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!
- 5 – Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX Alternate Art: It's no secret that the market seems to prefer Shadow Rider Calyrex, but let's not discount this card. Based on a short promotional comic, this story-driven card stands out to me because of the beautiful, striking coloring. It looks as if this card would be cold to the touch if you pulled it.
- 4 – Galarian Articuno V Alternate Art: This is an underappreciated gem. This card, like the two bordering it on this list, leans into the Chilling aspect of this set with these icy blue colors. Articuno looks like a complete powerhouse here, and it leaves me wondering if this is a Glinda the Good Witch bubble that its in or if this is maybe some kind of snowglobe action? Just a terrific card.
- 3 – Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX Alternate Art: This card shows Calyrex as the awe-inducing Legendary that it has the potential to be. The ethereal glow here seems to actually have light trapped in the texture of the card. Like the Ice Rider Alternate VMAX, this is based on a comic.
- 2 – Galarian Slowking V Alternate Art: Trippy Slowking! This looks like it'd be hanging up in a modern art museum, and if you don't think it belongs there? I'm ready to go into that debate HOT! This looks like some of Galarian's dankest has been taken before pulling this card, which doesn't really try to make its psychedelic inspirations subtle.
- 1 – Galarian Moltres V Alternate Art: This stunning Moltres card is one for the history books. The sparing use of color and the way that Galarian Moltres is positioned over the moon makes this one of the most visually unique and striking cards in the history of the Pokémon TCG. We're looking at a modern classic right here. The hype around this card was always high but is on a steady incline, with its market value eclipsing cards that are rarer. It is now the single top most valued card in the set as of this writing with the gap between it and the other cards growing by the day. This was my personal chase card of the set and I ended up pulling it, along with the Blaziken VMAX Alternate Art, in my first ever box which I opened and reviewed right here on Bleeding Cool. That will be a Pokémon TCG memory I take with me forever, as I remember being floored by this artwork when I first saw it in the Japanese-language set Matchless Fighter. I absolutely love this card, and the Alternate Art focus of these current sets has me thrilled. This is my Chilling Reign winner.
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 a surprise final list.