The Problem with Mew VMAX in Pokemon TCG Standard

Last weekend, we had three major events, all dominated by various Arceus VSTAR variants. These ranged from Galarian Moltres and Beedrill CRE to Lucario VSTAR.

Galarian Moltres (093/203)Beedrill (003/198)Lucario VSTAR (SWSH214)

On the other hand, Mew VMAX performed well, but was outshone by Arceus. However, it still managed to claim a couple of top 8 placements. All the eyes are now on the next three major events: Perth Regionals, Secaucus Regionals and Lille Regionals. While I don’t know what I’m playing for Perth yet, I do know that I will not be playing Mew VMAX. In this article, I’m going to explain why I came to this decision and why I recommend anyone attending these events have second thoughts about playing Mew VMAX.



The main reason I came to this decision is because of the prevalence of counters to Mew VMAX. Every single deck in the current format must have a solid game plan against Mew, and if it doesn’t, that deck isn’t viable. If you play Mew VMAX in the current format, every single opponent will have a game plan and a strategy to beat you.

Over this format, we’ve seen several different strategies which make up every non-Mew deck in the format. Some decks combine these and try and attack Mew VMAX on different levels and some only use one, but they all succeed in countering Mew VMAX in a different way.

The first, and most obvious way people and tried to counter Mew VMAX is to attack their reliance on Genesect V by using high numbers of Path to the Peak.

Genesect V (255/264)Path to the Peak (148/198)

The main deck which initially used Path to the Peak was Arceus VSTAR / Inteleon, but lately Whimsicott VSTAR has also been utilizing Path. The Mew VMAX deck I used in Brisbane Regionals only played two Stadium cards, but almost every Mew list since then has moved to three or four Stadiums as a call for Path to the Peak. However, playing those extra Stadium cards tends to make your deck significantly less consistent and can result in hands filled up with multiple Stadiums. Some players have even resorted to using Pumpkaboo EVS and a single Scoop Up Net to answer Path to the Peak. With only Path to the Peak to deal with, Mew functions well and is a strong deck. However, it isn’t just Path to the Peak out there.

Whimsicott VSTAR took the EUIC by storm, with Frank Percic taking second place with that deck. Whimsicott VSTAR uses Path to the Peak but also its Trick Wind attack to prevent any special energy from being attached. The ideal list of Mew VMAX relies so heavily on being able to use Double Turbo Energy to steam attacks with Mew VMAX and Trick Wind disrupts this completely.

However, Trick Wind doesn’t shut of Elesa’s Sparkle so many Mew lists have started incorporating one Psychic Energy and one Training Court to be able to power up a Mew VMAX in one turn through Trick Wind. With Whimsicott VSTAR being relatively fragile, a powered-up Mew VMAX with Training Court as backup for their Crushing Hammers and Fan of Waves is often enough to overcome Whimsicott.

In Indianapolis though, a new threat popped up with Beedrill CRE being played within an Arceus / Inteleon deck.

Beedrill (003/198)

For a single Grass Energy, Beedrill knocks out the opposing active Pokemon if it has a special energy attached. This is incredibly difficult for Mew to deal with, as ideally Mew wants to be using Special Energy primarily because of how efficient they allow you to be. It’s possible to go under Beedrill with a second Psychic Energy, but it is tough to draw into both Psychic Energy at once and still deal with the pressure put on by the Arceus VSTAR side of the deck.

Another way Mew’s energy has been attacked in the past was Duraludon VMAX.

Duraludon VMAX (220/203)

The Skyscraper ability prevents all damage done to Duraludon VMAX by Pokemon with special energy attached to them. Combined with Arceus VSTAR, this deck would have a solid matchup against any unprepared Mew VMAX deck. While playing two copies of Psychic Energy can help this matchup, the most devastating card for this deck has been Echoing Horn, which allows Mew to take six prizes off three Arceus V or VSTAR, ignoring Duraludon VMAX completely. 

Finally, many decks have tried to attack Mew’s weakness to Dark-type Pokemon. While Mew will out-trade any deck which tries to race with Dark-type V Pokemon, Galarian Moltres EVS has proven to be a solid counter to Mew.

While it requires significant warping of your deck to accommodate for it, Moltres decks trade very effectively against Mew by only having single-Prize Pokemon in play and being able to one-hit KO Mew VMAX in the late game. To combat this, Mew VMAX decks can play Marnie to have a shot at disrupting the massive hands which are usually built up by the Moltres decks. I have even seen Mew VMAX lists play a Pal Pad in addition to Marnie to have a second shot to Marnie the Moltres deck and further disrupt their game plan. From my experience, if Mew can Marnie the Moltres deck once, you have a solid chance of winning. If you can Marnie a second time, it becomes incredibly difficult for Moltres decks to come back.

I think playing Pal Pad over a second Marnie helps your opening hands slightly as Marnie tends clog up your hands and prevents you from drawing a ton of cards in the early game. Another option we saw last week was to use Hero’s Medal in Mew.

Hero's Medal (201/185)

Hero’s Medal forces your opponent to knock out three Mew VMAX to win the game, which when combined with multiple Marnie, is too much for most Moltres decks to handle. Hero’s Medal is also useful against the Mew mirror, as having a two-Prize attacker can sometimes buy a turn in that matchup.

Now, while all these answers to Mew VMAX can be responded to, it’s very tough to respond to them all at once. In this article, I have gone over Mew playing three or four Stadium cards, two Psychic Energy, Echoing Horn, Marnie, Pal Pad and Hero’s Medal! When you compare this to the Mew deck list I used way back in the beginning of this format at Brisbane Regionals, I only had Echoing Horn from that list.

When you play Mew VMAX, you’re often walking on a tightrope. While the deck appears to be very consistent on the surface, you can’t add too many specific tech cards before they start to severely impact your opening hands. The thing which made Mew VMAX so strong for Brisbane was that we could afford to slim down on techs as much as possible and just rely on the raw power and consistency of Mew to beat most matchups. When you must cut into your Rotom Phone and Cram-o-Matic counts to fit cards like the third and fourth Stadiums or the Marnie and Pal Pad, you start to lose the consistency which made Mew so powerful in the first place.

This is especially apparent when you start moving away from three Double Turbo Energy. Most of the reason I played Mew in Brisbane was because we had the list with three Double Turbo Energy and it was extremely helpful against Arceus decks and the Mew mirror match. Especially now with Hero’s Medal, it becomes extremely important to have access to three Double Turbo Energy which lets you stream several Mew VMAXs one after another.

The way I see it, right now if you play Mew VMAX with the answers to all the decks trying to counter you, it just becomes a shadow of it’s potential. While this doesn’t mean that Mew is a bad deck – I’m still definitely preparing against it – I currently don’t see myself playing Mew in Perth. When you must fit all these tech cards, Mew just loses what made it worth playing in the first place.

Overall, Mew isn’t a bad deck, far from it! It is still the most powerful deck in the current format and is extremely good against any field which is unprepared for it. However, everybody this weekend is prepared for Mew and all of them will be trying to counter it from several different angles. When you try and answer the counters as Mew, you lose the consistency which made it so powerful in the first place.

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