At first glance this card looks good, but you have to stop a moment and
think about what cards you are going to be discarding to trigger it?
You might have an extra early game Event/State/Edge that you would be
discarding anyways, but a lot of the time, the card will be of more use in
play, especially by mid game. I don't think this card is going to
break the hold that Family Estate has. I have exactly 1 Broken
Wheel Brigade in my soldier deck, and boy am I unhappy when I draw it.
Coyote Clan Scavengers
Here we have a new foundation in the Tranimal sub-theme. Good and Bad
News: it's better than the previous 2-cost Tranimal foundation -- but,
it's still not that great. The Scavengers get a little better if you
can increase their damage (say a Shotgun), but then you will find it hard to
get through to any serious targets -- your opponents will use foundation
characters as speedbumps. That extra damage would have been better
spent on a character with Stealth.
Here we have a solid foundation, good enough to play in any deck where
you're taking a break from the brokeness that is Family Estate. Notice
that we have yet another reason not to play 2-cost foundations in these
guys. I think Gangsters are the foundation of choice when making an
Ascended Hood deck, letting you cut down on the sometimes expensive Students
of the Shark (unless you are really working Family Estate hard)
Good good good -- that's what we've seen..
First thing first, you never want to be playing 3-cost foundation
characters, so don't think of "Hammer" as one. Think of him more as an
unaligned character. In fact, think of him as an unaligned Hood.
In reality, this is maybe a 1-of in a thematic Hood deck, but that's about
it. Really. Compare him to Shung Dai -- for 1 more power, you
get 2 more fighting, toughness:1 and +1 to the immunity. Sure, Shung's
at the top of the curve, but this guy needs to trade in his hammer for some
new duds and join The Suits. I've still yet to the "Hammer" used to
any effectiveness. As a foundation, you just don't see him early game,
and by the time he does show up, there are enough >2 fighting characters to
take a bite out of his effectiveness.
About the only decks these guys go in are a Peacock deck or a Sunless Sea Ruins, where
you are worried about locking your hand. Paying 1 power to discard 3
cards (counting itself) is harsh.
The muscle of Ascended resource characters comes in the form of the
Liquidators. They're big (for a resource character), dumb, and can
hit hard. This card should only be played in combination with Family
Estate to get it down to a more affordable 2 power cost. With influx
of playable Lodge characters from YotD, these guys are potentially Walking
Corpses, and we all know how good they are. Plus they wear Italian
suits. As of late, I've been playing The Suits over these guys, and
they just seem to be a smidge better (but still not that good).
While you are hoping to get a 2 Fighting-for-1 Power resource character,
these guys are way too slow to be of any use. Fu Student and BuroMil
Grunt can hit for 2 on the first turn, which makes them so much better.
There have been a few cards that try to interact with Soldiers, but
Manchus are dead as of Shaolin Showdown (just like the Triumvirate bit the
dust in Netherworld)..
||Might of the
of the Wheel
Pay 2 power to draw 1 card? I think whoever came up with this card
spent too much time at the Opium Den... Is this card better than
Thorns of the Lotus? Well, yes, but that's about all that it's
better than. Would this card have been too good if you could
sacrifice it during combat? No.
Rat Clan Spies
I understand what they are trying to do with the Transformed Animals, but
they just cut the mustard. It's a real design problem -- the Ascended
have some of the best cards already, so to avoid power creep, you have to
make janky combo cards like the Rat Clan Spies. Our play environment
is too aggressive to rely on having character combos last very long.
Gruff Lieutenant works on so many different levels -- he can have Stealth
the first turn, he comes out for free with Family Estate, he gets pumped by
the Police Station, and he always has Stealth so you can combo him reliably
with states like Explosives. Yes, I know the Rat Clan is a foundation,
but they just don't have enough juice to make me want to play them.
Okay, I've played them a few times, and they are okay, as long as you are
eschewing Family Estates and have some Lodge goodness in your deck.
Wait! Breaking News! Gangsters! Back to the cardbox,
Rat Clan Spies!
||Student of the
One power for a 1 cost foundation with no extra abilities is usually bad
(i.e. Swordsman). Lucky for the bear student he has a useful
designator -- Pledged. This allows you to pump him out with your Family
Estates at lighting speed. Free resource characters? What a
deal! He rates slightly less than his almost-twin, The Pledged,
because of his other designator, Martial Artist, which can lead to an
untimely Discerning Fire.
of the Shark
One of the best foundation characters in the game, the Shark Student no
only has an ability, it has two designators that you can worth with.
Being Pledged, he loves hanging out at your Family Estate waiting for
orders. He hits for 3 damage most of the time (especially in
multiplayer where there is almost almost always 'blood' on the
table). Sharky is also a Hood. letting you have fun with Mr. Big and
Luis Camacho. This guy gives the 1 cost guys a run for there money
-- sometimes it's a toss up whether you want to pay 0 power for 1 damage,
or 1 power for 3 damage.
What? No Tactics? Doesn't SWAT stand for... Here we have
another resource character without an ability whose power and fighting are
the same. So, without an ability, you have to look to designators to
see if a card will make the cut. Where the Student of the Bear has a
very use one (Pledged), SWAT Team falls a little short of that with
Cop. Yes you can use this card in a Cop and pump him with your
Police Station and he does make your Undercover Cop a little bigger, but
since the two other Ascended Cops are Pledged, you will want to be playing
with Family Estates anyway, and the 1 cost Pledged resource characters are
usually a better choice.
It's the same old SWAT Team, but with the addition of Tactics, which only
makes them marginally better, and you're still never playing outside of a
cop deck, and even then they aren't too good.
Your best hope is to go first turn site (Temple of course), second turn
Police Station, SWAT Team), proceed to beatsville. Garnish with Mole
See Student of the Bear.
Remember these guys have slightly less of a designator match than Bear
Students -- it's up to you as to whether you want Martial Artist to be a
match or not (yes if you don't have many in your deck, and no if Adrienne is
What is there not to like about The Suits? Well, a lot since they
have some of the problems that Liquidators have, but I still think they
are a turn in the right direction for 3 cost foundation characters.
First, you can get a price break on them with Family Estate. Second,
you can do some extra damage when up against Unique cards (which happens
often enough), and finally, you can pitch them late game to take a quick
peek. Good stuff all around.
Wolf Clan Hunters
True to the Transformed Animal theme, this foundation is also doesn't seem
very playable. I think they are weaker than Big Macaque Attack, which
has proven to be somewhat fragile. Remember that the Wolf Clan will
shrink as attackers are removed, so they can shrink unexpectedly. Yes,
for 6 power, you can play three Hunters and attack for 12, but isn't that
what the old Thunder King is for? Yes, they're in my Tranimal deck,
but I hate to draw then, and I hate to play them. Shoot me now.
The Owl is one of the better ReAscended to date. It's nice to see
them sticking with theme over several sets (cough Seven Masters cough),
although I'd really like to see some non-character
cards. We've all played Veroon, so we know how good +3 hand size is,
especially in a faction with the best 0-cost events. Then we get to
the growth factor -- her minimum fighting is 4, which ain't so hot, but it
can grow pretty fast, and I see her as a 4-for-7 enough of the time to make
her a threat. I originally was going to put the Owl-lady under
hitters, cause she almost always grows to respectable size, but I wimped
out. This card has added a huge threat to the ReAscended, and she was
very noticeable at KublaCon.
With the new designator rules, Bad Colonel can no longer effect Jason X, Genghis
X or Nirmal Yadav. That leaves the two cost Monarch foundation
characters and a couple of Architect characters, most notably Sergeant
Blightman. Bad Colonel does have two useful designators, Hood and
Pledged, so you can get some extra use out of him in a deck that takes
advantage of those designators. UPDATE: They finally fixed the
designator rules, so this guy isn't as bad. Every now and then you
can gank something in a four player game, so he's not so bad if you're
packing Family Estates.
The Freak would be okay in any other faction but the Ascended.
While being a 3-for-4 with an ability is par for the course, for 3 power
you expect to get a lot more in this faction. Of course, if you are
having trouble with Discerning Fire, a Freak or two could give you the
diversity to get another character on the board.
A solid Pledged card, the Minister rarely hurts a deck. At only 1
cost, he can help you get up to that high resource count to power your
hitters. His ability to steal or cancel edges is a nice bonus, but
don't expect him to live long if he is threatening an opponent.
Payback Time and Shield of Pure Soul are two of my personal favorites.
I guess religion and magic don't mix. While the Church Official has
a built-in Cry of the Forgotten Ancestor for cards being played, you are
almost always better off with Cry. He is Pledged, so the cost of 2
can be offset a bit by Family Estate. Also, he can't stop the Queen
if she's already hit the board (Cry can), and is likely to die a quick
death if his ability is interfering with an opponent.
