Caly-Wreck Your Opponents With Calyrex!

     The Calyrex Battle Decks are here and ready to give you a jumpstart into competitive play! Featuring Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX and Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX, these are the first Level 3 League Battle Decks that Pokemon has released. If you thought the Urshifu VMAX decks were great, you’re in for a treat with these. Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX is arguably the better of the two, with Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX/Palkia VSTAR seeing three Day Two placements at the North American International Championships. However, don’t underestimate the Shadow Rider deck! With Whimsicott VSTAR, this pair can wreak havoc, hitting hard and preventing your opponent from playing optimally. Let’s dive into these decks and see how you can upgrade your game play with Calyrex!

 Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX | Chilling Reign | TCG Card Database | Pokemon.com

     The Ice Rider Calyrex Battle Deck is hugely competitive right out of the box; featuring everyone’s favourite evolution line: Inteleon! This deck gives us the competitive Drizzile with the Shady Dealings ability, allowing you to search your deck for any Trainer card. It’s not even just Item cards- you can also search out Supporters and Stadiums with Drizzile. We also get both the Shady Dealings and Quick Shooting Inteleons, giving you even more search with getting two Trainer cards and being able to snipe 20 damage to any of your opponent’s Pokemon respectively. The playsets of this evolution line used to be almost $50 alone, so there is already huge value. Dark Fox TCG sells these decks for just $34.99 and there’s so much more in them! It also features Path to the Peak, a fantastic card for controlling your opponent’s game by preventing them from using the Abilities of their Genesect V, Arceus VSTAR, Palkia VSTAR, Radiant Greninja and other Rule Box Pokemon. The rest of the deck features competitive cards that you can mix and match into a variety of decks. A lot of the top decks right now play Evolution Incense, Air Balloon, Level Ball, Quick Ball and Switch which are included here. Rounding out the deck are some top-tier supporters: Melony, Marnie, Boss’s Orders and Professor’s Research are all competitive staples that complete this pre-constructed deck. Here’s the list of cards included in the Ice Rider Calyrex League Battle Deck:

Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX ×3

Ice Rider Calyrex V ×3

Inteleon (SWSH01 #058) ×2

Inteleon (SWSH06 #043) ×2

Drizzile ×4

Sobble ×4

Air Balloon ×2

Boss’s Orders (Lysandre) ×3

Capacious Bucket ×3

Evolution Incense ×3

Level Ball ×4

Marnie ×2

Melony ×4

Path to the Peak ×4

Professor’s Research (Professor Juniper) ×2

Quick Ball ×4

Switch ×2

Water Energy ×9

 

     If you’re playing this deck right out of the box with no upgrades, you’ve still got a great deck that will put some pressure on your locals. To play it as is, you’ll want to focus on getting several Sobble on your bench early on and setting up two Calyrex. Luckily, Sobble’s first attack lets you search for 3 Rapid Strike Pokemon and put them onto your Bench immediately, and Sobble is a Rapid Strike Pokemon! If you open with a Level Ball and a Sobble already on your bench you will want to try to keep the Level Ball in your hand to get a Drizzile turn 2 and start getting your board set up. Be careful not to overextend early on, then search out exactly what you need with Shady Dealings! This deck plays 4 Melony so if you can get Water Energy into your discard pile, you’ll be able to attach one to your Calyrex using Melony, then again manually to get him from zero energy to being able to attack in the same turn. Ice Rider Calyrex has two great attacks- the first, Ride of the High King, does 10 damage plus 30 damage for each of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon. Calyrex’s second attack, Max Lance, is the hardest hitting two-energy attack in the format. You can always hit for 250 damage if you discard both Water Energy attached to it, and you don’t have to worry about your damage output being dependant on your opponent’s Benched Pokemon like you are with his first attack.  Hit your opponent with some Quick Shootings from Inteleon and you’ll be knocking out Pokemon VSTAR in one turn! Then, just utilize your Shady Dealings Pokemon to have easy access to anything else you need to close out the game. Just need a Boss’s Orders to win? Need one last Melony to get enough energy on the board? Need to find your last Quick Shooting Inteleon with Evolution Incense? If you have a Shady Dealings to play and the card you need in your deck, the game is already won!

