More gigantic Pokemon, more Special Energy, and a new archetype are to be found in this set. But are any of them good at all? Let’s look at the cards in this set and make our judgment on them.

Please note that only cards that are relevant for the actual game or have a certain collectible value are included in this review. Also there may be errors or mistranslations.

Pokémon

Butterfree V 0.5/10

and Butterfree VMax 1.5/10

Besides the free retreat cost, this gigantic butterfly stands out in no way among other Pokemon VMax, giving players no reason to use Butterfree VMax over other Pokemon VMax. This makes Butterfree VMax have no place in any deck unless you are desperate for a Pokemon with free retreat and high HP.

Golisopod 8/10

Golisopod can, in a meta that is dominated by Pokemon V and Pokemon GX, easily take over the game. Using a Twin Energy, ‘Hard Times Slash’ is capable of knocking out most Pokemon VMax in a single hit if the opponent has a full board of Pokemon V and Pokemon GX. A card this strong should easily find its way into decks, especially ones that already have access to Twin Energy. One of the best cards in the set, for how strong it is in the current meta.

Decidueye 7/10

A very valid Ability in the current meta combined with an above average attack makes Decidueye a strong contender for an anti-meta card. Being a Stage-2 Pokemon, Decidueye requires a lot of work and likely Rare Candy to successful at this. Though most decent decks will have a way around a sudden Decidueye, it can still put a dent in many common decks’ general game plan just by existing.

Blaziken 4.5/10

With how popular Electric and Steel-Type Pokemon are right now, and Dark-Type Pokemon will be with the release of this set, a combination of Fighting and Fire makes Blaziken a decently reliable attacker for many scenarios. Against any other deck however, Blaziken is a below average Stage 2 Pokemon that requires way too much effort for not much in return. Stuffing your deck with Rare Candy, Torchik and Blaziken, just to get washed away by the creation trio or Coalossal VMax will feel real bad.

Charizard V 5/10

and Charizard VMax 5/10

Bigger Charizard, bigger numbers. About as what you expect from any Charizard, this oversized lizard is a one trick pony, but performs that trick reasonably well. Both Charizard V and Charizard VMax are pretty much identical, with the VMax boasting bigger numbers on both attacks and HP but also requiring one more [R] for the stronger one of its two attacks than Charizard V does. Both ‘Fire Spin’ and ‘G-Max Wildfire’ deal damage capable of knocking out popular Pokemon V and Pokemon VMax respectively in a single hit. The Energy-cost are massive, but Fire can easily deal with that thanks to Welder and other Energy-acceleration. Though this sounds promising at first, there are much more consistent options that do not need as much work as Charizard does to take prize cards at all.

Houndoom V 2/10

Without a consistent way to put damage counters on your own Fire-type Pokemon, Houndoom V way below average of a Pokemon V. With a way to do so however, Houndoom V still is not quite good enough to keep up with the current meta as other Fire-type Pokemon do not need anything but Welder to deal large amounts of damage. This dog will have to stay in the binder.

Centiskorch V 4/10

and Centiskorch VMax 8.5/10

The damage ‘G-Max Centiferno’ can deal with barely any effort are impressively high. Dealing 240 damage is very easy for this over-sized critter, making one-hit knockouts on any non-VMax Pokemon a reality by turn 3 with only a single Welder. Any more help from other Energy-acceleration will make Centiskorch VMax even faster and even more dangerous. One of the few cards that can knock out Pokemon VMax in a single hit with relative reliability. Easily one of the better Pokemon VMax we have yet seen, including the ones in this set.

Milotic 3/10

Stall decks might like this card, though with extreme damage numbers that are required against Pokemon VMax and thus, appear in almost every deck, healing a minuscule 20HP a turn seems like wasted effort.

Vanilluxe 0/10

This card only gets mentioned because it takes the spot of my least favorite card in this entire set, despite there being a great majority of horrible cards in it. The Ability ‘Bitter Cold’ Could easily have been integrated with ‘Frost Smash’ to make one halfway decent attack and still leave space for an Ability on top. Though this card would likely still be throwaway trash that way, it is simply wasted potential and wasted cardboard.

Dracovish 4/10

If this was a Basic Pokemon, it would actually be a great card. As a Stage 1 however, it loses a lot of potential and often allows the opponent to already have set up their Pokemon VMax before ‘Primal Law’ ever comes into effect. Though ‘Hammer In’ as well as the HP of this card are at least decent, it is not good enough at its main use.