Cobra Clan Stalkers
This is another card that I just don't care for. I consider it
generally inferior to Serena Chase, Coil of the Snake and Philippe Benoit,
so I am going to find a hard time playing this in anything other than the
janky Transformed Animal deck. Monkey Chang, anyone? And you are
really going to hate seeing this card in your hand when there is a five body
site out and you only have 3 power. I know I have a Transformed
Animal deck built, and I think I've played it, but I can't remember these
guys making any splash at all.
of the Snake
Drawing cards, especially as the Ascended is always good. A good
comparison to the Coil are Just a Rat and Phillipe Benoit, since all of
them usually cost 3 power. I think the Coil beats out the Rat just
because the Rat never gets intercepted and 90% of the time it might as
well just have vanilla stealth. Phillipe is solid, and probably a
better choice if you are going heavy Family Estate.
Wow, here we have a real stinker. I think this card is about on par
with Mountain Warrior. If you want to have fun with your opponents,
play Triumvirate Dealmaker. If you need to generate power, stick to
Swiss Bankers. I don't think you even want this card in a faceoff
deck -- you want cards like Military Commandant that are going to help you
win a faceoff, not punish you when you lose. Okay, this isn't
quite stinky in a highly specialized deck (specifically the Thunder/Ascended
Faceoff deck). I have been able to control the Faceoffs enough to gain
some power. Of course, this deck is too focused on the Faceoffs to win
a game with any regularity, but it does do its trick every now and then.
Corrupt Land Agent
If you're familiar with my theories of Shadowfist, you know how much I like
ramp characters, and this card is a fine addition. It fills a
different role than Gruff Lieutenant (attacking) and Cabinet Minister
(control) in that it's an alt-power generation card. I don't think
it's as good as the previous two for a couple of reasons -- since you
are probably playing Family Estates, this type of deck can generally hum
along and doesn't go thirsty on power (although it still loves it).
And, at least in my neck of the woods, opponents just hate to let anyone
else get free power, and this guy will have a huge target on him.
Also, if you get into a late game stalemate (a problem that is getting all
to common), Corrupt Land Agent wont be near as useful as the two other cards
I've mentioned in a similar role.
While Death Shadow has a cool sounding ability, it effectively gets neutralized
in situations where it matters, like when she's carrying Explosives.
Both Just a Rat and Rat Fink do a better job at getting through to sites.
She desperately needs an upgrade like her sister the White Ninja got.
Dunwa is okay, especially if you have a Secret Lab or Hacker (not to
mention one of the ReAscended) in play. I don't know if you see him
much outside of that one deck, though. He just doesn't quite float
my boat. Now the old Dunwa is a hose monster, and I much rather have
seen him reprinted and more available.
People are always looking for new reasons to hate the Ascended, and this
is a pretty fun one. There's not a lot of strategy to Femme Fatale --
drop her, and then watch all the attacks chill out as your opponents argue
about who's going to be the chump to take her out. This is a deterrent
card -- it deters attacks against you, but it wont completely stop opponents
from attacking each other, so you don't want to overly destabilize a game.
Another great trick for Is That All You Got? Everyone has grown to
hate this card (in a good way =), and view it as a threat. Of course,
there are some players that over-react to it -- "so what if I have the Ice
Queen, her Evil Twin and Big Brother Tsien in play, he's got a Femme Fatal
-- he's the real threat!"
Holy Walking Corpses Batman! It's been a while since the Pledged got
some juice, and here it is. While G-Man isn't quite the turn 2
monster that corpses it, they start dropping out turn 3 with a Family Estate
without crippling your ability to play FSS. And while burning is
somewhat passe' since the change to Pocket Demon, getting a 2-for-5 or 6
late game is almost like Dark Traveler. Now that I think about it,
G-Man ain't the bomb, but it's an okay filler for that 2-3 cost niche in a
more robust deck, especially if you've run low on Oliver Chens..
community seens to have adopted G-Man fairly regularly, with the expect
results of a mid/late-game cheapo thug.
The bull elephant is an okay guy. He's 4-for-5 Fighting Toughness:2, and
can get a little better. What's nice about Grey Mountain is that he
has a life outside the Transformed Animal deck -- he gets bigger from Lodge
cards as well, which is where I expect to see him played occasionally.
This is a card that I think has been underplayed (in our group at least)
-- I really need drop him in another deck or two, just to show everyone that
the Ascended can be tough as well as sneaky!
Stealth is a core ability of the Ascended, and the Gruff is the 1 cost
stealth character. This card has the Cop designator, allowing it to
become a 3 Fighting with Police Station, but unlike most of the other
Cops, he is still useful without the Station. Explosives are an
obvious choice, but all damage increasing states can benefit from
Stealth. More than once I've seen the Gruff take a site on turn 2,
especially with a good old fashioned Mole Network hook-up.
The Dishy Hood can dish. Here's what I like to see, a designator
card (Hood) that's good enough to play outside of a designator based deck.
You're pretty much going to play her and target a character belonging to the
player to your left, and then watch them squirm and try to dump their hand.
You can always attack for 2 in a pinch. Get out Gun Moll and Femme
Fatale, and you have a one-two punch that it going to irk your opponent's to
tears. This is another card I need to play more, but I've been so
taken with Femme Fatale, that Gun Moll has been edged out of decks.
This is a discount card -- it gives you two different build-in ways to make
it a 2-cost 3 Fighting character -- Family Estate and nailing a 1-2 Fighting
foundation after Gunslinger comes into play.. And, if you combine the
two cost reducers, you have sort of got yourself a 1-for-3 (which is turned
with 2 damage). I have two problems with this card. First,
wasn't there something better to play with your Family Estate? And, do
you want to draw and spend a turn playing a card that takes out an
opponent's foundation character, or a better target? I see this pretty
much relegated to a Faceoff deck (most likely Mon/Asc) where you are trying
to do Bookie tricks.
This card almost makes the benchmark (it is 3-for-4 Stealth), and probably
isn't as good as his cousin, Coil of the Snake. What I like about Coil
is that it encourages attacks, and lets you control the ability. With
the Horse Thief, you may find players that hold this card in reserve, in the
hopes of later power gain or just a chilling effect (this is much like how
Fire Mystic plays -- you are reluctant to attack since you want to use the
ability). And let's face it, how good is the Night Market ability?
I've tried to make Night Market work for years, and my experience is that
it's just not that strong. I think I would always play 1-2 Serena
Chases over Horse Thief in most decks.
I'm not sure about this guy, but I'm leaning towards a big thumbs down -- at 3 cost for only 3
fighting, you are
going to have to rely on other cards to help out the Jaded Cop if he is
going to do anything at all. Since he is unaffected by all players'
0 and 1 cost events, the obvious deck to build is the Dra/Asc Cop Final
Brawl deck, but I don't think that will be exceptional. I'm still
thinking that Undercover Cop is just as good or better, since he can get
through to sites, and benefits almost as much from Police Station.
While this card is marginally better than Corrupt Bookie, when are you
ever playing it? If your opponent has a good Event that they are
worried about you playing, they are just going to play it in response to
Jan Zvireci entering play (probably targeting him, too). And don't
expect Jan to stick around very long, as he is a threat card, and doesn't
defend himself well. Yeah yeah Fortune of the Turtle and Safehouse
-- whatever. You have to spend the power on the Event too, so it's
very sketchy denial. I've played Jan in a few decks with Family
Estates (as a one-of), but his ability has yet to make any difference in a
game I've been in.
As a 3-for-3 with no cost break available, you need to have a few tricks
to get Just a Rat to work for you. Usually this means playing with
States like the various Guns or Explosives to do some extra damage.
While this card's Stealth ability means that it will rarely be
intercepted, Just a Rat is a great combo with Rigorous Discipline so that
your other characters can Stealth and do some damage by surprise. My
money is on Rat Fink to fill this spot.
In multiplayer Leatherback can unturn a lot, but what does that get
you? Most of the time it means you get to sacrifice your Leatherback
to intercept attacks. You can play it more defensive, turning this
card to heal on your turn and hoping it unturns later, but Leatherback's
poor ratio of 4-for-5 doesn't make this worthwhile. One trick with
this card is playing with Rebel Camp, where you can hope to attack on your
turn, and join in on an attack on an opponent's turn to gain some power.
Leopard Clan Warriors
Yet another mediocre Transformed Animal, this one is going to require you
to play with a goodly amount of sites with the Mountain designator, and they
are sort of specialized. Eagle Mountain is the best, but of course
it's ability doesn't compliment the Leopard Clan. Dragon Mountain and
Thousand Sword Mountain are sort of one-of in a deck, and the others just
aren't that playable without some extra tricks. Also, I believe your
opponent can throw a monkey wrench in your plan with a Whirlpool of Blood or
a Hot Springs. Now these guys I know are in my Transformed Animal
deck, and boy are they stinkers. It's really harder than you think to
make them work as much more than a more than a plain 4-for-5.
I'm not a big roach fan -- the Ascended just have so many better cards to
play than a weird 2-for-2 Toughness:2, that is going to do 2 damage to
your Family Estates before to long. Not to mention that requiring
three Ascended resources pretty much limits him in multifaction decks. I think I am probably thinking
of Bad Colonel or Triumvirate Dealmaker in this range if I'm playing with
Family Estates. Perhaps the best use for Louie is in a janky
showdown deck, where you are using him to Faceoff against resource
characters with impunity.
I find with this guy, you almost always want another copy of the Edge you
are concerned about over him. Cabinet Minister is a superior choice
if you are playing Family Estate, and Manchu Soldiers give you enough
cards to unturn the Manchu Officer (especially since the ability is only
once per turn).
