– Detective Pikachu
March 27, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
When looking at this card, Mewtwo reminds me of countless 130 HP beatsticks from Black & White onwards that saw major success until the day EX Pokemon came out. Even then, some single prize Pokémon can still be respected when it hits hard enough to trade favorably against two or three prized Pokemon. Today’s Mewtwo from Detective Pikachu could be one of them. Psyjack costs PC for 30 damage and prevents your opponent’s Pokemon from using an attack that you choose not to use. Break Burn costs PPC for 130, and forced a 2 energy discard from itself.
Break Burn is Mewtwo’s biggest attack, and it can barely 2HKO the format we’re in with the help of Choice Band. Any Psychic weak Pokemon will get OHKOed instead. The energy discard can hurt, but Malamar’s Psychic Recharge can replenish those discarded energies back. And with Altar of the Moone – or Mystery Energy in Expanded – facilitating free movement, or Dimension Valley making attacks cheaper, Mewtwo can benefit any of type specific support to improve what it can do.
Mewtwo (Detective Pikachu 12/18) is a Basic Pokémon, so it’ll be (relatively) easy to fit into decks and to field. The [P] Typing comes with a lot of Resistance (most [D] and [M] Types), but good Pokémon Type support (Mysterious Treasure, Dimension Valley) and decent Weakness targets to punish (Buzzwole, Buzzwole-GX). 130 HP is around the point where surviving a hit becomes more likely than being OHKO’d; considering this is a Basic worth only a single Prize, it’s a solid score. It won’t likely last long against fellow [P] Types due to Weakness; at least most of them are also [P] Weak. Lack of Resistance is a missed opportunity, but also typical; if I wasn’t used to addressing it, I wouldn’t even mention it. A Retreat Cost of [CC] isn’t really good or bad; high enough you’ll want to avoid it when you can but low enough you have a realistic chance of affording it when you do have to manually retreat at full price. It’s a little disappointing if you’re relying on Escape Board but just fine if Altar of the Moone is in play.
Mewtwo has two attacks; “Psyjack” for [PC] and “Break Burn” for [PPC]. The former does 30 damage and has you choose an attack from your opponent’s Active; that Pokémon cannot use the selected attack during your opponent’s next turn. 30-for-two isn’t bad, and neither is the effect; it can create a “soft” lock, one that is fairly easily broken, but sometimes you’ll be fortunate and your opponent will only have a single attack, or at least only one really worth using, while also having no way to reset attack effects. Which is fairly easy; for example, use a Guzma, promote a free-retreating Pokémon, then retreat back into the original Active. Might be fun if you can tell your opponent is about to use a GX-attack. Break Burn requires a hefty [PP] discard and does 130 damage. This is a bit low for Choice Band alone to get it into range to OHKO a Tapu Lele-GX BUT there are enough other damage buffs that it is far from worthless… and you may also just “trade” a Mewtwo to set up or follow-through on a 2HKO attempt.
Mewtwo isn’t overly impressive, but it is a Basic and one that is not a Pokémon-EX/GX, which means it just doesn’t have to compensate as much as an Evolution or Pokémon-EX/GX, and especially not as much as an Evolved Pokémon-EX/GX. The attacks’ Energy costs aren’t as friendly as they could be but they definitely not bad. Counter Energy, Counter Gain, and Dimension Valley all let you use Psyjack for one Energy attachment or Break Burn for just two; you could even combine Counter Energy with either Counter Gain or Dimension Valley so that Break Burn also requires just one attachment. Probably not a good use for Mewtwo right now, but I think it puts us in the correct frame of mind; even a little Energy acceleration can go a long way with this card, and a lot? A lot might go even farther. Malamar (SM – Forbidden Light 51/131; SM – Black Star Promos SM117) already HAS a pretty awesome single-Prize Basic attacker with the same HP, a useful Ability, and the same damage output: Giratina (SM – Lost Thunder 97/214; SM – Black Star Promos SM151). Giratina’s [D] Weakness and how its attack forces you to damage one of your own Pokémon didn’t ruin Giratina, but it does make for times when a Malamar deck wishes it had a different single-Prize attacker. They tend to have a few different options in that regard, but most still need at least three Energy to attack; if Malamar is slow in setting up, Psyjack can come in handy just to be able to do something.
Mewtwo isn’t a must-run for Malamar decks, but it looks like another solid option for them… and while space is tight in pretty much every list, working in one copy to partner up with your Giratina seems quite plausible.
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