The early Chilling Reign metagame looks to be characterized by a Psychic/Darkness/Fighting triangle. Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX is one of the biggest threats to come out of Chilling Reign, but it’s kept in check by its Darkness Weakness, represented by the ever-present Eternatus VMAX. Eternatus VMAX, though, is weak to Fighting and therefore to Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, which is itself weak to Shadow Rider Calyrex. There are of course plenty of other viable decks, such as ADP / Zacian and Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX.
In my current opinion (which, I stress, is not definitive, but only a result of my current testing), Shadow Rider Calyrex is the best deck of the three and probably of the whole metagame. So why would one play Urshifu?
First, none of these matchups are auto-wins. Shadow Rider can answer Eternatus with Galarian Zapdos V, Urshifu can defend itself against Shadow Rider thanks to Jirachi-GX and Eternatus can sometimes beat Urshifu with Weakness Guard Energy. The Urshifu versus Eternatus matchup, though, is the most one-sided of the three, so if you’re looking for favorable matchups, beating Eternatus is a pretty good start. Urshifu is also favored against other popular decks such as Pikarom and ADPZ.
Rapid Strike Urshifu also gained a lot with Chilling Reign. New Rapid Strike cards combine well with Urshifu’s strengths, especially hitting the opponent’s Bench. Thanks to Passimian and Telescopic Sight, it’s now possible to take four Prizes in one attack by Knocking Out two Dedenne-GX/Crobat V on the opponent’s Bench. This makes Urshifu into a unique and devastating threat.
Urshifu is also the best user of the new Inteleon engine, as I will explain. This new way of playing the deck should replace the Jirachi engine and give it more consistency; not to mention it’s, in my opinion, extremely fun to play!
In this article, I’ll explain why this new version of the deck is a top tier archetype and give some tips. Also, I’ll talk about my attempts to build an even better variant (it didn’t work as well as I hoped, but I think the process was instructive).
The Inteleon engine refers to a combination of cards from Sword & Shield and Chilling Reign. Rapid Strike Inteleon can add damage on the board every turn. This can be used to get rid of Mew in three turns (two with a second Inteleon), or to simply fix the math to get some easier KOs. For example with two pings from Inteleon, Gale Thrust is a OHKO on Eternatus VMAX.
Inteleon wouldn’t be worth playing by itself, but its Stage 1, Drizzile from Sword & Shield, adds consistency thanks to its own Ability. Thanks to Drizzile, you can search for situational one-of cards such as Telescopic Sight, Reset Stamp and Erika’s Hospitality or simply a common Trainer you need such as Boss’s Orders or Evolution Incense.
Decks typically play a one-of copy of Inteleon SSH as well, because being able to search for two Trainer cards can be literally game-winning.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Sobble CRE is actually a pretty good starter in this deck. With Keep Calling, it can search for a combination of Rapid Strike Urshifu and Sobble, which is a decent turn one play. Its Rapid Strike tag allows it to use Rapid Strike Energy and makes it work better with Tower of Waters.
Speaking of Tower of Waters, Rapid Strike Urshifu now uses that Stadium rather than Martial Arts Dojo. There are two reasons for that: first, with Inteleon providing additional damage, Martial Arts is not as needed; you can reach 2HKOs on Pokemon VMAX this way. Plus, this new version of the deck will tend to focus more on Bench damage and will sometimes ignore the opponent’s Active Pokemon altogether. Second, because of Passimian, there’s now a lot of incentive to use Telescopic Sight to provide a double KO on support Pokemon. This means that you can’t use Air Balloon as much, so you need other switching cards and Tower of Waters provides that. It also works well with the higher number of Rapid Strike Pokemon in the deck.
There are many ways to build the deck. Drizzile and Inteleon give you easy access to your Trainers, so you can try many different one-ofs. Here’s a streamlined list that I enjoy: