Darkrai (QC Approved 0/2)

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  • Rightly the Pokemon amongst those "released" from Ubers that everyone has their eyes on.
  • The tremendous threat of blistering 125 base speed combined with an 80% accurate sleep move needs no explanation.
  • Bad Dreams is an excellent ability when combined with Dark Void, and gives almost any Darkrai set potential as a lead thanks to Dark Void + Bad Dreams breaking Sturdy / Focus Sashes.
  • The new sleep mechanics that make the sleep counter reset when a Pokemon switches out dramatically increases the power of sleep, and almost ensures Darkrai will take out at least one enemy per battle.
  • It has fantastic offensive stats with a huge 135 base Special Attack combined with its fantastic speed. Even its 90 Attack is usable with moves like Focus Punch.
  • Despite being built as a powerful “frail sweeper,” it still possesses bulk comparable to Machamp.
  • While only possessing 2 weaknesses, the weakness to U-Turn is never desirable, and Fighting-type Pokemon as well as Mach Punch/Vacuum Wave are extremely popular.
  • Darkrai brings almost nothing in the way of useful resistances, which can be problematic putting together 6 Pokemon to battle the many powerful threats of the 5th Generation Metagame.
name: Sleep and Sub Wall Breaker
move 1: Dark Void
move 2: Dark Pulse
move 3: Focus Blast
move 4: Substitute
item: Leftovers
ability: Bad Dreams
nature: Timid
evs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

Set Description:
  • The combination of Dark Void and Substitute almost guarantees the chance for Darkrai to drop not 1, but 2 enemies per battle.
  • Dark Pulse and the equally powerful (albeit unreliable) Focus Blast grants impeccable coverage with just 2 moves.
  • With the prominence of priority and sweepers in the metagame, going the wall breaker route is the surest way of taking full advantage of Darkrai’s power.
  • Even after the once per battle Dark Void + Substitute wall breaking strategy, excellent speed and coverage gives Darkrai the chance to late game sweep as long as the enemy team is weakened and enemy priority and Choice Scarf users are eliminated.
Additional Comments:
  • Hidden Power Fighting is an alternative to Focus Blast but is incredibly weak (and is no threat to Blissey), grabs few Special Effective hits, and forces a 30 Speed IV that makes you lose to other Darkrai.
  • Focus Punch is another potential fighting move over Focus Blast, which has good accuracy and synergy with Substitute. With a Naïve/Hasty nature and no Atk Evs it still 2 HKOs Blissey through Leftovers. It does drop Darkrai’s late game potential dramatically.
  • Life Orb could be used over Leftovers for more power, but will severely hamper Darkrai’s survivability when combined with Substitute and the common sand.
  • With a 30 HP IV and Salac Berry, Darkrai could also attempt to use this set for late game sweeping after its early game wall breaking is done.
Teammates & Counters:
  • Generally speaking, this set works independently from teammates, being a “throw in” to any offensively oriented team that needs a couple enemies disabled or battered. Its speed and coverage probably make it the best all-purpose wall breaker in the game.
  • All Darkrai appreciate teammates that can handle the extremely common enemy Fighting type pokemon, with Rankurusu and Gliscor being the most prominent candidates.
  • While Heracross is uncommon, it should be noted especially for its resistance to the Dark / Fighting attack combination, above average special defense, and relatively common abuse of Sleep Talk. The aforementioned Gliscor is a very valuable teammate here.
  • Darkrai also has some issues with Scizor and its powerful U-Turn, so packing pokemon like Magnezone, Skarmory or Heatran can be very worthwhile.
name: Nasty Plot
move 1: Dark Void
move 2: Nasty Plot
move 3: Dark Pulse
move 4: Focus Blast / Substitute
item: Life Orb / Leftovers
ability: Bad Dreams
nature: Timid
evs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

Set Description:
  • This set packs incredible power and maximizes Darkrai’s sweeping potential, packing 738 Special Attack after just one boost.
  • Dark Void makes this one of the easiest setup sweepers to setup.
  • While 125 Base Speed is fast, unboosted it is no match for the many Choice Scarf abusers and priority attacks of the 5th Generation metagame.
  • Average bulk and a lack of useful resistances let Darkrai fall as easy prey to those enemies that can out speed it with Choice Scarf or priority.
Additional Comments:
  • EV spread is self-explanatory, max Speed and Attack to maximize Darkrai’s power and speed tier.
  • Dark Pulse and Focus Blast are back to pack Darkrai with incredible coverage and power (albeit still dealing with Focus Blast’s unnerving tendency to miss on critical turns).
Teammates & Counters:
  • If you want this set to sweep, you will first need to eliminate all of the Pokemon that can out speed and threaten it, notably all Choice Scarf users, Doryuuzu, Roobushin, Lucario (particularly Nasty Plot), Blaziken and Shaymin S.
  • Even without Super Effective priority, Scizor, Extremespeed Dragonite and Swords Dance Lucario can be roadblocks to this set should it take previous damage before attempting its sweep.
  • Paying close attention to Team Preview and making wise use of Wobbuffet can go a long way towards eliminating the above “problem Pokemon.”
  • Every late game sweeper appreciates weakened enemies, so entry hazards like Spikes, Stealth Rock and Toxic Spikes are welcomed support—just be careful about laying Toxic Spikes against a team using Roobushin or Heracross.
name: Trick or Treat
move 1: Trick
move 2: Dark Void
move 3: Dark Pulse
move 4: Focus Blast / Nasty Plot
item: Choice Scarf
ability: Bad Dreams
nature: Timid
evs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

