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art (c) Mike Trap

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Dragons 

The Dragons are the heroes of our action movie.  They are expendable and die in droves, but they are heroes none-the-less.  Several items solidify the Dragons as a faction and cause them to stand out from the crowd.  The first is their characters -- the Dragons have the best hitters in the game as well as the most to choose from, many of which have a special ability such as Guts or Independent.  The second defining aspect of the Dragons is their resiliency with Events like Golden Comeback and Back For Seconds -- you can never count the Dragon out and with just 2 power, they can become a serious force on the board or their single hitter can explode and take multiple Sites.   The last defining card for the Dragons is Final Brawl -- when someone is playing the Dragons, expect lots of fights and the life expectancy smaller characters is limited.

Foundation Characters    Utility Characters    Hitters
Events    States    Edges    Sites

 
 

 

FOUNDATION CHARACTERS

  Average Joe
With this guy, its more like below-average.  His Toughness:1 makes him the king of intercepting 1 Fighting characters - but, would you rather take sites or kill those small fry?  He does survive one Final Brawl and survive combat with a 3 fighting character, but that's about as much juice as you can squeeze from this card. Even if you are playing Cave Networks, I'd go with Stunt Men in the three-cost foundation slot.
  Dragon Fighter
Four cost is too much for a foundation character, and especially one that is only 4 fighting.  Guts is cool, but you need a higher fighting score to make it worth while.  Save your power for Mad Dog or Big Mack.
  Everyday Hero
At only 2 Fighting, Everyday Hero is way too fragile for his Guts ability to kick in very often.  States are your best hope, but even then it's still hard to get him to do much.  I've tried the Hero in a tank deck, and he still stank.
Friends of the Dragon
While Zheng's students don't have any ability, the are a one-for-one, which makes them nice and speedy, and lets you ramp up for the often resource-intensive Dragon cards.  Friends are about the only playable Dragon foundation character from Standard for constructed decks.  Note:  Official Errata changes this card's designator to Student Supporters, so he triggers a card draw from Dragon Dojo.
  Gonzo Journalist
Unlike the CDCA Scientist, who's card filtering ability is based on cards you play, you have to share factions with your opponents, which makes this card more likely to do its trick in multiplayer.  Note the bummer of having to do the discard first, then drawing, unlike the CDCA who lets you fill up your hand before deciding which cards to discard. 
Hacker
The best foundation character in the game?  I think most would agree.  Not does this guy spice up your deck with a little Tech, he has not one but two cancel abilities.  I know people who add Hackers as the only Dragon cards into their deck just so they can cancel an Inauspicious Reburial or Bite of the Jellyfish.  If you're not playing with at least 3 of these in your Dragon deck, you need to have your head examined.
 

Ranchers
I am a huge fan of 1-cost foundations, and here is the Dragon's third one, and with a much more narrow focus.  Part of what makes Friends and Students yummy is Dragon Dojo, a card I find hard to omit in almost every Dragon deck. You are giving up that minor synergy for an okay ability, but just very conditional.  You can have some great first turns with Ranchers -- turn to attack, get intercepted, drop a Shotgun and grind through for 4 points of damage to a site.  Of course, if you're not careful, someone else will get the easy pickin's.  This is still an okay card, but one mainly for a Gun deck, which tend to be dueling decks.

  Redeemed Gunman
I'm always at a toss up on how many gunmen vs. Friends to play in a deck.  This card is very well-balanced by having an ability along with a drawback.  Of course with the new end of turn rule, there is nothing better than dropping two of these guys to take the Proving Ground your opponent has just revealed.  This card is a staple of the Dra/Jam Monkeywrench deck.  He gains the bonus every times he turns to attack during a turn, so if you can unturn him and attack a turned side again, he becomes a beefy 7 fighting.
  Ring Fighter
Strictly inferior to Stunt Man.  Get this jank our of here!
  Rookies
Every now and then you are going to get a power rebate from this new Dragon foundation, but that's not their best use -- it's using Police Station to pump them up.  You're never really playing them outside a deck with Stations, and I'm not sure that you're still not better off with Hackers anyways.  Also watch out for Discerning Fire -- if everything in your deck matches, it's just too easy to get totally hosed.  Like SWAT Team, the best you are hoping for is first turn Temple, second turn Police Station, Rookies, beat for 4.
Student of the Dragon
These guys are actually pretty cool, and may find their way into lots of Dragon decks as foundation characters.  Independent is just that cool.  They also make a nice combo with Inauspicious Return, giving you that chance of 3 Independent damage out of nowhere (but they aren't as good as Scrappy Kids for this).  Watch for their drawback, especially when someone with Toughness is on the board.
  Stunt Man
His three cost combines with Cave Network to just put him into that middle ground among the Dragon foundation characters with Guts.  Hey, he even gets Independent if you're lucky, and can sneak through an attack when needed.  Stunt Man isn't great, but just makes the cut as an okay foundation for his cost.
 
