– Rebel Clash
July 12, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Malamar V (SSH – Rebel Clash 121/192, 186/192) is a Pokémon V, worth an extra Prize when KO’d and having to deal with certain cards punishing you for running it. The trade-off is that it should have better stats and effects than a baseline Malamar card would possess. We’ll have to look at the rest of the card to know if it was a good deal or not for it. It can evolve into Malamar VMAX, but we’re not going to really worry about it this review because – as has been the trend lately – we’ll review Malamar VMAX itself tomorrow. Just know that this is a benefit to Malamar V, and will help its Ratings at the end of this review.
Malamar V is a Darkness type, letting it his some (many post Sword & Shield) Psychic types for double damage due to Weakness. [D] Resistance was abandoned along with the Fairy type, so that’s a very minor concern. Counters for specific types usually aren’t any good, and the only exceptions to that for the [D] Type aren’t even Expanded-legal, let alone available in Standard. Both Standard and Expanded have [D] support, but most of what has been proven is Expanded-only. Malamar V is a Basic Pokémon, and not a Stage 1 like it normally is; a significant benefit of being a Pokémon V. Basic is the best Stage to be, as it is the easiest and fastest to run.
Malamar V has 210 HP, which is typical for a Basic Pokémon V. No HP score is OHKO-proof, but Malamar V has a decent chance of surviving. An exception to this is against Grass attackers, due to its [G] Weakness. Grass types only need to do 110 damage before Weakness to score a OHKO. Fortunately for Malamar V, very few Grass attackers have proven competitive in recent months, making it one of the less dangerous Weaknesses. A lack of Resistance is the worst, but typical. Even if Malamar V had some, that’s just -30 damage against attackers of a specific-type; most decks can deal. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is also typical, and relatively easy to deal with; pay it manually, use effects that can reduce it, or just avoid it by using switching effects.
Malamar V knows two attacks. “Drag Off” costs [DC] and lets you switch one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon with their current Active, then does 30 damage to the new Active. “Brain Shake” is Malamar V’s second attack, priced as [DDC]. The attack lets Malamar V attack for 130 damage, and leaves your opponent’s Active Confused. These attacks are, overall, decent. Controlling what your opponent has Active can be a very potent but works far better when it occurs during your turn and before you’ve attacked. It is nice that you do damage at the same time, however. Brain Shackle delivers a decent hit while potentially buying time. Neither attack is worth building a deck around, but they’re also far from useless.
If a deck isn’t running Malamar V to reach Malamar VMAX, I would assume the goal is to have a Basic, Darkness type Pokémon V attacker. The only candidate we have right now is Sabeleye V, and it only has 170 HP, making it relatively fragile. Sableye V’s attacks really need combos to prove worthwhile, but those combos are almost universal: have a Trainer worth recycling in your discard pile, or use the second attack to finish off something you’ve already damaged sufficiently. Of course, if you can afford to run a VMAX, then you can use Malamar VMAX as well. If you can use any multi-Prize Pokémon, you have plenty of Pokémon-EX/GX from which to choose. If it just needs to be a Darkness type, or it just needs to be a Pokémon, again, you’ve got plenty of other options.
As such, I’m pretty sure Malamar V’s main calling will be to evolve into Malamar VMAX, not that either have shown up in recent, competitive decks based on tournament results. Peeking ahead at Malamar VMAX, however, I think it may indeed have potential. The other place where Malamar V is worthwhile is the Limited Format. In fact, Malamar V looks pretty great here. You can work it into a mono- or mostly [D] deck, or you can focus on it with a Mulligan build. It does hurt a bit that you’ll need two Energy attachments before you can use Drag Off, and three before Brain Shake. The effects of both attacks are much better here, as it is harder to strike at your opponent’s Bench and deal with Special Conditions here.
Malamar V isn’t worth playing on its own, but it is a decent stepping stone to reach Malamar VMAX.
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