Malamar – Chilling Reign
Date Reviewed: July 20, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Malamar (SW – Chilling Reign 070/198) is today’s subject. I’ll cut to the quick: this is a potential glass cannon for Rapid Strike decks… or rather, for a pretty specific Rapid Strike deck built around it. Malamar’s attack is “Rapid Strike Tentacles” costs just [P] and has you reveal as many Rapid Strike cards from your hand as you wish. For each, the attack does 40 damage then shuffles the revealed Rapid Strike cards back into your deck. As such, you can hit big numbers if you can only spare enough Rapid Strike cards. Just taking out small targets will probably require two or three. Your typical Basic Pokémon V has 210, 220, or 230 HP: you’ll need six Rapid Strike cards to one-shot any of them. Need to drop a big ol’ Pokémon VMAX with 340 HP? You’ll need nine Rapid Strike cards.
The good news, at least, is that it is indeed Rapid Strike cards. It can be a Pokémon, Trainer, and/or Energy cards. Which does help. Still, reloading your hand turn after turn sounds tough. Three per turn wouldn’t be bad for a few turns: spam Brawly. Octillery (SW – Battle Styles 037/163, 178/163; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH089) can grab a Rapid Strike card from your deck with its Ability but it is a true once-during-your-turn Ability. Still, with Pal Pad you can reliably hit 120 turn after turn… at least, if you don’t need the Ability for something else, nor need your Supporter for something else like drawing (Professor’s Research), draw and disruption (Marnie), setting up a KO (Boss’s Orders), etc.
As for the rest of Malamar, it is a Stage 1 Psychic type with 120 HP, [D] Weakness, -30 [F] Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of [CCC]. While I called it a glass cannon earlier, it probably only just qualifies. There will be turns when it survives, which is good as setting up a replacement while still having enough Rapid Strike cards in hand to fuel Rapid Strike Tentacles ups the challenge of using this deck. Darkness Weakness is also a problem, though not as bad as it could be: Eternatus VMAX decks are still a thing, but Eternatus VMAX itself already scores a OHKO before Weakness. The Resistance might actually help, since it means an Active Malamar requires 150 damage instead of 120. That Retreat Cost is also bad; too low for Buff Padding, high enough to be a pain to pay, and awkward to reduce.
You’ll probably need to run something that isn’t a Rapid Strike Pokémon. The good news, you won’t have to worry about discarding it for Rapid Strike Tentacles, since it you can’t. The bad news is that even if you’re desperate, you can’t toss it. Still, perhaps something like Cinccino (Sword & Shield 147/202; Sword & Shield Promos SWSH009; Shining Fates SV094/SV122) will suffice. Its “Make Do” Ability will require a single card discard each time you use it, but Make Do draws two cards. While it is a once-per-turn Ability, unlike Octillery, this one is per instance; if you have four Cinccino in play, you can use each Make Do once, for a total of four times per turn.
Originally, I was going to say Expanded didn’t offer enough to help Malamar, but Exeggcute (BW – Plasma Freeze 4/116; BW – Plama Blast 102/101) can cover the discard costs for Quick Ball, for Ultra Ball, for Mysterious Treasure (if you use it), etc. It can then also cover the costs for Make Do. At least, while Abilities are working and you can spam Exeggcute’s “Propagation” Ability. Plus, Muscle Band helps with hitting some key numbers; four Rapid Strike cards shuffled away by Rapid Strike Tentacles does 200 damage, but Muscle Band ups it to 220. Eight do 320, and Muscle Band ups that to 340. I’m still not sold on the idea, but it sounds plausible now. I also need to remember that, if you’re dropping the big, multi-Prize targets, you don’t need to pull it all off turn after turn. Just two or three times!
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
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