The best cards to pull from Darkness Ablaze Pokémon TCG expansion

Crobat, Vikavolt, and Eternatus. Oh my!

Screengrab via Nintendo

The next Sword and Shield expansion for the Pokémon TCG, Darkness Ablaze is set to release on Aug. 14 with more than 185 cards being added to the format. 

Players will have a chance to get powerful VMAX forms for Charizard, Grimmsnarl, Eternatus, and more in this new set. 

With the addition of 14 Pokemon V cards, seven new VMAX cards, 17 Trainer cards, and other new cards that might be able to shake up the meta, you will want to know exactly what you are getting into with this set. 

Right away, it looks like there are a few cards that are using newer Pokémon to fill old, powerful ability slots. So while they won’t work exactly like their older counterparts (like the new Hoopa not being as compatible with Electric-type cards,) there are a lot of useful things coming in Darkness Ablaze

Here are just a few of the cards you will absolutely want to pull when you start opening packs on Aug. 14. 

Decidueye

Image via The Pokémon Company

While this card is likely the only one on the list that will need a specific kind of deck to function at peak efficiency, the ability, Forest Camouflage, is too good to pass up. 

This Decidueye card can’t be damaged through a battle with your opponent’s Pokémon V or Pokémon GX cards. It can still be hurt by their other effects, and there is no mention of VMAX on the card, but it does give you some nice stall options that can shut out specific matchups. 

Split Arrow isn’t bad either since it only takes one Grass and generic energy to deal 90 damage to your opponent’s Active Pokémon and an additional 20 to two of their benched mons, too. 

Bird Keeper – Trainer Card

Image via The Pokémon Company

Drawing cards and switching Pokémon are usually two actions separated into multiple cards or Pokémon abilities, but Bird Keeper lets you do both at once. 

This card lets you swap your Active Pokémon with one on your bench and then draw three cards, which is very useful if you are low on resources but have a Pokémon on your bench that is ready to go. 

Cape of Toughness – Trainer Card

Image via The Pokémon Company

The trend of awesome Trainer Cards continues with this cape based on Leon’s signature Champion attire. 

Any Pokémon equipped with this that is listed as a Basic Pokémon gains an additional 50 HP. This should be useful for decks that rely on lower HP Pokémon to get off massive damage or run a cycle to set up their heavy hitters. It can also be given to Pokémon V, so that will be interesting to see. 

Eternatus VMAX

Image via The Pokémon Company

The most straightforward of any card on this list outside of Cape of Toughness, Eternatus VMAX has one goal and one goal only — getting you to play as many Dark-type Pokémon on your bench as possible. 

Its ability, Infinity Zone, allows you to have up to eight Pokémon on your bench, as long as they are only Dark-type. This boosts its attack, Dread End, from a two-energy, 60 base power move (counting Eternatus VMAX,) letting it hit for up to 270 damage. And this pairs perfectly with another top-tier card from this set. 

Crobat V

Image via The Pokémon Company

Arguably the Pokémon that will be most used from this set, Crobat V is an instant draw engine thanks to its ability, Night Asset. As soon as you play this card from your hand to the bench you can draw until you have six cards in your hand. This makes it, at worst, a neutral play if you have a six-card hand. 

This card won’t just be played in Dark-type or relevant decks that fit it into their themes though. Once other draw engines, like Dedenne GX, rotate out of the meta format, Crobat V will likely be played in most decks at the highest level because it is almost always going to be a plus. And you don’t even need to put in your active spot to benefit. 

Vikavolt V

Image via The Pokémon Company

Crobat is the best card in this set hands down, but while you might eventually get sick of everyone drawing with that Pokémon, Vikavolt V is going to be much more annoying. 

Did you miss Seismitoad EX and its item lock-down ability? Good, because Vikavilt is just that but with an option to hit harder if it gets the opportunity. Two energy, 50 damage, no items for your opponent on their next turn. 

That paired with the ability to hit for 190 damage for just one more energy is insane and this very well could be the top deck of the next format once it does become legal.