Rapid Growth: Top Five Chilling Reign Picks and Urshifu / Zeraora V Analysis
Hi PokeBeach readers! I’m here again with another article, and this time, I’ll be talking about the five things that caught my attention about Chilling Reign, plus a review of Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX with the new Zeraora V and other cards from the new set.
I really liked Chilling Reign, and I expect its cards will have several important impacts on the metagame to come. Some Pokémon we already know are strong, such as Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX and Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX. Others still need to be better explored, such as Blaziken VMAX and Zeraora V. Over the coming days, we’ll learn a lot about these new cards, and we’ll see how they affect the metagame for the Players Cup Global Finals — the first time they’ll be legal for a tournament.
The Chilling Reign set, though, also stood out for another curious reason: In this set alone, we have three great counters to Eternatus VMAX. The most famous, Galarian Zapdos V, is essentially capable of Knocking Out Eternatus VMAX for just one Energy. We also have the Stadium card Path to the Peak, which disables the Abilities of all Pokémon with Rule Boxes — including not only Eternatus VMAX’s Bench expansion, but also Crobat V‘s powerful card draw. And finally we have the Supporter card Avery, which draws three cards and forces the opponent to discard Pokémon from their Bench until they have only three. With so many cards coming out to disrupt Eternatus VMAX, it’s clear that its presence will continue to have repercussions in the metagame, now and even after the rotation.
My goal today is to present my analysis of a Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX deck with some new cards from the Chilling Reign set, such as Echoing Horn, Zeraora V, Spiral Energy and Passimian. These cards make for all kinds of interesting plays with Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX and Octillery. I also know that many players are curious to know how the deck plays, so I decided to test it out and tell you what I think of its potential. But first, I want to comment on my top five picks from Chilling Reign.
My Top Five Chilling Reign Picks
In my opinion, Blaziken VMAX is the most interesting Pokémon from the set, because its attack allows for so many variations of play. With just two of any Energy (or one Rapid Strike Energy), its attack does 130 damage and attaches an Energy from the discard pile to each of two Pokémon on your Bench. With such versatility, there are many potential combos we can test with it.
I like the idea of playing Blaziken VMAX with Cheryl, as Blaziken VMAX is largely self-sufficient in its recovery. The Active Blaziken VMAX can easily power up another two Blaziken VMAX on the Bench after healing them with Cheryl. Another interesting variant pairs Blaziken VMAX with Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, the cards complementing each other particularly nicely in the current metagame. I plan to write an article focused on Blaziken VMAX soon, exploring some of these ideas in detail.
Galarian Moltres V, Galarian Zapdos V, Galarian Articuno V
Each of the Galarian birds is very good, with different characteristics that make them useful in completely different situations. Galarian Articuno V enables some setup moves that were difficult to make before, while Galarian Zapdos V is a strong, versatile Pokémon and an incredible hard counter to Eternatus VMAX. Meanwhile, Galarian Moltres V comes to help solve one of Eternatus VMAX’s problems — namely, the lack of a consistent way to accelerate Energy.
Galarian Articuno V – I’ve been wanting a Pokémon that could discard cards for a while. Thanks to Galarian Articuno V’s Ability, we will have a much easier time using cards like Mustard and Kricketune V that depend on having relatively few cards in your hand.
Galarian Zapdos V – We know Galarian Zapdos V for being a hard counter against Eternatus VMAX. Its Ability, its type, and its attack combine to make it perfect for this. If we look closely, though, it has the potential to be even more useful than that.
With so many Pokémon V in this metagame, Galarian Zapdos V will never need four Energy to use its attack. I believe that on average, we can expect to need two Energy, which is an easy cost to pay for such a good attack. Without even considering the Special Energy removal effect, it does 170 damage, which is enough to Knock Out many Pokémon VMAX in two attacks, as well as Dedenne-GX and Crobat V in one.
Galarian Moltres V – Two copies of Galarian Moltres V and two copies of Energy Switch will probably be used in almost all Eternatus VMAX decks, assuming they want some way to protect themselves against Crushing Hammer. Galarian Moltres V’s Ability allows you to attach a Darkness Energy from your discard pile to Galarian Moltres V, while the Energy Switch lets you move the Energy from Galarian Moltres V to your Eternatus VMAX. If you don’t want to use Energy Switch, then Weavile-GX can be another option to perform the same function repeatedly.
Our old friend Dark Box may have one more chance to shine with the help of Galarian Moltres V, although Umbreon and Darkrai-GX and Greninja and Zoroark-GX are no longer as strong as they used to be. Other Darkness-type Pokémon V and Pokémon VMAX may also have a chance to play with this card, such as Sableye V and Malamar VMAX.
Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX
Without a doubt, this is the strongest Pokémon in the set, and we will never see Psychic-type Pokémon the same way again as long as this card is around. Speeding up Psychic Energy attachments and drawing more cards each turn, it’s easy to imagine several ways to combine the power of this card with other Pokémon. There are two infamous combinations so far: one is with Mewtwo and Mew-GX and other Psychic Pokémon like Gengar and Mimikyu-GX and Trevenant and Dusknoir-GX; and the other is with Alcremie VMAX.
The biggest threat to Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX right now is Eternatus VMAX, so it will be common for Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX lists to use Aurora Energy and Galarian Zapdos V or Galarian Sirfetch'd V to cover for this weakness.
Path to the Peak
Now we have a Stadium capable of impeding the Abilities of every Pokémon-GX and Pokémon V in the game, which in practice makes it like a much stronger Power Plant. Such a card will certainly have a strong impact on the metagame, as many decks suffer a lot from its effect. Chaotic Swell is still the best way for opponents to protect themselves against Stadiums like Path to the Peak, so I advise using Marshadow as the Path to the Peak player to get around that Stadium and use your Paths to the Peak to their fullest potential.
I also believe Reset Stamp will make a comeback thanks to this card. When your opponent is unable to use Dedenne-GX, Crobat V, Kricketune V or even Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX, Reset Stamp gains a terrifying amount of power. If Path to the Peak players start using Marshadow to remove the opponent’s Chaotic Swell, then my tip for decks that suffer from Ability lock is to use Marshadow as well. It can be benched early in the game and then activated later to kick the opponent’s Path to the Peak and re-enable your Abilities. Without a doubt, the Stadium fight promises to be interesting in this format.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
If you'd like to continue reading, consider purchasing a PokeBeach premium membership! If you're not completely satisfied with your membership, you can request a full refund within 30 days.
Each week we post high-quality content from some of the game's top players. Our article program isn't a corporate operation, advertising front, or for-profit business. We set our prices so that we can pay the game's top players to write the best content for our subscribers. Each article topic is carefully selected, goes through multiple drafts, and is touched up by our editors. We take great pride in our program!