Malamar, The Overturning Pokémon. It wields the most compelling hypnotic powers of any Pokémon, and it forces others to do whatever it wants. It lures its prey close with hypnotic motions, then wraps its tentacles around it before finishing it off with digestive fluids.
Malamar is a pretty cool dude. I'll be honest... it isn't very good. It probably won't win your tournaments or get you far in any competitive ladders but it is a really fun Pokemon. It is currently the best user of Contrary (Serperior is STILL waiting for its Dream World ability...) but that isn't saying much since its only competition is Shuckle and Spinda. It has decent stats though none are really outstanding. In fact the only thing Malamar can really do is spam Superpower with Contrary with the hope that it can somehow rack up enough boosts to sweep; something that probably won't even happen with its stunning zero resistances and worse-than-Beedrill level Special Defense. But once in a blue moon Malamar will find itself in a perfect storm of opponents that simply can't overpower the rampaging might of this
smelly, confusing, quivering squid Pokemon.
Contrary: Moves used on the Pokémon that raise stats lower the stats, while the moves that lower the stats raise the stat. In other words Superpower is a 120 base power move that raises your Attack and Defense, Intimidate raises your Attack, Shadow Ball raises your Sp Def 20% of the time, Sticky Web raises your Speed, striking a King's Shield will double your Attack and Defog raises your evasion. In short it is an amazing ability on a not so amazing Pokemon.
"I want to turn the whole thing upside down."
- Psycho Cut
This is Malamar's only real set. If you see a Malamar you can bet yourself it will be running this. The idea is, obviously, to use Superpower to boost your physical stats until you are strong enough to run through your opponent's team. A feat that you will probably never accomplish against a skilled opponent sadly. Should your opponent be hardened against Superpower such as against a Mega Venusaur or Gengar Psycho Cut will pick them apart. Night Slash cuts into Aegislash and has pretty good neutral coverage with Superpower. The last slot is filler but Malamar has many viable options. Taunt is surprising and can be used to beat things like Skarmory and Mandibuzz (sort of). Hypnosis is pretty decent if it hits and can potentially let Malamar overpower a counter if it gets really lucky. Flamethrower can be used to incinerate Scizor as it switches in and 2HKO Skarmory with Stealth Rocks and some prior damage. Protect is nice for some extra Leftovers healing and can scout for Trick (which Malamar usually does not want). Speaking of Trick Malamar can run a Brave nature and 0 Speed IVs / 0 EVs to make use of Trick Room. Malamar can just barely be slower than base 50 speed Pokemon like Chansey so after a couple Superpowers it could in theory use Trick Room and sweep something. EVing Malamar is simple but a bit more tricky than you might think. 4 Speed outruns 24 Speed Skarmory so you can Taunt it or hit it with Flamethrower before it Roosts. 40 Speed outpaces Defensive Heatran while 60 Speed beats Mandibuzz, Mega Venusaur, and Togekiss. However you may want to be slower than Mandibuzz so Superpower hits it super-effective while Roosting. You won't really ever beat Togekiss unless it's near death but outrunning mega Venusaur could be useful.
- Psycho Cut
While Malamar's best set is the previous one, a Choice Scarf set has some merit. Psycho Cut is hilariously weak and should basically only be used to finish off a badly injured Mega Venusaur or Keldeo that falls below 70%. Be aware that even though it is Super Effective it is very weak. Superpower is cool for becoming a steamrolling offensive wall after a couple hits though you have to eliminate every single resistance or immunity to fighting as well as anything with even the slightest amount of bulk before you can sweep. However Scarf Malamar is unexpected so you could actually get a surprise kill on Greninja or Tyranitar. Foul Play is kind of cool because Malamar gets STAB on it so you can revenge kill some things that probably won't expect it like +2 Garchomp. Foul Play is also used instead of Night Slash because it hits harder on anything with 86 base Attack or more even if they don't run any offensive EVs and 98 base Attack or more with a hindering nature (for example Modest or Timid) The final slot is used for Switcheroo so you can completely screw over walls like Hippowdon and Clefable that you wouldn't be able to touch otherwise. The speed EVs put Malamar a point faster than Greninja with the rest dumped in HP. Max Attack because Malamar needs all the EVs it can to try and be a threat.
