The main focus of the deck is simple and effective: get as
many Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX as you can into play, as fast as possible.
Having a single card that works as Energy acceleration, draw support, and
attacker all at the same time is nothing short of amazing. In this instance,
the more Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX, the merrier; having additional copies in
play significantly improves your chances to win the game.
This list includes two copies of Gengar & Mimikyu-GX. Rarely will more than one
ever hit the field, but having access to it when needed can be crucial—hence
the backup copy. This gives the deck a useful option in Horror House-GX,
which in most cases will force the opponent to immediately end their turn after
drawing a card. Normally a GX attack should offer high damage output or
some other game-changing effect, but this deck is content with just buying time
and drawing cards. Consider waiting until you have two Psychic Energy attached
to Gengar & Mimikyu-GX to get the extra card draw effect from Horror
House-GX. This attack essentially provides you with another turn of
Underworld Door Abilities, which can help a lot with increasing the total
amount of Psychic Energy in play.
Take note also that Shadow Rider Calyrex V's first attack, Shadow Mist, can help
slow down decks with a lot of Special Energy cards. In addition, it will block
the pesky Path to the Peak Stadium
card from coming down.
You will also notice that a small Alcremie VMAX line is added to the list. This card has been
around for a while but has lacked a good partner. This inclusion serves a
couple different purposes. The main reason is having another attacker with a
different type of Weakness, giving you more options against Darkness-type
Pokémon. In addition, Alcremie VMAX offers the G-Max Whisk attack, which also
takes advantage of having a lot of Psychic Energy cards in play, but
unfortunately it has to discard them to do damage. The upside is being able to
reach high damage numbers with significantly less Psychic Energy in play. This
attack is especially great for taking the final Knock Out of the game, as you
no longer have to worry about maintaining a healthy amount of Energy for damage
Although less commonly used, its first attack, Adornment,
can attach up to 5 Psychic Energy, which is a huge boost to the damage output
for the rest of the game. This requires a full Bench and exposing a Pokémon
worth three Prize cards in the Active Spot, but in some situations it can
certainly be worthwhile.
Cards for Consistency
To make sure that any deck functions properly, it's
important to carefully decide what type of Trainer cards and support Pokémon
should be used. Here are a few that can have a major impact in this deck's
One of the most powerful options available for this deck is
also a card from the Sword & Shield—Chilling Reign expansion, Fog Crystal. It's a shame that
more than four copies of this card can't be used, as it can fetch important
cards at any stage of the game. In the early turns it can find Gengar &
Mimikyu-GX and Shadow Rider Calyrex V, and later it can pick up Psychic
Energy cards to fuel Underworld Door. On top of all that, it can also search
out Marshadow, whose Resetting Hole Ability can deal with Path to
the Peak. This Stadium can pose a major threat to the deck's strategy, so
having extra ways to remove it can be the deciding factor in a game.
Our example list chooses to go light on the draw-support
Pokémon, with only one Dedenne-GX
and one Crobat V.
Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX itself is such a good way to draw cards that the deck
can rely heavily on it. Bench space is also precious since you want as many
Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX in play as possible.
This deck can get by with just a handful of staples, generally
seen as the strongest Supporter cards in the format: Professor's Research, Marnie,
and Boss's Orders. The
raw draw power of Professor's Research is unmatched, and Marnie doubles up as
both a draw Supporter and a disruption card. Boss's Orders is the best way to
close out games and apply pressure to your opponent's most important Pokémon.
Like so many decks, having ways to move Pokémon between the
Bench and the Active Spot is critical. For this mobility, the deck has three Switch and two Air Balloon. These are important
to make sure Gengar & Mimikyu-GX can find its way into the Active
Spot early. Using the Poltergeist attack right after a full-effect Horror House-GX
attack can in some cases score a Knock Out, but it can also backfire if the
opponent doesn't draw into a lot of Trainer cards. The high number of switching
cards makes sure the deck can swap between attackers as it sees fit as the game
The Stadium card of choice for this deck is Training Court. As mentioned
earlier, Path to the Peak can be a problematic Stadium to deal with, as it will
block the Underworld Door Ability. Therefore, this deck needs to run its own
Stadiums as a form of defense, in addition to Marshadow with its Resetting Hole
Ability. Training Court also allows for the retrieval of Psychic Energy cards,
which can be really helpful after a couple of Professor's Research, or after
some of your Pokémon get Knocked Out.
