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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Cards Lost To Rotation

#8 - Mewtwo EX

- Next Destinies

Date Reviewed:
July 29, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.17
Expanded: 4.33
Limited: 5.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Ahhhh, Mewtwo, how the great and powerful have been...well, great and powerful. 

We all remember when Mewtwo-EX first came out in Next Destinies. He wasn't just a powerful Pokemon - he was THE powerful Pokemon. He was one of the first Pokemon-EX to arise, and ever since he has defined the power creep that has taken hold over these past three-and-a-half years since his release. In fact, Mewtwo-EX was so popular and such a big powerhouse in decks, he got printed not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES!! (Next Destinies, the EX Tin, and of course, Legendary Treasures - four times if you count the special BEAMS Promo in Japan) 

And who could blame him? He did come into the game wielding one of the most powerful attacks ever to grace the game!...no, not Psydrive, though Psydrive in itself as a 3-for-120 hit was powerful enough in-and-of itself. No, the attack that made Mewtwo-EX and defined a format of mirror matches was the infamous X Ball, a 2-cost of Colorless Energy that made him as widespread usable as Seismitoad-EX with the sinister power of dealing 20 damage per Energy on BOTH ACTIVE POKEMON!! 

Now while he didn't always have a hold as an archetype himself, Mewtwo-EX was often seen in decks even as a one-off, given that the only good way to counter Mewtwo-EX in those early days was, well, with another Mewtwo-EX. Something fast that could deal tons of damage and punish heavy Energy-users? Absolutely! 

These days, Mewtwo-EX is marginally balanced out by the presence of Megas and a broader spectrum of Pokemon-EX, but he's never been quite as powerful as he was in his day. Yveltal-EX tried performing something similar with his Evil Ball, but his changing one of the Energy costs to Darkness and the loss of much of the Dark support in Dark Explorers led to him being a less prominent figure in the game by comparison. 

Don't worry though - Mewtwo-EX may be gone, but his essence will live on not just in the spirit of all the Pokemon-EX that have followed, but with a new one coming up as well... 

Rating 

Standard: 4.5/5 (still a powerful Pokemon, but with Megas around, he doesn't always do as much damage as he used to, not to mention the anti-EX cards have helped mitigate his usage) 

Expanded: 4.5/5 (he's still going to be a powerhouse though, and I don't doubt there will be all kinds of decks focused around his power as always) 

Limited: 5/5 (he was the best Pokemon-EX in the beginning, and in his set, he is the best Pokemon to grab) 

Arora Notealus: I remember it was right around when Next Destinies came out that I journeyed with my friends to the giant warehouse where they got their Pokemon cards. To be honest, it's a giant collectibles warehouse with a wide variety of stands lined up selling everything from comic books to video games. And naturally, there are lots of card stands! Not to many Pokemon ones compared to Magic and Yugioh, but still a fair number. I only bring it up now cause that was my reintroduction back into the game, and I recall one of our friends buying a full art Mewtwo-EX card for $60 at the time! Crazy!! 

Next Time: For when you need that quick retreat~


Emma Starr

            Mewtwo EX, a card that not only represented a time of OPness of EXs, but also of nostalgia for me, as well, since I pulled the FA version in my first pack of Pokémon Cards I ever bought. I wish I could say I still own it, as well. However, I traded it for a Nintendo 64 and some games for it, so I unfortunately no longer own that monumental card. Regardless, onto the review.

            Although being a 170 HP Psychic type Pokémon, as most of you are aware, this card was as splashable as you could get in terms of usefulness and power. The infamous attack, X Ball, did 20 times the amount of energy not only attached to Mewtwo EX, but the opposing Pokémon as well! To top it off, it only costed only any two Energies! In fact, because of Mewtwo EX and maybe a few other Pokémon, the rules were even changed so that the person who goes first can’t attack in that turn! So, cards like First Ticket are now, for lack of better words…dead and useless, like some of the Japanese-exclusive vending machine ‘Rules’ trainer cards. For a good time after its release, and even after, still continuing to today even, Mewtwo EX was a power house. In the For a good while after its release, the only way to really counter a Mewtwo EX was to use your own Mewtwo EX, due to its Psychic weakness. So, even if you didn’t want to use one in your deck, it was almost mandatory to run at least one to counter your opponent’s. It also had great synergy with cards like Blastoise (BC 31), Emboar (BW 20), and even Eelektrik (NV 40). How does Mewtwo EX stand today, though?

