– Crimson Invasion
December 6, 2017
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Let’s get started on Alolan Marowak (SM: Crimson Invasion 12/111). Totally throwing out my usual approach not only due to time constraints but because of what has people excited about this card. Besides the concept of a fire-dancing, skull-faced Pokémon just being awesome in the first place, Alolan Marowak generated early buzz because of its first attack, “Dance of Flames”. For each Energy attached to your opponent’s Pokémon (plural), Dance of Flames allows you to attach a [R] Energy from your discard pile to your Pokémon. You get to pick which Pokémon get how much of said Energy. This can lead to huge swings in Energy, but a free attack is still an attack. Then comes the rest of the card.
Being a [R] Type doesn’t hurt Alolan Marowak as basic Fire Energy is the only Energy card that Dance of Flames can attach, but the mild synergy with the cards it is best at powering up, or maybe taking a swing at the odd [G] or [M] Type attacker isn’t a huge help, either. What hurts is being a Stage 1; double the deck space per copy versus a Basic, and you’ll have to lose a turn Evolving, telegraphing your plans. If you just drop it no matter what early game, you’re potentially wasting resources on that, but Alolan Marowak can be ready to do its thing when called upon. 100 HP is not enough to give it a fighting chance of surviving while Active, but that might not be a bad thing since you’ll have to pay [CC] or a switching effect to Bench an Alolan Marowak that survives being up front. The HP lessens the impact of the Water Weakness a little, but it is still a pain when you run into something like Seismitoad-EX, however.
That just leaves the least important aspects of the card; lack of Resistance (wouldn’t change much even if it were here), and the second attack. “Burning Bonemerang” needs [RRC] so that you can flip two coins; each “heads” is worth 70 damage to the opponent’s Active, and as long as you flip at least one “heads”, the attack also inflicts Burn. So double “tails” means the attack whiffs entirely, and that’s 25% of the possible outcomes. Double “heads” is another 25% of possible outcomes, but it yields 140 damage plus Burn, so an effective 160. The remaining 50% is when you the coinflips split, and results in 70 damage plus Burn, or the equivalent of 90 damage if nothing stops Special Conditions or alters the damage being done. Not good, but not bad… until you factor in the rest of the card. Dancing Flames or Blacksmith or other Energy acceleration keeps Burning Bonemarang from being terribly expensive, but for three Energy on a glass cannon, I want at least a probable OHKO before I start adding to the combo. That isn’t happening here.
Alolan Marowak is a good choice for the Limited Format unless you can’t afford your deck running on mostly or only basic Fire Energy cards. It definitely is not something to run solo, but it can make a lot of mediocre pulls worthwhile if you attach enough Energy with Dance of Flames. Most of the time, it should provide enough of a bump to justify itself, and it might also prove a decent attacker here. It might be worth it as an emergency fallback option for Standard and Expanded, but please remember that your opponent needs to have more than a few Energy in play for Dancing of Flames to be worth it. Most [R] decks want a backup means of Energy acceleration, in case the main ones don’t work… but they’ve already got that. Blacksmith, Kiawe, Max Elixir and Volcanion (XY: Black Star Promos XY145; XY: Steam Siege 25/114) already give you many options, and you don’t have to worry about your opponent having enough Energy without also being naturally ahead because of it.
Alolan Marowak would have been our 13th place finisher, had the list gone far enough. It snagged six voting points by appearing in fifth place on a single reviewer’s personal top 10, but lost the tie with Alolan Exeggutor-GX because it didn’t appear in either of the two lists that went beyond a top 10. Alolan Marowak didn’t make my personal top 15, but I’ll remember it for the future; hard to say what the metagame will be like in nine weeks, let alone nine months.
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