Welcome to my Shadow Mewtwo guide! I've placed highly with Shadow Mewtwo at several major tournaments, and I will use my experience and knowledge of the character to help you do the same.
Shadow Mewtwo is very open ended, so for this beginner guide, rather than tell you how you should play, this will mostly be an overview of its different moves and movement options so you can develop your own style. Once you're comfortable with the character and ready for a more strategy focused guide, I'll link my advanced guide in as soon as it is up. I think Shadow Mewtwo has the best overall set of tools in the game such its
+pressure and shield breaks
But it is held back two giant weaknesses which are:
-the lowest HP in the game at 480
-Pokemon moves all do recoil damage.
Using Shadow Mewtwo in DX will be a tough task, but if you are okay with those weaknesses, you can go very far with this character.
This guide will have two parts. First, we'll go over field phase in its entirety. Then, we'll cover duel phase by breaking it into neutral, defense, and offense. Let us commence!
Part 1: Field Phase
-sY is special cancelable and starts up slowly (around 51 frames), but it is very positive on block and hit (frame data says +23 on block and +44 on hit) meaning it is extremely safe and very easy to hit confirm after it. It leaves opponents in hitstop for so long that you can grab or poke through counter attacks, even command counters, on reaction. It's best used from a distance in neutral so the opponent cannot interrupt it, but it's also excellent point blank if you do it when the opponent is getting up. sY is excellent for allowing you to control space on the screen because of its lateral movement. You can also cancel this into Miracle Eye to create mirrors that restrict the opponent's movement and can still be confirmed on hit.
-Psywave Blast or 5AA, can be charged to 3 different levels and they all have good projectile priority, but level 3 has the most and it instantly phase shifts. It's effective at stopping opponents from dashing in or trying to keep you out with low priority projectiles. 10, 20, 30 HP recoil for level 1,2,3.
-jY is good for racking up shield damage from a distance and goes over a ridiculous amount of options up close. It can be canceled into Reflect, and all of its follow-ups after so you can convert into Flamethrower, Earthquake, or Thunder depending on the range and the situation. While most characters opt to homing cancel when the opponent starts to get too close, Shadow Mewtwo is better off going for jump back Y and then canceling into Reflect if it lands a hit. Flamethrower earns a hard knockdown allowing for a meaty pillar in duel phase.
-Reflect. Primarily used to hit confirm after canceling from jY but can also be used on its own as a last resort if you want to get opponents off you but don't have space or enough frame advantage to use jY. It gains a short amount of blue armor starting frame 1. I say last resort because the animation has so much recovery it's very hard to get any actual punishes with this move without jY and it's very floaty so opponents will have an easy time hitting you when you're close to landing. I find it much more useful in duel phase. 20 HP recoil.
Clockwise from the upper left: Reflect, Flamethrower, Earthquake, Thunder
-fY starts up in 19? frames and is an excellent whiff punisher. By using sY, Psywave Blast, and jY effectively to keep opponents out, they will start to lunge at you and fY will catch them in their recovery animation. If you want to land this, make sure to keep moving side to side to make linear moves miss your hurtbox. fY is also good to use preemptively against opponents trying to rush in by dashing. It's -8 on block, so be sure to homing cancel if your opponent blocks it close up.
-nY is not very effective on its own in neutral because of its large recovery and low durability, but it is very dangerous when canceled into Miracle Eye from far away or multiple options point blank. When you've done sufficient shield damage and it's time to cash in with a shield break, you can go for nY canceled into Miracle Eye which tracks the opponent. On hit you can confirm into a phase shift and on block you can break the opponent's shield. Grab or whiff punish if you see the opponent turn blue for a counter attack. Point blank, nY can be used to open up defensive opponents. nY into Miracle Eye grab interrupts throw tech attempts, but if the opponent is aware of this sequence, they can grab you before your throw fully starts up. But that doesn't mean to give up on nY. Instead use your opponent's knowledge against them to go for nY into psywave slash or other options that beat throws.
-Shadow Mewtwo's homing attack starts up faster than most at 17? frames and homing 2 has decent pushback allowing you to instant reflect or jY away from retaliation attempts on block. I tend to use homing mostly as a whiff punisher or to end my sY pressure and bait some sort of lunge.