Dracozolt 4/10

At first glance Dracozolt looks like an expensive Electric-Type attacker for any deck, similar to how Onix (Lost Thunder 109) was a Fighting-Type attacker for any deck. Unlike Onix however, Dracozolt is a Stage 1 Pokemon that evolves from a fossil. Not only does this make ‘Giga Impact’ absolutely worthless of an attack as it requires way too much effort to effectively use, but it also does not hit any currently common Pokemon’s weakness. The much cheaper ‘Amping Up’ looks deceiving at first as well, promising a huge 120 damage for a single Energy. If you can use it twice in a row that is, which is not only quite difficult in the current meta of massive damage numbers, but also equates to an average of 70-80 damage over two turns, which is much less impressive. In the unlikely event that Dracozolt survives for more than 2 turns in the active spot, consider yourself lucky.

Arctozolt 7/10

Unlike any of its fossil-brothers and sisters, Arctozolt is an actually decent card. ‘Biting Whirpool’ works while Arctozolt is on the bench, can be active up to 4 times at once and affects almost every opponent it can go up against. Dealing up to 80 damage for free every time the opponent attaches an Energy-Card will not only make the opponent think twice but also completely devastates many decks that rely on a large amount of Energy on their side of the field, like Centiskorch VMax. As awesome as this may sound, Arctozolt has one major drawback; It evolves from Rare Fossil, a card with virtually no support. Though this may change someday, Rare Fossil is not searchable, making it highly unreliable.

Vikavolt V 8/10

Item-Lock is back, this time in form of a 2-Energy attack that deals a rather minuscule 50 damage. If used alongside the already powerful Energy-acceleration and damage boosters that the Electric-Type has to offer, Vikavolt V can take over control of the match rather quickly, possibly turn 1 if the player goes second. Unlike Pikachu&Zekrom GX, Vikavolt can easily be played in a deck with other Types and does not even have to be the main focus of the deck, but can still be devastating. In a straight-forward offensive deck, Pikachu&Zekrom GX will always be the better choice though.

Mimikyu 7.5/10

A single Mimikyu sitting on the bench stops the opponent from healing any of their benched Pokemon. Mimikyu cards that affect the game by simply being on the field seem to become more common, as Mimikyu (Cosmic Eclipse 97) did the exact same thing.

Mew V 6/10

Though ‘X Ball’ is likely to deal decent damage, it does not stand out in the current environment of the game. Mew V will be used in some instances as it provides a decently damaging attack in combination with free retreat, but it does not offer anything beyond that.

Rhyperior V 2/10

There are much better Fighting-Type Pokemon GX and Pokemon V than this one. Even a ‘Heavy Rock Artillery’ followed by ‘Drill Run’ does not knock out a Pokemon VMax that does not have a Fighting weakness. Among all the Pokemon V we have seen, this is one of the worst.

Darkrai 7/10

This card makes for an interesting combo with Hydreigon from this set, allowing you to put all eggs in one nightmare-basket and deal massive amounts of damage with ‘Vortex Of Darkness’. This is not very safe or consistent, but can make Darkrai a good addition to the upcoming Eternatus VMax “Darkbox” decks.

Hoopa 7/10

A strong single-prize attacker is always nice to see, and with how powerful recent Dark-Type Pokemon have been, Hoopa fits right into the new “Darkbox” deck. Dark City and Hiding Energy will make meeting the requirement of ‘Assault Gate’ rather easy, allowing for Hoopa to take knockouts with little risk.

Hydreigon 9/10

‘Dark Squall’ is ‘Rain Dance’ for Dark-Type Energy and its usefulness completely depends on how powerful Dark-Type Pokemon currently are. With that being said, be prepared to see this card a lot.

Crobat V 9.5/10

Dedenne GX, but it does not discard your hand before you draw. Some decks will prefer Dedenne GX as it helps certain tactics, but in a general sense, Crobat V is the better card as it not only does not force you to discard when you do not want to, but also has a decent attack for a bench-sitter Pokemon. Crobat V will find its way in most decks for a long time to come.

Galarian Slowbro V 2/10

Why the restriction for Galarian Slowbro V to be active for ‘Quick Draw Poison’ to work? Why does the attack require two Dark Energy? This card is so underwhelming, it will not even find its way into the extremely powerful Eternatus VMax decks that will spring from this set.