Another character that really only goes in one deck -- a Manchu
deck. It's often hard to get him to do his trick because you will
need to play the trigger card before the Officer turns to attack. Still,
he can do a little damage, and don't forget to unturn him when an opponent
plays a Soldier. He's still no Dirk Wiseley, or even no Butterfly
Knight for that matter.
So, if on the odd chance you have Max in play, you get to use all your
janky Cop effects on your Pledged characters -- big deal. If her
were a 3c-for-4f Pledged Cop maybe... but he's just junk.
The Commandant is one of those cards that allows you a lot of leeway in
making strategic decisions. All of your attackers become all that
more dangerous, and you opponent's will have to over commit interceptors
to compensate for this card's ability to give +2 Fighting if they have to
stop your attack. Of course, the Commandant isn't much use on his
own, so you'll want to use him sparingly, and I'd never put him in a deck
without a few Family Estates to get a price break.
With a terrible ability, Mountain Warrior is essential a 2-for-2 that has
the Pledged designator. I'd always be playing Bad Colonel (or even
Triumvirate Dealmaker) over this
card, and that says all that needs to be said.
Mr. Big is a staple of the Hood deck, but you need to use a lot of care in
playing him. The drawback of losing a Hood when a Site of yours is
seized or burned means that you will loose control of Mr. Big if you don't
defend your sites. You can try and seize a site and take him back,
but Mr. Big really likes to intercept in that case. There's been a
bunch of new Hoods lately, but this deck still is really iffy, but you now
have a choice of several factions, with the best probably being Asc/Hand
for Virtuous Hoods.
While he's not the greatest, he can be fun. Join in, hope to get a
flip. You can use him to try and seize after you've burned for
power, or you can try and use him to sneak in when you don't have enough
fighting to take a site on your own. He can be kind of fun, but
beware -- the attacking player can intercept Mr. Red if they have an
unturned character and remember the obscure rule that lets you participate
as an attacker and interceptor in the same attack. It's also been ruled
that it's NOT collusion if you join in on an attack for the win with Mr.
Red in hopes to stop the win with a flip -- hey! I've done it!
You just got to love Mr. X -- not only does he have a built-in Shadowy
Mentor for low cost characters, he's a big part of the storyline.
Not only did he kill Adrienne Hart in Operation Killdeer, he is involved
in the Vivisector conspiracy along with Homo Omega. Having only
fighting score of 1 means that you will have to protect Mr. X if you want
to get much use out of him. If you can get For China! out with Mr.
X, you can start doing some crazy character stealing. Well,
he's not that good, but he is fun.
I can never seem to get the Journalist to do it's trick, and I almost
always wish I had spent the 1 or 2 power on a Student of the Shark.
Family Estates are a must to use this card. If you look at this
cards ability, it requires that an opponent has a turned character (and
preferably a high fighting, which usually means they have been attacking
you, which isn't usually a good thing. And the Journalist is going
to have a big target planted on their forehead.
Well, they are Hoods, so I guess you could play them in a Hood deck, or
maybe even in a regular deck just trying to mix up designators (though
they still match the top-notch Shark Student). I recommend Rat
Finks if you want a 2-cost Stealth character, though one NID is nice just
to reveal a few sites.
Oliver Chen is a beating stick. If your playing with Family Estate
(and who isn't) this card is a Walking Corpses with a killer
ability. Not only do you get to see what's coming, but you can make
sure that that Golden Comeback or Shadowy Mentor isn't coming up for quite
a while by putting it on the bottom of an opponent's deck. Oliver
Chen is one of those Unique cards that it doesn't really hurt you to play
multiples of because of his cost. Oliver has become very
popular on the tournament scene, and is a force to be reckoned with.
Peacock Clan Warriors
So, how big are these guys going to be? Best case is 6 fighting, but
realistically it's going to be 4 or 5. Just how good is a 2-cost for 4
Fighting that comes out mid-game or later? Not really that good, and
Tactics has always been a very iffy ability unless combined with some other
ability that makes it worthwhile (like on the Palm of Darkness).
Walking Corpses is good because they come out second turn, and lay down the
beats. Late game, you want some sort of ability to break a character
stalemate on the board. Yet another Transformed Animal that is
missing in action -- I think we can pretty much pass judgment on this theme
as a failure.
The Frenchman rocks. He comes as close to a hitter at 5 Fighting as
you can get. While he benefits from Family Estates, you don't need
them to offset this cards very reasonable 4 cost. Again, Stealth works
well with States, but often the Frenchman is enough to take down an
already revealed site. This card has been reprinted in 10KB, so it
should be fairly easy to find, and is a solid addition to both mono and
multi-faction Ascended decks.
People were debating on which Rat is better -- Rat Fink or Just a
Rat. Well, the jury is out and Rat Fink wins hands down. Like all of the Stealth characters, Rat Fink loves Guns and
Explosives. The Covert Operation like effect when you trigger this
card's Stealth is a nice bonus, and you will find that it happens more
often than Just A Rat's damage, which makes Rat Fink go along well with
Paper Trail. Rat Finks are a little hard to find since they were a
fixed card in YotD, but there were 3 in the deck, so they aren't
This card is kind of hard to get a handle on. Rebecca's ability is a
combo ability, so you are going to need States to get the most of out
it. The Ascended don't have a lot of Character States that you are
going to want to play on your own characters, so you are going to have to
look to other factions, talents, and unaligned cards to make her
work. It's really too early to predict what will and won't work with
this card. I finally took apart my Rebecca Tank Warfare deck --
it did okay, but was kind of on the bland side. Next time I play her,
I think I'll try it in conjunction with Ice Commandos and some other Monarch
Even without his Chapel, Reverend RedGlare can get the job done. You
are hoping to double your money by doing a minimum of 6 damage with this
card -- 3 to the chosen designator, and 3 to the character your opponent
sends to smoke the Reverend. Picking a designator usually isn't too
hard -- look around the table for shared factions or for a deck that is
heavily stocked with one designator -- some of my favorites are Pledged,
Martial Artist, Netherworld and Monkey.
I like Serena just in the fact that she's an okay non-Pledged/non-Lodge
Ascended character. She's a variant on Walking Corpses -- you are
hoping for a 2c-for-4f, but you have to spend 3 up front and get a
rebate. If you're lucky, you can get a few extra rebates.
Serena is more of a multiplayer card where you have a good chance of
finding a target with 3 more sites. And Stealth is going to give a
decent chance of being successful. Remember you don't have to attack
a site (they just have to have 3), so characters often make good targets.
Since she is a good target for some chump interceptors, Operation
Killdeers will help you gain that power.
||Shell of the
The game always slows down when the Shell hits the table. Generally,
no one is going to be able to push through a will until this card has been
dealt with. The Shell is an excellent defender at 6 Fighting for 3
power, and is capable of stopping two attackers at its location by
intercepting one and redirecting the other. Add the Shell to
some of the nasty sites, and you can turn the game into a mire.
||Soul of the Shark
This card is a weak precursor to the Losers. Yes, it can give you a little
protection against Shadowy Mentor, its main effect if preventing your
opponent from playing states until they kill the Shark (usually not a hard
thing to do). Since the ability requires turning, you are not
attacking with this card, which makes it high cost of 3 not worth the
power. I don't think I've seen this card played since Netherworld
||Sting of the
Bad bad bad. Do I need to say it again? Bad bad bad. Do
yourself a favor and pick up the Year of the Dragon Ascended starter and
get some new Stings.
||Sting of the
While the new Sting of the Scorpion from Year of the Dragon is miles ahead
of the original Sting, it's still just an average card at best. This
card is best against other 4 Fighting characters, and I find that most of
the time, people prefer to spend 1 more power and get a 6 Fighting
hitter. Still, the Sting can be useful, but until they make the
Lodge more attractive to play over Pledged, you don't want more than one
or two unless you are playing the new Draco. The Sting is a staple
of the Bounty deck.
With a Family Estate and 2 power in your pool, the Banker is a free
Ascended Resource. While he does slow you down with his Smoked
disadvantage, a handy Rigorous Discipline can turn that right around into
a Nerve Gas if your opponent has no power. The longer this card
stays on the table, the greater your benefit, so conversely, you want to
kill your opponents' Swiss Bankers asap.
An early attempt at Satellite Intelligence, Tatsuya just ain't paying the
bills. While he can open up a site for an attack, 3 power is way too
much to spend for this effect, especially with limitation that you can't
change the target of an attack, and his inherent vulnerability to dying in
the sequence he enters play.
Boy the Lodge sure has a lot of chairpersons, but
does this one give the Unspoken Name a challenge?
Not really. Playing cards out of
turn can be a strong ability, but you need to get in a burn for
power to maximize it. Playing sites in the key ability, and sites such as Drug Lab
(and probably Nuclear Power Plant) are great ways of keeping the power
flowing. If you've shut down the player to your right with an
unsuccessful attack, it might just be the time to play that 3rd/4th Feng
Shui site to set yourself up for the win. I've found that the Man
works okay in decks that are giant powerhouses like a New York New York
style deck with lots of Trade Centers.
