“Phinn: Guy of Volcano” – Expanding on Darkrai and Exploring Its Counters


I feel like a new player! If you thought I liked Pokemon before, you should see me now. Since San Jose Regionals, something in my head ticked and I have escaped the slump I was in about four weeks ago. Lots of good things are happenin’ for Phinny these days. I won a League Cup on Sunday using Darkrai – you can see my list here. I just moved into a new apartment with my best friend, and I have another League Cup this Sunday. A lot has changed in terms of my living situation, mentality, lifestyle, and family. Change is the bringer of new ideas, and that is exactly what I have.

In this piece, I have a couple new takes on Darkrai, three Groudon lists, and a Mega Audino deck. After Darkrai, I decided I wanted to build something that could beat it, and Mega Audino and Groudon do just that. They have comprised all of my testing over the last week.

Seems like people really like the Darkrai deck. I know Brad Curcio and Azul Griego both won League Cups with the deck, and I know a couple other people won League Challenges with it. Connor Pedersen won Dallas Regionals in Seniors with my exact list. And just yesterday I saw that it actually won Georgia Regionals.

“Ecstatic” is the only work I can find to describe how I feel about Darkrai’s results. All I did was stumble upon an old concept and refine it. Anybody could have built the deck, really, and I’m sure other people did before me.

(NOTE: As a benefit to our Stage 2 subscribers, all of the lists will be in the “Stage 2 access” part of the article. I had the Darkrai list in the open last time, and I loved the response. However, this piece is mostly going to be for the subs. But don’t worry – we do have more free content coming out this month. We should have two free articles out by February, as well as a video or two.

Table of Contents

Darkrai Discussion

Since Darkrai has become more popular, aspects of the meta have changed. Darkrai winning a major tournament means that counters will become more popular. The first step in understanding how to prepare for these counters, is to know who your enemies are.

Darkrai/Yveltal’s harder counter decks are:

  • Gyarados
  • Mega Rayquaza
  • Fighting based decks like Zygarde, Groudon, and Carbink
  • Mega Audino
  • Primal Kyogre
  • Vileplume with Jolteon and/or Zygarde
  • Greninja (with the proper techs)

I say “harder counter” because anything is winnable if your deck is consistent. All of the decks above have holes that can be exploited. Darkrai has holes as well, and that’s exactly why these decks counter it.
With that in mind, we have some common counters -cards that are good against the majority of the decks above. A couple cards change any of those matchups into very positive territory.

This is a list of techs that may be looked over, but can certainly be taken advantage of in the right meta.

  • Sudowoodo w/ Smeargle
  • Klefki w/ Super Rod
  • Yveltal BKT
  • 1-2 Wobbuffet
  • Sceptile EX w/ Smeargle
  • Spinda
  • Silent Lab
  • Faded Town

Some of these techs are seen more commonly than others. It seems as though Silent Lab is being played in about half of the Darkrai lists out there. I don’t love Lab, but I certainly see its merit. The aspect that I do enjoy is how it can be game-winning against some harder matchups. All of Mega Gardevoir and Mega Rayquaza’s engines run on Basic Abilities. While both decks to play three to four Skyfield, a late game N with Silent Lab can turn a close loss into a win.

While I don’t enjoy the lack of consistency that Lab can bring, I concede that it can be strong with the correct list. This is my Darkrai/Labs list.

Darkrai Labs

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6 thoughts on ““Phinn: Guy of Volcano” – Expanding on Darkrai and Exploring Its Counters

  1. Love the Audino deck! However its weakness is fighting. What would the strategy be against Zygarde/Carbink deck. I’m guessing healing would be key!

    Thanks for your articles can’t get enough. Have been extraordinarily helpful.

    1. That would definitely be a hard matchup in my opinion. You could potentially tech a Giratina promo in there to shut down Carbink Break’s safeguard so you can one shot it. It would also help against the Greninja matchup.

      1. If I use Giovanni’s scheme with magical symphony does the Pokemon I attack on the bench get hit with the extra 20 damage as well?

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