– Unbroken Bonds
June 25, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
-Budget alternative of Eldegoss-V or Tapu Lele-GX.
-Even if that Supporter card goes on top of your deck, item based draw power can hopefully draw cards for you. Expanded has Paint Roller, which guarantees that you’ll draw into that supporter.
Mewtwo (SM – Unbroken Bonds 75/214; SM – Black Star Promos SM214) isn’t quite old enough to warrant a Throwback Thursday, but we need to review this card! Mewtwo has been showing up as a single in a variety of decks since SSH – Rebel Clash became tournament legal. Head over to Limitless and you’ll see this Mewtwo in high-performing, even winning decklists. I’m not saying I thought we’d reviewed this card last year! I’ve been hunting through the CotD archive, though, and I can’t find it. I probably just debated its merit in a message board post or something.
While such a mistake is scary from the “I remember doing something I never did!” perspective, it is good in that what I said back then is far different than what I’m seeing now. Mewtwo is all about its Ability, “Mind Report”. When you Bench this Pokémon from your hand, during your turn, you may select a Supporter from your discard pile and place it on top of your deck. Recycling Supporters can be very good, as demonstrated by Eldegoss V, Pal Pad, and VS Seeker. Not all Supporter recycling is worthwhile, and Mind Report means your basically “sacrificing” your next draw as part of the deal while leaving yourself open to anything that forces you to shuffle your deck or discard from the top of it. You’re also giving up some valuable Bench-space.
The rest of Mewtwo is quite the mixed bag. Its [P] typing lets it utilize Mysterious Treasure and exploit a decent amount of Weakness. Being a Basic makes it easy to run and to field. 120 HP isn’t enough to reliably tank hits, but at least it forces your opponent to use a “real” attack to score the OHKO, outside of Weakness. [P] Weakness hasn’t been safe since before Mewtwo released, but 120 HP falls into the area where it usually wouldn’t matter, anyway. No Resistance is the worst, but also the most common. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is average, both mathematically and functionally. It was a little more irritating pre-Air Balloon.
Mewtwo knows one attack, “Psyshock” for [PCC]. This let’s Mewtwo do 70 damage for [PCC] that ignores all effects on your opponent’s Active; handy when you have to punch through various forms of protection, underwhelming otherwise. Probably a bit better now, as there’s stuff like Twin Energy to help, but we had other compatible Energy acceleration before, more abundant [P] Weakness, and lower maximum HP scores… and Mewtwo still wasn’t seeing play as an attacker. Still, as the filler attack on a Basic with a coming-into-play Ability? Far better than what such Pokémon usually receive, and just decent in general.
So, why is Mind Report proving useful now, when it didn’t work out that way as a new card? VS Seeker was gone from Standard well before Mewtwo relesed, so that isn’t it. Pal Pad was and still is around, so that probably isn’t it, either. Eldegoss V is a recent release itself, so if anything, one would expect Mind Report to be less in demand, not more. I believe there are three key factors, with a fourth honorable mention:
When Mewtwo was new, I specifically remember trying to use cards like Giovanni’s Exile to try and manage my deck space, though it was a Rhydon (SM – Unbroken Bonds 94/214) deck, so I had another reason to run that Supporter, and a serious need to use it turn after turn. Scoop Up Net provides a non-Supporter solution to keeping space open on your Bench both for Mewtwo and from Mewtwo. Oranguru isn’t the only non-Supporter draw option, nor is it in every list running Mewtwo. It joined the growing list of options like Acro Bike, Dedenne-GX, Jirachi (SM – Team Up 99/181, SM – Black Star Promos SM161), etc.
Prize Advantage is a big one. If you want to run a deck with only single Prize Pokémon, you can’t use Eldegoss V. Maybe you’re using other multi-Prize Pokémon, but can’t afford one more, or one more with only 180 HP. Mewtwo has 60 less but is only worth half the Prizes when KO’d. Finally, while decks still use Green’s Exploration, it was brand new and kind of “the thing” to try when Mewtwo released. Much like my choice in listing Oranguru, it is really just one example of a variety of metagame changes that helped elevate Mewtwo from where it was and had been for most of its Standard-legal life.
So, Mewtwo has become a good, solid option for Standard. It should function in almost any deck, and many decks should be able to use it well. They may need the space for something else, or may just prefer the other Supporter-recycling options. In Expanded, we have VS Seeker. In theory, you might want Mewtwo for either its Ability or attack here; VS Seeker does slam its head against Item-lock, and protective effects can be quite the nuisance. Ability denial is also common, however, and getting around various protective effects is often as simple as “Don’t run all the same thing”. I’ll be optimistic and avoid giving it a minimal score.
Mewtwo shows up in the “Battle Mind” Theme Deck, so let’s discuss it in both the Limited and Theme Formats. Battle Mind actually contains a great Supporter (Welder) and a form of Bench-sitting, Ability-based reusable draw power via Salazzle (SM – Unbroken Bonds 31/214). Even the attack can be handy, cutting through irritating protective effects; here, it is usually something small stalling with an attack like “Agility” and not some big, Basic walling with a protective Ability. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Pokémon vying for your Bench-space in the Battle Mind deck, and even with Salazzle and Welder – or perhaps because of them – it was very easy to lack enough Fire Energy cards actually in my hand. In the Limited Format, you lack this support… but odds are so does everyone else, and suddenly Mewtwo isn’t tripping over as many other Bench-sitters.
Mewtwo’s Mind Report is finally paying off, with examples of it working for competitive decks. I remember loving Mind Report when I first saw it, being disappointed with my actual results, and (apparently) writing a review that doesn’t exist. I’m just glad I could give Mewtwo its due, even if it was in a late review.
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