I've played around with the Bandits, but haven't had the best
results. Sure, you gain power every now and then, but the drawback
of not providing a resource can hurt you if you draw them early game,
which is often when you most need the power. They also come up
against the might that is the Family Estate, and so you find them a loser
again. I'm thinking The Ickies from Red Wedding might be a better
choice over Time Bandits.
||Tooth of the
What's up with the Snake? Shouldn't his transformed animal powers
make him superior to his Pledged Minions? That's not the case with
this card when compared to Phillipe Benoit. Throne War's Blue
Cardinal's Guards is a much more solid choice if you want to stock up on
Stealth. UPDATE: The last few sets have been peppered with
Stealth, and Tooth should be heading to your coaster box.
The Triumvirate Dealmaker is a very political card -- you are making deals
and helping to determine what gets attacked, and hopefully you have been
able to negotiate a deal that doesn't involve a target you control, but
overlook adding 2 points of overkill against yourself if it will get you a
free point of power. I often find myself throwing a Dealmaker into a
multiplayer deck that has a few Family Estates since she has the Pledged
A staple in any Ascended Cop deck, the Undercover Cop gives you lots of
options since he's got a nifty ability that can let him attack almost any
site in play. Getting him up to 5 Fighting (not that hard to
do) can net you that pesky back row Whirlpool. But, just as
fast as the Undercover Cop can go up in Fighting, he can go down even
quicker. Just one Final Brawl can ruin your day if you are relying
on the small Cops like SWAT Team and Gruff Lieutenant to power your
Agents. Family Estates and Police Stations are a must.
||The Unspoken Name
He gives the skills to pay the bills. This is a great card to drop
and go for a win with. Remember than you can turn The Unspoken Name
after interceptions (by a single player) have been declared to give your
characters Stealth, thereby making the interceptions invalid. At 6
Fighting for 3 power, this card also makes an excellent defender if you
are unable to force through a win. His high resource conditions make
him much more suitable for a mono-Ascended deck than a multifaction, but
hey, everyone has at least one.
||Web of the Spider
You can have a little fun with the Web, but it takes a few other cards to
get the synergy going. Political Lock is an obvious card to go
along with Web, since you can move their characters around, potentially
leaving valuable sites undefended. Another good combo with the card
are Battleground Sites. Your opponent will be tempted to seize them,
forcing him into a larger structure, giving you more options when using
the Web's ability. Being a three-for-three is what barely keeps the Web out
of the coaster pile, but it's super specialized and only goes in a few
of the Spider vNEW
Generally, I want my characters to do something -- the Web doesn't do much
of anything. Since players rarely want to give you free power, this
guy is going to have a big bull's-eye painted on him if they have cards
that play for reduced cost. If you want a 2 cost Lodge character,
Rat Fink at least gets some damage in. If you want power, mole mole
This card is just about as good as it gets. 8 Fighting for
potentially only 3 power is nuts, and to top it off, this card's
"drawback" is more of an advantage. You almost never want
to play States on your hitters unless they are of a defensive nature like
Ice Diadem or Fortune of the Turtle, so you being unable to play States is
not much of a drawback. What States do your opponents want to play
on Adrienne? Why Shadowy Mentor of course, which makes her ability
an advantage most of the time. Perhaps the only drawback to this
card are the players who insist on saying "Yo! Adrienne!"
in a back Rocky Balboa voice whenever this card is in play. This
card has been reprinted by Z-Man in the limited Can of Whupass 2, so they
are somewhat available.
Other than the onerous resource requirements, Arachne isn't too bad.
While she does have assassinate, her best use is being turtly, and using
her to intercept to make sure you have the best chance to regenerate (a
damaged Arachne is going to be a high-priority target for your
opponents). There might be some possibilities with Bounty, but I'm
not sure if adding Tech is the way to go for that type of deck.
Bleys stinks in the 10KB format -- you really don't want to be getting
pounded and draw this guy and not be able to attack with him.
Outside of 10KB he's okay, and his Shaking the Mountain ability can be
quite powerful -- remember he can proactively remove potential
interceptors and/or annoying sites that turn. Family Estates and
lots of 1-cost foundations will help get around his can't attack alone
restriction, and ye olde Killdeer will let him use his ability more than
once. If you want to get fancy, put him into an Asc/Hand deck with
This card is pretty cookie-cutter. You put it in your cop deck, and
go to town. His cost-to-power ratio isn't the best, but with a
Police Station he's okay-ish. Giving all your cops Toughness:1 is
also okay, but you need a lot of cops in play to get some mileage out of
it. I don't really see him as essential.
of the Rhino
Kind of like Atourina Baktiari, the Charge tends not to get intercepted
when he attacks a site unless he is going to smoked by a larger
character. You can try some tricky stuff like using him in a Faceoff
to trigger his ability, but that is sub-optimal. The Charge is a
pretty bland Thug, equal in caliber to the old Fist of the Bear.
Whenever I've considered the Rhino for a deck, it always gets dropped,
usually in favor for the just-as-bland but slightly better Fist vNew.
And there's always the Might of the Elephant in the 4-cost slot.
Draco is Big. Really Big. He takes a site a turn if he can
stick around. Of course, he has all the classic vulnerabilities
(Gas, Imprisoned, Mentor), so be prepared to have some sort of backup like
Festival Circles if you want your 6 power investment to bring dividends.
With Year of the Dragon, Draco is finally a card to be feared. Canceling
Nerve Gas, Imprisoned, Neutron Bomb, Operation Killdeer, etc. for zero
power is an awesome ability. Playing Draco is going to require some
serious deck choices that will probably lead you away from playing a lot
of Pledged since you will want to be able to hold a Lodge character or two
for playing Draco. The Year of the Dragon Ascended deck is a great
starting point for how to make a Draco Lodge deck, with it's useful
mid-cost Lodge Characters like Rat Fink and Sting.
||Fist of the Bear
This is about as vanilla as a 4 power for 6 Fighting can get. Since
they're Lodge, don't expect a break with your Family Estate. The
Blue Cardinal's Guard from Throne War is a much better option to go with
over the Fist.
of the Bear vPAP
Thug. Better than the standard edition Fist, but still a thug.
I prefer the Might of the Elephant in this cost range for Lodge thugs.
Frenzy of the Shark
While this card looks kinda cool, you are going to find it just doesn't have
the gas you want for 4 power. Conditional Toughness:1 isn't as good as
Tougness:1 that's always on, so there's a big strike against the Frenzy when
compared to the new version of Fist of the Bear. To compensate, Frenzy
gets some conditional extra damage, but it can go away and generally can't
be counted on. The problem here is that you don't want to want to
damage opponents' characters, you want to smoke them. Yes, Frenzy
counts your characters too, but then having a bunch of damaged characters
leaves you vulnerable to attacks of opportunity not to mention Final Brawl.
Also note that the timing wont allow you to burn for power and turn to heal
damaged characters if you want to keep the damage bonus. Consider
playing the Blue Cardinal's Guards, and you find yourself with more options,
but if you are playing Frenzy, you want to be playing Gunboat Diplomacy as
He's an okay 7 Fighting-for-4 power hitter, comparable to Vladimir Kovalov
-- Tactics is a nice bonus if you don't need the Lodge designator.
As for the goofy sacrifice ability, that usually means you are playing
with sub-par Ascended cards to get the designators, so it's iffy at
best. You will get your most mileage combining with another faction
-- the Monarchs and the Architects have some matching designators.
He definitely does fit his Dragon background (don't believe me? look
at his resource provisions). He's what you expect from a 6-cost thug,
he takes sites baring getting zapped by an event or a site. The copy
ability is just plain crazy, and you never know what you can wind up with.
The Ascended are okay at getting to 6 power, but you just know he's going to
draw a lot of fire, so you want to look for ways to replay him at a discount
like Golden Comeback. Try to think of John Fenris as an inferior
Eastern King (okay, way inferior). I did see a pretty funky trick
with the Iron Man at KublaCon -- someone used Dunwa to fetch him, play him,
then copied Dunwa's ability onto him, and fetched another ReAsceded.
He's still just okay, and you can have some fun if you really have power to
Hrm, a new Re-Ascended character that isn't much better than the existing
ones. And real expensive, too. Sure, it's a character killing
machine, but don't the Ascended just have better ways to deal with
characters? He doesn't really combo with much, so I'm going Ursus
over the bad snake dude. Yeah, there's one of him in my
ReAscended deck, and he's better than Kauhuhu, but I'd rather be playing the
4-cost (or 6-cost) hitters.
"El Tigre" Velasquez
Yes, with Stealth and Superleap, he is always going to get to his site if
he isn't taken out with an Event. The problem is his poor ratio
-- for 5 power there are a bazillion other better characters to play,
especially in the Ascended.
The Strike Force has been reborn, but this time you don't need a Family
Estate to play 5 power for it. Assassinate is pretty worthless on a
character this big -- for Kinoshita's cost you want to be taking
sites. The ability to turn characters for power during your turn has
possibilities, but overall, the Unspoken Name kicks ass on this doofus as
a Lodge Chairperson. He goes in the Bounty deck, but I think I am
more likely to go for Rachel or Raven as a 5-cost Lodge hitter.
