First off, we need to preface this post by saying: If you already feel you have a solid grasp on how to play the character or you’re looking for how to compete at a higher level, this is not the post for you. Treat this as simply a 101 overview for a quick rundown on the Pokémon at a high level. That being said, let’s get into it:
This represents the tenth of 22 “episodes” by Redonkulous Gaming. We will provide overviews of all the playable characters in the newly released Pokken Tournament DX for Nintendo Switch. Please reference the below video as a compliment to this breakdown.
Overview of Darkrai
- Health Pool: 540 HP
- Pokémon Type: Technical
- Play-Style: Specialist
- Speed: Average
- Recommended Cheer: Standard until comfortable enough to use Synergy Focused
Duel Phase vs Field Phase
Darkrai is a complete fighter but requires control and execution to master. He is the definition of a technical type fighter. There is a lot to consider when using him and even more set-up required than any other fighter that we have covered to this point. Darkrai’s special attacks are used to create “phantoms” or copies of Darkrai that can be detonated when your opponent gets too close to them. Darkrai also has the ability to create “rifts” or tears in the environment that can also be detonated using the same mechanic. In field phase, utilize lateral movement and the (Y) button to create phantoms and increase your phantom count up to four. You can utilize your phantom count for healing recoverable health as needed by pressing and holding (A). Once you are in duel phase, you will be able to better control and set up your transition into “nightmare phase” which is where Darkrai does most of its damage.
Darkrai does have a good grab (B+Y) attack, but just like all fighters, it can be easily countered, so use with caution.
Nightmare Phase and Special Attacks
Darkrai has a unique mechanic that is separate from his synergy phase that allows him to fade into nightmare phase. Once in nightmare phase, Darkrai gains access to new abilities and combos allowing him to do more damage.
Basic moves that can also be used during nightmare phase are:
- (HOLD Y) will create a phantom/ copy of Darkrai
- (X Attacks) will create rifts or tears in the environment
- (BACK+A) will detonate rifts and phantoms
- (A) when tapped will shoot a shadow orb
- (A HOLD) will consume a max of four phantom charges to heal Darkrai
- (JUMP+Y) will create a trap energy field which will stun the opponent on contact
- (UP+Y) will create shadow claws from long range behind your opponent and create a phantom
To enter nightmare phase and gain access to new combos and abilities you must land the (FORWARD+A) attack. This is a mid-range attack that shoots an orb at a 45 degree angle above Darkrai and towards your opponent. If the attack is successful and not blocked, you will then shift into nightmare phase and new special attacks become available.
- (DOWN+A) will make Darkrai perform an enhanced and very strong grab attack
- (UP+A) will perform a shadow rush similar to other torpedo type moves of other fighters
In order to be effective with Darkrai, you will need to be able to blend phantoms, rifts, and detonations with combos in normal and nightmare phases. Be sure to consume your phantom count when you have a window to recover HP. You can determine how many phantoms you have available by looking at the yellow orbs floating inside of Darkrai. Every time you create a phantom or a rift, it adds to your phantom count.
It is worth noting that whatever direction you are pressing when you press (X) to create a rift, is the same direction that it will deploy when you press (BACK+A) to detonate.
Finesse and control are a big part of Darkrai’s tool-kit. Use both together for maximum effectiveness and always be looking for ways to set up combos especially once you have shifted into nightmare phase. The best way to set up combos is to have pre-laid traps to fall back on, especially if you are new to the character. Phantoms, rifts, and energy fields are utilized heavily within Darkrai’s combo set. To get you started and put Darkrai into nightmare phase early, try executing (X)(UP+A) and (FORWARD+A) as a follow up.
Another alternative while in normal phase is (X+A HOLD)(BACK+Y,Y,Y) to critically strike your opponent and finish off the combo with a chain of back to back punches.
One of the harder to execute will also help you transition into nightmare phase if executed properly. Try (UP+X)(DOWN+Y)(Y,Y,Y) which will help you land a critical attack, stun your opponent, land three punches and shift into nightmare phase where you can wreak more havoc.
We rate all Synergy Phases (Mega-Evolutions) on a scale of 1 to Redonkulous! Here is where Darkrai stacks up to the other playable characters:
- Strength of Synergy Phase: Just like everything else in Darkrai’s repertoire, the effectiveness and strength of his synergy phase are tied to execution and detonation of phantoms, rifts, and energy fields. Every special attack will get stronger and Darkrai becomes even more Redonkulous.
- Coolness Factor: Darkrai isn’t really cool. He’s freaking Redonkulous! With a lot of practice, you will likely feel the same.
- Finisher: Darkrai’s finishing (ultimate) move is Redonkulous! Already incredibly strong, try pairing with a critical hit or combo to make sure it lands. If you can execute this move while in nightmare phase it is even better.
In addition to your playable Pokémon, you get to choose a combination of 2 support Pokémon to aid you in battle by pressing (L) when your support gauge is full. This will summon your selected Pokémon to perform a move before fleeing the battlefield. While ultimately the choice will likely come down to personal preference, here is the support combination we recommend to get you started:
- Cubone: Cubone is on a fast charge time which is absolutely great. He doesn’t deal a lot of damage but what he does is set you up to chain attacks by tossing out his bonemerang and moving the enemy closer to you.
- Diglett: Diglett is also on a fast charge time and he is a perfect pairing for Darkrai. By calling Diglett to the battle, he will burrow and pop up under your opponent hitting them several times essentially stunning them. This gives you an opening to set up your next special attack or critical strike/combo.
The choice is yours, so be sure to play around with other support options that fit your play-style!
Is Darkrai a favorite of yours? Let us know in the comments sections below!
Avid gamer across PC, Xbox, and Switch platforms. Check me out on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.