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Mewvesets and Their Place in the Meta

Mewvesets and Their Place in the Meta
Introduction

Prior to Mew's release in Pokemon GO, the game master projected that Mew would come with one fast move, Pound, and a handful of relatively weak charge moves. With the game master change, Mew now has 14 fast moves and 25 different flavors of charge move to choose from - all of which prompts the question, “Which one is best?”

The conclusion of this article is “Shadow Claw + Ice Beam” but that might not be the right answer for you. For most Pokemon the answer is simple. Between the Pokemon’s type and limited movepool, their role in the meta is often clearly defined, and their best moveset along with it. You may run into some close comparisons such as Dragon Breath vs. Dragon Tail, or a role split such as Hurricane vs. Outrage, but it’s obvious which moveset allows them to perform best in their most relevant role. If you had to guess, it’s basically 50/50 and even if you’re wrong, you’re likely not 100% wrong. For Mew, it’s complicated.

Mew's Place in the Meta
Mewtwo, Latios, Latias, Rayquaza, Lugia, and Kyogre

To figure out a Pokemon’s best moveset, you have to understand their place in the meta. In the traditional sense, Mew doesn’t have one. It’s a generalist, but instead of having a single broad sweeping moveset, it has to specialize to stand out. This would make it a specialist, but since the movesets are so highly specialized and are often done well enough by other Pokemon with more coverage, Mew’s value is called into question. Despite these drawbacks, Mew has an additional trait few other Pokemon have: We are all 100% guaranteed to get one. Therefore, its role as a specialist is also personalized.

Here are Mew’s best matchups:

Note: Despite its type advantage, Mew is a poor option in Machamp, Gengar, and Alakazam raids.  

Role - Good / Tank

Best Moveset: Shadow Claw + Dark Pulse

Great Movesets: Snarl + Dark Pulse, Shadow Claw + Most

  • Specializes in Focus Blast Mewtwo, where it has higher DPS than Lugia and higher TDO than all other Pokemon aside from Mewtwo and Lugia

  • Shadow Claw’s breakpoint is at L36.5, which can be met by all Mew

  • Mew’s most relevant bulkpoint is at L36.5, where it can tank 7 Confusions and 1 Focus Blast, suggesting Mew will often faint on a second Focus Blast

Role - Good Gap Filler

Best Movesets: Shadow Claw or Dragon Tail + Dazzling Gleam

Great Movesets: Shadow Claw or Dragon Tail + Ice Beam, Blizzard, or Dragon Claw

  • Matches Articuno and Groudon overall against Latios and Latias, respectively

  • Very good option, it just isn’t one of the Big 3 Dragons or Tyranitar

  • Dragon Tail’s breakpoint is at L30 for Latios and L34.5 for Latias

  • Shadow Claw’s breakpoint is at L26 for Latios and at L22.5 and L40 for Latias

  • The two fast moves perform evenly, but Shadow Claw is much better at L40 for Latias if you have a 15 atk IV

  • Zen Headbutt + Solar Beam bulkpoints are at levels 30, 31, 34, and 37

Role - Gap Filler / Tank

Best Moveset: Shadow Claw + Wild Charge

Great Movesets: Shadow Claw + Blizzard or Thunderbolt

  • Similar to Kyogre in performance overall

  • Better vs. Future Sight, worse vs. Hydro Pump

  • Unfortunately, Tyranitar is outright better vs. Sky Attack and Future Sight

  • Raikou, Zapdos, and Mewtwo are also better options overall

  • Shadow Claw’s breakpoint is at L34

Role - Near Supreme

Best Movesets: Frost Breath + Ice Beam or Blizzard

Great Movesets: Dragon Tail + Ice Beam or Blizzard

  • 2nd highest attack stat of all “Ice-type” Pokemon

  • Highest CP of all “Ice-type” Pokemon

  • Isn’t weak to Ancient Power or Outrage

  • Frost Breath’s breakpoint is at L30

  • Dragon Tail’s breakpoint is at L32

  • Outrage bulkpoints are at levels 29, 32.5, and 38.5

Role - Blizzard Tank

Best Movesets: Charge Beam + Wild Charge or Grass Knot

Great Movesets: Most + Wild Charge or Grass Knot

  • Can survive 6 Waterfall and 1 Blizzard by L36 (L39 if lowest IVs)

  • Raikou can only survive 5, Mewtwo 4, and Groudon, Latios 3

  • Ho-Oh can survive 7, but only at level 40 with perfect IVs

  • This makes Mew extremely reliable against Blizzard Kyogre

  • Bulkpoints are at levels 27.5, 31.5, and 36

Best Raiding Set

Before bringing in gyming or complex equations, it is safe to say Shadow Claw is Mew’s best fast move. The odd matchup out is Rayquaza who is out of rotation. Should Rayquaza return, Shadow Claw + Ice Beam functions on the level of most Ice-type Pokemon and changing to either Frost Breath or Dragon Tail should only take 4-14 Fast Move TMs (50-90% probability). If you have no intention of using Mew to fight Mewtwo, then settling on Dragon Tail in your search for Shadow Claw won’t hold Mew back.

For charge moves, Blizzard came up 4 times, and Wild Charge and Ice Beam 3 times. If Latios and Latias were treated as one, then the charge moves score 3, 3, and 2 respectively. If you only count raids that are currently in rotation, then Wild Charge doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Overall, at this point you’ve been provided enough tools to decide which moveset you feel is the best for you. Given how valuable Charge Move TMs are and that it will take roughly 17-54 of them to get any one charge move, you may want to settle on Blizzard, Ice Beam, Wild Charge, Grass Knot, Dark Pulse, Dragon Claw, or Dazzling Gleam.

