Sword & Shield – Chilling Reign is the latest expansion from Pokémon TCG. It focuses on the Legendary Pokémon Galarian Articuno, Galarian Zapdos, Galarian Moltres, Shadow Rider Calyrex, and Ice Rider Calyrex. It continues the Rapid Strike and Single Strike mechanic introduced in Battle Styles. Chilling Reign is known for its inclusion of a large number of Alternate Arts both in the Full Art portion of the set and the Secret Rare portion. These Alternate Arts were popular during the tail end of the Sun & Moon era with fan-favorite sets such as Unified Minds, Cosmic Eclipse, and so on, but Chilling Reign, Battle Styles, and the upcoming Evolving Skies set have made this style of card more popular than ever. Now that we've looked at all the Ultra Rare and above cards in the set, let's determine the top ten cards… from my point of view, at least. I'd love to see you make your own lists in the comments below!
- 10 – Castform in its many forms: First up, I'll cheat a little bit. It's my list, after all. This set has multiple Castform cards and they're all so good. From the beautiful painterly Snowy and Rainy Formes to the gorgeous Yuka Morri clay Sunny Forme, Castform has never looked better than in Chilling Reign.
- 9 – Klara Trainer Supporter Full Art: Chilling Reign has had fewer major Trainer Supporters than most Sword & Shield-era sets. Battle Styles had Phoebe and Cheryl, Vivid Voltage had Nessa and Bea, Sword & Shield has two huge Marnie cards as the biggest chase cards, and it goes on. We're currently in a market ha LOVES Full Art Trainers, which can make sets difficult to complete. Now, I recommend that folks get after this Klara Full Art while it's affordable. Klara has the most unique design of the other Trainers shown in the set and the Klara and Avery box was a huge hit in Japan. That product is going for quite a bit on the secondary market, showcasing a huge interest in this character. She may not be Marnie or Lillie in fan interest, but this is a card that is likely being underestimated in the longterm.
- 8 – Blaziken VMAX Alternate Art: Now… listen, I love this card. I feel like people are going to be shocked that it isn't #1. I love how weird it is and I have a special memory of it, in that I pulled not only this but also the Galarian Moltres V Alternate Art in my first every Chilling Reign booster box. I've opened a lot of Pokémon TCG products in my time, and that box has to be the best one. This graffiti-inspired Blaziken is a memorable card that shows just how unique Alternate Arts can be, so just know that its placement in the eighth slot is not a slight to this card but is instead indicative of how amazing this set truly is.
- 7 – Celebi V Full Art: There is no doubt that Alternate Arts reign supreme in Chilling Reign. They're the cards everyone wants to pull, and that seems like it'll stay steadily that way in Evolving Skies and onward. However, this standard Celebi V Full Art is right up here with this set's very best cards to me. The colorful background, incredible texture, and Celebi's playful depiction here makes this one of the strongest Full Art Vs ever printed for the Pokémon TCG.
- 6 – Galarian Zapdos V Alternate Art: This one grew on me in a major way. Galarian Zapdos is drawn in a cartoony style here as a nod to the Road Runner and, as a lifelong collector and Pokémon fan, I remain stunned at just how much these Alternate Arts can push at the limitations of what we think Pokémon cards look like.
With this series, we will spotlight all of the exciting pulls from Chilling Reign, which you can see as they release by following the set's Bleeding Cool tag. Next time, the spotlight on Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield – Chilling Reign continues with the Top 5 cards in the set.