The Very Best? – What 151 Adds to Standard

Hello PokeBeach readers! Isaiah here, and I am happy to be writing another article for you all! Last time, I talked a lot about one of my favorite decks in the current Standard format, Mew VMAX. In that article, I talked a lot about not just the deck’s position in the current format and how it was able to see success at the 2023 World Championships, but also about possible changes to the deck going forward.

Around the time of the release of that article, the Pittsburgh Regional Championship took place, which included a peak placement of Top 4 for Mew VMAX. In addition, I personally was able to get 41st with the deck in Pittsburgh, and I later used a nearly identical deck list to win a League Cup. For a long time, I had sort of written off Mew VMAX as a mediocre deck, but after its recent success in the hands of both myself and others, I am confident that the deck is certainly going to continue to be a top contender in the Standard format.

One of the biggest threats to Mew VMAX, though, is Charizard ex, the face card of the Obsidian Flames expansion. In Pittsburgh, this deck did not see much success, putting up a few okay results, but nothing outstanding, however, at the recent Special Event in Barcelona, the story would prove to be extremely different… Charizard ex ended up being not just one of the most popular decks on Day 1, but also one of the most popular decks on Day 2 of the event, including an astounding Top 4 finish from a Lost Zone variant of Charizard ex. This spike in success certainly begs the question; if Charizard ex might actually be a true meta threat or if this may have been a fluke. Additionally, it asks the question of whether Mew VMAX will be able to continue being a viable archetype in Standard if Charizard ex is going to be so popular. This question becomes especially important as we approach the Peoria Regional Championship in a few weeks, as it is going to be the first major event with the newly released 151 expansion legal. This set does a surprising amount for not only Charizard ex, but the format as a whole, so let’s take a look at some of the most impactful cards.

The Highlights of 151

Mew ex

When you mention the release of 151, the first card that comes to most peoples’ minds is certainly Mew ex, and for a good reason. It has been quite some time since we got a support Pokemon that also was able to double as an attacking option, but Mew ex is excellent in both roles. At first glance, the card’s base stats are appealing enough. 180 HP, while not a lot, is better than some of the more frail options we have had in the past (even as recently as Squawkabilly ex and its 160 HP). As a Psychic-type, it does benefit from cards like Fog Crystal, which is a nice perk, as well as making it a possible target for Gardevoir ex‘s Psychic Embrace (which is something that I will talk about more shortly). The beginning of this card’s true strength, however, is its Retreat Cost, or rather, its lack thereof. In the current format, there is a severe shortage of Pokemon with no Retreat Cost, with most of the most notable options either being too frail (like Cleffa), too resource intensive (like Pidgeot ex), or otherwise completely useless (like Flying Pikachu V outside of Miraidon ex decks). In the case of Mew ex, though, the card has free retreat on top of an incredible Ability and attack, which are sure to make it one of the best cards in the Standard format, at least until something replaces it… if something ever does.

Speaking of Mew ex’s Ability and attack, it is important that we address both of them. First, Mew ex’s Ability, called Restart, allows you to simply draw cards until you have three cards in your hand once per turn. With an identical ability to the iconic Oranguru, Mew ex is already set up for success. The ability to refill the hand in a way similar to what Bibarel can provide, but on a Basic Pokemon is incredibly powerful, opening up an extra card or two to use following an Iono to an extremely low count, putting you a little closer to a game-winning Boss's Orders (Ghetsis). Important to note – three is a perfect number – as it is the exact amount that allows you to play an Ultra Ball for a Lumineon V to search for exactly the Supporter that you need to close out a game strong.

It is already apparent that Mew ex is a strong card, but, in my opinion, the strongest case for Mew ex is made by its attack, Genome Hacking. For three Colorless Energy, Genome Hacking allows you to copy one of your opponent’s Active Pokemon’s attacks. In the past, Foul Play attacks like Zoroark have seen their fair share of success, but they have typically been on single-Prize Pokemon that are meant to now be able to trade favorably with massive two Prize Pokemon (maintaining the Zoroark example, it often copied Zoroark-GX in mirror matches to take a huge one-hit Knock Out). Unfortunately, Mew ex is worth two Prize cards, so it will never be quite that good, but it is at least able to pull off a few interesting plays. Notably, Mew ex will be able to take one-hit Knock Outs on Genesect V, Miraidon ex, and Tyranitar V with ease, at least offering a free two-Prize Knock Out if anything.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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