Mew – Unbroken Bonds
Date Reviewed: August 13, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Mew (SM – Unbroken Bonds 76/214; SM – Black Star Promos SM215) is our 10th-Place finisher. It is a baseline Pokémon, so no worrying about giving up extra Prizes, Rule Boxes, Battle Styles, or anything like that. Mew is a Basic Pokémon, so that means even fewer worries: you can Bench it directly from your hand, no special mechanics or additional cards required. It is a Psychic Pokémon, so you used to be able to fetch it with Mysterious Treasure and you can now use Fog Crystal. No worries about Weakness or Resistance: peeking ahead, Mew doesn’t do any damage with its attack. Mew does finally disappoint a bit, as it only has 60 HP. Simply put, Mew is an easy OHKO, but at least Level Ball gives you yet another way to fetch it from your deck.
Mew is an SM-era TCG Psychic based on the VG Psychic type, so it gets Psychic Weakness. This would be somewhat dangerous through its lifespan except Mew’s HP is so low, it only changes 30, 40, and 50 damage into OHKOs. The low HP means the lack of Resistance is even more of a non-issue than it already was. Unlike the often metagame defining Weakness mechanic, Resistance is easily bypassed by having an off-type attacker. Any off-type attacker. In the SM-era, it also only reduced damage by 20; the modern -30 is slightly more meaningful, but it is a minor bonus compared to Weakness doubling damage taken. The Retreat Cost of [C] is low and often easy to pay: no complaints there.
Mew has the Ability “Bench Barrier”. Even when Mew was new, this Ability was not. That just meant we knew exactly how to use it. If you haven’t read it yet, Bench Barrier states that it prevents all damage done to your Benched Pokémon by attacks from an opponent’s Pokémon. So, if there was a good deck that hit the Bench hard, Mew was an easy counter. Mew also has an attack, “Psy Power”, that costs [C] and has you put three damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokémon. Decent filler, as there are rare occasions where you just need such a tiny amount to finish off an opponent’s Benched Pokémon, and it can run on any type of Energy. You’ll almost never use it, though.
Dealing with Bench Barrier is both easier and harder than it sounds. Sure, your opponent could originally force Mew into the Active place with Guzma, and still can nowadays via Boss’s Orders, but unless your main attacker is only meant to do 60 damage, you’re probably forced to do a massive overkill for a single Prize to get your capacity for Bench damage back. It is also important to know that Mew released near the end of the 2019 Standard Format. Boss’s Orders first released near the end of the 2020 Format. There were non-Supporter options, but they were costly in their own right (double Custom Catcher), didn’t apply (Great Catcher), or requires a flip (Pokémon Catcher).
There were a few other workaround as well, like attackers that could force something Benched into the Active, or that placed damage counters but… yeah, Mew was pretty safe for most of 2020. It certainly was handy; Pikachu & Zekrom-GX only hit the Bench with their GX-attack, and even then, only when you overpaid heavily so you could get the bonus effect. The thing is, that was pretty important to your average Pikachu & Zekrom-GX deck. Use two Custom Catcher to try and get a multi-Prize Pokémon it could OHKO into the Active spot, then one-shot something like a Benched Dedenne-GX with the bonus effect. 4-5 Prizes in one swoop!
Pikachu & Zekrom-GX are rotating out, but Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX is already a proven deck that likes to hit two of your Pokémon for 120 damage. With a regular attack, so even if you have nothing easily OHKO’d from the first volley, hitting two targets for 120 twice can bring down even the smaller TAG TEAM Pokémon. Well, there won’t be any by that time, but almost every Basic Pokémon V and every single Prize Pokémon we’ve seen is 2HKO’d. Remember, that is two such 2HKO’s. Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX needs help to pull it off back-to-back, but even if it is alternative with its other attack, you don’t want to risk being on the receiving end of all of this.
We no longer have our Bench’s shield. There are less effective options, and it isn’t like every deck currently runs Mew. It is just that they could do it, and now they can do it with impunity. Mew was my 5th-Place pick. That’s right, fifth-place. Even though it is not in every deck right now, even though the decks that do include it run it as a single, it does something important that nothing else we currently have does quite as well. I think we’ll really feel its lost immediately post rotation… and probably longer. Unfortunately for Mew, it doesn’t look good for it in Expanded.
Like I said earlier, this isn’t our first time seeing Bench Barrier. Mr. Mime (BW – Plasma Freeze 47/116) and Mr. Mime (XY – BREAKthrough 97/162; Generations 52/83) are not the same card, but their attacks are filler, so it is close. Both have 70 HP, 10 more than Mew. Both are Basics with single Energy Retreat Costs. Mr. Mime (BW – Plasma Freeze 47/116) is still a [P] Weak Psychic type with no Resistance, while Mr. Mime (XY – BREAKthrough 97/162; Generations 52/83) is a [M] Weak, -20 [D] Resistance Fairy type. However, the big difference is they have a better Bench Barrier. Theirs protects your Benched Pokémon from damage done by attacks. All attacks, including ones made by your own Pokémon. Throw in the +10 HP, and your deck needs to be built around something like Professor Elm’s Lecture to justify using Mew.
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 2/5
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