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Forbidden Light Deck Predictions

Rukan Shao


Hello everyone, I’m Rukan Shao from the Dead Draw Gaming team. The vast majority of the upcoming Forbidden Light set has been leaked. It’s a great time to take an early look at the format that will define events up to and including the world championships. This is a meta review, not a set review. So I might cover some older archetypes and skip irrelevant new cards.

You can find my past set predictions here: ULP, CRI, SHL, BUS, GRI

Forbidden Light introduces a new standard archetype with an unrivaled power level:

Malamar Mew.

 

  • Malamar Mew is ridiculous.
  • Its damage output is ridiculous.
  • Its consistency is ridiculous.
  • Its prize trade is ridiculous.
  • Its tech options are ridiculous.

 


In fact, I believe it’s so powerful that it will shape the rest of the meta around it. The first part of this article discusses      Malamar Mew. The rest of the article discusses how the rest of the meta might handle Malamar Mew.


Malamar 

Ability: Psycho Recharge

Once during your turn (before your attack), you may attach a [P] Energy card from your discard pile to 1 of your Benched Pokemon.  

Malamar doesn’t seem exceptional at first glance.

It’s the same as PHF Bronzong and NVI Eelektrik for psychic energies.

What separates Malamar from the Bronzong and Eelektrik is the obscene amount of psychic support that will be in Standard.

Mystery Treasure

Mystery Treasure – Trainer

Discard a card from your hand in order to play this card.

Search your deck for a [P] or [N] Pokemon, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then, shuffle your deck.

In a Malamar Mew deck, it is a strictly better Ultra Ball.

That’s extremely good!

Allow me to provide an example:

A Zoroark deck with 3 Lele and 4 Brigette might hit T1 Brigette ~75% of games.

A Malamar Mew deck with 2 Lele, 2 Brigette, and 4 Treasures hits T1 Brigette ~80% of games.

This makes Malamar Mew the only deck besides Zoroark that can feasibly achieve huge turn 1 set up odds without clunking up their deck with Leles and Brigettes that any non-Zoroark deck would struggle to thin. This gives the Malamar Mew archetype the potential to rival Zoroark variants in consistency.

Mew (Fates Collide)

FCO Mew is a perfect partner for Malamar.

It can serve as a mini-Alolan Vulpix if you need to set up.

Free retreat helps pivot benched attackers that you load up with Malamar.

And it’s a 1 prize attacker to skew your prize trade.

You’re always happy to start it in your active. You would also prefer to have two on board, so when one gets KO’d, you can start with the other in the active. So I see it as an easy three-of in any Malamar Mew deck, and a staple to the archetype.

Necrozma GX and Ultra Necrozma GX

Mew may be excellent, but Mew still needs an attack to copy. The two big hitters are the psychic-type Necrozma GX and the dragon-type Ultra Necrozma GX.

Both can one shot most basic and stage 1 GXs for 3 energies and stage 2 GXs for 4 energies. This deck literally hits bigger numbers than Tapu Bulu GX with a stage 1 support pokemon. It doesn’t even need Energy Recyclers.

Necrozma GX is slightly more consistent, only requiring psychic energies. And it has access to the potent Black Ray GX.

Ultra Necrozma-GX – Dragon – Basic – HP190

[P][M] Photon Geyser: 20+ – Discard all basic [P] Energy from this Pokemon. This attack does 80 more damage for each Energy card discarded in this way.

[P][M] Destructive Light GX: This attack can only be used if there are 6 or less total Prize cards remaining in play. Place 6 damage counters on each of your opponent’s Pokemon. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

When your Pokemon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fairy – Resistance: none – Retreat: 2

Ultra Necrozma on the other hand, requires metal and psychic energies.

However, in spite of Ultra Necrozma’s less consistent energy line up, I believe successful Malamar Mew decks will run a metal-psychic energy split. There’s several meta-related reasons for this that I will cover later in the article.

I expect a Malamar Mew decks to run 2 Ultra Necrozma GX and one Necrozma GX.

Unlimited Tech Works

The aforementioned cards alone would make Malamar Mew a top tier archetype, far surpassing its closest counterpart: Vika Bulu.

But for better or worse, Malamar Mew’s arsenal does not end here. The current format hosts far more tech options for psychic types than anything else.

There’s far too many to go into detail, and most might not be viable or relevant. But there’s something to be said about the sheer variety.

