Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX deck – Turbo and Zacian V | Pokemon TCG Online guide

Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX marks the return of Psychic decks. Sure, we’ve had decks like Mewtwo & Mew-GX that have been doing well in Standard, but those were toolbox decks that could use the abilities of other Pokemon. Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX and the kind of Trainer support it has received is quite similar to what Fire-type decks (Centiskorch, Reshizard) had received last year with Welder.

Paired with all of these new trainer cards and some more Pokemon from Evolving Skies, Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX has become one of the strongest decks in Pokemon TCG Online because of its powerful ability.

Ability – Underworld Door
Once during your turn, you may attach a Psychic Energy card from your hand to 1 of your Benched Psychic Pokémon. If you attached Energy to a Pokémon in this way, draw 2 cards.

It is crazy that Dire Wolf put a card-drawing Ability on a card that also accelerates Energy and functions as an attacker. When the card was initially released, it was absolutely broken as Evolving Skies hadn’t been released yet. With the release of Evolving Skies, that version of the deck got a slight downgrade due to competition from newer and stronger cards. Be sure to check our list of best decks for 2022 for more on those cards and decks.

With a few upgrades to the deck, Shadow Rider Calyrex has returned stronger and is viable once again. It has been doing pretty well in a bunch of recent tournaments. In this guide, I’ll be taking you through two versions of the deck: the “Turbo” deck, which relies on accelerating Energy, and the Zacian V and Necrozma V deck, that pairs Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX with Zacian, one of the strongest Pokemon from the 2020/21 meta.

(Turbo) Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX deck list for Pokemon TCG Online

Here’s the best deck list for the Turbo version of the deck:

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon – 15

* 2 Crobat V SHF 44
* 1 Cresselia CRE 64
* 3 Galarian Articuno EVS 63
* 1 Pumpkaboo EVS 76
* 4 Shadow Rider Calyrex V CRE 74
* 4 Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX CRE 75

##Trainer Cards – 28

* 4 Evolution Incense SSH 163
* 2 Training Court RCL 169
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 216
* 2 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 2 Boss’s Orders RCL 189
* 1 Scoop Up Net RCL 165
* 3 Professor’s Research CPA 62
* 4 Fog Crystal CRE 140
* 3 Marnie CPA 56
* 2 Switch SSH 183
* 1 Ordinary Rod SSH 171

##Energy – 17

* 17 Psychic Energy Energy 5

Total Cards – 60

I wouldn’t change anything from the list of Pokemon. Aside from the main VMAX, the others are pretty cheap and easy to obtain. From the Trainers, you can do without the Scoop Up Net and Ordinary Road, but they are quite helpful. You can also experiment with counts of Air Balloon and Switch, as they can be used interchangeably. An extra Boss’s Orders never hurts either.

As for the Energies, I wouldn’t change the counts at all, and I highly recommend not going for Horror Psychic Energy at all. While it does enable Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX to attack, it does not work with any kind of energy-acceleration ability or attack. You would have to attach it manually, and it would dilute the Energy pool and make it harder to fetch the basic Psychic Energy that you really want.

Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX and Fog Crystal

Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX is the main attacker of this deck, and has an ability that lets you draw cards and attach Energy to your Benched Pokemon. This works in synergy with its attack:

Max Geist – 10+
This attack does 30 more damage for each Psychic Energy attached to all of your Pokémon.

The goal of this deck is to have as many Energy on all of your Pokemon as possible, and use Max Geist to deal a lot of damage. The great thing about this attack is that it only requires 3 (Colorless) Energy, and you are not attaching all of your energy to one Pokemon. That way, even if your main attacker or something on your Bench is knocked out, you’re never totally out of firepower.

Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX
Image by The Pokemon Company

Shadow Rider Calyrex V on its own is average at best and barely does any damage. You are ideally looking for a quick evolution on your second turn.

The downside of using Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX is its weakness. Since this a purely Psychic deck that relies only on Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX, being faced by an Eternatus or Umbreon VMAX deck will be a nightmare.

The Turbo squad

Galarian Articuno and Cresselia are great choices for attaching Energy to your Pokemon and ramping up Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX’s damage numbers.

Cresselia plays a similar role to Volcanion from fire decks. You ideally want it to be the first card you play in the game so that you can take advantage of its attack:

Search your deck for a Psychic Energy card and attach it to 1 of your Pokémon. If you go second and it’s your first turn, instead search for up to 3 Psychic Energy cards and attach them to 1 of your Pokémon. Then, shuffle your deck.

You also want to go second if you win the coin flip. Cresselia’s second attack is similar to Volcanion’s, and is a good option for actually attacking and doing enough damage before your VMAX comes in and finishes the job.

Psychic support Pokemon TCG Online
Image by The Pokemon Company

In some ways, last year’s Centiskorch deck was a Fire-variant of the Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX deck in Pokemon TCG Online. While Cresselia is just like Volcanion, Calyrex is a much better version of Centiskorch, that relied on putting Energy onto itself.

Galarian Articuno is pretty straightforward, and Pumpkaboo is in the deck to counter Path to the Peak, a stadium card that can block your V/VMAX Abilities.

Zacian V + Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX deck list for Pokemon TCG Online

Here’s the best deck list for the Zacian version of the deck:

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon – 14

* 1 Crobat V SHF 44
* 2 Zacian V CEL 16
* 1 Galarian Articuno PR-SW 123
* 2 Necrozma V BST 63
* 4 Shadow Rider Calyrex V CRE 74
* 4 Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX CRE 75

##Trainer Cards – 31

* 3 Evolution Incense SSH 163
* 3 Training Court RCL 169
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 216
* 2 Air Balloon SSH 156
* 4 Boss’s Orders RCL 189
* 4 Professor’s Research SHF 60
* 4 Fog Crystal CRE 140
* 4 Marnie CPA 56
* 3 Switch SSH 183

##Energy – 15

* 11 Psychic Energy Energy 5
* 4 Horror Psychic Energy RCL 172

Total Cards – 60

How the Zacian V deck works

The synergy here is pretty simple. You have the new Psychic Type Zaican V from Celebrations, with its attack:

Roar of the Sword
Once during your turn, you may search your deck for a Psychic Energy card and attach it to 1 of your Pokémon. Then, shuffle your deck. If you use this Ability, your turn ends.

Zacian V is a decent attacker and is more useful to power up your active Calyrex V, while you are still waiting to pull the VMAX from your deck. Note that your turn ends when you use Zacian’s ability, so time if when you’re not going to or are unable to attack.

You also have Necrozma V, that does extra damage if you have Special Energy attached.

Special Laser100+
If this Pokémon has any Special Energy attached, this attack does 120 more damage.

Horror Psychic Energy is added to the deck to satisfy this condition, that you will be doing 100+120 damage to the opposing Pokemon, and they will be inflicted with 20 more damage if they attack you back. Galarian Articuno is in this deck too, along with Fog Crystal, a useful Trainer card that lets you fetch Psychic Pokemon and Energy. The Stadium card Training Court has also been added. It lets you pull out Energy cards from your discard pile, helping you keep up the damage numbers with your VMAX.

For more Standard, Expanded, and Theme deck guides and lists, be sure to check out our Ultimate Pokemon TCG Online guide and resource list.

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Rahul Abhyankar

I'm a 25-year-old writer and digital marketer based in Toronto.
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