Mewtwo Strikes Flint

How I Found the “True Form” of Mew Box, the Catcher-Less Junior Top 4 List, and a Comparison to Henry Brand’s Masters Winning List
Worlds Top 4 Junior Cássio Moraes. (Congratulations, Cássio!)

Hello everyone! August has been an important month for the Pokémon TCG. We had three major happenings, which were (1) the rotation of Standard to UPR-on, (2) the arrival of the new Unified Minds, and of course (3) the Pokémon World Championships 2019. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to Worlds this year, but during July and August I prepared students for this big tournament, and during my testing I ended up creating an interesting version of Mew Box. In the end, my Mew Box list has the same plan as Henry Brand’s Mew Box list, which is to find and use Welder whenever you need it, from the first game turn.

Brazilian player Cássio Moraes of the Junior Division is one of my students and he got an amazing Top 4 finish at the World Championships using my version of Mew Box.

In this article, I will look at my version of Mew Box and compare it to Henry Brand’s version of Mew Box that won Worlds in the Masters category.

How I Found the “True Form” of Mew Box

When I started training with Mew Box, I took as reference some lists I saw on the internet, just to have a base to work with. Mew Box lists were usually full of draw Supporters like Coach Trainer and Cynthia, aiming to draw cards and maybe find Welder for the next turn. The more I tested the deck, the more I realized that the games in which I could use Welder both (A) as soon as possible and (B) over and over were the games where I won convincingly and the deck showed its true power. Every time I had only 1 draw Supporter in hand, other than Welder, I used the draw Supporter sadly. I felt that the draw Supporter was delaying my objective.

So after much testing, I came to the conclusion: “What if I built a version of Mew Box where I can use Welder every turn? Is this possible?”

That was when it all began. Already in the first testing session, using 4 Welder as my only Supporters, I realized that this was a deck with huge potential, capable of surprising and perhaps even winning the World Championships. Having discovered the “true form” of the deck, I used all the time I had to try to make the deck as consistent as possible without losing its offensive power.

Cássio Moraes’s Top 4 Junior List

Pokémon (18)

3 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

4 Jirachi TEU

2 Dedenne-GX

1 Dragonite-GX UNM

1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX

1 Jirachi-GX

1 Latios-GX UNM

1 Mewtwo UNB

1 Muk & Alolan Muk-GX

1 Naganadel-GX UNM

1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

1 Solgaleo-GX SM104

Trainer (30)

4 Welder

2 Judge

 

4 Acro Bike

4 Cherish Ball

3 Switch

2 Energy Recycler

2 Mysterious Treasure

2 Pokémon Communication

1 Reset Stamp

2 Escape Board

 

4 Giant Hearth

Energy (12)

8 R

4 P

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 18

* 3 Mewtwo & Mew-GX UNM 71
* 4 Jirachi TEU 99
* 2 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Dragonite-GX UNM 152
* 1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX UNM 72
* 1 Jirachi-GX UNM 79
* 1 Latios-GX UNM 78
* 1 Mewtwo UNB 75
* 1 Muk & Alolan Muk-GX UNB 61
* 1 Naganadel-GX UNM 160
* 1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 20
* 1 Solgaleo-GX PR-SM SM104

##Trainer Cards - 30

* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 2 Judge FLI 108
* 4 Giant Hearth UNM 197
* 4 Acro Bike CES 123
* 4 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 3 Switch CES 147
* 2 Energy Recycler FLI 143
* 2 Escape Board UPR 122
* 2 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 2 Pokémon Communication TEU 152
* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 206

##Energy - 12

* 8 R Energy Energy 2
* 4 P Energy Energy 5

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=74566 ******

Card Choices

Jirachi Package (4 Jirachi TEU + 3 Switch + 2 Escape Board)

Although costing 9 slots, the Jirachi Package brings many possibilities to the deck beyond just finding Welder. Finding Giant Hearth is almost as important as finding the Welder, as in many cases the whole deck combo will only be possible thanks to the Stadium. In addition, Jirachi has the power to pick out any Trainer with its Stellar Wish Ability, which means that every turn Jirachi not only has the ability to pick up Welder or Giant Hearth, but also Cherish Ball or Mysterious Treasure to find your necessary Pokémon and consequently filter the deck.

