Hello trainers! This is Elena from Gaia Strom TCG and it is a pleasure to be here at PoTown Store once again. As you all might know, Chilling Reign (the new set from the Sword and Shield era) is about to be officially released and everyone is losing their mind about the upcoming cards. To be honest, this type of effect always happens when a new expansion arrives – players are excited to test new strategies and see what type of impact they’ll have in the game. But actually, Chilling Reign comes with one protagonist Pokémon that has the potential to truly turn everything upside down: The ruler itself, Calyrex.

We are receiving two different types of Calyrex cards, a psychic and a water one. Let’s discover together the power of these two VMAX and analyze the potential they hold!

Shadow Rider Calyrex

Shadow Rider Calyrex VmaxShadow Rider Calyrex V

Undoubtedly, this is THE card of the set. Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX is a Psychic-type Pokémon that combines two of the most unbalanced effects in the game: energy acceleration and draw power. Yes, that is right. Once on the field, Shadow Rider Calyrex will not only attach extra psychic energies to any other card you control but will reward you with two extra cards! I can not stress how amazing this is.

With several copies of Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX in play, you will be able to effectively power up your attackers out of the blue, at the same time that you draw through your deck, hardly missing any key cards you need. If you’ve played during the Zoroark GX era, one of the best Pokémon I’ve ever seen, you will understand the style of play I am referring to. However, and continuing precisely the comparison with Zoroark, Shadow Rider Calyrex is more a support Pokémon than an attacker itself. It is true that if you are able to evolve different Calyrex and maintain your energy presence on the field you will be able to deal solid amounts of damage in the late game as Max Heist does 10 + 30 damage for every psychic energy you have… but that really won’t translate into any big KO. So it is clear that Calyrex will have a different role, powering up other attackers that can truly benefit from its speed. This leads me to the following point…
Spotlight: Apart from having stunning artwork, Shadow Rider Calyrex V has a great first attack that prevents your opponent from attaching special energy or play a stadium card. Who said Mad Party was a problem?

Assembling your psychic army

This is an easy question as there are currently a variety of very powerful cards that use Psychic energies to attack so putting them together seems like the strongest play. As the format advances, we will probably see more and more original builds but I will here cover three of the most relevant ones based on the meta that was heavily played at Japan from the past months:

  • Hand Lock Trevenoir: This deck is as scary as a deck can get. Regardless if it wins the coin flip or not, the objective of this strategy is to be able to attack with Trevenant & Dusknoir Tag Team by your second turn, something that is incredibly damaging for any type of deck. Playing a Marnie and then attacking leaves your opponent with only two cards in their hand to finish setting up his or her field and play. This is something that, as you can imagine, is pretty hard. However, the terror doesn’t end here. In combination with hand disruption cards like Reset Stamp, Weezing, or Jesse & James, the results can be even worse. Imagine having to play against a deck that is constantly forcing you to top deck your way out. Such is the power of this first variant.

  • Alcremie VMAX: Wait, what? Are you really referring to Alcremie VMAX from Champions Path, that card that was never present in the metagame? Well, it is about to become a powerhouse! Alcremie VMAX and Calyrex are a match made in heaven. Alcremie in fact complements the strategy at different levels. For example, it is a solid attacker that has a different weakness than most of the other Psychic cards (Alcremie is weak to Steel as opposed to Darkness) and it also opens the possibility for big KOs. In fact, with the energy acceleration of Calyrex, it is relatively simple to take down even the strongest VMAX in the first turns of the game.

  • Psychic Toolbox: To be perfectly honest with you, I am not sure if this is going to be the “official” name used by the community to refer to this deck but I think that a toolbox is a pretty accurate description of what this is. The idea here is to combine all good available Psychic Pokemon and use them in the situations they are required. For example, in the early game, you are going to be using Gengar and Mimikyu Tag Team to lock your opponent and then you are going to follow up with hand disruption with the help of Trevenant and Dusknoir. On top of that, Mew and Mewtwo Tag Team provides flexibility to use the attacks you need. Some builds I’ve seen even run Galarian Rapidash V and Necrozma V BST 63 which are great two-prizers attackers.

Trevenant and Dusknoir GXMewtwo and Mew GXAlcremie Vmax

There are plenty of powerful psychic V Pokémon Calyrex will be combined with, each of them with its unique strengths and capabilities.

Something I want to point out is that the different builds I’ve outlined out there won’t always exist in isolation but what we’ve probably seen is a combination of the three. For example, there might be players that will decide to play a Psychic Toolbox with less emphasis on hand lock to have the space to include a thin line of Alcremie VMAX to deal with other VMAX-based decks. I suggest you test the different combinations available and in order to build something with which you truly feel comfortable.

Shadow Rider Calyrex is, no doubt, one of the strongest cards we’ve received in a while, and will see a play from day one. We will need to see how the rotation affects it, as many Psychic attackers (e.g. Tag Teams) won’t be legal anymore, but if you truly want to compete with it in the Chilling Reign metagame, you really need to get a playset of Shadow Rider Calyrex.

