Featured Card – Unown ‘Dark’

Unown has a bit of a hit and miss record with the Pokémon TCG.  There were a handful of Unown that made for some pretty decent techs in a lot of decks in the past.  Unown Q with ‘Quick’ gave you a less expensive retreat cost.  Unown R with ‘Retire’ enabled some draw power when you used it.  But most the Unown were pretty bad.  They had powers that weren’t always useful and all of their attacks were nothing to brag about.  Here we have Unown ‘Dark’ from HGSS Undaunted.  Ok, so its name isn’t ‘Unown Dark’ or even ‘Unown D,’ it’s simply called Unown like the rest of its kind in the HGSS sets.  This one is one of my favorites because it has a simple and quite useful PokéPower called ‘Dark.’

“Dark: Once during your turn, when you play Unown from your hand onto your bench, you may search your deck for a Dark Energy card, show it to your opponent, and put it into your hand.  Shuffle your deck afterward.”  What’s nice about this power is that it doesn’t restrict you to searching for just a basic Dark Energy card.  You can also pull out the Special Dark, which not only grants you a single unit of Dark Energy, but also the ability to deal ten extra points of damage if you attach it to a Dark type Pokémon.  There aren’t a lot of Dark Pokémon that can take advantage of this at the moment, but there is one Dark Pokémon that will always appreciate this boost and that Pokémon is Zoroark.

Zoroark’s Foul Play is typically used to counter Reshiram and Zekrom, throwing the dragon’s massive 120 damage dealing attacks right back at them.  The only problem is that Reshiram and Zekrom both have 130 HP, meaning that you need to deal 10 more points of damage to knock them out.  Instead of relying on drawing a Pluspower or using a Junk Arm for a discarded one, you now also have the option of simply searching out your Unown with a Pokémon Communication, Pokémon Collector, etc., playing it on your bench, and then using Dark to grab your Special Darkness Energy from your deck and attach it to Zoroark.

This could make your game a little more consistent and perhaps even save some Junk Arms for later plays.  The only hole in this strategy now is that Eviolite is in our format, which means you can’t one hit a Zekrom or Reshiram even with the Special Darkness Energy if Eviolite is attached to the opposing Reshiram or Zekrom.  Still, Eviolite isn’t always going to be around and it’s convenient to have that option for Special Darkness when playing Zoroark.  I have also seen people play Unown Dark in TZPS lists.  Having the ability to search out the single Unown at the start of the game means you have one of the three energy cards required to donk with Tornadus or Zekrom.

This card does have its faults.  Most of Unown’s stats are pretty poor.  It has only 50 HP, which means that once you play it down it instantly becomes an easy Catcher target later in the game.  It also has a retreat cost of a single energy, meaning that if you are unlucky enough to start with Unown, you’re going to need a switch or a single energy to pull it out of the active spot causing your setup to be slowed down quite a bit.  ’Hidden Power’ is also a pretty weak attack.  It inflicts just 10 damage for one Psychic Energy.  The only reason you will be playing this card is for its PokéPower.

At the end of the day, Unown Dark is a good tech in a few decks.  If you think Unown Dark can help you and you have the room in your deck list for it, I believe that it’s worth a try at least.  However, keep in mind that starting with it could cost you the game and having it means you’re going in to every match with that risk.

Thank you for reading my article and good luck with future games!

Posted by at December 8, 2011
Filed in category: Card of the Day,
  • ZettaSlow

    Unown Dark is more of an outdated ZPS play than a TZPS one, when 3 energy was imperative. It’s also a thought in dark toolboxes – TTar Prime might kill it eventually, but most TTar Prime lists should be running Twins anyway.

    As an afterthought, don’t bother using it with Hydreigon, you should probably be running non-dark energy with Hydreigon anyway (hint: Jirachi/DCL)