 

UTILITY CHARACTERS

  Bao Chou
Bao Chou is a long game card, as his Fighting increases as the game goes on.  You are hoping to get at least 7, and most likely more Fighting out of Bao Chou the turn you play him.  Since he can't turn to heal, Chinese Doctors (they are a great cheap character that will make Bao bigger when Smoked) and Sacred Heart Hospital go well this card.  Other cards with similar triggers you may want to consider are Bronze Sentinel and Ancestral Tomb.
Bei Tairong
Can of Whupass anyone?  While the +1 damage ability is gravy, Bei is still better than the 3 cost hand superleaper, Righteous Bro -- what's up with that?  By herself, Bei is of general use, along with other 3 cost uniques like Hiro Asataka and Dirk, but where this card shines is in the Can of Whupass deck, where you wind up with a 3-cost 8 Fighting Superleaper... yikes!  Forget about the Can, I see the tiger-lady played with great frequency.  She really suits the role of mid-range hitter with versatility and punch through.
Bronze Sentinel
There is a fair amount of skill involved with playing Bronze Sentinel optimally.  You usually will want to Toast a site for the ability before playing a site for the turn, which will mean you opponents will know it is coming.  A typical Bronze Sentinel turn is:  Generate 1 power, Toast my only site, play a Site, gain 1 power.  Often you can create a situation for yourself where you have no Sites in play, trying to diffuse yourself as a target, but this can cause some game destabilization.  Also, experienced players will never let your Sentinels live to see another turn if they are at all able.  Still, the Bronze Sentinel is a solid deck archetype worth playing.
 

Cavalry Regiment
This was almost a good card, but it's getting killed by one little thing...  it only works when you play it from your hand.  Another problem is the timing -- often you will want to unturn during an attack (for some healing) and the Regiment wont let you do that.  A straight 3-for-3 Independent is a bit below the curve, and frankly, for your power, Reluctant Hero, Wandering Swordsman, Hiro Asataka and Wu Bin are all more useful.  And you potentially get to do some cool tricks with a couple of those and Is That All You Got?!? which is what you're playing with these mid-sized Dragon characters.

  Capoeira Master
I find it very hard to justify spending 4 power for a (relatively) low fighting character with a defensive only ability.  This guy really stinks, and to get the most use out of him, you can't even attack (no one is going to attack a location with a turned Capoeira Master) with an 8 fighting character.
Chinese Doctor
Solid all around good utility character, I always try to throw one in a deck with Dragons.  His low resource requirements make him available to multi-faction decks without having to worry about being slowed down -- in fact as a 1 cost card, Chinese Doctor can actually speed you up by providing resources.  While Sacred Heart is a much more reliable and less vulnerable healing card, a Doctor or two to back it up will give you more options.  You can also Golden Comeback a Doctor for an emergency heal, although Back for Seconds is cheaper.
  Coffee- Stained Cop
There are two cards that help Coffee-Stained Cop make the cut into a deck, and both of them are Sites.  By himself, the Coffee-Stained Cop is a 3-for-4 with an ability that rarely comes into use.  But, requiring only one Dragon resource makes him a great choice for a Cave Network deck.  The other Site that really helps this card out is Police Station, making the Coffee-Stained Cop a potential 6 Fighting.  UPDATE:  The Karate Cop just outclasses this guy, so send Clint to the coaster bin.
  Consumer on the Brink
Another metagame card -- if your environment has lots of unique and limited sites, this guy can get respectable.  Playing with a few of those sites so that opponents will think twice about seizing them isn't all that bad, either.  Inauspicious Return is another possible way to go.  Note that is almost exclusively a multiplayer card, and will not be nearly as useful in dueling.  In my decks, this is going to compete for the Chinese Doctor/Scrappy Kid slot -- I like a few resource boosting 1-cost utility characters -- I don't know how this guy is going to hold up over time against them. though.
Dirk Wiseley
Time to save the world again -- Dirk does indeed live up to his quote.  Most of the time you are going to want to play with stuff that increases his fighting/damage, whether it be a state like the lowly shotgun or a massive tank -- or an event, of which the Dragons have 3 gooders -- Can of Whupass, Fallen Heroes and Who's the Big Man Now?!?  Don't forget some event protection -- I like Festival Circle, but Ring of Gates and Victory for the Underdog are worth considering, but I'm not big on Got My Mojo Working (even though it allows Dirk 3 attacks).  Dirk breaks the mold of how good a 3-cost character can be, and in the right deck, is on power to T2 and G2.
  Dragon Adept
While Independent is a strong ability, you have to weight it against the card cost, fighting, and other special abilities.  The Dragon Adept's cost and fighting are just not efficient enough to justify the card in a deck unless you have a limited card pool.  Since Silver Fist has never been errata'd to be Unique, 1 more Fighting at just an added resource requirement makes it a much more effective card, not to mention Ting Ting.
  Ex-Commando
Outside of the Gun deck, Ex-Commando can't hold up and there are many other 3 cost Dragon characters that I would choose over it (Stuntman, Serena Ku and Silver Band for example).  But, in the Gun deck, Ex-Commando is the card you want to draw.  He keeps on going and going and going...   The first State you want to get on him is Both Guns Blazing so you can get his Fighting up.  The basic strategy is to hold off playing those Gun and Weapon States until you are attacking and have seen how interceptions are shaping up.  A classic play is to play a gun to unturn the Ex-Commando, then turn him to heal during the attack to hit for full damage.  Of course, if the Ex-Commando wasn't intercepted, you are looking good with a second full-strength attack in the works.
  Gadgeteer
The Hacker and Dirk Wisely's Gambit  gave this card an extra bit of life, providing much easier access tech resources.  Now you have a fair amount of options when including tech in a Dragon deck.  The Gadgeteer gives you a resource, powering up those Orbital Laser Strikes, and gets to grow when you pop Fusion Rifles, Disintegrator Rays and Hover Tanks.  Also a great choice for a Homemade Tank if you're playing Jammers along with your Dragons.
 

