Darkrai garb, a shadowed play for U.S. intercontinentals (By Isaac Milaski)

Hey, Cut or Tap readers! My name is Isaac Milaski, and I’ll be talking about my recent tournament experience at the North American International Championships. I ended up placing 6th in the Senior division after some unfortunate events in Top 8. I chose Darkrai/Garb for this tournament because it had 50/50 matchups or better against the entire field of what Seniors were expected to play.

Turbo Dark hasn’t seen a lot of play recently after its rampage back around Georgia Regionals. The deck lists have changed drastically from then to now. Now, the deck lists run fewer items to better deal with Garbodor’s Trashalanche attack. Before the event, I had no clue what to play and thought I was just going to end up playing Zoroark, or something that was popular but after talking to some friends we came to a conclusion that Darkrai Garbodor (with Garbotoxin) would have a good shot against pretty much everything in the format.

Normally, your perfect set up will have a Turn-1 Oblivion Wing onto a Darkrai, with a Trubbish in play. We only need to get out Trubbish in certain matchups though, like Volcanion, Metagross, Decidueye, etc. Once we have built up enough energies with Yveltal, we start attacking with Dark Pulse. If our opponent cannot one-shot our Darkrai, then we use the stadium Alter of the Moone to retreat for free without discarding any energies. We also always want two Exp Share on our board, so that if a darkrai is knocked out, the energies come right back and Dark Pulse is still hitting for high damage.


Pokémon – 13 Trainers – 33 Energy – 14
4 Darkrai BKP 4 Professor Sycamore 4 Max Elixir 14 Darkness
3 Yveltal STS 4 N 4 Exp Share
2 Garbodor BKP 3 Lysandre 4 Ultra Ball
2 Trubbish BKP 3 Choice Band
2 Tapu Lele GX 3 VS Seeker
4 Altar of the Moone

Card explanations

2-2 Garbodor

One thing that differs in my list than other players is the 2-2 Garbodor. I ran the 2-2 garbodor because it turned around several matchups that might have not been favorable (and I’ll talk about matchups in a bit).

4 Exp Share, 3 Choice Band

These tools help us hit big numbers with Choice Band, and conserve our energies with Exp Share. Conserving these energies is important so that Darkrai’s Dark Pulse attack can hit higher damage even after our Pokemon are knocked out.

4 Altar of the Moone

I played 4 Altar so that in any situation I would never be stalled, and  I would not have to waste any energies to retreat.

14 Dark energy

I also ran 14 Dark energy so that my chances of hitting a Dark energy off a Max Elixir was very high, because these are very important for the outcome of the game.

3 VS Seeker, 3 Lysandre

Instead of going with 4 seeker and 2 lysandre, we chose to do it this way so that Trashalanche would do 20 less with its attack.

3 Yveltal

This is are most preferred starter, so instead of playing two, we upped the count to three so we could start it more often and would not have to worry about running out of energies.

Tournament report

Day 1

Round 1- Zoroark/Drampa (WW) 1-0

This is one of the easiest matchups for Turbo Dark, other than Espeon. In Game 1, the Zoroark player dead-drew really bad for an easy win. Game 2 was a lot more intense, but he whiffed a Lysandre off an N, which cost him the game.

Round 2- Drampa/Garbodor (WW) 2-0

Game 1 I drew really hot and played only 5 item cards so his Garbodor was unable to OHKO any of my Darkrais. Game 2 I N’ed him into a terrible hand and he was unable to get going so I just won from there.

Round 3- Mega gardevoir(LWW) 3-0

Game 1 was absolutely terrible – he went first, got everything set up and onto my turn i just draw-pass and he donks me. Game 2 and 3 were very similar. I got set up both games and ran him over with Darkrai’s consistency.

Round 4- Espeon/Garb(WW) 4-0

Game 1 was very unfortunate for him, he started with Oricorio and drew nothing and I ran him over. Game 2 went how the matchup is supposed to go where their Espeons cannot knock out any of my Darkrais. I made sure to keep my discard low on the item count so his Trashalance couldn’t do enough damage.

Round 5- Metagross (WW) 5-0

Game 1 and 2 were pretty much the same. I set up Garbodor turn 2 and he was unable to use his Geotech System ability. I made sure not to waste my tools because he played two Field Blower to get rid of my tool on the Garbodor. After that, Darkrai was able to run over the Metagrosses and the three Lysandre really helped in hitting right numbers.

Round 6- Mega Gardevoir (LWT) 5-0-1

Game 1 he drew very well and I had a slow start and was unable to keep up with the early pressure. Game 2 was very long and back and forth between two-shotting his Gardevoirs and him two-shotting my Darkrais. I N’ed him to one card and he was unable to draw Lysandre for the game. We set up for Game 3, played out the first turn, and time was called, so we both knew it was a tie.