Jirachi is the best possible starter and also great feature to have on the Bench after your opponent Reset Stamps you down to a few cards.

2 Judge

I felt that the deck with only 4 Welder was inconsistent from time to time. I needed some other Supporter that could bring a different effect and also bring me new cards, just like Welder does. It didn’t have to be a strong draw Supporter, like Cynthia or Coach Trainer, it just needed a medium draw power to get rid of a completely dead hand. I tried several Supporters and ended up with Judge. If I don’t Welder on turn 1, at least I can use Judge to draw a few cards and leave my opponent with only 4 cards, mimicking the annoying effect of Marshadow SLG’s Let Loose. During the game, Judge has an interesting effect to disrupt opponent’s hand and prevent them from getting the two pieces of Custom Catcher or do any powerful combo. I feel comfortable using Judge with Jirachi on the board.

1 Muk & Alolan Muk-GX

Muk & Alolan Muk-GX was one of the most tested cards in the deck and its main reason for inclusion in the list is because of Severe Poison, which leaves the opponent’s Pokémon Poisoned and deals 8 damage between turns instead of 1. This 8-damage counter Poison brings interesting effects to matches against Malamar and Blacephalon-GX.

To be honest, when I thought of Muk & Alolan Muk-GX, my main goal was to use its second attack, Poison Absorption, to deal 120 damage and heal 100 damage if your opponent’s Active is Poisoned. To Poison the opponent, I tried 2 copies of Koga’s Trap and the idea was to hit for 120 damage plus Koga’s Trap for 10, so it could heal 100 damage and Knock Out Giratina LOT without activating Spell Tag, as Giratina will be Knocked Out by Poison (and not damage). In practice, I couldn’t use this combo much, and Koga’s Trap was not useful overall.

But I still see a lot of potential in Severe Poison. Against Malamar/Giratina, 8-damage counter Poison will force the opponent to retreat Giratina, otherwise Giratina will be Knocked Out and Spell Tag will not be activated.

Against Blacephalon-GX, Severe Poison is also very strong as Blacephalon-GX decks have no retreat cards like Switch or Escape Board, so a Severe Poison for 8 damage counters will leave the opponent in a horrible situation, having to choose between (A) retreating the Blacephalon-GX and losing 2 Energies or (B) accepting it and taking 8 more damage counters going into your own turn. If the opponent decides to accept it, the next turn it is possible to use Naganadel-GX’s Venom Shot to Knock Out a Dedenne-GX or Espeon & Deoxys-GX’s Cross Division-GX attack to Knock Out a Blacephalon-GX on the Bench and thus get 4 Prizes at once, preventing the opponent from using Beast Ring. Remember that Mew Box can Severe Poison on turn 1, so the pressure can be huge.

Muk & Alolan Muk-GX’s Severe Poison has another function, which is to deal damage to an opponent even if they’ve used Latios-GX’s Tag Purge or have Fairy Charm P attached to a Fairy Pokémon. Both Tag Purge and Fairy Charm prevent only damage and not Special Conditions.

Finally, we have the amazing GX attack Nasty Goo Mix-GX, which can turn an entire match if the opponent fails to get rid of Poison for 15 damage counters and Paralysis. To increase the chances of this attack having devastating potential, the deck has 2 Judge and 1 Reset Stamp.

1 Mewtwo UNB

Mind Report puts a Supporter from your discard pile on top of your deck, which is ideal for keeping up a Welder chain when needed. Mewtwo can be accessed with Mysterious Treasure and the deck also has 2 copies of Pokémon Communication to fetch it out. While Mewtwo needs a spot on the Bench, its ease of access and strong effect make it well worth it.