Drizzile | Sword & Shield | TCG Card Database | Pokemon.com

     All of that can be done with just the cards that come in the box- but how can we make Ice Rider even stronger? Pokemon put an insert in this box with ideas on how to upgrade the deck. They suggest adding a Crobat V and a Suicune V. While Crobat V is always a great option to draw more cards, Suicune V is outclassed by a new card! You could have a much more powerful deck if you add Palkia V and VSTAR instead. Ice Rider VMAX/Palkia VSTAR is a powerful top tier deck right now, and with this preconstructed deck as the base you’ll be playing with a Championship-level deck in no time! Remember earlier how we said you’d be hitting for 250 damage consistently? Most VSTAR Pokemon have 280 HP, so adding Choice Belts to the list will increase your chances of One-Hit KOing the most powerful threats in the meta. Additionally, you’ll want to add Scoop Up Nets to pick up your Inteleons to re-use them. Irida is another great card to add to this deck- this Supporter allows you to search for any water Pokemon and any Item card. She can really turn the game in your favour to help you get the missing pieces and pull off your attack for the turn. Lastly, you can add a Radiant Greninja to the deck. His ability, Concealed Cards, allows you to discard an Energy card from your hand and draw two cards. This gets Energy into your discard to use with Melony and gives you more cards to work with each turn. Here’s what your deck might look like after making these changes:

2 Ice Rider V
2 Ice Rider VMAX
4 Sobble
3 Drizzile
2 Inteleon (Shady Dealings)
2 Palkia V
2 Palkia VStar
1 Radiant Greninja

2 Choice Belt
3 Scoop Up Net
3 Capacious Bucket
3 Evolution Incense
4 Cross Switcher
4 Level Ball
4 Quick Ball
2 Ultra Ball
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Echoing Horn


1 Boss’s Orders
1 Marnie
1 Roxanne
2 Irida
2 Melony

8 Water Energy

      The main thing you must know about this deck is that it will take a bit more foresight to play optimally. Instead of playing down as many Sobble as you can turn one, you’ll want to be more conservative with your bench space. Try to get a Palkia V started early on to take advantage of higher bench density- if both benches are full, Palkia will be hitting for 260 damage, plus a potential 30 more from Choice Belt. Once your opponent has knocked out a Palkia, you can go in with 2 Calyrex VMAXs as your attackers to force them to take eight prizes. Just be aware of your Bench space after your first Calyrex is Knocked Out; you don’t want your opponent using their own Boss’s Orders to bring up a smaller one-prize Pokemon for game. Even if they do, it still benefits you more that they have to take out 3 Pokemon instead of 2- and Calyrex is notoriously difficult to knock out in one hit with its massive 320 HP anyways.

Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR | Astral Radiance | TCG Card Database |  Pokemon.com

     You’ll also notice we cut the Quick Shooting Inteleons completely. While they are a fantastic addition to the deck, we just don’t have the space for them here and we reliably knock out Pokemon VSTAR with just our Choice Belts anyways. Not needing a Quick Shooter also means we have more space for techs. I’ve added Echoing Horn to this list which allows you to put one of your opponent’s Pokemon from their discard pile back onto their bench, which increases the damage from your Calyrex and Palkia. Then we have a Tool Scrapper to get rid of pesky Big Charms on Pokemon like Arceus VSTAR, who would otherwise be out of range for a One Hit KO. Additionally, you’ll notice we got rid of all our Switches and Air Balloons in favour of Cross Switchers. This deck doesn’t rely on switching out too much, and with the inclusion of Scoop Up Net we often have ways out of the active anyways. Simply bring up a Sobble or Drizzile when your active Pokemon is knocked out, evolve to use Shady Dealings if you can, then Scoop Up Net them back into your hand and bring up your next attacker. If you find yourself with a Palkia or Calyrex in the active and you don’t want them there, you can utilize Cross Switcher to bring up a more favourable Pokemon of yours and choose one of your opponent’s Pokemon to pull into the active. Two Swablu’s one stone!  

