Hey there, Pokemon fans. PMJ here. Let’s talk about awesome Pokemon. How many times have you been looking for a new and cool deck to build, but hesitated because of poor matchups against the top decks? I do this all the time when I look at my play set of full art M Gallade-EX and silently curse the Pokemon devil for making one of my favorite cards totally unplayable. Just look at that dope artwork. Gallade-EX‘s full art card looks pimpin’ too. Even Mega Gallade’s attack is fun to say. Unwavering Blade. It sounds exactly like the attack a manly defender of justice would use. But noooo, he has to be weak to Psychic and get completely bodied by a dumb pumpkin with a dumb attack that has a dumb name, all for like an eighth of the effort that Mega Gallade has to put in.
I’m not salty, you’re salty.
Anyway, while it looks like the [C][C][C]ancer that is Night March is soon to go the way of the dodo in Standard, it doesn’t look like Mega Gallade will be cleaving up the format any time soon. Forretress and Crobat, his two best partners, are also casualties of the rotation to Primal Clash-on. Without a way to consistently damage the Bench, Unwavering Blade is nothing to write home about, so it looks like unless we get a replacement, the only thing Mega Gallade is gonna combo well with is the binder. :[
And while I’m on the subject of awesome Pokemon with cool cards that are complete garbage competitively, I have always loved M Latios-EX. A 120 snipe is a beautiful thing when the format is littered with Shaymin-EX and its delicious 110 HP. What’s better, Manaphy-EX is starting to poke his head out thanks to the popularity of Water Toolbox decks, and he is also conveniently one-shotted by Sonic Ace. The current format has not been kind to Mega Latios, though. When you’re fighting against decks that can draw 30+ cards a turn and can fire off stupidly high amounts of damage for just one Energy attachment, you can’t afford to mess around with fun strategies like this.
Next season’s format looks like it’s going to slow down quite a bit – at least for a while. The loss of Battle Compressor is huge and worth writing about in its own article, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about. Today, I’m going to talk about a Pokemon that I haven’t seen get much hype lately. Another victim of being weak to Psychic, this Pokemon would have seen much more play had Night March not been the BDIF. With Night March gone, however, this Pokemon has the potential to break off its shackles and dominate.
I am talking, of course, about M Mewtwo-EX.
Return of the King
Mega Mewtwo Y and its X counterpart are both decent cards in their own right, but it’s the Y version that is the deck destroyer I’ll be going over. If you’ve laddered on PTCGO at all since the release of BREAKthrough then you may have encountered this deck a few times. The basic idea is the same regardless of the variant: crush everyone with Psychic Infinity. Since the attack’s cost is [C][C], that leaves plenty of room for different methods of energy acceleration. You can use Xerneas and Aromatisse with Fairy Energy, Bronzong with Metal Energy, or just run a straight Psychic version and use stuff like Mega Turbo and Double Colorless Energy to power up quickly. Since both Aromatisse and Bronzong are being rotated, though, I’ll just be covering the Psychic version, with a little twist to make sure it stays competitive in PRC-on Standard. Let’s get started.
This is the list I’ve been using on PTCGO. It’s not perfect, but if you’re not familiar with this deck, it’ll give you an idea of how it runs.
- M Mewtwo-EX is the star of the deck. Psychic Infinity is cheap, cost effective, and has big damage potential. With a meaty 210 HP and access to a hilarious healing method, this Mewtwo has staying power.