            First off, Lysandre is a very viable threat, and deck stable today. Pair him up with Mewtwo EX, and any Pokémon that is loaded with energy just sitting on your opponent’s bench is liable to an easy KO. That’s the best that’s changed for Mewtwo EX, though. Thankfully, the metagame has definitely shifted since Mewtwo EX was introduced. Although still a scary card, Mega Pokémon are now a thing, and can take Mewtwo EX at least a couple turns in most cases to KO. Cards like Thundurus EX and most other modern EXs and Megas now do lots of damage quicker than Mewtwo EX can, which is probably its biggest fall from grace. The metagame has thankfully evolved from where it was when it was first released, and today, the metagame seems to revolve around having as many cards as possible at your disposal, and getting as many cards in your hand as quickly as you can to accomplish this, and having attackers that are even quicker to power up than Mewtwo EX. Although their sheer damage may be lower, the ability to power them up quickly usually overshadows this. And even though Mewtwo EX will soon be rotated out, Yveltal EX (XY 79) still has a very similar attack, but seems to be delegated only to Dark type decks, due to Evil Ball having a Darkness Energy requirement.

            Oh, it also has an attack called Psydrive, which costed two Psychic energies and a Colorless, and did 120 damage, and you had to discard an energy from Mewtwo EX. Strangely, this attack seems more in line with what you would see on most EXs today. But of course, it costed two Psychics, so hardly anyone ever used it. Even stranger, in Japanese, it’s called Psycho Drive, which is the name of the machine that M. Bison uses to channel psychic energy to himself in Street Fighter Alpha 3. Interesting…

            Standard: 3.9/5 (Still a scary card, but not the quickest any more. Still insanely splashable, though.)

            Expanded: 4.5/5 (Blastoise/Emboar availability is always very nice for Mewtwo EX, especially with all of the modern draw engines of today, as well.)

Limited: 5/5 (You can never go wrong with Mewtwo EX here.)

 

Snagging 8th place via tie breakers, Mewtwo-EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99; BW: Black Star Promos BW45; BW: Legendary Treasures 54/113) also earns its fourth review.  In a somewhat strange turn of events, just like Skyla Mewtwo-EX is reportedly getting another release.  This time it is reported to be worldwide, not just in Japan.  It still is ambiguous what this means because I can’t track down official confirmation in the time available (if anything is referenced, it is another website’s unsourced announcement) and because the method of re-release is supposed to be a “Battle Arena Deck” and as such may simply contain the older cards, corresponding with Expanded becoming more prominent with Organized Play.  The exact contents aren’t know but the reports (again, unsubstantiated unless I had a research fail) include some other notable cards that either are or soon will be “Expanded only”. 

So back on top, Mewtwo-EX was our first place pick when we did our Top 10 list for BW: Next Destinies and that was back in February of 2012.  When we did our customary Top 10 list for that year, it repeated its dominance by taking first place yet again.  It didn’t manage to three-peat its first place performance but still came in as our fourth place pick when we decided to look at the Top 5 cards reprinted in BW: Legendary Treasures (since it seemed silly not to consider the reprints in a set of mostly reprints).  Of course had we known ridiculously early that the BW: Legendary Treasures print would be what kept Mewtwo-EX Standard legal for this current format, it might have scored higher (I didn’t worry about reprints of cards we already had access to for Standard at the time, so Mewtwo-EX didn’t make my personal Top 10 list, lowering its performance on the overall list). 

So… why did Mewtwo-EX keep making lists?  It helps to consider what it is: it was the best Pokémon-EX in the first wave of Pokémon to sport the mechanic and it could be splashed into and used effectively in virtually any deck.  Its prominence was owed to a variety of factors and perhaps by now more people are willing to listen and consider such things, instead of writing it off as “Pokémon-EX are broken!” or “Mewtwo-EX is broken!”.  If you think that last is true, just ask yourself “What if there was no Double Colorless Energy or similar, easy Energy acceleration?”.  Even though it means I can’t take it easy while writing this CotD… we’re going to run through the card quick while covering both its current and past usage.  To start, of course Mewtwo-EX is a Pokémon-EX: they were the new mechanic used as a gimmick to drive sales and it worked.  It also likely gave the card some psychological advantage as people tend to fear the unknown… and practical advantage as this was before both anti-Pokémon-EX cards and before anyone could become experienced in exploiting the drawbacks of being a Pokémon-EX.  Being a Basic Pokémon is still the best, but back then it was even better: you had actual Basic support from cards like Skyarrow Bridge and Prism Energy in addition to the inherent benefits of a Pokémon being a single card instead of two or three that had to be played in a specific order. 