Battling against Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX
By now it's pretty clear that this deck has a lot of
potential, so it's very likely that we will continue to see Shadow Rider
Calyrex VMAX be a popular card for some time to come. So we should also look at
some tips and tricks on what to do when facing this new deck, as well.
Take Advantage of Weakness
The easiest way to defeat a problematic Pokémon is usually
to look at the bottom-left symbol on the card. In this case, Shadow Rider
Calyrex VMAX has Darkness-type Weakness. The strongest Darkness-type deck
already established in the current format is the Eternatus VMAX deck. This deck should be able to power
through Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX in just one attack. But of course, having to
commit to a whole deck just to beat another deck is not desirable. Fortunately,
there are some other options.
Sword & Shield—Chilling Reign introduced another
really strong card in Galarian Moltres V.
With its Direflame Wings Ability, it can attach a Darkness Energy to itself
from the discard pile every turn. This makes it easy to fuel its powerful Aura
Burn attack, which, with the help of Weakness, can do enough damage to take
down Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX in a single hit. Multiple decks including Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX,
Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX,
and Mewtwo & Mew-GX
have already incorporated Galarian Moltres V into some of their deck lists, and
many more have yet to be explored. One thing is certain, Galarian Moltres V is
an incredible Darkness-type option.
Wall Them Out
Another approach for dealing with Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX
is to prevent them from attacking in the first place. Decidueye from the Sword & Shield—Darkness
Ablaze expansion can block all damage done from Pokémon V with its Deep
Forest Camo Ability. Pair that with the Big Parasol
Pokémon Tool card and not even Shadow Rider Calyrex V's Astral Barrage attack
will be able to do any damage. Similarly, Zamazenta V
from the Sword & Shield expansion blocks all damage from
Pokémon VMAX, which will also be quite problematic for the deck.
Countering the Counters
While the above-mentioned options can be a great way of
locking the opponent out of the game, there are a number of cards the Shadow
Rider Calyrex VMAX deck can deploy to have a fighting chance. These “tech”
cards can increase the number of options and the strength of the deck, but
often at the cost of the deck's consistency. Depending on what you expect the
metagame to look like, here are some cards you should have in the back of your
mind as considerations when you are building your own list.
Swapping out a few Psychic Energy for some Aurora Energy will enable you to
use a couple of different tech attackers. Galarian Zapdos V can be a great
option to combat Eternatus VMAX if you want to have a more reliable answer than
Alcremie VMAX. This will also open the possibility of using Necrozma from Sun & Moon—Unified
Minds. With a Special Energy attached, its Special Laser attack can do 160
damage, which can be enough to Knock Out Decidueye in a single hit.
Another option to consider is Trevenant & Dusknoir-GX. This card can provide
great disruption with its Night Watch attack, especially when first paired with
Marnie to further reduce your opponent's hand size. It's also a much stronger
option against Zamazenta V than Gengar & Mimikyu-GX, since the
damage output is consistent and not dependent on the opponent's hand. The 270 HP
also allows Trevenant & Dusknoir-GX to survive two attacks from
Cards that have multiple purposes are usually a ton of fun
to play, and Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX is no exception. The extra card draw and
Energy acceleration makes this deck stand out from other current Standard
format decks. I will highly recommend giving this archetype a try if you haven't
already. The deck is relatively easy to just pick up and play, but it still has
a ton of options presented during gameplay.
This is just one of the many exciting options from the new Sword
& Shield—Chilling Reign expansion, and it's not even the only Calyrex
VMAX deck! Read Xander
Pero's recent article about Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX to find out more about
the other exciting version. And be sure to check out Pokemon.com/Strategy for more
Pokémon TCG strategy and analysis.
Tord Reklev is a contributing writer for Pokemon.com. He is a longtime player from Norway, playing the game since he was 6 years old. He is notable for being the only Masters Division player to win the North America, Europe, and Oceania Internationals, and he recently made Top 4 at the World Championships. Outside of the game, he is a student and enjoys playing tennis. You can find him at most big events, and can follow him on Twitter at @TordReklev.