Top Picks from Chilling Reign and a First Look at Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX

Hello PokeBeach readers! In this article I’m going to give an in-depth look at my top ten picks from the Chilling Reign set, as well as  go over what I believe will be one of the strongest archetypes emerging from the set: Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX.

Before I get into this list, I want to note that I think this will be the most impactful set since the release of Sword and Shield, as it brings a plethora of options to old archetypes as well as multiple new decks to immediately impact the meta. With that said, let’s start with my number ten pick!

Pick 10

When looking at a card like Malamar, I don’t expect it to become a staple in the meta — more of a niche fun deck that can surprise people with the occasional win of a small event. It’ll be similar to decks like Gourgeist and Whimsicott, decks that can take big Knock Outs, but suffer from inconsistency and take some time to set up. The difference I see with Malamar is the Octillery engine. This allows the deck to not only set up efficiently, but also do large sums of damage very easily.

With that in mind, I don’t expect Malamar to be a Tier 1 deck, but it might hold its own as the best single-Prize deck in the format. With a good engine and ton of tools, Malamar is in a position to be a sneaky play for the right meta, as it can easily two-shot Pokémon VMAX and take a near auto-win against Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, which is commonly seen as one of the top two decks to beat. Malamar should also take a fairly favorable matchup against the number-one deck in Pikachu and Zekrom-GX, as they are equally slow and can’t trade easily with Malamar’s single-Prize attackers.

The downfall of Malamar will come in its inconsistency, and the fact that it will likely need to run Crobat V or Dedenne-GX to make up for it. Both these Pokémon will take away from the core strategy of this deck, which is to take full advantage of being a single-Prize Pokémon to trade favorably. With these slight downfalls and a naturally bad matchup against both Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX and Lucario and Melmetal-GX, Malamar will remain a lower-tier deck with the potential to have deep runs in smaller events.

Pick 9: Zeraora V

Unlike the rest of the cards on this list, I think Zeraora V has close to no potential upon release. This stems mostly from an inefficient attack cost along with tough matchups against the majority of Tag Team decks. However, I think this card has a ton of potential: the ability to chain 100 damage to the Active and 160 to a Benched Pokémon is incredibly strong, and in a slightly slower format it could easily cement itself as the number-one contender. Zeraora V gets its biggest boost from its capacity to use Rapid Strike Energy as a normal Double Colorless Energy. The majority of decks won’t have this luxury, but for Zeraora V this chain of damage can start as early as the third turn.

I have Zeraora V fairly low on this list because it’s purely speculation as to how good it can actually be. The format isn’t right for Zeraora V just yet, but in time I’m sure a card this strong will eventually find its way into the meta. The biggest issue comes from another card on this list: Galarian Zapdos V. Galarian Zapdos V will absolutely crush Zeraora V if it were to ever become a mainstream deck, so with that in mind, Zeraora V might have some trouble finding the spotlight, but I tend to believe if a card is this powerful, it will become a Tier 1 deck eventually.

Pick 8: Blissey V

Reminiscent of the Blissey piloted by Paul Atanassov to a finalist finish at the 2008 World Championship, Blissey V has all the makings of a top-tier card. While mediocre at first glance and likely not doing a ton of damage on the first attack, Blissey V is likely to end up a better version of the already popular Centiskorch VMAX. Using a Welder engine, Blissey V will hit for 100 damage on its first attack, then build to 190 with the potential for more when you include a second extra Welder and attachment for turn.

Where this card really thrives, though, is its massive HP. Using Cape of Toughness to buff Blissey V’s HP to a massive 300 makes it essentially a two-Prize Centiskorch VMAX. Centiskorch VMAX has notoriously fallen prey to the Raichu and Alolan Raichu-GX plus Reset Stamp combo to paralyze-lock the Active Pokémon and let the Pikachu and Zekrom-GX player take a free win in the matchup. Blissey V, however, comes with a built-in counter to this strategy in the form of its Ability. While in the majority of matchups, Blissey V’s Ability will never be useful, it does counter one of the main strategies in what is widely assumed to be the best deck in the game — Pikachu and Zekrom-GX. These small upsides along with a proven strategy make me hopeful for what Blissey V can do in the Standard format. If I had to guess, Blissey V will become a staple Tier 2 deck that only really loses heavily to a few decks and its own mild Welder-related inconsistencies.

Pick 7: Echoing Horn

Simply a reprint of the notorious Target Whistle, Echoing Horn will make an instant impact in this format as an incredibly oppressive tool for in the Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX archetype in particular. While I feel most decks in this format will want to play this card just because the current meta emphasizes targeting Bench-sitters so much, ADP can take such full advantage of this card that I think it will easily put ADP back at the top as the best deck in the game without contention. Echoing Horn makes it so benching even a single Dedenne-GX or Crobat V will straight-up lose you the game. It makes it so a single Boltund V on the board for Pikachu and Zekrom-GX will lose them the game. This card takes ADP from a very oppressive deck to outright the best deck in the format. ADP already limited the number of set up and two-Prize Pokémon any deck could play against them, now that number has dwindled to zero. I believe this card will be so strong in ADP, the deck will likely play two copies, making it so if you even discard a two-Prize Pokémon, they can play back-to-back Boss's Orders and close out the game. The reason I have it as only my number seven pick is because I feel it’s only this powerful in ADP — while in other archetypes it still gets a ton of value, ADP is the only one that can truly abuse the card. I also think the cards I am listing above Echoing Horn will have more of an immediate and long-term impact, whereas I feel after Tag Teams are rotated from the format, Echoing Horn will become much worse.

Pick 6: Avery

Avery will be a Supporter that isn’t always present in the meta, but from time to time someone will surprise people with its inclusion and it will start to see play again. With a fairly strong effect and some extra card draw, Avery acts as a good counter to decks like Control or Eternatus VMAX that need a large Bench of specific Pokémon to function. While it isn’t amazing against a lot of decks because it will often just discard bad Pokémon, it can have some niche combo potential with Echoing Horn where you discard their Pokémon then force a different Pokémon out of their discard pile. This can counter players trying to fill their Bench with single-Prize Pokémon when you can Knock Out a Dedenne-GX for the game. The main reason I have Avery so high is because it’s a solid card that will see consistent play throughout its lifespan in Standard. It’s not a game-breaking card by any means, but it’s all-around solid and provides some good utility in many matchups, especially in and against Control decks.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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