Archie’s Malamar

I love Malamar. Every now and then, I tinker with it in expanded despite Parallel City, N, and Garbotoxin Garbodor. Most players probably consider Malamar unviable in expanded, but I think that very attitude lets it steal wins from opponents. But before I dive into my most recent Malamar list, I want to briefly discuss two lists I used or recommended in the past few months but did not cover in any past articles. First, I show off the list one of my locals, Jeff Kang, took to Top 64 at his first Regionals in Roanoke. Second, I cover some of my personal experiences piloting Malamar in Expanded in the Celestial Storm format. Finally, close the article with with a deep dive into my latest and most successful build: Archie’s Malamar.

Malamar / Zoroark-GX – Jeff Kang’s Roanoke Build

Pokemon (18)

4x Malamar (FOL #51)4x Inkay (FOL #50)1x Zoroark-GX (SHL #53)1x Zorua (SHL #52)1x Ditto Prism Star (LOT #154)1x Marshadow-GX (BUS #80)1x Necrozma-GX (BUS #63)1x Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX (PRSM #SM101)1x Giratina (LOT #97)1x Lunala Prism Star (ULP #62)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Chimecho (CRI #43)

Trainers (32)

4x Cynthia (ULP #148)4x Lillie (ULP #151)4x Guzma (BUS #143)4x Ultra Ball (SM #161)4x Mysterious Treasure (FOL #145)3x Acro Bike (CES #178)3x Escape Board (ULP #167)2x Nest Ball (SM #158)2x Rescue Stretcher (BUS #165)1x Adventure Bag (LOT #228)1x Friend Ball (CES #131)

Energy (10)

10x Psychic Energy (SM #162)

I drove to Roanoke with one of my locals, Jeff Kang. He felt the most comfortable piloting Malamar, winning his first cup with it, and wanted to play it at Roanoke despite the threat of Brokan Deck. So I tried to build him a powerful, consistent list with a decent shot at beating Decidueye-GX variants. A thin line of Zoroark-GX became the go to choice. Zoroark-GX boasts a lot of hit points to soak up Feather Arrows and an attack that sets up Black Ray numbers. But most importantly, it draws cards. Decidueye can steal games by gusting up a Malamar and attacking it with Fairy Alolan Ninetales-GX. Zoroark helps insure you draw out of bad scenarios such as those. Generally, I want my tech cards to swing matchups heavily. Zoroark-GX may not swing the Decidueye matchup into a favorable one, but the Trade Ability strengthens the deck’s overall matchups spread enough to justify the slot.

Jeff would later Top 64 the event, losing to three stall decks in day two. Unfortunately, I did not expect the staggering number of degenerate decks that cropped up at Roanoke. If I did, a single copy of Switch or Escape Rope would auto win all of Malamar’s stall matchups. Jeff would later comment that he did not need the single copy of Zorua, and would cut it for additional consistency slots.

Given Jeff’s success, particularly at his first ever Regionals, I would highly recommend a single copy of Zoroark-GX in Malamar lists going forward. I would later copy the same concept into Expanded.

Ability Lock Malamar – Celestial Storm Build

Pokemon (20)

4x Malamar (FOL #51)4x Inkay (FOL #50)2x Marshadow-GX (BUS #80)1x Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX (ULP #63)1x Necrozma-GX (BUS #63)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Giratina (PRXY #XY184)1x Lunala Prism Star (ULP #62)1x Wobbuffet (RC2 #RC11)1x Dunsparce (CES #110)1x Sudowoodo (GUR #66)1x Gengar-EX (PHF #34)1x Hoopa (STS #51)

Trainers (31)

3x Professor Sycamore (STS #114)2x Guzma (BUS #143)1x N (NVI #101)1x Colress (PLS #135)1x Brigette (BKT #161)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Mysterious Treasure (FOL #145)3x Ultra Ball (SM #161)3x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)3x Field Blower (GUR #163)3x Float Stone (PLF #99)2x Rescue Stretcher (BUS #165)1x Scoop Up Cyclone (PLB #95)

Energy (9)

9x Psychic Energy (SM #162)

Following the release of Celestial Storm, I made a Malamar list that took advantage of the Dunsparce reprint. Note that the list does not include cards from Lost Thunder as I played this list before Lost Thunder came out.

Similar to Chimecho in our standard format, this version of Malamar aimed to buy time by using Wobbuffet to lock your opponent out of their Abilities while you try to set up. The deck tries to retreat into the Wobbuffet on its first turn in most matchups. You can manually retreat to do so or copy Strike and Run from Dunsparce using Marshadow-GX to simultaneously set up your board and bounce into Wobbuffet. Later in the game, you can copy Dark Corridor from Gengar-EX to continue leveraging Ability lock. I would primarily use something like Dark Corridor with Marshadow-GX to hit into Seismitoad-EX or Zorua from Zoroark variants, but it does serve some niche uses outside of that matchup.

The deck did quite well for me at local cups and private testing, taking down a few Drampa-GX / Garbodor, Zoroark-GX / Garbodor. I enjoyed it a lot, but I would not expect it to steal wins against more experienced Zoroark and Garbodor players. Regardless, I do not want to talk too long about a deck from last season’s format, when I could focus about the latest spice: Archie’s Malamar.


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