Gambler
Here we have another tricky combo card.  Without any added jank, you are going to get, on average, a 3-for-4 who's special ability is lose 2 fighting at then end of the turn.  To get some action out of this card you have two option -- controlling the coin flip with Aztec Pyramid (usually so-so at best) or negating the effect of filling Tails by giving Gambler Toughness (Eagle Mountain or Brick House).  This card does follow good design principles though -- any card with a random element should be underpowered, or it has the potential to turn a game into a coin-flip, replacing strategy with luck.

  Good Ol' Boys
BCL sees the Dragons getting their own Walking Corpses -- well, sort of.  Half of what is really good about Corpses is that they come out second turn.  It's not going to be until mid-game that these guys get to enough fighting to be a real deal.  Late game, you might be able to get a real decent 2c-for-6f, but that puts you in a mono-Dragon deck, and these guys got no useful ability other than getting big.
  Grease Monkey
The Grease Monkey is an odd card -- he does two things, but neither of them terribly well.  First, he's a second rate Chinese Doctor, only able to heal characters in Vehicles.  Secondly, he can give you a break on vehicles, but only as long as he lives.   At only 1 Fighting, Grease Monkey is an easy target, so you are best of using him for his discount the turn you play him (making the Grease Monkey essentially playing a free turned character) and hope to use him again on a later turn to actually get a power advantage.  Since the best Vehicle States are Tanks, you are likely to be playing them and can't combine Grease Monkey with Tank Warfare.  Still, Grease Monkey is ok in a Jammer/ Dragon deck with Homemade Tanks.  Since you can't combine cost reductions, Grease Monkey is not so hot with Motor Pool, which is decent at cranking out 2+ cost vehicles.
  Gus Andropolous
Gus is pushing the curve, which you sort of want in a 2-cost character.  He does require 3 resources, but he gives you 3 fighting.  Historically, this ratio has come with a drawback or no significant ability, but Gus is different.  Independent is solid as we all know, and looking at your opponents' hands can give you the edge you need to pull of a victory.  Gus' third ability is gravy, but people are going to think twice before looking at your hand.  And remember, Gus is going to love Can of Whupass, becoming a 2-cost 7 Fighting monster.  I've had mixed results with Gus -- sure he's good every now and then, but given the current Dragon metagame, saving that 2 power for a Big Bruiser seems like the wiser play.
  Heroic Agents
This is an interesting card, that you can build a deck around (maybe not a good deck, but at least it's something).  The Agents will have the subtle effect of making your opponent's spend power over keeping it (a good thing for you).  Also, since opponents wont want to intercept them, pumping up the Agents damage (guns, can) again is a good thing.  And there's the ultra-cool play of using Is That All You Got? to return them during an opponent's attack to intercept and steal 2 power.   Anyone else think the center character on the card art looks like Portia DiRossi?  I haven't gotten around to building this deck, nor has anyone I know.  Maybe with some Bull Markets to make sure you get power (sort of like the old, bad, Mysterious Stranger deck).
  Hiro Asataka
Hiro is sort of a specialty character along the lines of Serena Ku or Johnny Tso.  He does have the added bonus of being Independent, which almost always comes in useful.  At 3-cost for 4 fighting, you want him to do something when you play him.  He is strongest against the Architects and Jammers, where you have a reasonable shot of being able to control a 4+ cost hitter.  Of course, don't expect Hiro to live long if he does...
 

