– Forbidden Light
June 1, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Sometimes the only thing to do to freshen up a Pokemon is give them a new look, sometimes a new Type, but isn’t it cool when you can do both? And hey, we’ve seen some Pokemon with complete shifts in their Typing, so why not have a Ground Pokemon become Fire/Ghost?
…at least it makes more sense really than Ice/Steel, no matter how cool Alolan Sandslash is.
Alolan Marowak is a Stage 1 Fire Pokemon, 120 HP, with a Water Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 2. Limbo Limbo is a free move that lets you attach 2 basic Energy cards from your deck to your Pokemon in any way you’d like – nice! Alolan Club is nice too, as it costs 2 of any Energy and deals 20 damage for every Alolan Pokemon you’ve got in play, including Alolan Marowak.
I mentioned this card before in Alolan Exeggutor’s review, because Alolan Marowak does two things for the Alolan archetype: it provides easy acceleration for all the different Types you could include, and it gives easy access to a powerful attacker for relatively no cost of its own, outside of waiting a turn. You can power up your various Alolan Pokemon easily with Limbo Limbo, and Alolan Marowak doesn’t even have to have Fire Energy for his moves, meaning that’s one less Energy you’d have to run.
At least, assuming you don’t want to use it for something like Alolan Exeggutor’s move.
That’s a bit of the caveat to the combination; while Alolan Marowak doesn’t care too much about the Energy it cycles out, thus giving it a lot of utility, Alolan Exeggutor wants that Energy to be of different Types so that his move can power up to the fullest. Meanwhile, Alolan Marowak wants to have a bunch of different Alolan Pokemon around and about to benefit the most for his own move – quite a mish-mash!
So what partners could help each of Alolan Marowak and Alolan Exeggutor? Well:
-there’s original Alolan Muk (SM), whose Power of Alchemy can shut down the Abilities of Basic Pokemon, which is pretty useful since most of the Alolan Basics don’t have Abilities.
-Alolan Raticate (SM) also has Evil Orders, which helps search out a variety of cards, although the attack does cost Energy.
-Alolan Sandslash (GUR) has the useful Slush Rush to draw you an extra card each turn.
-Utilizing Alolan Vulpix (GUR) with Alolan Ninetales (BUS) can provide a great Safeguard for your Pokemon!
-Alolan Grimer (BUS) can help get out your Alolan Muk or even an Alolan Muk-GX with its Division attack.
-Alolan Exeggutor-GX also has a powerful attack that utilizes Energy, but it directly benefits from Alolan Marowak’s Limbo Limbo power-up – and it can Tower-Go-Round GX to move the Energy off of itself to your other Pokemon if necessary!
That’s about the majority of the list right there, showcasing a wide variety of options for the deck already. It’s interesting how the deck’s almost entirely built up already, and yet for the most part it hasn’t seemed like that since there weren’t a lot of Alolan-specific support cards! And Alolan Marowak not only supports the archetype – it reinvents it!
Standard: 3/5 (sure, the deck as a whole suffers from running multiple Stage 1s, but there are ways to circumvent that)
Expanded: 3/5 (for instance, Alolan Exeggutor (UPR) has an attack that evolves your Benched Exeggcute in a heartbeat)
Limited: 3.5/5 (and there are plenty of Evolution cards in Expanded to help out with that)
Arora Notealus: Alolan Marowak helps bring together an archetype that hadn’t really had much of a chance before to call itself an archetype. It revitalizes older cards simply by existing, and it helps bring together cards that wouldn’t have been brought together otherwise. Honestly, it seems like a fun deck that I’d be willing to jump on! I think the best combinations will want Alolan Marowak with Alolan Sandslash for draw power, Alolan Vulpix and Alolan Grimer for swarming, the Alolan Exeggutor to amass a lot of HP and Evolutions, and either Alolan Exeggutor-GX or Alolan Muk-GX as the big boss of the deck! Just an idea though, I’m sure there are plenty of ways to build the deck right now, and there will only continue to be more in the future~
Side Review: Magmortar – Magmortar is a good Fire Pokemon that can receive a bit of support from Alolan Marowak, and it’s a good example of a Pokemon that benefits from Alolan Marowak’s presence. Again, running a Stage 1 as your Energy accelerator isn’t going to always come out the best, but Alolan Marowak can pull Energy out to power up Magmortar a lot, which elevates a dedicated Magmortar deck since Fire Blaster benefits the most with a lot of Energy. Of course the slowness of its Ability and the constant rotation will probably hinder the deck against faster competition, but it’s another fun idea for casual play.
