The psychic-type king officially rides his trusty steed into the top levels of competitive play with the release of Chilling Reign. Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX is proving to be a serious contender for the best deck in the format, but he is accompanied by some familiar friends.

Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX


The king himself, Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX, is your first line of offense in this build. His Underworld Door ability allows you to set up your bench, drawing you extra cards along the way for some insane value. Thanks to his Max Geist attack, the more [P] energies you attach to your Pokémon, the harder Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX hits. This allows for amazing snowball potential with built-in support through Underworld Door to start building up your bench, as you dish out even more damage.

Everyone keeping up with the Pokémon TCG knows that Mewtwo & Mew-GX is a force to be reckoned with. This is because Mewtwo & Mew are granted access to all the moves learned by your other Pokémon-GX. The inclusion of these extra Pokemon-GX also gives you the option to freely discard them with cards such as Quick Ball and Professor’s Research since Mewtwo & Mew-GX can still access their attacks from the discard pile. This line of GX support allows you to play a more control-oriented play style and works around powerful threats to Pokémon-V such as Zamazenta V and Victini VMAX.

The foundation of utilities included in this archetype may seem situational, but you can consider this deck the jack-of-all trades of having just the right tool to pull out at any given moment. Dedenne-GX replenishes our hand size while discarding any of our Pokemon-GX, synergizing with the Mewtwo & Mew-GX tactic of using our discard pile to our advantage. Crobat V will accomplish the same thing, however its extra 20 HP may prove to be more crucial against decks constantly looking to damage the bench.

Galarian Zapdos V is essential in covering Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX’s weakness against Eternatus VMAX. A single Thunderous Kick attack is all it takes to take down the 340HP dark behemoth. We even throw in three copies of Aurora Energy to make sure Galarian Zapdos V has the energy it needs to pull of its signature move.

Moreover, given that Galarian Zapdos V’s special ability reduces the cost of this attack for every Pokémon-V on your opponent’s bench, Galarian Zapdos V will likely be able to cover your greatest threat with a single Aurora Energy attached. We throw in two copies of this new Zapdos’ new Galarian form just because of how important it is in beating our hardest match up in the meta.

Cresselia is the go-to starting basic Pokémon any time you find yourself going second. Its Crescent Glow attack allows you attach three [P] energy cards from your deck to your benched Shadow Rider Calyrex V. Since we are usually looking to go first, we can get away with only playing one copy, especially given that Cresselia is searchable with Quick Ball, Fog Crystal, and Pokémon Communication in the scenarios where we find ourselves going second instead.

Marshadow, like Cresselia, can also be searched out through Fog Crystal and Quick Ball. Its Resetting Hole ability is extremely useful in getting rid of popular Stadium cards such as Path to the Peak or Giant Hearth.


The trainer cards in our list are staples in the competitive decks of the format. Fog Crystal allows you to search out almost any attacking Pokémon in the deck. You won’t be able to search for Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX and Zapdos V, but they are readily accessible thanks to Pokémon Communication.

Air Balloon and Switch allow you to rotate your strategy between Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX and Mewtwo & Mew-GX, as you are safely able to switch into a healthy attacker depending on the situation. Reset Stamp puts our opponent to a low hand size after they take out one of our three-prize Pokémon to prevent them from getting an upper hand in the late game.

Chaotic Swell is our only Stadium and has a role similar to Marshadow, in that it keeps other pesky Stadium cards off the board which might inhibit our big plays. Finally, our three supporters are essential to any deck of the format, with Marnie and Professor’s Research refueling our resources and Boss’s Orders allowing us to pull our opponent’s Pokémon from the bench into the active.

Parting Thoughts

Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX has without a doubt established itself at the top of the current meta game. In playing the deck, it’s important not to overestimate him when energy is running low before your board is yet developed. Don’t be afraid to start off with Mewtwo & Mew-GX earlier on, with access to Horror House-GX, allowing you to evolve Calyrex. Aim to start Cresselia whenever you’re starting second to catch up to your opponent who will inevitably evolve a turn before you.

Match up is extremely important in playing Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX. Avoid dropping Mewtwo & Mew-GX in the mirror match while prioritizing Zapdos V and Mewtwo & Mew-GX. Prioritize Gengar & Mimikyu, and Trevenant & Dusknoir in the Eternatus matchup.

To conclude, this decks versatility in its ability to deal massive amounts of damage while controlling the state of the board as well as your opponent’s hand is what ranks it in the highest echelon of an otherwise complex format.

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