Hoosegow Jackson
I will start off by saying this is a very innovative card.  Then I will continue by saying I think the leader of the Jackson Gang is problematic. Unless you are playing Hostile Takeover (and why aren't you?) he is a virtually free 4-fighting dude with Guts.  If your opponents are dumb enough to bid against you, he gets even better.  But, if your not playing Hostile Takeover, you have a really narrow window of opportunity for Hoosegow -- you ideally want your opponents to have 1 or less power unless you feel like spending 3 power.  I will have to check the FAQ to see if this guy triggers on a comeback/ITAYG, and if so, bummer, dude.

  Iala Mane' vPAP
The Blind Master still kicks ass.  While he loses a lot of the Golden Comeback kick ass on someone else's turn potential, he still can be a solid threat.  While he is designed to pump up the Dragon weenie deck, he can be surprisingly useful if you have a hitter in play.  Don't overlook that he gives all your Dragons Independent -- that can be incredibly useful, and makes him a decent choice for a Golden Comeback. While he's not someone to really think about in multifaction decks, there are enough mono Dragon decks to make expecting this guy a reasonable bet.
  Isis Fox
This is a card that is screaming to have a deck made around it.  Independent characters like Scrappy Kids and Students of the Dragon are just going to fuel Isis to insane sizes -- well, maybe.  I guess she sort of compares to Shi Ho Kaui in that she starts small and gets a little bigger.  CB Radio also seems like an obvious combo, not to mention that she's the definition of Brick House.  I've played her in a couple of decks, and she is one of those characters that really agitates opponents, who will often gang up to take her down.
  Jack Hades
He should have been named Jank Hades.  There are exactly 2 Vehicle states that are okay with him -- Motorcycle and Stolen Police Car.  And then you are playing too many of them and not enough of Jack.  And he sucks it up without a Vehicle.  You know, there's a reason Festival Circle is a good card, and there are a ton of better (but not insane) Dragon characters that are just better to play.
 

Jackson Gang
The Jackson Five (ABC, easy as 1-2-3!)  is a perfectly fine card, and shows you just how dated Silver Band is.  While I don't like this card as much as I do the Stone Fox, it's got a few things going for it.  Instead of Serena Chase's Stealth, you gain +1 Fighting and lose the restriction of picking a target with 3 sites.  Not much more to say -- great combo with Back for Seconds, you get a rebate on ITAYG, and becomes a monster when the Jackson's Open a Can of Whupass.

  Jane Q. Public
With Jane Q. Public, you are trying to get a free character essentially by hoping that she will be Smoked by an opponent's Event or interceptor.  While this doesn't happen all of the time, if you can get it up to 50% of the time, Jane Q. is effectively a 1-for-2.  But, you don't want to overload on this card, as sharp opponents will just turn their characters to attack Jane Q, not letting you gain any power.  I like Jane Q. in a deck with a light amount of States, which makes her enough of a threat to either take Sites or force my opponents to deal with her and give me 2 power (for example, I like a few in a Kar Fai's Crib/Claws of the Dragon deck).
  Jenny Zheng
At three resources, Jenny is way slow, and 2 Fighting isn't a great combination with Superleap.  She might have potential as a random hitter in a Gun deck, and should actually be fairly effective in the Can of Whupass deck since she becomes a whopping 7 Fighting.  You also want her in the Student deck, where with a Sifu or two she becomes a Superleaping Walking Corpses.  Throwing away a Jenny or two to Fallen Heroes also has some soup.
  Johnny Tso
Everybody loves Johnny, but he usually gets stuck in gun decks (duh).  As a 3 cost character, don't overlook him in your Cave Network deck.  Also, don't overlook his assassinate ability vs. Lotus cards.   Throne War has added a big boost to the Lotus, and Johnny Tso has a bunch of potential new targets, especially the Emperor.  If you can get your hands on some, Johnny loves Elephant Guns, and the new Bag of Guns in 10KB isn't half bad either.
  Karate Cop
This card is mildly interesting and in that mid-range slot battling with cards like Netherworld Vet.  I'm not sure how good he'll be in the long run, but two cards that can combo with are it are Police Station (turning it into a potential 7 damage 3-cost supercop) and Bronze Sentinel to make sure he triggers when you need him to (not to mention Who's the Big Man Now, but stay away from Who Wants Some?!?).  
 