Round 7- Zoroark/Drampa/Umbreon (LWW) 6-0-1

Game 1 he drew nuts and I was unable to keep up while also drawing poorly. Game 2 went how the matchup usually goes and he got ran over by my Darkrais one-shotting everything on his field. Game 3 was actually really close and he N’ed me to one card in my hand, and I was able to top deck a Lysandre for game. I had two left in deck as well as two VS Seekers with a thin deck so my odds were very high.

Round 8- Espeon/Garb (LWW) 7-0-1

At this point in the tournament I was secured Day 2 so I played out the rest of my matches for a better chance of getting Top 8. Game 1 my opponent drew amazing and I was drawing very mediocre and he was able to top deck Lysandre for game. Game 2 and 3 were very similar and I used Dark Pulse to hit over 200 damage while also keeping my discard low on items.

Round 9- Greninja(LWW) 8-0-1

This is one of Darkrai’s closest matchups and I believe it to be a 50/50 or a 55/45 in Turbo Dark’s favor. Game 1 I dead drew very bad and was unable to establish a Garbodor so he was able to take four prize cards in one turn with Giant Water Shurikan. Game 2 was close but I set up Garbodor and the matchup went as planned. Under ability lock he was unable to KO my Darkrais quick enough so I just ran him over. Game 3 he didn’t get the Turn-2 Frogadier and that pretty much meant the win for me.

After a long Day 1 I was able to end up 8-0-1 as first seed going into Day 2. I actually was not drawing as well as I could have, but it seemed that Games 2 and 3 in every series my deck treated me a lot better, as a lot of my matchups ended up with me losing the first game.

Day 2

Round 10: Darkrai garb (LL) 8-1-1

This match was against my good friend Jon Eng. We both shared lists the night before so we knew what each other was playing, so there were no surprises. Games 1 and 2 were both really close and it came down to who got the Lysandre of the N first. Also Jon played four Choice Band instead of three so he would not miss it as often as I did. In Game 2, I made a really bad misplay which cost me the game. I knew a millisecond after I played it down that it was the wrong Darkrai I attached to and knew that I probably lost the game because of it… which ended up happening.

Round 11 Greninja WLT 8-1-2

I knew that this series was gonna be close because it wasn’t that easy in Round 9. Game 1 I ran him over and I got the Garbodor set up quick and was OHKO’ing all of his Greninja BREAKs. Game 2 I was not able to establish anything and no Garbodor came into play. He also flipped five bubble heads which prolonged the game even further. Game 3 we set up and time was called immediately so we agreed to just tie.

Round 12 Zoroark/Drampa/Umbreon (WLW) 9-1-2

Going into this matchup I knew he ran only one or no drampa so it would be an easy win. Game 1 he dead drew really bad and I was able to OHKO everything on his board. Game 2 he drew A LOT better and I was forced to bench four Pokemon so he could knock out Darkrais with a Choice Band and a Professor Kukui. Knowing the game was over, I scooped so we would have enough time for game 3. Game 3 he had a similar slow start like Game 1 and I hit high damage numbers too fast for him to keep up.

Round 13 Zoroark/Octillery (WT) ID 9-1-3

When I got paired up against this I was very scared because Jon lost to him the round before. Knowing that I needed only a tie to make it into Top 8 I offered the ID and he declined. We played out Game 1 and he drew kind of mediocre and I was able to run him over similar to to Round 12. We went up to set Game 2 and he had a dead hand so he asked to ID. I accepted only because I wanted him in Top 8 because I was comfortable with the matchup. Otherwise I could have taken the win but he wouldn’t have made Top 8 and wouldn’t have had a chance of playing him in Top 8.

Round 14 drampa garb ID 9-1-4

Knowing we were both guaranteed, we just tied and I didn’t want to risk anything. I made it into Top 8 with 31 match points and going in as the 2nd seed with Jon being 1st.

Top 8: Greninja(LWL)

Going into this match I knew it was going to be close, but as long as I set up right, I could win. Unfortunately for me, Game 1 I dead drew like you wouldn’t believe. He drew everything when he needed it and got three BREAKS set up and i was unable to establish Garbodor. Game 2 went better because I actually got Garb set up and was able to overwhelm him. Game 3 was my worst game the entire weekend. I drew absolutely nothing and his set up was similar to Game 1. I whiffed energy four turns in a row and just like that, my run was over.


Overall, this was definitely the most fun I ever had at a Pokemon tournament and it was a great experience for my first ever International tournament.

In the future of Darkrai, it gets the new Darkrai GX card form Burning Shadows which makes the deck even better. It might have an awkward matchup against the new Gardevoir GX deck but the deck is still inherently strong.

That’s it for me today. See you all in Anaheim!