pokebeach.comSo, somewhere between work and University I figured I should get to churning out an article, and while I keep throwing around ideas for more theoretical articles about deck building and philosophies about coin flips, people keep asking me about Mew Box. Partly because of my last article, and partly because of my YouYube channel. So, I’ve decided I’d continue on by sharing my thoughts on the effect Emerging Powers will have on this archetype.
As a foreword, I’d like to remind all of you to take my words with a grain of salt. So much so that I’ll repeat the point plenty of times. Our metagame is quite fickle and very dependent on what is popular in your area. Now more than ever, we will begin to see results that reflect what is possible as people venture into lower stakes competition and more people have the opportunity to play.
Early speculation on EP will have you concluding that Pokémon Catcher is an amazing card that will become a staple In any deck that doesn’t run Vileplume. Pokémon Catcher quite simply grants you the ability to choose an opponent’s benched Pokémon and switch it with their active Pokémon.
This effect is one that was synonymous with Luxray GL LV.X from the SP era of yester-year. For almost three years we saw Luxray SP dominate with Stephen Silvestro’s Beedril/Luxray SP build in 2009 and Yuta Komatsuda’s Luxray SP/Garchomp SP ‘Spirit of the LuxChomp’ deck, an archetype that dominated right through until the awkward format we had when MD-BW was our format.
Therefore, it would be wise to consider the effect of this card on the upcoming format. Now, given that Mew Box is a deck that features ‘Item-lock’ we aren’t necessarily looking at the role of the card in our deck. No. We are looking at its role in the upcoming Metagame in general.
I dare say that Stage 1 rush decks such as MEGAZORD benefit from this card more than any other, and with Donphan Prime being one of the most popular components of these, Mew based decks will need to prepare for a format of decks that can very efficiently KO Mew.
On the small scale, Catcher will provide an efficient means of disrupting your set up. It will assist your opponent in demolishing your Oddishes and even Gloom, not to mention anything else you try to set up.
A Yanmega Prime player may well evolve up on their turn two, bring one Oddish active with Catcher and then snipe the other with ‘Linear Attack’ for the KO, putting you in a very difficult situation. The kind of situation that will swing the see-saw of control in their favor as they take cheap KOs while you scramble for a Vileplume.
This was a problem in the HS-BW1 format, and will become even more so as we head forward.
Ignoring the effect of Catcher in ‘Micro’ situations, I want to touch on the ‘Macro’. In my eyes, the Macro effect of catcher is a potential shift from massive damage to snagging cheap prizes – the fundamental strategy behind LuxChomp – to both put the opponent behind in prizes and setup.
This strategy goes hand in hand with Stage 1 rush decks such as MEGAZORD, being that they are quicker to set up than stage two decks and have attacks that will generally 1-shot many basic Pokémon and this is before you start factoring in their variable lines to exploit weakness.
Fundamentally speaking, and returning to a core concept behind Mew Prime, Mew Box is meant to be able to swarm and overwhelm the opponent in the long term as they are shut off from their options.
pokebeach.comDonphan Prime poses a serious threat to the average Mew Box player. It strikes a careful balance in the matchup between set up speed, total HP/ability to tank and being able to very efficiently 1-shot Mew. I am not thrilled by the development at all in this regard.
However, and I reference the teachings of Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’ when I say it is important to not just focus on why the introduction of Catcher is bad for you, that is to say, how do we turn our weakness to its presence in the format into a strength?
The prediction I have posited is this: Pokémon Catcher may encourage the development of a format that emulates a theme from the last format made possible because of Luxray SP – the ability to take cheap KOs and disrupt the opponent.
Unless my ideas for Tyranitar and Max Potion goes somewhere (MAXIMUM TYRANITAR), we may well see a format that will progress toward KOs that are increasingly efficient, sacrificing raw power for speed. 6 Prizes in six turns sounds good to me, because unless you intend on donking, that’s the name of the game.
However, if more decks built on the kind of strategy exhibited by Ross Cawthorn’s Top 2 Super Rogue deck, I’d consider my prediction sufficiently challenged. It’s for that reason that I have not committed to a definite prediction.
We on the other hand may progress toward a format with a healthy balance between efficiency and denying prizes from decks that don’t boast enough power to get those 1HKOs on Pokémon like Reshiram.
