Mewtwo currently ranks 21st on the Melee tier list, in the F tier and its worst placement in the whole series. While initially deemed the worst character in the game, the changing metagame of Melee caused Mewtwo to experience a rise of five places. Mewtwo's positives include a long, safe, and difficult-to-counter recovery, a rather good chaingrabbing ability, a large variance of mixup options, a decent combo ability, and among the best throws in the game. However, Mewtwo suffers from an unusual combination of being a large target and a lightweight; this, combined with its floatiness, makes it an easy target to KO. Additionally, Mewtwo has limited KOing options, with most of them having little reach, and many weak attacks, giving it relatively fewer approach and offensive options as other characters.
How to Unlock
To unlock Mewtwo, the player has to play 20 hours of VS. matches. The time is reduced by the number of human players in said matches; 1 player requires 20 total hours, 2 players require 10 total hours, 3 players require 6 hours and 40 minutes, and 4 players require 5 total hours. The time can be further reduced to 4 hours by playing Lightning Melee, which speeds up the in-game timer to 125% of normal speed.
Alternatively, the player can play 700 VS. matches to completion to get a chance to fight Mewtwo.
Mewtwo defies any typical character archetype; despite being a big target with some powerful moves and a very high air speed, Mewtwo has a rather slow dash, a low weight and a low falling speed. As a result of these traits, Mewtwo has among the longest wavedashes in the game, but a very poor SHFFL, despite its low lag, high speed aerials. Mewtwo also can effectively moonwalk, potentially aiding its edgeguard game.
Among Mewtwo's primary strengths is its varied grab game. Despite an only average grab range, Mewtwo's throws can serve a variety of purposes; its forward throw is good for racking up damage or starting combos and its down throw can potentially start chainthrows or be used as potential combo starters when compounded with one of its tilts. Mewtwo's back and up throws are also among the most powerful in the game, and both can KO reliably on some characters at 100%; the differences in their trajectories also gives Mewtwo varied options against both fast fallers and floaty characters (the up throw works better against the latter, while the back works better against the former).
Mewtwo also has very good approach and combo options. Despite a poor SHFFL (among the worst in the game), Mewtwo's high air speed, low falling speed, and fast, low lag, high hitstun aerials also gives it plenty of options in the air, easily and effectively comboing against many characters. Mewtwo can also perform a Double-Jump Cancel, which, when combined with L-Cancelling, is an exceptional substitute for SHFFLing, as Mewtwo can quickly perform a Forward Aerial and follow up with another option. Mewtwo also has a very long wavedash (the third longest in the game), making techniques such as wave-smashing and wave-grabbing considerably more useful for Mewtwo.
Mewtwo also has rather good range. Its forward smash can extend relatively far, and all of its tilts have long, disjointed hitboxes, allowing Mewtwo to effectively attack from a distance, especially when compounded with its long wavedash. Mewtwo also has one of Melee's strongest projectiles in Shadow Ball. When fully charged, it can KO reliably at roughly 100%; its jagged path also can make it difficult to dodge, and its recoil can potentially extend Mewtwo's recovery.
Mewtwo also has possibly the best recovery in the game. While it cannot harm edgehoggers, a combination of a low falling speed, a high air speed, among the best jumping prowess, and long distance with its Teleport give Mewtwo a very long and safe recovery. Additionally, its neutral aerial slightly slows down its movement in the air, and slightly charged Shadow Balls can give recoil sufficient enough to send Mewtwo backwards a good distance. Lastly, its Confusion attack can act as a second jump (when used in the opposite direction of its momentum) and Disable can be used to stall its descent.
Mewtwo's biggest flaw is that its varied attributes hinder it in terms of survivability. A combination of a large frame and floatiness makes Mewtwo easy to juggle and KO; while other large characters such as Donkey Kong have added weight to make them resilient to some KOs, Mewtwo has no such advantage. Mewtwo's defense game is also mixed; its air dodge makes it invisible and opponents cannot guess where it will appear and its rolling dodges are fast and cover much distance, but Mewtwo's large frame makes it prone to shield stabbing, and its spot dodge also being rather poor. Mewtwo also has possibly the worst tech ability in the game; although its rolling tech covers a long range, it is very slow compared to that of other characters, and as a consequence, Mewtwo is particularly easy to tech-chase.
Mewtwo also suffers from bad KO options; all of its strongest moves have either poor range or low speed. Its back and up throws are powerful, but they require Mewtwo to grab the opponent first, and the latter throw's KOing capabilities are extremely dependent on the opponent's falling speed (for example, Fox and Falco would survive the longest despite having the third highest vertical endurance). While having a wide variety of other KO potential attacks, most of its attacks suffer from range and/or speed problems, such as its forward air, down smash, down air, and Shadow Ball. Mewtwo also has highly situational specials. While Confusion can temporarily distract opponents, it has high ending lag and relatively little use; additionally, while it can reflect projectiles, they still remain property of the original character's (meaning they won't hurt whoever it came from). Disable only works in close ranges, and cannot combo effectively into other attacks.
For a gallery of Mewtwo's hitboxes, see here.
Battering item special moves
For its dash attack while holding a battering item, Mewtwo spins the item in front of itself for a total of 20 possible hits, overall dealing more damage but much less knockback than other characters' dash attacks. Unlike most characters' dash attacks, Mewtwo's dash attack while holding a Lip's Stick does not produce any of the "magic dust" that Flowers the opponent.
In competitive play
Mewtwo has a poor matchup spread. It counters only Kirby, soft counters six characters, and has one even matchup against Yoshi. On the downside, it is soft countered by eight characters, countered by four, and hard countered by four.
Tier placement and history
Mewtwo has traditionally placed very low in tier lists, with a very small playerbase dedicated to using it. It was initially seen as the worst character in the game, according to the first tier list (dated October 2002), and hovered around the bottom 4 spots for many years, once even falling back into last place position (eighth tier list; July 2006). Mewtwo eventually moved out of the bottom tier due to increasing tournament placings by Taj, who is widely considered to be one of the best Mewtwo players in the world, though it never surfaced into the higher tiers. Although Taj has been far less active, players such as Zoma, Leffen and occasionally Mew2King have represented Mewtwo in larger competitive tournaments. The last released tier list has Mewtwo placed in the F tier, cashing in at 21st place.
In Single Player modes
In Classic Mode
Mewtwo can appear in Classic Mode as an ordinary opponent, as an ally or in a team with Ness or Bowser in team battles or as a metal character in the penultimate stage. In Mewtwo's appearances, it either appears on Pokémon Stadium or Final Destination, with the Poké Floats theme playing; when fighting alongside Ness, however, it appears in Fourside, and when fighting alongside Bowser, it appears on Battlefield.
In Adventure Mode
Adventure Mode makes no concessions to Mewtwo when it is unlocked, making it the only Pokémon character that does not appear alongside the many Pikachus in Stage 7.
In All-Star Mode
In Event Matches
Mewtwo appears in the following Event Matches:
In addition to the normal trophy about Mewtwo as a character, there are two trophies about it as a fighter, unlocked by completing the Adventure and All-Star Modes respectively with Mewtwo on any difficulty:
Mewtwo (Classic Mode, Trophy #52)
Mewtwo Smash (Adventure Mode, Trophy #53)
Mewtwo Smash (All-Star Mode, Trophy #54)