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POTW: Pokémon of the Week #39: Darkrai

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In the World of Pokémon, there lives a vast number and variety of amazing creatures to befriend and collect. Every week, we will be focusing on a single one of these Pokémon or evolutionary line and talking about what makes it special. This week's Pokémon of choice is Darkrai!


Darkrai, introduced in Generation IV, is the Pokémon world's representation of darkness and the embodiment of nightmares. This Dark type can put both Pokémon and humans into a deep sleep with its signature Dark Void attack and then can enter their dreams, bringing ceaseless nightmares until it decides to leave or is extracted. This power is represented by Darkrai's in-game ability Bad Dreams, which inflicts damage on sleeping Pokémon passively every turn. Darkrai has a counterpart in Cresselia, which has the power to cure nightmares with its sparkling feathers.

There has been a good deal of variety in the portrayal of Darkrai in the different forms of Pokémedia. In the Pokémon anime, Darkrai made its first appearance in the movie Rise of Darkrai. Although it is feared and attacked on sight by many of the movie's characters, this Darkrai actually wanted to help and brought nightmares as a defense mechanism rather than out of malice. On the other hand, Darkrai has been portrayed as a main villain of several spin-off games. In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky, Darkrai appears as the manipulative final boss who was the true cause of the collapse of Temporal Tower and of the protagonist transforming into a Pokémon. After the main-story, Darkrai pretends to be a Cresselia in order to gain the trust of the protagonist but only wants to destroy them. A Darkrai is also the sinister final boss of PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond, and another was fought in Pokémon Rangers: Shadows of Almnia under the control of that game's Big Baddie Blake Hall. The trend of Darkrai appearing as a final boss was continued in the television show, in which it is used by the trainer Tobias in the Sinnoh League's Lily of the Valley Conference. Tobias reportedly swept through every one of his battles using only Darkrai until facing Ash. Although defeating the majority of Ash's Pokémon single-handedly, Tobias's Darkrai was defeated by Ash's Sceptile.

Darkrai has always been a force to be reckoned with in battle. While its defensive stats are not spectacular by Legendary Pokémon standards, its extremely high Special Attack and Speed cannot be overlooked. Despite powerful stats, the source of Darkrai's real power has historically been its Dark Void attack, which is able to put all adjacent enemies to sleep. Trainers often used this as an opportunity to raise Darkrai's stats even more with Nasty Plot, or would opt to go straight for direct damage on a helpless opponent with one of Darkrai's many powerful attacks. Darkrai received a considerable nerf in Gen VII, with Dark Void's accuracy dropping from a potent 80% to only 50%.

Here are some questions to consider to get conversation rolling. You don't have to answer all of them or any of them in your post as long as you're staying on topic and within global forum rules.
  • Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?
  • How is this Pokémon in-game?
  • How is this Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?
  • Do you like this Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
  • How do you think this Pokémon would interact with our world?
  • If given the power to, would you change anything about this Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
  • Does Darkrai effectively represent all things dark and nightmarish, or could GF have done better?
  • What are some other ways that GF could have represented nightmares, both as ideas and as in-game mechanics?
  • Are Darkrai and Cresselia appropriate as counterparts to each other?
  • How do you feel about Darkrai being portrayed as one of the most popular "final boss" Pokémon in the whole franchise? Is it well deserved or was it overused?
  • Did Darkrai deserve the competitive nerf it received in Gen VII? Was it too much, or is Darkrai still too strong?
If you have any suggestions for Pokémon you'd like to discuss in the future just leave your ideas at the bottom of your post. Make sure you give your thoughts about the current Pokémon first!