2 Energy Recycler

Most obviously, I first tested Fire Crystal and then Energy Recycle System. Fire Crystal rarely brought me the effect I wanted, since Giant Hearth gave me the Energy I needed, so I didn’t need the effect of returning Energy to the hand. So I decided to try Energy Recycle System and things started to get better. It is generally better to return 3 Energies to the deck than to return Energy to hand. If you have Fire Crystal in hand and need to use Dedenne-GX, your Fire Crystal will be discarded without a chance to have an effect. But the Energy Recycle System allows you to return Energy to the deck, put Giant Hearth on the board, play Dedenne-GX, find Welder, and then get back the Energies with Giant Hearth.

As I was testing, I realized that 90% of the time I was returning Energy to the deck with Energy Recycle System, but 3 Energies was still “low” as my version of the deck is more aggressive, consequently discarding Energy a lot, and I wanted to avoid having to use Solgaleo-GX attack to retrieve Energy. Although Turbo Strike is very good for getting back Energies, it’s not a strong attack compared to Latios-GX’s Tag Purge or Muk & Alolan Muk-GX’s Severe Poison, which can also be done on turn 1.

So I decided to try Energy Recycler and ended up liking it more. I never had problems with Energy again and the deck was less dependent on Solgaleo-GX.

1 Reset Stamp

Since I don’t use Custom Catcher in my list, I decided that I should disrupt my opponent’s hand to prevent them from having too many resources, so I invested in 2 copies of Judge and 1 copy of Reset Stamp. Of course, the Reset Stamp is ideal for the endgame, but I don’t have much control over it and in some situations I’m forced to have to throw away Reset Stamp at a less opportune time. In general, Reset Stamp works well, even though it is not that dreamed Reset Stamp for a card. Even if I use the Reset Stamp on my 4-Prize opponent, I think that’s fine. In the current format it is common to see the opponent with many cards in hand, so being able to lower their hand to make for weaker turns is interesting.

Henry Brand’s 1st Place Masters List

Pokémon (16)

4 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

3 Dedenne-GX

1 Cobalion-GX

1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX

1 Jirachi-GX

1 Latios-GX UNM

1 Magcargo-GX

1 Marshadow UNB

1 Naganadel-GX UNM

1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

1 Solgaleo-GX SM104

Trainer (33)

4 Welder

2 Bill’s Analysis

 

4 Acro Bike

4 Cherish Ball

4 Custom Catcher

4 Pokégear 3.0

3 Mysterious Treasure

2 Switch

1 Electromagnetic Radar

1 Fire Crystal

 

3 Giant Hearth

1 Viridian Forest

Energy (11)

8 R

3 P

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 16

* 4 Mewtwo & Mew-GX UNM 71
* 3 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Cobalion-GX TEU 106
* 1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX UNM 72
* 1 Jirachi-GX UNM 79
* 1 Latios-GX UNM 78
* 1 Magcargo-GX LOT 44
* 1 Marshadow UNB 81
* 1 Naganadel-GX UNM 160
* 1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX UNB 20
* 1 Solgaleo-GX PR-SM SM104

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 2 Bill’s Analysis TEU 133
* 3 Giant Hearth UNM 197
* 1 Viridian Forest TEU 156
* 4 Acro Bike CES 123
* 4 Cherish Ball UNM 191
* 4 Custom Catcher LOT 171
* 4 Pokégear 3.0 UNB 182
* 3 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 2 Switch CES 147
* 1 Electromagnetic Radar UNB 169
* 1 Fire Crystal UNB 173

##Energy - 11

* 8 R Energy Energy 2
* 3 P Energy Energy 5

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=74566 ******

My goal here is not to do a review of the World Champion’s deck because a list that won the most important tournament in the world is obviously an incredible list and you have probably already played some games with the list and come to the conclusion that it is a wonderful deck. My intention here is to compare the different choices between our two lists and comment on the cards that caught my attention.

Our Differences

4 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

The deck doesn’t need 4 copies of Mewtwo & Mew-GX, but it is completely understandable to include a full playset. In this list, Mewtwo & Mew-GX is the best starter and playing more decreases the chances of starting with Dedenne-GX. In my version, I only use 3 Mewtwo & Mew-GX, but I use 4 copies of Jirachi to increase the chance of opening with a good starter.

