Review of Dark EXplorers and the cards that could be in it.

by coolestman22 ~ April 16th, 2012.

Introduction

I guess I’ll do the Pikkdogs intro by saying “A big hello to all you OHKOers out there”. It’s me, coolestman22, with a review of the cards that might be in Dark Explorers that are receiving some sort of hype, or I just personally feel that are cool cards. Not all of these will be in meta decks, but not all cool cards from other sets are either. I’ll explain these cards so everyone knows what they do, but most of these cards you should know about by now. If you have any questions, please tell me in the comment section, I’m open to any feedback.

Kyogre-EX

Kyogre-EX is a water-type basic from Hail Blizzard that never got released in Next Destinies, but it wasn’t that good anyway so it wasn’t too big a deal. It will get a shot at play now, so let’s see what it does.

Kyogre-EX is a water-type with 170 HP, which is good but mediocre for an EX, an awful x2 weakness to lightning, no resistance, and a hefty but Heavy Ball searchable four retreat cost, and of course the EX rule. For WC it does 30 and you have the option of switching it with one of your benched Pokemon. This is OK, but it’s not something you should be basing a deck around.

The other attack is Dual Splash, which for WWC does 50 to 2 of your opponent’s benched Pokemon. This doesn’t sound good at first, but when you think about it it’s actually a decent attack, because you can kill 2 Tynamos with it early game, if it’s set up early enough. This means to set up 2 Eelektriks you either have to go first and evolve them all or bench four Tynamo and have 2 killed, then get your 2 Eelektriks out.

The question is “is it worth it to set up a T2 Kyogre with whatever just to have it killed by a Zekrom later?

The answer is no. To deny 2 Eels and then be killed for 2 prizes in return is not worth it. That would make the game 4-4 on prizes, and the Zekeels player could run right through you.

However, it COULD see play in a techy CMT deck that wants to get the early advantage against Zekeels and then start the Mewtwo war. Think about it.

If the game is 4-4 on prizes, you could take a prize on something else with whatever, or kill an EX, or if your opponent played a Mewtwo then you can Catcher-kill it. You’d then be up 3-4 or 2-4, and then you could start the Mewtwo war.

Groudon-EX

Groudon-EX is a fighting-type basic from Psycho Drive with 180 HP, a x2 water weakness, a -20 resistance to Lightning, and a hefty but Heavy Ball-able 4 retreat cost. It also has the EX rule, which means that it gives up 2 prize cards when it is knocked out. For FC it does 20 and does 10 to each of your opponent’s benched Pokemon, which is a decent attack if you’re using Groudon, but otherwise isn’t something worth building a deck around.

The second attack is slightly better, for FFC it does 80, and if the defending Pokemon has 2 or more damage counters on it it does 40 more.

Overall, Groudon-EX is decent, but the thing that really will give it hope is it’s stats. Fighting type is amazing with 70-90% of the format being Zekeels, and the second attack is enough to make it decent in a CMT deck over Terrakion or whatever tech. It could also be used as its own deck with EXP. Share, like Terrakion, or as a one-of tech in Terrakion.

Venusaur

Venusaur is a Stage-2 grass-type Pokemon from Dark Rush with 140 HP, a fire weakness, a water resistance, and a large 4 retreat cost.

The fire weakness isn’t too bad, but it’s still enough so that it’s one-shot by Emboar, Reshiram, Typhlosion Prime, Entei-EX, a Glinting Claw heads from Reshiram-EX, and V-Create Victini, none of which see too much play. The 140 HP is average nowadays for a Stage 2 with a high retreat cost, the water resistance slightly helps against Kyurem-EX, but Kyogre-EX could just go around it. The four retreat cost is bad, but you can Heavy Ball for it and its Stage One, Ivysaur, which has a 3 retreat cost.

So what does Venusaur do? Well, its ability lets you search your deck for a Pokemon once during your turn. This isn’t very good, considering it’s a Stage 2 and has a four retreat cost, so it’s easy to just Pokemon Catcher it and stall. This could be decent to go with its attack, if it’s decent.

