damage to be applied which can sometimes be the deciding factor between a game’s win or loss. As much as both of these cards are sometimes ineffective, they are both powerhouses in the Expanded format and make the format what it is.

How can we fix this?!?! Unfortunately, we can’t fix that we have no way to block a turn-one Ghetsis, nor can we escape flipping a coin to wake up from a successful Hypntotoxic Laser flip. We do have some options in the form of altering our deck lists to include more Supporters and/or Pokemon and include cards that can heal Status Conditions traditionally, or even more versatile cards such as Keldeo EX and a Float Stone. I personally use my insight on the format to decide what factors will make or break my deck/tournament and decide on what is appropriate in my deck lists; this allows me to mostly have optimal results and win more games overall. Hopefully my advice will guide you towards your deck building choices and help you win more games in such an exciting format.

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