Darkrai Pokemon Go Guide: Mr. Sandman

Latest posts by Emily Medlock, Resident Pokémon Go Expert (see all)

A Darkrai Pokémon GO guide can help you find Darkrai, defeat him, and best utilize your Darkrai. I have never had strong feelings towards Darkrai as I do other Mythicals, but I do love the Dark-type.

This nightmare-inducing Pokémon is as “dark” as they come, and I do love his story. Since he is only about five-foot tall, he may not be as scary in person, which is why it’s a special encounter when you see him as a giant Raid boss.

But it’s not his size that is important to note. Darkrai – like other Mythicals – isn’t always available. So unless you want to spend a ton of Stardust trading, you should snag him when you can. 

Darkrai Pokémon GO Summary

  • Max CP (Level 40): 3,739
  • Max CP in the Wild: 3,205
  • Best Moveset: Snarl, Shadow Ball
  • Tier: 5, CP 53,623
  • How to Acquire: Raid (2019-2021), GO Battle League (2020, 2021), Trade
  • Capture Rate: 2%
  • Weakness: Dighting, Bug, Fairy
  • Resistance: Ghost, Dark, Psychic

Darkrai Outside of Pokémon GO

darkrai pokemon brilliant diamond

Darkrai was introduced in Generation IV – Diamond and Pearl. He is a shadowy Pokémon that can make people sleep and dream. The only true cure for the nightmares he induces is a feather from Cresselia. Because he is a Mythical Pokémon, you can only get one of him in most games. He is available in Diamond/Pearl (Brilliant/Shining, too!), Platinum, and Legends: Arceus on New Moon Island.

You can only get him via trade in other games, if that’s even possible. He may appear in future games, but as for right now, that’s the extent of his appearances in base Pokémon games.

Darkrai Stats, Movesets, and Acquisition in Pokémon GO

Darkrai has decent stats and such for a Raid boss and Pokémon to add to your party. While he isn’t a top-tier Legendary/Mythical, he is good in his own right due to his excellent attack stat. If you never see Darkrai in GO League or on tier lists, don’t worry. I firmly believe that you can create a great team with any Legendary, Mythical, or final evolution. As long as you keep the rest of your team balanced. 

Base Stats

  • Attack – 285
  • Defense – 198
  • Stamina – 172

As you can see, Darkrai has a great Attack stat but mediocre Defense and Stamina. Because of this, he’s a good attacker but not a good defender. Since you can’t place Mythicals in gyms, this isn’t a huge problem. The only other time you need a defender is to keep a well-rounded team complete with someone that can absorb damage. That’s when a good defender comes in handy, but it doesn’t have to be every Pokémon on your team.

Best Moveset

  • Snarl
  • Shadow Ball

You can get creative, but this is statistically the best combo. Snarl and Feint Attack are nearly identical in DPS, so that one really doesn’t matter much. It’s the second attack that you should worry about. Focus Blast actually has the highest DPS. But there are a few catches. Dark Pulse gets STAB damage, so it is a good choice. However, Shadow Ball will charge fast and give you an edge.

When it comes to facing Fighting, Bug, and Fairy types that take little damage against Dark, you want something else, and Ghost-type moves are well paired with Dark Pokémon.

How to Get Darkrai

How to Get Darkrai

The only way to get Darkrai most of the time is via trade. He does pop up on occasion in Raid battles and GO Battle League. The best chance of getting him is during the Halloween season.

So keep an eye out this Halloween because there’s a good chance he will at least show up in Raids then. Otherwise, you are stuck with trading to acquire him until he randomly shows up again.

Raid Battles

  • Tier – 5
  • CP – 53,623
  • Max CP (when catching) – 2,671

Darkrai first appeared in Raid battles for Halloween 2019. He then appeared again the two following Halloweens. Aside from Halloween, Darkrai appeared in random Raids in Spring of 2020.

Go Battle League

  • Max CP – 2,136

You could receive a Darkrai encounter as a reward in 2020 and 2021. It was available for a weekend in March 2020 after you reached rank 4 and for a week in 2021 (Oct-Nov) after rank 20.

