– Unified Minds
June 8, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
You were expecting more SSH – Rebel Clash? That was the plan, until I had time to look through some of the results from the Limitless Online Series – Qualifier #4, which you can see for yourself here. While there are many new cards doing well, they’re ones we’ve already covered, at least until we get a ways down. Near the top of the list were some surprises, or at least, surprises to me. Like today’s card Mawile-GX (SM – Unified Minds 141/236, 227/236, 246/236).
Remember Pokémon-GX? Similar to Pokémon V, they’re worth an extra Prize when KO’d but tend to have better stats and effects than their baseline counterparts. The boost isn’t quite as substantial as for Pokémon V, at least, not in general. Unlike with Pokémon V, there are many potent, proven anti-Pokémon-GX effects and relevant exclusions from beneficial effects. There three things Pokémon-GX have going for them that Pokémon V do not. A few semi-obscure effects you do not want applying to your Pokémon don’t work on Pokémon-GX. Pokémon-GX have a few pieces of support unique to them. Perhaps the most important thing of all, Pokémon-GX come with a GX-attack, in addition to one or two other effects.
Mawile-GX is a [M] Type, and that’s still one of the best Types due to their current, high level of support in the cardpool. It can also be good for scoring double damage on [Y] Types and a few [W] Types, but that isn’t too important to the current metagame. Neither is the presence of [M] Resistance on some [L] Pokémon; besides species differences, certain generations (XY, SM) have it while others (BW, SSH) do not. Mawile-GX is a Basic, which is the best; one card equals one copy of Mawile-GX, you can Bench it immediately (no waiting to Evolve), and many card effects naturally work better for Basics (like bounce effects). It also means Mawile-GX can be your opening Active, but this time, that isn’t a good thing (more on that later).
Mawile-GX has 170 HP, on the low end for a Basic Pokémon-GX, but still not an easy OHKO. Still a very doable target for most decks, though. It is even easier for Fire Types due to Mawile-GX’s [R] Weakness; just 90 damage and it’s OHKO’d. -20 [P] Resistance isn’t massive, but an effective 190 against OHKO’s from a reasonably popular Type is appreciated. So is the Retreat Cost of [C]; this is low enough you can not only afford it up front most of the time, but it shouldn’t be a huge bother down the road. It is also low enough for cards like Escape Board or U-Turn Board to completely zero out, if you really do need to avoid paying it.
Mawile-GX has three effects. The first is an Ability called “Captivating Wink”. You may only use it during your turn, immediately after you Bench Mawile-GX. It is optional, but if you choose to use it, you look at your opponent’s hand and Bench any Basics you find there. The only limit on the amount is that you cannot exceed your opponent’s current maximum allowed Bench-size (usually, five Pokémon). The benefits here are up to fourfold:
None of these are guaranteed, however. If your opponent has no hand, Captivating Wink cannot do anything. If they have no Basics, all you’re getting is a peak at their hand. Whatever you Bench – if it is able to evolve – will be ready to right away, during your opponent’s next turn.
Mawile-GX’s regular attack is “Wily Bite” for [MC]. It does 10 damage plus 30 more for each of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. That’s 10 damage for no Bench, 160 for a full five-Pokémon Bench, or up to 250 if against a full, Sky Field expanded Bench. Just remember your opponent will likely try to get by with as small a Bench as they can risk, but even just three Benched Pokémon gives a solid 100 damage. The same [MC] pays for “Big Eater-GX”; it does no damage, forces your opponent to reveal their hand, and then discards all Supporters you find there. Busting this out at random is a bad idea, though you may get lucky and hit something worthwhile. It can be worth it as part of a combo; even Captivating Wink helps with that.
As you can tell by the fact we have never reviewed Mawile-GX before now, I wasn’t overly impressed by this. Yes, Captivating Wink has a decent chance of wasting an opponent’s Bench-space, needing only a little luck to really hurt by Benching something like Dedenne-GX. When that happens, not only do you get a juicy two-Prize target on your opponent’s Bench, but you deny them a use of Dedenne-GX’s Ability. The same goes for Eldegoss V. The thing is, Mawile-GX falls into the same camp. So, what has changed? First, we now have Boss’s Orders in Standard; it becomes a simple combo to force something easy to KO from hand to Bench to Active…
…but the main thing is the tournament results told me I was wrong. Six Zacian V decks in the top 153 of LOQ4 included a TecH Mawile-GX, and that includes the 1st and 5th-place finishers. So Mawile-GX’s time seems to be now. How about Expanded? We have Captivating Poké Puff, which is Captivating Wink as an Item card. We have other [M] Type basics to attack with for a comparable amount of Energy. We also have popular effects you might want to run that shrink your opponent’s Bench, a better way of running them out of Bench space. In the Limited Format, do not run this as a Mulligan build, but include it in anything other than a Mulligan deck built around something else.
Mawile-GX seems to have found is niche, adding some disruption and a decent back-up attacker to Zacian V decks. Time will tell if this becomes a more common play in general, or is just a phase for Zacian V decks. I’d be more enamored with the card if it wasn’t as likely as not that I was using an effect like Quick Ball to fetch stuff like Dedenne-GX early game. Mawile-GX blindsided me, however, so take all of this with a grain of salt; I’m working backwards from tournament results, not going by what I’ve been seeing or running myself.
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