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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Mienshao #68

Next Destinies

Date Reviewed: March 16, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.90
Limited: 3.25

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National


This Karate/Cat/Weasel thing is one of my favourite Generation V Pokémon. The Basic is pretty cute too. He’s even pretty good in the video game (Regeneration + U-Turn is sweet). In the TCG though? Let’s find out.

*Sigh* . . . right away we have problems as Mienshao is a 90 HP Stage 1 Pokémon. To be competitive in an environment full of Basics that can easily OHKO him, this Pokémon is going to need some very good Ability or attack. Seeing as it doesn’t even have an Ability, it’s all resting on what he can do in the active slot . . .

Mienshao’s first attack, Haul In, costs one Energy of any Colour and allows you to recover two Pokémon Tool cards from your discard pile and put them in your hand. Obviously there are a few very useful Tools in the format right now (Eviolite, Exp Share, Rocky Helmet) and more to come in future sets, so this attack seems like it might have some use, right? Wrong. It’s highly doubtful that such specialist recursion will ever be worth using an attack for, the format is simply too fast to halt the Prize exchange for the sake of getting back some Tools (which you could very well lose again if your opponent plays N or Judge). What’s more we still have Junk Arm in the format to do this job if needed.

Mienshao does have a damage attack too: Meditate for [F][C] does 30 damage, plus another 10 for each damage counter on the Defending Pokémon. I guess it could be used to finish off damaged Pokemon, but your regular attackers should be able to do that anyway. So . . . yeah, this doesn’t really give you any more of a reason to run Mienshao.

As cool as he looks, he’s still destinied for the binder.


Modified: 1.75 (Does something useful, but not useful enough)

Limited: 3.25 (I suppose recycling Exp Shares is good, and he could double up nicely as a finisher)


Happy Friday, Pojo readers! Today we're going to end our COTD week by reviewing a new Fighting-type Pokemon from Next Destinies. Today's Card of the Day is Mienshao.
Mienshao is a Stage 1 Fighting Pokemon. Fighting-types are rare in Modified today, with only Terrakion and the increasingly uncommon Donphan Prime seeing any amount of real play. 90 HP is average for a Stage 1, and means that Mienshao can stand up to weak assaults and little else. Psychic Weakness is a big problem against Mewtwo-EX, as Mewtwo can simply OHKO with a Double Colorless Energy if Mienshao has any Energy attached to it. Predictably, Mienshao has no Resistance, and a fairly decent Retreat Cost of 1.
Mienshao has two attacks. Haul In allows you to search your deck for two Pokemon Tools, show them to your opponent, and put them into your hand, shuffling afterward. This attack is good in Limited for fetching your Exp. Shares while waiting to power up Meditate, but chances are you won't have time to use it in Modified with Mienshao's low HP, even with stronger targets such as Eviolite. Meditate is Mienshao's form of offense, dealing 30 damage plus 10 more damage for each damage counter on the Defending Pokemon for a Fighting Energy and a Colorless Energy. This attack will be most useful against a heavily damaged opponent, but since most of the metagame works in OHKOs anyway, Mienshao will likely be Knocked Out before it is able to do much of anything.
Modified: 1.5/5 Haul In is interesting, but Mienshao has low HP, a terrible Weakness, and a somewhat weak damage output in Meditate. Look elsewhere for other deck options.
Limited: 3.5/5 Mienshao is an interesting choice for Limited. Haul In can be very good to fetch Exp. Shares while waiting to power up Meditate, and Meditate can even deal some decent damage here given the right set up. Overall, Mienshao is a decent Pokemon for Limited, and can be easily run in a deck utilizing Fighting to good effect.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Mienshao (Next Destinies)
Mienshao seems to be one of the mascots for Gen V, alongside Zoroark, Zekrom and Reshiram. Unlike those other three pokes though, Mianshao has not been printed as a good card. It hasn't been printed as a Rare either, since all versions of Mienshao so far have been Uncommons.
Today's version is yet another non-evolving Stage 1 as well as being a Fighting type, with 90 HP, Psychic Weakness, a retreat cost of 1 and a piar of cheap attacks. Aside from running into the most common Resistance, Mienshao suffers from a lack of survival instinct and will be obliterated by any of the popular attackers. A small compensation is the large amount of Fighting-Weak Poke'mon who are thriving and most support Poke'mon will be hard pressed to score a 1HKO.
Mienshao's first attack is Haul In, which costs [c] and allows you to search your deck for up to 2 Poke'mon Tools. Eviolite is the only Poke'mon Tool that is insanely popular enough to justify including a easily-destroyed Stage 1 to search for it, although you can grab Exp Share or Rocky Helmet if you are so inclined. Sacrificing Mienshao to get Eviolite is actually a clever move, allowing you to drop Twins for another 2 cards that you normally couldn't search for as well as absorbing the first big blow so that your Zekrom/other Legendary is fresh and ready to exact a costly revenge.
The problems only crop up when you consider the alternative, which is to use superior draw power to get the necessary Eviolites and other combo pieces. Professor Juniper and Sage's Training are both popular and cost less deck space, as well as having more general applications by grabbing any card from the top of your deck as opposed to just Poke'mon Tools. On top of that, the discard aspect is typically used to the player's advantage by employing Eelektrik NV or Typhlosion Prime.
So, Haul In isn't enough to earn a place in a deck. Meditate may tip the scales, since the potential damage is massive. For [f][c], Meditate deals 30 damage plus 10 more damage for every damage counter already on the Defending Poke'mon. The cost is fair, and it works well to finish off any Poke'mon that you can't KO outright (Mewtwo EX and Regigigas EX seem like worthy targets).
A different problem ruins Medidtate, in that it is only useful if Mienshao survives its suicide run when using Haul In and doesn't get dragged up by Poke'mon Catcher afterward. Even after getting off a succesful attack against a damaged opposing attacker, Mienshao will get steamrolled by the counter hit so you had better be able to afford another Prize (assuming that if you are using Mienshao, at least some of your other attackers have already bitten the dust so you won't have many left).
Mienshao has some decnt attacks that give you tactical options but other Poke'mon with better stats have the same claim and we don't see much of Zoroark or Mew Prime anymore so I don't expect to see Mienshao around the tables outside of Limited.
Modified: 2.5 (so close, but no deck slot)
Limited: 3.75 (Meditate is awesome here and Haul In will at least let you thin/shuffle your deck)
Combos with: I can see a space in a Zekrom/Eelektrik/Magnezone build for a Mienshao to act as type matching and search, but I believe most players will discard it in favour of other more genaeral cards.