Grimmsnarl V 7/10

and Grimmsnarl VMax 7.5/10

Unlike most Pokemon VMax, the Basic Pokemon V is decently powerful and can regularly take knockouts by itself. In combination with Hydreigon, Grimmsnarl V will have a constant flow of Energy and can even help spread them out if necessary. Grimmsnarl VMax on the other hand is an aggressive attacker, dealing up to 270 damage with ‘G-Max Drill’, which knocks out anything that is not a Pokemon VMax. Though unlikely to be the main attacker of a meta deck, both Grimmsnarl V and Grimmsnarl VMax will surely appear in many Eternatus VMax “Darkbox” decks.

Eternatus V 6/10

and Eternatus VMax 10/10

An incredible Pokemon VMax that will be the main element of many decks to come, no matter the format. With Eternal Zone allowing for up to 8 Pokemon on the bench, it is much easier to use bench-sitter Pokemon like Weavile GX, Crobat V, Galarian Zigzagoon and Hydreigon while still having enough space to set up attackers. For merely two Energy, ‘Dread End’ can deal up to 270 damage, assuming your entire bench is full of Dark-Type Pokemon. Though this sounds like a difficult task at first, the huge amount of powerful Dark-Type Pokemon we currently have is astounding and will make filling a deck with them easy. With Every newly released, powerful Dark-Type Pokemon will only make Eternatus VMax stronger.

Scizor V 6/10

and Scizor VMax 8.5/10

Both Scizor V and Scizor VMax will play their role, though the main event is the massive Scizor VMax and its resilience. With the usual massive HP a Pokemon VMax boasts, a reduction of 30 damage every turn can make a difference, especially when for only a single more Energy, a gigantic 190 damage await you. This resilience is only strengthened by cards such as Metal Frying Pan which not only reduces damage taken even further but also removes the only way to easily get through this impressive defense: The weakness to Fire. Though it is likely to see its most success in the Expanded format, it is an impressive card and sure to appear in a few tournaments.

Galarian Stunfisk V 6/10

Galarian Stunfisk, a living bear trap, is doing exactly what one would expect a living bear trap to do. If set up with the Energy that ‘Trapping Bite’ needs, Galarian Stunfisk V has an above average 240HP, which can be increased if wanted. After attacking for a below average 60 damage, Stunfisk becomes an actual trap, counterattacking any Pokemon that dares to attack it for 120 damage. This damage is applied directly as Damage Counters, bypassing most effects that could reduce damage. Of course no opponent will recklessly run into this trap, but often they have no choice but to either take the counterattack or deal no damage whatsoever. Galarian Stunfisk V can also equip cards such as Metal Frying Pan to reduce damage it takes, which makes attacking it even less rewarding and prevents Fire-Type Pokemon from knocking it out in a single hit. A single copy of Galarian Stunfisk may prove worth being in a Scizor VMax deck, but seems more like a gimmick than anything else.

Salamence V 4/10

and Salamence VMax 4.5/10

A year or two ago, these cards could have made an impact. As a colorless Pokemon focused on mediocre spread damage, Salamence V and VMax are quite unimpressive in the current environment and are not worth the effort.

The “Mad Party” 9/10

Bunnelby

Galarian Mr Rime

Dedenne

Polteageist

Virtually identical to the well known ‘Night March’ attack, ‘Mad Party’ has massive potential and starts off with more support than ‘Night March’ ever had. This means ‘Mad Party’ has more damage potential, but the current Meta enviroment also requires more damage and thus, more convoluted and complicated tactics to set up the discard pile with ‘Mad Party’ Pokemon. Just like ‘Night March’ decks before, ‘Mad Party’ has access to Double Colorless Energy, but in form of Twin Energy. Consistent, powerful and fast, ‘Mad Party’ is a strong contender for a top tier deck.

Bird Keeper 6/10

and the Sky Circus 1/10

Rowlet

Starly

Swanna

These four cards are meant to be played alongside one another, so the Pokemon get to attack without Energy-cost. This, however, is a majorly lacking tactic as ‘Sky Circus’ can, under normal circumstances, trigger a maximum of four times in a match and none of the birds’ moves are worth using for their required Energy-cost. If there is going to be more support for this archetype, ‘Sky Circus’ might be interesting and similar to the Caturday decks from Unbroken Bonds. As of now, this is not even worth building a fun-deck around. Bird Keeper by itself however may find its way into some decks as it is far more powerful than any of the corresponding birds.

Trainers

Big Parasol 2/10

The effects of attacks are not the dangerous part, but the damage is. There are much better tools than this.

Billowing Smoke 6/10

Taking away part of the reward for knocking out a Pokemon may not be devastating, but will make an impact, especially when a lot of effort was put into knocking out a Pokemon VMax. A decent card that will likely see play as a single copy.

