– Forbidden Light
May 18, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Dated as far back as Eelektrik’s release in Noble Victories back in 2012, the Ability to bring back Energy cards from the discard pile has always been held in high regard. Bronzong made the Top 10 list of Phantom Forces and of the 2014 year. Landorus brought an offensive variant that led to its rise on the Top 10 Furious Fists list before that. Aqua Patch and Dark Patch could accelerate Energy from the discard pile easily as Items. And now topping the Forbidden Light list is none other than Malamar.
…that either says a lot about the card or our process.
Malamar is a Stage 1 Psychic Pokemon, 90 HP, with a Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 2. As usual, the attack isn’t worth it on a card like this, as Psychic Sphere is 3-for-60 vanilla. Would this card be all the better for it? Perhaps. Then again, all these Pokemon would be better for it. Psychic Recharge is the Ability, and it lets you attach a Psychic Energy from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokemon.
I hinted at this briefly with Ultra Necrozma-GX, as it seems to be the obvious partner. Put one Energy out from your hand, put another on an Ultra Necrozma-GX from the Bench through Psychic Recharge, swap em out, then attack for upwards of 180 damage each turn – pretty solid! The only trick is swapping them around, and that can be managed to some degree. But is that all Malamar could show up in?
Naganadel-GX is a pretty good pick, as all you’d need is the one Energy to cycle off. Then you could attach Energy to things like Nihilego-GX or Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX (putting it in a solid place to be accelerated out quickly AND can be used to switch out Ultra Necrozma-GX). Mewtwo-GX can get more Energy for his attack, and even Necrozma-GX (BUS) looks much more solid with Malamar in the works!
Needless to say, Malamar is, like many other Pokemon before him, an enabler for Psychic builds, and it’s going to be interesting to see what all he shows up in.
Standard: 4.5/5 (I’m only docking the liiiightest of points off for a card like this, since there are some…inherent weaknesses to it)
Expanded: 4.5/5 (having it out on your Bench makes it a huge target for things like Guzma)
Limited: 4.5/5 (and in that regard, he’s likely going to be big not only for decks playing him but decks that can get rid of him quickly)
Arora Notealus: Malamar always was a weird Pokemon. The original evolution method was to level him up, and then you had to hold your 3DS upside-down. Like…I get why design-wise, but how would you know that without looking through the code or experimenting with it yourself? Kind of an odd choice. Dunno how many other Pokemon are going to end up that way either!
Side Review: Salazzle – again, Malamar works great with Psychic Salazzles…not so much Fire ones. There’s certainly potential for Salazzle in casual games, but in competitive, putting a Status on your opponent and then waiting another to capitalize on it just isn’t ideal. Most decks want to get out their big damage and keep going. It’s a faster pace than Salazzle warrants, and it’s likely the reason she’s not shown up often.
Weekend Thought: Hope you guys enjoyed the list! What were your thoughts on our picks? Think something didn’t make it that should have? Think something that got on didn’t need to? I think the Top 5 were all cards on my list, but I do think there is potential with some other cards in this set. It’s a big on for sure!
Our best card of the Sun and Moon Forbidden Light expansion goes to Malamar! A Stage 1 Psychic type with 90 HP, weak to Psychic, and a retreat cost of two. It’s only attack, Psychic Sphere, costs PPC for 60 damage. The ability, Psychic Recharge, lets you put a Psychic energy from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokemon. I don’t recall any Special Energy regarding Psychic types, but Mystery Energy won’t count because it is a blank Energy card despite having the Psychic energy symbol in the top right corner. So it’s mostly Basic Psychic energies that count.