Well, its attack does 70 for GGCC, which isn’t very good even though it is DCE-compatible. It has an effect which lets you poison the defending Pokemon, as well, but that’s basically Meganium Prime’s attack that does more damage over time if you don’t retreat it.

So no, Venusaur will not be good. Venusaur is too hard to set up, but if you really need the effect and you play Switch and Rare Candy already, it might be something to consider.

Entei-EX

Entei-EX is a basic fire-type Pokemon from Dark Rush with 180 HP, a x2 weakness to water, no resistance, an EX-rule, and a 3 retreat cost. The HP is the best in the format without effects until Wailord DB comes out, so it’s safe to say it’s good. The weakness isn’t a very common type, Kyurem-EX is really only good in Ross.dec, no resistance is common but still bad, and the 3 retreat can be decreased to a payable 2 with Skyarrow Bridge and it means that you can Heavy Ball for Entei, but still seems too much because Entei looks fast. Fire isn’t a very common weakness now, only Cobalion has it.

For RC it does 30 and burns the defending Pokemon. This is mostly meh, nothing worth playing yet.

The other attack does 90 for RRC, and you attach a fire energy from your discard pile to one of your benched Pokemon.

The second attack does a good amount of damage and gives you some solid energy acceleration also, so this attack is fairly useful. It might be something worth putting into any deck with fire energy.

Heatmor

Heatmor is a basic fire-type Pokemon from Dark Rush with 90 HP, a x2 water weakness, no resistance, and a one retreat cost. The 90 HP is bad for an unevolving basic in this format, and the water weakness is good because there’s not much played water in this format, but it’s likely to be OHKOed anyway.. The one retreat cost is good, it becomes free with Skyarrow Bridge which is good.

The stats are OK, but why is this card getting hype?

Well, it’s obviously not the second attack, it does 50 damage plus 20 for a coin flip. This seems like a weaker version of Glinting Claw, but it could be useful against Durant if not for the first attack.

The first attack does 10 for C. Now how is this good against Durant?

Because if you are attacking a Durant, the attack does 50 more damage, and (10+50)x2=120, enough to OHKO a Durant with an Eviolite, Defender, and Special Metal.

I think that if enough decks play Heatmor, Durant will start to disappear. Normally when a Pokemon’s counter comes out it’s still a pretty good card, but in Durant’s case where it is specifically against Durant and Durant has no way out of it if it starts T1 because Durant is not a mill deck, Durant is gone. it had a good run, but it’s time for Durant to either find a new miller against Heatmor or go down.

Empoleon

Empoleon is a Stage 2 Water-type Pokemon with 140 HP, a x2 weakness to Lightning, no resistance, and a 2 retreat cost. The 140 HP is pretty good for an Empoleon, the Lightning weakness is terrible with most of the format being Zekeels, and the 2 retreat cost is bad but playable.

Empoleon has an ability called Diving Draw, which lets you discard a card from your hand once during your turn and in return, you draw 2 cards. If the attack is good this is a nice built-in draw engine that you can use to set up more Empoleons.

So what does the attack do? For one water energy, it does 10 damage for each Pokemon on the field. Does that remind you of anything? Possibly a Stage-2 Pokemon with 90 HP that gets played in some Mew decks? Such as Jumpluff?

Empoleon’s an overall cool card, but in this format a Stage 2 with Lightning weakness is just asking for trouble, even if the attack did 20 damage for each Pokemon on the field, but it could be a fun Tier 2.5 deck. In MewBox, it’s better to play Jumpluff because it has two attacks.

Raikou-EX

Raikou-EX is a basic lightning-type Pokemon with 170 HP, a x2 fighting weakness (I’ll add it to the list), no resistance, and a one retreat cost. The fighting weakness is common but bad, the HP is average for an EX, the resistance is bad but common, and the retreat cost is great, a Skyarrow Bridge makes it free.

Raikou’s first attack does 30 for LC and you get to flip for paralysis. Not great, but it’s nice to have the option to try for paralysis if you’re going to stall. If you’re going to base the deck around it, however, you’d be much better off playing however many V’s you prefer to run and Articuno however.

