Mew/Muk/Jumpluff/Vileplume: The Mistakes I Made With My Nationals List

by TheRadu ~ August 9th, 2011.

At this year’s nationals, I had my best nationals finish.  I made Top 64, but it was bittersweet.  While I had done fairly well, I still made the same mistakes in deck building and deck choice which had led to my poor results in previous years. I played a build of a deck which was largely untested and that I was fairly unfamiliar with. While the list I played was by no means bad, it did suffer from being teched improperly.  In addition, there were logical flaws with the trainer engine and how it synched with the rest of the deck.

This article has two main points.  First, it will provide some insight into the Mew/Muk Jumpluff/Vileplume archetype.  Second, it will showcase some of my thoughts about the deckbuiling process highlighting what I did wrong with this deck.  Right now. I’m going to share the list I played and explain my reasoning behind my choices. Also, let me state that this list is not just my own. Emmanuel Divens is also a co-creator of this build and a lot of the ideas behind this list can be attributed to him.

25 Pokemon 23 Trainers/Supporters 12 Energy
4 Mew
3-3 Yanmega
3-1-2 Vileplume
2 Bouffalant
2 Muk
2 Jumpluff
1 Spinarak
1 Tyrouge
1 Cleffa
4 Judge
4 Collector
4 Copyct
3 Twins
1 PETM
4 Communication
3 Rare Candy
4 PSY
2 Grass
4 Rainbow
2 DCE


Card Explanations

Mew

Mew is your main attacker and your best start. It’s the most important card in the deck. 4 is a must. This card has some inherent flaws for a main attacker. The 60 HP really hurts, as most everything one shots it. Attacking with Mew is something that has to be weighed carefully as not to give up unnecessary prizes. In addition, the fact that you need an extra turn to use See Away means that Mew needs to get going either first or second turn, otherwise there’s a high probability that the opposing player will gain a lot of momentum.

Yanmega

This deck needs a secondary attacker. Yanmega seems to be the best. It has no real additional synergy with this deck other than the fact that this deck runs rainbows and grass energy, so Yanmega can attack even with both players having differing hand sizes (which honestly is very useful).

Vileplume

I don’t really know what to say about this. Getting it out is half the goal of this deck. We ran a 3-1-2 line. It’s possible that a heavier line would be better if room could be found. Never, however, run a smaller line, particularly run 3 Oddish. 3 Oddish is so important with all the Yanmega and reversals running around, you often need to get two in play at the same time.

Bouffalant

Emmanuel Divens came up with this tech the day before the tournament. We had a lot of trouble with Zekrom, so we tested this against it and it worked like a charm. In addition to helping out the Zekrom matchup, it’s a really good secondary attacker.  It has a high HP, so it’s not as susceptible to one shots as Mew is.  Even its second attack is useful. This may be the one thing about this deck I really liked.

Muk

It wins your MagneBoar matchup more or less by itself.  It also makes your MegaJudge and ReshiPhlosion opponents play differently. Even with this usefulness, 2 Muk might be too much since it’s useless in a lot of your matchups.

Jumpluff

Remove it early with Mew, so you can attack. Both attacks are incredibly useful.

Spinarak

It’s a gimmick. I was thinking about taking both this and Tyrogue out before the tournament, as both are incredibly situational. Both, however, can win you games by themselves, so I decided to keep both in the deck.  I figured if each would win me one game, they would be worth the space. As it turns out in the 15 games I played I won one because of each of them.

Tyrouge

See Above

Cleffa

I played it so that I would have a way to refresh my hand if absolutely needed. It’s not a good starter. Overall, it was not very useful, since the times I found myself needing to play it were the times where I had likely already lost or when playing Cleffa on my bench would be giving the game away. It is simply unaffordable in many situations to give your opponent a free prize like that, especially when your attackers are easy to kill.

Judge

Synergy with Yanmega. A draw card that also disrupts. Not much more to say really.

Copyct

Synergy with Yangmega and draw. Again no explination needed.

Collector

Run 4, because getting Mew and multiple Oddish early game is very important.

Twins

The main reason we put Twins in here was for the quick Candy/Vileplume plays, but there’s another play it’s useful for.  That’s getting Buffolant/DCE after a T1/T2 KO.

PETM (Professor Elm’s Training Method)

This was basically just a throw-in. We had an extra spot for a supporter, and we figured this would work well. It wasn’t bad, but I feel like there were better options

Pokemon Communication

Even though I like to keep trainers to minimum, this card helps in getting out Vileplume so much that running 4 is a must. It also helps put Jumpluffs and Muk back into your deck.