This ability may seem pretty new at what it does, but the premise of the ability is familiar, albeit in a different type. You would have to rewind back to the BW-era to see the debut of such an ability. Eelektrik (BW Noble Victories 40/101) possesses the ability Dynamotor, which puts a Lightning energy from the discard to one of your Benched Pokemon. We got partners that can make great use of this ability, and since it can be attached to any Pokemon of any type, it can employ off-type attackers whose attack cost consist of Colorless energies. Tornadus EX (BW Dark Explorers 90/108, 108/108) and Mewtwo EX (BW Next Destines 54/99, 98/99, BW Black Star Promo 45, BW Legendary Treasures 54/113) were some of the off type attackers that can make good use of this ability due to their Colorless costs like X-Ball, Blow Through, and Power Blast. Of course, such a engine doesn’t last forever, with other strategies interrupting your premise. Garbodor’s Garbotoxin shuts down abilities, Landorus-EX exploiting weakness, or even Eelektrik’s own 90 HP won’t make it last long. It was bait for pre-errata Pokemon Catcher. The second engine is Bronzong (XY Phantom Forces 61/119), who has Metal Links, that puts a Metal Energy from the discard pile to one of your Benched Pokemon. Again, there were partners, both on type and off type that can use it. But before, they got Dialga-EX (XY Phantom Forces 62/119, 122/119) which is a decent beatstick in its time, though not so much now.
Those two Pokémon had form certain decks and Malamar is no different, so let’s see how it can be used. This set brings Ultra Necrozma GX, which is a great beatstick that can potentially OHKO any Pokemon in the game sans Safeguard users like Alolan Ninetales and Hoopa. There’s also Necrozma-GX, whose Prismaric Laser does decent damage, but nowhere compared to Ultra Necrozma GX, although it can walk Colorless Pokemon. Marshadow-GX can benefit from Malamar and can use any attack that costs Psychic or Colorless of Pokémon from the discard pile. That’s Standard, but in Expanded? Well, there’s no shortage of them, both on-type and off-type. Mewtwo-EX’s Psydrive actually has a reason to be used if X-Ball is not doing enough damage as it can reach 2HKO territory. Such a vast selection is hard for me to give a lot of examples for this review. Expanded gains a bit due to more partners, Level Ball for searching (not legal in Standard), and Battle Compressor to put basic energies in the discard so that you can recover them.
So enjoy using it in Standard and Expanded! In Limited, Malamar happens to be one of the Prerelease Promos that you can possibly pull. You could make use of it depending on the available cards that you’ve pulled from booster packs. It also appears in a theme deck of Twilight Rogue as a single copy, though I am not certain how useful the ability would be.
Conclusion: Malamar brings a potent ability that we are familiar with and that we know how to use it. Like Eelektrik and Bronzong before it, Malamar picks up where Bronzong left off in a different way. As long as there are Pokemon that can make use of this ability, Malamar should be seeing lots of play in future tournaments.
Did it deserve to be the number one pick? After all, it earned 109 voting points, four more than Diancie Prism Star, which isn’t a huge margin but not tiny either. There wasn’t a card in the set that can be universally used that deserve to be number one (unlike Cynthia from SM Ultra Prism), so we were pretty divided in our choices because of cards giving Type-specific support. Diancie Prism Star could’ve been number one, or Beast Energy Prism Star, or other cards in the countdown. But either way, we have finished with our countdown, but it isn’t over, with other notable cards that fall short of a top 10 that would eventually be reviewed.
Malamar (FLI 51) glides into the meta as our number 1 card out of the Forbidden Light expansion set. This Stage 1 Pokemon won the top spot because of its amazing ability Psychic Recharge which allows you to attach a Psychic energy from your discard pile to any of your benched Pokemon.
There’s no point in testifying again to the value Malamar adds to Ultra Necrozma GX. The question is whether or not it will elevate any other Psychic archetypes to top flight competitive status. Clearly, we’ve already seen Dawn Wings Necrozma GX take off with the benefit of Psychic Recharge, but will it make a card like Toxapex GX competitive? Could it help Giratina Prism and Lunala Prism overcome their attack costs? Could it even help Silvally GX become more competitive? It’s a long list of Pokemon that Malamar could potentially elevate to a significantly higher status.