The second attack (confirmed for English as Volt Bolt, don’t you love that?), however, is much better. For LLC you get to snipe for 100 and discard all lightning energy attached to Raikou. This is really good for sniping opposing Eelektriks, and decks will be forced to play a thicker line. In the Raikou war, whoever can attack first or get more Eelektriks set up first will win, so you should be basing your deck around that. You can also play Rescue Energy so you can A: pick up sniped Eelektriks and B: Only have to discard 2 energy instead of 3 attached to Raikou.

Raikou-EX is a great card, and it will see play as a one-of in any Eel deck, and its price will be soaring assuming that they don’t release a promo one. It’s going for $34.99 on T&T, so preorder yours before they start going for higher.

As for playing with it, I’d say try to set up as many Eelektriks as you can and then start sniping. There’s not too much to say other than that.

Espeon
Espeon is a Stage One Psychic-Type Pokemon with 90 HP, a Psychic weakness, no resistance, and a one retreat cost. The one retreat is fairly good, but it could be better. The psychic weakness means that Mewtwo-EX will only need 3 energy or 2 and a PlusPower to KO it, no resistance seems common for cards in Dark Rush, the one retreat cost is pretty good for a bench sitter.

The attack does 60 for PCC, and you get to look at your opponent’s hand. The effect could be useful, but since it’s an attack your opponent will probably have an entirely new hand by the time you can do anything. Sixty for PCC is OK if you’re running Psychic energy, and it could 2-shot Mewtwo EX.

The Ability is the part of Espeon people are talking about. It states that you prevent all effects of opponent’s attacks, excluding damage, done to any of your Pokemon with energy attached to them. This means that Typhlosion Prime will no longer discard your energy, and Vanilluxe will no longer paralyze you, and damage counters cannot be placed on you.

Honestly none of those cards are currently in Tier 1-2 decks right now, so I don’t think that Espeon will see too much play. It could be used in decks that struggle with that stuff, but there aren’t too many of those.

Cofagrigus

Cofagrigus is a Psychic-Type Stage One from Dark rush with 100 HP, which is just outside of Level Ball range, a hurtful x2 weakness to dark, no resistance, and a two retreat cost. The retreat cost is in my opinion the worst an evolution with 100+ HP can have. It makes it a lot harder to search for, but it’s still really bad.

So let’s hope that the attacks make it somewhat playable.

For PP it does 40 and leaves the opponent locked active barring a Switch/Slippery Soles next turn. This isn’t very good, I think it would have to be 100 to be even somewhat playable. The attack cost does not allow for Rescue Energy and the HP makes it impossible to continuously use. So if this isn’t why it’s being semi-hyped, what is?

For a Double Colorless you do 40 damage for each Pokemon tool card you opt to discard from your hand. This is mediocre, but it could be a fun league deck, and Litterbox is a really cool deck name that you could use. There will be 16 Tools that you can play plus 4 Junk Arm, so you could do 8,000 damage over the course of the game.

This wouldn’t be good for competitive play, however, this would just be a fun deck.

Cofagrigus is an interesting card, and a card that probably would’ve been good last format, but not this one. It’s going to be just like Audino EP in the sense that some people will hype it, but it’s just too inconsistent to be good.

Aerodactyl

Aerodactyl is a Fighting-Type revived Pokemon with a mediocre but Level Ball-able 90 HP, an unharmful grass weakness, no resistance, and a one retreat cost. These are decent stats for any bench sitter.

Aerodactyl has an ability that states that as long as Aerodactyl is in play, each of your attacks get an automatic PlusPower, which you can’t opt out of. This might help in some decks with space for it, but I think that it might be better overall to just play PlusPower as it doesn’t require a stadium/coin flip or risky trainer card to put in play, and if you’re under trainer lock it would be hard to get the Aerodactyl out anyway, you’d need a Twist Mountain for that, it requires a coin flip, and the two trainerlock decks right now are The Truth and Chandelure, both of which play Tropical Beach/Pokemon Center.

The one place I see Aerodactyl fitting in as a One Twist Mountain/One Alph 3/2 Aerodactyl is in Reshiphlosion, a deck that commonly needs 10 more damage to KO Zekroms without PlusPower, and if they can do that they will gain a better Zekeels matchup.

