Shadow Mewtwo will be in raids this weekend. However… Not only are they in-person only, but from what we know, they’ll be very hard.
Preliminary simulations by u/Flyfunner (thanks!!) suggest that without any gems, it will likely take 5 players with full teams of Level 40 Hydreigon to beat an enraged Shadow Mewtwo.
For context, this is a bit harder than Primal Kyogre raids, but easier than Mega Latias raids, if you have top counters for all of them.
Using Purified Gems should make the raid easier in theory, but we have very little idea how gems even work now. We do know it takes 8 gems – which have to be spread across 2 players – to subdue a Tier 3 Shadow Raid boss. Shadow Mewtwo may need even more.
Given the in-person nature and difficulty, for those who still want to do the raids, it becomes very important to prepare the right counters.
This guide is primarily aimed at new players – especially those who missed December 2022 Community Day – to build a team to counter Mewtwo.
What are the top Mewtwo counters?
You can check yourself at Pokebattler (note the difficulties are for non-shadow Mewtwo raids). But in general, here’s a list of select non-mega counters:
* Require legacy or exclusive moves (Shadow Force on Giratina-O is good but not required)
I omitted a few counters that are likely not worth building specifically for this. Namely: Both Hoopa forms, Lunala, Shadow Raikou (Shadow Ball), Giratina Altered, Shadow Mismagius, Shadow Absol, Guzzlord, Shadow Alolan Muk, Shadow Alakazam (Shadow Ball).
Ideally, you should have at least 6 of the above, with the right moveset (use those TMs!), and power them up to a usable level (at least Pokemon level 30, ideally 35-40).
Feeling lost? No worries, below is a step-by-step guide to figure out your counters.
Already did December 2022 CD?
Use those Hydreigon (Bite/Brutal Swing*) from the CDs. 6 of them if you can.
If you don’t have enough or are afraid of Focus Blast, Chandelure (Hex/Shadow Ball) is also an excellent counter. Just make sure not to use Poltergeist(either TM it away, or if you don’t want to remove a legacy move, add a second charged move).
If you have enough of them, you can stop reading at this point.
Don’t have either? Fret not, keep reading.
Most accessible: Houndoom, RIGHT NOW
This is the cheapest option. Even if you have literally nothing prepared now, you can still get a cheap and decent team!
Step 1. Catch high level (high CP) Houndour from the wild. They’re very common right now, as Houndour is a featured spawn during the ongoing event.
Step 2. Evolve as many high level Houndours as possible, until you get SIX Houndoom (or fewer if you have better counters to make a team of 6), with Snarl/Foul Play.
Didn’t get the right moves? Use TMs if you can, or just evolve another one. If you’re really thrifting, Snarl/Crunch is acceptable too.
Why high level instead of high IV? The goal here is to get a cheap team with as little stardust investment as possible. If you’re not gonna power them up, a 96% Houndoom at level 20 is worse than a 53% Houndoom at level 30 or 35.
Of course, if you do have a high IV Houndoom that you can afford to power up, it’s never a bad option. Especially when Houndoom can mega evolve.
Best performance and still available: Shadow Tyranitar, Shadow Weavile & Gholdengo
All three are top-tier counters, right there with Hydreigon. You can still obtain them, just not as easily and cheaply as Houndoom.
Battle those Cliffs for Shadow Larvitar. Evolve them, and power them up to Level 30 (higher if you’d like, but L30 is already great.) But most important of all: Make sure not to use Frustration as the charged move!
If you have some with Frustration removed during the Rocket Takeover event in March, good! If not, adding a second move allows you to use it immediately, if you’re really desperate.
Shadow Weavile is available from Tier 3 shadow raids. They may be a bit hard to beat by yourself (requiring a full team of good fighting attackers), but if you happen to have them, they may be worth investing even more than Shadow Tyranitar – it’s also a top-tier ice attacker.
Gholdengo is, and will likely always be, available from transferring postcards to Scarlet/Violet. It does take a hell lot of effort, sure, but for those that happen to have one, use it.
Shadow Tyranitar: Bite/Crunch
Shadow Weavile: Snarl/Foul Play (Feint Attack is also fine)
Gholdengo: Hex/Shadow Ball
The two shadows will cost quite a bit of stardust. However, powering up a shadow to L30 is actually cheaper than powering up a non-shadow from L20 to L40, and gives you a better attacker. For this reason, I see building L30 shadows as a good investment, and not as expensive as people think. You can always power them up further as a long-term project.
Other affordable counters
Tyranitar, Weavile, Zoroark, Vikavolt, Gengar.
On average, this list ranges from better to worse, and from “usually above Houndoom” to “just as good as Houndoom”.
