Posted by Zach Lesage on 9/17/2021 to Deck Lists
Welcome to the Underworld
What’s up, Po Town readers? Have you been playing with the new Evolving Skies cards yet? I certainly have, and I’ve been having a blast. In our new Post RotationSword and Shield on format, plenty of new pokemon online decks have started to make their mark - Jolteon VMAX (Evolving Skies), UmbreonVMAX (Evolving Skies), and even Ludicolo (Evolving Skies). While it’s usually the case where most players love to flock to the newest available decks in the format, I’m letting you all know that Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX (Chilling Reign) is the best deck in the format! Yeah, it’s truly a bold claim, but it seems like the only deck that has a comeback mechanic, in the form of Cresselia (Chilling Reign), that allows you to get around the dreaded starting coin flip. If you’re missing any of the cards for this deck, feel free to pick up some PTCGO codes right here at PoTown Store! There is a lot of ground to cover, so let’s start trotting.
Early Tournament Results
As I become more accomplished in this game, I don’t feel like I play in as many events anymore. I run my own Late Night Series events on Mondays, I am the official caster for Chill TCG on Wednesdays, and most of the “money” events on weekends ask me to run their streams. I’m flattered with all of the cool things going on, but it leaves me with limited events to play in. Well, last week, I was actually able to play in the Dimension Valley TCG event, and I decided to give Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX a try. I did decently well with it during Day 2 of the (POG) Pokémon Online Global Championships, and it seems better in our Post Rotation format. Largely the heavy Darkness-type presence no longer exists - there are very few Darkness-type decks in the game right now. Eternatus VMAX (Darkness Ablaze) is recovering from the loss of Pokémon Communication (Team Up), Weavile-GX (Unified Minds) was the backbone of almost every Darkness-type deck, and powerful Tag Team attacking options are gone. We still have to deal with a splash of Galarian Moltres V (Chilling Reign) here and a dash of Umbreon VMAX there, but it’s way less than before. Jumping into the event, I teched my deck as best as I could for the metagame, so let’s check that out:
Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX Deck
|2x Crobat V PR-SW 110||3x Marnie PR-SW 121||12x Psychic Energy CRE 232|
|1x Alcremie V CPA 22||4x Fog Crystal CRE 227|
|1x Cresselia EVS 228||4x Evolution Incense SSH 163|
|1x Galarian Articuno PR-SW 123||3x Training Court RCL 169|
|1x Pumpkaboo EVS 76||2x Switch SUM 160|
|1x Shadow Rider Calyrex V PR-SW 131||3x Boss's Orders RCL 189|
|3x Shadow Rider Calyrex V CRE 172||4x Professor's Research SSH 201|
|1x Alcremie VMAX CPA 23||4x Quick Ball SSH 216|
|4x Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX CRE 205||3x Air Balloon SSH 213|
|1x Ordinary Rod SSH 215|
|2x Path to the Peak CRE 148|
While my original list focused on many different options, like Pumpkaboo (Evolving Skies) to get around Stadiums, the main strategy of Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX is a little different. You want to get out as many Shadow Rider Calyrex V (Chilling Reign) to eventually Evolve them into Shadow RiderCalyrex VMAX. At that stage of the game, you want to use Underworld Door to power up your Pokemon quickly and swing hard with Max Geist. Alcremie VMAX (Champions Path) functions as a strong backup option that allows you to either use Adornment if you need more Energy in play or as a way to OHKO whatever stands in your path with G Max Whisk. The reason why I view this deck so highly is that it’s the only deck in the format that has an out to the opening coin flip. Every single deck in the format wants to go first, and that's true here too, but if you go second, at least you can use Cresselia. I’ve since updated my list to reflect this strategy so let’s check that out:
Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX / Alcremie VMAX Deck
|1x Crobat V PR-SW 110||3x Marnie PR-SW 121||12x Psychic Energy CRE 232|
|2x Alcremie V CPA 22||4x Fog Crystal CRE 227|
|2x Cresselia EVS 228||4x Evolution Incense SSH 163|
|1x Shadow Rider Calyrex V PR-SW 131||1x Pal Pad SSH 172|
|3x Shadow Rider Calyrex V CRE 172||3x Training Court RCL 169|
|2x Alcremie VMAX CPA 23||1x Phoebe BST 161|
|4x Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX CRE 205||2x Switch SUM 160|
|3x Boss's Orders RCL 189|
|4x Professor's Research SSH 201|
|4x Quick Ball SSH 216|
|3x Air Balloon SSH 213|
|1x Ordinary Rod SSH 215|
Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX has received a bit of a bad reputation due to “how easy” the deck is to play from most of the community. In many senses, using Underworld Door a whole bunch and announcing Max Geist isn’t as difficult as planning multiple turns with Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX (Battle Styles), there are still nuances to be understood. Some matchups are slightly easier than others, while some require you to balance particular resources throughout the match. The five decks below aren’t necessarily the entire metagame, but they’re some of the best performing decks in our new metagame so far. Let’s check them out.
Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX
The mirror match can get a little sticky, but you can try and outspeed your opponent by going first. I know someone out there thinks Cresselia is a much better strategy, but have you ever gone first, attached an Energy, used a few Underworld Door Abilities on your second turn, and topped it off with Alcremie VMAX using Adornment? You want to stay as resourceful as possible while acquiring more Energy in play than your opponent. If you need to use G Max Whisk to OHKO a Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX, do it. If you need to sacrifice a Cresselia because you missed an attachment, do it. I’ve also had a lot of success isolating their opposing Alcremie VMAX, OHKOing it, and letting them suffer without a response option. As I said, it's a sticky matchup, and your starting hand likely matters more than most think.
I actually played this matchup the other day from the Jolteon VMAX perspective, and it’s much closer than you think. Their goal is to use Max Thunder Rumble three times and hitting two VMAX Pokemon. You can play around with this strategy by not Evolving one of the Pokemon V that they hit to effectively add an extra turn to their win condition. Since Jolteon VMAX has such a low amount of HP, you can either use Max Geist with ten Energy in play, or you can use G Max Whisk to discard five Energy. Do that twice, and you’ve likely won the game!
Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX
This is one of your most favorable matchups because Jirachi-GX (Unified Minds) has rotated out of our Standard format, and you now have access to that sweet Psychic Weakness. Their only strategy against you is to catch you with a weaker start and G Max Rapid Flow two of your VMAX Pokemon three times each to “steal” the game. Similar to the Jolteon VMAX strategy, don’t Evolve one of the Pokemon that was hit to stop them in their tracks.
While the finals of my Late Night Series #5 have Henry Brand (@BenryBrand) as the champion with Dragapult VMAX (Rebel Clash), it easily could have been Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX if Jun0712 didn’t prematurely attach their last Air Balloon (Sword and Shield). This matchup strictly comes down to one factor: Can Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX effectively respond to Path to the Peak (Chilling Reign) + Marnie (Sword and Shield)? If yes, you usually outpace them with your damage output and win the game. If not, they might be able to outpace you with their damage output and win the game. My personal favorite strategy in this matchup is to get two Alcremie VMAX setup, fill my Bench, and use Adornment. I’m now able to follow up with a G Max Whisk and put myself halfway to winning the game.
Zacian V(Sword and Shield) is going to be their main attacker, but Zamazenta V (Sword and Shield) is really the Pokemon you want to deal with. This is why I play Phoebe (Battle Styles) and Pal Pad (Sword and Shield) so that you can effectively get through Dauntless Shield. Hold onto those resources throughout the game and plan on OHKOing one Zacian V and two Zamazenta V. If you can effectively do that, you’ll likely be able to win the game.
Goodbye from the Shadows
In our Post Rotation Pokemon TCG Online metagame, there are plenty of amazing pokemon online decks to choose from, and Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX is merely one of those options. It certainly is one of the best options to play, but what I’m trying to say is that in our Post Rotation format, there are plenty of decks to discover. This article should help you out on our Pokemon journey, and I welcome you to use it as a resource when testing your next games of PTCGO. And again, if you need any PTCGO codes, you are here already, feel free to pick some up at PoTown Store to complete your decks! I plan on covering as many of the top decks as possible and sharing them with our community. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and remember to play some Pokemon!
About the Writer
Zach Lesage is a contributing writer for PoTownStore.com. As a Toronto local, he has been playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game since 2005 and creates Pokemon content as his full time career. As Zach Lesage PTCG, he creates YouTube content, streams on Twitch, and provides hot takes on his Twitter. With multiple prestigious accomplishments in the game, such as the 2020 Players Cup 2 Champion and the 2020 Oceania International Championships Finalist, he has proven his success in the game. Outside of the game, he travels the world, enjoys the culture of designer streetwear, and is a professionally trained chef. You can catch him at most Pokemon events and follow him on Twitter @ZachLesagePTCG.