Sample Calyrex Decklist - Alcremie Version

Pokémon - 18
4 Calyrex V CRE 74
4 Calyrex VMAX CRE 75
2 Alcremie V
2 Alcremie VMAX
2 Cresselia CRE 64
1 Gengar & Mimikyu Tag Team
1 Crobat V SWSH 098
1 Marshadow UNB 81

Trainers - 30
4 Quick Ball
4 Fog Crystal
2 Pokémon Communication
2 Evolution incense
2 Switch
2 Air Balloon
1 Ordinary Rod
2 Energy Retrieval
4 Professor Research
3 Marnie
2 Chaotic Swell

Energy - 12
12 Psychic Energy

Ice Rider Calyrex

Ice Rider Calyrex VmaxIce Rider Calyrex V

This card has more potential than people are crediting it with. True, it does not have a broken ability as its other form but the beauty of Ice Rider Calyrex lies in the simplicity of its design. Everything it is able to do, it does it right. And unlike its psychic version, it is a formidable attacker on its own.

Spotlight:The fact that Ice Rider Calyrex doesn’t have an ability is also good in a way. It can abuse from the upcoming stadium card Path to the Peak, shutting down completely those strategies that revolve around abilities.

Calyrex VMAX is a water-type Pokémon that has two very solid attacks. The first one is able to deal a relatively good amount of damage while the second one can vary: you can choose to deal 10, 130, or 250 damage depending on the number of water energy you discard. Having that flexibility is great, not to mention the fact that being able to consistently attack for 250 for two energies is something that not many cards can say.

Now, Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX is not going to reach huge KOs on its own but its HP and strength will make it stand its ground against most decks of the metagame. The question is… What type of engine should we use in order to recycle the water energies that Calyrex will most likely be discarding? Fear not, as there are plenty of robust options.

Water allies to build the perfect water engine

Currently, Water-type related cards are very powerful and truly offer a wide range of possibilities to build the perfect combination with Ice Rider. Let’s see some of them:

  • Melony: This card looks to be designed to become the next Welder for a couple of following years and will work wonders with Ice Rider Calyrex. This supporter is simply amazing as it not only attaches water energy from your discard pile, it will reward you with 3 cards in the process. Crazy! Melony and a manual attachment are enough for Calyrex to keep attacking for 250 damage, turn after turn.
Melony is the perfect card for Ice Rider Calyrex. But you can also benefit from powerful Water Pokémon to also access energy acceleration through the game.

  • Frosmoth SWSH56 and Froslass: Because Ice Rider Calyrex is a water type, it can also benefit from some evolution Pokémon that also accelerate energies. Frosmoth has become for some time now, the true engine of water-type decks like Inteleon or Lapras VMAX and it can truly power up your Calyrex anytime. The only issue is that you will need to keep rotating between your attackers in order for Frosmoth to be able to be effective. And then we have Froslass, which offers an attachment upon evolving. While it might not be as powerful, it does not have the limitation of having your Calyrex on the bench for it to work.

  • Inteleon SWSH58 and Inteleon CRE 43: Both Inteleon cards are great. The most incredible aspect about Inteleon Sword and Shield is precisely that it provides the perfect method to search for Melony turn after turn. And the new Inteleon from ChillingReignallows you to deal damage counters wherever they are needed, setting the field for big KOs need.

Something to highlight is that Calyrex will probably be played completely on its own, being the main attacker. But there are some builds I’ve seen that use the flexibility of Melony and decided to combine it with Victini VMAX since Victini can cover perfectly well the metal weaknesses from Calyrex.

It is clear that these cards will have an impact from the moment they are released. Because of its consistency and all the good psychic attackers out there, I think it is safe to assume that the Shadow Rider Calyrex is going to be the most popular card out of these two versions. What is really interesting is that the arrival of these to kings will create a wave that will balance, I think, the format even more. For example, we will find some interesting weak triangles: Psychic (Shadow Rider), Darkness (Eternatus), and Fighting(Urshifu). And the same thing will happen with Ice Rider with Metal and Fire. This will really diversify the number of viable strategies and take the deckbuilding to the next level.

Finally, I’d like to conclude with one final piece of advice. Keep an eye post-rotation on the power of Ice Rider Calyrex and the combination with Path to the Peak. With cards to remove stadiums gone, it can truly be a force to fear.

Sample Calyrex Decklist - Froslass Engine

Pokémon - 16
4 Calyrex V CRE 45
3 Calyrex VMAX CRE 46
3 Snorunt CRE 35
3 Froslass CRE 36
1 Crobat V SWSH 98
1 Mewtwo UNB 75
1 Oranguru SWSH 148

Trainers - 34
3 Scoop Up Net
4 Quick Ball
4 Level ball
2 Pokémon Communication
2 Evolution incense
2 Air Balloon
1 Reset Stamp
2 Capacious Bucket
2 Switch
3 Professor Research
3 Boss Orders
4 Melony
2 Viridian Forest

Energy - 10
10 Water energy


And with that, we reach the end of the article. What a journey! I hope this has shed some clarity about the reasons why Calyrex (in both of its versions) is such a powerful card so look for them in the upcoming help. Remember that you can get Chilling Reign codes here to trade for the cards you need! Thanks for reading!

About the author

Elena has been playing Pokémon TCG for years and leads one of the biggest TCG-dedicated channels in the world. You can find her on Youtube & Twitch (@gaiastormtcg) as well as on other social media channels. Drop and say hi!