Forbidden Light Meta Review

That summarizes the Forbidden Light Meta Review.

Everything else sucks, thank you for reading my article, see you next set.

I am kidding of course, but hopefully I convinced you that Malamar Mew is the deck to either play or to beat.

Zoroark Variants

Zoroark GX has dominated the format since its release date.

Does it have what it takes to stand up to Malamar Mew?

Zoroark GX is the only stage one GX in the meta that Malamar Mew might struggle to one shot due to its resistance. It single handedly forces Malamar Mew to run an otherwise less consistent energy line in order to knock out Zoroark GX efficiently. It also makes the one prize mew a much less relevant attacker

Malamar Mew’s best option is Ultra Necrozma GX with several Professor’s Letters. This attacker requires a less consistent energy line-up than Psychic Necrozma GX, but it knocks out Zoroark GX for one less energy. This is one of the reasons I think Malamar Mew decks will be forced to run a psychic-metal energy split. But there are yet more I will cover against other matchups.

Parallel City

There aren’t many tech cards you can splash into a Zoroark deck to boost the matchup. But one of the best ones is Parallel City. But is it enough?

This card isn’t just great for the Zoroark Mirror. It helps a lot against Malamar Mew, since they need a wide bench of Malamars to continue their onslaught.

Unfortunately, the impact of Parallel City will be mitigated by the presence of Mystery Treasure, which will allow Malamar players to replace their Malamars relatively consistently and efficiently.

Additionally, Malamar Mew only requires a single malamar and a psychic from hand to return a KO with an Ultra Necrozma GX. This puts the Zoroark can go down 4 prizes just attempting to snipe Malamars. Plus even if the Zoroark player succeeds in sniping, it activates Beast Ring.

So while I think Parallel City will help against Malamar Mew, I don’t think a game plan that relies on a combination of Parallel City and knocking out Malamar is a reliable way to succeed. Zoroark will need a partner that can trade well against Malamar Mew.

So what partners stand a chance?

Say Goodbye to Old and New Friends

Zoroark had many successful partners in the past, and may find new ones in Forbidden Light. But the bottom line is, any that don’t provide a way to skew the prize trade against Malamar Mew is doomed to fail. Golisopod Lurantis may, but I can’t imagine that setting up fast enough compared to Malamar Mew to score a favorable win rate on average.

Introducing the New School

When Malamar Mew comes to cull the field, I see three Zoroark Variants that stand a chance. They are Zoroark Weavile, Zoroark Greninja, and Zoroark Lucario

Both Weaviles prove a huge threat to Malamar Mew. One threatens to one shot Ultra Necrozma GX and the other threatens to wipe out all the Malamars. Mr. Mime isn’t even a great option against the Rule of Evil version since that sets up more damage for Evil Admonition.

The new Frogadiers and Greninja GX from Forbidden Light place damage counters, similar to an older bat archetype. This allows Zoroark to set up math against Ultra Necrozma GX and mews. It also has the option to tech Shadow Stitching and Greninja Break, both of which are very powerful options against Malamar.

Lucario GX has the potential to trade one shots against Ultra Necrozma GX with the use of Choice Band, Diancie Prism Star, and Strong Energy combo. But it’s by far the least consistent partner when it comes to responding to Malamar Mew, and only brings the prize trade to parity.

I think Weavile is the strongest partner against Malamar Mew and Lucario is the weakest. But interestingly enough, Zoroark Lucario counters Zoroark Weavile quite well.

Garbodor Variants

How else can we beat Malamar?

Well Malamar is ability based right?

So Garbotoxin must be a great answer!

Right? Right?

Well, our own Frank Percic brought Garbodor to St Louis Regionals. And he ultimately took two losses against Magnezone Necrozma. And that happened due in large part to Solgaleo Prism Star.

Unfortunately for Garbodor Variants, Malamar Mew has access to Lunala Prism Star. And while Garbotoxin still helps, it’s not going to make the Malamar Mew matchup favorable. Perhaps only even at best.

Additionally, Malamar Mew has access to energy efficient attackers like Dawn Wings Necrozma GX. Which can take a one shot with its GX attack, protect its energies, then keep on swinging.

Likewise, Ultra Necrozma GX, only needs two manual attachments. So one could feasibly take 4 prizes with it, even under ability lock.

Malamar Mew definitely has ways to skew its Garbotoxin Matchup if it so desires.