-bY is quite slow, but it has decent durability and can be confirmed on hit even from full screen. It can be sidestepped easily which makes it lose tracking, but utilize that aspect to bait opponents into sidestepping often so you can punish their recovery with fY.
-Zen Headbutt (i23) is Shadow Mewtwo's yolo move for going through projectiles. I only really use this against Darkrai and Braixen when I absolutely need to get in because it starts up slow, its projectile invulnerability is very short, and it has a long whiff animation. -4 on block and does 30HP recoil.
Field Phase Summary
I want to emphasize that there's no single correct way to approach field phase as Shadow Mewtwo but my personal style is to whittle down opponents shields and get them to either lunge and whiff punish them or force them to block nY darts or sY and shield break.
Part 2: Duel Phase
-Psystrike (i15) is done with 8A and it has red armor starting frame 1. Not only is this move unsafe on block (-24), but you take recoil from using it, and all the damage from the attack you absorbed. Psystrike can be used sparingly against predictable meaties, but is best used as a combo ender. The just frame versions add more damage. I suggest using this against jumping attacks that do not give 8Y enough time to become upper body invincible like Weavile jY from close up. Does 40HP recoil damage and 50 if you do the extension.
-Zen Headbutt (i23) is done with 6A and it has a small amount of projectile invincibility, but that small amount combined with its slow startup makes it an unreliable option to go through projectiles. Like Psystrike, it's again most useful as a combo ender. -4 on block. 30 HP recoil.
-2A, 3A, and 1A are for Teleport. This move is completely invincible starting frame 1, but has significant recovery, so try not to use it when you think the opponent is looking for it or they can punish you.
-4A is Miracle Eye. In duel phase, this expands the 6Y Pillar, and improves the frame data or hitstop of its normals. For instance, 5YY goes from being -12 to -8 and 2YY's frame data remains the same, but it shortens the amount of time the opponent can react to another move afterwards since the recovery animation is shortened. 30 HP Recoil. Miracle Eye does not directly grant synergy, but the HP drain does as long as you're not at 1 HP.
By pressing 5A, Shadow Mewtwo begins charging Psywave. The longer you charge, the higher the level, and this gives you access to different version of its follow ups:
-Pressing Y during Psywave does Slash. This move is a high at all 3 levels, and is primarily useful to help hit confirm combos against tall characters, or to end 6X combos mid screen. At level 2 and higher, this move wall splats and goes much farther making hit confirms more consistent. Levels 1 and 2 are -16, while level 3 is -12.
-Pressing X during Psywave gives you Vortex. I don't really trust the frame data sheet for the startup of this move, but it's slower than pretty much all Shadow Mewtwo's normals but it gets armor around frame 15. Its best usage is doing it when an opponent who has an armored reversal gets up, or canceling into it during block strings to catch delayed, throw tech attempts. Level 1 and 2 are both -8 on block, but level 2 has a larger hitbox and does more damage. Level 3 is mostly impractical because of its startup, but it does the most damage and is +4 on block instead. Level 2 and 3 look similar, but level 3 makes an audible shout on contact that I personally use as a cue to confirm level 3.
-B during Psywave does an aerial Teleport and can go up back or up forwards but holding 7 or 9. However, this move is unsafe and can be punished on reaction once the opponent is used to the animation. It is not invincible frame 1 either.
-If you need to teleport out of danger, R is a much better choice as it leaves you on the ground and is invincible frame 1.
-A during Psywave is Blast. If I ever use the term Shadow Ball, this is what I'm referring to. Level 2 is larger, does more hits, more hitstun and has less recovery on block than level 1. Level 3 goes quite fast and is mostly for out prioritizing other projectiles. Psywave Blast is at the core of Shadow Mewtwo's space control. Complementing Shadow Ball are various other normal attacks we'll get into now.
-6X (i19). My favorite normal in the entire game. 6X starts up in 19 frames, can be hit confirmed into all types of combos, and can be canceled into a bunch of versatile options. It leaves Shadow Mewtwo in minimal hitstop making it extremely effective against armor. The main flaw with this move is that it has a mid-low hitbox, so it can be jumped over or high profiled preemptively if it is not done meaty despite the animation. -4 on block but there is no reason to use it without some sort of cancel.
