Everything You Need to Know About Rapid Strike Malamar in Standard

Hello everyone! Today I will be continuing my review of the new post-rotation Standard format. I also will go over a personal favorite deck of mine — Rapid Strike Malamar.

Malamar is an incredibly strong deck right now that is overlooked and underutilized. I believe this is because people as a whole have not put a lot of effort into the deck, and therefore lists are not optimized. This leads to the archetype being underplayed, as well as underperforming when it is actually played. I think I have a unique perspective on the deck and why it’s so strong right now, and I’d like to share that with you all today.

Standard Format Overview

But first, a brief overview on the new format as a continuation from my last article. The format has opened up quite a bit, and there’s a healthy amount of deck diversity. From early testing in the format, I realized that the format could open up, but I was also worried about the top two decks gatekeeping. Therefore, this is a welcome progression in my opinion.

The biggest new deck is Dragapult VMAX / Inteleon. I don’t think this deck is actually that great since it loses to Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX and Single Strike. However, it is immensely popular and successful for the time being, so you can’t really argue with that. Speaking of Single Strike, it appears that Umbreon VMAX has breathed new life into the archetype. Umbreon VMAX’s Ability is great, and its Darkness-typing allows it to prey upon both Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX and Dragapult VMAX. Single Strike Urshifu VMAX is also capable of tearing through opposing Pokemon VMAX. As a result, the deck is seeing some popularity.

While Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX is still seeing play, it’s not completely dominant or as prevalent as it was at the very start of the format. As it happens, Rapid Strike is Malamar’s Achilles’ heel, so the less popular it is, the more opportunity Malamar has to thrive.

Another popular deck now is Zacian V, but the version that I wrote about in my last article seems to be left in the dust in favor of a more defensive version. I prefer the turbo version, but the list that’s going around plays heavy counts of Crystal Cave and Cape of Toughness. This is certainly not bad, and it’s seeing results. This version compliments Zamazenta V more so than Zacian V, since Zacian V isn’t too difficult to KO even with the defensive buffs.

It seems that Tier 1 consists of the following (not necessarily in this exact order):

  • Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX
  • Dragapult VMAX / Inteleon
  • Zacian V
  • Single Strike Urshifu VMAX / Umbreon VMAX
  • Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX

You could also make the argument to push the Urshifu decks down to Tier 2, but I think they are strong enough to remain in Tier 1.

Fortunately, the lists from my last article still hold up in the current meta, and I’ll stand by them for the time being. Additionally, there are plenty of other decks running around in the meta. The tier list and metagame are certainly open to change at any time. Who knows, maybe Malamar will break into Tier 1 in the near future.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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