Darkrai-EX

Darkrai-EX is a basic darkness-type Pokemon-EX from Dark Rush that has been confirmed in Dark EXplorers (English Scans have been seen on Pokebeach) with a tied for best-in-format 180 HP, a x2 fighting weakness (Seems like everything does), which hurts against Groudon-EX and Terrakion, a helpful -20 Psychic resistance, meaning Mewtwo will need one more energy to OHKO/2HKO it, and a two retreat cost which the Ability fixes easily. Overall I’d say those are pretty good stats, but it’s still OHKOed by big fighting counter Pokemon.

Darkrai-EX’s Ability, Dark Cloak, states that each of your Pokemon with Darkness energies attached to them have free retreat. This is useful against Durant, so they can’t Catcher-stall you if you have a Darkness energy in hand. This is also nice for giving your field free retreat. You can also use this Ability in conjunction with Prism or Rainbow energy, which is nice.

It also has an attack that does 90 for DDC, and you can snipe for 30 also. This is a nice attack to go along with the card, but it’s nothing to base a deck around even though you can kill an Eelektrik and a Tynamo in one hit with it.

Back before NVI came out I played a rogue deck with Donphan Prime and Metagross UL, and Metagross UL had the same body as Darkrai has Ability, but for Psychic energy. This surprised people, especially against Mew decks where seeing off Crobat won’t win you the game. I also played a handful of techs to do different things, such as Gliscor UD, Terrakion EP, and Grumpig TU as a Reshiphlosion counter. This was fun, but it wasn’t going to win anything because Metagross was too hard to set up.

Now that Metagross is a basic, however, this becomes a lot easier. I can still play my Gliscor, switch the Terrakion to the NVI one, and play something else or more consistency cards over the Grumpig.

This is one use that Darkrai-EX will have. What other Pokemon benefit from free retreat? Are there some random Pokemon whose downfall is their 4 retreat cost? Could Darkrai help them out? Tell me below.

Zoroark

Zoroark is a Stage-one Darkness-Type Pokemon with 100 HP, a x2 Fighting Weakness, a Psychic resistance, and a two retreat cost. The HP is OK, but I’d prefer 90 so it can be searched out with Level Ball. The weakness isn’t too bad considering the HP, how much do you apply weakness when Eelektrik is being attacked and have it be KO based on that? Not too much.

Zoroark has two attacks. The first one costs CC (Double Colorless anyone) and does 20 damage for each Darkness-type Pokemon you have in play. This is really cool, and people are basing Dark.dec around it. You could play 4-3 this with 1 Zoroark BW, 3 Darkrai EX, and 3-3 Honchkrow UD, and focus on doing 100-160 damage per turn (with Special Darks and Darkness Claw).

The second does 20 for DD times the number of damage counters on Zoroark. I don’t think this attack will be used very much, Zoroark is not likely to survive the hit and HAVE damage counters on him, but it might be used against CMT because I’d assume that some Dark.decs will play Mewtwo, and you don’t want to give an opposing Mewtwo 4 energy to work with.

Overall I think Zoroark is a really cool card, and it will probably make a splash at Battle Roads, so you should start testing against it as soon as you can.

Tornadus-EX

Tornadus-EX is a colorless-type basic Pokemon-EX with 170 HP, which is average for an EX, an awful x2 weakness to lightning, a nice -20 Fighting resistance, a helpful one retreat cost that is easily made free by Skyarrow Bridge, and the EX rule which it’s just gonna have to live with.

So it has decent stats, so what do its attacks do? Well, for a DCE it does 30, and if there’s a Stadium card in play it does 30 more damage. This is a nice attack for CMT, as you can do a T1 60 without having to use Forest Breath, but it’s not enough to make its way into decks in this meta yet. So what does its second attack do?

Well, for 3 colorless energy, it does 100 damage, enough to OHKO a Zoroark, and you flip a coin. If it’s tails, you discard an energy attached to it. This is a good attack for hitting 100 cheap, quick, and possibly helpfully if you’re playing an Eel deck, but it’s not enough to just base a deck around. So what does it do, exactly, in our current metagame?

