Chilling Reign

6 Ways Chilling Reign Will Change Standard Format

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Bath TCG blog. Happy Chilling Reign week! To celebrate, here are 6 ways I think the set will change our Standard Format. Do you think my predictions are bang on, or will I be proved to be hilariously wrong? Be sure to let me know your thoughts on the set down below!

Water Welder, New Meta?

Whatever your feelings are towards Welder, there’s no doubting the impact it has had on the Standard Format over the last two years. So, when a new altered version of the card was first revealed, people began to wonder whether it would have the same effect. In reality, Melony’s success will depend on the strength of the Water Pokémon V and other type specific support cards that are in the format. Thankfully, we have been slowly drip fed a number of useful Pokémon and Trainers since the release of Sword and Shield, with Melony looking like it will be the cream of the crop.

The two obvious poster boys for Water going forwards are Inteleon VMAX and Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX. Now, of course, we must consider their weaknesses in all of this, with Inteleon’s arch nemesis, PikaRom, not rotating for another 3 months. Although we still have Flaaffy to come in Evolving Skies, it appears as though it was designed to be paired with Rayquaza VMAX, rather than a Lightning type. Ice Rider Calyrex, on the other hand, has a more uncertain future. Whilst its Metal weakness makes the ADPZ and LucMetal matchups almost certain autolosses, the loss of TagTeams in this years rotation will leave Zacian V to find a new home for itself. Whilst this particular puzzle doesn’t appear to have an obvious solution, the outcome will no doubt determine Ice Rider Calyrex’s (and indeed any other Metal weak VMAX’s) place in the SWSH-on Meta.

Although Inteleon VMAX appears to have the more clear/promising future, Ice Rider Calyrex is still a formidible attacker that, when paired with Melony, can be frightingly efficient and powerful. Its Ride of the High King attack can do a solid 160 damage, which can two-shot most VMAXs and TagTeam Pokémon. It can also do up to 250 damage when coming up against Eternatus VMAX, setting you up for the potential of multiple knockouts if paired with Inteleon VMAX’s Max Bullet and a Telescopic Sight. Its second attack, Ride of the High King, can be used to hit for up 250 damage regardless of the matchup. This comfortably takes care of all relevant V Pokémon, PikaRom, and makes every VMAX a comfortable 2HKO whilst, like its first attack, leaves you to potentially take multiple knockouts at once. Meanwhile, whilst Inteleon VMAX gets a big boost in consistency with Melony, it also gets a new math fixer in Rapid Strike Inteleon (which slots straight versions of the deck that play the Shady Dealings line), and a new disruption card in Rugged Helmet which, combined with Hydro Snipe and Crushing Hammer, can cause some real problems for your opponent.

Shadow Rider Calyrex Leads A New Wave Of Psychic Support

The other big VMAX of Chilling Reign is Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX, which brings a whole host of Psychic friendly tools with it. Shadow Rider Calyrex’s main draw is its Underworld Door ability (which is much more underwhelming than the Japanese name, ‘Hell’s Gate’), which allows you to attach 1 Psychic energy from your hand to one of your Psychic benched Pokémon and then draw 2 cards. Sound familiar? Well, that’s because this ability harks back to two of the most popular Pokémon from the Sun and Moon block, Zoroark GX and Malamar. I don’t need to tell you how good drawing cards and accelerating energy are, but being able to do both at once on up to 4 Shadow Rider Calyrex’s in one turn, is power unlike anything we’ve seen before. It comes to no surprise then that its Max Geist attacks synergises with this ability, as its 30 multiplier for each Psychic energy only becomes more threatening as the game goes on and you set up more of your purple army.

To help you set up as many Shadow Rider Calyrex’s as possible on your opening turn, you will also have access to Fog Crystal, which allows you to search for any Psychic energy or basic Pokémon and put them into your hand. Fog Crystal is helpful at any stage of the game, as once you have set up your basic Vs you can search out your turn attachments and fuel for Underworld Door. Fog Crystal will no doubt be a 4-of in all Psychic archetypes going forwards, allowing you (along with Quick Ball) to have at least 8 outs to turn 1 basics.