Previous Pokémon of the Week
Pokémon of the Week #1: Bulbasaur, Ivysaur, & Venusaur
Pokémon of the Week #2: Scraggy & Scrafty
Pokémon of the Week #3: Gulpin & Swalot
Pokémon of the Week #4: Porygon, Porygon2, & Porygon-Z
Pokémon of the Week #5: Emolga
Pokémon of the Week #6: Rufflet & Braviary
Pokémon of the Week #7: Ditto
Pokémon of the Week #8: Wynaut & Wobbuffet
Pokémon of the Week #9: Sneasel & Weavile
Pokémon of the Week #10: Murkrow & Honchkrow
Pokémon of the Week #11: Houndour & Houndoom
Pokémon of the Week #12: Exeggcute & Exeggutor
Pokémon of the Week #13: Gastly, Haunter, & Gengar
Pokemon of the Week #14: Smoochum & Jynx
Pokémon of the Week #15: Beldum, Metang, & Metagross
Pokémon of the Week #16: Bidoof
Pokémon of the Week # 17: Deerling & Sawsbuck
Pokémon of the Week #18: Munchlax & Snorlax
Pokémon of the Week #19: Hoppip, Skiploom, & Jumpluff
Pokémon of the Week #20: Nincada, Ninjask, & Shedinja
Pokémon of the Week #21: Pumpkaboo & Gourgeist
Pokémon of the Week #22: Mudkip, Marshtomp, & Swampert
Pokémon of the Week #23: Froakie, Frogadier, & Greninja
Pokémon of the Week #24: Rattata & Raticate
Pokémon of the Week #25: Mimikyu
Pokémon of the Week #26: Mareep, Flaaffy, & Ampharos
Pokémon of the Week #27: Delibird
Pokémon of the Week #28: Espeon
Pokémon of the Week #29: Rowlet, Dartrix, & Decidueye
Pokémon of the Week #30: Popplio, Brionne, & Primarina
Pokémon of the Week #31: Litten, Torracat, & Incineroar
Pokémon of the Week #32: Woobat & Swoobat
Pokémon of the Week #33: Vulpix & Ninetales
Pokémon of the Week #34: Mewtwo
Pokémon of the Week #35: Shellos & Gastrodon
Pokémon of the Week #36: Weedle, Kakuna, & Beedrill
Pokémon of the Week #37: Alomomola
Pokémon of the Week #38: Pidove, Tranquill, & Unfezant
 
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Well, glad to be the first one who answer here. Firstly, I didn't under until now the meaning of the Pokemon of the week, but still, I can see a lot of new information from here; so thank you very much. Firstly, I think that Darkrai should be a ghost, or Ghost Dark if they want to give it a Dark Type.

Well, I love the Darkness that it Live, and I really think that it is one of the best pokemon; so I am happy that it is traveled with someone strong such as The Champion of DP Leauge.

In the Game, I didn't found it; so I am not sure about, and how it will be; but I really want to try Dark Void Attack.

But I really love the Cresselia more than in it; because she is more beautiful, she can be The Latios, and Latias at the one pokemon, but if you catch bought of them, then it will be much better.

One point, I always see you Mister "Enzap" write move to another place. Please you can move it without asking; because as long as the thread is allowed, and only moved so you can move without writing this word all the time, and thank you very much for all your hard word. Otsukaresama deshita
 
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Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?
I like it. Design, concept, battle capabilities.
How is this Pokémon in-game?
Haven't tried it in-game. I avoid using legendaries, let alone event ones, in-game.
How is this Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?
Just great! It was actually one of the best Pokemon to use in Doubles and in Anything Goes, the tier where everything is allowed (basically how the game is to be played without any restrictions). Goes to show how good it (and Dark Void) was.
Do you like this Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
Yes. The movie about it was good, I think it also got an episode in Canalave alongside Cresselia that was fine. I even liked Tobias' Darkrai even though he is one of the most contoversial characters because of how he was introduced and the outcome of his battle with Ash. That battle still was nice to watch at least.
How do you think this Pokémon would interact with our world?
People would fear it because of the nightmares.
If given the power to, would you change anything about this Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
To be honest if I were to make it better I'd just undo the Dark Void nerf and rearrange its stats as well as making its Ability even better. But the nerf was actually fair!
Does Darkrai effectively represent all things dark and nightmarish, or could GF have done better?
Hard to know, they might've got a better idea but I like how this turned out too.
What are some other ways that GF could have represented nightmares, both as ideas and as in-game mechanics?
There is a move called Nightmare that, mechanically speaking, is interesting. I don't think it needs more of a Pokemon representation.
Are Darkrai and Cresselia appropriate as counterparts to each other?
Yes and no. Cresselia as Psychic/Fairy would make it work better type-wise I believe and the idea of counterparts one of which is event-only while the other isn't is strange. Yet it works out well in the end even as it currently is.
How do you feel about Darkrai being portrayed as one of the most popular "final boss" Pokémon in the whole franchise? Is it well deserved or was it overused?
It is deserved, I like its design and concept, which makes it look much like a "final boss" too so I don't mind it.
Did Darkrai deserve the competitive nerf it received in Gen VII? Was it too much, or is Darkrai still too strong?
It deserved it. It was already a staple for Anything Goes which just shows how good it was, and that's not even counting Doubles. I think it's more balanced now, not too strong anymore.
 
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  • Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?
Yes! It's one of my favourite legendaries, and one of the first legendary Pokemon I was introduced to. It has a great design, and I liked it's portrayal in the Rise of the Darkrai, which was the first ever Pokemon movie I watched.

  • How is this Pokémon in-game?
Cannot answer this, as I've not played the main games.

  • How is this Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?
I used a Darkrai in anything goes, and it was great! Darkrai often helped me out when it looked like a losing match, often scoring many KOes.