You squiddin' me?
Rest + Sleep Talk is a slightly different way to use Malamar.. A fun way to try and keep Malamar alive over the long term instead of trying just trying once or twice to sweep. Run Stealth Rocks and Spikes on your team to wear down your counters. Once they fall very little will stop this... except any Fairy, Special Attackers, anything bulky with Roar, Pokemon with Unaware, Trick... Well there is a fairly large list. Malamar has deceptively good Special Defense with max EV investment though. For example Heatran Lava Plume caps out at 29% while Rotom Wash's Volt Switch does 20%. It can't handle stronger Draco Meteors or anything from a fairy but it can tank some of the less dangerous hits from most walls.
Assault Vest, Payback, Rock Slide, Destiny Bond and Toxic. Not much really.
Double & Triple Battle Options
Contrary Superpower, Contrary Superpower, Contrary Superpower. It's there, yes, but, when your base stats are comparable to Phione, there's a problem that needs addressing. What else can Malamar do besides Contrary Superpower?
Taking a closer look at its stats will show that it's Physical Attack is higher than its Special Attack by a substantial amount, which is odd for a Psychic type. It has a lot of nifty physical moves like Rock Slide, Pluck and Payback, but for those moves to even hit hard it will need a few boosts AND a favorable type match up. So Malamar is going to need some support to function properly.
This set appreciates Trick Room very much. With the Assualt vest, you're essentially coming in with +1 Special Defense, while Superpower will inadvertently raise your Physical defense and thus making Malamar a very bulky threat. Psycho Cut and Night Slash will provide very nice STAB options, especially Night Slash, as Dark isn't resisted by Steel anymore, and with enough boosts and Trick Room handly, a heavy hitting Rock Slide will seal many games up with untimely flinches.
Contrary will put an unsuspecting opponent in very difficult situations because it will give you boosts even if you don't use Superpower. Say your opponent is using a Pokemon or two with intimidate, they can no longer switch those Pokemon in to help soften any attacks. In addition, Malamar doesn't fear attacking into Aegislash's King's Shield but rather looks forward to doing so for a free Swords Dance. With that said, Contrary isn't enough to have Malamar carry teams and win battles on its own.
Malamar still needs to watch out for Burns and Bug Type attacks. It is slower than Smeargle and absolutely depends on being set up to do any considerable damage.
I think great partners for Malamar would not only be a Trick Room setter, like Aromatisse, but also Male Meowstic. Why? Prankster Charm will boost Malamar's attack without repercussion alongside being able to charm enemies stopping them from dealing strong physical attacks, but on that note, opposing Meowstic or Klefki are threats because Priority Swagger won't just lower Malamar's attack, but confuse it too, diffusing what ever sort of threat Malamar might have been at the time.
Contrary is a very powerful ability, it is not to be taken lightly. That is why so few Pokemon have access to it alongside the moves to abuse it properly. It's worth noting that Contrary Serperior is STILL not available.
Hit it with a special attack, watch it die. More specifically Fairies utterly crush Malamar. They resist 2/3 of its common moves and don't really care about the pathetically weak Psycho Cut. Clefable gets special mention for having Unaware so even if it manages to Superpower until it reaches +6 Clefable just won't care. Quagsire also has Unaware and while it doesn't resist anything Malamar runs it has the bulk to more or less tank any hit. Scizor and its Mega Evolution easily tank Malamar's best hits except the rare Flamethrower (which will easily 2HKO...) and smash the land squid with U-turn. Malamar can't do much damage initially and its defenses aren't really that great even after a Superpower boost so just hitting it hard is usually enough. There is always a risk of Trick Room but even then it needs a bunch of free turns to rack up enough Superpowers to be anything even resembling a threat.
Locations in Games
Black 2/White 2:
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