“Black Christmas:” Dark Decks for Winter League Cups

With the recent conclusion of the San Jose, CA Regional Championships and London Intercontinental Championships, one thing is abundantly clear: Dark is the king of both formats.

Expanded format is more pertinent for me, with my upcoming League Cups in that format, and I’ve spent much of the past few months testing Expanded Dark decks with Kian Amini. While I was not able to attend the San Jose Regionals, Kian was able to finish in the Top 4 with this list:

Kian Amini’s Expanded Yveltal/Maxie’s

Pokémon – 12 Trainers – 37 Energy – 11
2 Darkrai EX DEX 3 Professor Juniper 4 VS Seeker 7 Darkness
2 Yveltal EX 2 N 4 Ultra Ball 4 Double Colorless
2 Yveltal BKT 2 Lysandre 4 Battle Compressor
1 Sableye DEX 2 Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick 4 Dark Patch
1 Archeops NVI 1 Delinquent 3 Trainers’ Mail
2 Gallade BKT 1 AZ 1 Muscle Band
1 Jirachi EX 1 Fighting Fury Belt
1 Shaymin EX ROS 1 Float Stone
1 Computer Search
2 Parallel City
1 Silent Lab

You might notice that there aren’t any unusual tech cards in this list, opting instead for heavy Supporter counts and maximum consistency. However, with the results of San Jose and a constantly changing metagame, there are some new card options worth exploring.

Yveltal XY

Perhaps less of a new option than a thoughtful omission, the Oblivion Wing Yveltal seems like a better inclusion, now that Carbink BREAK is starting to see play. With a damage-boosting tool, Darkness Blade can knock out a Carbink BREAK, something the other non-EX Pokemon in the deck are unable to do. Yveltal XY is also very good against Night March, but with a fairly weak showing in San Jose, this shouldn’t be a very heavy consideration.

AZ/Pokemon Center Lady/Olympia

All of these cards are very strong in the mirror match, messing up Pitch Black Spear knockouts. However, we felt AZ had a slight edge for allowing the reuse of Shaymin EX’s Set Up ability – more important when only one is played – and basically making AZ a consistency Supporter. Pokemon Center Lady can heal attackers, but this small added utility doesn’t make it a better inclusion than AZ. Perhaps playing both Pokemon Center Lady and AZ could be worth considering for the mirror, but overall it doesn’t seem strong enough to go for it. Olympia has the neat ability to retreat a Gallade without attaching a Darkness Energy, but is similarly weaker than AZ in most situations.

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