Out with the old, in with the Mew
How does rotation affect Mew Vmax?
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With the Silver Tempest season drawing to a close and the European International Championship around the corner, many people have turned their sights to the brand new Scarlet & Violet expansion and the format rotation following its release.
With its introduction into the TCG, we get to say goodbye to many loved (and not so loved) cards, some of which we’ve had in the format for 3 whole years! On the same day as the set rotation and Scarlet & Violet Base gaining standard legality, day 1 of the largest European event of the season begins. The European International Championship being held at the Excel London in April will be the first major event held in the west featuring the new Scarlet and Violet standard format, and there is a lot of pressure on competitive players to find and optimise what they believe is the best deck for the new format. This begs the question: What’s good after rotation? This is where I'm stepping in to explore one of my favourite decks from the Silver Tempest standard format and see how such a large format change affects its viability.
Mew Vmax has been an absolute powerhouse of a deck since its release in Fusion Strike in late 2021. With 6 major event wins and a top 4 finish at the 2022 World Championships, it has certainly been a stand out deck in the TCG for the past 18 months with a short stint as public enemy number 1. My favourite version of the deck is the Turbo list popularised by Azul Garcia Griego late last year and is the build I will be focusing on (sorry Fusion Mew players). So how does it shape up with the release of Scarlet & Violet?
One of the main considerations that need to be made when looking at any deck going through rotation is what cards the deck loses and the impact of them no longer being playable. Mew comes away from rotation only really losing 3 cards.
Marnie is a supporter we’ve had in the format for 3 years now and is a card that a lot of people will be happy to see the back of. Although its rotation will have a large impact on the next format, its inclusion in Mew VMax has been rivalled by another hand disruption supporter, Judge. The move over to Judge came primarily due to the existence of Oranguru from Sword & Shield Base and its Primate Wisdom ability being able to hide cards on top of the deck, making them safe from being sent to the bottom with Marnie. So moving into our next standard format, Marnie will most likely just be replaced with copies of Judge.
Quick ball has been the premium search card for its entire time in standard and will continue to be a staple in the expanded format for many years. It allowed Mew to efficiently set up early and continue finding replacement attackers and consistency cards, as well as finding the ever so important Oricorio in certain match ups. Strangely one of the biggest upsides to Quick Ball came in its cost: Having to discard a card to play it, Mew was able to throw away cards that were not useful to be able to refill the hand with Genesect V’s Fusion Strike System. Even though we still retain Ultra Ball and a few other decent search cards in the format, Quick Ball will be missed.
BIg Parasol is a strange one. We saw it develop as a way to answer a few popular pokemon, from Amazing Yveltal’s one shot knock out and the damage spread of Lost Mine Sableye to the paralysis from Wild Freeze Articuno. Going into the Scarlet & Violet season the loss of Big Parasol sees Mew Vmax a lot weaker against Lost Zone Box, susceptible to Giratina VStar’s Star Requiem attack and more vulnerable to game ending positions caused by Celebrations Yveltal. Although it is more of a situational card, where Big Parasol shines, it does so in droves and losing this card will be a big hit to how Mew has to navigate certain match ups.
Right, now we have the negatives of rotation out the way. Let's look at the gifts that Scarlet & Violet drops into our easter basket in April.
Nest Ball is back! Firstly let's delve into an old favourite of mine. Nest ball was last seen in Sun and Moon base set and rotated out of standard in mid 2020. During its time in standard it saw play as a staple of the format. With its reintroduction into standard Nest Ball will once again see ample play. Nest Ball is an amazing early game card and can easily turn into a 1 card hand refill when finding a Genesect V. However its main caveat is its inability to be a throw away card late game. With a full bench Nest Ball cannot be played, so too many copies will clog your hands and make finding useful cards harder. While most decks will demand 3-4 copies of Nest Ball, Mew has quite a niche counterpart that means it may not be needed as a 4 of. Feather Ball from Astral Radiance will share the slots to replace Quick Ball in the deck and give the deck more utility when it comes to finding your different Pokemon.
Arven is a new supporter from Scarlet & Violet. It lets you search for any item and any tool. This is an interesting and very powerful effect and highlights the new rules change that removes the item subtype from Pokemon tools. With Forest Seal Stone in your deck, Arven essentially allows you to search any item as well as any other card in your deck, which in Mew has limitless potential. Being able to grab Cross Switcher and Forest Seal Stone for another Cross Switcher makes Arven into a Pseudo Guzma (for those who remember that insane supporter). Finding Choice Belt and Power Tablet against opposing VStar Pokemon also means you are a Power Tablet away from knocking out most of the key attackers in format. One of my favourite uses of Arven has been finding a turn 1 Battle VIP Pass going second with a Forest seal to either find another Battle Pass, the set up Double Turbo Energy or even the Path To The Peak to shut off your opponent’s Pokemon. Arven is certainly a versatile card and finds a good home in Mew VMax going forward.
Now we’ve seen the cards we can start to piece together what the Mew VMax deck looks like going into the next format.
Unsurprisingly due to the few cards that have rotated out the deck isn’t a far cry from its Silver Tempest form. The main changes being our ball search cards. A 2-2 split between Nest and Feather Balls provides us with a sufficient amount of consistency, giving us 6 ways to access Mew VMax as well as mitigating cloggy hands further into the game. Path will be a mainstay in this deck until it rotates. Predicting Lugia, Miraidon and other Mew decks to make up a good chunk of the meta, Path gets its share of necessity. Path also slows down the Lost Zone decks as well as protects us from the threat of Drapion V. A mix of Switch Cart and Escape Rope now seems needed as we have to mitigate the damage output of Lost Mine Sableye and also be able to escape (pun intended) the ability lock of the new Klefki from Scarlet and Violet.
All in all this list has been a very good basis to see how Mew VMax performs after rotation and has shown that it is still a very dominant force in the meta. With the release of the Mew VMax Battle Deck, the deck has become widely accessible and is a good pick up for anyone wanting to get into competitive play, or even make an appearance at your local league. I very much look forward to seeing how Mew performs at the European International Championships and wonder in what capacity it will be seeing play later in the year at the Yokohama World Championships!
Writer - John Daniel