You really need a Garbodor Variant that can answer Lunala Prism Star efficiently or can take easy KOs on the likes of Ultra Necrozma GX.

And the only one that comes to mind is Zoroark Garbodor, since Zoroark GX can one shot Lunala Prism Star with ease.

I don’t expect other Garbodor variants to see much success. Drampa’s righteous edge is useless against Malamar Mew. Espeon and Buzzwole have a severe type disadvantage. And Golisopod can’t respond efficiently to Malamar’s GX attackers without burning turns on flying flips.

Greninja Break

Unlike most Garbodor Variants, Greninja Break can apply significant pressure in the prize race while applying ability lock. It should simply auto-win the Malamar Mew matchup.

But what if Malamar Mew runs Giratina Promo? Well suddenly things change, because Malamar Mew still has access to Lunala Prism Star. Lunala Prism Star can one shot Greninja Breaks. With shurikens, it can tank 4 shadow stitchings before it goes down. This makes Tapu Storm the only real answer to an energized Lunala Prism Star.

Honorable Mentions from the Rest of the Forbidden Light Set and Upcoming Promos

That about covers the meta discussion. Hopefully I’ve convinced you that Malamar Mew is a monstrous deck with an answer to almost everything. There’s still a few other cards worth mentioning briefly. But nothing I expect to be very impactful on the post Forbidden Light meta.

Zygarde GX & Bonnie - Could Have Been Interesting.

Zygarde-GX – Fighting – Basic Pokemon – HP200

[C][C] Cell Connector: 50 – Attach 2 [F] Energy from your discard pile to this Pokemon.

[F][F][C][C] Land’s Wrath: 130

[F][F][C][C] Judgment GX: 150 – During your opponent’s next turn, this Pokemon takes no damage from the attacks of your opponent’s Pokemon-GX and Pokemon-EX. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

When your Pokemon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Grass – Resistance: None – Retreat: 3

Bonnie

You can only play this card if there is a Stadium card in play.

Discard a Stadium in play. During this turn, your Zygarde-GX may use its GX attack even if you have already used a GX attack this game.

Very strong basic that synergizes with both Garbodor and Zoroark.

Its DCE and GX attacks are both very potent, and represent a significant step up above past Garbodor partners.

Plus Bonnie is an interesting alternative to Acerola.

But it simply does not beat Malamar Mew.

New Solgaleo GX - Too Little, Far Too Late

Solgaleo-GX – Metal – Stage 2 – HP250

Ability: Shining Mane – Each of your Pokemon has no Weakness.

[C][C] Turbo Strike: 120 – Attach 2 basic Energy from your discard pile to 1 of your Benched Pokemon.

[C][C] Prominence-GX: Heal all damage from each of your Pokemon. (You can only use 1 GX attack in a game.)

When your Pokemon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fire – Resistance: Psychic – Retreat: 2

The new Solgaleo GX got a lot of hype when it was announced. It was to be the great Gardevoir slayer. But Gardevoir already dropped significantly in popularity, and Malamar Mew just puts the final nail in its coffin. Meanwhile, Newgaleo GX doesn’t even answer Malamar Mew at all. It’s a slower stage 2 deck, so it gives Malamar Mew the time to attach 4 energies and one shot a stage 2 GX, even with resistance.

Beast Ring, Beast Energy - Not Overpowered Enough

Beast Ring

You may only play this card when your opponent has 3 or 4 Prize cards remaining.

Search your deck for up 2 Basic Energy, reveal them, and attach them to 1 of your Ultra Beast Pokemon. Then, shuffle your deck.

Beast Energy Prism Star

While this card is attached to an Ultra Beast, it provides every type of Energy but provides only 1 Energy at a time. The attacks of the Ultra Beast this card is attached to do 30 more damage to your opponent’s Active Pokemon (before applying Weakness and Resistance).

Beast Ring and Beast Energy Prism Star seemed like ridiculous cards when they were announced. But at the end of the day, I don’t see them helping the likes of Buzzwole Variants enough against Malamar Mew. You still have type disadvantage, and the beast rings won’t kick in until Malamar Mew is already set up and ready to sweep their last 4 prizes in two turns.

Beast Ring could see play in Malamar Mew as an answer for situations where your Malamars get sniped. But as I stated in the section about parallel city, I think Malamar Mew wins if its opponent goes for a strategy of sniping Malamar. So I think Beast Ring is ultimately unnecessary in the archetype.

