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Darkrai/Sableye (TCG)

Darkrai-EX and Sableye
Types used Darkness
Major cards Darkrai-EX, Sableye, Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer
Era 2011-2014

Darkrai/Sableye was a Pokémon Trading Card Game deck archetype regarded by many as the best deck in the format of the 2012-2013 season, also being a played contender in the 2011-2012 and 2013-2014 season. The deck's strategy revolved around stalling the opponent with disruptive Trainer cards and recycle these resources while the player would charge up Benched Darkrai-EX to later attack, but also being able to attack the first turn with stalling cards for the next turns. With a constant attendance during the season, Darkrai/Sableye players took 1st place in the Masters Division and 1st place in the Junior Division at the 2013 Pokémon Trading Card Game World Championships, as well other important titles at official events. Masters champion Jason Klaczynski's version was printed as a promotional World Championships deck, Darkrai Deck.



Darkrai/Sableye focused on charging benched Darkrai-EX without being attacked by the opponent's Pokémon, playing Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer to remove energy cards and Dark Patch as energy acceleration. The differential of this deck is to use Sableye's Junk Hunt Attack to put back discarded Item cards in the player's hand, being able to reuse these resources, plus searching and drawing Items, in the next turn. It could also be fast at getting enough energies on the first turn to start the match with Darkrai-EX's attack.

As a Pokémon that only gives one prize card when knocked out, Sableye forced the opponent to knock out the same number of Pokémon-EX to win the prize card race when brought down as if the opponent did not get a prize card. Due to Junk Hunt, Darkrai/Sableye could often play as a control deck by discarding all energies from the opponent's deck. Darkrai-EX's Dark Cloak Ability offers further mobility to the list, preventing it being in the active position at the first turn to be a so disfavorable start. A player could attach an energy to Darkrai-EX, retreat to Sableye by the Ability's free cost and move that energy with Energy Switch to use Junk Hunt. The same could happen backwards, where benched Darkrai-EX could even attack the first turn with an attchment to the active Pokémon, at least two Dark Patches and a retreat/Energy Switch.

Hypnotoxic Laser became an useful addition when released as it would get the opposing Pokémon's Hit Points low enough to be knocked out with one attack and often asleep them.

Key cards

  • Darkrai-EX - Darkrai-EX's Night Spear attack dealt 90 damage to the active Pokémon plus 30 damage to a benched foe. Its Dark Cloak Ability allowed free retreat for Pokémon with Darkness energy attached, also keeping these energies on the field.
  • Sableye - Sableye's Junk Hunt attack put two Item cards from the discard pile to the player's hand without a drawback or luck-based use. It could rarely use Confuse Ray to try confusing the defending Pokémon or knock it out when badly damaged.
  • Keldeo-EX - Its Rush In Ability sinergized well wih Darkrai-EX's Ability, removing special conditions and harmful effects while allowing Dark Patch to be used on the previous active Pokémon.
  • Crushing Hammer - Although Crushing Hammer needed a coinflip to discard an energy in play, being able to retrieve it with Sableye to test luck again made it viable enough for most decklists.
  • Enhanced Hammer - A guaranteed energy disruption against special energies, which were common during the whole 2012-2013 format.
  • Dark Patch - Dark Patch attached a discarded Darkness energy to a benched Darkness Pokémon. A similar Item card would only be released when this deck was long gone out of the Standard format, making it unique for the whole season.
  • Energy Switch - Moved energies between Sableye and Darkrai-EX to use Junk Hunt and Night Spear as quickly possible. Other use could be to move energies from damaged Darkrai-EX to a newer attacker.
  • Dark Claw - Dark Claw increased the attacks of Darkness by 20. It was dropped with the end of the 2011-2012 season and became relevant again once Pokémon with 100-110 HP became slightly common in the format and Hypnotoxic Laser had been released.
  • Hypnotoxic Laser - Poisoned Pokémon with a chance to also cause them to fall asleep. Along with Virbank City Gym, it was possible to weaken the defending Pokémon's HP while charging up Darkrai-EX and knock them out in one Night Spear attack, or between turns.
  • Professor Juniper - Along with Ultra Ball, Professor Juniper was an easy way to discard energies to use Dark Patch while getting useful resources.
  • Darkness Energy - Each attached special Darkness Energy increased the attack of that Pokémon by 10.

Typical decklist

Jason Klaczynski's decklist at the 2013 World Championship

Quantity Card Type Rarity
DarkraiEX Darkness SuperRare
Sableye Darkness Uncommon
KeldeoEX Water SuperRare
Mr. Mime Psychic Rare
Bicycle I Uncommon
Computer Search I SuperRare
Dark Patch I Uncommon
Energy Search I Uncommon
Energy Switch I Uncommon
Enhanced Hammer I Uncommon
Hypnotoxic Laser I Uncommon
Pokémon Catcher I Uncommon
Random Receiver I SuperRare
Tool Scrapper I Uncommon
Ultra Ball I Uncommon
Dark Claw I Uncommon
Virbank City Gym St
N Su Uncommon
Professor Juniper Su Uncommon
10× Darkness Energy Darkness E Common

Possible tech cards

The following cards are often used in Darkrai/Sableye.

  • Mr. Mime - Mr. Mime's "Bench Barrier" Ability prevented all damage done to Benched Pokémon, allowing the players for avoiding damage from mirror matches and other dangerous Pokémon-EX.
  • Absol - A non-EX secondary attacker with decent uses, though it was often better to charge up Darkrai-EX than other Pokémon.
  • Mewtwo-EX - Cheap attacker against Psychic Pokémon such as itself or Garbodor.
  • Tornadus-EX - Secondary attacker during the 2011-2012 season to cover Darkrai-EX's Fighting matchup disadvantage.
  • Shaymin - Shaymin was a popular in many archetypes to move energy cards bewteen your Pokémon in play.

See Also

Project TCG logo.png This article is part of Project TCG, a Bulbapedia project that aims to report on every aspect of the Pokémon Trading Card Game.