Mew & Mewtwo GX at the Japanese Championships and its Position at Worlds

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Introduction 

With every major championship, there is an expectation that some new exciting archetypes will appear, and the penultimate tournament of the Japanese season was no exception. On the 8th of June, the Japanese Championships, i.e. Nationals, concluded. This was the first tournament in which Miracle Twin was legal. Miracle Twin is the final ‘mini’ set which comprises Unified Minds, our forthcoming set. Despite the announcement of an early rotation this season for the World Championships, this first exposure of Miracle Twin is particularly interesting. It gives us an opportunity to see what decks and combinations were dominant and theorise what may become dominant post rotation. In this article, I will explore the new card Mew & Mewtwo GX and its influence in the Japanese Championships, as well as take a brief look at the card in relation to the World Championships.

The Japanese Championships is run very similarly to the Champions Leagues that Japan has hosted throughout the year. The number of entrants is so large that there is a lottery system for registration, (though players with Championship Points are guaranteed entry). Day One consists of nine rounds of Best of One Swiss, with the Top 64 progressing to Day Two to play in a single elimination best of three bracket. Due to the high player numbers, and the lack of ties, many players achieve a record of 7-2 only to bubble Day Two.

In a cinematic conclusion to the season, Reshiram & Charizard GX, the most dominant deck of Japan’s three most recent formats, went head to head with Zoroark GX, the most dominant deck of the past two seasons, in the biggest tournament of the year. Although power creep has been an issue with Zoroark, with each successive Tag Team introduced stealing part of its grasp on the meta, by the time Miracle Twin was released, many believed Zoroark finally had the tools available to be the best deck again. It was highly expected that a large percentage of the meta would be those aforementioned two decks. Going into the tournament, there was also a lot of hype for the newly released Mew & Mewtwo GX and Fossil Pokemon (with the release of the Stadium Pokemon Lab). Ultimately these pre-tournament predictions turned out true, as seen in the below infographic. Zoroark and Reshiram & Charizard were in their own exclusive tier, outperforming everything else. The below infographic was created using a summary of results collated by the website http://www.houhou-news.com. The data may not be complete accurate in their grouping of archetypes, so must be taken at face value until Limitless releases the complete summary of results.

Event Summary



For those that haven’t seen the results, Reshiram & Charizard won the event, with a list very similar to the winning list from the Kyoto Champions League. The main difference was the inclusion of the newly released Cherish Ball.  It is interesting to see the winner did not include a copy of Mew & Mewtwo GX. In Japan, due to the availability of Keldeo GX and Moltres & Zapdos & Articuno GX, Water archetypes are quite popular, so having an alternate type attacker seems like it would be invaluable. The common alternative, Eevee & Snorlax GX, misses key knock outs due to the main attackers of Water decks being non-evolved Pokemon. In a post tournament interview, the winner explained he didn’t include the card, for exactly this reason: he expected it to be a common inclusion in other Reshiram & Charizard lists and did not want to risk starting it. Malamar variants, although being seen in decreasing numbers, are still prevalent, and is another matchup where starting it would essentially lose you the game. This decision may have been influential in the final, where he faced one of the few Malamar variants that made Day Two. He also included two copies of Powerplant, a card that generally isn’t very common in the Ability-based version of the deck, to help combat Mew & Mewtwo GX.

However, it is important to note eight out of fifteen of the Reshiram & Charizard lists ran at least one copy of Mew & Mewtwo GX. Multiple Zoroark decks also choose to run copies of Mew & Mewtwo GX and Jirachi GX. 210 HP isn’t what it used to be, so Mew & Mewtwo GX gives the deck a higher HP Pokemon that can also actually attack turn one. It also gives the deck a better response to opposing Mew & Mewtwo GXs, if you’re unable to shut down their Ability with Alolan Muk. However the toolbox variant of Mew & Mewtwo GX, containing a plethora of tech attackers, was the most exciting version to come from the tournament.