Whilst not as helpful to Shadow Rider Calyrex, Cresselia, essentially a Psychic iteration of Volcanion from Unbroken Bonds, is a fantastic starter for some of the more expensive attackers out there… but only if you go second. Early signs are that Cresselia will be a popular partner for TrevNoir, as you can begin to use Night Watch from turn 2, in combination with cards such as Marnie and Path to the Peak (more on that later) to potentially lock you opponent out of the game. Now, of course, this sort of strategy completely falls flat on its face if your opponents makes you go first, as the earliest you will be getting off a handlock is turn 3. Therefore, it is possible that TrevNoir makes its way into Shadow Rider Calyrex (along with Gengar & Mimikyu GX), whilst Cresselia may find a more comfortable home in Psychic Mewtwo builds, which are a lot less afraid of going first than TrevNoir.

ADP Goes Out With A Bang

With only one full format left before it rotates, ADP has been given some great/terrifying (delete as applicable) new tools to help pull off the turn 1 Altered Creation GX that little bit more and secure those easy 3 prize knockout on low HP bench sitters more often. First off, we have Peony, which allows you to search for up to 2 Trainer cards at the cost of discarding your hand. Fortunately, we have Kricketune V in format, which allows you to then draw up to 3/4 cards once Peony has been used. Between Peony, Dedenne GX and Crobat V, you have decent odds of finding an attachment for ADP, a Metal Saucer (discarding a Metal energy along the way) for Zacian V, an Energy Switch and a possible Switch/Air Balloon. When you can guarantee 2 of those pieces with Peony, the odds of starting the rest or finding them with Dedenne/Crobat are good enough that this new build of ADP will prefer to go second. We know that ADPZ’s win rate goes up considerably if you can get off a turn 1 Altered Creation GX, so there’s no doubt that this iteration of the deck will be its strongest.

Another new card that can be searched out by Peony is Echoing Horn, a card that has obvious synergy with ADPZ’s strategy. VMAX and TagTeam decks will avoid putting down Dedenne GX, Crobat V and other support Pokémon V, knowing that they are safe in the discard pile or in the hand/deck if Mawile GX’s Captivating Wink ability has been already used. However, Echoing Horn can grab those Pokémon straight from the discard pile and put them on the bench, ready to be KO’d with a Boss’ Orders/Great Catcher. This way, ADPZ can ignore the VMAX and TagTeam Pokémon that can’t be OHKO’d, and instead focus on racing through the deck to get a turn 1 GX attack, then win the game in as little as 3 turns.

More Single and Rapid Strike Support Rides into Battle

Support for Single and Rapid Strike Pokémon shows no sign of slowing down, as in Chilling Reign there are multiple cards that both Battle Styles will be grateful to see. Let’s start with Rapid Strike, which boasts a powerful new Pokémon V and VMAX in Zeraora and Blaziken. Thanks to the mostly colourless nature of both their attack costs, the option is there to mix and match these two attackers with each other and RS Urshifu VMAX. Blaziken VMAX’s Max Blaze attack offers some fantastic acceleration, with it being able to recover up to 2 Rapid Strike energy cards from the discard pile. 130 damage also isn’t too shabby, and can set up a multi-KO turn with Zeraora/Urshifu. Speaking of Zeraora, being able to do a 160 snipe to any benched Pokémon is very appealing, even more so when paired with the new Passimian. Throwing Coach can boost Zeraora V’s snipe damage to 220 if you also have a Telescopic Sight attached, whilst RS Urshifu VMAX can do 2 180 damage snipes. This opens up the option to play Rapid Strike as more of a tool box, using different attackers for different matchups. This option is only aided by the release of Spiral Energy, which can easily supplement the specific energy in the costs of any Rapid Strike attacker that we have now or in the future.