Well, the Fighting resistance means that Dark.dec and Zekeels can play it as a Groudon/Terrakion counter. This is helpful, Tornadus EP worked kinda before but it still wasn’t 100% perfect. Now Tornadus-EX will help a lot, because it will 2-shot Terrakion unless it has 4 Defenders or 2 and an Eviolite at any given point, good luck with that.

Dark Patch

Dark Patch is a Trainer card from Dark Rush that lets you attach a basic Darkness energy from your discard pile to one of your benched Pokemon when you play it. This is a really cool effect, and it’s the only form of energy acceleration that Darkness-types have in this format except for Electrode, which you really would like to avoid using. this will provide the energy acceloration for Dark.dec, and it will let you power up a Darkrai-EX’s attack in one turn. There’s not much else to say other than that.

Darkness Claw

Darkness Claw is a Pokemon-tool card that only affects Darkness-types, and it makes their attacks do 20 more damage. If you attach this to Zoroark, you can do 140 for a DCE, and if you attach this to Darkrai-EX you can do 110 and snipe for 30. It reminds me of Expert Belt sorta, but with only ⅓ of it and for Darkness-types only.

It’s an overall nice card to have, if there was a tool that made any type’s attacks do 20 more damage, the person running that type would play that card unless their deck was tool-based, such as Terrakion.dec. This isn’t what makes Dark.dec viable, but it certainly gives it a boost.

Random Receiver

Random Receiver is a trainer card that we didn’t get in Next Destinies, but hopefully we will get now. It lets the player who uses it reveal cards from the top of their deck until they get a Supporter, and the Supporter goes to their hand.

This is nice because it gets you a supporter, guaranteed, but late game you might run into a Collector, Seeker, or maybe a Black Belt that you don’t want. I think that overall, Pokegear 3.0 is a better play because it gives you more freedom to choose even if you aren’t guaranteed a Supporter. In CMT, however, I’d pick Random Receiver.

Ultra Ball

Ultra Ball is a Trainer card that we didn’t get in Next Destinies that makes you discard 2 cards from your hand, and in return you search your deck for a Pokemon.

The discard effect is good for Eel players, as you can discard 2 Lightning Energy, and then search for an Eel, Tynamo, or whatever Pokemon you happen to need at the time. This is a pretty cool effect in decks with a low Pokemon count where Level Ball and Heavy Ball aren’t an option as well, it can replace Pokemon Communication. It helps any deck that depends on Pokemon, really, which is just about all of them.

I think Ultra Ball will be best used in Zekeels because you can discard energy and search for whatever you want, and it might replace Level Ball because of that.

So that’s all the cards I have to review. Let me know if there’s one I missed, or you disagree with my opinion on Heatmor, or whatever, and I’m open to any constructive criticism. Thanks for sticking with me, and later.

Category: Card Discussion | Tags: , , , , ,
  • great article.

    • Ed

      Indeed.  Thanks a lot, Coolestman!!!

    • Anonymous

       Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the article. 

    Though, shouldn’t the title be “Preview of Dark Explorers”?  Not that important.

    The EXs here sound fairly disappointing.  Groudon and Entei maybe in the right deck.  Love the empoleon, venosaur, and areodactyl.  Don’t know if they will be playable though. 

    • Ed

      I thought the same thing about review/preview, but it was already published once I caught it.  Eh

    • Anonymous

      Whoops, sorry about that. I wasn’t really thinking about the title, just mostly what cards to do at that point.

  • Anonymous

    Great preview coolestman. You talked about Darkrai EX’s ability, but there’s also some buzz around his attack, coupled with early Juniper, Smeargle-for-more-Juniper/Skyarrow, and Dark Patch/Junk Arm shenanigans to set Darkrai up for a T1 [D][D][C] Night Spear. I’m not sure how viable that is, but it sounds like a way to put on some pressure early.

    • Anonymous

      I like Darkrai’s attack. I think I said how you could Catcher an Eeland kill it and a Tynamo with it. It also can do a lot of damage with dark shenanigans and PlusPower. I just think it’s best for it’s ability.