The newly introduced Mew & Mewtwo archetype was the third most played deck in Day Two at the Japanese Championships, with five spots in the top 64. Of these five, the deck had deep runs in Day Two, including two in top 4 and one in top 8. There were also multiple other Mew & Mewtwo players who bubbled at 7-2, missing Day Two. The archetype is as boxy as they come, a binder drop style deck reminiscent of Vileplume toolboxes of previous years. I want to explore the lists that are currently available and analyse the tech Pokemon selected in each one.

Top 4 - Tadashi Miyamoto


It’s interesting to note this variant is quite different to almost all the others, as it doesn’t run the Welder-Fire engine for its Energy acceleration. Instead, it uses copies of Double Colourless Energy and Mina. The general concept of the deck is to discard as many Pokemon as possible so you can use their attacks with Mew & Mewtwo GX. Cherish Ball, Mysterious Treasure, Viridian Forest and Dedenne GX are the mainstays of this discard engine and is included in all the successful lists. This top 4 list deviates slightly by playing the maximum count of the newly introduced Hapu, as well as a single copy of Sightseer. Two Ultra Balls round out the discarding potential. Due to the reliance on many one ofs, Gladion is included in this list. Two copies of Secret Hood were included to both deal with Vileplume, which in theory has a favourable matchup against a lot of the meta decks, but also Alolan Muk, which cripples the entire deck. U-Turn Board is also included to give the deck pivoting options, being the optimal choice over Escape Board as the deck rarely needs to retreat out of status conditions.  Despite the deck’s heavy reliance on Basic Abilities, no copies of Field Blower or Reset Hole Marshadow were included to supplement Viridian Forest as potential outs to Powerplant. Jirachi was also not included.


The deck has no main attacker. Each matchup, each turn, calls for new strategies.

  • Latios GX is often used in the mirror. Not only does it hit for weakness against opposing Mew & Mewtwo GXs, it means you have immunity with its Flash Ray style attack. It does however only stop damage, not the attack itself, leading to awkward mirror matches. Copying this attack also bypasses Latios GX’s ability. Its GX attack is also situationally strong.
  • Altaria GX is included for the same reason, but giving the deck immunity to all Pokemon GX, most relevant for Zoroark matchups. Its second attack provides the deck with an out to Safeguard Pokemon. Its GX can also swing the momentum of a game, considering the HP of the card.
  • Noivern GX was always a card with immense potential, but happened to be released in the same set as Gardevoir GX, right when Double Dragon Energy was rotating. However, now in combination with Mina, the deck can achieve turn one Item lock. With one extra attachment, you are also able to Chaos Wheel, completely shutting down decks like Zoroark, Weezing and Gourgiest. Both of Noivern GX’s attacks completely auto-win the Gourgiest matchup, which was a very successful and hyped deck at the end of City League Season Four. It is also particularly strong in the Jirachi Zapdos matchup.
  • Nagadanel GX is included, despite the inability to use Triple Acceleration Energy, as the 170 snipe is a great late game finisher, knocking out Tapu Lele GX and Dedenne GX.
  • Dragonite GX is a new introduction from Miracle Twin. Although its attack requires five Energies, it has the incredible upside of dealing the magical number of 270 damage.
  • Solgaleo GX gives the deck a consistent attack, as well as providing additional Energy acceleration, and has immense synergy with the multitude of ways to discard energies in the deck. This acceleration is useful for setting up the attacks of Dragonite and Nagadanel.
  • Ninetales GX gives the deck a way to snipe early game. The main use of the card is its GX attack however, resetting all damage on the Pokemon, and more than likely also taking a knock-out.
  • Since the deck runs at least two Psychic Energies, you’re able to use Mew & Mewtwo’s base GX attack, which can be clutch.