Yeesh, and I thought Jormungandr was boring. The Shark is pretty
close to Spencer's Beauties, but worse.. Yes, Kauhuhu has an out of
faction ability, Independent, but just doesn't have much else going for
it. This is the type of card that you want to Golden Comeback, but
that means you are playing Dragons, and you are going to have better stuff
to be bringing back. To paraphrase the classic comedy This is
Spinal Tap, "Shark ReAscended? More like Shit ReAscended."
||Might of the
The Might is one of several characters in the game who's Fighting score is
dependant on resource counts. While the Might is technically a
Foundation character, at 4 cost if you are playing him because you need
the resources, you are in trouble. Mid-game this guy can be
respectable, but expect him to shine in late game, where he can weigh in
at 10+ Fighting for 4 power, putting him in Sarge's league. Beware
the Larcenous Mist and Inauspicious Reburial. At least this guy
doesn't get Tortured Memories very often, but Shadowy Mentor loves him.
This is what I call a kid card -- it's uncommon, so the kids have lots of
him and I've way too many decks with 5 Elephants beating down on me.
She makes the cut for a 8 Fighting-for-5 Power because she has a useful
ability. The most obvious effects that Rachel is immune to are the
super-annoying Unique Sites that require turning -- you know the ones...
Kinoshita House, Fox Pass, etc. She is also immune to a few of those
annoying turn effects that come up from time-to-time like White Disciple,
Muckraking Journalist and Die!!! She's also got the Killer
designator, so you can put her into your Bounty/Open Season deck.
Well, if getting smacked down, this guy is just a Fist of the Bear.
But, if you get get Toughness: 2 or better, then all of a sudden Floyd
becomes threatening. This guy is sort of like Grey Mountain, but you
are trying to keep sites in play instead of other characters to maximize his
trick -- both of which can often be difficult to do. Again, Rainmaker Floyd
would lend himself to a lot more interesting decks if he only needed two
resources instead of 3. While you might be thinking BattleGround deck with
this card, I don't think it's a great way to go, other than Bandit Hideouts
and maybe Sliding Paper Walls. What I think will work better is a
heavy mix of non-Feng Shui Sites, hopefully from another faction, and
possibly even some Trade Centers.
Raven is a big thug -- probably one of the best, and far from the worst. 8
Fighting with Stealth is going to take sites, and the Covert Op is a nice
bonus. And since the Covert is triggered by damaging sites, it
combos nice with her Stealth. Since she's Lodge, one or two in a Pledged deck can get you by a
Discerning Fire in a pinch.
Sam is a average Lodge hitter that is worth playing unless you are going
turbo Pledged in a tournament environment. The question of how much
damage you want on Sam usually arises when he hits play. I like two
damage (giving Toughness: 2), but often a situation arises where you will
want more. Getting a few damage on Sam when you play him is very
important -- otherwise, you opponents will attack him with just 7 Fighting
to Smoke him if possible. Just Toughness: 2 can raise that damage
requirement to 9+ if your opponents have to attack with multiple
characters. Of course CHAR whups Sam Mallory's ass...
Here we have another fairly limited card that goes mainly into one deck --
the Bounty deck. Spending 5 power to kill an opponent's Unique
character is a big risk -- and notice that Senior Ocho only has Ambush
when his target is a Unique character -- he has no effect on
interceptors. Operation Killdeer pretty much turns any character
into Senior Ocho for a turn...
Serket is kinda crazy, with all the weird wording. Basically, if you
have a little money to spend (and don't the Ascended always have that?) or
your opponents are short on characters, she is going to hit a site for
7. Of course, Operation Killdeer is pretty good at clearing out the
way for Adrienne or Shinobu to take sites, so Serktet is kinda iffy.
By herself, I don't think Serket is worth building a reascended deck.
And the Reascended deck always has resource woes.
Shinobu Yashida was the Ascended's second best hitter in the olden days, only outclassed by
Adrienne Hart. But now there is a lot of good stuff to choose from,
but Shinobu is still worth considering. At first glance, he may look similar to Vladimir Kovalov,
which is the same power to Fighting ratio, but with a different special ability.
What Shinobu has that Vladimir doesn't is the all important designator
Pledged, which means he can come out for only 3 power using a Family
Estate. This card's ability to deal 3 extra damage to characters
with an 8 or more Fighting rarely comes into play, and don't let trying to
use it distract you from taking Sites.
Strike Force pays the price for having two skills -- unfortunately, the
skills are two that don't compliment each other. Stealth lets you
get through interceptors to damage your target, while Tactics lets you
save your character from an attack gone wrong (usually after an Operation
Killdeer). At 6 cost, this card falls way below it's peers.
Even at 5 power when using a Family Estate, the Strike Force is iffy at
Texas Jack Cody
While not terrible, Jack has the problem of really being a 6-for-8.
Sure, it's similar to the Blue Cardinals Guards, but they are slightly less
expensive, and their abilities are more versatile. This is a guy that
definitely could have used 1 resource less to make him more splashable.
As is, I find it hard to play him over Raven Li, who never ceases to amaze.
Blue Cardinals Guards
While not the best hitter in the game, they aren't the worst,
either. You really need to think of this card as 5-cost as you are
almost always wanting to use one of the special abilities. They are all
good abilities, but I suspect that you will usually be choosing either
Stealth or +3 damage. I find that this card goes best in decks that
don't want Lodge characters or matching designators on your hitters -- you
don't want to be zapped by an easy Discerning Fire and you don't want your
Family Estates burning down.
Ever wonder what would happen if the Golden Gunman betrayed the Dragons
and went to work for the Ascended? Forget about Leonardo DiCaprio --
this card is the true King of the World. This is one of the few
cards in Shaolin Showdown that is going to have a game changing
effect. Expect to see a lot of him, as he was given out as a promo
with Netherworld 2, and those promos play as the final released
version. Eastern King strategy? Play EK, win (this is the same
strategy I use with The Golden Gunman). For those of you who don't have access to Shaolin Showdown
and only have Promo Eastern Kings, here is the final text:
Unique. Uncopyable. Not a legal target for
Events. When you play him, and at the start of each turn, he gains the
rules text of target Lodge Character until the target leaves
play or the end of the turn.
The Honorable Earl Mason
While initially glancing at the Hanging Judge you might say 'wow -- he can
smoke anything!' don't let your first impression fool you -- this guy is a
turkey. The standard expected cost to smoke a character is 1 power
with some limitations. This guy removes the limitations, but at a huge
cost in increased power. Remember, it's going to cost a whopping 6
power to whack T2. And compare with the Voice of the Unnamable -- in
his case the power you spend doesn't just smoke one target, it has the
potential to clear out a lot of junk. As much as I hate to say it,
Shadowy Mentor is so much of a better option than this guy it's not even
The bear is the reason to play the reascended. He is going to rule
the table, and your opponents will quake with fear if they have a damaged
character in play. Final Brawl makes for an unpleasant surprise to
intercepting opponents, and I am personally fond of giving Ursus a Fusion
Rifle since you have Tech available. The Lotus has the best pingers
(White Disciple, Purist Sorceror, Malachi), but I think it just may be too
hard to pull of that deck since the Lotus have zero access to tech.
His worst enemy is Sacred Heart Hospital and it's Chinese Doctors.
Vincent "The Jackal" Benilli
His ability is so good he can't give it to himself -- NOT!
This guy is pretty much a loser -- sure you can put him into your Hood
decks, and you know, he's gonna win you the odd game, but there are just so
many other cards that are going to be consistently better when you draw them
it's not funny. Well, he's in my Hood deck, and I hope never to
draw him. What does that tell you?
Except for the Dragons, all of the core faction in Standard got a 4 power
for 7 Fighting Unique character in the early days. While none of them jump out as
outstanding, they are all very solid, playable hitters. Vladimir is
the Ascended's version, and while you can't build a deck around his
ability to discard an extra card, it can come in handy late game if your
hand is clogged up. Unfortunately, I almost always pass over
Vladimir for something that has a more offensive ability.
Song is pretty bland, but he makes a decent hitter. He usually costs
one more power than the Frenchman, but also has one more Fighting, so they
both fit into a Stealth deck. His second ability means that he can
intercept Superleapers even when turned -- it's not much, but it can
rarely come in useful. He also has a designator that has no other
matches in the Ascended (unless you count Yen Fan).
||Bite of the
How can you not play with this card? Yes, your opponent may get a
free Hacker out of it, but if it's not cancelled, Bite of the Jellyfish
can mean game over for your opponents. Conversely, you can't fear
this card. If you need to burn for power, do it. The
question is how many Bites to play in a deck? Well, maybe none in a
dueling deck, but you need a minimum of one in a multiplayer deck (to keep
people honest), two if you want to draw it reliably, and three if you
really want to punish your opponents, but beware of Hackers.
With the new end of turn rules, you can no longer cheese your opponent by
playing Bull Market after they have declared the end of their turn.
Now they are going to spend that power and mount some attacks.