- There are two Mewtwo-EX in Standard. One of them has a pretty good first attack. It swings for 30 and blocks 30 during your opponent’s next turn. That’s well and good, and it’s arguably better than Shatter Shot (the first attack of the Mewtwo-EX we are using). The reason I’ve chosen this particular flavor of Mewtwo is because of its second attack, Damage Change. M Mewtwo-EX has 210 HP. With Shrine of Memories in play, Mega Mewtwo can pick up to 200 HP worth of damage up and drop it on some poor Pokemon, completely healing you and almost assuredly giving you a Prize. It’s completely evil and absolutely delightful when you pull it off. With that said, however, there is a slight case to be made for the Photon Wave one. Photon Wave can help keep you alive in the early game, and if you have two Psychic Energy and a Double Colorless Energy attached, you’ll do more damage with Psyburn than Shatter Shot since Shatter Shot only counts Psychic Energy. That is a minor point, however, as Psychic Infinity does 130 damage–minimum–with the same four Energy. You’re swinging in Pokemon-EX OHKO range if your target has any Energy attached to them at all. Damage Change also has so much more utility than Psyburn that the Shatter Shot version wins out every time. There are a couple other instances when the Photon Wave one would be useful, and I’ll point those out as I come to them.
- Shaymin-EX gets us cards. That’s its only job. There are a lot of Items in this deck, and you will have plenty of chances to draw many times off of this Lysandre magnet.
- Hoopa-EX‘s job is to pull your Pokemon-EX from your deck. That’s all there are in this deck, so Hoopa will never be dead weight unless you start with it.
Trainers – Supporters
- Professor Sycamore is your bread-and-butter draw supporter. Maxing our count of this ensures we will be able to go through chunks of our deck at a moment’s notice.
- Lysandre does exactly what’s written on the box. If your opponent is building up a Pokemon to take Mewtwo-EX on, gust them out and obliterate them. To infinity… and beyond!!!! :D Lysandre is also a great choice for bringing up a clean target to use Damage Change on.
- Skyla is a decent addition because of how it can aid your setup. It gives you a guaranteed out to Mewtwo Spirit Link. If you need to set up, you can turn Skyla into a bunch of Mewtwo by Ultra Balling for Hoopa-EX and then using that to get the Pokemon you need.
- And lastly, Pokémon Center Lady. It is such a clutch card. PCL turns 2HKOs into 3HKOs, and by 3HKOs I mean Damage Change fuel. Gust up that Shaymin and let him have it!
Trainers – Items / Stadiums
- VS Seeker acts as an extra copy of all the Supporters in our deck. This lets us get away with running low counts of certain Supporters, and this is why we max out this card.
- Battle Compressor is one of the most important cards in this deck. It activates VS Seeker and Mega Turbo as well as thins our deck of things we don’t need so that we can decrease our chances of drawing dead off of Set Up or Sycamore.
- Mewtwo Spirit Link‘s importance can’t be stressed enough. We can’t afford to lose a turn by Mega Evolving, so this needs to be attached ASAP. We run four to maximize our chances of hitting it turn one.
- Ultra Ball gets our Pokemon. It will mostly be used for Hoopa-EX because he can get out any 3 Pokemon of our choosing. Ultra Ball can also help fuel Mega Turbo.
- Trainers' Mail is a wonderful consistency card that a deck like this needs four of. It can also act as a minor thinning card if you want to take a card out of your deck before you Sycamore your hand away.
- Mega Turbo is a free thirty damage. With nine basic Energy and max counts of Ultra Ball, Sycamore, and Battle Compressor, we have plenty of chances to fuel Mega Turbo. We can also Turbo off of dead Mewtwo to keep the Energy counts high.
- Finally, our Stadium of choice. Shrine of Memories enables us to use Damage Change, and that’s the only reason we use it. In the current format we also have the option of using Dimension Valley. This would let us use Damage Change for two Energy and Psychic Infinity for one. Attaching Energy isn’t a problem in this deck and Dimension Valley would really help our opponents more than it would us. It is worth noting that Psyburn can be used for [P][P][C] with Dimension Valley in play, and that does out-damage Psychic Infinity, so if your heart is set on using the Photon Wave Mewtwo-EX, that’s a notch in the positives column. Still, in this format of big Basic Pokemon, Evolution Pokemon are few and far between, and the ones that do exist don’t have attacks on their lower forms that they would ever really want to use. In addition to this, Psychic Infinity relies on attached Energy to do big damage, so allowing our opponents to attack for one less Energy is counterproductive to our strategy. This is why I feel that Shrine is the play here.