And that’s what makes this the number one card. I picked Ultra Necrozma GX as my number one, but you just can’t argue with the fact that Malamar will boost so many other archetypes, and that utilitarianism is all the proof you need to justify this as the best card in the set.
Standard: 4 out of 5
Because it’s limited to Psychic types, I’m only giving Malamar a four out of five, but as Psychic types are poised to take over the meta – and it will be found in multiple copies of every Psychic archetype – Malamar will be a cornerstone of offensive strategy for those decks for years to come.
Here we go, the best golden pick from the depths of this set. Its Malamar! I remember when it was first announced alongside Zygarde-GX and Bonnie combo, and everyone laid their eyes on them. But then I looked at the small Malamar down in the latter part of the news alongside Lysandre* (more on that later) and my thoughts was like “Yeah, this’ll be really good”. Not just with its automatically designated partner, but with pretty much the future of PTCG itself.
On stats itself, Malamar is nothing special – its your typical Stage 1 single-prize Pokemon, or a typical normal Malamar card. A Psychic type with 90 HP and a Psychic weakness, its not bound to tank or, with its PPC attack Psychic Sphere that deals 60 damage, be the next big damage dealer after Dusk Mane and Ultra Necrozma-GXs. A retreat cost of 2 isn’t good either, especially since, like Diancie* reviewed yesterday, its a benchwarmer. However, there is one thing that simply outweighs all its downright uselessness at attacking or being an offensive threat.
Psychic Recharge, as its ability says, allows you to move one Psychic energy from your discard pile to one of your benched Pokemon. Yes, its discard-pile based energy acceleration, rejuvenated for the Sun and Moon set. We have experienced this style of energy acceleration via the likes of Eelektrik (BW NVI) and its Dynamotor ability. It was immediately paired with Rayquaza-EX (BW DRX) and what do you know? It became one of the best decks in the format besides Plasma decks. Next was Bronzong (XY PHF) and its Metal Links. It collected all Metal Pokemon good at the time, such as Dialga-EX (XY PHF), Aegislash-EX (XY PHF) and Genesect-EX (XY FCO), as well as Colorless Pokemon like Mega Kangaskhan-EX (XY FLF) and Lugia-EX (BW PLS), and granted them new leases of life. And now, we have Malamar.
So, if the two predecessors successfully rallied multiple amazing beatsticks under their belt and made them stars, can Malamar do the same? And the answer is yes, it can. We have Ultra Necrozma-GX who’s Photon Geyser attack is essentially useless without energy recycling. Its here where Malamar acts as the blackmen – it gets those energies discarded back without trouble, as long as Ultra Necrozma can find a way to the bench. We also have the regular Necrozma-GX (SM BUS) which has a similar attack in Prismatic Laser and most importantly, a good GX attack in Black Ray GX that can be worth the burden of carrying one. All of which can be charged in a single turn or two with Psychic Recharge. Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX (SM ULP) is also a winner, bringing pivoting abilities and also now damage with a nice no-resistance attack in Dark Flash. There’s also a majority of colorless attackers which can benefit from this ability – namely Silvally-GX, Drampa-GX and Tauros-GX, all which enjoyed energy acceleration without relying on something like Double Colorless Energy.
Weaknesses? Well, there’s the matter of getting the energy to the discard pile in the first place. In the past, we have Battle Compressor (XY PHF) which helped toss up to 3 energy from the deck to the discard pile. Nowadays in Standard we don’t have that luxury (we still do in Expanded however) so that’s a main issue. There’s also the fact that Malamar has no offensive presence at all. Its purely a team supporter, in all sense of the word and if its main winning condition is dead, it’s dead. Another thing is that although much smaller a presence than months before hand, ability locking is still a thing and Malamar being the backbone of so many decks will falter in the face of its Psychic Recharge being locked out of play.
But I believe those reasons are not enough for me to put off Malamar as a top tier pick. We need to look into the future when it comes to PTCG, and Malamar’s Psychic Recharge can provide a hefty lot of utility support when it comes to future card releases. Its independent and it provides support. What else could you want?
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