With the pre-release well under way, now’s a good time to look at what cards to get excited about for Pokemon TCG’s next English Expansion: Chilling Reign. Launching on 18 June 2021, Chilling Reign will bring together some of the favourite cards from Japanese sets Matchless Fighters, Jet Black Spirit, and Silver Lance. Here’s a look at our top picks and why you should consider picking up some packs for yourself!
Galarian Legendary Birds V (Alternate Arts)
There will be a recurring theme throughout this article as The Pokemon Company has gone in hard on Alternate Art Secret Rares in recent sets. What better way to start than the three legendary birds from Kanto with their new forms from Sword & Shield’s Galar region. All of the cards of these birds look awesome in Matchless Fighters but the Alternate Arts bring an extra character that makes them a must-have trio. Zapdos takes on a roadrunner-esque form as it scrambles up a mountain, Articuno has a lunar vibe, and Moltres looks sheer evil.
Snorlax is a Kanto fan favourite and adding this shiny gold vibe to its character makes for a fun alternate chase card that will get loads of modern collectors very excited. Battle Styles had the fan favourite Hounddoom and with Chilling Reign likely to include Snorlax, Pokemon is doing a good job of including exciting gold cards instead of another memory capsule (I do love a gold memory capsule, it must be said).
Blaziken VMAX and Alternate Art VMAX
Generation 3 gets some love with Blaziken VMAZ illustrated by Akira Egawa. As stated in previous articles, this illustrative style is perfect for full art cards and makes Blaziken one of the best standard VMAX we’ve seen in a while. Not only that but the Alternate Art is quite possibly the best card from all 3 Japanese sets combined. A massive Blaziken in a karate stance looks down on a building with Sobble’s evolution line and a sleeping Zangoose with islands and a sunset looming in the background.
Calyrex V Alternate Arts
Calyrex, a newer Pokemon that is paramount to the story of the Crown Tundra in Sword & Shield’s DLC has two V Alternate Art forms that capture everything you’d expect from a secret rare legendary Pokemon card. Personally, Shadow Rider Calyrex V is my favourite card from this whole collection of cards. There are serious Sleepy Hollow vibes here and the onlooking Skwovet’s add to the mythology as Calyrex floats in the forest. The Ice Rider variant is no slouch either, the illustrator Okacheke captures the elegant Pokemon with icy mountains in the background and a happy Deerling by its side.
Celebi V and VMAX
Celebi looks set to appear in Chilling Reign as Jet Black Spirit has 4 different cards with the mythical Pokemon. Just like Blaziken, Akira Egawa brings that hand-drawn style to Celebi V, and the regular VMAX works great with the light green of the Pokemon. In terms of Secret Rares, Celebi V gets a Full Art with a pink and gold background that pops as well as a Rainbow VMAX. This means that Chilling Reign should be a must-have for fans of Gen 2’s mythical.
Full Art Trainers
On the trainer front, if these Japanese sets are anything to go by then Chilling Reign should be very popular amongst Full Art TCG collectors. Caitlin from Unova’s Elite Four makes a return alongside the newer character’s from Sword & Shield such as Peonia and Klara.
Calyrex VMAX Alternate Arts
Capturing the Chilling Reign name more than any other cards are what will most likely be the set’s chase cards: Shadow and Ice Rider Calyrex. Both cards were revealed in Japan alongside small comic strips that give backstory to the art. Mitsuhiro Arita’s Shadow Rider VMAX is the epitome of Chilling Reign and is based on a young trainer who believed in King Calyrex when no one else did. In the card artwork, the trainer can be seen looking out a window with a giant Calyrex VMAX galloping overhead in the night sky. On the Ice Rider side, Oswaldo Kato’s representation shows Freezington in daylight as Calyrex saves the village from a hungry Garchomp. The townspeople can be seen cheering at the bottom of the card, bringing a sense of joy that diversifies Ice Rider from the mysterious Shadow Rider variant of the Pokemon.
We’ll be doing more coverage of Chilling Reign as information is revealed in the lead-up to its 18 June 2021 release. What cards make you want to pick up Chilling Reign on launch?
John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor-in-Chief