Weekend Thought: What did you think of this week’s cards? Think of a new deck you could utilize with them? Think of a current deck that could use them? What are some thoughts you have towards the Alolan archetype? Do you think it could be a viable deck, or is it just too much of a mish-mash to be viable? Or maybe it’s less about partnering Alolan Marowak with multiple Pokemon as much as it is partnering him up with the right one or two…
Alolan Marowak has features that one of it’s attacks might consider to be some form of Alolan toolbox. Limbo Limbo is free and provides good energy acceleration as well as flexible. Alolan Club costs a Double Colorless Energy and does 20 damage for each Pokémon you have in play with Alolan in it’s name. Some examples would be Alolan Vulpix, Alolan Ninetales (both GX and non GX), Alolan Exeggcutor, etc. With this attack, a new deck is emerged. This feels a bit restricted than Zoroark-GX’s Riotous Beating due to needing Alolan Pokémon, but it is a great tech against decks weak to fire as well as being splashable.
Trying to construct a deck filled with Alolan Pokémon isn’t too difficult. For starters, you’ll need the Alolan Marowak evolutionary line to do its purpose. You could throw in Alolan Vulpix whose Beacon attack lets you fetch two Pokémon. Alolan Ninetales’s Luminous Barrier protects itself from GX/EX Pokémon. Both are weak to Metal, in which Alolan Marowak can go back in front to punish them for weakness. If you want your deck to be clunky, then you can throw Alolan Exeggcutor in the mix, with it’s Tropical Shake potentially hitting 120 damage if five different basic energy cards are in the discard pile.
I am not certain how much mileage Alolan Marowak will get as far as competitive play goes, but I feel like it can do a good job in both Standard and Expanded. It is a decent pull in Limited dependent on how many Alolan Pokémon that you’ve also pulled. And finally, it is in the Tropical Takedown Theme Deck, and there’s is a decent chunk of Alolan Pokémon in this theme deck and can serve as a secondary attacker after Alolan Exeggcutor.
Alolan Marowak (FLI 12) gets its second card of the Sun and Moon era in the Forbidden Light expansion set. The attack that definitely caught everyone’s eye was Limbo Limbo. Not simply because of its odd name (an attack called Limbo? and not just Limbo but Limbo Limbo? What’s next, Cha Cha Cha?), but 1) IT’S FREE which is always appealing to cheapskates like me and 2) it allows you to go into your deck and attach two Basic energy cards to your Pokemon in any way you choose.
I’m pretty sure nobody else picked up on this, but the first thing I thought of was, “Man, this would be a great starter for Ultra Necrozma GX.” Think about it: you park Marowak up there in the active and use Limbo Limbo to first attach a Metal energy to two Ultra Necrozmas just hanging out on the bench. Then, if Marowak isn’t KO’d, you can use Limbo Limbo again to add a couple of Psychic Energy cards to Dawn Wings. And when it gets KO’d after that, you sweep in with Dawn Wings and use its GX attack. And so on from there. If you’ve played much with Malamar, you’re more than aware that sometimes it’s difficult to get energy in the discard early in the game. Marowak is good early on to get the energy you need attached… especially Metal energy cards which can sometimes be a little elusive.
So as you can expect, I tried this out in a deck. I basically took my Ultra Necrozma Malamar list (which I realized I never posted because I have been so busy with soccer over the last month but it’s up here now) and plugged in a pair of Marowaks, so it’s probably not the optimal list – I can only get Marowak with Ultra Balls.
I went 10 W 6 L with Marowak. There were a few times when Marowak worked perfectly and was fantastic for getting the energy I needed early in the game. Unfortunately, however, the deck didn’t seem to flow as well, and there were a lot of times when I wished that Marowak were a Malamar. I didn’t really count, but I’m sure in the majority of the games when I had Marowak on the bench I would have preferred it to be a Malamar. It really was only a few times when I got Marowak up top early and was able to use Limbo Limbo.
Standard: 2 out of 5
Post rotation, Marowak might have a better place in the meta, but right now it doesn’t make one of the best decks in the meta better, so I’m going to pass on Marowak for the time being.