  • Do you like this Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
As I mentioned before, I liked the 'Rise of Darkrai''s version of the Pokemon. Tobias' Darkrai left me wondering at how would Darkrai feel, being captured, and used as a KO machine by Tobias. Maybe they bonded?

  • How do you think this Pokémon would interact with our world?
It would be feared a lot, and a few people might try to find out the reason for it's behaviour. I think I agree with Darkrai's nightmares being a defence mechanism, so maybe some scientists will look into that?

  • If given the power to, would you change anything about this Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
Nothing... but I think it deserved a secondary type, maybe ghost, or psychic.

  • Does Darkrai effectively represent all things dark and nightmarish, or could GF have done better?
I think GF did the best they do with Darkrai as the nightmare Pokemon. But it isn't evil (in my eyes). I think that other concepts can be looked into for a purely evil Pokemon. Darkrai plays it's part well, feared by some people, and appreciated by others.

  • What are some other ways that GF could have represented nightmares, both as ideas and as in-game mechanics?
Darkrai's nightmare mechanic is sufficient.

  • How do you feel about Darkrai being portrayed as one of the most popular "final boss" Pokémon in the whole franchise? Is it well deserved or was it overused?
It was atleast better than Mewtwo.

  • Did Darkrai deserve the competitive nerf it received in Gen VII? Was it too much, or is Darkrai still too strong?
I think it was too much. I think Dark Void's accuracy must be 70%. We've got ridiculously broken Pokemon before, and Darkrai dosen't even touch the territory of broken, now that Darkrai can be defeated by fairies.
 
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(responding to the ones I feel I'm knowledgeable/experienced enough to respond to x3)

Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?
Aye aye, cool design, thematic motif and abilities :3 I also like the characterization of an "unwilling monster", causing nightmares to defend itself, not out of malice - yet still misunderstood :<

How do you think this Pokémon would interact with our world?
Would probably stay well away from us =/ certainly, there are no bigger nightmares for us than ourselves, and it really doesn't need to get caught up in our issues. At some point, it'd become a target of journalists and scientists though, maybe even creating conflict between countries out of paranoia.

Does Darkrai effectively represent all things dark and nightmarish, or could GF have done better?
It does! Being simply dark sends the proper message, IMO.

What are some other ways that GF could have represented nightmares, both as ideas and as in-game mechanics?
Perhaps, representing different nightmares and bad dreams as multiple status ailments, given that dreams have varying forms and effects?

Are Darkrai and Cresselia appropriate as counterparts to each other?
I think so, yeah. They play each other off rather well in terms of design, powers and personality IMO.

How do you feel about Darkrai being portrayed as one of the most popular "final boss" Pokémon in the whole franchise? Is it well deserved or was it overused?
I have mixed feelings about it, on one hand, it makes a perfect classic villain, will th dark powers and motif, but on the other, I like his tragic villain characterization more :<
 
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I'll be honest, while I love Darkrai's design and the concept that Darkrai represents, I've never used Darkrai in-game or competitively.
Darkrai's Dark typing makes perfect sense, though. It's found on New Moon Island, and during a New Moon, the night is as dark as it ever gets, since the moon is barely a sliver if it is visible at all.

I also wasn't particularly fond of Darkrai's major appearance in the anime during the Lily of the Valley conference, but that's mostly because I dislike the idea of Tobias more than I dislike Darkrai itself. Tobias was, essentially, the OP trainer of the day that would defeat Ash and crush his aspirations of winning the Pokemon League conference, B\but given how he used only Legendary Pokemon, it felt like he took that concept too far.
I enjoyed the battles where it came down to both side's last Pokemon. Ash vs. Ritchie, Ash vs. Harrison, Ash vs. Tyson, they all had that. Ash vs. Tobias was just a massacre, and it just really wasn't good writing, at least in my opinion.

However, on a brighter note, I did like Darkrai in its appearance in the movies. Much like Absol, it seems like Darkrai can be a misunderstood Pokemon, where it is trying to help but gets rejected due to a bad reputation...that said, if your best and/or only form of communication is using nightmares, you're kinda up the creek without a paddle.

Anyway, just a few of my thoughts on Darkrai. Again, it is mostly positive, but my opinion is slightly tarnished by Tobias from the anime.
 
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I absolutely love Darkrai, its design is just so awesome. I've never used one in-game or competitively though. I was only able to acquire one last year, but I never use legendaries or mythicals in-game and competitively I only do competitions sometimes and mythicals are almost never allowed there :( Definitely will consider using one when it's allowed though.