Darkrai Pokémon GO All Moves

Unlike in other games, in Pokémon GO, Pokémon don’t have a vast collection of moves that they can learn. The list for Darkrai is short, making choosing a moveset much easier than in other games.

All Fast Attacks

Fast AttackDamageMy RatingDPS
  Feint Attack104/513

These two fast attacks are almost equal in my book. They will both do STAB damage and do around the same amount of DPS. So it’s really up to you. I wouldn’t use a TM to change it.

All Charged Attacks

Charged AttackDamageMy RatingDPS
  Dark Pulse805/532
  Shadow Ball1004/533
  Focus Blast1404/540
  Sludge Bomb803/535

All of these are okay, but Dark Pulse and Focus Blast are the best. I would go with Shadow Ball, but really any of them will do. Sludge Bomb is an Elite TM, so if you have the resources, grab it as extra.

Best Counters for Darkrai in Pokémon GO

Best Counters for Darkrai in Pokémon GO

Darkrai isn’t always an easy Pokémon to face. Unless you have Fighting, Bug, or Fairy Pokémon, you may struggle against him. But not just any will do, these are the strongest options against Darkrai.


  • Bug Bite
  • Focus Blast (Bug Buzz)

Pheromosa is a rare Pokémon, so if I had one, I’d flex with it when I could. The Pokémon has Bug and Fighting moves, which are equally good against Dark Pokémon like Darkrai.


  • Counter
  • Aura Sphere

My shiny Lucario is in my top five favorite Pokémon on Pokémon GO. I use it as often as I can. Because it is Fighting (good against Darkrai) and Steel, it has only three vulnerabilities and almost ten resistances – including Dark. 


  • Quick Attack (Metal Claw)
  • Play Rough

Zacian is such a great Pokémon with only two weaknesses. Play Rough is good against Darkai and Quick Attack/Metal Claw are just good moves for him with around 11 DPS each.


  • Counter
  • Dynamic Punch

Conkeldurr is one of those Pokémon that you must trade a Pokémon (Gurdurr) to get. He’s a fairly well-rounded Pokémon with a surprisingly good attack stat. Use his Fighting moves to take down Darkrai. 


Breloom Pokemon GO
  • Counter
  • Dynamic Punch

Because Breloom is Fighting, his fighting moves will do extra damage to Darkrai. He has a lot of weaknesses – making him not the best choice on most occasions – but Darkrai is not one of them.


  • Counter
  • Dynamic Punch

Machamp has always been meta, and he will likely always be meta. This is strange since he is a single-type Pokémon, but it’s true. Use him with Fighting moves to defeat Darkrai.


  • Counter
  • Close Combat

Sirfetch’d is such a great concept, and his stats are decent, so keeping him around isn’t bad. With his Fighting moves, he can do a lot of damage to Dark Pokémon like Darkrai. 


  • Counter
  • Dazzling Gleam

Alakazam is only Psychic-type, but don’t give him Psychic moves if you’re using him to fight Darkrai. Instead, use Fighting and Fairy, both options with Elite TMs, so if you have them stacked, go for it. 

Galarian Zapdos

  • Counter
  • Close Combat

Galarian Zapdos doesn’t even look like Zapdos anymore. But he is Fighting and Flying instead of Electric and Flying, making him suitable against Dark. Use Fighting moves rather than Flying when facing Darkrai. 


  • Counter
  • Megahorn

Heracross is a good underdog Pokémon that never ceases to surprise me. If you use Fighting and Bug moves with him – his two types – you will do massive damage to Darkrai and others that he counters. 

Meta Pokémon that Darkrai Counters

Meta Pokémon that Darkrai Counters

While any Pokémon can cause trouble if you don’t have the right team, there is a list of Pokémon that is difficult to take on no matter what your team looks like. Let’s take a look at some of these Pokémon that Darkrai can help with.