- We max out on Double Colorless Energy because every attachment increases Psychic Infinity’s damage output by 60. DCE also lets us use Sky Return for one attachment, meaning it is not the end of the world if we start with Shaymin-EX.
- Nine basic Energy seems like a good number. It gives us room to fuel early Mega Turbos with Battle Compressor and still leaves enough to draw into at least one a turn.
How does Steam Siege Affect M Mewtwo-EX?
It doesn’t. At least, not in the manner I had planned on. You see, while I was writing this article, it was confirmed that Karen would not be included in Steam Siege. While we can still hope for a way for an English release before Worlds happens (Prerelease promo? A guy can dream), right now it’s looking like Night March will still be a solid play for the World Championships. Here’s a list I was tinkering with, assuming Karen’s inclusion. I would not play this unless we got confirmation of an English Karen release before the tournament. Many of the changes to this deck are present in my proposed PRC-on build, so I’m still going to talk about them below (read as: I wrote about it before Karen was confirmed absent and I don’t want to feel like I’ve wasted my time).
I’m not salty, you’re salty.
Remove all effects of attacks on both players and all Pokemon.
You may play only 1 Supporter card per turn (before your attack).
Special Charge – Trainer
Shuffle 2 Special Energy cards from your discard pile back into your deck.
You may play as many Item cards as you like during your turn (before your attack).
We add a fourth M Mewtwo-EX and drop to two Shaymin-EX. Four M Mewtwo-EX maximizes our chances of being able to use three of them without having to worry about them being Prized. I took out one Shaymin-EX because we don’t want to start with it. With seven Basic Pokemon, the odds are in our favor that if we get a Basic Pokemon in our hand during setup, it will be Mewtwo-EX.
Changes: Trainers – Supporters
- N is just a great card through and through. Bonus points for its utility in bringing our opponent’s opening hand back down to size if we go first after taking a mulligan or three. To make room for them, I’ve removed one Lysandre, one Pokemon Center Lady, and one Skyla.
- Hex Maniac has overall global utility by shutting off Abilities. This deck has a few, but they are mostly used in the very early game, so shutting ours off is of little consequence. Hex Maniac gives M Mewtwo-EX a fighting chance against Greninja BREAK, who is probably one of this deck’s worst matchups (you need 5-6 Energy to OHKO, and their ability to tweak the damage they put on you means Damage Change opportunities will be limited). Hex also lets M Mewtwo-EX bypass Giratina-EX‘s Renegade Pulse Ability, which would otherwise put a full stop to this deck. If it’s Prized, our only recourse is to Lysandre around it and take out Darkrai-EX, or hope they have a brain fart and activate Garbodor.
- AZ is our Hoopa insurance. Hoopa-EX is the worst possible start for this deck and if we end up starting with it then we would have no way to get it to the Bench easily. Worse, we would have no way to actually use Scoundrel Ring. AZ solves that. AZ can also work for Prize denial in a pinch, and also for reusing Shaymin-EX if you really need to. To make room for it, I’ve removed a Battle Compressor. This deck does not need to go through 40 cards on turn 1 like Vespiquen / Vileplume does, but it does appreciate being able to toss out unneeded cards, so a reduction in Battle Compressor is acceptable.
- Pokemon Ranger is needed to get past Glaceon-EX. It is worthy of note that Crystal Ray does not protect Glaceon-EX from being affected by Damage Change, but you will never be able to OHKO Glaceon-EX with it in a one-on-one fight. It’s best to just Ranger up and slaughter her with Psychic Infinity. Assuming Glaceon-EX is fully powered up, all you need is three Energy. If Glaceon-EX has Fighting Fury Belt attached, you’ll need a whopping four. Oh no, please, anything but that. To make room for it, I’ve removed another Battle Compressor.
