The Pokémon: Trading Card Game’s latest expansion is out today, and we’re venturing into the frozen Crown Tundra in Sword & Shield: Chilling Reign. With a focus on Legendary Pokémon, headlined by two forms of Calyrex, there’s going to be some very nice pulls for you to hope for, and knowing which cards are the best of the best is important.
To determine the most valuable cards in Chilling Reign, I’m using TCGPlayer’s listings for the expansion as they are on launch day, June 18, 2021. Keep in mind that prices can change significantly in the days and weeks following the set’s launch – while valuable cards are always going to be valuable, which ones take the top spot might vary day to do as the secondary market stabilizes.
#10 – Galarian Articuno V – Alternate Full Art – $66.24
In the lowest spot on the list, with a still impressive $65, is Galarian Articuno V. I think the reason for it sitting so low on the list compared to Moltres and Zapdos is its art – it’s simply kind of uninspiring, with none of the character of Zapdos or the stunning color of Moltres.
The ability also isn’t great, requiring you to discard two cards to draw one. There are lots of ways to draw cards in the Pokémon TCG, and having to pitch cards from your own hand to do it is a weirdly big downside for what is meant to be one of the key Pokémon of the whole of Chilling Reign.
Still, it’s a Legendary Pokémon’s alternate art, so it’s going to accrue value no matter what.
#9 – Shadow Rider Calyrex V – Alternate Full Art – $69.11
Shadow Rider Calyrex is one of the two mascot Pokémon of Chilling Reign, representing the combination of Calyrex and Spectrier. The art for Calyrex V is stunning, putting across that cold, muted, ghostly feel really, really nicely. Its attacks are also great, with Astral Barrage putting five damage counters directly onto two Pokémon, and Shadow Mist preventing your opponent from playing special energy or stadium cards on their turn.
This isn’t the last we’re going to see of Shadow Rider Calyrex, but Shadow Rider Calyrex V is potentially my favorite version of it in the expansion.
#8 – Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX – Rainbow Secret Rare – $69.99
Personally, I’m not a big fan of the rainbow Secret Rare art treatment. The lack of a background and the flat coloring makes them look more simplistic than their paradoxically more common counterparts, but that hasn’t stopped rainbow secrets from regularly taking high spots in each set’s valuation.
For the second time in this list we find ourselves with Shadow Rider Calyrex, although this time it is the VMAX form over the basic V.
#7 – Galarian Rapidash V – Alternate Full Art – $73.74
Rapidash is the only non-Legendary Galarian variant to make it onto the list, as Galarian Slowking V is sat way, way behind in 33 rd place.
However, with art like this , it’s easy to see why Galarian Rapidash V is getting so much love. While the fairy type on cards has been discontinued, this card just exudes the fairy type aesthetic – soft colours, delicate details and gorgeous lighting effects, this is more of a work of art than many of cards in the set.
#6 – Zeraora V – Alternate Full Art – $82.85
It’s sometimes easy to forget Zeraora even exists. Introduced at the end of the Sun/Moon generation, it’s what happens when you cross a Zangoose with a Digimon. That hasn’t stopped Zeraora V being worth almost $100 though, and I will admit the art and its vista looking out over the crown tundra is really, really nice.
#5 – Galarian Zapdos V – Alternate Full Art – $118.67
I have a real soft spot for Galarian Zapdos. While Moltres is evil and Articuno is smug and coy, Galarian Zapdos is simply speed. The art is vibrant and cartoony, showing off this legendary Ostrich thing’s super speed in a way I really love. Its personality has really struck a chord with collectors too, putting what could have been a pretty basic Pokémon way ahead of the likes of Zeraora and Articuno in valuation.
#4 – Galarian Moltres V – Alternate Full Art – $129.43
The art on Galarian Moltres V is incredible. The monochrome background contrasts really nicely with the red highlights on this dark-type Moltres, making it both the most threatening and eye-catching card out of the three Galarian Legendary Birds.
#3 – Snorlax – Secret Rare – $130.69
When the other two golden Secret Rare Pokémon in Chilling Reign are Electrode and Bronzong, is it any wonder that Snorlax is the most valuable one? Depicting the slightly blue Shiny Snorlax in a golden background, Snorlax has always been a fan favorite. Its Gormandize ability is also really good, letting you replenish your hand in exchange for ending your turn early.
#2 – Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX – Alt-art Secret Rare – $130.76
Poor Ice Rider Calyrex; Shadow Rider Calyrex appears three times on this list, while the Ice Rider form is currently sitting at #11, just behind Galarian Arcticuno V. However, this Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX looks gorgeous, with foil outlining around both Calyrex and Spectrier making it look stunning. Its ability is great too, letting you move psychic energy cards from your hand onto your benched Pokémon and draw cards at the same time. While mascot Pokémon usually do pretty well in value for each expansion, this one justifies itself both aesthetically and mechanically.
#1 – Blaziken VMAX – Alt-art Secret Rare – $147.49
This may be one of those rare sets to not include a Charizard, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other fire-type starter Pokémon to take the top spot! The most valuable card in the whole of Sword & Shield: Chilling Reign is Hoenn’s Blaziken VMAX. Specifically, the alternate art secret rare version. The art is unlike anything else in the set, with thick lines and vivid colors making it a visually striking card – no wonder it’s worth so much!
Unlike Battle Styles , Chilling Reign’s top #10 is entirely taken up by Pokémon. No Supporters make an appearance, though Caitlin sits at #12 ($59.99), Klara at #15 ($49.26) and Flannery at #17 ($46.26).
While Chilling Reign doesn’t necessarily have as high value pulls as, say, Shining Fates, I think this is one of the most impressive expansions in a long time in terms of art direction. Even the simply okay cards, like Galarian Articuno V, look fantastic, while standouts like Shadow Rider Calyrex V and Galarian Moltres V are some of the most beautiful cards ever printed. Collectors are going to love this set, so make sure you find the cards you want while you can.
Pokémon: Trading Card Game’s Sword & Shield: Chilling Reign expansion launches today (June 18, 2021) anywhere you can find Pokémon cards.
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