Top 8 - Tomoya Morita



As can be seen, although it appears to be a different variant to the previous list, the same discard engine of Cherish-Treasure-Dedenne-Viridian Engine exists. However rather than a Fairy/Mina engine, more appropriate for a control focused list, this list used the Kiawe/Welder/Fire engine. Rather than slowly grind your opponent with Item lock and Flash Ray style attacks, you want to be aggressive and take Prizes as soon as possible, which is amplified by the inclusion of Wishful Batons. Due to the decline in play of Blacephalon, Weezing and Gourgiest, Field Blowers had been seen in decreasing numbers, Zoroark aside. The high Escape Rope count used in combination with Guzma allows you to break free of a Tag Purge/Bright Tone lock. Pokemon Centre Lady is included to help combat Giratina Loop. The lack of Secret Hood however means the deck has no immediate outs to Alolan Muk, and Vileplume cannot be touched outside of Espeon & Deoxys GX’s GX attack.

The other top 4 performer of the tournament, Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi, who ended the season first on the Championship Point leader board used a similar list to the above, but it is currently hidden behind a paywall.

  • Reshiram & Charizard GX is the main attacker of the deck, giving the deck a consistent attack of 230 damage. It is surprising only one copy was included.
  • Greninja GX is the decks answer to Safeguard Pokemon like Hoopa with its Shred attack.
  • Espeon & Deoxys GX is almost exclusively used for it’s GX attack. It punishes weak starts and can in theory activate the additional effect as early as turn two, in conjunction with Kiawe.
  • Jirachi GX is used mainly for its ability, meaning Powerplant or Alolan Muk is required for decks to hit the Mew & Mewtwo GX for weakness. This is particularly useful as no decks running Psychic Pokemon run either. Its two attacks also shouldn’t be slept on.
  • Charizard GX from Burning Shadows was always a card that was more well known for the obscene cost of the hyper rare, rather than the actual playability of the card. A five Energy attack on a Stage Two meant it never had a chance. However, it now offers the deck a comparatively cheap five Energy attack capable of one shotting opposing Tag Teams.  It also bypasses having to use your GX attack.

Top 64 - Takuro Hirasawa



The above list is similar to the previous. It chose not to include Latios GX or Noivern GX, however.  In their place, general consistency cards in Energy Retrieval, Fire Crustal and U-Turn Board, all aimed at smoothing the midgame over, were included. Space was also found for a Secret Hood.


  • The one addition in terms of Pokemon is the Stage Two Charizard GX from our upcoming Hidden Fates tins. The card is as vanilla as they come, containing no actual text. However, despite being a Stage Two, with a four Energy attack cost, the deck can use its powerful GX Attack. It’s able to hit for 300 damage, for two Energies less than Reshiram & Charizard GX.         

7-2 Bubble - Mahiro Tsuchiya



This list is very similar to the others. The main additions are Great Potion and Professor Kukui.
  • Gumshoos GX is an interesting inclusion, particularly since one of its strongest assets – its ability - is unusable. It does however have a very strong GX attack. For a single Energy, you’re able to knock out a loaded Pikachu & Zekrom GX or Mew & Mewtwo.

7-2 Bubble - Ayaka Nakashima



I’m not even going to try to attempt to explain what this list is hoping to achieve. It seems like a combination of things:
  • The Jirachi engine is for general consistency. This means the deck is less reliant on Dedenne GX and Tapu Lele GX (which it does not run). The deck also does not have cards like Welder to supplement its draw.
  • Hoopa is included for the Malamar matchup. It’s able to knock out Giratina, whilst not being knocked out in return.
  • Frosslass combined with Basic Water Energies is the perfect counter for Reshiram & Charizard GX.
  • Sceptile GX gives the deck a useful single Energy attack against Special Energy decks like Zoroark. Its GX attack is also strong, considering the deck will have many grindy games when you aren’t hitting for weakness.
  • Golispod GX provides consistent damage. The inclusion of the Wimpod also means you have the ability to attack cards like Lycanroc GX for weakness (assuming it can survive to evolve).
  • Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX gives the deck a strong GX move, when used in combination with Beast Energy. The deck lacks Energy acceleration however and is unable to charge up the additional effect.
  • Like other Mew & Mewtwo decks, Greninja GX is added to give the deck an out against Hoopa and Keldeo GX.