Rare Candy

It gets Vileplume out fast. We ran 3, but that probably should have been 4.  Without a fast Vileplume, there are a lot of games you simply don’t win.

Energy (4 PSY, 2 Grass, 4 Rainbow, 2 DCE)

Here’s the one area where I feel I got it spot on. I never had energy problems in either direction. I never had too much or too little. One thing to note.  DCE is there just for Buffolant and situationally for Muks second attack.

Mistakes with Techs

Overall, I have to say our deck was poorly teched. The techs we played just weren’t as useful as we would have hoped. This was due to several reasons.

First, we didn’t test this deck properly. Normally, I only do minimal testing when I build my decks.  This isn’t a particularly big flaw when it comes to Cities and BR’s. I feel like a solid player should be able to take any deck that’s sound in theory and be able to do well. However, when it comes to Regionals, Nationals, the LCQ, and Worlds, testing becomes very important, as over the course of 10-15 games against top players, it becomes very apparent that every single card is important.

What we did wrong is not play-test against a variety of decks. Ultimately we can’t say were entirely at fault when it comes to this, since we only found out about the deck a few days before.  Time wasn’t on our side.  Normally, here’s where I would give advice on proper play testing, but I’m pretty terrible at that myself. My best advice is to talk to players who have tested a bit and know what they’re doing.  Try to get ideas from them. That’s more or less what I do.

Second, we failed to metagame properly. We actually had a pretty good idea of what would be played. We based this mostly on the prices of cards before the tournament. Magnezones, Yanmega, RDL, Pachirisu, and Shaymin were going for a premium, so we figured the meta would be about 25% Magneboar, 30% ZPS, 20% MegaJudge, 10% Donphan variants, and 15% other. Our deck already killed Megneboar. We figured it would be good against all the random stuff, so we teched pretty heavily against ZPS. Anyone who was there will know our numbers were way off. We also thought Cleffa would see way more play than it did.

Recommended Changes

Knowing what I know now about how the deck runs, as well as what the general field was, there are a few changes I would make. First, the flexible spots in the deck that could be used as tech were 2 Buffolant, 1 Muk, 1 Tyrogue, 1 Spinarak, 1 Cleffa, and 1 PETM. Out of these, 1 Bouffalant, the Tyrouge and the Spinarak were good.  Those should stay in if I were to do Nationals over again, though, right now (due to people moving away from babies) I wouldn’t play Tyrouge in this deck.  Tyrogue is still great in anything that plays Plus Power, but for nationals it was a fine play.

That leaves four open slots. First, I like the ability that Cleffa has to refresh your hand, but not enough to make me want to play another low HP basic.  Logically Manphy is good to fill that spot. Another spot should have been devoted to a 4th Rare Candy. It’s just too important to get Vileplume out quick.

The 3rd open slot should have gone to a Jirachi. I knew about this card before the tournament, and it was in my deck the day before thanks to the advice of Chuck (Alex B.).  I just never had a chance to really test it. In fact the only deck I did play against was ZPS, where it was useless, so I just took it out as part of the space for the 2 Bouffolant and 2 DCE. The fact that I ran DCE (which I didn’t when I was playing Jirachi) made it even more stupid for me not to play it. Not playing it was my biggest regret about my list.

Now for the last slot, I can’t really say for sure what I would have played. Another draw supporter would have been nice but really I can’t say for sure.

Problems with Twins

In addition to the deck being improperly teched, I also had a huge problem with our Twins engine. Basically, Twins is in there just so you can get that fast Vileplume. This engine, in theory, seemed good to us.  We figured our guys had pretty low overall HP, so we wouldn’t normally take the first prize.

The ideal set up for this situation is for you to See Away a Jumpluff right away.  On their next turn, they KO Mew.  Then you play Twins to get out Vileplume and return the KO with another Mew, giving you momentum and leaving your opponent in a pretty bad situation. The problem is that things rarely work out this way. With this deck, going first often means taking the first prize. Turn one Mew with a rainbow almost always means a T2 prize. At that point, Twins becomes a pretty dead card.

For it to become playable, normally it means that your opponent will have taken 3 prizes while you have taken one less (so 4 to 3 prize count). By this time, Twins becomes pretty useless, since if you don’t have a Vileplume out by then you have probably already lost.  If you do, there’s generally not much you need to search for. Also if you don’t take the first prize, and the deck falls behind 2 prizes or more, the game is pretty much over.