I remember really liking the movie with Darkrai. Never watched the Tobias battle, but I'm not a fan of characters using legendaries or mythicals in the League, gotta wonder why that sort of thing isn't forbidden in the anime world, it's pretty unfair. Never was able to finish that PMD game to actually discover Darkrai is the actual villain behind it all, but I do like the idea. It was fun once though, it annoys me to hear it was used as a final boss in two others games too, that makes it a bit overused imo. I think I like its movie appearance the most cause I just have a thing for evil looking things not actually being evil :p

Does Darkrai effectively represent all things dark and nightmarish, or could GF have done better?
I think its black, cloudy appearance does a perfect job of that, though I am forever going to be in denial about the legs, as long as they don't exist, it's perfect.
 
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I really don't like darkrai. It's not the worst design out there, especially compared to some of its fellow gen IV legends, but it is still kind of dumb. Dark void was also a stupid move in doubles, it's good that they nerfed that, though taking off 30% accuracy might have been a tad excessive...it's even worse than sing in singles now.
 
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  • Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?
I kinda like it. I don't usually get super into most legendaries (haven't really used any on teams since like HGSS). But it's cool. Dark type is one of my favorites. I always thought it could've been Dark/Ghost, though. Cool, edgy design haha.
  • How is this Pokémon in-game?
Never used it much, but I know it is totally OP in-game (as all legends are).
  • Do you like this Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
Having trouble remembering actually. I recall Darkrai being the star of a movie, right? I don't remember how much I liked it.
  • How do you think this Pokémon would interact with our world?
Well, hell. Nightmares everywhere. Haunting and shit. It'd be scary.
  • If given the power to, would you change anything about this Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
Probably make it a Dark/Ghost type. Also make it obtainable in-game without a special event (hopefully DP remakes fix this).
  • Does Darkrai effectively represent all things dark and nightmarish, or could GF have done better?
It's pretty solid.
  • What are some other ways that GF could have represented nightmares, both as ideas and as in-game mechanics?
Other ways to represent nightmares? Actually, a Pokemon that transforms into several different nightmarish forms would be rad. Think Harry Potter and that thing that transformed into your worst nightmare. Like, different moves or held items cause the nightmare Pokemon to transform into different common phobias and nightmare tropes. Like, one could be a scary spider. One could be a scary ghost. Grim Reaper. Etc., etc.
  • Are Darkrai and Cresselia appropriate as counterparts to each other?
Yeah, pretty close. However, given that Darkrai causes and feeds on nightmares, I would like to see Cresselia associated with good, sweet dreams of protection. Also, I think Cresselia would be pretty cool as a Psychic/Fairy type. Actually, give Darkrai a Dark/Ghost mega evolution and Cresselia a Psychic/Fairy mega evolution and add a whole new sidequest in the remakes. YAS
 
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Apparently the previous owner of my account liked Darkrai, so I feel like I have to answer this.
  • Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?
It is one of my favorites. Would love to have one on my team.
  • How is this Pokémon in-game?
Awesome Sauce. One of the highest Sp. Attack stats ever and good speed to boot.
  • How is this Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?
Um... Let Smogon explain...
  • Do you like this Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
It is good, but if TROD Darkrai appeared in the anime and remembered Ash, well... Happy me.
  • How do you think this Pokémon would interact with our world?
Well... Expect nightmares to be more common.
  • If given the power to, would you change anything about this Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
I would change the spin-off appearances. It always seems evil, but it means no harm at all by nightmares in the games and TROD.
  • Does Darkrai effectively represent all things dark and nightmarish, or could GF have done better?
It is a very cool idea, but I think that Darkrai should look more scary. If I look at Darkrai, I don’t think the sight of it will haunt my dreams(Even if Darkrai itself does.)
  • What are some other ways that GF could have represented nightmares, both as ideas and as in-game mechanics?
If it had moves that affected sleeping targets more, like having a move that lowers sleeping target’s stats or something, not only would it fit in, it would make Sleep even scarier.
  • Are Darkrai and Cresselia appropriate as counterparts to each other?
Kinda? If Cresselia relied on Darkrai like Darkrai relies on Cresselia to end the nightmares it causes, it would show that even though they hate each other, they need each other.
  • How do you feel about Darkrai being portrayed as one of the most popular "final boss" Pokémon in the whole franchise? Is it well deserved or was it overused?
As Darkrai is one of the most misunderstood Pokemon ever, having it be evil in the spin-offs just seems wrong. I talked about this before...
  • Did Darkrai deserve the competitive nerf it received in Gen VII? Was it too much, or is Darkrai still too strong?
If Dark Void was still better then Hypnosis(Like it did a little damage or had better accuracy) I would say it was good. I think Dark Void should have a 70% chance to hit, making it better then Hypnosis.
 
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