Discussion Malamar’s Last Stand

Discussion in 'PTCG Competitive Play' started by Mysticvulpix, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. Mysticvulpix Just be chill


    After seeing worlds, I noticed I key surprise: Not one malamar deck made any top eight. This kind of shocked me, as I had thought it had done well day one. Had something changed in between? Or is malamar just... not good anymore? Is it gone, or can it make a final strike before 2020?
    What are your thoughts? Any preferred way to play now? I’m thinking an anti tag team version, but I don’t know how it would work out. So I need some answers.

  2. snoopy369 Aspiring Trainer

    Advanced Member Member

    My feeling is that Malamar isn’t fast enough to hang with the absolute top decks that are refined and consistent and get going immediately. But, it is a good cup deck particularly if you know how to play it, as it’s less often teched for. It’s also a good base for other cards to launch from - so maybe something better than Ultra Necrozma will come out and ride Malamar to victory.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
    FourteenAlmonds likes this.
  3. Mysticvulpix Just be chill


    Ah, good point! It could get something in the future, we’ll have to wait and see...
    snoopy369 likes this.
  4. Merovingian Dead Game Enthusiast

    Articles Head Member

    Malamar stinks right now. It will get much better in the next set when we get Great Catcher.
    snoopy369 likes this.
  5. Mysticvulpix Just be chill


    True, true. I wouldn’t go wit stinks, as it can still play, great catcher just has so much potential for it
  6. P3DS UK VGC Regs Champ 2015


    As a day 1 malamar player, I'll give my thoughts:

    I played ultra malamar, with 3 spell tags, for reference.

    Malamar has an issue right now. It needs heavy board setup, and the right new engine for it has not yet been discovered. It struggles to get an established board state, but, if it does, it is a dangerous deck. Giratina's ability is why keeps the deck alive. Ultra was the best play for the weekend. Most decks I faced either lost to giratina pressure, ultra necrozma nukes or a sky scorching light board wipe. It is strong vs most of the meta game.
    Gira chomp was my 2nd choice in mally builds, just cause of the added bulk, and early turn pressure, and less switching. It could also use marshadow+machamp to nuke pikazek.
    Straight psychic is the worst one, personally. You are even with gira chomp, you lose to ultra mally. You have issues with pikazek, reshizard, dark box and anything healing. It just isn't too good.

    The main feature I feel is big in malamar: no significant new pivot card was revealed for it. While jirachi is cute, you miss crutial turns looking for escape board, and even getting it out is a pain, requiring manual draw or communication to get it.
    Retreating is big in the deck. My usual board state, even mid game, lacked a free retreater to pivot when gira came back.

    I also want to talk about viridian forest. This card is a trap. Very good energy getter, but, at 3 copies, and most decks playing viridian, or keeping it out to abuse viridian, you ended up with dead cards. I really wished they were other cards.

    Also, as the deck was public enemy number 2,most tech spots in decks were mally or pikazek focused. Hoopa was the big one for malamar, which hurts a lot.

    Tl:Dr good deck, strong, but well prepared for at worlds. It needs a new engine overhaul and a new pivot pokemon for free retreating.
  7. Mysticvulpix Just be chill


    True! Here are my thoughts!:
    I’ve been running a pure psychic build, only cause I can’t find the right cards yet. However, I’ve found good success with it, for reasons:
    1. Recycle energy and shrine. This is HUGE! Now, I don’t need 3 mally, only 2 on the bench, to get a consistent set of hits. And without viridian being completely needed, I can use 3-4 shrine to constantly put pressure on my opponents.
    2: Janine. Janine is like hapu but I don’t discard 4 cards. It allows for a jirachi like move, giving me a bit more efficiency.
    3. Resets and judges. IMO, this kind of deck needs your opponent to be shut down. If it works well, than your in a good situation
  8. Mysticvulpix Just be chill


    And once dusknoir trevenant comes in, the deck will have a good way to constantly stall your opponent. A few reset stamp and JJ, and you can nullify your opponent’s hand. Plus, a full psychic build is now possibly extremely powerful.
  9. Catastrophia PokéBeach Articles Editor

    Articles Staff Member

    I honestly think that Malamar GG is a strong build when paired with Espeon & Deoxys-GX, the EspeOxys is a great pivot in the mirror (better than Ultra Necrozma-GX in my opinion), and you can just hold back your TinaChomps until just the right moment to take those big Tag Team KOs.

    I'm not claiming its the BDIF, or even in the top 3 right now, but as Snoopy369 said; not a lot of people are countering it because of this (apart from maybe PikaRom with Lysandre's Labs and that's more for Shedinja). I won a Challenge with the deck this weekend and it felt very strong and even beat PikaRom face-to-face.
  10. Mysticvulpix Just be chill


    Interesting, I’ll have to take a look at that
  11. Mysticvulpix Just be chill


    Mind sending the decklist?
  12. Mysticvulpix Just be chill


    Also, I just found that though malamar only made top 25 in the masters division of worlds at best, it actually came in top 4, and was quite a bit of top 8, of the D.C. open.
  13. AngryBokoblin Guzzlord is fun


    Mally is just as consistent as any other deck around.
    ALL of the decks right now have a slow start once in a while.
    If you build a good enough list, you get set up consistently.
    Every deck bricks, not just mally.
    The problem is the matchups.
    The fact that no one is playing latios with mally or even mew mew with mally is just crazy in my opinion.
    Latios is busted right now and worlds proves it.
    The reason mally is not good right now is because people aren't playing it right.
    If you have the right attackers, you have good matchups and if you have good matchups you have a good deck.
    It's as simple as that.
    I have refined a list that has good matchups against most of the meta. Here it is, if you're interested:
  14. Catastrophia PokéBeach Articles Editor

    Articles Staff Member

    It won't let me post the decklist native (too long?) but here is a link to it on DeckTrio.
  15. FourteenAlmonds NTernetttt ERXploerer


    I played (a very suboptimal list of) Malamar at a League Challenge on Saturday and went 2-2-1, which put me 12th out of 25 Masters players. Both of my losses were to Blacephalon-GX, in rounds 1 and 5, but if I'd played slightly better I may have been able to squeak out a draw in the latter.

