Inkay was a Pokémon leaked long before Pokémon X and Y came out but, funnily enough, nobody believed it was real because of the bizarre way it evolved; you would have to hold your 3DS console upside down after a specific level. Naturally, this was thrown out as a viable Pokémon but lo and behold on the game’s release, trainers were greeted by the “Revolving Pokémon”, Inkay and, after level 30 (and a quick rotation of a console), Malamar.
Possibly one of the most evil looking Pokémon is actually rather deceptive. Psychic-type Pokémon are usually special attackers but this scary squid is surprisingly a physical attacker. What’s great about this is that it has access to a combo that most Attackers would kill for; Contrary and Superpower. Confused? Let me explain.
Up n’ Down and All Around
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 HP / 4 SpDef
– Night Slash
– Psycho Cut
Pokémon fans may recognise this set, it’s pretty much the set that Malamar always runs and with good reason.
Contrary is an ability that causes all effects that would lower a stat to increase it instead, and all effects that would increase a stat to decrease it instead. This even includes self-inflicted ones like the Attack and Defence drop from Superpower. This means that each Superpower makes Malamar a bulkier and powerful force to be reckoned with the longer it stays in.
However, even after just one Superpower Malamar can fire off extremely powerful STAB Night Slash’s and Psycho Cuts which (after a 1.5 boost) will be putting dents in a variety of Pokémon meaning that few will be able to switch in unharmed.
Lastly is Topsy-Turvy. I hear you wondering why just this instead of perhaps other support moves like Toxic or Substitute. Simply put, pulling off a well-timed Topsy-Turvy can cripple certain Pokémon completely. Your opponent will then either be forced to switch out or simply let their Pokémon die in a few turns after being severely weakened. No other move has this ability to devastate setup Pokémon and after testing it becomes a godsend in places.
But despite all of this, Malamar suffers from an atrocious speed stat which leaves it open to be taken out before it can even start spamming those super-powered moves and with a x4 weakness to Bug-type moves, you best hope your opponent isn’t running a decent U-turn user or you can kiss your angry squid goodbye.
That is one frightening looking squid-penguin… thing.
Giant Axon Squid
Item: Choice Scarf
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spd / 4 HP
– Night Slash
– Psycho Cut
Remember how I mentioned that Malamar is rather slow? With this setup you will be out speeding some of its top threats and spamming off those Superpowers even quicker using a choice scarf to increase your speed by 1.5. However, this means you are locked into just one move but that’s fine because this move is buffing you each turn.
Obviously, Psycho Cut and Night Slash stick around since they are Malamar’s best STAB attacks but there is new addition to the moveset, Switcheroo. If you fancy returning to Malamar’s old tricks and switch between moves to get the best coverage simply use Switcheroo to give your opponents Pokémon your restrictive Choice Scarf and steal their useful item for yourself. This also can cripple setup Pokémon by locking them into their non-damaging moves and forcing the opponent to either switch it out or simply let it die, a tactic that should sound familiar.
The only other important change is the nature and EV’s. While the previous set focussed on making Malamar bulky, this setup is all about giving this sluggish squid a speed boost with a maximum investment in speed and a Jolly nature allowing it to out speed anything that could threaten it. You can opt for an Adamant nature to get a bit more power behind your more speedy attacks but beware as this puts your speed (even with Choice Scarf) just below powerful speedy Pokémon, like Greninja, who will dispatch you with relative ease.
Even with all of these good sets going for it, poor Malamar is a much underused Pokémon, ignored due to its mediocre stats and seemingly poor standing in battles, but, don’t be fooled, this Pokémon can dish out some damage and cripple some of the best Pokémon out there with ease if you are not careful. I’m looking at you Aegislash…