A Look towards Worlds

I’ll leave this section relatively brief, as I don’t want to write too much speculative content, as I believe I’m generally better at analytical matter, nor do I have any pedigree to talk about the predicted meta of the most important tournament of the year.

Key losses:
  • BUS Charizard GX
  • Gumshoos GX 
  • Noivern GX 
  • GRI Alolan Ninetales GX 
  • Tapu Lele GX 
  • Marshadow 
  • Kiawe 
  • Guzma
We also do not have access to the upcoming Hidden Fates Charizard GX. 

BUS Charizard GX is a major loss for the deck, at least until we get access to the forthcoming Charizard GX in Hidden Fates. Dragonite GX remains as an alternative however, capable of hitting at least 270 damage.  Gumshoos GX was a cute tech but the deck has many other strong options for GX attacks. Noivern GX is also a strong loss, meaning the deck loses one of its control options. The rotation of Double Colourless Energy however means its second attack would have lost a lot of its relevance anyway.  The versatility of Ninetales GX is a big loss, meaning the deck, in a meta without Acerola or Max Potion, has limited healing options

However, the pool of cards we do keep is quite large. We keep the vast majority of the Pokemon, and more importantly, we keep the Cherish-Treasure-Viridian-Dedenne engine that allows the deck to consistently attack with your tech of choice. Although we do lose Ultra Ball, those were usually the ninth and tenth Ball cards anyway, and the deck could still definitely function without. However, this does give the deck less outs to Dedenne GX. The deck would probably struggle to fit in the Jirachi engine, even if Pokemon Communications were added. Although we lose Kiawe, the deck still retains the ability to use Welder and/or Mina.

The lock created by cards Like Altaria GX and Latios GX is much stronger post rotation with the loss of reliable gusting. The rotation of Alolan Muk and Vileplume means the deck no longer needs to run Secret Hood. Although Hoopa also rotates, the deck doesn’t necessarily drop Greninja GX, as we still have Safeguarders remaining in format, in the form of Fairy Alolan Ninetales and Keldeo GX, as well as Flash Ray attacks from Latios GX and Altaria GX. The rotation of Tapu Lele GX and Zoroark GX, means the strength of Powerplant decreases, helping the deck immensely.

Dependent on the meta, there are many other viable inclusions as tech Pokemon:
  • Xerneas GX: Although having an awkward YYC attack cost, the GX attack of this card is similar to Ninetales GX’s and is game winning if you can pull it off. A format without reliable gusting means it’s much more difficult for your opponent to finish off damaged threats on the bench.
  • Magcargo GX: There has been some early talk of Shedninja Mill being a strong archetype going into the World Championships. If this tech is kept hidden, and used at the correct time, the GX attack should generally win you the game.
  • Solgaleo GX: In a predictably slower meta, you could turn one Sol Burst GX to help off put the rotation of Kiawe. Similarly, you could use Gengar & Mimikyu GX, Whimsicott GX or Porygon Z GX (though this card will not be available for the World Championships) to help your set up.
  • Silvally GX, Yveltal GX or Lugia GX: all have very strong GX attacks that are able to deal with the opponents active Pokemon.

Conclusion

This has been a short analysis of the use of Mew & Mewtwo GX at the Japanese Championships, and its potential use at the forthcoming World Championships. This archetype has the ability to undertake some quite convoluted strategies, so I apologise if I’ve gotten something wrong or left out some tactics. Although the deck does lose some important tech Pokemon and support cards, it generally seems to be escaping the brunt of rotation, and should definitely be on people’s radar going into the World Championships.


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