    I think the deck has a few fundamental issues, which I will outline below. Note that since I had to fill in a few proxies last-minute it's perhaps not a totally accurate representation of Malamar as an archetype, but it's consistent with my experiences with the deck online.

    1. Consistency
    I bricked far too often with this deck. About half my game losses for the day were just consistency losses. Either I couldn't get set up, or I couldn't find an energy or Viridian Forest to attack, or I had too many supporters in hand, or I was just floating dead in the water. Even losing just one turn due to poor consistency is enough to lose you the game in this fast-paced metagame, and until you are fully set up and your deck is thinned sufficiently you are still at risk of that.

    2. Damage Output

    Admittedly this is an issue more endemic to the TinaChomp builds of Malamar, but I found I was often 10 damage short of a KO in key scenarios. Espeon&Deoxys-GX was a key offender here (it only hits 160!) but early-game, and even with damage on the board, TinaChomp sometimes struggled to get KOs. I ran 2 copies of Espurr in my list, and this helped quite a lot, but as an example a full Spell Tag + Ear Kinesis combo still barely misses the KO on Naganadel. Giratina's Distortion Door is good to fix this, but all in all it requires a lot of work and only highly experienced Malamar players are likely to know when and where to put their Spell Tag or Distortion Door damage counters.

    3. Speed

    Malamar is too slow, and I say that as someone who has almost exclusively played it since its release, but that's how it is. Compared to Blacephalon, which can hit 180 Turn 1 (Welder + Beast Energy + 2 Fire), PikaRom's Turn 1 Full Blitz (best-case scenario, it theoretically can GX to hit 320 + 170 to the bench) and ReshiZard's 200 damage Turn 1 Double Blaze-GX, Malamar cannot compete on the first turn, or even the second.

    In general, I feel that while Malamar is certainly not a bad deck by any means, and is still a good pick for locals and could even win a tournament by the end of the season (who knows!) it is just generally outclassed by other, more aggressive, decks.

    Just my 2 cents...
  16. Catastrophia PokéBeach Articles Editor

    Articles Staff Member

    Just out of curiosity what was your list in the end? Mally does have a tendency to brick hard, but the Jirachi can usually get you out of the situation. I am considering running a 1-of Tapu Fini at my Cup on Sunday to help with the Blacephalon matchup, but it would be at the expense of a Spell Tag most likely.

    I think that the Distortion Door + Spell Tag (+ Mew's Psypower to a lesser extent) is enough to float around enough damage for TinaChomp.

    Edit: Thinking about it a bit more, your best bet against Blacephalon is probably to spam the Giratina with Spell Tag, build up enough damage on their benched Nagandels and then use EspeOxys to take multiple knockouts, hopefully avoiding their Beast Ring turns for the most part.
  17. Mysticvulpix Just be chill


    Ok, you guys have pretty good responses. I’ve been doing a few battles with blacephalon, as it’s my brother’s preferred deck, and here’s what I’ve found:
    1. The more supporters, the merrier: in a malamar list, you want to gain speed and efficiency ASAP. I try to complete that by playing a variety of supporters, such as a 4 set of Cynthia, 3 Lillie, 2 jasmine (I’d probably swap to hapu, but hey, who knows?) and 2 judge. Even playing Erika’s hospitality might be worth it. This way, I can search through the deck quicker.

    2. Recycle! This works best in malamar variants of the pure psychic kind, but I find that recycle energy improves energy efficiency by quite a bit. Now, once you get two malamar and two psychic energy into the discard, of which can be accomplished using the cards above, recycle energy can constantly be used to prep your Pokémon. It allows me to get a constant 130 damage, or even 160 if using necrozma, because I know I can get the energy. Now, this might be tougher in TinaChomp or ultra lists, but it might work depending on scenario.
    3. Shrine!: this is a big one! I saw how you guys were talking about struggling to hit the right numbers. This is my solution: play some shrine! In my last match with blacephalon, I literally came up 1 damage short from victory. Why? My last shrine was prized. This shows how crucial they can be. However, in variants including gxs, it might be hard to see where they fit in. Here’s my solution: play 1 or 2, and use them early game to get some damage on opponents. Best time: turns 1 and 2. This will allow you to bring multiple Pokémon in range of a K.O. From TinaChomp. Or it’ll lessen energy requirements with ultra. I’d use it during the time when you’re applying pressure with giratina, and the swap it for viridian once you get ready to use tinachomp
    FourteenAlmonds and Catastrophia like this.
  18. Catastrophia PokéBeach Articles Editor

    Articles Staff Member

    I like the idea of Recycle Energy in the deck! Just what to cut in it's place...
  19. Mysticvulpix Just be chill


    In what build? In pure psychic it replaces fighting or steel. And maybe swap Cyrus for one, and a viridian for the other?
  20. AngryBokoblin Guzzlord is fun


    If you want to improve the blace matchup, you should play dawn wings.
    If you have mew on bench, they usually can't do any damage on their beast ring turn, bar custom catchers.
    This puts you ahead on the prize trade and you then win (as long as you don't miss an attack).
    Invasion even makes it super easy to pull off turn 2. Just get 2 mally in play with 2 energy in discard. No switch needed!

    (I play it with ultra so I can just KO 2 more times after the dawn wings)

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