Instead, it's usually better to play Bull Market on your turn, attack a
site and burn for power to keep you at the same reserve power as everyone
else (unless you are going for the win). Don't overlook the cheesy
power stealing effects like Mysterious Stranger and Bite of the Jellyfish
-- if you time it right you can steal all of the power that they would
have gained. Shadowy Mentor is Bull Market's best friend -- your
opponents spend that 5 power on a hitter, and you gank it on your next
turn (after you've Killdeered it when it attacked you on your opponent's
turn of course). Bull Market's second best friend is Wind on the
Mountain for generating crazy amounts of power.
All in all, Competitive Intelligence is pretty junky, even for a 0-cost
Event. It doesn't help you early in the game when you need it most
to watch out for Cave Networks and other sites that are really going to
burn you. And since it can only cancel Sites it reveals, the odds
are that by late game, that City Square or other site that is going to
stop you is already face up and unaffected by Competitive Intelligence.
Play City Parks, they won't clog up your hand like this card will since it
takes two spaces (itself, and the Feng Shui Site). This card was
ruled to get around the 'one site per turn' rule, so you could try and
tech someone out by playing Contingency Plans and a City Park to get out
two sites, but that's improbable unless you have a huge hand size..
This is one of my favorite cards -- it's sneaky, it's devious, it's
Ascended. You would think that with Shadowfist's draw to full hand
size mechanic that discarding a card wouldn't hurt much (like it does in
limited draw games), but Covert Operation can often screw your opponent or
let you through for a win. Early game, you can slow your opponent
down tremendously by removing their resources and Feng Shui, forcing them
to discard aggressively to recover. Later in the game, you get the benefit
of not only getting rid of that Neutron Bomb, but you also get to see
their hand so you can get a good idea of what is coming. Paper Trail
is a tried and true combo, netting you a power by forcing your opponent to
discard. Note that this card has been given errata and you can no
longer target yourself. Covert is currently the dominant card in
dueling -- prepare to get your hand pillaged on the way to a loss if you
run up against a deck packing Coverts.
||Cry of the
Shadowy Mentor has two enemies -- Ting Ting and the Queen of the Ice Pagoda.
Cry of the Forgotten Ancestor takes care of the Queen, as well as giving
you some relief from another card the Ascended greatly fear, Discerning
Fire, since all your characters will invariable have the Pledged or Lodge
designator. Even denying an opponent a Pocket Demon can keep them
far enough behind you to give a win. This is one of those cards that
always seems to find it's way into a larger deck with Ascended.
Hacker Check. This is kind of a oddity utility card. You don't
want to play it when you have a Mentor out, as it is a prime target.
It can get rid of annoying Edges, and non-Feng Shui sites, but this card
seems to always punish the person who plays it as bad or worse than their opponents.
It's an anti-combo with one of the Ascended's best cards Family Estate,
but if your opponent drops a second turn 2-cost non Feng Shui site, this
card can wreck your game. Cutting Loose Ends is usually better in
dueling, where you don't have to worry about Hackers as much.
I like this card. I'm mean, and I like hosing my opponents.
Use of this card depends a lot on your environment. If it's
cut-throat, you're golden. This card is going to net you 2 power
with Paper Trail, which is going to be the main use for this card, but
it's still cool to aggravate people. Watch out for Resistance Squads
Faked Death is a surprisingly good card in character based combo
decks. It lets you cycle those characters you need, so you don't
have to draw into them or over stack your deck with them. A good
example is the Hood deck -- since Mr. Big is Unique, you don't want to
keep drawing him when he's in play. With Faked Death you can fetch
your best dead Hood card from your Smoked pile or Mr. Big, depending on
your situation. It also works well with Family Estate, letting
you fetch back your pledged for maximum advantage.
on the Run
This event intrigues me. It sure seems like it's got a lot of
possibilities, but I just don't know. But, as an Ascended card, it's
got to complete with all the power cheese, which makes its life more
difficult. And to top it off, I can't tell whether this is a dueling
card, a multiplayer card, or both! This is hot on my play list and I
recommend that everyone throw one or two in a deck just to play with it
and get a feel for it. Oh, the card itself -- attack, get hosed,
attack again. Sounds good. This is great in that it will let
you hold back on characters, especially if you are fearing a Bomb or
Brawl. Not to mention it's a good answer to KHouse, Turtle Beach, City
Square and Fox Pass tricks.
We always get a good laugh when someone pulls off a Hostile
Takeover. While the effect is powerful, this card has very little opportunity
to play. You can probably get away with throwing one in a deck if
you don't have too much junk, but expect to discard it most of the
time. Of course, this card may get better as more and more people
just can't resist playing with Temple of Angry Spirits, especially in the
This card has a lot of evil potential. It's expensive, but changing
up the denial on the board prior to an attack sounds like a game
winner. Some advice -- don't stack your deck with bad sites to give
to your opponents with Lodge Machinations. That's just a
formula for disaster. Play useful sites and play this event when
it's smart, not just at the first opportunity. I expect that City
Park will be a good one to be giving away (reveal it first). Also,
be sure to include a Drug Lab and Nuclear Power Plant -- there might
some tasty Non-FSS to grab up like Secret HQ or Senshei Chamber, and you
can turn the Nuke's disadvantage into an advantage locking up an
opponent's turning site. Too bad this card is rare =(
I've only seen this played a couple of times (and I bet it's been discarded
a lot more), it has always been to a decent advantage. Quyen build a
crazy Array of Stunts built around it and Mount Erebus that was rather
humorous to watch.
You are almost always getting your money's worth out of Lodge Politics
because you will be taking away power played by an opponent. You see
this mainly as Shadowy Mentor Defense, Family Estate stealing and as a
counter to Shadowy Mentor in dueling decks. But, it also grabs up
funky stuff like Paper Trail and you can use Lodge Politics to gain
control of a lot of Ascended Characters, which makes it good in both
dueling and multi.
Mole Network, how do I love ye? Let me count the ways... For
those of you old-timers out there, you remember when Mole was king and you
really wanted 5 in almost every deck with Ascended. Then two things
happened -- Flashpoint introduced the Hacker, and YotD gave errata to Mole
Network so that you couldn't play it on a someone who hasn't had their
first turn. Those were some dark days for Mole Network, and it often
found itself gathering dust in card boxes, left with only memories of the
glory days of its youth. But then two new cards came along, that
once again changed the meta-game -- Student of the Dragon and Dragon
Dojo. These two cards offered a solid alternative to Hackers -- a
1-cost Independent foundation gives lots of possibilities for offense, and
every one likes card drawing engines. This has causes a slight
decrease in the amount of Hackers being played -- instead of five in every
Dragon deck, there is often only two (or sometimes less). Currently,
I like playing about 2 Moles in a deck that needs a slight power
burst. It's a delicate balance -- if people play more Mole Networks,
Hackers will increase, so you have to walk the fine line.
Watch out turtles, their's a new shark in the swimming pool. This is
the type of card I like -- it promotes attacking, and gives you incentives
for doing it. This is a card that is somewhat hard to totally gauge --
where does it fit in an faction that has innate Stealth, good alt-power gen
(Mole, Bite, Bull) and 0-cost punch-through (Killdeer). I put this a
fun and playable card -- you get do some tricks, especially when combined
with characters or abilities that boost damage instead of fighting.
Murder by Night
This card is overly complex for a 3 Fighting BuroMil Grunt, but
that's what it is, with Assassinate to boot. It's probably best when
used as takeout for one of those really annoying specialty characters that
it's not worth committing more than 1 power to get rid of. I don't
think you can Rig Dis from Murder, as it's the event causing the Sacrifice.
I'm still waiting for someone to do something with this card. I'm
not holding my breath...
Fortunately for the rest of the factions, Operation Green Strike is a
miserable failure when compared to Operation Killdeer. While it is
cool (and power efficient) to seize a site with this Event, usually you
will find that there are no good targets available, and that Operation
Green Strike is taking up valuable space in your hand. And
being limited means that you cant go crazy with it.
Would anyone disagree that this is best Event in the game? It's
offensive. It's defensive. It's character take out. It's
character protection. And did I mention that it requires only one
resource and 0 power? Everyone should know and fear this card.
How many should you play in a deck? Five if you're a kid, four if
you have a really tight dueling deck, and three if you still want to have
a good chance of winning and have some variety to your deck.
Hacker check please. What looks to be an interesting concept turns
out to be pretty poor in actual play. It does add a little unpredictability
and excitement ala Art of War, but the losing drawback is kind of a drag
early game. Mole Network is a 2 power swing, and is usually a better
I have never gotten this card to do it's trick. Searching your deck
for a card leads to all sorts of problems in CCG design, but so far
Shadowfist has done a great job at making the search cards restricted
enough that they are only a novelty. If there there cards I want to
draw, I just put more in a deck. The Ascended have enough power and
low cost cards to cycle through a deck at a decent pace.
Trashing an Edge or a State is usually a good thing. Most of the
time, Realpolitik will cost less that the card it Smokes. Don't
overlook targeting a Shield of Pure Soul or Payback Time even though they costs 0 -- it
generates power and lets your opponent find the card he needs. This
is one of those cards I like to throw one of in a deck for general
utility. In a tournament environment, the State you are going to be
most wary of is Shadowy Mentor, in which case Lodge Politics may be a
better choice, as it accomplishes the same result, and can be used on
||Roar of the Beast
This is one of those cards that is just too much fun when you play.
