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Vs. Darkrai - "A Dim Light In The Shadows"

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Vs. Darkrai :Darkrai:


General Advice


  • Once you learn how this matchup works, it takes *effort* to lose it.
  • Keep moving in field phase, and never let up on s.Y. Darkrai can’t set up traps if he has to block projectiles himself.
  • Darkrai lacks options that pierce, b.[X] in field and 5[A] are the only two he has.
  • In Duel Phase, Light Screen shuts down every mid-to-long range attack Darkrai has.
  • If Darkrai is in Nightmare, it doesn’t matter just keep Light Screening.
  • Darkrai in Nightmare cannot break your shield and his fireball is the only threatening chip option he has from a range, do not be afraid to hold block for an extended period of time up close.
  • At the same time, do not be afraid to take a regular grab from Darkrai. Especially in Field since he won’t get Nightmare off of it and will be significantly weaker.


Recommended Supports


  • ryB3zoX.png: Darkrai has impressive movement speed while in Field, enough that it’s quite easy for him to get past Braixen’s side-Y zoning. Emolga is meant to make it as difficult as possible for Darkrai to simply walk past Braixen’s fireballs, allowing her to tack on as much chip as possible and run the timer, making it hard for Darkrai to mount a comeback. It will also trade with Nasty Plot’s explosion, leaving Braixen at advantage and Darkrai slowed.


  • FMgeqmR.png: Darkrai is also likely to be running this, but it’s a very good tool for winning Field Phase. With a 20 second first charge and a 30 second recharge, Cubone will almost always be up when you need it to be. It’s also a very reliable reaction tool to Darkrai’s buttons in Field as most of them have a long recovery time. Cubone also breaks through Darkrai’s projectiles making them more of a risk while Cubone is up.


  • OaaQmDt.png: Darkrai’s damage output is already quite low, even in Nightmare, why not make it even lower? Sylveon’s healing and defense boost makes every critical hit or combo from Darkrai do that much less than usual. The chances of you losing more than 200 HP in one go, even while he’s in nightmare, is extremely low while you have the Defense buff active.


  • 9VQYDJG.png: One of the two best supports for this matchup, Farfetch’d boasts great damage and safety while having a reasonable charge time. Any button Darkrai presses in Field can be reacted to with Farfetch’d for a fair amount of damage. The same holds true for Duel, provided you can react in time. It won’t keep you 100% safe from Nasty Plot activations, but it will keep you from suffering a crit.


  • nLCuYbX.png: Tied with Farfetch’d for the best support in this matchup, having Electrode up and ready to use forces Darkrai to get up close and personal in order to win. Darkrai’s lack of pierces outside of 8[X] and 5[A] forces him to play very carefully while Electrode is up, especially in Field. Any projectile of his that activates Electrode leads to him taking either 80 damage in chip or 160 damage in HP. It also keeps you safe against Nasty Plot activations as the cloud from Nasty Plot will activate Electrode and force him to take chip.



Alternative Support Choices


  • OrwdmAn.png: Litten is very similar to Farfetch’d in use, except it gets better when you have less health. Litten’s range in Field is close to going from one end of Ferrum Stadium to another quickly, making its effective range rather large. If you have a health lead in Field the best you’ll get off of Litten is a knockdown. It doesn’t seem like much but it gives Braixen time to set up a Fire Spin and exert more pressure onto Darkrai. Litten’s rage effect also allows Braixen to regain a health lead rather quickly and for little PSP.


  • WOnh6ec.png: Dragonite is a bit of a tricky choice for this matchup. Darkrai has ways to negate it through Nasty Plot, but not without taking at least some form of chip. At the very least you’ll get a little bit of chip and good stage positioning. In Field, it’s amazing for destroying his traps and keeping momentum in your favor.


  • RRmlg2z.png: On its own, Frogadier isn’t very useful against Darkrai since he can negate it with b.Y in Field or just absorb it with Nasty Plot. What makes it a good pick for the matchup however, is that it allows for setups on knockdown and allows you to set the pace in certain situations as he is forced to act to it in some sort of way.


  • TBCo6jg.png: This is the inverse of using Emolga against Darkrai. Instead of making him slow so he can’t get past Braixen’s projectiles, he is now unable to catch Braixen in Field at all. Side-Y movement doesn’t get any faster with Togekiss up, but Braixen’s movement overall is fast enough where it becomes hard for Darkrai to catch her without a speed buff or hard call out of his own.



