Welcome to the twenty-eighth issue of Pokemon of the Week! This week we're focusing on a Pokemon who has been nearly useless since introduction, but has risen to the rank of top OU threat. This week, we cover Mawile.
Mawile lures prey into complacency with its docile face, the uses the jaw attached to the back of its head. The jaws can chew through steel.
Base Stats: 50 HP / 85 Attack / 85 Defense / 55 Sp. Attack / 55 Sp. Defense / 50 Speed
Mega Mawile: 50 HP / 105 Attack / 125 Defense / 55 Sp. Attack / 95 Sp. Defense / 50 Speed
Allow me this chance to break formalities for a moment to say that while this was being written, it was decided that Mawilite would be suspected by Smogon. This is an odd coincidence, as Dragoncat can attest to the fact that I'd planned this PotW for last Sunday, but had to be put on hold due to me being out of town. After some thinking, I've decided that this analysis will be for OU, since it has not been banned as of right now, and now may be the most important time to cover Mawile so you can form your own opinions on it. That said, let's commence with the issue as normal!
Mega Mawile gains Huge Power, effectively giving it the highest Attack stat in the game. This, in combination with Play Rough and Iron Head, make it incredibly difficult to switch into. Given Mawile's Intimidate before it Mega Evolves, Mawile has many opportunities to setup on opponents, and Play Rough also has a chance to drop Attack, which means that physical switch-ins to Mawile face a potential Attack drop on switch-in. Switching into Mega Mawile is a nightmare, and requires any OU team to be prepared for it.
Since Mawile is laughable in OU without Mawilite, I will be discussing Mega Mawile only.
Intimidate [Huge Power]
Adamant nature (+Attack, -Sp. Attack)
EVs: 132 HP / 252 Attack / 124 Speed
Iron Head / Focus Punch / Knock Off / Brick Break
Swords Dance / Substitute
Mega Mawile is an extremely threatening setup sweeper, but what type of setup you choose is entirely dependent on what you value. Play Rough is your best STAB, being resisted by the fewest things of the two, while providing some fantastic Super Effective and neutral coverage. Sucker Punch is necessary to bypass the terrible base 50 Speed, and the power output is actually higher than Arceus's Extremespeed backed by Silk Scarf, for some reference of how powerful this non-STAB'd priority move is. It is reliant on your opponent attacking, however, so it is a risky play at times, and can leave you open to status or setup.
The third slot is an important decision. Iron Head provides a secondary STAB, and an important one for things that resist Play Rough. One big example of this is that Bold Mega Venusaur with max HP and Defense is 2HKO'd by Iron Head, making that switch-in somewhat of a non-option. Focus Punch can be risky, but even if you're not running Substitute, Focus Punch is an incredible move for OHKOing what would be Mega Mawile's biggest counter: Heatran as it switches in. Knock Off is an excellent option for crippling Pokemon on the switch, removing their item and dealing heavy damage to anything not resistant to it. Brick Break is a usable option for hitting Heatran. If you use this, though, jump to 220 Speed, taking from HP to outspeed uninvested Heatran.
The final slot is your setup move, and it's important. Swords Dance is the primary choice, since this is the most offensive Mawile set, and doubling Mawile's insane Attack stat allows it to smash through nearly anything. Substitute provides Mawile a buffer against status, and a safer way to use Focus Punch if you opt to do so, though it's strongly recommended you do use Focus Punch if you're using Substitute, given how effective the two are together.
Intimidate [Huge Power]
Adamant nature (+Attack, -Sp. Attack)
EVs: 172 HP / 252 Attack / 84 Speed Or 12 HP / 252 Attack / 244 Speed
Iron Head / Play Rough
This set is a dedicated SubPunch set. It's built around getting the Substitute up and either firing off insanely powerful Focus Punches, or forcing the opponent to attack, only to be met by a Sucker Punch. Focus Punch is the strongest attack on this set, able to smash through any Steel type in OU with ease, while Sucker Punch provides much appreciated priority and a bit of coverage for Ghost types that are immune to Focus Punch. In the last slot, Iron Head is preferred for rounding out coverage and dealing with things like Clefable and Mega Venusaur, but Play Rough can be used for a stronger STAB that deals with Dragons and Fighting types.