Am I the only one who wants to see an Evolved form of Mienshao named “Mienshao Kahn”?


Mienshao is a Stage 1 Pokémon, which means it faces daunting odds of seeing play right now: most attackers are aggressive basic Pokémon or Pokémon EX, who require less space in the deck and time to set-up. The basics speed means in a deck dedicated to running Evolutions, unless an alternative target or threat distracts, a player running an Evolution likely gives up a Prize before getting their first Evolved Pokémon in play. Mienshao simply cannot match this initial speed, though if it excels at swarming, has great stats, or posses great effects it can still be well worth playing.

As a Fighting-Type, it falls into one of those odd areas. Terrakion (BW: Noble Victories 73/101, 99/101) and Landorus (BW: Noble Victories 74/101)) see play, varying upon your exact metagame. It makes sense given the popularity of Fighting Weak Lightning-Type Pokémon, but there isn’t a dedicated Fighting deck along the lines of the Fire and Lightning decks we have, so there is certainly a demand for one. Mienshao will be able to exploit Fighting Weakness, but it’s got no real support going for its Type other than exploiting Weakness.

90 HP is small; we are in a format where 120 HP isn’t even safe from OHKOs by some of the most popular Pokémon, and even the “second string” tend to his 80 or 90 points of damage with relative ease. Expect Mienshao to be dropped in a single shot… especially by Psychic-Type Pokémon due to its Psychic Weakness. Yes, we all knew it was coming, but I’ve still got to point it out: Mewtwo EX is in almost every deck that can afford a copy or two, and that means almost every match you’re just waiting for it to hit the board with three Energy for a OHKO. Of course, three Energy OHKOing something isn’t really that obscene, but since it is Mewtwo EX, two of those Energy can be provided by a Double Colorless Energy or whatever native Energy acceleration provides in a deck, while that third Energy can be your own attached to Mienshao.

No Resistance is as disappointing but likely insignificant as always, just as the single Energy Retreat cost is small, easy to pay, but also less relevant in a format of OHKOs. Mienshao did not arrive with killer Stats, so it will need some great Effects to compensate.


It has two attacks, which already bodes ill: the Stage 1 Pokémon that really see play usually have an Ability (or a Poké-Power/Poké-Body if you’re facing something a little older). The first attack is Haul In and… it should have been an Ability. When we could speedily Evolve and/or a Stage 1 Pokémon was unlikely to be KOed second/third turn, we could get away with giving them an attack that aided in set-up. Haul In is just such an attack, letting you snag two Pokémon Tools from your deck. The effect is actually useful, but not if I am giving up a Prize and an Energy to do it.