So once again, why is this potentially a good thing for us? Simply put, Catcher and Max Potion are Items. You will lock them.
Initially you may ask why that represents a particular strength? Catcher in particular represents a card which will see players build around its abuseable strengths. It will become a pillar upon which the success of the whole deck will have to lean against. If catcher-based decks become the deck to beat, then catcher-based decks themselves will seek to find ways to make themselves more and more efficient to beat other catcher-based decks.
The theory then, is that by taking away this pillar of strength, when set up, Mew Box *should* find itself denying the opponent a mechanism of their decks that is relied on more than it was in HS-BW1. This kind of thinking can be applied to understand why David Cohen’s Reshiram/Emboar/Magnezone won this year.
Now, what I’ve gone over here can also be written off as rather speculative and full of assumption. It’s my personal view and while my view isn’t as educated as many players here, it doesn’t take a player with a world’s qualifying rating to tell you that Catcher has been the talked about ever since it was revealed. Don’t hold me to my opinions, but let what I’ve said give you some insight to strengthen your own. After all, our format has proven to be quite fickle.
Moving onwards to the reason I wanted to write this article, I wanted to provide those interested in Mew Box a quick look into the cards I believe are worth considering in Emerging Powers. Fortunately, I’m not interested in anything particularly rare from the set, just a few LostBox options (Pokémon to send to the Lost Zone with Mew Prime) and support Pokémon.
I’d like to emphasise that these Pokémon and their contributions to Mew Box’s strategies aren’t necessarily going to put you ahead of the game. This is merely my take on what may be worth your while clocking hours of testing with to see whether they are worth it.
Leavanny seems to be the Pokémon that has everybody talking in terms of Mew Box. Leavanny features the attack ‘Nurturing’ which for a single C energy provides the effect ‘Choose 1 of your Pokémon. Search your deck for a card that evolves from that Pokémon and put it onto that Pokémon.’
Leavanny provides you with access to a form of acceleration that will help ensure you establish Vileplume as quickly as possible that is not unlike Spiritomb AR of our format just past. As I’ve stated in the past, your success hinges greatly on being able to set up a Vileplume quickly and Leavanny’s attack will provide you with access to a much faster and more consistent Vileplume drop.
Alternatively you could prioritise a Sunflora HS after sending Leavanny to the Lost Zone to speed up your access to these Grass Pokémon as well. However then it might be argued that perhaps we no longer need Sunflora HS.
Consistency is something that Mew Box suffers from a lot and anything that can help up consistency is definitely worth testing. My advice will be to test Sunflora or Leavanny and also to test both in the deck at once.
Watchog is interesting, but gravitates toward the Mew Prime player wanting to maximise board control more than they perhaps necessarily need to. Watchog’s first attack ‘Watcheck’, for a single C energy allows you to view the top five cards of the opponent’s deck and rearrange them.
The utility of this option is that you can control your opponent’s top decks to a greater extreme than Slowking HS/CL allows you to at the cost of expending your attack for the turn. Now, this is okay since ideally you’re disrupting against an opponent that is also confused, poisoned and without the ability to use Items.
However, it is another turn of set up you need to establish and ‘Watcheck’ as a priority is lower than sending Muk and Jumpluff/Other attacker to the Lost Zone.
I feel that Watchog, despite its colorless requirement, is not splashable. You could very well base a deck around controlling the opponent’s board and top deck, but I feel it is a very large investment in terms of strategy and doesn’t synergise as much as we’d like.
Lilligant is a Pokémon I’m looking forward to testing in the new format with Mew Prime. We are most interested in its attack ‘Bemusing Aroma’. For a Grass energy it does 20 damage and a coin flip will inflict Paralysis and Poison on a heads and Confusion on tails.
Now, I will argue that this is, minus a few important details, strikingly similar to the upcoming Vanilluxe to be released presumeably in the Noble Victories expansion a few months from now. Vanilluxe features an attack that for a water and a C energy deals 40× damage and reads ‘Flip 2 coins, this attack does 40 damage times the number of heads.
If even one coin is heads, the Defending Pokémon is now Paralyzed.’ It is an option to look out for in the coming months.
I shall now posit then that Lilligant’s attack almost provides a weaker version of this effect. Bemusing Aroma, under trainer lock, will provide you with a 75% chance of preventing your opponent’s currently active Pokémon from attacking you and a 50% chance that it will both not be able to attack or retreat (barring the effect of something akin to ‘Fighting Tag’ on Machamp Prime) .