Meanwhile, Single Strike gains a few handy Trainer cards, and possibly a new face for the Battle Style altogether. Seviper can be powered up thanks to Houndoom from Battle Styles, whilst the Strong Tail attack can be easily chained thanks to the new Welcoming Lantern, which puts any Single Strike Supporter from your discard pile back into your hand. As well as Supporter’s such as Bruno, we can now recover Karen’s Conviction, which can help add up to 100 damage to Seviper’s attacks. This, combined with the added damage from Single Strike Energy, can help Seviper OHKO even VMAXs! Another useful Single Strike Supporter we get from this set is Flannery, which can be a neat disruption option for decks going forwards. Whilst it may see most of its play in control archetypes, the fact that it can be recovered with Welcoming Lantern means that it can be an easy include for Single Strike decks if we ever get an attacker that synergises well with Flannery.

New Friends and Foes for Eternatus VMAX

Eternatus VMAX has proved that no matter what meta you are in, efficient attacks and a high damage output are always good things to have. Chilling Reign provides the deck with a few new useful tools, and also a powerful new threat. The good news is that Eternatus VMAX now finally has a way to accelerate energy outside of using Power Accelerator. Galarian Moltres V’s Direflame Wings ability, combined with Energy Switch, means that you no longer need to panic if you miss a turn attachment to an Eternatus. Additionally, Moltres allows you to recover energy from attackers that have been knocked out, which can be especially helpful in a deck that plays less than 10 energy cards.

Liepard V, on the other hand, is a helpful Pokémon that can discard annoying tool attached to your opponents attackers. These will most often be HP buffs, such as Big Charm on TagTeams or Metal Goggles in the LucMetal matchup. Whatever the situation, whatever the Tool card, Liepard is a useful 1-of in Eternatus VMAX that can disrupt your opponent all whilst boosting your damage output.

However, not all is rosy for Eternatus VMAX, as Galarian Zapdos V is a powerful counter that can be included in a variety of decks. Against Eternatus, a deck that plays a high amount of V Pokémon, you will almost always be using Thunderous Kick for just a single energy. With the power of Aurora Energy, decks that are weak to Dark, such as Shadow Rider Calyrex and Dragapult VMAX, can easily include Zapdos into their lists without too much compromise. Even decks such as Mewtwo and ADPZ, archetypes that have played Aurora Energy in the past, won’t have too much trouble including Zapdos into their lists.

Meet Path to the Peak, it’s Power Plant on Steroids

Of all of the cards that are coming out in Chilling Reign, Path to the Peak may end up being the most powerful. Power Plant was always a strong card during the latter stages of the Sun and Moon era but, as more and more V and VMAX Pokémon were released, the card became less and less relevant in the meta. Come forth then Path to the Peak, which covers not only Pokémon GX, but also all V and VMAX Pokémon, as well as any other cards that contain a newly coined ‘Rule Box’. This also covers Prism Star cards (i.e. Tapu Koko) as well as any new mechanics that may get introduced in the next few years such as V-Union cards.

You only need to look at some of the most commonly played Pokémon in the format to see just how many abilities Path to the Peak turns off. For example, Rule Box Pokémon that are currently seeing a lot of play include: Mew3, Crobat V, Dedenne GX, Eternatus VMAX, Zacian V, Kricketune V and Eldegoss V… not counting any new cards that come out of Chilling Reign such as Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX, Galarian Moltres V and Galarian Zapdos V. Nearly all of the most popular support Pokémon we currently have access to, as well as some of the most popular attackers, have a Rule Box, so it will come as no surprise to hear that Path to the Peak will be played in decks that are less reliant on these sort of cards, in the hope that you catch the right opponent who struggles to get going in a game without access to these helpful abilities.

Now, just as there are obvious cards that can counter Path to the Peak, such as Chaotic Swell and Marshadow, there are cards that synergise with its disruptive potential. Marnie + Path to the Peak + Night Watch has been touted as a powerful combo that puts your opponents down to a 2 card hand size and shuts off any Rule Box abilities that may help them draw out of the lock. The success of this strategy will come down to the prominence of Chaotic Swell in the format, and the percentage of games you are able to go second and get off a turn 1 Crescent Glow with Cresselia onto a TrevNoir. However, there’s no doubt that Path to the Peak is a powerful threat to many of the most popular Pokémon in the format that, gone unchecked, has the potential to leave your opponent completely helpless.


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