– Unbroken Bonds
May 24, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Mew from Sun & Moon Unbroken Bonds is another one of those cards that uses recycled effects from various cards…and is still a good effect to this day. I used to be excited about certain effects coming back to the Standard Format, but nowadays, it’s just another great option to pick and compare with other cards to see who is the better user of that effect.
Mew has an ability call Bench Barrier, and if you’re familiar with that ability name, it also originated by Mr. Mime from both Black & White Plasma Freeze and XY Breakthrough. However, the protection for your Benched Pokemon can be seen as far as Dugtrio from EX Crystal Guardians. The wording is important, while it protects your Benched Pokemon from damage, it doesn’t protect them from placing damage counters since that case is a effect rather than dealing damage. Machoke from Sun & Moon Guardians Rising is a perfect example of total protection as it prevents damage AND damage counter placements. Both Mew and Mr. Mime is only half of what Machoke’s doing.
Mew’s attack is Psypower, which costs C and puts 3 damage counters on your opponent’s Pokemon in any way you like. You can spread it further, making 3 of your opponent’s Pokemon get 1 damage counter each so that your opponent may not bounce them if your Mr. Mine’s Scoop-Up Block is active. To emphasize further, Psypower can still place damage counters even if the opposing Bench Barrier is working. Unlike both Mr. Mime, Mew can at least double as a protector and a planner.
I can see this be used in a single copy or two in case one of them are prized. When using Mew, you may worry about starting the game with it or eventually not have enough room for your deck. But what Mew provides outweigh the risks.
Afterthought: After reading Otaku’s review, I realized that today’s Bench Barrier is significantly weaker than previous Mr. Mime cards, as Mew doesn’t protect your Bench from your OWN attacks. As such, I downgraded the score from Expanded. Mew is definitely outclassed by both Mr. Mime cards.
While we didn’t have a true Throwback this week, almost all of the cards have had something tying them to past releases. Reshiram & Charizard-GX has the iconic “Outrage” attack. Triple Acceleration Energy is nearly a reprint of Boost Energy. Power Plant has the same name and stats as an older card, even if the effects are very, very different. The odd ‘mon out is Marshadow (SM – Unbroken Bonds 81/214) because today we’re looking at Mew (SM – Unbroken Bonds 76/214). Of course, this card’s stats are familiar – Mew is from Gen 1 – but it is actually the card’s “Bench Barrier” Ability that we all know and may love from Mr. Mime (BW – Plasma Freeze 47/116) and Mr. Mime (XY – BREAKthrough 97/162; Generations 52/83). Yeah, two different versions of Mr. Mime, one [P] and one [Y], know Bench Barrier. The thing is… Mew’s Bench Barrier is slightly but significantly different than that of its predecessors.
Bench Barrier on the two Mr. Mime cards prevented all damage done to your Benched Pokémon by attacks. Mew’s prevents all damage done by your opponent’s attacks to your Benched Pokémon. Protecting against self-inflicted Bench damage may not seem like much, but it is actually significant; even though it only applies to specific decks, those decks knew they’d be benefiting from Bench Barrier, instead of running it to counter other decks that may not actually show up during your tournament run. I’ll bring up another source of Bench protection that is currently still Standard-legal; Machoke (SM – Guardians Rising 64/145). Its “Daunting Pose” Ability protects against damage done to your Benched Pokémon (just like Mew’s Bench Barrier), but also against damage counter placement on your Benched Pokémon, whether from attacks or Abilities. However, in both cases, only from attacks or Abilities originating from your opponent’s Pokémon. So, head-to-head, both Daunting Pose and the Mr. Mime versions of Bench Barrier are better than Mew’s Bench Barrier. How does the rest of Mew fare?
Mew (and the Mr. Mimes) are Basics, so they’re the easiest Stage to run, though there are a select few times when a Stage 1 like Machoke could be better. The [P] Typing could be handy; Mew’s attack is such that an opponent’s Weakness/Resistance won’t matter, but [P] support like Mysterious Treasure might. 60 HP means Mew is small enough that Professor Elm’s Lecture can fetch it from your deck, but it is still a fragile amount; an Active Mew is an easy OHKO for most decks, and if your opponent can hit the Bench with something OTHER than damage, Mew won’t last long there, either. [P] Weakness just makes Mew that much more fragile in the Active position, and no Resistance is the worst, but 60 HP means neither really matters. The Retreat Cost of [C] is good enough; it shouldn’t be too hard to pay the vast majority of the time, and Escape Board can zero it out completely. Mew’s only attack is “Psypower” for [C], and it lets you place three total damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon how you like; all three on one target, one each on three targets, or you can go for a two/one split. It isn’t particularly good, but it isn’t especially bad either; it is decent for a filler attack.
In Standard, few high-performing decks are built around clobbering your Bench but that isn’t the same not needing protection. The “Electrobullet”, “Flying Flip”, and “Jet Punch” attacks found on Jolteon-GX, Tapu Koko (SM – Black Star Promos SM30, SM30a, SM31), and both Buzzwole-GX and Pheremosa & Buzzwole-GX are good examples of low cost, high-reward attacks which are much less useful when they can’t hurt your opponent’s Bench. Tapu Koko isn’t even particularly deck-specific. Pikachu & Zekrom-GX decks like going for a big finish with Tag Bolt-GX; it hits hard enough that in a deck built around it, it can KO both an opponent’s Active and Benched Pokémon-GX to take four Prize cards in a single move… but Bench Barrier messes up that play. There’s even a new deck making the rounds built around Weezing (SM – Unbroken Bonds 74/214). Weezing can place damage counters via an Ability while doing spread damage with its attack, but again halving its options still hurts it. While I don’t know of it winning anything major, it managed to take 8th, 12th, 18th, 25th, and 26th place at the recent Sao Paulo, Brazile Regional Championship, as well as a 21st place at the Santa Clara, CA Regional Championship.
Collectively, these make a decent-sized slice of the competitive pie for the Standard Format, making Mew a most welcome addition there. I’m still disappointed that it makes it even riskier to run Weavile (SM – Burning Shadows 86/147), as it won’t help you deal with self-inflicted Bench damage but your opponent can still run it to protect their own Bench. Or help things like my Lost March deck avoid a near auto-loss against Malamar (SM – Forbidden Light 51/131; SM – Black Star Promos SM117) decks running Ultra Necrozma. I’ll resist some schadenfreude as I note it also won’t help that deck deal with the “kickback” damage Giratina (SM – Lost Thunder 97/214; SM – Black Star Promos SM151) creates with its attack. For Expanded, stick with one of the Mr. Mimes in all but some niche cases, like where you’re running Professor Elm’s Lecture. Unless you pull something worth running solo, Mew is a must-run for the Limited Format, even if its Ability often won’t matter. At least Psypower might help you out in finishing off something hiding on your opponent’s Bench.
Mew is one of those cards you won’t always need, but when you do, it tends to be a lifesaver. Even with its Bench Barrier being nerfed, something that really mattered to me because I like running Weavile (SM – Burning Shadows 86/147) but probably not to most competitive decks. If we’d started our countdown of the top picks from SM – Unbroken Bonds at 23 (for some reason), then Mew would have made the cut, but that comes from it being my personal 12th place pick. I’m starting to understand why the others skipped it; though I still think Mew deserves a spot around where I had it I can see why several other additions to the cardpool seemed more important. Mew offers Bench protection to the Standard Format that is easier to access, but incomplete.
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