Rare Fossil 2/10

Just like any other fossil, it is only used to evolve into the next stage, only one of which is halfway decent. At least it has a decent amount of HP for a fossil.

Familiar Bell 7/10

This card seems to be made for ‘Mad Party’ decks, but will surely find its way into several other decks. Any deck that uses the discard pile and discard effects well can make Familiar Bell can be an amazing card

Kabu 4/10

A last-resort kind of card, that normally is rather under-powered but can turn the game around if the condition is met. Though that is what this card seems to be made for, I am sure some decks will play barely any Pokemon to capitalize on Kabu.

Piers 9/10

To top off the incredible Dark-type support this set gave us, Piers is a universal searcher for any Dark-type Pokemon and any kind of Energy card, even special Energy such as Hiding Energy or Twin Energy. No Dark-type deck should leave the house without Piers.

Pokemon Breeder’s Nurturing 6/10

A more balanced Wally, that does not allow for turn 1 shenanigans. It is likely to see fringe play, but normally a deck does not need a supporter to evolve their Pokemon.

Rose 5/10

Unless you use a card such as Oranguru (Sun & Moon 113) or Rose Tower alongside this card, it is too much of a drawback to effectively use Rose at all. If your deck is prepared to be hand-less though, this can be a powerful card. After all, Granbull (Lost Thunder 138) made it work before.

Rose Tower 4/10

In a deck that anticipates having very few to no cards in hand throughout the duration of a match, this card will have a much bigger impact on the player using it than the opponent, but it does help the opponent anyway. The faster your deck empties its hand, the better this card.

Spikemuth 3/10

Punishing a player for retreating a Pokemon is a decent idea on paper, but the payout is not only dependent on the player and deck you are facing but also extremely situational.

Struggle Glove 2/10

Some specific decks of which the main attacker has a weakness against a common deck’s type can use this card, but it often will be completely useless and merely discard-fodder. Thanks to how conditional it is, most players will likely avoid playing it altogether.

Cape Of Toughness

Cape Of Toughness is a bit more universally useful as it may seem at first, and +50HP  is a lot. The requirements this card has, do not exclude Pokemon V or Pokemon EX, so older formats and most decks that do not focus on Evolution Pokemon will make good use of this card.

Old PC

Just like your own 25 year old PC, this thing belongs in the trash.

Turbo Patch 8.5/10

An amazing card that easily finds a place in many decks. Though the coin-flip makes this card unreliable, it is a free Energy-attachment if it works. This can mean the difference between attacking and not attacking and thus, between winning and losing.

Glimwood Tangle

Coinflips are something players inherently avoid, but there is a fun deck that can be built around this card with Blissey (Lost Thunder 153) and Victini (Guardians Rising 10). It is unlikely for such a deck to see any tournament play though, nobody likes to rely even more on luck in a TCG.

Yell Horn 1/10

If there happens to be a Pokemon released that wants to be confused for whatever reason, this card may be worth a second look. Else, it stays trash forever.

Special energy

Heat Energy 9/10

and Hiding Energy 9/10

Unless you might have less than optimal amounts of basic Energy in your deck, there is no reason not to play 4 of these in a deck that corresponds to their type.

Powerful Energy 4/10

This might be the only reason to play a Colorless Pokemon as an attacker over anything else. Though highly unlikely, four of these can add up to 80 damage to an attack’s damage.

Conclusion

Darkness Ablaze has, fitting to its name, the most powerful Dark-Type support I have ever seen. With Piers, Hydreigon, and especially Eternatus VMax, Dark-type decks will appear in many variations and heavily impact the current meta. That being said, there also is the new and promising ‘Mad Party’ archetype that people are very likely going to see as the next big budget deck. Lastly, Scizor VMax and Centiskorch VMax are big contenders for high ranking decks in the months after the release of Darkness Ablaze. To top things off, the set also offers two cards that can go into most decks, being Turbo Patch and Crobat V. Collectors might be less impressed with this set, as there is not much that sticks out as especially pretty or new. The usual pretty rainbow sparkles we know (and love?). The amount of cards in this set that is not even worth a second look is astounding though, making the powerful cards stand out even more.

Set Rating


6.5 / Okay


 

3 Comments
  1. Diancie23 4 weeks ago

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    1

    First time ever that Darkness is actually getting some decent support besides darkrai ex back in the day?

  2. LuNALA 1 month ago

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    0

    Is there a rainbow version of the Charizard VMAX?

  3. Alex 1 month ago

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    No rare holo supporter card? :((( Other than the Charizard V and VMAX I don’t see much collectible stuff either… Darkness lovers love this set, and that’s probably it.

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