Mallow & Lana
– Cosmic Eclipse
December 3, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Mallow & Lana is another Tag Team Supporter that could be useful under certain circumstances. Switching your Pokémon and the potential to heal 120 to the Pokémon you moved to the Bench might seem underwhelming, but that didn’t stop Olympia (XY Generations; she switches and heals 30 damage from that Pokémon) or Tate & Liza (Switch or shuffle draw 5) from seeing play. Few things punish Supporter usage, unlike item cards which sometimes can’t be played due to item lock.
Mallow & Lana (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 198/236, 231/236) is another TAG TEAM Supporter, and at first, I was not impressed. Its primary effect is… being Switch. You switch your Active Pokémon with one of your Benched Pokémon. The secondary effect requires you discard two cards from your hand; doing so means you’ll heal 120 damage from the Pokémon you moved to the Bench. If you weren’t playing when Olympia (Generations 66/83) first released, I had a similar outlook on it before it then started being used successfully in multiple decks. Mallow & Lana are a pricier Olympia, but one that can be searched from the deck via Tag Call.
There were a few factors that made Olympia a good card. Pivot Pokémon mean you can just use going to the Bench to shake Special Conditions and other attack effects, while enjoying a bit of healing. Item-lock was huge during this time, so burning an Item for a “Switch+Potion” was better than it seemed. There was also the matter of VS Seeker and – to a lesser extent – Battle Compressor; while both of these were disabled by Item-lock, when that wasn’t an issue the former made recycling a lone Olympia (or any Supporter) easy while the latter could be used to discard three cards from deck… which could include TecH Supporters. Then there were the wall and tank decks.
This is where Mallow & Lana (and Olympia before them) were able to prove my early impressions wrong. “Walls” are Pokémon that excel at surviving hits, whether an effect prevents them from taking damage, or they have the HP to just survive them. Often healing effects aid them, and walls that can go on the offense are known as “tanks”. If you didn’t already realize where this was going, we have many massive Pokémon-GX – especially TAG TEAM Pokémon – that are all about hitting hard, usually hitting fast, but then stretching their HP for as long as it can go to avoid giving up Prizes. There are other switching and healing options in the metagame but most are as likely to combo with Mallow & Lana as compete with them.
We’ve already seen this happen in Standard. The Regional Championships held in both Sao Paulo, Brazil and Daytona Beach, FL saw many decks in the top 10% running Mallow & Lana, including the second-place finisher in Brazil and the winner in Florida! Approaching Mallow & Lana from the other side, if you’re scoring OHKO’s or sufficient overkill on mutli-turn KO’s, it is probably a non-issue. I don’t have results to go off of for Expanded or Limited, but I think they’re safer Formats to predict. Mallow & Lana faces more counters and competition, but also more combo partners. I think this diminishes this card’s value, but it still could be a valuable addition to the right deck. As for Limited, you should have space in your deck, discard fodder, and a shortage of Supporters, so it is a must-run. Just remember it is worthless for mulligan (+39) builds unless you also have Lillie’s Poké Doll!
Mallow & Lana released at probably the best time it could. Its biggest rivals are only in the Expanded Format, and even there, there are many times when healing without having to discard Energy from that Pokémon, or bouncing and having everything return to your hand, is going to be more advantageous. 120 isn’t as good as healing all damage, but its a nice chunk, even at the cost of a double discard from the hand and your Supporter for the turn.
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