Eneporter - Good but Irrelevant

Eneporter

Move a Special Energy from 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon to another 1 of their Pokemon.

Eneporter is a potentially more powerful version of Enhanced Hammer. It’s a very strong card, and giving stall decks the option of a better Enhanced Hammer as well as the option to run more copies of Enhanced Hammer is quite scary. But it does nothing against Malamar Mew, so why bother?

Fighting Garchomp - Good but Irrelevant

Fighting Garchomp is a great card. You can run a straight DCE/Strong energy line. It gives you the option to Champion’s Blade for 250 and just makes the deck so much more consistent. But it still loses to Malamar Mew in a big way.

Wake - Is It Consistent?

Wake

Discard 2 [W] Energy from your hand in order to play this card.

Search your deck for up to 2 cards and put them into your hand. Then, shuffle your deck.

Wake seems like it has the potential of Teammates, but it requires two water energy in hand to use. How often will that happen? It’s not going to be that common early game, and it might be borderline impossible after a late game N unless you have a Starmie on board. I can see it helping out decks that utilize Starmie, such as Greninja Break. But it definitely has a significant build-around factor that makes it less than an auto include in water decks.

Baby Buzzwole - Quite Good

Buzzwole – Fighting – Basic – HP130

[F] Sledgehammer: 30+ – If your opponent has 4 Prize cards remaining, this attack does 90 more damage.

[F][F][C] Swing Around: 80+ – Flip 2 coins. This attack does 20 more damage for each heads.

Weakness: Psychic – Resistance: none – Retreat: 2

Being able to hit 190 with 1 Strong, Choice Band, and Diancie star on a 1 prize basic is crazy good. That’s enough to one shot a Ultra Necrozma GX. I can see it played in Zoroark Lucario. But while it helps, it’s still a very niche attacker that can be played around.

Baby Dusk Mane Necrozma -

Dusk Mane Necrozma – Metal – Basic – HP130

[M] Dawn Dagger: Choose 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon-EX or Pokemon-GX. This attack does 60 damage to that Pokemon. This attack’s damage isn’t affected by Weakness or Resistance.

[M][M][C] Rusty Nail: 100+ – If your opponent has 1 Prize card remaining, this attack does 100 more damage.

Weakness: Fire – Resistance: Psychic – Retreat: 2

This is a really good attack in terms of early pressure for a single metal energy. But as I keep repeating, does it answer Malamar Mew? No. No it does not.

Conclusions, Tier List, and a Casualty Report

That about sums up my thoughts on the upcoming meta.

Let’s close out the article with a brief tier list, including a “Casualties” tier with all the decks that, based on my current evaluation, lose to Malamar Mew too hard to remain relevant.

----- Tier 1 -----

Malamar Mew - BDIF

Zoroark Weavile - Favorable vs Malamar Mew?

----- Tier 2 -----

Zoroark Greninja - Neutral vs Malamar Mew?

Zoroark Lucario - Slightly Unfavorable vs Malamar Mew?

----- Tier 3 -----

Greninja Break - Favorable vs Malamar Mew, but Neutral if Tina Promo?

Zoroark Garbodor - Neutral vs Malamar Mew? Feels like a weak archetype overall.

Zoroark Decidueye - Neutral vs Malamar Mew? Feels like a slower Zoroark Greninja.

Garbodor Zygarde - Unfavorable vs Malamar Mew?

----- Casualties -----

Buzzwole Lycanroc

Fire Variants

Garbodor Buzzwole

Garbodor Drampa

Garbodor Espeon

Garbodor Golisopod

Gardevoir

Genesect/Venusaur

Glaceon

Leafeon

Magnezone Necrozma

Metagross

Silvally Variants

Stall/Mill Variants

Vikavolt Tapu Bulu

Xerneas Break

Zoroark Gardevoir

Zoroark Golisopod

Zoroark Lycanroc



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  • Oh YEAH123 on

    I may play 3 necrozma gx and no ultras due to the annoying energy split but may play dawn wings for free retreat.

  • Oh YEAH123 on

    I am buildin’ this!!!!!!!!!

  • Fredrik on

    As a beginner in competitive play I’m curious about Hoopa EX. Do you have a particular deck in mind when you suggest it as a tech option?

  • Hadokant on

    What makes zoro/Greninja a better option then Zoro/Deci?

  • Daniel on

    Do you have a sample deck list to achieve the consistency you are talking about?



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