Yes, it's expensive. Yes, it requires a ton of resources. But,
saying "No!" to anything in the game (except for that @#$!
Gunman) is worth the price of admission alone.
This card looks very interesting. The target (almost always going to
be yourself) is going to get the worst two cards from the top three of
your deck. And if someone other than the player to your left is
going for the win, your opponent just may let you keep some denial like an
Op Killdeer (to go with the one already in your hand that you're
hiding). Note that there may be some funky stuff you can do with
Shell Game and cards that Reload, especially as more are added in future
sets. This card was totally amazing in the Spin Doctoring
recursion deck, but since it's demise, I haven't seen one played, but it
still might be okay.
This is the weakest effect of all the Faceoffs, and is really only useful
in dueling. See the strategy section on Faceoffs.
While you can play this card to slow down your opponent, I prefer to play
it on my turn when going for a site. I look at what factions a
person is playing, and then check their power pool. If another
Ascended player has no power, target them. If an Architect player is
sitting on 1 power for a Gas or 3 power for a Bomb, target them.
Also good with Bull Market, which you can play after Subterfuge if you
have to Bull during another player's turn. Still a sub-optimal card,
but it can be fun.
Another great card, Suicide Mission's best use is its most devious, of
course. While you can Smoke an opponent's card and pay the price,
the preferred use of this is to Smoke one of your own sites. If
someone is going after a site of yours and has enough brute for to take
it, you can smoke it with Suicide Mission, not only denying them your
site, but it will also make the attack unsuccessful. Since the
second Smoke is optional, you can ignore the effect. Of course, you
could be playing Dark Travelers, and may want your smoked pile full of
Feng Shui sites.
The Lady or the Tiger
Neither if you ask me. The only good reason to play this card is to
fuel your Paper Trail, and there are better cards for that. Don't get
me wrong, knocking denial out of your opponents hand is good, but you are
giving them a really good chance to get cards just as good. I don't
know about you, but I like playing good cards in my deck, so that when I
have to draw cards, I draw good cards. Yes, discard is a viable
dueling strategy, but it's really no fun, and doesn't add to the game.
I still haven't seen anyone play this card -- I wonder why?
"Throw Me the Idol..."
Strictly a fun card, and if you have good opponents, it's not going to do
much for you, as they should (rightly) decline in ever giving an Ascended
player power. This sort of belongs in "I'm your pal" kind of deck with
Triumvirate Dealmaker and Ulterior Motives where you're just toying with
your opponents much like a cat with a mouse. Don't expect to get 2
power from me very often, you Ascended rat.
I still haven't
made a "Why can't we be friends?" deck with the above mentioned cards --
I'll get around to it one day, but until then, I'll be shocked if I see this
This is one of the more useful Faceoffs, and the best when used as a
bushwack. See the strategy section on Faceoffs.
Ulterior Motives is turning out to be a surprise card in the Throne War
set. While at first it looks this card is going to hurt you more
than it helps, it doesn't seem to in actual play. Of course, it
depends on your play group, and Ulterior Motives may just stop up your
hand if no one play's Sites or Edges that turn. Note that while it
requires an opponent to have a turned non-character card, there is no
restriction on the card they unturn, so try not to let someone get in an
extra lick with a hitter if you are their prime target. Not
recommended for dueling.
Know Where You Live
It's almost impossible to gain power off WKWYL, but often you can get a
point or two of damage in against an opponent. The best target for
this card is an Ascended player, as they are likely to share a lot of
designators. Four Monarchs players also tend share
designators. When looking at Sites, don't forget about the
Netherworld designator. I think I'm going to be using Dirty Tricks
over WKWYL most of the time, just because I like seeing two opponents
squirm over one.
of the Snake
This is a really nasty card for trying to sneak a win. Remember that
characters can only incept at the location they are at. Say you are
in a three player game, and attack player 2's first column for the
win. Then player 3 turns a couple of characters to intercept.
You can YotS to any other column and invalidate that first round of
interception since they are no longer at your location and can't get to
where they need to be.
"Play on a Hood character" -- that alone is enough to tell you that this
card is going to be bad. Hrm, this gives them non-attack ambush
assassinate. That sort of okay, but so situational, and it it means
you have to keep your character unturned -- Hired Killer is just one of
those cards that you don't want to be playing. I'm pretty
sure this didn't make the cut in my last Hood deck. In fact, I'm
Mildly janktastic, this card does have it's place in a heavy-designator
deck. The obvious ones are Pledged and Lodge -- you can make most of
your characters non-interceptable and unable to be attacked. Of
course, you probably could have smoked that character anyway with a timely
application of Operation Killdeer. Where you might get a little extra
juice out of Hydrophobia is in a Asc/Mon deck where all the sites (and the
hitters) have the designator Netherworld. Of course, you've just
jumped through hoops to make Hydrophobia effectively a Nerve Gas that's
vulnerable to State removal.
Mr. Strange writes in:
Although not a great card, I think that you have missed the
excellent diplomacy options this card opens up. This can encourage people to
team-up the way you want them to, by disallowing their biggest characters to
attack together. Voiding an interception with this card is just a late-game
punch-through technique. I'd rate this a 1.75.
I don't want my opponents teaming up at all! If I want them
interacting, I'll play Dirty Tricks and get them mad at each other.
||Marked for Death
Another one of those really bad cards, Marked for Death is only playable
for comic value. Since you have to wait until the beginning of your
turn to flip, your opponent is guaranteed at least attack with the marked
character, and may often get another turn after that in which to
attack. And once a character is Marked for Death, a good opponent
will run that character into your characters trying to take as much as
possible with them before being Smoked.
Master of Disguise
I have mixed feelings on this card, and it's going to take some time to
figure out, although I suspect I wont be playing it much. If you
haven't figured it out yet, this card really reads "spent 1 power to smoke a
unique character whose controller has no power" -- it's a very powerful
effect, but somewhat restrictive and slow since it's a State. Again,
time will tell, but this card can have a really good annoyance factor.
People haven't taken to this card as much as I thought they would, but
it's still an okay way to get rid of some uniques if you have spare power.
I need to try this in combination with Spirit Pole to see if it can truly be
In case you were wondering what to do with all of those Pledged you've
been pumping out with your Family Estate, here is your answer. Okay,
you probably were doing something with those Pledged already, but Official
Harassment is a nice new option. As long as you can play a
foundation a turn, you are going to be able to lock down an opponent's
character, hopefully their best hitter. This State is going to turn
all of your characters into a potential Muckraking Journalist.
While I think this is going to be good overall, it might be marginally
better in dueling. I've really tried to play this card, but it
somehow always seems to get cut -- it's got a good effect, but characters
die so fast around here that it's not a long term lockdown. Also, Gun
Moll from 2FT is my annoying card of choice for the nonce.
While larger Body sites are preferable to smaller Body sites as a rule,
spending an additional power for that is of questionable worth.
Security can save you if you are forced to play a front row Whirlpool or
Kinoshita House by a bad draw, but usually you can plop at least a 6 Body
site down and have enough time to defend it. You can play Security
with Heart of the Rainforest for a 14+ Body site, but you will probably be
hosed if an opponent ever manage to seize it. About the only real
use for this card is Temple of Angry Spirits, but that's just rude.
||Seal of the Wheel
Do you really expect to see a character with Seal of the Wheel to last two
turns in play? Playing this card is just like painting a big target
on them. You are better off saving the two power to play a site and
then go for the win.
This State is as good as they get. Even though you need 3 power in
your pool to play Shadowy Mentor, it doesn't really cost you that
much. Even if you only take control of a 2 cost Foundation
character, you are still netting 1 power (3 power to play, but minus the
two power cost of the character you gain and minus 2 power for the
character your opponent loses). If you Mentor their big 5 cost
hitter, the power swing is an amazing 7 power. This has been the
dominant card in Shadowfist ever since Limited, and has just grown better
and better over time.
Tools of the Trade
Yet another bad Hood card that you really shouldn't play. How often
do you really need Assassinate? And why aren't you playing Sting of
the Scorpion then? Heck, even Nine Cuts? Double heck, Red
Lantern Tavern. Stealth is faction power for the Ascended, but
spending power on such a restrictive form is too much. Look at the
Dragons -- they got a stealth state in 2FT (Bullwhip) that's less
restrictive and potentially free with Kar Fai's Crib. This is a great
example of a card that should cost 0 power, in which case it would still be
bad, but at least you could play it in a janky hood deck for fits and
giggles. I have yet to see any sign of this card outside of the
on the Wild Side
I have a strong dislike for cards that have only limited choices for
playing, and this sure is one of them. Add the fact that the effect
is pretty schlocky (Really Big Gun and Path of the Storm Turtle) and only
works when attacking, and you have something to keep you table free of
drink stains. While I don't recommend playing Really Big Gun,
Pump-Action Shotgun is a nice damage bonus if needed (and you can play it
on your foundations) and Path of the Storm Turtle is ok for dumping on
your Lodge posers.