Zen Darmanitan

  • Snarl
  • Shadow Ball

Zen Darmanitan is Fire and Psychic, so he’s weak against five types, including Ghost and Dark. Darmanitan is a great Pokémon in any form, but Darkrai is only good against the Zen Darminitan. Not even the Galarian Zen version is included.


  • Snarl
  • Shadow Ball

Mewtwo is purely Psychic, so Ghost and Dark moves work well against it. Even Armored Mewtwo – one of the highest Defense Pokémon in the game – is vulnerable to Ghost and Dark.


  • Snarl
  • Shadow Ball

Because Gengar is Ghost and not Dark, Darkrai generally wins against him. The Mega Evolution of Gengar is much stronger, but you can still defeat him with Darkrai fairly easily.

Giratina Origin

  • Snarl
  • Shadow Ball

Giratina Origin form is Ghost and Dragon, so he takes extra damage against Ghost and Dark type moves. The Altered form also takes extra damage, but in my experience, it’s easier to face anyway.


  • Snarl
  • Shadow Ball

Metagross is Steel and Psychic. Since Steel doesn’t interact with Ghost and Dark, all you have to worry about is that Metagross is Psychic. So Darkrai can do extra damage with Ghost and Dark moves.


  • Snarl
  • Shadow Ball

Hoopa Unbound will not be susceptible to Dark and Ghost moves, but regular Hoopa (confined) will be. Confined Hoopa is the small one, and because it is Psychic and Ghost, it takes ridiculous damage (256%) against Dark and Ghost moves.


  • Snarl
  • Shadow Ball

Drifblim isn’t all that strong as far as Attack and Defense are concerned, but with good Stamina and a lot of resistances, you can’t use just anything and expect to win. Darkrai is a good choice because Ghost and Dark are good against it.


  • Snarl
  • Shadow Ball

Normal Exeggutor is Grass and Psychic, so it takes extra damage from Dark and Ghost movies. Bug is by far your best choice to use, but if you don’t have a good Bug, then Darkrai will do.


pokemon Latios
  • Snarl
  • Shadow Ball

Latios is Dragon and Psychic, vulnerable to Ghost and Dark. There are still four other options, but Darkrai is decent anyway and isn’t weak against any of Latios’ available moves.


Question: Is Darkrai Legendary?

Answer: No. Darkrai is actually a Mythical Pokémon. While Legendaries and Mythcials have the same rules in Pokémon GO, it is an important distinction in other cases. Despite popular belief, Mythicals are rarer.

Question: Is Darkrai Rare in Pokémon GO?

Answer: Darkrai is medium-rare as far as Mythicals go. He’s much rarer than non-Legendaries and non-Mythicals, but he’s not as rare as some of the rarest Pokémon in Pokémon GO.

Question: Will Darkrai Come Back to Pokémon GO?

Answer: Darkrai will likely return to Pokémon GO – as I believe all Mythicals and Legendaries will – but as to when, that is still up in the air. Niantic doesn’t typically make such announcements more than a week or so ahead of time.

Question: Is There a Mega Darkrai?

Answer: No. There is not a Mega Darkrai. There have been fan-made Mega Darkrai depictions, but none of them are canon. Whether or not there will be a Mega Darkrai (or another advanced form) in the future is unknown.

Question: How Do You Beat Darkrai in Pokémon GO?

Answer: To defeat Darkrai, you should grab Fighting, Bug, or Fairy Pokémon. It’s important that the Pokémon has one of these types of moves rather than the Pokémon just being this type.

Should You Get Darkrai in Pokémon GO?

Darkrai is single-type Pokémon, which can have pros and cons. He has great attack, but his defense and stamina are lacking. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure you have the best DPS possible with Darkrai. If you have a formidable Ghost or Psychic enemy, Darkrai can shred them before they have a chance to charge an attack. That’s why I like to keep a Dark Pokémon like Darkrai on the back burner.

It’s not that Darkai is that good, it’s that Ghost, Dark, and Psychic Pokémon can be difficult to face under normal circumstances. So building a good, well-rounded team is always the answer to a successful Pokémon battle. 

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