Welcome back to Tech of the Week! Each week we’ll be looking at at interesting cards that may be effective in the current metagame. If you missed last week’s TotW, I looked at the potential powerhouse Victini EX.
For our fourth edition of Tech of the Week, let’s take a look at a Pokémon that is the definition of a bench sitter, Mr. Mime.
Basically the only reason to use Mr. Mime is its Ability, Bench Barrier. Like the name suggests, all damage done to your Benched Pokémon is blocked when the Barrier Pokémon is in play. At first that may not seem like a big deal, but let’s consider some commonly used attackers that hit the bench.
Kyurem (Frost Spear)
Darkrai EX (Night Spear)
Genesect EX (Megalo Cannon)
Landorus EX (Hammerhead)
Odds are you’re going to be running into those at a tournament! Okay, sure, they hit the bench. But does preventing 20 or 30 damage justify playing a Mr. Mime in your deck? Of course! Think of how much worse the attacks from those Pokémon become if they can’t do the additional bench damage. Darkrai EX’s Night Spear turns into a simple 90 damage attack for three Energy. Hammerhead from Landorus EX goes from 60 total damage to 30. The main reason most of these Pokémon are so strong is directly because of that damage to the bench! With one Mr. Mime, you nerf some of the best attackers in the game. How many times will a Darkrai deck use Night Spear in a game? With Mr. Mime in play, you very well could prevent over a hundred damage done to your Pokémon. Not only is it effective, but also it takes up only one spot in your deck!
For whatever reason, Mr. Mime was not a very popular card when it came out. In most standard decks, we didn’t see it played often. However, players seemed to figure out how potent it was by the time the World Championships came around. In several successful decks, Mime played a big role, including the following: Jason Klaczynski’s Darkrai, Dylan Bryan’s Flareon, Mike Newman’s Blastoise, and both Rayquaza/Eelektrik decks from Ryan Sabelhaus and Edmund Kuras at the Top Cut Invitational. In fact, over half of the decks in the Top Cut Invitational featured the little guy! Of course, the format was different then, but the point still stands.
The merits of Mr. Mime seem pretty obvious. But what about the drawbacks? The most obvious downside is that he takes up a bench spot. Can you afford to have a Pokémon sitting there all game doing nothing? After all, its attack is as invisible as the wall it puts up. For some decks, there realistically isn’t any space on the bench. In addition, it gives your opponent an extra card to draw off Colress, and it makes Absol’s Mind Jack stronger. Of course, Bench Barrier is worthless against any attackers that don’t hit Benched Pokémon, too. If Garbodor is popular, the Ability is rendered worthless as well. So, like any other tech card, Mr. Mime’s viability will depend on your metagame.
Another potential criticism is that the 70 HP Basic is an easy target for Pokémon Catcher. At any point, your opponent could decide to take it out and get a cheap prize. However, I would argue that Mr. Mime has done its job quite well if that’s the case! Not only would it block damage to your bench, but it would make your opponent waste a Pokémon Catcher, and your attacking Pokémon won’t be hurt! If your opponent prioritizes getting a KO on Mr. Mime over something else, that just speaks to how strong it is. With a one retreat cost, you don’t have to worry about it being stalled in the Active position either. As long as you have the space on your bench, Mr. Mime seems worth it.
If the format continues to feature Pokémon that hit the bench, Mr. Mime is a card that should see more play. In my opinion this is one of the best Abilities in the game! While it may not be as flashy as something like Deluge, it can be a game saver. Will decks be able to fit it, though? Is there room for Mr. Mime in the format? Let me know what you think down in the comments! Thanks for reading.