If such a simple answer isn’t enough and you need to know the #1 BEST, we have to bring in the numbers. Averaging the “overall” scores for each Mew moveset from Pokebattler, using a reasonable control for “unviable” movesets per matchup (i.e. Blizzard vs Kyogre), and controlling for Latios and Latias being so similar, it was found that against all 6 raids, Ice Beam is the universal best. If you only consider our current raids (Latios, Latias, and Mewtwo), then Blizzard ties with Dark Pulse.

In both models, Blizzard and Ice Beam were 3rd best respectively. If you were to average these rankings together, then Ice Beam, Blizzard, and Dark Pulse are all in 1st place. While this isn’t a #1 answer, we are closer.

Best Gyming Set

Defining Mew’s best moveset by raids alone has some obvious flaws. Many of these raids are over, one is an inconsistent EX raid you may or may not get, and the other 2 will eventually leave us. What remains unchanged are gyms. While Mew doesn’t have the makings of a great gym attacker, its wide movepool, great all-around stats, and access to Shadow Claw gives it the makings of a good gym cleaner (taking out weak/highly demotivated Pokemon quickly and efficiently).

Note: Despite Mew’s similarity in type and coverage to Mewtwo, Mew isn’t a top Normal-type counter.

Using doublefelix and biowpn’s comprehensive DPS model, here are some focused picks from Mew’s 350 different moveset combinations.

Through comprehensive cycle DPS, Wild Charge and Grass Knot appear to be the best, in the 99th percentile, 2 standard deviations above the mean of all of Mew’s movesets. Considering Mew’s performance against Lugia and Kyogre raids, Mew is arguably the 3rd best “Electric-type” in the game, just behind Raikou and Zapdos. Psyshock is just behind Wild Charge and Grass Knot in the 98th percentile. While Ghost and Psychic dual-type coverage is already handled by Mewtwo, Mew has the potential to clean gyms faster since the 3 bar charge move Psyshock can be deployed earlier and better avoids overkill (i.e., energy waste). Dragon Tail could be opted for over Shadow Claw for a dual weather boost on the Psyshock set, trading coverage for raw damage.

Dazzling Gleam, Blizzard, Dragon Claw, Ice Beam, and Dark Pulse are all roughly the same in performance. While Dazzling Gleam is 10% better than Ice Beam and Dragon Claw, it won’t really be felt in true performance. The exceptions are Blizzard, because it’s a single bar charge move with relatively low damage per energy (poor for gym cleaning) and Dark Pulse, being almost 1 full standard deviation away from Dazzling Gleam. At this level, trainers really have to consider what Mew is doing that other Pokemon aren’t, and what true advantages lie between the five moves.

Dazzling Gleam has the benefit of a common weather type (cloudy), however, Fairy is more of a defensive type than offensive. While it’s excellent against some of the best attacking types in the game (Fighting, Dragon, and Dark), it’s resisted by some of the best defensive and most common types of Pokemon (Steel, Poison, and Fire). Ice-type damage on the other hand is one of the greatest offensive types, super effective against two of the most common types of Pokemon, Grass and Flying, as well as Ground and Dragon. Dragon Claw and Dark Pulse also have excellent neutral coverage, but ultimately suffer from competing Dragon and Dark-type Pokemon (Rayquaza, Dragonite, Latios, and Tyranitar).

Dazzling Gleam also suffers from Gardevoir and Granbull as competition, with Granbull having the same exact coverage. Ice Beam on the other hand only brings in Articuno and Cloyster as substantive competition, both of which have very similar comprehensive DPS to Mew and are forced to run dual Ice-type sets. Mew’s ability to rise above threats such as Metagross, Wobbuffet, Gardevoir, and the Slowdudes more quickly with Shadow Claw, while being exempt from Ice-type’s weaknesses, makes Mew more viable for the gym attacking role.

Closing

Shadow Claw + Ice Beam isn’t Mew’s personal best moveset but it is one of few movesets in which Mew isn’t completely eclipsed by greater Pokemon. Given that Dark Pulse, Ice Beam, and Blizzard are in competition for the best raiding moveset, this arguably makes Shadow Claw + Ice Beam Mew’s greatest universal moveset. #1.

Considering the difficulty of pulling 1 specific charge move out of 25, unless you have over 50 Charged TMs to spend, it may be more reasonable to set several charge moves in your mind as “acceptable.” The best candidates after Ice Beam include Blizzard, Dark Pulse, Wild Charge, Grass Knot, and Dazzling Gleam in no specific order. If you happen to pull Psyshock, try it out for gym cleaning and see how you like it. Using a Psychic-type charge move for gyming is something that is unique to Mew and is in the 98th percentile of all Mew movesets in comprehensive DPS; just don’t expect it to be a decent raider.

While Dragon Claw is a fan favorite, it’s a bit too mild to stand out, especially with all the Dragon-types towering over it. Overall, Mew isn’t a top tier attacker but with its wide movepool it has managed to carve several niches for itself in the Pokemon GO meta. It still isn’t a “must power up” Pokemon, but there are plenty of reasons to power up Mew aside from cuteness and nostalgia. Whether your intent is to fill gaps on your [email protected] team, take on Focus Blast Mewtwo better, clean gyms, or prepare for the return of key tier 5 raid bosses, if powered up, your Mew will serve!