1 Magcargo-GX

I am convinced that Magcargo-GX is a better option than Dragonite-GX UNM. Of course, if I had space I would love to use both Dragonite-GX and Magcargo-GX, but if I had to choose just one, it would be Magcargo-GX. Its Lava Flow attack lets you hit both 200 for only 3 Energies (and one of them can be even Psychic), and 300 for 5 Energies, which is more than the 270 from Dragonite-GX.

The only other attacker in the deck who hits 200 for 3 Energies is Reshiram & Charizard-GX with Double Blaze-GX, which requires you to exhaust your valuable GX attack.

Dragonite-GX would be the ideal attacker if opponents didn’t use Choice Helmet in Green’s ReshiZard or even other decks like PikaRom. Remember that Dragonite-GX also can’t Knock Out Umbreon & Darkrai-GX due to its Resistance to Psychic. So while in theory it’s an incredible option, in practice Dragonite-GX has flaws in its mission to Knock Out a TAG TEAM in one hit. Magcargo-GX does not have this problem.

The cost of using Magcargo-GX is to discard all Energies, but Mew Box is well resolved on this issue, as the deck is built to use Welder almost every turn, and it has Solgaleo-GX for energization. Although you discard all the Energies, you’ll probably be Knocking Out a Pokémon-GX or TAG TEAM GX, so it’s worth it.

1 Cobalion-GX

Cobalion-GX is in the deck for its Iron Rule-GX attack which prevents the opponent from attacking the next turn. This attack give you time to energize Mewtwo & Mew-GX and look for Welder and Custom Catcher, so your next turn likey to be a strong one. It’s an attack can fix a bad start.

We have seen this kind of effect be decisive with Gengar & Mimikyu-GX in Malamar. You take away your opponent’s ability to use any card, resulting in a poor turn, practically giving you two turns to make a strong play.

In my version of the deck, Muk & Alolan Muk-GX also brings this possibility with Nasty Goo Mix-GX. If the opponent does not get out of Special Conditions, their Active Pokémon will be Knocked Out by Poison on their turn and unable to attack due to Paralysis, which in theory guarantees me two consecutive turns of attacks too. Though this is much stronger than simply denying the opponent a turn, it comes with a considerable probability of failure.

Although Iron Rule-GX is incredible in theory, it is rarely used in practice. Mew Box has an incredible array of GX attacks available, and there is a GX attack best suited for each matchup. Against Malamar, Espeon & Deoxys-GX’s GX attack is the most common to use, and Latios-GX’s GX attack is the most common against Green’s ReshiZard and PikaRom.

1 Marshadow UNB

Marshadow is very strong against Green’s ReshiZard and Gardevoir & Sylveon, or basically any deck that has many copies of Power Plant. The biggest problem with Power Plant is when the opponent goes first and already gets Power Plant on the board. If you have no Stadium on hand, Mew Box can do nothing because the deck is completely dependent on Dedenne-GX to draw cards. Marshadow greatly increases the chance of taking the Power Plant off the field as it can be accessed with Mysterious Treasure.

I kept Marshadow UNB in my list until shortly before Worlds, but decided to play without it because I believed that the only popular Power Plant deck would be Green’s ReshiZard, and not all versions of Green’s ReshiZard would use 3–4 copies of Power Plant. Aside from the Power Plant issue, Marshadow was useless in the deck. I tested a lot against Green’s ReshiZard with 3 Power Plant with my Mew Box without Marshadow and the result was a fairly balanced match, but still slightly favorable for Mew Box. Jirachi can find Giant Hearth with Stellar Wish, and even with Power Plant on board it is possible to use other Pokémon like Latios-GX, Reshiram & Charizard-GX, and Muk & Alolan Muk-GX. In addition, Judge and Reset Stamp are great cards to disrupt Green’s ReshiZard, especially after a Green’s Exploration.

2 Bill’s Analysis

Oh My God—I’m in love with these 2 copies of Bill’s Analysis in this version of Mew Box. Bill’s lets you easily find both Custom Catcher pieces, as well as improves consistency and the chances of getting Welder for the next turn. One of the things I felt about this Mew Box deck is that you can go a turn or two without using Welder. The deck will compensate for turns you don’t Welder with Solgaleo-GX, Cobalion-GX, and Custom Catcher.