You may not have all of them, but in general they’re still relatively accessible (except Weavile). Larvitar had a CD Classic in January, and Gastly, Grubbin and Zorua have been wild spawns this season.
Between non-shadow and shadow Tyranitar/Weavile, I’d still suggest L30 shadows. But if you have a non-shadow already built, then use it by all means.
A few words on Gengar: It’s a high-risk, high-reward option, as it’s very frail and weak to Mewtwo’s psychic moves (especially Confusion and Psychic). There are cases where it can shine (especially Focus Blast Mewtwo), but overall its average performance gets dragged down to Houndoom levels.
Weavile: Snarl/Foul Play (Feint Attack is also fine)
Zoroark: Snarl/Foul Play
Vikavole: Bug Bite/X-Scissor
Gengar: Shadow Claw/Shadow Ball (Lick is equally as good, but not worth an ETM)
Shadow Honchkrow, currently available from Sierra, is a good anti-psychic counter in general (a bit below Hydreigon/Shadow Weavile/Shadow Tyranitar)…
But not particularly against Shadow Mewtwo. Mewtwo’s Ice Beam and Thunderbolt both hurt the flying Honchkrow too much, and even though Focus Blast only deals neutral damage, Shadow Honchkrow ends up getting one-shot anyway.
Shadow Honchkrow does emerge as one of the top counters if Mewtwo has Psychic or Flamethrower, and is also a good long-term investment since it’s also an excellent flying-type attacker. But if you just want something to beat Shadow Mewtwo, its inconsistency drags it down too much on average.
Mewtwo’s charged moves – If you want a more well-rounded team…
Notice I keep emphasizing “on average”. Because Mewtwo has a huge variety of charged moves, the top counters depend heavily on the boss moveset. Each Shadow Mewtwo raid you do may give a completely different set of best counters!
If you can, you may want to build a more well-rounded team of 6 (or even 12), with a few members that don’t do too badly regardless of what Mewtwo’s charged move is, especially Focus Blast. This improves your consistency and help avoid some worst-case scenarios.
Here’s how each of Mewtwo’s charged moves affects attackers mentioned above:
Any mentions of Tyranitar, Weavile and Honchkrow also apply to their shadow forms. Legendaries are omitted.
* Hydreigon doesn’t do too badly against Ice Beam, despite being weak to it.
A very brief mention for the sake of completeness.
Shadow Mewtwo with Shadow Ball, Darkrai, Giratina Origin are the best legendaries out there. However, Hydreigon is better than all, and even when you do need a ghost type, Chandelure is not far behind. If I had to choose, I’d invest more in Giratina-O, as it can have a niche over Hydreigon sometimes (especially Focus Blast Mewtwo).
Yveltal is a worse Hydreigon/Darkrai, though it does better against Focus Blast.
Non-shadow Mewtwo with Shadow Ball is a worse Giratina-O, and of course a worse Shadow Mewtwo.
Hoopa (both forms), Lunala, Pheromosa, Guzzlord, Zarude, Genesect and Giratina Altered are all weird flexes, but they all have varying degrees of viability.
For best performance:
Mega Gengar and Mega Houndoom are the best ghost and dark megas respectively, in terms of individual power. It mostly depends on whether other players are bringing ghost or dark types, as well as Mewtwo’s charged moves.
Mega Gyarados doesn’t have as much power by itself, but its extra bulk contributes more damage in groups than Mega Houndoom, by keeping the mega boost alive for longer. (See this for charts)
Mega Banette is a poor man’s Mega Gengar.
Mega Absol is a poor man’s Mega Houndoom.
For XL candies: You can actually get boosted XL candies AND contribute damage at the same time!
Mega Alakazam (Psycho Cut/Shadow Ball) and Mega Gardevoir (Charge Beam/Shadow Ball) can both deal Super Effective damage to Mewtwo, and also share the psychic typing that gets you increase XL change when catching Mewtwo.
For maximum damage boost in groups:
Primal Kyogre in the 6th slot is the way to go here. It provides a 10% boost to all other raiders, even without entering the field. If anyone else is using bug types, even better – they get 30% boost! (See my Volcarona analysis for more.)
Primal Groudon can do the same, but it doesn’t give the extra boost to bug types.
What about counters against future psychic-type raid bosses?
Here’s a generic analysis and chart for Ghost and Dark attackers (anti-Psychic). It’s part of my most recent analysis on these types, more specifically, on Gholdengo.
Bug types are generally suboptimal, but can excel with Primal Kyogre boost. More details are covered in my Volcarona analysis.
How good is Shadow Mewtwo as a raid attacker itself?
I refer you to this extensive analysis I did on Shadow Mewtwo in January.