Changes: Trainers – Items / Stadiums
- Special Charge is a free way to get our DCEs back after a Mewtwo goes down. Outside of devoting four spots to Puzzle of Time, this is our only option. To make room for them, I’ve removed an Ultra Ball and a Mega Turbo. Hoopa-EX supplies us with all the Mewtwo we need in the early game, and late game it’s less important to have in our hand. We need just one to get things going, so it’s okay to run three. As for Mega Turbo, it’s trading a guaranteed 30 for a possible 120 down the road. I say the trade is worth it.
- We have a lot of Bench warmers in this deck. Hoopa-EX is dead weight after we use Scoundrel Ring, and leaving Shaymin-EX on the Bench is just asking to get Lysandred. Enter Parallel City, which can clean up our Bench after we’ve finished setting up. You should always discard Hoopa-EX before Shaymin-EX since, if worse comes to worst, you can attach a DCE and use Sky Return if Shaymin gets stuck up front. To make room for them, I’ve removed a basic Energy and a Shrine of Memories. Taking out an Energy was a tough concession but I don’t feel comfortable getting rid of anything else. Removing a Shrine was okay because while Damage Change is great, it’s not the main focus of the deck. Shrine of Memories is better used after you’ve dropped Parallel City to clean up, but if you find an opportunity for a full cure, don’t be afraid to take it.
The Future of M Mewtwo-EX
In a post-Night March world, things look fairly decent for the god of Pokemon. In terms of Psychic Pokemon looking to dethrone him, we’ve got M Alakazam-EX, Trevenant BREAK, and that’s about it. Garbodor is getting a lot of hype for the early 2017 season due to the rotation of both Startling Megaphone and Xerosic. Alakazam decks completely collapse if they can’t use their Abilities, so until we get a reliable Tool removal card, Mega Alakazam is boned. Trevenant BREAK decks are losing the Item-locking Trevenant from XY, so they may be played a little less. With that said, the Trevenant from BREAKpoint is still fairly powerful in its own right, so Trevenant BREAK decks might pop up – just with a different build. It’s also happy coincidence that the predicted surge in Garbodor will also put a damper on Greninja BREAK, who also desperately needs his Abilities to function late game. For the last part of this article, I’m going to share a list that I think will perform well in the new Standard. I’ll then briefly touch on matchups and we’ll call it a day. Stay with me just a little longer.
The biggest change to this deck is the addition of a 2-2 line of Garbodor. He removes the need for Hex Maniac and allows us to attack Giratina-EX freely. Once he gets a Tool on him, he turns supportive threats like Manaphy-EX, Ninetales from Primal Clash, Hydreigon-EX, Vileplume, Octillery, Regirock-EX, Carbink, and Zoroark into dead weight. Steam Siege also brings Volcanion-EX, a new Hawlucha, a new Klefki, and Yanmega to the format, and Garbodor puts a stop to all of them. Garbodor is also a welcome addition because if the opponent wants to get rid of it that means Mewtwo stays undamaged for another turn. Meanwhile, if you think that the opponent is gearing up for a Lysandre, you can always set up another Trubbish.
Garbodor needs Tools to function and we no longer have AZ to get out of undesirable starts, so I’ve added three Float Stones. The cost for these seven cards: 1 AZ, 2 Battle Compressor, 1 Hex Maniac, 1 Mewtwo Spirit Link, 1 N, and 1 Professor Sycamore. In the case of AZ and Battle Compressor, they were easy removals due to the rotation. Garbodor is Hex Maniac in Pokemon form and we don’t need both. Cutting a Spirit Link is fine because Head Ringer is also getting rotated, thus easing the pressure of getting a Spirit Link attached as fast as possible. Dropping an N and a Sycamore was also a very tough concession. I would argue possibly replacing Pokemon Center Lady instead, but like I said, it’s super clutch. There aren’t many non-Psychic Pokemon that can 2HKO you after a PCL.
I’m going to be taking some liberties here. We can’t know precisely what will be strong in the upcoming format until we get some tournament results in, but we can theorymon for some decks and make somewhat educated guesses for others. Please do not take these ratings as law. Feel free to disagree with me. In fact, I welcome it. Fight me, son.
