12/18/2018 by Chris Fulop
Hello again, everyone!
Anyone who knows me, or has been reading my articles recently, knows that I love playing Malamar. Honestly, whenever Pokemon prints cards in this vein, I find myself gravitating towards them. Blaziken. Eelektrik. Bronzong. I love Pokemon which offer Energy acceleration, and Pokemon which grab the Energy out of the Discard Pile are even more alluring because once set up, their decks are extremely self sufficient and hard to disrupt. Malamar decks, in various iterations, have proven to be tier one contenders all format so far. There are "traditional" all Psychic builds which have generally drifted towards a build similar to Rukan Shao's "Gaskan" deck. Next, you have builds running Ultra Necrozma GX and Metal Energy. Dalton Diderot ( as well as myself ) has been championing this build all season, and managed to make Top 8 of Roanoke Regionals with the deck. Finally, there are "spread" versions of the deck using Shrine of Punishment, Tapu Koko, and Giratina as a primary game plan. These builds have tapered off a bit in popularity, but still see success.
Recently, I have started playing a version of Malamar that is really, really outside of the box. Prior to the release of Lost Thunder, I had been firmly entrenched in playing a slightly tweaked Gaskan list. With the release of Lost Thunder, the obvious addition to the deck was Giratina as a replacement or compliment to Deoxys. The card was incredible as it hit 130 damage, had 130 HP, resisted Fighting, and brought itself back over and over and over again without putting any additional pressure on you to draw into Rescue Stretcher. There are matchups where you just want to loop Giratina the entire game.
One of the big selling points on Giratina is also it's Ability, Distortion Door. Placing a pair of Damage Counters on the opponent's Bench is clearly good, and adds up over the span of a game, but it is a bit stronger than it looks at first glance even. It helps Malamar decks hit some pretty key numbers. Necrozma GX hits for 190 damage with 3 Psychic Energy attached to it, which is 10 shy of a OHKO on both Lycanroc GX and the extremely popular Lost Thunder release Alolan Ninetales GX. Not needing a 4th Energy ( or a Choice Band ) against both of these fairly aggressive Pokemon is a big deal. With the surging popularity of Stage 2 decks as a result of how good Ninetales is at enabling Rare Candy decks, Gardevoir GX saw a big spike in play. The extra 10 damage takes a fresh Gardevoir from 230 HP to 220 HP, putting it in range of a Necrozma with 3 Psychic and a Choice Band.
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