-2Y/2YY (i11) is an excellent whiff punisher and combo extender and starts up in 11 frames. Not effective preemptively against opponents who jump or use high profiling moves a lot but is good at interrupting dashes.
-8Y (i15) is a superb anti-air that starts up in 15 frames and is very damaging with its follow up 8Y[Y]. When charged all the way it shifts, but when charged almost to full, it allows for combo extensions. Not effective preemptively since the first hit is -16 and the second hit can be low profiled even though it is technically +8.
-6Y pillar. Previously this was Shadow Mewtwo's easiest way of dominating duel phase against a large portion of the cast. In DX, the first part of pillar only causes hitstun against normal opponents when you have Eevee or Burst Mode active. Against Bursted opponents you need Eevee AND Burst Mode. If you do have one of these conditions, pillar can clip opponents from fill screen, be expanded with Miracle Eye and confirmed into a dash up jY into 8YY to finish the combo. This forces opponents to approach you where you usually have superior ground normals and projectiles. Of note, the expansion portion is considered a heavy and even stuns Bursted opponents. Also the insane hitstop of this move when expanded makes it very safe from armor, but more about abusing that in the advanced guide.
-6Y fist (i15). If you're playing online or uncomfortable using Shadow Mewtwo's 5YY jab option select which I will explain in the advanced guide, 6Y is an acceptable alternative to hitting opponents coming down from an air reset. It's pretty much impossible to consistently time 6X against air resets because the opponent can manipulate their spacing and timing of when they get a hurtbox by holding the stick on different directions (or no direction). 6Y fist leads to a full combo but it is -8 on block and unsafe against counter attacks, so once you get comfortable with the 5YY option select OR if you're playing offline and can more easily time 6X, opt for those instead.
-8X (i27). Only if you have particular trouble against opposing 2Ys should you need this, but 8X high profiles them starting about frame 5. -8 on block.
-2X (i15) is good for low profiling certain attacks, but otherwise it's just an unsafe attack. -12 on block but can be made safe from far out.
-5XX is… also unsafe and you can usually do better combos from other starters. -12 on block.
-jY is only really when opponents are completely walling you out with projectiles and you can't manage a way in.
-jX is probably Shadow Mewtwo's best throw tech option because jumping avoids mid lows and jX combos into 6Y on hit. -4 on block but the frame data is variable.
When you score a hard knockdown, your basic mixup will usually be 6X or throw. There are other options you can mix in, like Psywave Vortex which starts up slow but is armored around frame 15 so it still beats opponents waking up with buttons. And it counter pierces armored reversals too. I'll go into more specifics about knockdown pressure and setups in the Advanced guide.
Duel Phase Summary
By utilizing Shadow Mewtwo's decent walk speed, fast backdash, projectiles and normals it can command complete control of duel phase. When you're looking to get damage, look to get either a preemptive 6X or 2YY or a whiff punish. Shadow Mewtwo's dash grab is also extremely hard to react to.
Shadow Mewtwo gains several enhancements in Burst, including:
-an 8X that launches and is positive on block. But beware as it air resets characters that were already in the air.
-Its 5Y becomes a mid-low, and 5YY into Miracle Eye is positive (around +2) on block.
-2X goes from being basically a useless, unsafe slide to +4 at all ranges.
-Dive Kick (jX) is still negative, but it makes a heaven pillar!
-Throw does 165 damage, Miracle Eye'd pillar and field projectiles become way better and stay out longer. Basically Burst Shadow Mewtwo is incredible, but the mode only lasts 8 seconds which is sort of balanced by the fact that it is tied amongst the fastest synergy building characters at 100cc. You'll be getting burst often, but you'll need to land a hit quickly to take advantage of it.
Clockwise from upper left: 8X, 5YY, 2X, Duel Phase Throw.
We went through Shadow Mewtwo's move list in both field Phase and Duel. It might be hard to remember all this, so refer back to this video or the written guide any time. Get familiar with its moveset and once you're ready check out the advanced guide when you're ready to start winning games. Also check out Pokkén Basics- the fundamentals I teach in that series apply to Shadow Mewtwo as much as any other character.