Darkrai/Giratina won Anaheim Regionals four days ago, making Kenny Britton a Regional Champion, and giving Darkrai/Tina its first major Standard accomplishment. Dark/Tina is a deck that I used to refer to as a worse version of Turbo Dark. In my “What the Hex” article, and multiple others, I argued that the decreased Max Elixir probability, vulnerability to Enhanced Hammer, and the decrease in consistency create a deck that struggles to do what Turbo Dark achieves. However, with the recent meta shift, I have a completely different opinion.
Vespiquen has become a top play, and sits comfortably in the top three most-commonly used decks currently. Chaos Wheel effectively shuts down the entire deck, by forbidding Double Colorless attachments. This is not only the case with the Vespiquen matchup; Gyarados and Passimian decks are also useless without Double Colorless.
When you look to the Turbo Dark matchup, it seems pretty close to 50/50. Both decks do essentially the same thing, although Dark/Tina has access to Salamence. In my opinion, this one card swings the matchup in Dark/Tina’s favor about 5 percent. And to top it off, all Mega matchups are a little easier with Giratina in the mix -not necessarily because you should attack with Giratina in these matchups, but because your opponent cannot play Lysandre and Hex in the same turn. They must either Lysandre Giratina and do no damage to it, or Hex.
Theoretically, Dark/Tina has a lot going for it in terms of matchups. It has also proven to be the stronger Dark variant over the weekend. These two factors mean Dark/Tina is back in top-tier play, and will be seen in upcoming tournaments. Still, other Dark variants are very much alive and well. Three Turbo Dark decks made it into Top 8, and Igor Costa made it to Top 8 with Yveltal/Garbodor as well.
In this article, I’ll go through each of the top Dark variants, and how they will fare in the upcoming meta.
Firstly, I’ll talk about Darkrai Giratina, because the deck is pretty dang firstly! For reference, this is an image that Kenny posted of his list.
The list I have below shares many cards with Kenny’s list, but makes adjustments to fit the new meta we will face. I had a couple preference choices as well, like cutting the 3rd Rope for a Float Stone.
|Pokémon – 11||Trainers – 35||Energy – 14|
|3||Darkrai EX||4||Professor Sycamore||4||VS Seeker||10||Darkness|
|2||Giratina EX||3||N||4||Ultra Ball||4||Double Dragon|
|2||Shaymin EX ROS||2||Lysandre||4||Max Elixir|
|1||Salamence EX||1||Olympia||2||Trainers’ Mail|
|1||Hoopa EX||1||Delinquent||2||Escape Rope|
|2||Yveltal STS||1||Hex Maniac||2||Fighting Fury Belt|
Now that almost every top deck is playing Parallel City, a way to bump the stadium is crucial. The Delinquent addition is fairly mandatory now. The only other option would be to play one Reverse Valley or Silent Lab in place of it, however I think being able to effectively VS Seeker for a counter-stadium is too strong to pass up. The discarding of cards from your opponent’s hand is less relevant now that Oranguru is around, but there are many decks that still do not use it. Any deck that plays Garbodor most likely does not play Oranguru, and most Turbo Dark lists don’t play it simply because the deck has no need for extra late-game draw.
This means that Delinquent is just about as good as it was before Sun and Moon. I have previously criticized its use because players make the argument that it is strong against less-experienced players, and I maintain that this argument is faulty. However, now Delinquent is a card that is good against more experienced players. Looking at Top 8 from Anaheim, literally all eight decks played Parallel City (Rahul actually might not have included it in his list). Delinquent is needed.
I like playing at least one Hex in almost anything. For this deck, I included it specifically to help with the Volcanion and Greninja matchups. Hex is great against almost anything, but those are the matchups I had in mind when adding it to the list. It is a possible cut that I may make in the future, but for the moment I do think it is strong.
I’m a big fan of one Float Stone in these Darkrai decks because they give you something to send up after you play Escape Rope. Having the Float gives you the ability to choose which attack you’d like to use later on in the turn. Maybe you don’t know if you will hit the Elixir to hit with Giratina EX, so it’s nice to have the Float so that you can get a little more information before dedicating to one attacker for that turn. I think the one Float is fairly important, and I probably would cut Olympia before the Float.
Two Trainers’ Mail certainly is not ideal, however I play two copies in my Turbo Darkrai list currently, and I have been for about two or three months now. It works fine, so I figure it will probably be alright in this deck as well. 2 Fury Belt is great too. There really isn’t a need for more than two copies.
While I do love Darkrai Giratina for the Anaheim meta, it might be a one-tournament deck.
Dark/Tina has proven its strength, however it has the glaring flaw of energy denial cards. Kian and I were talking about playing a deck with two Enhanced Hammer for upcoming League Cups simply because that is all it takes to get a positive matchup against Dark/Tina.
Umbreon GX is another counter to the deck, because of Dark Call. This attack actually dismantles Dark/Tina’s whole strategy with one turn. I’m definitely going to be looking at building an Umbreon-based deck that focuses on energy denial over the next week, and I’ll be posting that in my next article.
Because of the easy tech-ability of Enhanced Hammers, I may not play Darkrai/Giratina. The deck is a great call when people aren’t ready for it, but once they do know about its power, it is very easy to tech against. For that reason, I expect I will stick to Turbo Dark – or as I like to call it, Straight Darkrai.