This deck really lacks any real sort of come from behind potential. Once your opponent get momentum, the game is pretty much done. This is most apparent when playing against stage one speed decks like the one Pooka played at Nationals this year. Actually, that’s when I realized this fact. I was playing Pooka in between rounds 1 and 2, and he destroyed me 2 or 3 times in a row (but I got my revenge in round 3 so it was ok). He went first and got the first prize T2 both games, and I might as well have scooped at that point, Twins or no Twins. So, I guess this card just doesn’t make too much sense to me in this deck. I’m not sure if I could have played it any differently.  The only other option seems to be Sages Training, as it’s the fastest draw supporter right now.  Without including Flower Shop, though, I’m not sure it would be worth it.

Well that about covers it. Hopefully there’s something you take from this. This article seems to raise more problems than it gives solutions, but I feel that a thorough understanding of the problems ultimately is the only way to bring about a solution.

This article is part of OneHitKO’s Guest Writer Week for August 2011. Please check out all the articles in the series, and please give the authors your feedback in the comment section below.

  1. Michael’s article about upcoming Japanese cards.
  2. Radu’s article about his Mew/Muk/Jumpluff/Vileplume deck and how it can be made better.
  3. Pooka introduces Worlds 2011.
  4. Alan’s article about how to run a Pokemon league.
  5. Jay. H takes a look at past formats of the game.
  6. Jordan’s article about running rogue decks and his worlds decklist.

Be sure to check back throughout the week for more great articles from our friends!

Category: Deck Discussion | Tags: , , ,
  • Thanks for the article.  I’m testing a variant of this deck and I’m glad to see other view points on it.  I’ve only been playing for a few months so I’m not up to competing just yet but I’m looking forward to it.

    • Ed

      Hey Jen.  Nice to have you here.  My advice is to really consider Radu’s advice if you’re working on a similar deck.  He’s an excellent player and knows his deckbuilding.

      • TheRadu

        Yea what he said

        • Ah TeamOmar.com. Boosting Radu’s ego one post at a time.

          • Ed

            Hey, it’s not just Radu’s.  I tried to boost yours, but it got vetoed.

          • Try harder :p. 

          • Ed

            Michael is hot.

            Does that do it for you?

          • It gets the job done.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder how useful Spinarak will be in the future, now that most people know the trick and now that lists have moved away from Cleffa. Sure, I bet the card was awesome at Nats (“it does what?!?”), but I know I’m going to think twice about Eeeeking when I’m even or behind against a MewPlume player.

    And besides, all of my lists now have Politoed in them. So I’m safe.

    • Ed

      Countering the Spinarak-filled metagame is simple, and the nice part is that this shift in deckbuilding and playstyle applies to many situations.  This will be important when catcher comes out, so listen up.

      Build your deck with only Pokemon that can evolve up to Stage 2.  BUT, play the deck as basics.  That way, when you get some status condition, you can evolve out of it.  This is especially effective if all the evolved forms have free retreat so that you can bring up another unevolved basic (or maybe Stage 1) right away.

  • Anonymous

    No time to playtest at Dreamers on Saturday Mornings? I might have a deck that will be a good challenge for you (hyper-speed MagneBoar where I have no fear of Pokemon Catcher)

    • TheRadu

      Its not so much the lack of time as it is the fact that I normally wake up at 2:00 pm everyday. Planning on going there this Saturday though.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Radu  why two Bouffallant?  Just for better Zekrom?

    Are the 2 Boufallants that good?  or is it more of a playstyle?

    Thanks for the help.

    • Ed

      I thought he mentioned that he would remove 1 Bouffalant if he had to do it over.  After rereading that section, the wording is a bit vague.  I think he means that the list ran 2, but that he would drop down to 1.

  • TheRadu

    Thats right, Bouffalant is sick, but two was overkill.

  • I played this deck along with radu during nationals went 6-3, same thing as another MN player did using radu’s actual list. My list was like eight cards off of theirs. Like Radu said four candy is the better play for vileplume, and while I did run jirachi(saved me round 6) I didn’t play the buffalo and I really regret it. My list had a very different match up against ZPS and I’m lucky I only ran into one. I ended up only playing two twins using the third spot for my candy. 

    I’m not entirely sure if muk/mewlock is a viable deck for the ongoing format as it was sorta created to destroy set up decks like emboar, it just didn’t lose to them. Now the format seems to be even more filled with the popularity of typhlosion and primetime two decks which have no problem retreating, surviving a mass attack, and using their board control(magnetic draw/roast reveal/afterburner) to stay afloat even in the darkest time of being confused/poisoned/trainer locked.
    Good read Radu.

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