Set Description:
  • Choice Scarf Darkrai is fast, powerful, and has the fastest reliable sleep move in the game.
  • It becomes an extremely powerful potential lead on a team, being able to outspeed even Deoxys-S, sleep it, and break its sash all in one go.
  • Even after it abuses that incredibly fast Dark Void, it can debilitate yet another enemy (most notably Blissey) by tricking off its Choice Scarf.
  • It should also be noted that Tricking Scarf to an enemy Scarf user no longer locks you into Trick, making this even more potent with Darkrai’s high chance to out speed just about any other common Choice Scarf user.
  • Being a Dark-type special attacker, Darkrai has no issues with Wobbuffet unlike the majority of Choice Scarf users.
  • Dark Pulse and Focus Blast again come in to give you the coverage alongside your tricks, so you can have your candy and eat it too.
Additional Comments:
  • Nasty Plot could be used over Focus Blast, but considering Darkrai’s very limited sweeping potential amongst all the Scarf and priority abuse, it is a decidedly secondary option.
  • Ice Beam or Special Rend could potentially be used over Trick for a more offensive Scarf set, most notably outspeeding and OHKOing ScarfChomp, probably the premier Scarf user of 5th Gen.
Teammates & Counters:
  • With Choice Scarf, Darkrai gets the jump on many enemy scarf users, though it must still be wary of Scarf Shaymin S who can 2 HKO it with its haxy Air Slash.
  • Roobushin, Lucario and other priority users are still problematic for Darkrai, so answers to them, especially enemy fighting types should again be strongly implemented.

[Team Options]
  • Gliscor is probably the paramount teammate for Darkrai. In the 5th Generation Metagame, it is already extremely integral to have an effective counter to fighting type pokemon, and this need is only accentuated by including Darkrai in a team. Gliscor handles Roobushin, Lucario and the rare Heracross extremely effectively, especially with Acrobat on the Fling / Toxic Orb set.
  • Shanderaa is a noteworthy ally for its immunity to fighting and powerful special attacks that can dispense with Darkrai checks.
  • Since Darkrai has some excellent opportunity to sweep should specific pokemon be eliminated, Wobbuffet makes an excellent teammate as well, especially since it resists fighting.
  • Rankurusu is another effective fighting pokemon check, but both it and Wobbuffet have to be weary of Heracross’ STAB Megahorn and add additional weakness to enemy Scissor.
  • Entry Hazard users like Skarmory, and Nattorei are great as Darkrai, like all offensive pokemon, loves Stealth Rock and Spike support. Skarmory in particular walls Scissor for the most part, and can check fighting types with its high defense and STAB Brave Bird.
  • Since Darkrai will often be used as a Wall Breaker instead of as a strict sweeper in the OU metagame, having a powerful and effective setup sweeper that can take advantage of Darkrai’s wall breaking is highly recommended. Doryuuzu and Blaziken are prime examples.
  • The greatest issue when including Darkrai into a team is that it lacks useful resistances, and thus has difficulty switching in for teammates in a tight pinch. Part of making the Darkrai team successful will rely on successfully putting together a core of resistances using only the 5 remaining team slots.
[Optional Changes]
  • Calm Mind could be used over Nasty Plot to boost its special attack, but this is largely discouraged. Aside from Nasty Plot Lucario, the biggest threats to Darkrai’s sweep regardless will likely come from physical attackers, making Calm Mind of little use in going for a sweep.
  • Taunt can be put on almost any set, stopping setup and the use of Sleep Talk.
  • A Physical Sweeper set is also possible with Swords Dance, Sucker Punch and Brick Break, granting Darkrai STAB priority.
  • Chople Berry could feature on any non-Choice set as a defense against Mach Punch / Vacuum Wave. This can be especially useful if Dark Void has yet to be used.
  • Because of the enhanced Dark Void, picking out a counter to Darkrai is all but impossible. There are some Pokemon who can avoid sleep with their abilities, but none are really equipped to take on Darkrai one-on-one, nor can they easily switch into its attacks. Something like Scarf Primeape could be used, but is pretty much only effective against Darkrai, and is thus generally a bad idea when fighting against the huge variety of threats in OU.
  • Furthermore, Sleep Talk is no longer a TM, making finding a reliable sleep talker difficult in the 5th Generation Metagame.
  • One must also be very weary of when to use Dark Void when one sees a Xatu or Espeon in the enemy team preview.
  • If it should be raining, Manaphy can handle Darkrai reasonably, shrugging of sleep with Hydration, and can retaliate with a vary possibly Surf while surviving a Dark Pulse. It should be wary of switching into Dark Pulse though.
  • While unable to "counter" perse, Mischievous Heart users can beat Darkrai in the lead matchup, throwing up Taunt before Tarkrai can use Dark Void. None of them are particularly bulky though, so be weary of direct attacks.
  • Sleep Talk Heracross is probably the closest thing to a counter, resisting the Dark/Fighting attack combo, possessing above average special defense, and being able to OHKO Darkrai with either of its STAB attacks.
  • Priority users, especially fighting types like Breloom, Lucario and Roobushin, can give Darkrai a lot of problems, again mostly after sleep clause is activated unfortunately. Breloom is especially notable because if it has Poison Heal activated, it is immune to Dark Void.
  • Scizor is also a notable check to Darkrai. While it can’t OHKO with Bullet Punch, it does check weakened Darkrai and can cause problems for Darkrai’s teammates with its powerful U-Turns.
  • Machamp has no good priority against Darkrai, but its Dynamic Punches will punish Darkrai’s team after-the-fact (once Sleep Clause is activated).
  • Then there’s always Doryuuzu.
[Dream World]
  • Darkrai has no Dream World ability, but it will look forward to the day where Shanderaa gets its.
Shanderaa doesn't have its DW ability yet so, no . . .