The reason why I hesitate to call this an emulation of Vanilluxe’s attack is because if the opponent is confused, they can still retreat, which is not ideal.
Now the potential for Lilligant to do well in a Mew Deck is like everything else, untested and speculative, however, I am very keen to get my hands on a copy and to start testing it as soon as my University schedule lifts up (I am eating into Uni time to write this).
Specifically, Whimsicott 12. This Pokémon provides us with two attacks. The first ‘Encore’, for a Colorless, deals 20 damage and you choose an attack on the defending Pokémon – they can use only that attack if they do attack next turn.
To me, this can serve as a replacement to Pidgeot TM in some instances, like the Donphan Prime dilemma for example. However, unfortunately, the usefulness of this attack is wholly dependent on the metagame we are heading toward and many Pokémon may not be very fussed at all when forced into using another attack.
It’s second attack, ‘U-turn’ for two Grass energy deals 40 damage and switches your active with another Pokémon on your bench. I thought that this was interesting because often times you’ll find the opponent abandoning their active to be KO’d by Poison while they set up their bench. With ‘U-turn’ you could both deal the final blow early and switch out to a benched Pokémon to protect it.
I don’t see myself needing it much, if at all, and its usefulness falls in the same region as Umbreon Prime’s. The beauty of it is if you want to squeeze it into your deck, by no means does it equate to you having to try and use it every game. It’s certainly an opportunistic play.
There are a few more Pokémon that look interesting and could by all means be the answer we are looking for in a new LostBox option, but I feel that the ones I mentioned above are the ones worth trying the most.
Moving on, I’d like to talk about a couple of interesting partner Pokémon emerging from Emerging Powers (lol) that are worth looking at as well. These are both suitable in Mew Box and beyond in other decks as well.
Swanna feels like a solid choice as a partner for Mew in the upcoming Metagame. With Donphan Prime looking to become ‘Public Defending Pokémon Number 1’, any counter could well be worth looking at and I believe that Swanna is just that.
Swanna is a water type, so that already provides us with a type advantage, with resistance to fighting, which once again provides us with a type advantage. It’s second attack ‘Air Slash’, costs a Water and two Colorless and deals 70 damage with an energy discard cost.
The damage dealt by this attack represents a magic number needed to 1HKO a Donphan Prime when taking its water weakness and Exoskeleton PokéBody into account.
I feel this might be a good play in a Mew Box deck that is trying to run against a heavy Donphan Prime meta. The discard hurts in a deck that runs on low energy, but given that Donphan requires 3 ‘Earthquakes’ to KO you, it could well be a solid play. The relatively high cost of the attack is manageable if you run a deck that uses Cincinno instead of Jumpluff as the Lost Zone’d attacker and may provide good motivation to make that switch.
Basculin or as I call it ‘Flailculin’, is another water type attacker geared toward the task of walling Donphan Prime. ‘Walling’ might be an odd way of putting it if you consider that it only has 80 HP and is a 2HKO’d by Donphan’s ‘Earthquake’ but consider the effect of its first attack ‘Flail’ which for a single C energy deals 10 damage times the number of damage counters on it.
If Donphan Prime attacks this, then it must consider that the return attack will deal 120 damage to it. If you drop a Rainbow energy to power the attack, that becomes 140 damage – the amount needed to 1HKO a fresh Donphan Prime. Flailculin provides an extremely cheap means of dealing with Donphan Prime, with even its second attack providing you access to a 1HKO as well.
‘Final Gambit’ deals 80 damage for a Water energy and two Colorless and has you flip two coins. If both are tails, Basculin deals 80 damage to itself.
I believe that this is an acceptable risk against a Pokémon geared to 1HKO your Mews anyway. Once again, its second attack has good synergy with a Cincinno based build. It even encourages me to build a Cinccino tool box with Swanna or Basculin.
So, I don’t think I’ve broken any ground in this article, and my opinions could well be off the mark, but that’s the beauty of this game. The beauty in this game comes through when something ludicrous like Ross Cawthon’s deck places in t2 at World Championships. Maybe Catcher and Max Potion will effectively cancel each other out and provide us with a healthy range of Stage 1 rush and Stage 2 power and maybe Mew Box can find its niche somewhere in between.
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Until next time