Mirror: Even, Depending on Techs
Psychic Infinity doesn’t hit for Weakness, which means you both will have to stockpile Energy in order to come close to a OHKO on an opposing Mewtwo. Shrine of Memories will let you OHKO with a four-Energy Shatter Shot, but you have to be careful because they can do the same to you. The Photon Wave Mewtwo-EX gets an honorable mention here. Photon Wave reduces damage done before Weakness, which means that same four-Energy Shatter Shot will only do 180 damage instead of 240, allowing you to Damage Change it onto something else, like a Hoopa-EX or an unevolved Mewtwo-EX. If they put a fifth Energy on to get the OHKO, they are wide open to get revenge killed; a seven-Energy Psychic Infinity does 220 damage. Slap that DCE down and make ’em pay. If you both have two Energy attached, Psychic Infinity does 130 damage, which is enough to 2HKO. Pokemon Center Lady won’t save you from getting 2HKOed yourself if they attach another Energy, but the more Energy you force them to expend on a single Pokemon, the better.
Dark Dragons: Slightly Unfavorable to Slightly Favorable
Your biggest threat in this matchup is Darkrai-EX. He can keep his own Energy counts low while still doing big damage thanks to Double Dragon Energy and Max Elixir fueling Dark Pulse from the Bench. It’s easier to OHKO him than it is to OHKO you, but it’s not exactly something that comes recommended. Assuming Darkrai-EX has two Energy attached, five Energy will seal the deal (six if he has Fighting Fury Belt equipped). In turn, Darkrai-EX needs 11 Darkness Energy on the field as well as a Belt to return the OHKO. The bad news is that he only needs a meager five on the field to gust up and OHKO Garbodor. Giratina-EX can still prove to be problematic even if Renegade Pulse is shut off because Chaos Wheel forbids us from playing Parallel City, Shrine of Memories, or Double Colorless Energy, but after a Chaos Wheel you OHKO Giratina-EX with only three Energy (four if he has a Belt on). You can use Parallel City to force them to pile Energy on few Pokemon, which leaves them wide open for a big Psychic Infinity. Giratina-EX also makes a great Lysandre target because Giratina-EX is the only Pokemon they can drop Double Dragon Energy on. Killing one that has two DDE attached will remove a whopping 80 damage from Dark Pulse’s damage, giving you some breathing room. They can set up faster than you, however, and they don’t use many Abilities outside of Scoundrel Ring and Set Up, just like us. Your strategy should be to kill Giratina-EX whenever possible and use Parallel City to keep their Bench size small. You’ll want to get both Garbodor on the field as soon as possible to keep the lock up.
Editor’s note: Darkrai-EX requires ten Energy, or nine and Fighting Fury Belt, to Knock Out M Mewtwo-EX, not eleven; and four to Knock Out Garbodor, not five.
M Rayquaza-EX: Unfavorable to Even
Mega Rayquaza is another one of those cards that was a victim of having the wrong Weakness at the wrong time. Without Joltik to render him completely unplayable, he is looking to be a top deck in the early 2017 season. Like you, they use Hoopa-EX and Shaymin-EX to get explosive starts. They also have access to Winona to make setting up even easier. Ninetales can cause you problems if they get to lock Sky Field in play but you can also use Ninetales against them. Once Garbodor has a Tool on, Barrier Shrine will be shut off. Play Parallel City and discard Garbodor. Barrier Shrine will activate again, capping their damage at 150 for the rest of the game. If they don’t run Ninetales, you can still use Parallel City against them by forcing them to set up all over again. You need four Energy to OHKO a fully powered Mega Ray; he needs three Energy and a Sky Field-enhanced Bench of seven to OHKO you. The good news here is that Mega Rayquaza’s damage is very static. It doesn’t use any damage modifiers, even if they choose to run Raichu alongside it (although Raichu can only swing for 160 maximum). Most notably, Mega Rayquaza can do 180 damage, which is a magic number. If you can’t score a KO on Rayquaza, Lysandre something else out and Damage Change them. There are tons of Pokemon-EX in that deck so taking two Prizes should be cake. Your strategy should be to keep their Bench size low and do not let Mega Rayquaza start doing 210 damage or you’re gonna have a bad time.
