As 1 pm PDT on September 20, 2018 neared, players held their breath with anticipation over what new charged move would feature in Mewtwo’s movepool to mark its debut in regular raids. To our surprise, Mewtwo received not 1, not 2, but 3 new charged moves in Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, and Flamethrower!
In retrospect, maybe it’s not so surprising that Mewtwo received charged moves representative of each of gen 1’s legendary birds. With 3 new charged moves in its movepool, Mewtwo now has 14 possible sets in GO, 10 of which are currently obtainable. What roles could each of these sets have, and how do they compare to each other?
Shadow Ball: Still the Best
Mewtwo’s Shadow Ball sets yielded both the second highest Ghost DPS in the game and the second highest generalist DPS in the game. Though Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, and Flamethrower are all very good charged moves, none dethrone Shadow Ball by way of overall DPS.
What Killed the Dragon-Types?
Though it’s the worst of Mewtwo’s 3 new charged moves by way of overall DPS, Ice Beam is potentially the most useful. This is due to the Ice type’s lack of representation at the top of the DPS charts. Psycho Cut + Ice Beam Mewtwo is the second highest DPS Ice attacker in GO and thus the second fastest attacker into Dragon / Flying targets, edging ahead of Rayquaza. It’s also bulkier than either of its closest competitors and lacks a weakness to Dragon, making it the preferred counter in future Rayquaza raids.
Ice also hits for effective damage vs. Ground, Flying, and Grass. Mewtwo is notably the fourth fastest attacker vs. Ground-types, behind 2 Kyogre variants and legacy Venusaur. As Groudon has yet to make a return to raids, Ice Beam Mewtwo may see use there as well - it’s viable for a trio! Its performance vs. Flying and Grass will be touched on later.
Keeping in mind that Ice Beam Mewtwo’s utility is strictly due to a lack of good alternatives, its standing will drop sharply upon the release of gen 4, which will feature up to 3 superior Ice-type attackers.
'Twas a Dark and Stormy Night
Thunderbolt is Mewtwo’s other useful new charged move. While Raikou and Zapdos remain #1 and #2, respectively, Thunderbolt Mewtwo comfortably finds itself in the #3 position among Electric attackers into types weak to Electric (Water and Flying). Most notably, it has higher DPS than Jolteon, legacy Venusaur (vs. Water), and legacy Tyranitar (vs. Flying).
Like Ice Beam, Thunderbolt Mewtwo’s claim to fame is in the absence of good alternatives. Gen 4 will feature up to 3 superior Electric-type attackers, potentially driving down Mewtwo’s value.
Crash and Burn
There’s not much use for Flamethrower on Mewtwo. Going strictly by Fire DPS, it’s beaten by the 5 staple Fire-types: Moltres, Entei, Flareon, Blaziken, and legacy Charizard. Taking specific type matchups into consideration, there are Fighting attackers who do better vs. Ice and Steel, and Flying attackers who do better vs. Bug and Grass. If you want to flex Mewtwo as a Grass counter, you're better off running Ice Beam instead, with the following exception.
Flamethrower has the advantage of being boosted in clear weather, which is far more common than rain, snow, or fog in most parts of the world. While this boosts Flamethrower Mewtwo relative to its other movesets, you’re still better off using a competitor for Fire type DPS.
A New Brand of Generalist
With Mewtwo’s arrival in regular raids, it lost its one size fits all Shadow Ball movesets, gaining in its place 3 specialized charged moves. Owing to a lack of STAB on these moves, Mewtwo is not the top attacker of those respective types. Some players do not see past this.
New Mewtwo’s value is not in being the clear best of any one type, but in having the ability to occupy the top echelon of multiple types. Investing in legendary Pokemon is expensive, but a single Mewtwo can be a top Psychic, Ice, or Electric attacker, limited only by the player’s supply of Charged TMs. This is like tripling the value of one’s Stardust and Rare Candies.
That said, getting lucky and TMing into the right move among 5 options can be expensive. It’s not a viable option for players who are already starving for Charged TMs. The good news is that you don’t have to lock your Mewtwo into any particular charged move right now.
Which Fast Move to Use?
Mewtwo should run Psycho Cut if:
The target resists Psychic-type attacks
The target is doubly weak to Mewtwo’s charged move
Mewtwo’s charged move is super effective and weather boosted
Mewtwo should run Confusion if:
The target is weak to Psychic-type attacks
Psycho Cut isn’t optimal as stated above
Simulators will tell you in each specific case whether Psycho Cut or Confusion is the better fast move. As Fast TMs are relatively common and in low demand, switching between fast moves as the situation demands is viable for many players.