I tested Bill’s Analysis in my version of Mew Box, but as I don’t use Custom Catcher, I found it a little weak for my deck. But in this version, with Custom Catcher, it is simply the best possible Supporter outside of Welder.

4 Pokégear 3.0

I was impressed how well Pokégear 3.0 works here, even with only 6 Supporters in the deck. There is a considerable probability of using Pokégear 3.0 and not finding Supporter, but most of the time it will be possible to find one, and this is extremely strong. I believe that from 4 Pokégear 3.0 used, the average is that you will hit 2 Supporters, which is already enough.

I had tried Pokégear 3.0, but always with Jirachi in the deck too, which resulted in a mostly unnecessary card since Jirachi was already enough to find Welder. Besides, I believe I was very unlucky in my tests, since I was failing to find a Supporter a lot.

The beauty of Pokégear 3.0 is that it does almost the same thing as the Jirachi Package—for just 4 slots. When I tested Henry’s list, I was surprised that Pokégear 3.0 was working wonderfully well. Although Jirachi gets any Trainer, instead of just a Supporter, I believe Pokégear 3.0 does its job well.

4 Custom Catcher

This is the most striking difference between my list and Henry Brand’s list. As much as Custom Catcher adds inconsistency and costs 4 deck spaces, it will always be a well above average feature to any list that can accommodate it. I tried hard to put Custom Catcher in my list, but I couldn’t use it consistently. Every 5 games I used it once or at most twice to gust an opponent’s Pokémon.

Because I couldn’t fit Custom Catcher in my deck the way I would like, I decided to bet on Judge and Reset Stamp to bring a strong effect to the deck. Judge and Reset Stamp are much easier to use and you don’t have to play the two cards together.

I decided to bet on Naganadel-GX and Espeon & Deoxys-GX if in case I needed to do damage on the Bench. I even thought of adding Espurr UNB (and I still don’t think that is a bad idea), but the great truth is that Custom Catcher is Custom Catcher and there is no substitute an effect as strong as a gust effect.

Custom Catcher allows for so many strong plays that it’s worth building a slightly slower and more consistent deck for it. Bill’s Analysis further reinforces the ability to use Custom Catchers more consistently, and I believe it was Custom Catcher with Bill’s Analysis that brought the deck an unusual power to beat any deck against any opponent in the world. Even in a Mew Box mirror, anyone with Custom Catcher will clearly have a big advantage.

To be honest, I expected little Mew Box at Worlds, especially in the Junior Division, because it is a complex deck and apparently weak, as the “true form” of the deck had not yet been discovered. If it were discovered, the best chance of seeing it would be in the Masters Division.

1 Electromagnetic Radar

Clearly this is included to increase the odds of getting Dedenne-GX, but I’ve decided to mention it because I found it to be a very interesting idea and it works much better in practice than I expected.

Final Thoughts

pokemonscreenshots.tumblr.com

At the end of the day, the two lists are built with the intention of using Welder as many times as possible to facilitate an arsenal of very strong attacks, but each list represents a number of different decisions. I believe neither version is right or wrong and that depending on the matchup, one version can stand out more than the other.

I ended up liking the Mew Box used by Henry Brand, especially the Custom Catcher, Pokégear 3.0, and Bill’s Analysis. Besides being the biggest difference between the lists, I was really surprised by the positive performance of these cards, especially in combination between them. Pokégear 3.0 worked so well that the deck didn’t need to use Jirachi to find Welder, while Bill’s Analysis was perfect for consistently using Custom Catcher and Custom Catcher is just insane, especially in Mew Box where the deck has the power to Knock Out any Pokémon in the game with Magcargo-GX.

Judge and Reset Stamp are also strong features and can unbalance matches, there will be times when only Judge and Reset Stamp will save you and there will be times when only Custom Catcher can bring you victory. Mew Box is a tight deck and maybe you have to choose between one and the other. Now that Mew Box has won Worlds, I believe the deck will be very popular, and with consideration of the Mew Box mirror, I’d bet Custom Catcher is better to beat the mirror.

Well guys, that’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed and see you next time!


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