Greninja: Favorable, But You’ll Still Have to Work For It
Garbodor is what really swings this matchup in your favor. You lock them out of Giant Water Shuriken (and Abyssal Hand if they choose to run Octillery). Unfortunately, thanks to their low attack costs, almost all the damage from Psychic Infinity is going to have to come from you. The good news is that without their Abilities, their maximum damage output is 80, which is super manageable, especially with Pokémon Center Lady keeping you healthy. Just keep Garbodor alive and you’re in for smooth sailing.
Serperior: Very Favorable
They set up super fast thanks to Forest of Giant Plants and a one-Energy attack, and the threat of Servine‘s possible paralysis plagues our Pokemon, but Garbodor puts a stop to that. Serperior only has 140 life and can’t remove his Energy after attacking like Greninja can. A wise man once said that Serperior is only as good as the amount of heads he can flip and it’s definitely true. Serperior relies on paralysis and hitting specific numbers to win. The combination of Garbodor and Pokemon Center Lady is going to go far in winning you this battle.
M Sceptile-EX: Unfavorable
This is a matchup where the math is very important. Garbodor is going to be crucial in this fight because he blocks Ariados from poisoning your Pokemon, which Mega Sceptile needs in order to 2HKO you, and he blocks Zoroark from enabling the Sceptile player to switch his Pokemon around easily. Jagged Saber is also going to cause you grief because it fully cures any wounded Pokemon on their Bench. It also does 100 damage, which is just enough to OHKO Garbodor. That ten poison damage is super crucial to their strategy so you can bet your bottom dollar that they are going to KO him ASAP. To OHKO a fully powered Mega Sceptile, you will need a massive six Energy, which just isn’t feasible. Parallel City can help a little here but this is definitely an uphill battle for you.
Theorymon for the Future and Closing Thoughts
There are a few more cards that I think will see play next season, but it’s hard to see where they will fall due to the loss of super helpful cards. For example, M Alakazam-EX would be viable if not for the loss of Dimension Valley, Crobat, and all Tool removal options that would prevent Garbodor from stopping him cold. The new M Gardevoir-EX and Xerneas BREAK look to breathe new life into Fairy decks but they lose their best support Pokemon in Aromatisse. I feel that both decks can function without it, but there’s no denying that losing Aromatisse is gonna be a tough pill to swallow. RIP Fairy toolbox. And speaking of toolbox decks, Water toolbox decks are losing Seismitoad-EX—finally–but I believe they’ll make a comeback. Palkia-EX is a great card that can accelerate Energy at an unreal rate. He just needs a good partner to take advantage of it. Metal decks are losing the Metal Links Bronzong, which is very sad. Genesect-EX shed many tears when he heard his friend was rotating, as they were best buds. Bronzong BREAK also looks like he might be taking a trip to the binder soon, as he doesn’t combo nearly as well with the Bronzong from Fates Collide. Fighting decks take a huge hit by losing the amazing Korrina and there really isn’t any card that can take its place. Can Zygarde-EX survive? Well, Mega Mewtwo has a pretty solid matchup against it so I kinda hope it does!
I feel like Mega Mewtwo would be a decent choice for Cities. It’s not really reliant on Abilities so if the Garbodor hype pans out, Mewtwo will be in a good spot to score big. What do you guys think? What’s your experience with fighting with or against Mega Mewtwo? Do you think that the never-seen-but-still-hits-like-a-truck X version can work without Dimension Valley or baby Landorus? Hit me up in the thread and let me know what you think. I’m looking forward to hearing what you’ve got to say.
Your pal, PMJ