Li Mao (Dragons)
The Accidental Hero gets much better when he graduates to being one of the Seven Masters.  This version is sort of like Isis Fox, but you don't control the growth -- your opponents do.  What makes Isis work are the great 1-cost independent characters the Dragons have.  Li Mao does have the advantage of gaining superleap, but I think your opponents are most likely going to take him down first.  He's okay in the Can of Whupass Deck, where he can be a quick threat (although I like Wu Bin better for that).  As a starting 3-for-3, I really haven't put him into many decks -- our play style is aggressive, and often you don't have the opportunity to wait a few turns for him to get effective (and when you bring him back with ITAYG).

 

Lin
This is another card that I am going to have a real problem with fitting into decks.  Lin is combination of the Chinese Doctor and Yakuza Enforcer, with an additional state blasting ability (i.e. anti-Mentor).  The problem is that the Doctor and Yak do their things better, and there are better ways to protect against Mentor (Waterfall Sanctuary and Stone Dolmens).  This card tries to do too much, none of it as well as other cards.  Lets just say that there are more Lins in my unused card box than there are Chinese Doctors (who I love so much, I have to put in every deck).

  Masked Avenger
The Avenger is an interesting card.  I know I want to play with it, but I never seem to find room for it in a deck.  1 cost (therefore 1 Fighting) resource characters are the general rule around here, so this cards ability would come up, but most likely only when the Avenger intercepting (no one in their right mind is going to intercept this card with a 1 Fighting character).  So, what we wind up with is just another Average Joe (who also likes to intercept 1 Fighting attackers), but with a chance to punch through 4 damage. 
  Master Bowman
What makes this card playable to me is that it only requires one Dragon resource.  You are effectively getting a 3-cost for 5 Fighting.  And the ability is offensive in nature, so it's going to promote attacking if you want to get your money's worth out of it.  This card has a pretty average designator, but it will allow you to draw a card from Dragon Dojo.  I think I saw one deck with these at KublaCon, but it was in passing.  This card hasn't really made a spash.
  Master Mechanic
Having to turn 4 Fighting to use an ability is often quite a drawback, which limited this card's usefulness somewhat.  I don't think he will hold up the way Tank Commander will once Vehicle decks start making the rounds (UPDATE:  Tank Commander didn't seem to be very long lived, either).  Since odds are that you are going to have Tech, I'd strongly consider Tank Warfare over Master Mechanic, unless you really want to recycle your Sports Cars and Speed Boats.  Still, it gives you a way to recycle some of the vehicles you've been pumping out with Motor Pool.
  Maverick Cop
While the Maverick Cop can only get better as they print more Hood cards, so far so few Hood cards see play (outside Hood decks) as too make this cards ability come in to play very infrequent.  Your best hopes are to stop up Students of the Shark and Time Bandits, but if Police Station usually does a better job of killing them outright.
  Maverick Trucker
The Trucker is a card that looks better than it is.  Guts and Toughness:1 are good, but on a 3 fighting character it just doesn't compare to what you can get for 1 more power (not to mention a bunch of decent 3 cost Dragon characters).  The Vehicle discount is deceptive -- it does nothing for 0 cost vehicles (duh), and the 1 cost vehicles are such crap that you usually don't want to be playing them.  That leaves 2+ cost vehicles, which is where the Chop Shop excels, and you don't need the Trucker discount.
  Netherworld Vet
The Vet comes in as a solid mid-range hitter.  In longer multiplayer games, you have a more-than-decent chance of having several Edges in play.  With one Edge in play, the Netherworld Vet becomes a Silver Band with a lighter resource requirement.  This card truly shines with two more Edges, when it becomes a 3-for-6 or more.  I consider the Netherworld Vet a meta-game card -- you need to judge your environment, and if there are lots of edges (and you aren't toasting them with Thunder on Thunder), the Vet is a natch.
  Novice Students
This is a card that you are hoping that will pay itself back over time, giving you a power advantage.  In multiplayer it's hard to pull off since everyone will want these guys to die, but works better in a duel where you can snipe at their foundation characters.  Even though you are hoping for a 4 Fighting for 2 Power, don't mistake these guys for Walking Corpses, who are a beating stick and a half.
  Old Hermit
Old Hermit pays a price for providing three different resources, making his unturn non-character cards even more pricey.  This ability is best used with the powerful sites that require turning like City Square and Kinoshita House.  You can also do a few tricks with Edges -- you can pay a power to steal a power with the Rackets or you can get some extra mileage out of the Blanket of Darkness by using it in two different attacks/interceptions.
  Old Uncle
The Uncle is an okay mid-range character -- his ability doesn't net you anything directly on the board, but if your deck is stacked with lots of low-cost cards that you can dump, you can get some benefit out of him.  You really want to avoid filling up your hand with cards you can't play, and not drawing cards next turn.  His ability doesn't combo with Dirk Wiseley's Gambit though -- by the time you've drawn the cards, it's too late to play a Gambit if you just drew it.
  Peking Opera Troupe
If this card can do it's trick, then you have a 4 Fighting Superleaper for 3 cost.  Getting out two Troupes is fragile, but your opponents will be taking (or at least trying) and controlling your sites.  You can also do some tricky stuff like playing cards into your opponents' structure (like Illusory Bridge and Netherworld Portal) to trigger the Troupe, or even trickier are the 0-cost vehicles (Motorcycle and Stolen Police Car).  Of course, if you want to keep it simple, Turtle Island works just fine.
  Reluctant Hero
This card seems interesting on the surface, but without some sort of backup to get him through, he's not going to trigger as often as you like.  If there's an open target, you can hit it once, then send some resource characters on suicide missions to hope and unturn him, but that's almost like playing 1 power for a Back for Seconds.  Also, he does no good if he's smoked as part of the unsuccessful attack (or gets Killdeered).  Still, 3-for-4 Fighting Independent is a lot better than the old days (remember Dragon Fighter?), and he might see a little play.  This card has proven to be a lot of fun because of the crazy combos.  CB Radio is a great example, and building a deck around Reluctant Hero gives you both the satisfaction of doing tricks and having a chance at winning.
  Righteous One
The Sumo is the king of defense when unturned.  Give him a Motorcycle and he's biking to wherever he's needed.  But, he never seems to do his trick because when he's on the table, opponents either try to kill him or go for targets he can't protect.  Of course the Sumo could be hiding in your Cave Network, just waiting to bust a move when someone attacks you.  I haven't seen a Righteous One deck since Flashpoint came out, but I just know that there's one lurking out there somewhere.
Scrappy Kid
You gotta admit it -- the Kid is cool.  While he is never going to do more than one damage (nor is any character that copies his abilities with rigorous discipline), he is going to get through.  First off, the Scrappy Kid is great at reconnaissance and he can reveal front row Sites with impunity.  The Kid also has two cards that combo well with him -- Dirk Wisely's Gambit (shy of a damage effect, you will gain two power) and Fusion Rifle, which allows the Kid to snipe for extra damage.  See Undead Kids in our deck section for an example of a Scrappy Kid deck.
 