I’ve posted my statistical analysis for the month of May on PDC. You might want to check it out and take a look at my number crunching from the month of May and see what this post FLI meta is starting to look like on paper.
We close the week with another “runner-up”, a card that was nominated for but didn’t actually make our Top 10 Cards of SM – Forbidden Light countdown. Alolan Marowak (SM – Forbidden Light 12/131) appeared twice in our individual top pick lists to earn 31 voting points, only one shy of tying Wednesday’s Diantha beating out Monday’s subject by 5 voting points. Yes, we’re still counting down runners-up next week, but we’ll have a few other cards slipped into the mix as well. As such, Alolan Marowak would have been our 17th place finisher if we’d started the countdown high enough. It did not make my personal Top 10 list, or even Top 15 or Top 25. It should have made at least that last one, however, and this review will explain why. Before that, however, I’ll quickly mention that this card is somewhat easily available, as the “Tropical Takedown” Theme Deck features one copy of it. If you ever wonder why I struggle to upload my reviews on time, part of it is because I struggle with being concise. I just deleted about six paragraphs of what I’d originally written for this review because I realized I not only lacked the time to go into such detail but that it was overkill for this Card of the Day review. Sometimes my “card vivisection” approach is necessary, but here I fear it obscures more than it illuminates. Quick Note: When I say “Alolan Pokémon” in this review, I’m talking about those with “Alolan” in their name, and not all Gen VII Pokémon.
Alolan Marowak wishes it were a Basic Pokémon because – as you might expect – this would help it out quite a bit. Its “Limbo Limbo” attack suffers because attack-based Energy acceleration that needs its own combo to access before your second turn (T3 or T4 of the overall game) is slow. You’re going to need some luck to be able to use Limbo Limbo more than once before Alolan Marowak is KO’d. The good news? As bad as I just made that sound, there could be a niche use for it (see 21times’ review). I am more interested in Alolan Club (nice pun); for [CC] it does 120 damage times the number of Alolan Pokémon you’ve got in play. You’ll have to settle for slightly lower damage or run a deck built around Alolan Pokémon, but if you do and your opponent can’t forcibly shrink your Bench you’ll have a solid return on investment with this combo. Not brilliant, but enough I think we should see some sort of Alolan deck emerge at least at the “budget” level. The main issue is the best Alolan Pokémon probably don’t need Alolan Marowak, so you need to focus on the stuff that doesn’t quite cut it on their own.
Regrettably, I haven’t had a chance to test the kind of deck I have in mind. Then again, it also seems better suited to after the rotation than the present format, which is not an impressive thing given how often we say that and how often the true future format unfolds differently than we predicted. Still, I’m wondering how well some combination of Alolan Exeggcutor (SM – Forbidden Light 2/131), Alolan Muk, Alolan Ninetales (SM – Burning Shadows 28/147), Alolan Raichu (SM – Black Star Promos SM72; SM – Crimson Invasion 31/111), Alolan Raticate (SM – Burning Shadows 82/147), and Alolan Sandslash (SM – Black Star Promos SM18; SM – Guardians Rising 20/145) could do. I’m not talking about running them all at once! It is a matter of finding out what additional attacker and what Bench-sitter to combine with Alolan Marowak in light of whatever the local metagame seems to offer. So I’m basing this on pure Theorymon for the Standard and Expanded Formats, as I never even got close to testing with it. I actually have a little more hope for the Expanded Format than the Standard. The competition is much more fierce, but you gain access to Sky Field and thus more damage potential.
For the Limited Format, I definitely like Alolan Marowak but for the Energy acceleration; the only Alolan Pokémon in this set are itself and the previously mentioned Alolan Exeggutor. If you pull multiples of both (and their respective Basics), you can really bring the heat. Even if I’m wrong about all the rest of this, I do know first hand that this is a good card in the Theme Format. It hurts that it is only included as a single, but the powers-that-be brought in Alolan Pokémon from other sets, to join this set’s Alolan Marowak and Alolan Exeggutor. They aren’t the new BDIF, but if we had better [M] and [Y] decks floating around to keep “Imperial Command” and “Mach Strike” in check, it would be a contender. As is, Tropical Takedown is still a good choice and Alolan Marowak is great for both of its attacks… when it shows up.
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