170 HP now is still a potential OHKO, but back then it was more likely a 2HKO.  It was also a step up; before Mewtwo-EX released the most HP anything had printed on it was 150 (larger non-Pokémon-EX exist, but they came out later).  Psychic Weakness has been a concern for so long because of Mewtwo-EX being so popular; before that I don’t remember it being a big deal.  The fact that its own Psychic-Type Weakness was the only Achilles’ Heel for Mewtwo-EX until it was eventually overpowered by later releases.  The lack of Resistance was as much a non-issue then as now.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] was still pretty typical, but we were a ways away from needing to easily change out Actives; this was before we had cards like Hypnotoxic Laser that meant decks favored multiple methods of getting something out of the Active slot.  Then we come to the attacks:  X-Ball helped prepare us for the new standard where scaleable and splashable weren’t mutually exclusive, nor did they hit for less damage “up front” than other attacks lacking either or both of those traits.  Psydrive has seen little use, but it is actually a great attack, especially now when it has more combo options (Dimension Valley being the big one) and there are many high HP, low Energy attackers. 

Mewtwo-EX already has a successor, and that appears to be… Yveltal-EX.  You might have been expecting me to talk about something out in Japan but not yet available elsewhere and… I will, but I am stunned by people that seem to forget how similarly the collective player base thought of Yveltal-EX.  Having the same Stage, status as a Pokémon-EX, HP and Retreat Cost as Mewtwo-EX, Yveltal-EX has Evil Ball, an improved version of X-Ball except that it costs [DC] to hit for 20 plus 20 per Energy attached to all Active Pokémon instead of [CC] to hit for 20 times the amount of Energy attached to all Active Pokémon.  While Y Cyclone can’t hit for a reliable 120, its [DCC] cost is far easier to meet in an off-Type deck (you just need any one Energy beyond what you paid for Evil Ball), but it still does the 90 needed to set nearly anything up for a 2HKO and the mandatory moving of an Energy off of Yveltal-EX to something on your Bench (if you have a Bench) that looked like a drawback actually became the cards strength as if your opponent failed to score a OHKO, you had the option of getting the most important Energy card attached to Yveltal-EX off of it and onto your next attacker; typically this was a Double Colorless Energy and could result in your opponent’s final Yveltal-EX having a massive amount of Energy built up upon it.

Yveltal-EX also isn’t self-weak and enjoys Fighting Resistance.  Its Lightning-Type Weakness has proven dangerous, but Mewtwo-EX was its own worst enemy when it was the undisputed top attacker in the format.  I mean that literally; if you’ve played for more than a few months you’ve likely heard or read of “Mewtwo-EX Wars” that happened, where the trick was either having more Mewtwo-EX available to slug things out than your opponent or timing it properly so that you took the OHKO when they couldn’t and sometimes… it was both.  The big deal was that thanks to self Weakness, Mewtwo-EX was the best way to OHKO another Mewtwo-EX and this was at a time when OHKOs against Pokémon-EX were rare.  There are still times when Mewtwo-EX is the better choice now, the main one being when you just can’t include enough sources of [D] Energy to reliably pull off Evil Ball and/or when you really, really need to be hitting Psychic Weakness or tapping Psychic-Type support. 

The next “successor” to Mewtwo-EX appears to be the as-of-yet unreleased Lugia-EX (well, it is out in Japan), at least assuming there hasn’t be some surprise mistranslation.  It is a Colorless-Type Basic Pokémon-EX that yet again has 170 HP, Lightning Weakness, Fighting Resistance and a Retreat Cost of two.  Its Aero Ball works just like X-Ball; 20 damage per Energy attached to each player’s Active Pokémon.  What might help it prove better than contemporary Mewtwo-EX is that its second attack (Deep Hurricane) requires [CCCC] and does 70 damage but plus 80 if there is a Stadium in play.  The attack then discards said Stadium.  Normally a four Energy attack cost is blatantly worse than a three Energy cost, but [CCCC] can be met with two Double Colorless Energy (and many less general forms of Energy acceleration) easier than the [PPC] of Psydrive.  Discarding a Stadium may sometimes be a drawback and yeah, if there is none in play the attack is flat out worse than Aero Ball (which will hit for at least 80 points of damage with that much Energy attached), but you’d just use Aero Ball in that case.  If you want to keep the Stadium in play, again just use Aero Ball.  A 150 damage means that if there is a Stadium you can at least afford to discard, you just need a Muscle Band to OHKO 170 HP Pokémon-EX. 