Even as a coming-into-play Ability, it might have been handy: the main strike against Pokémon Tools is getting them into your hand ASAP. As a reusable Ability it could have allowed some interesting use of Pokémon Tools, maybe been an off-Type TecH that seldom (if ever) attacked but just feed your hand Pokémon Tools. Even if you didn’t need most of the Pokémon Tools, if you’re yanking them out of your deck they can become discard fodder. Of course, you need room to run them at all. None of that matters though, because while technically a decent Energy price, Mienshao is as good as KOed after using this attack, making it at best “better than nothing”.

The second attack is one we’ve seen many times: Meditate. This iteration is priced at (FC) and does base damage of 30, but does and extra 10 per damage counter on the Defending Pokémon. This really isn’t a bad attack, but it isn’t good and certainly not enough to outweigh the rest of the card. In a hypothetical Fighting deck it might as well have cost (FF) or (FCC), the latter of course begging for Double Colorless Energy so that it could hit harder. In a format that is geared towards OHKOs being a finisher isn’t as useful. It can be threatening to Fighting Weak Pokémon, but Terrakion already does that and is just easier to run. If it isn’t Weak it needs to have taken (Maximum HP/2 – 30) points of damage. So a 130 HP Pokémon has have at least 50 points of damage on it, assuming no effects to boost/reduce damage apply.


Mienshao must Evolve from Mienfoo. You have two options: BW: Noble Victories 69/101 and BW: Next Destinies 67/99. Neither have an effect that really helps them survive long or Evolve, so go with the latter: it has 10 more HP, and while it has a single, luck-based attack, you shouldn’t be attacking with Mienfoo at all so you’re probably desperate and need to take the risk. Even the “big” Mienfoo only has 60 HP, so definitely Evolve them as quickly as you can manage.

There is a second Mienshao available: BW: Noble Victories 70/101. Its Stats are identical to today’s version, and simply put its attacks are worse. For (C) it can hit for 30 and ignore Resistant. This kind of attack seems to ignore that if you’re hitting for that low an amount, bypassing Resistance isn’t a big deal. After all, the second attack does 50 for (FF); that is a horrible return for pretty much any Evolved Pokémon but still it hits just as hard as that first attack does to Fighting Resistant Pokémon.

If you really want to run today’s version of Mienshao, I am thinking you have to open with Landorus. Ideally you can get it to hit once with Gaia Hammer, beginning damage spread. You might need some Electrode (HS: Triumphant 93/102) Prime for extra speed and Energy attachments, or maybe use of Exp. Share will be enough. If you can get three or four Landorus set-up (with each getting one or two uses of Gaia Hammer off) the accumulated damage can allow Mienshao to actually be the cleaner it may have been intended to be. Those uses of Gaia Hammer should rack up a few KOs of their own after all. As for protecting Mienshao on the Bench, that comes down to it already being a probable OHKO and Landorus being the clear and present danger; you’re probably better off if your opponent uses Pokémon Catcher (even if you’ve got Energy or an Exp. Share on Mienshao) than taking down a Landorus fully energized to attack. Of course if you just want a Stage 1 Fighting-Type Pokémon, see if you can reinvigorate Donphan (HeartGold/SoulSilver 107/123) Prime.

In Unlimited, don’t bother. You’ve got the kind of search and draw power that makes the first attack worthless, and the offensive abilities of most commonly played Pokémon (even when not part of a first turn win, lock, or a donk deck) clearly outshine it. At least in Limited it can be worth running. Most of the time the first attack won’t matter, unless you are fortunate enough to pull at least one copy each of Mienfoo, Mienshao, and Exp. Share. Even without the first attack, it is just a matter of if you can afford to run a few copies of Fighting Energy or not. If your deck is already mostly fighting, it is a no-brainer: the nature of Limited means 90 HP is good and so is the damage output from Meditate. You’ll be 2HKOing a lot of Pokémon. Mienshao only needs that one Fighting Energy, so you only need to run three or four copies of Fighting Energy for a single Mienshao line. As such many decks can afford to squeeze it in even if it is the only Fighting-Type they run.


Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 1.5/5

Limited: 3/5


Mienshao is another Pokémon that would have been great in many previous Modified formats. Pokémon Tools are hard to search out and as long as it wasn’t a format of OHKOs, this would be a solid opener and closer for Fighting-Type decks. We are in a format of OHKOs, however, and it just isn’t worth the effort to get Pokémon Tools this way: you just need to find a useful “sacrifice” so your opponent pulls ahead by a Prize and run a few copies of Twins if you really need them that bad. Odds are you won’t have to even try to get behind a Prize. In a format where most Pokémon are OHKOed, most won’t have enough damage already on them for Meditate to finish them off, or conversely have so much damage from barely surviving that Mienfoo (and just about anything else) could do the job.

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