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Top 6 Dark Pokemon Cards: Team Rocket Returns Expansion

Updated on January 09, 2017

Evolution Stages

Basic Pokemon can be played from your hand as you like.

Stage 1 Pokemon are evolutions that must be played on a corresponding Basic Pokemon.

Stage 2 Pokemon are further evolutions to be played on corresponding Stage 1 Pokemon.

The Pokemon Trading Card Game

Many of us collected Pokemon cards as kids, and that tradition lives on to this day; if you look, you can still find most local stores packing some cards. To be honest, though, I didn't even know how to play when I was young, I just liked collecting and trading the cards.

As an adult, I can now appreciate the care players utilize when building their deck, and I still love to scour through cards and find the best of the best. Recently, I stumbled upon the Team Rocket Returns expansion, which features several "Dark" Pokemon. Impressed with both the artwork and the cards themselves, I wanted to share this set, so let's countdown the six best Dark Pokemon from Team Rocket Returns!

Dark Gyrados
Dark Gyrados

6. Dark Gyarados

Gyarados, a fan-favorite Pokemon in both the video games and the TCG, steals today's sixth spot. A Stage 1 Pokemon, it'll come in with a nice 80 Hit Points, a weakness to Electricity, and a resistance to Fighting.

  • When Gyarados faints from an attack, Poke-Body Dark Scale will deal 30 damage to the Pokemon that defeated it, a nice way to land some free damage.
  • (2 energy) Sharp Fang chomps for 30. Not bad, but a secondary effect would be nice.
  • (3 energy) Dark Streak scores 40, and its effect has a 50% chance of Paralyzing your opponent. If you're in a Double Battle, both foes will be paralyzed.

In essence, Dark Gyarados is a strong Pokemon that can both take and dish out damage, a worthy representation of the fierce creature. Get the energy for Dark Streak ready as soon as possible, and you'll go far.

Dark Raticate
Dark Raticate

5. Dark Raticate

In the video games, Raticates are never used competitively, and rarely last long in the story mode of Pokemon games, so it's nice to see the rodent finally earn some respect as a trading card.

Raticate only has 70 HP, a weakness to Fighting, and no resistances. So why use it? First, it can retreat for free. Second, it's got some great (and cheap) attacks.

  • (1 energy) Dark Seed prevents the opponent from retreating the next turn, and puts 5 damage counters (50 damage) on them at the end of their next turn. I know the damage gets delayed, but 50 damage for one energy works wonders.
  • (2 energy) Spread Poison also impresses. You'll deal 10 damage, Poison your adversary, and pummel 20 damage to one of their Benched Pokemon.


Dark Raticate can retreat whenever it likes, and use a variety of tricky attacks early thanks to their low energy costs. Give him a try and see what you think!

Dark Crobat
Dark Crobat

4. Dark Crobat

First, the bad. Dark Crobat will take time to play, as you'll have to use a Zubat, then evolve it twice. Plus, Crobat only has 90 HP (low for a Stage 2 Pokemon) and a weakness to Electricity. Still, its got a cool power and two cheap attacks.

  • The menacingly named Poke-Power, Black Beam, lets Crobat Poison a foe each turn as long as it has no status effect.
  • (2 energy) Dark Drain does 10 damage to all opposing Pokemon, and Crobat regains health equal to the total amount dealt. This attack becomes incredibly potent when your opponent focuses on building their bench, letting you spread some heavy damage while rejuvenating Crobat.
  • (2 energy) If your opponent doesn't have many Pokemon in play, or you want to finish a particular one off quickly, Skill Dive will deal 30 damage to one of your choice and ignores resistances, a nice addition to Crobat's repertoire.


Throw in a resistance to Grass and a very low Retreat Cost, and Dark Crobat earns its place in many decks.

Dark Tyranitar
Dark Tyranitar

3. Dark Tyranitar

Sorry for the smaller image; it's grainy when enlarged. Anyway, once you evolve your Larvitar twice, you'll be rewarded with this mighty, 120-HP titan.

  • Poke-Body Sand Damage deals 10 damage to each opposing Benched Pokemon between every turn. It's essentially Poisoning all of them for free, and works even if Tyranitar is suffering a status condition, making it very helpful.
  • (3 energy) Tyranitar's only attack, Second Strike mashes 50 damage, plus 20 more if the Defending Pokemon has at least two damage counters already. This combos well with Sand Damage, which often puts two or more counters on opposing Pokemon before they hit the field.


Dark Tyranitar is weak to Grass, and takes three energy to retreat, but those are small prices to pay for its formidable abilities.

Dark Dragonite
Dark Dragonite

2. Dark Dragonite

This Stage 2 has some awesome traits. Like Tyranitar, it begins with 120 Hit Points. Unlike Tyranitar, it only takes two energy to retreat, and has two resistances, Grass and Fighting.

  • Dark Trance allows you to (as long as you don't have a status condition) move Dark energy from any of your Pokemon to any others. Dragonite's attacks don't require Dark Energy, but they can help pay for Claw Swipe, and this lets you distribute them amongst your other monsters as necessary.
  • (2 energy) Double Wing Attack is alright. You need a Water and an Electric energy to use it, and it'll deal 30 damage to your opponent. It hits both foes in a 2-on-2 match, but to be honest, those battles are rarely seen.
  • (4 energy) Claw Swipe simply slices 50 damage to your opponent. If this attack only had a secondary effect, Dragonite probably would've been ranked first today.

As is, that spot goes to a different classic Pokemon..

Dark Muk
Dark Muk

1. Dark Muk

Dark Muk has no resistance, 70 HP, and a weakness to Psychic. Why on earth is it number one? Well, it only needs to be evolved once, and has a low Retreat Cost.

  • Then, you've got Poke-Body Sticky Goo, which adds two energy to the Retreat Cost of your opponent.
  • (2 energy) Slimy Water nets 10 damage times the number of energy in your opponent's Retreat Cost. Thanks to Sticky Goo, this will be at least 20, but often deals 30, 40, or even 50 damage.
  • (2 energy) Acidic Poison hits for a whopping, incredible.. 10 damage. However, it Burns and Poisons your foe, making them take severe damage each turn.


Dark Muk should first Poison and Burn your foes, then finish them off with Slimy Water. It makes it almost impossible for foes to retreat, while being able to do so easily itself, cementing itself as the most lethal Dark Pokemon.

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Your Thoughts

Hopefully you've learned some of the awesome capabilities of these powerful cards. It's been awhile, but I hope we get to see more Dark creatures in the future.

For now, feel free to vote for your favorite, and I'll see you at our next Pokemon countdown!

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