The Squid is Back!

What’s poppin’ PTCGO store readers? It’s ya boy Zach Lesage and I’m back with another article to grow our Pokemon TCG community! Today I’m going to be going over Malamar (Chilling Reign) and letting you know why this deck is seeing success. Some of you might be wondering why I’m covering a deck that plays zero cards from Fusion Strike, but sometimes the way the format changes can make a deck better. In this case, Mew VMAX (Fusion Strike) has scared away a lot of the Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX (Battle Styles) decks out of the format that would prey on Inkay (Chilling Reign) trying to Evolve on the Bench. With our format becoming more and more revolving around VMAX Pokemon online decks, Malamar has found a niche spot near the top of the metagame! The best part, this deck is incredibly budget orientated! If you wanna make it extra budget, you can use code zlesage5 to save 5% on your next order of PTCGO codes here at the PTCGO store! Let’s check out this deck!

Malamar Deck


Here is the Malamar deck! My list is heavily inspired by Manpupango that made Top 16 at the Late Night #17 event! Let’s check it out!

Pokémon - 20

3 Minccino SHF 166
3 Cinccino SHF 167
4 Inkay CRE 69
4 Malamar CRE 70
3 Remoraid BST 36
3 Octillery BST 178

Trainer Cards - 34

4 Level Ball BST 181
4 Fog Crystal CRE 227
4 Evolution Incense SSH 163
2 Tower of Waters BST 138
4 Korrina's Focus BST 160
1 Brawly CRE 188
4 Bruno BST 158
2 Rescue Carrier EVS 154
2 Scoop Up Net RCL 207
4 Great Ball CPA 52
2 Ordinary Rod SSH 215

Energy - 6

4 Spiral Energy CRE 159
2 Psychic Energy CRE 232

Total Cards - 60

The Strategy


The goal of Malamar is to use Rapid Strike Tentacles to effectively Knock Out your opponent’s Pokemon! This might be simple against a Pokemon V, like Jolteon V (Evolving Skies), but gets increasingly more difficult when you are trying to attack a Pokemon VMAX, like Gengar VMAX (Fusion Strike). The reason why this deck can compete in this format is that your opponent will have to quite often go through six single Prize Card Pokemon before they’re able to win the game and you usually only have to go through two or three. That means you have time to plan gigantic Rapid Strike Tentacles for massive OHKOs. Cinccino (Sword and Shield) allows you to pitch a card away to hopefully draw into more Rapid Strike cards to show your opponent and Octillery (Battle Styles) allows you to search for a freebie Rapid Strike card per turn. Cards like Rescue Carrier (Evolving Skies) can be used to get back multiple Rapid Strike cards and Scoop Up Net (Rebel Clash) can lift back an Octillery to give you extra Rapid Strike cards in your hand. Whenever possible, make sure you leave yourself with a Supporter at the end of your turn and that you understand the number of cards you need to hit for a Knock Out at any time! Some of the strategies in this deck can get a little bit more complex so lemme go over some cards individually.

Understanding Important Cards


Sometimes cards might have more strategy than face value and I hope this section of the article helps you perfect your play! 


While Cinccino seems like a great way to draw cards, there are two significant points I want to bring up to help you understand this card better. Energy Assist can help you in a pinch by doing a minimal amount of damage to a VMAX Pokemon to set it up for a Knock Out the following turn while giving you one less card to worry about acquiring during your turn (an Energy). Make Do is very goal orientated and it should be noted that you are using this card to get setup and reach your Rapid Strike Tentacles goals. That being said, you should be discarding non-Rapid Strike cards, like Bruno (Battle Styles), because those cards don’t count towards Rapid Strike Tentacles. Additionally, make sure you are using Make Do after playing your Supporter to accumulate more cards in your hand!


Not so much a huge strategy, but it’s always worthwhile to have another Inkay on your Bench as you anticipate what your opponent can do! If you’re playing against a Rapid Strike Urshifu you wanna have three Inkay / Malamar down to prepare against a G-Max Rapid Flow and most other decks you need two Inkay / Malamar down.



Octillery is a card that you can easily use to grab a card at the end of your turn to power up Rapid Strike Tentacles, but this card is a valid way to get a draw Supporter. Sometimes you can use Rapid Strike Search as a way to get Korrina’s Focus (Battle Styles) to have a decent draw Supporter. Sometimes you need to think outside the box and this is one of those things!

Evolution Incense / Fog Crystal / Great Ball / Level Ball

These cards aren’t Rapid Strike cards, but you can effectively use them to add more Rapid Strike Pokemon into your hand! If you have an understanding of what’s left in your deck, Evolution Incense (Sword and Shield) can grab you a Malamar to show to your opponent with Rapid Strike Tentacles. Fog Crystal (Battle Styles) can totally grab an Inkay! Sometimes you wanna play Great Ball (Champions Path) first to have a higher chance of grabbing a Pokemon (more in the deck) or perhaps you want to thin a Pokemon out with Level Ball (Battle Styles) first. Whichever way you decide to play, these cards can seriously affect your damage output.

Rescue Carrier / Scoop Up Net

When you need to get more cards for Rapid Strike Tentacles, these are cards that allow you to get extra cards in your hand. Both Rescue Carrier and Scoop Up Net are non-Rapid Strike cards, but they both have the option of turning into two Rapid Strike cards. You can hold a few Inkay or Remoraid (Battle Styles) in your Discard Pile so you can get them back in the late game. Scoop Up Net is more or less the same, but you wanna have a Stage 1 Rapid Strike Pokémon in play to scoop up to get an additional two cards in your hand for Rapid Strike Tentacles.


Even if you can’t get the Knock Out, you can sacrifice a Pokémon to get the bonus draw effect from Bruno. Most games are based around two or three attacks only, so it should be noted that most big Rapid Strike Tentacles turns come after something was already Knocked Out.

Spiral Energy / Psychic Energy

It isn’t necessarily the biggest strategy, but it’s worthwhile to note that attaching a Psychic Energy is usually better to attach than Spiral Energy (Chilling Reign) so you have more access to Rapid Strike cards for Rapid Strike Tentacles.

Happy Testing

Such an awesome adventure this article has been! We’ve discovered why Malamar is seeing success right now, I shared my updated list, the strategy, and how some of the more strategic cards in the deck play out. Malamar is a great choice in our current metagame, but Mew VMAX might ultimately be the better deck in this metagame. Either way, this article should give you the kickstart needed to start playing this deck and help you on your Pokemon journey. I’m going to continuously test Pokemon online decks in our Fusion Strike metagame and keep our community updated with my findings along the way. As always, feel free to pick up some Fusion Strike PTCGO codes from the PTCGO store and you can use code zlesage5 to save 5% to boost your collection today! Happy testing!

About the Writer

Zach Lesage is a contributing writer for the PTCGO store. As a Toronto local, he has been playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game since 2005 and creates Pokemon content as his full time career. Under the moniker of theloneblown, he creates YouTube content, streams on Twitch, and provides hot takes on his Twitter. With multiple prestigious accomplishments in the game, such as 2020 Players Cup 2 Champion and 2020 Oceania International Championships Finalist, he has proven his success in the game. Outside of the game, he travels the world, enjoys the culture of designer streetwear, and is a professionally trained chef. You can catch him at most Pokemon events and follow him on Twitter @ZachLesagePTCG.