In the same class as Mew, Celebi, and Victini, Darkrai is a Mythical Pokémon that packs a powerful punch, but unlike the rest, Darkrai pops up in Raids, making the Pitch-Black Pokémon far more accessible. Darkrai is incredibly powerful and super useful in a number of Pokémon Go Raids and battles. Darkrai is back in Legendary Raids from October 23 through November 5, 2020.
What is Darkrai in Pokémon Go?
Darkrai is a mythical Pokémon introduced in Generation IV, and it is incredibly powerful. It is the strongest Dark type Pokémon, as well being one of the top ten Pokémon in all of Pokémon Go. It may look an awful lot like a Ghost, but Darkrai is a pure Dark type Pokémon. Although it is drawn to and capable of creating nightmares, this is a defense mechanism on Darkrai's part - not a malicious act. It prefers to avoid contact with humans and other Pokémon while they are awake and will dematerialize into shadows to do so. If someone is suffering from Darkrai's nightmares, they can be cured with one of Cresselia's Lunar Wings.
What are the best counters for Darkrai in Pokémon Go?
A pure Dark type Pokémon, Darkrai is weak against Fighting, Fairy, and Bug type moves and can deal Dark, Fighting, and Ghost type damage. While there aren't a ton of strong Fairy types out there, there are plenty of Fighting types to choose from and, with the addition of Mega Evolution, there is a solid Bug type strategy as well.
A pure Fighting type introduced in Gen V, Conkeldurr benefits from Trade Evolution, meaning you'll be able to evolve it easier and have plenty of candies leftover for powering it up. It takes half damage from Darkrai's Dark type moves and takes normal damage from Ghost and Fighting type moves. It hasn't been in the game for an incredibly long time, though, so you might not have many of them. Still, if you have one, you'll want it to know Counter and Dynamic Punch.
A Fighting and Steel type from Gen IV, Lucario makes for an excellent counter to Darkrai. It takes half damage from Dark type moves, but double damage from Fighting type so moveset is important. It's also due to have a Mega Evolution soon, although probably not in time for this Raid. Unfortunately, Riolu - Lucario's prevolution is still pretty rare, so you probably don't have a full team of Lucario. Still, if you have even one, you're going to want to use it to know Counter and Aura Sphere.
Newly introduced to Pokémon Go, Mega Beedrill is the key to a winning Bug type strategy against Darkrai. While the Fighting types on this list outperform most of the Bug types, Mega Evolution boosts not only the Mega Evolved Pokémon's stats, but also the damage from similar type Pokémon in the Raid. Unfortunately, Mega Energy for Beedrill is quite limited, so this can be an expensive play. Still, if you have one, you'll want to bring it and to coordinate with your fellow Trainers so they can bring Bug types as well. Bug Bit and X-Scissor is the moveset you'll want your Mega Beedrill to know for this fight.
Although Machamp is no longer the top tier Fighting type in Pokémon Go, its widespread availability, as both a Gen I Pokémon and having been featured in events, mean many players have entire teams of Machamps. Add Trade Evolution to the mix, and there is just no excuse not to have at least a few strong Machamps in your roster. It's not quite as powerful as Lucario or Conkeldurr, but it's a top contender. It's also resistant to Dark type moves and takes normal damage from Ghost and Fighting type moves. You'll want your Machamp to know Counter and Dynamic Punch for this raid.
Hariyama is a step down from Machamp power-wise but otherwise has the same strengths and weaknesses. While you should give preference to Lucario, Conkeldurr, and Machamp when building a team for Darkrai, if you need to fill another space, this Gen III Fighting type is also a great counter. You'll want your Hariyama to know Counter and Dynamic Punch.
One of few Fairy types able to stand up to Darkrai in Pokémon Go, Togekiss is a Fairy and Flying type Pokémon and the final evolution of Gen II's Togepi. However, Togekiss wasn't introduced until Gen IV and in Pokémon Go, it requires a Sinnoh Stone to evolve. Still, if you happen to have one, is works very well in this Raid, taking half damage from Dark and quarter damage from Fighting. Charm and Dazzling Gleam are the moves you'll want your Togekiss to know.
