Just in time for summer, the Pokemon Company International whisks us away to a winter wonderland filled with some of the most incredible cards in modern memory. Building on a powerful connection to the Pokémon Sword and Shield video games, this mammoth 233-card expansion promises to please both avid collectors and competitive players - a rare feat for a TCG set, likely to earn Chilling Reign a spot as one of the best sets from the Sword & Shield block. 


Releasing June 18, the Chilling Reign expansion draws its headline Pokémon and thematic elements from the second of the Sword & Shield video game DLC expansions, the Crown Tundra, released last October. Similar to the connection between Battle Styles and the Isle of Armor DLC, Chilling Reign will expose trainers to many familiar faces from the video games. From the eccentric Peony, to the ex-king Calyrex, and finally to the Galarian forms of the original legendary bird trio, this set is a fitting tribute to Galar’s frigid frontier. 


The crown jewel of this set is the vast array of alternate art and secret rare cards featuring some of the most popular Pokémon. In addition to full arts and rainbow rares, the newly revived alternate art cards feature stunning portrayals of Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX stalking his village under a starry sky, or Zeraora V leading a contingent of smaller Pokémon as they survey an icy vista. Add to this a slew of iconic portrayals of the legendary birds and a gold Snorlax for good measure, and you have an instant win for the collector community. 


Chilling Reign is poised to shake up the competitive scene as well. The consensus appears to be that the same ice and shadow rider Calyrex’s will both take the helm as formidable decks, succeeding  other respected decks like Eternatus. Watch for Galarian Zapdos V to make an impact against darkness types in the right situation. As expected the Rapid Strike and Single Strike mechanics that debuted in Battle Styles will be returning. 


As the unprecedented demand for product seems to be letting up, there is hope that production and demand may have found a meeting point, and perhaps getting your hands on this set won’t be the Herculean effort that it was for Vivid Voltage and Shining Fates. In spite of the summer heat be sure to bundle up because this set is not one that you will want to miss. Prepare for some breathtaking pulls, happy hunting!


This article was contributed by Michael Harris. Michael is an educator and lifelong Pokémon enthusiast based in Fairfax, Virginia.