Detailed Overview



What supports to expect from your opponent

[This will be completed at a later date]


Field Phase


Like most matchups you’ll want to check Darkrai with b.Y in field, just to see what they’re about and to get a good start on the round. From there you’ll want to keep a constant barrage of projectiles to keep Darkrai locked down. s.Ys, golf swings (b.Y), and Delayed Psybeams will do wonders to keep Darkrai guessing and unable to properly set up his Field. Many of Darkrai’s field projectiles can be dodged using s.A. Not only does dodging his projectiles get you out of the way, it’ll allow you to return chip and keep momentum in your favor. At some point, Darkrai will have to approach you and that’s where you’ll have to be a bit more careful in the options you choose. Although Darkrai can’t throw projectiles at mid-range, he has b.X which is an amazing tool that lunges him forward and allows him to deal quite a bit of damage before shifting you both into Nightmare. Using s.Y here is a bit of a gamble as his b.X has a chance of going right past the fireballs.


The situation isn’t much different at close range, except you have a new issue to worry about and that’s Nasty Plot. Nasty Plot is a move with counter armor and is the same move Darkrai uses to activate his traps. If you activate it with an attack Darkrai can decide to either leave a clone down on the field or to let it explode, which nets him a crit and a confirm into Nightmare. At this range you’re better off playing defensive. If he hits you with a CA or a grab you’ll take a bit of damage but he won’t be in Nightmare which still makes things hard for him. If you want to take a chance you can try to Flame Charge your way past him and gain more distance in Field. Unless he has traps up he has no guaranteed punish if he blocks it. There’s even a chance for you to sail right past an activated Nasty Plot if he activates it too soon. Do keep in mind that all of Darkrai’s projectiles can be nullified by Boomerang and a preemptive Boomerang when Darkrai gets into range can make him think twice about setting up or catch him trying to aggress with b.X or Homing.


As long as you keep moving and keeping Darkrai at bay with Boomerangs and Psybeams, you can keep Darkrai in Field for as long as you want or you can maximize your damage before causing a shift.


Duel Phase


Trying to use your zoning options against Darkrai is a losing battle. Nasty Plot, 5A, and 8[Y] all make it hard to get a considerable zoning rhythm against him and you can quickly find yourself behind in health. There are alternative options to dealing with Darkrai, but know that zoning in Duel is not one of them. Both in and out of Nightmare you have one move that completely nullifies any zoning tools Darkrai will attempt to use. Light Screen. All of Darkrai’s long range options are projectiles even his 6X, which doesn’t look like one, is a projectile.


Mid and Long range will be spent using Light Screen to gain meter while he tries to zone you and using Boomerang when he gets into range to keep Darkrai from getting any momentum. Close range against Darkrai is pretty cut and dry outside of Nightmare. His options are somewhat limited and Braixen’s superior frame data keeps him on the defensive at all times. Nasty Plot is always a threat, but depending on the support you’re running you can support cancel and either force him to take a trade that’s not in his favor or reset to neutral should you hit it.


Light Screen is even an option against Nasty Plot as the explosion it creates on activation is considered a projectile. Most of Darkrai’s attacks leave you free to throw out a Light Screen after blocking. With the exception of 8[X] and 6:Y which leave him plus on block. The shards Darkrai leaves behind on some of his attacks are also considered projectiles and can be nullified once activated with either Light Screen or Boomerang. Outside of Nightmare, there’s very little threat from Darkrai side from Nasty Plot or a stray hit that puts you into Nightmare.


With Nightmare active however things change, not by much but they change. Mid to long range, everything's the same, Light Screen his projectiles and Boomerang him when he thinks about getting too close. Close range is where things get slightly more dangerous. Darkrai’s Nasty Plot gains armor on the very first frame and he gains access to two new moves, Dream Eater (2A) and Drill (8A). Dream Eater is a command grab that does a ton of damage if it’s hit raw, even at the end of combos it’s an extra 34+ damage guaranteed which if you’re at low HP could mean a lot. His 8A is a move that becomes invincible around frame 5 meaning that any button you push is subject to a damaging punish should they choose to use it.


However, that doesn’t mean Drill is unpunishable. If you block drill, Light Screen covers every follow up Darkrai has afterwards except for jump. You can opt to use 5X in as a way to get more damage but Darkrai can choose to avoid it if they do j.X after Drill. Darkrai’s damage output in Nightmare is actually quite low without an attack buff or crit. Outside of Drill or a crit Dream Eater his combos will rarely go above 180. The trade off for his lack of damage however is that most of his combos have very little PSP. An average combo from Darkrai in Nightmare does around 120~140 for about 3-4 PSP per combo sometimes it can be for 0 PSP at all.