A Grass and Fighting type from Gen III, Breloom is cheap to evolve and its first stage, Shroomish is fairly common and has been featured in events. It takes half damage from Darkrai's Dark type moves and with Counter and Dynamic Punch, it can do a lot of damage fast.
A Poison and Fighting type from Gen IV, Toxicroak isn't quite as sturdy as some of the Pokémon on this list, but is readily available and cheap to evolve, leaving lots of extra Croagunk Candy for powering up. It takes half damage from Dark and Fighting type moves and will deal super effective damage with Counter and Dynamic Punch.
A Bug and Fighting type, Heracross can work really well with either or both move types in this Raid. Unfortunately, even though it is a Gen II Pokémon, Heracross is a Regional Exclusive, so many players don't even have one, much less multiple Heracross with high IVs. Still, if you do, it takes half damage from both Fighting, and Dark type moves and can have Counter and Close Combat for Fighting type moves or Struggle Bug and Megahorn if you want to focus on Bug type moves.
While most Fairy types in Pokémon Go just don't hold up yet, Granbull does perform well in this fight. The Gen II evolution of Snubbull, Granbull is cheap to evolve, quite common, and cheap to evolve. It takes half damage from Fighting and Dark type moves and is one of the more sturdy Fairy types. Eventually, Granbull will be far more useful once we get Mega Gardevoir, Diancie, and Mega Diancie. If you're bringing Granbull to this fight, you'll want it to know Charm and Play Rough.
Maybe you don't have a full team of the best counters fully powered up and knowing the best moves. Or maybe you're going to take advantage of Mega Evolution and want to focus on a specific type. Either way, there are still a lot of good backups to choose from. Consider any of the following:
- Gardevoir with Charm and Dazzling Gleam
- Genesect with Fury Cutter and X-Scissor
- Regigigas with Hidden Power and Giga Impact
- Pinsir with Bug Bite and X-Scissor
- Emboar with Low Kick and Focus Blast
- Yanmega with Bug Bite and Bug Buzz
- Escavalier with Bug Bite and Megahorn
- Blaziken with Counter and Focus Blast
- Scizor with Fury Cutter and X-Scissor
The rebalance of Shadow Pokémon rescued from Team GO Rocket make them excellent glass cannons. Not only are their stats boosted, but during special events, it's possible to change their moves with TMs. If you happen to have Shadow versions of the following Pokémon with the right moveset, they will work very well in this Raid:
- Shadow Machamp
- Shadow Pinsir
- Shadow Ursaring
- Shadow Poliwrath
- Shadow Scyther
- Shadow Scizor
- Shadow Gardevoir
Note: Shadow Machamp outperforms all of the best counters. Likewise, Shadow Pinsir, Shadow Ursaring, Shadow Poliwrath, Shadow Scyther, and Shadow Scizor all perform at the same level as the Pokémon in the best counters list. If you are able to coordinate the use of Mega Beedrill, it will boost the Bug type attacks of Shadow Pinsir, Shadow Scyther, and Shadow Scizor, making them all perform much better.
How many players do you need to beat Darkrai in Pokémon Go?
While it is techincally possible for two top level Trainers with the best counters to take on Darkrai, lower level players may need as many as six. Weather Conditions that may play into the battle include:
- Fog will boost Darkrai's Ghost and Dark type moves.
- Cloudy weather will boost Darkrai's Fighting type move, as well as all your Fighting and Fairy type counters.
- Rainy Weather will boost your Bug type counters.
Do you have any questions about taking on Darkrai in Pokémon Go? Got any tips for your fellow Trainers? Drop them in the comments below, and be sure to check out our Best Portable Battery Packs guide so you can keep your phone charged for all these Darkrai Raids!
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Casian Holly has been writing about gaming at iMore since 2019, but their real passion is Pokémon. From the games to the anime, cards and toys, they eat, sleep, and breathe all things Pokémon. You can check out their many Pokémon Go and Pokémon Sword and Shield guides and coverage here on iMore.