Timid > Modest always. Modest falls behind 110 base speed, meaning you're slower than even shit like Gengar and Lati@s, so no . . . just no . . .
LOL I love the Trick or Treat set. Just the punny name.


Chuck and MixCalibur have the right idea with Shandera as a teammate, IMO. Even without Shadow Tag, the two have pretty darn good synergy, with Shandera's Fighting neutrality and 4x Bug resistance. Even without Shadow Tag, it's probably worth a mention, since it can at least check if not counter most things that Darkrai fears... the only thing that really scares both is Doryuuzu, I suppose.
Is a SubPunch set worth mentioning? You do mention how its base 90 Attack can help, but you haven't even mentioned one in the Other Options.

Darkrai @ Life Orb
Naive / Bad Dreams
4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
- Substitute
- Dark Void / Hidden Power [Fire]
- Dark Pulse
- Focus Punch

HP [Fire] is for Heracross, Foretress and other Steel-types who can take Focus Punches. Dark Void is still obviously a better option most of the time.
It's funny because Espeon is both the best and worse possible counter to Darkrai. By simply switching in it will either get taken out esily with Dark Pulseor get a Dark Void reflected in its face. As a result, Darkrai at the least has to be wary of teams that have Espeon and be wary of using Dark Void until it is out of the picture.

Also, I don't recommend using Dark Void on lead Deoxys since many carry Magic Coat. It's best to just KO them outright if you ask me.
Perhaps Chople berry should get a mention?In a metagame full of Mach Punch and other fighting types it could be a useful item so you can survive there hit and then Put them to sleep or such.One could argue its not as good as Life orb or leftovers but still it should at least deserve a mention.
  • Because of the enhanced Dark Void, picking out a counter to Darkrai is all but impossible. There are some Pokemon who can avoid sleep with their abilities, but none are really equipped to take on Darkrai one-on-one, nor can they easily switch into its attacks. Something like Scarf Infernape could be used, but is pretty much only effective against Darkrai, and is thus generally a bad idea when fighting against the huge variety of threats in OU.
I think you wanted to say Scarf Primeape, thanks to the Vital Spirit+ STAB fighting and U-turn to threat it. If not, i think it should receive the mention anyways for the same reasons.
I think Mischievous Heart users deserve a mention here in the Counters section, namely Voltolos, Tornelos, and Erufuun. Priority Taunt cuts off Dark Void AND Nasty Plot AND Trick, and Darkrai is much more managable without any of those sick little weapons. Erufuun could also use Safeguard to simply prevent Dark Void (or any other status moves should Darkrai switch out,) and switch to a more appropriate counter.


/me huggles
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I think Manaphy should be listed as a counter for Darkrai, as in Rain it can absorb the Dark Void and can deal serious damage to Darkrai with Surf.
I know this may sound foolish, but Psychic can probably get an OC mention, in a fighting infested Metagame, it can be useful to hit them for SE damage
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