In Nightmare, Darkrai gets access to a teleport off of some of his attacks namely 2Y, 5Y, 5X, and 5A. The mixup that comes after the teleport is what’s truly dangerous, if you want to stay safe you can buffer a 2Y to catch any follow up attack Darkrai might throw out, but you’re leaving yourself at risk to being caught by a Nasty Plot. Light Screen can cover the Nasty Plot since the explosion is a projectile but that leaves you open to a Dream Eater should they cancel it from any of their normal attacks. The way to be truly safe from any mixup that comes after that is to jump backwards out of the situation. If you’re in the corner during this mixup, jumping forward accomplishes the same thing. DON’T try to punish the mix up attempt unless you’re fully confident in it. Getting away and having to block a little bit longer is better than eating another 150+ damage. If the net is above you, an instant air dash will accomplish the same thing as jumping but it is a bit more risky as it's slower than a regular jump.


As long as you keep moving and nullifying Darkrai’s projectiles, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with him even if he gets into Nightmare.


What to do for Oki


Darkrai w/o Nightmare: Your oki against Darkrai isn’t much different as any other character when he doesn’t have Nightmare active. Fire Spin is still your best go-to option, so is 5[A] if you’re up close or want to bait something out from afar. Any of your normal oki options at the wall: 5X, 5Y, Light Screen, they’re all good options as long as you time them correctly as Nasty Plot doesn’t have armor on frame 1 unless Nightmare is active. Light Screen is especially effective since if you happen to time your meaty wrong and Darkrai wakes up with Nasty Plot, you’re still safe from the explosion that’s to come later. No sort of special precautions or maneuvers to think about when he’s outside of Nightmare.


Darkrai w/ Nightmare: Oki against Nightmare Darkrai is a little bit different. Since Nasty Plot now has armor on the first frame Fire Spin oki isn’t as effective and any close range oki is subject to being punished with Drill if you’re wrong or activating a Nasty Plot if they decide to wake up with it. 5[A] > Light Screen is your best way to cover both options at once. If they try to wake up with Drill, 5[A] will smack them before they can act. If they try Nasty Plot, Light Screen will absorb the resulting explosion and keep you safe. Those are the only two safe options you have against Darkrai on oki without the assistance of a support.


Defense, the quick and easy version


If you’ve been knocked down, just block. There really isn’t much more to say other than that. Outside of nightmare he can break your shield but it’ll take a long time for it to get to that point and after a knockdown your shield health resets anyway. The most damage he can do outside of Nightmare while you’re blocking is a 90 damage grab and a little bit of chip from 5[A]. It’s much better to block on wakeup and wait for your chance to counteract instead of trying to attack or CA on wake up. If he tries something like a charged Dark Void that’s an animation you can clearly see and jump over.


In Nightmare it’s much the same deal with the exception of Dream Eater being a new threat. Just keep blocking and look out for Dream Eater when you’re low on health. There’s an added bonus that Darkrai can’t break shields while in Nightmare mode, so there’s an added reason to just keep blocking on wakeup. You’ll get your turn to act again eventually so just wait it out, the moment he backs off will be your chance.


Fighting Burst


Darkrai’s burst mode is a special case. In Field Phase, any shift he gains will automatically put him into Nightmare mode making his burst a bit troublesome. Braixen’s mobility should allow her to play keep away against Darkrai effectively and the constant threat of a Boomerang shifting Darkrai into a Duel Phase that’s less favorable for him should help you stall out his burst timer for a bit. Once in Duel Phase your course of action changes depending on whether or not Nightmare is active. If Nightmare isn’t active your gameplan barely changes. You play to your strengths, you abuse his weaknesses but you should always be aware of both burst armor and his burst attack. Having an attack buff from a double Sunny Day should help you get around that, but it’s always good to be mindful of the situation. His burst attack is also unsafe should you block it, make sure you maximize your punish to really make him regret using it.


If Nightmare is active, you have much more to worry about. In addition to burst armor Darkrai’s burst attack now becomes invul on frame 1 and safe, which makes it a potent punishment for anything you might do to regain momentum. You’ll have to be much more careful with the options you choose against Darkrai in this state. At best you’ll want to get back to field as soon as possible and by any means possible. If you have the health to spare you can take a burst attack punish on purpose, just to get rid of the option and to reset to field. From there you can remount your offense and make a comeback should you find yourself behind.


Edited by Double

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