In many ways these two are simply the most obvious examples of what has been the life of Mewtwo-EX; the Pokémon-EX of that first wave just weren’t that good.  Players tried to make use of them, but even in decks where you’d think using the same Energy Type would give them an edge, it was easier and sometimes flat out more effective to X-Ball with Mewtwo-EX than to Brave Fire with Reshiram-EX or Strong Volt with Zekrom-EX.  It wasn’t until BW: Dark Explorers that we got a solid line-up of Pokémon-EX: Darkrai-EX rivaled Mewtwo-EX by quickly 2HKOing the opposition plus having a Bench hit to offset minor healing or protective effects or take out something extra on the Bench or set-up something on the Bench that wasn’t a Pokémon-EX for a pseudo-OHKO.  When Darkrai-EX released, Dark Patch and Dark Claw came with it, and as the previous iteration of first turn rules allowed both players to attack on their first turn, Dark Patch meant Darkrai-EX could unleash either a 90/30 split or 110/30 split (the latter damage amount with Dark Claw, a Dark-Type only version of Muscle Band before Muscle Band was a “thing”).  The rest of the second wave of Pokémon-EX also all saw at least a brief window of success, including playing major roles at high level events even if their success didn’t survive the next release or two. 

The next few sets were a bit more mixed; not as lopsided as BW: Next Destinies for what Pokémon-EX worked and what ones didn’t, but with less widespread success than the BW: Dark Explorers allotment.  The main thing to take away was that Mewtwo-EX, while actually getting more tricks (save for the current first turn rules plus the Pokémon Catcher errata going into effect) quickly fell from being “the best” to “one of the best” to “great” to what is is now: “very good” but with a lot of competition as well as anti-Pokémon-EX cards and anti-Pokémon-EX tactics to take it down.  Until it officially leaves Standard play, Mewtwo-EX shouldn’t be forgotten or ignored; X-Ball is still a strong attack on a reasonably durable Pokémon that a Double Colorless Energy or any other unrestricted form of Energy acceleration can easily pay, and if you can attach “extra” Energy you can just keep upping the damage done.  It neither loses nor gains anything significant in Expanded play and it’s the exact kind of Pokémon a player would use in a +39 deck*... to the point you actually could take another similarly worthwhile Basic Pokémon and make a “+38” deck instead.  If you are averse to the risk of giving your opponent so many probable mulligan draws and/or of having a lone Pokémon to KO, it also works in less gimmicky Limited decks as well. 

Ratings 

Standard: 4.15/5 

Expanded: 4.15/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: Mewtwo-EX is still the current champ of “splashable” Basic beatsticks, be they Pokémon-EX or otherwise.  As is often the case, this means that the score at a glance can be misleading; it receives a significant bonus for being something nearly any deck can run... but many decks will have something deck-specific that ends up being even better because in that particular deck.  Mewtwo-EX is still a great choice for a “back-up” attacker, especially when you’re just not sure what else the metagame would reward or penalize.  On my own list, Mewtwo-EX came in 14th place, but the other lists thought better of it, elevating it all the way to 8th place and yet again I’m not complaining: it is a great card with a long history and still potent after three and a half year years of power creep! 

*For those not familiar with the term “+39” (or Limited play in general), the most commonly encountered form of Limited Play is usually the Pre-Release, though people can also use a similar procedure with older sets.  You get six sealed booster packs and use their contents to build a 40 card deck (not the usual 60); you do not have to use everything you pull and you are also given as many basic Energy cards as you need for your deck.  Each player also only starts with four Prize cards, not six.  A “+39” deck contains just one Basic Pokémon (the minimum required) and in doing so guarantees that you will always start with said Pokémon as your Active.  Usually you also make sure to include enough Energy that you cannot possibly miss an Energy attachment so as to ensure you access your attacks as soon as possible, though other card effects can give you more or less leeway.


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