Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX – Chilling Reigns
June 26, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX (SW – Chilling Reign 046/198, 202/198, 203/198) takes 7th-Place in our countdown of the 15 best cards from the latest Pokémon set. As a Pokémon VMAX, it has a Rule Box and is worth three Prizes when KO’d. Any beneficial effect exclusions or detrimental effect inclusions that apply to Pokémon V apply, as do those specific to Pokémon VMAX. There are a few beneficial effects that apply to Pokémon V or VMAX as well. Ice Rider Calyrex should have significantly improved HP and likely better effects than it would otherwise enjoy as well. Being a VMAX isn’t just a Rule Box mechanic, it’s also a Stage of Evolution. Basically, it is a Stage 1 Pokémon that doesn’t count as s Stage 1 with respect to card effects, but which functions like one otherwise. It is also a Dynamax card, but that currently has no meaning in the TCG.
Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX is a [W] type. Water types were doing all right before SW – Chilling Reign, more in terms of type-matching than specific [W] cards. If this set’s name wasn’t a clue, [W] types are getting some strong new examples and some new type support this set, so it is very good that Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX represents the Pokémon’s VG Ice typing by being a TCG Water type, instead of being a Psychic type (its other VG type). 320 HP is good; even being worth three Prizes when KO’d, even being middle-of-the-pack for Pokémon VMAX, it is a hard to OHKO outside of Weakness. The [M] Weakness is dangerous; I don’t think Zacian V decks are going away any time soon. No Resistance is the worst, but typical. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is simply typical; not good, not bad, and also quite common.
Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX knows two attacks. [CC] pays for “Ride of the High King”, which does 10 damage plus 30 for each of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. If your opponent has at least three Benched Pokémon, you’re doing decent damage (100+) for a relatively easy to pay cost. Remember, as a VMAX you cannot use Twin Energy, so it isn’t super easy to cover this, though Triple Acceleration Energy would work. Under normal circumstances, Ride of the High King Maxes out at 160 damage, enough to 2HKO an opposing Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX in the mirror. Against an opponent that relies on Sky Field (in Expanded) or an Eternatus VMAX deck, suddenly you’re doing up to 250 for any two Energy. Ride of the High King isn’t the greatest attack ever, but at worst it should be “decent”, and at best it could be very good indeed…
…but we’re hear for the second attack. “Max Lance” costs [WW] and does 10+ damage. The “+” in this case is that Max Lance’s effect lets you discard up to two Energy from the attacking Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX and do an extra 120 damage per. Pretty obvious why the damage cap for this is built in. It reads “any Energy” and not “Energy card“. So you can discard a Triple Acceleration Energy with this attack and get +240 damage; without the cap on discarding two Energy, this would have been good for +360 damage! Also, Water types are very good at Energy acceleration; great at it in Expanded; without the cap, Max Lance would be a OHKO machine. So, how about with the cap?
Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX is a 2HKO machine, and that is still great given the rest of the card. As an Evolution, you can use Cheryl to heal it of all damage, though you’ll probably want to use your Supporter on Melony most turns. Melony’s effect has you attach a [W] Energy from your discard pile to one of your Pokémon V, then draw three cards. Yes, it is kind of like Welder but for Water types; only one [W] attached but from the discard pile, so you can reuse discarded Energy with ease. Drawing three cards is likely just enough to keep a deck running, and between Melony and your manual Energy attachment for the turn, probably with Pal Pad, you can keep up a pretty steady assault. Anytime something low enough HP pops up, you can use Ride of the High King for the KO instead.
We have more options as well. Relying on Melony might not sound good enough, but there’s still Turbo Patch. I don’t think it has ever proven competitive since I hyped it up, but Rose can attach any two basic Energy cards from your discard pile to one of your Pokémon VMAX, albeit at the cost of not only your Supporter for the turn, but discarding any cards you had in your hand. There is also Frosmoth, which can attach as many [W] Energy from your hand to your Benched Pokémon as you like during your turn. Just remember to pack enough switching effects so you can fuel or refuel Ice Ride Calyrex VMAX as needed.
In Expanded, it should be even better, as you’ll have Aqua Patch and Max Elixir to add to the Trainer camp, and Blastoise (BW – Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW – Plasma Storm 137/135; BW – Plasma Blast 16/101). It is a Stage 2 but its Frosmoth without being restricted to attaching to Benched [W] Pokémon. Archie’s Ace in the Hole can still field Blastoise with relative ease amd without its lower Stages. It could do the same for Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX, and Wally is back from the banned list, but it is easier to just evolve normally. I don’t know if Ice Rider Calyrex V is going to get its own review, but I won’t go into detail about it; it has decent HP and attacks, and for an evolving Basic Pokémon V, that is enough. One last thing about the Expanded Format performance; while Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX as a lot more going for it here than in Standard, it needs all that to keep up with other Expanded decks.
Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX was my 4th-Place pick, but 7th-Place is still a solid finish for it. I think it will either become its own new archetype, or give us a new Frosmoth variant, that will show up in our top cuts for at least a little while. Finally, and slight Spoiler Warning – skip to Ratings if you care about such things – we have Japanese tournament results. I actually was not excited about Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX until I learned it had a good presence in the Japanese top cut during the period when their cardpool should be similar to ours.
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 4/5
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