Senioritas
If Silver Band wasn't a coaster before, they sure are now.  At 3-for-5 with only 2 Dra resources needed, this sets the curve.  On top of that you have a moderately interesting ability to crank out some extra damage.  While this is sub-optimal with the old standby Pump-Action Shotgun, it does work okay with some of the new guns, and you can get that extra janky flavor out of Tommy Gun.

  Serena Ku
Serena Ku's ability can put some decks in a world of hurt, while against others you won't get very far.  Some common designators to consider when playing this card are Pledged, Netherworld, Abomination, Demon,  Eunuch, Buro and Monk.  Z-Man has been really emphasizing shared designators, which has given Serena a nice boost -- I find myself playing her more and more often, usually to nasty effect.
  Shamanistic Lieutenant
With the addition of several new demons in Throne War, the Magic Cop may start seeing some more play.  Not only is the Destroyer a returning Demon, now there is the Underworld Tracker that comes back to play triggered off effects like Golden Comeback.  Note that if you attack a Demon with this card, you attack usually winds up being unsuccessful because the Demon will be toasted before dealing combat damage.
  Sifu
Another disappointing card that only goes into 1 deck, and it's probably the worst card in the deck.  99% of the time, you will want to wait for 1 more power to play Iala. But, if you can somehow get up on power and get a couple into play, they do eventually add up.
  Silver Band
Three-for-five, no real useful designator, Cave Network, 'nuff said.
  Street Fighter
This is the type of card that is utter trash in our play environment.  This card is Silver Band spread out over two cards (and Silver Band was never that hot).  It's ability is just too vulnerable -- if they take out either Street Fighter or the card it's boosting, you got nothing.  Not to mention that this card is unplayable if you don't have another character in play (unless you want to target an opponents character to boost) -- hrm... if the targeting is a pre-condition, then you can't even play Street Fighter at all if there are no other characters in play.
  Taggert
Finally we have a beat cop that can deliver beatings.  Along with Isis Fox, Taggert is a Dragon character that you expect to gain in fighting over his lifetime.  But unlike Isis, you have to depend on your opponent to trigger his growth.  The good news is that your opponents are going to be turning sites and playing events with regular frequency, and Taggert is pretty easy to keep turned with his Independent ability.  Who knows, he might be the Dirk Wisely of BCL.
  The Prof
The Prof is great for tricks, and can often get you through for a win, but the effects of this card are duplicated by too many other, cheaper cards.  At 1 power and a surprise, Back for Seconds does as much as The Prof (unless the Golden Gunman is on the board).  A problem with the Prof is that your opponents will often decide that she has to die before seeing another turn.  Also, one of the things you are most often doing when unturning a character is turning them to heal, and both Chinese Doctor and Sacred Heart can usually do that for less cost.
  Ting Ting's Bandits
Kind of cool, and I love hosing my opponents, and that is what discard does.  I think this card needed a little more oomph to be really playable though (such as providing a Chi resource).  I suspect that you are most likely to see it some crazy Hood deck, where you can take advantage of their designator.  It's in my Dragon Hood deck (with Redeemed Gunmen), and that's the time I've played them, and not to great effect.
  Tom Donovan
Here's his final text if you only have a promo:
Unique. Toughness: 1. +1 Fighting for each opponent who has Power.