The EVs are set to outspeed Clefable for the first spread, giving a lot of bulk and maximum power, while the second spread sacrifices a lot of bulk for the ability to outspeed Mega Venusaur, who is 2HKO'd by Iron Head. Choose your spread based on what you prefer, and think about how your team deals with Mega Venusaur before deciding.
Intimidate [Huge Power]
Impish nature (+Defense, -Sp. Attack)
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Defense / 8 Sp. Defense
A Rest Sleep Talk set for Mega Mawile fogoes the insane power that she possesses in order to provide longevity. Rest and Sleep Talk are the crux of the set, restoring health and removing status while still allowing her to attack through the 2 turns of Sleep. Play Rough is chosen as your strongest STAB, because this set runs no offensive EVs and does not have an Attack boosting nature. Foul Play is an interesting choice here, but it gets the Huge Power boost and uses your opponent's Attack stat rather than your own. This is fantastic for dealing with things like Landorus-Therian on the switch-in, since it will ignore Intimidate and deal up to 45% to the physically bulky varient before factoring Stealth Rock.
This set lacks the priority that other sets has, and lacks the immediate firepower as well, so it must be played differently. This set is built more for balanced or defensive teams than offensive, and greatly appreciates hazard support and control. Tyranitar makes a good partner for providing Stealth Rock and Pursuit to remove Latias who may try to Defog hazards early-mid game, while also providing chip damage to the opponent in the way of Sandstorm.
Mawile can be found in Glittering Cave, but since Mawilite cannot be obtained in-game until after beating the Elite Four, you'll be using a really subpar Pokemon if you choose to use Mawile. Nevertheless, if you decide to use it, here's what I recommend:
Play Rough and Iron Head provide STABs, while Sucker Punch makes up for your horrible Speed. Brick Break hits Steel types. Very simple set, but the damage output without Mawilite isn't high, even for in-game.
Mawile’s origins seem to lie in folklore. Its design seems to be based on a type of yōkai or Japanese monster called futakuchi-onna, or “two-mouthed woman”. Its legs resemble a hakama, a kind of traditional Japanese clothing that were originally worn only by men, but today are worn by anyone. Despite Mawile’s design being based on futokuchi-onna, its mannerisms are not. The most common story for futokuchi-onna is that they are created when a woman, who is the wife of a man who doesn’t give her enough to eat, starves until a second mouth forms on the back of her head, which then eats twice as much as the woman ever would have. Mawile, instead, acts more like a traditional fairy, luring victims into a false sense of security, leading them away to where they will never be seen again, or in Mawile’s case, where they will be attacked (at least, that is how fairies are said to act in my local folklore, I think in some other places they are said to be more like pranksters, creating minor annoyances, rather than deceivers leading victims into a deathtrap). This would explain Mawile’s recent change to being half Fairy type, as well as its classification as the Deceiver Pokemon.
Mawile’s name comes from the words ‘maw’ and ‘wile’ (a stratagem or trick intended to deceive or ensnare). Its Japanese name, ‘クチート Kucheat’, comes from ‘口 kuchi’, meaning ‘mouth’, and either ‘cheat’ or ‘eat’. In French, its name is ‘Mysdibule’, which comes from ‘mystifier’, meaning ‘to lie’, and ‘mandibule’, meaning mandible. In German, its name is ‘Flunkifer’, which comes from ‘flunkerei’, meaning ‘fib’, and ‘kiefer’, meaning ‘jaw’. In Korean, its name is ‘입치트 Ipcheat’, coming from ‘입 ip’, meaning ‘mouth’, and ‘cheat’. In Mandarin Chinese its name is ‘大嘴娃 Dàzuǐwá’, meaning ‘big-mouthed doll’.
Mawile's design is really cool, and after reading Dragoncat's Unearthed, I am absolutely terrified of it. In terms of competitive, Mega Mawile is a monster that has so many possibilities for its 4 moves that it becomes a guessing game right off the bat as to what can switch in safely. Mega Mawile is, and has been, one of the best Fairy types to come out of X/Y, but I think Mawilite's reign of terror is about to end.
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