Cross Switcher | Fusion Strike | TCG Card Database | Pokemon.com

     These upgrades would cost about $100 on top of the cost of the deck, which in terms of a tournament-ready deck, is not to bad at all! Pokemon really knocked it out of the park with this deck, it’s great to see a real deck ready to play that you can pick up at your Local Game Store. Next let’s take a look at the Shadow Rider Calyrex League Battle Deck! Here’s what we’re working with:

Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX ×3

Shadow Rider Calyrex V ×3

Cresselia ×3

Galarian Articuno ×2

Pumpkaboo ×1

Air Balloon ×2

Boss’s Orders (Lysandre) ×3

Evolution Incense ×4

Fog Crystal ×4

Great Ball ×2

Marnie ×4

Ordinary Rod ×1

Professor’s Research (Professor Juniper) ×4

Quick Ball ×4

Switch ×2

Training Court ×3

Psychic Energy ×15

 

     In terms of competitiveness out of the box, this deck needs much fewer changes than the Ice Rider one to meet its current full potential. The game plan for this Shadow Rider deck is to load up the bench with energy while drawing cards for consistency, then hitting hard with Max Geist for 30 damage times the number of Psychic Energy on your field. This deck features the “Shadow Mist” Shadow Rider V which can really disrupt your opponent’s opening turns- it only does 10 damage, but it prevents your opponent from playing Special Energy or Stadiums from their hand during their turn. Once you evolve into the VMAX you can use its ability “Underworld Door” to attach an energy from your hand to one of your benched Pokemon and draw 2 cards. Also featured in this deck is Galarian Articuno, whose “Cruel Charge” ability allows you to attach 2 Psychic Energy from your hand to it when you play it onto your bench. Last but certainly not least we have Cresselia- you’ll actually want to start with her and ideally go second, then you can use her attack to attach up to 3 Psychic energies from your deck to one of your Pokemon.

Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX | Chilling Reign | TCG Card Database | Pokemon.com

      With all of that being said, how can we make this deck better? First, this deck plays entirely too many Cresselia. Most lists will only play 1 if any as she’s not crucial to the deck functionality. A lot of Shadow Rider decks are also playing Whimsicott now, too. This gives you a better starting option since you can use “Fluff Gets in the Way” to prevent your opponent’s active Basic Pokemon from attacking you and buy yourself a turn or two to set up. If we’re adding Whimsicott, we’ll want to add other disruption cards such as Crushing Hammer and Fan of Waves, then we’ll also need some Double Turbo energies. That way, we can consistently get the Trick Wind attack off and control our opponent’s ability to play Tools or Special Energy. We want to add a Crobat V to this list as well for consistency- having the option to draw up to 6 cards is never a bad thing! Here’s how our updated Shadow Rider list looks like:

3 Shadow Rider Calyrex V
3 Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX
3 Whimsicott V
2 Whimsicott VSTAR
1 Crobat V
2 Galarian Articuno

3 Professor’s Research
3 Marnie
2 Boss’s Orders
4 Ultra Ball
4 Fog Crystal
4 Crushing Hammer
3 Quick Ball
2 Fan of Waves
2 Switch
1 Ordinary Rod
2 Air Balloon
2 Training Court

12 Psychic Energy
2 Double Turbo Energy

     Most of these upgrades are pretty easy to find and not horribly expensive- The Whimsicotts, Crobat, and the handful of items we’re swapping out should only run you about $30 on top of the cost of the deck. For less than the cost of a dinner date, you have a ready-to-rumble Pokemon deck to shake up your locals! Pick up the Shadow Rider Calyrex League Battle deck if you’re looking for an easy-to-play deck that doesn’t need too much to reach its full potential.

Whimsicott VSTAR, Pokémon VMAX, and More in Pokémon TCG: Sword &  Shield—Brilliant Stars | Pokemon.com

     While the cards inside the box are definitely what we’re all here for, I also want to touch on the accessories included in these boxes. These were made with new players in mind and they feature beautiful metal Poison/ Burn markers, a deck box, a gorgeous colour themed randomizer die and damage counter dice featuring numbers to make calculating damage easier. The Ice Rider deck is a fantastic choice for more competition-minded players who know how to sequence their hands properly and find optimal lines of play in a more advanced play style deck. While the Shadow Rider deck is a great choice if you’re looking for a cheap deck with minimal improvements to be made that still holds up fantastically against the current meta. Pop by and pick up your favourite Calyrex to see just how powerful these new Level Three League Battle Decks are!

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