200 Guys with Hatchets and
This card reminds me a little of Bounty, but that's probably because it's
a Limited Ascended Edge that you can build an entire deck around. I
think it's a little more versatile than the afore mentioned card in that you
can put it into any deck and it will work (as long as your opponents play
Unique characters, which IKTV Report has shown to be fairly common).
While you can bring back hordes of Pledged with 200 Guys, the fun stuff is
going to be with 1-cost utility characters -- off the top of my head, a few
that might be cool: Mad Bomber, Hermes/Malachi, and Consumer on the
Brink. I expect to see this card filter it's way into a lot of casual
Ascended decks. I think we've all seen plenty of 200 Guys decks,
and this card has shown itself to be a real threat -- another reason to
always pack edge removal. As I mentioned before, bringing back
interesting 1-cost characters from other factions is much cooler, and I
don't think we've seen the full potential of this card.
I still don't know about this card. It tricks you into not attacking
sites and attacking characters instead. Now that there are a couple
of decent Assassins (Sting of the Scorpion, Nine Cuts, White Ninja) this
card may have some more general use. I've built a couple of Bounty
decks, and they've never worked that well for me. The Asc/Mon
version with Fire Assassins and Open Season was hard to get the combo
going on, and the straight Asc version only worked because it was chock
full of power cards that didn't really work with Bounty (Mentor, Bite,
etc..) Shaolin Showdown gives us a couple more Ascended choices for
the Bounty deck (Kinoshita, Senior Ocho) that might just give it a boost
-- unfortunately, you really want Bull Markets to get the big thugs out,
and that is kind of counter-productive with Bounty.
Fistful of Dollars
The value of this card is going to greatly depend on how your opponents
play. You are effectively playing a mini-Bull Market, but with huge
disadvantage of giving up tempo. You opponent is going to be able to
use that power first -- they have G2 in their hand but only 4 power?
Ka-ching, you've just lost a site. And remember, losing a site is
effectively -1 power generation, so you've negated any gain. Yes, this
card is good if your opponents are using that power to play bad cards, but I
suspect that they are only going to activate it when there is a card in
their hand that you don't want to see.
Mr. Strange writes in:
I think you have seriously under-estimated this card.
In a four player game, this card could give each of your opponents 1 power,
and net you 4. More opponents really makes this card shine. It also really
helps level the playing field, as 1 extra power is decent for a leader, but
REALLY GREAT for someone lagging behind. I know my games are always at their
best when everyone is involved. For both those reasons, I think this card is
a solid 3.0.
I think you just made my point -- this card helps your opponents
more than it helps you! The Ascended excel at both generating extra
power. It seems that most of the combos with this card are from your
opponents, whether it's something simple stealing the power back with a
Kiii-Yaaaah! or going the jank route with Mysterious Stranger et. al...
Here we have another metagame card -- do your opponents regularly play
Sites, Edges or States that turn? Against some decks, like say a
Scrappy Kid + Fusion Rifle deck, the Gunboats will wreck them. Against
other decks, the effect will be not as major. You may also need some
diplomacy of your own as well -- you may find one opponent who is reluctant
to turn a card to stop another opponent as they are afraid of bombardment.
Monkey King is one of my favorite of the hoser cards, because not only can
it be used against your opponent, you can use it in an Ascended/Lotus deck
for defense -- Nerve Gas heading towards the Emperor and no Eunuch to take
the hit? The Monkey King to the rescue. This card is also an
excellent response to the Lotus returning cards such as Destroyer and
Underworld Tracker, and is one of the best over-all hoser cards.
While I don't think this is an awful card, I don't think it's a good card
either. Remember you are pumping out 1c Pledged with your Family
Estates, and this card doesn't do a lot for 1 fighting characters.
And, you have Operation Killdeer, which is redundant. And, the
drawback for Night Moves leaving play is really harsh in comparison to the
benefit, and can cause you to lose a game (and will paint a big target on
The only saving grace of this wanna-be coaster is the chaos value it can
add to a game. Sometime it's just fun to have non-stop attacks until
only one character is left standing. Every so often, someone will
try to make a King of the Fire Pagoda deck with the card, hoping to do
lots of 'plinking' by attacking non-stop. Invariably the deck gets
retired quickly. You can also play it with Bounty, letting all your
Enforcers and Killers collect on assasinations.
One of the great psychological cards of Shadowfist, Paper Trail benefits
you in two ways. The first is by gaining power when an opponent
discards while the second is slowing down an opponent who clogs up their
hand by refusing to discard and give you power. This card is always
a money maker, especially in four player. Opponents not discarding
enough? Try Dirty Tricks, Covert Operation, and if you have the
magic resources, Curtain of Fullness.
Well, I think I'm always going Paper Trail in 4 player, and maybe even 3
player. That leaves dueling, where this is theoretically a good
card, but Ascended are so fast (as dueling is in general) there usually
just isn't space for a long-term pay off card. Hrm, maybe I am
playing this in multiplayer some -- it lets you have more power generation
without having to worry about defending it. I would be vary wary of
putting out multiples -- that would scream Discerning Fire.
Political Corruption only requires 2 Asc resources, which does make it a
little faster/more splashable than Paper Trail.
This is one of those cards that rarely gets played because people either
don't understand it, or don't get where the power in the card lies.
This is a go for the win card -- if played at the appropriate time, it can
open up a site for easy taking by eliminating the possibility for
interception. The trick to the card is not playing it too early, and
thereby slowing down the game as everyone hunkers down. While at
first, Mobility seems seems that it would go well with Political Lock, it
doesn't. You will be forced to sacrifice your characters in
defending other players' sites more often than not. Of course, Year
of the Snake even at one more power, is generally better.
of the Dragon
Soul is one of the 4 Triumvirate Edges that can go into the Molten Heart
deck, but it's innate ability is iffy at best. Yes, burning for
victory isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'd usually rather invest the
one power in playing a character to give me the option of seizing or
burning for power.
This card I just cant quite figure out. It's going to get you back
some good cards (you aren't playing bad cards, are you?), but who knows
how often. You can use it with your foundations, but you might get
some mileage out of Family Estate and cheap Pledged, but it's going to be
hard to really see if this card will do much of anything for you.
Watch out for opponents with Underworld Trackers -- it will surely ruin
your day. Well, we found out this card was totally broken,
basically allowing you to deck all your opponents on about turn six. I
tried playing it once since the errata as just a supplemental card to a
deck, and it' wasn't worth the power.
Enemy of My Enemy
To me, this looks a lot more reliable than Spin Doctoring. As long
as you have power, you can have cards. Also, like with the Chinese
Connection, giving power to an opponent can sometimes be a good thing if
they can use the power to stop an attack or take down another
player. Yes, you do lose a bit on the power scale, but you should
make up for it in tempo -- your opponent has reduced their denial, and you
have drawn two cards. I've tried to make this edge work with
limited success. What you really need is lots of excess power, as
pretty soon, you find that you have filled your hand, and Enemy of My Enemy
is the only way you are going to drop cards. Still, the Ascended do
well at generating power, and this card has some merit.
||Tomb of the Beast
The best use I've seen for Tomb of the Beast is smoking the Queen of the
Ice Pagoda because her controller had no power when Tomb was played.
Since you want your opponent to have no power when you drop this card,
support with Mole Network and Blessed Orchard can't hurt. This card
might see a little more play if Dr. Celeste Carter becomes a threat.
Any doubt that this card is the best non-Feng Shui site in the game? It
lets you pay most of your foundation characters for free, and in the case
of Student of the Shark, you only have to pay 1 power for potentially 3
damage. And to top it off, it lets you play some of the best hitters
in the game (Shinobu Yashida and Adrienne Hart) as well as some really
good utility characters (Philippe Benoit and Oliver Chen) at a reduced
cost. This is must for all but a few specialized dueling decks, and
some of the really heave Lodge decks.
Pretty much useless outside the Manchu deck. At least you can do the
Lodge Politics trick to get it back after it being seized. Notice
that it's way worse than Police Station (other than it generates power),
and the bonus wears off at the end of the turn.
Ahem... Drug Lab? The drawback on Nuke Plant is a lot stiffer than
it seems at first glance. Your deck is going to be filled with
useful sites that turn (like Family Estates) not to mention the gads of
power Feng Shui. And even if you don't play that many, you're gonna
want to take them from your opponents and use them. This card is
going to force you into multiple columns.
Still, a Nuke Plant sitting behind your Temple or in front of your City
Park isn't all that bad.
Just say no to drugs, unless you are the one peddling them. The Dope
Den can ruin someone's game. It allows you to blast through
defenders like nobody's business and can find a home in any Ascended
deck. This card works really well in conjunction with the new
Faceoff cards, but there is a big caveat -- if they seize your Opium Den,
all your Faceoffs are completely hosed, so use with care and stock up on
Lodge Politics (one-per-den minimum). The Den is also a Hood Site
for what it's worth.
Same deal as Biomass Reprocessing Center -- this is an alternative to
Secret Headquarters. I can see throwing the Hub in a deck --
especially if you are like me and are always low on HQs. The ability
is really questionable, but I could see you looking at someone's
hand for 1 power if you were worried about denial and thinking about going
for the win...