Not much to say about the Hard-Boiled Detective -- he's decent, especially in 4 player.  He's a prime candidate for Is That All Ya Got? and okay with Can of Whupass.  He can shrink pretty fast, but still, he rates playable, but not a star.  Note that there's some really janky tech using ways to give your opponents power to insure that he stays at 7 fighting (like Bull Market), but use at your own risk!  As I said, he's notably better in 4 player.

  Wandering Hero
Math is hard, and keeping track of this guy's fighting is going to be even harder.  He's going to go up and down fairly often, and you might be overlooking a fighting that he should have every now and then.  In a good case scenario, he's 3-cost for 5-fighitng, and I bet you can find other stuff to fill that gap.  All the 3-cust uniques are generally better, Silver Band is always 5 fighting, and Netherworld Vet is going to be as big if not bigger most of the time.  I've seen a bunch of decent Wandering Hero decks, although they are a huge pain to keep track of.  Invariably, they have Stand Together and Armies of the Monarchs (Netherworld makes a great designator) complicate the matter.  Still an okay card to build a deck around, but not as much fun (or effective) as her cousin, the Reluctant Hero.
  Wandering Swordsman
Looking at this guy, he seems okay.  3-cost for 3 Fighting Independent is a little below the curve --  Add in the fact that these guys can hit for 6 damage and you get a potential threat.  Having one of these guys in your smoked pile makes a nice option for Is That All You Got?  I also seem some good synergy with Rigorous Discipline and some of the new Seven Masters copy cards. 
I've been happy with Wandering Swordsman, and he's got some good threat potential, and did well as a member of the 82 Mooks.
Wu Bin of Turtle Island
This Red Wedding introduces a couple of :Demonic Tutors to Shadowfist, and this is probably the best.  While he doesn't have the best cost-to-fighting ratio, and obvious choice to beef that up is going to be Open a Can of Whupass, which will get him up to 8 Fighting.  Add that to his Independent, and you can get a real threat.  There are a ton of other cards to get, too, especially low cost denial.  To keep Wu Bin in check, his ability only triggers when entering play from your hand, so there's no return to play madness.  Wu Bin has found his way into most of my Dragon decks, and I'm almost never unhappy to draw him (and play him!).
 

Yosef Halevi
This card reminds me a lot of Big Brother Tsien's Big brother. Much like Swift Eagle, there isn't a lot to say other than play Yosef and thug it up.  He does continue the Dragon / Magic sub-theme, which is cool, and if he's in your smoked pile and you have 3 power and an ITAYG, you have 10 points of sweet lovin' at your command when your opponents may not suspect it.

Rating: 3

 
 

HITTERS

  Big Bruiser
Mad Dog's old fighting buddies are a little on the weak side for their 5 power cost.  This falls into the really good in sealed or limited card pool formats, but that's about it.  There are just so many good 4 cost Dragon characters that it's not even funny.
Big Bruiser vNew
Not bad, and it's an infinite improvement over the original, but no has played that one in years.  The new Big Bruiser seems like it's a good character to give to newbies so they can have some beef in their decks, along with some Mentor defense, without having to go for a lot of heavy hitting rares.  And if you haven't figured it out already, this guy loves Final Brawls.  Holy cow!  Talk about a faction-defining card.  Big Bruiser (along with Is that all you got?!?) has become such a staple of Dragon decks it's not funny.  Toughness:2 is surprisingly hard to deal with, and once you can get to the 5 power threshold.  Unless you got zaps, Bruiser is taking a site or smoking a character a turn  I've gotten in too many Big Bruiser standoffs (I have one, as well as an opponent) to keep count of!
  Big Mack
Keep on Truckin'  Big Mack is a Site taking machine if he can survive the swarm of events that will be coming his way.  This guy is as thug-like as you can get, and just loves to fight.  He probably rates at the number three 4-cost Dragon hitter behind T2 and Dr. John.
  Captain Jake Molloy
Here we have a pretty hum-drum Dragon thug.  Guts is always nice, but as I've said many times before, Mobility is often a disadvantage as it will often force you to intercept in situations where you would rather have someone else be the chump.  His discard a card to cancel an Event is very touchy, and is more a gravy-ability than a main power.  You'll soon realize he's no Billy Chow, and his cancel ability is limited and costly.  Overall, he's less interesting that both Mad Dog and Big Mack, and how often do you squeeze them into decks?  Again, I just haven't squeezed him into a deck, as there are so many other Dragons that I'm taken with.
  Concourse Godard
Big, bald and gimpy -- that pretty much sums up this card. I'm just not a fan of Concourse's ability since it
's pretty specific and only triggered by opponent's playing Events.  And it's going to be a real drag when they still pick him off by doing 3 with a Nerve Gas.  About the only advantage he has over existing cards is surviving the bomb, which only means that people are going to throw characters at him when they see the bomb incoming.  I think Charmed Life might be a little better just because you can make the janky Bomb deck with it and laugh at your opponents whenever you draw the combo and have power to spare.  With cards like the Golden Gunman owning event defense, the big Dragon hitters need some ability that you can build a deck around, as opposed to a purely defensive ability that only interacts with opponents.  
  Doctor Shen
I hate to say it, but any 5 cost Dragon who doesn't do something damn nifty (like the old Iala) is a near coaster.  You can blame the Golden Gunman (and now Steven Wu) for that.  If your feelin' the need for a doctor in your deck, Dr. John Haynes and Chinese Doctor are both better choices.  Dragons love to visit Sacred Heart Hospital, and surprisingly often you want your Dragons to die so the can make a Golden Comeback in the next act.
Dr. Amanda Snow
Again with the 4-for-6 Guts?  Well, at least this time the we have an interesting ability to build a deck around and have interesting situations come up in play.  First, we have a gravy-ability in being immune to sites.  But, the real gem is the built in Spirit Pole, without the 0-cost tweak. And, being able to steal the occasional State from an opponents' can just be plain fun.  She's a natural in a Gun deck, as well as a Kar Fai's Crib deck.  I've had reasonable success with her -- 6 Fighting Guts is enough to take weaker sites.  The combo I've been fond of is Ring of Ice from the Monarchs.
Dr. John Haynes
A Dragon with Stealth -- how good is that?  It's very good, especially combined with Toughness:1, Dr. John is getting through on at attack.  Perhaps the biggest drawback to this card is that you have to decide whether to play Dr. John Haynes or Mad Dog McCroun (Heck, why not one of each?)  Don't overlook the Covert Operation aspect of Dr. John -- he will often save you from an Op Killdeer or Nerve Gas because the player holding them doesn't want to lose a key card.
The Golden Gunman
The Gunman is amazing -- he and Ting Ting are locked in an endless rivalry for who is the best character in the game.  This card just shuts down the majority of takeout, leaving Neutron Bomb as one of the few ways to Smoke him outside of combat damage.  The Golden Gunman's biggest drawback is that he's vulnerable to Shadowy Mentor, and all but Ting Ting and the Queen of the Ice Pagoda are vulnerable as well.  His printed drawback of only being able to attack alone isn't much of a hamper, since you just need to remember to attack with him last, taking advantage of his Independent ability if you made a previous unsuccessful attack.  I can't count the times I've seen this guy Golden Comeback'd for the win.
  Iala Mane'
Iala is a house.  He takes sites, and he never knows when to quit.  An 8 Fighting Independent character gives you lots of options when planning your attack.  This card loves a surprise Golden Comeback or Back for Seconds on an opponent's turn to grab an extra site.  See the Players' Guide for some of the funky timing rulings that effect Iala Mane'.
  Jack Donovan
It's hard to say if this card's special ability is an advantage or a drawback.  I think the returning to you hand was supposed to give you the advantage of being able to play him again, but it usually winds up hurting you by denying you a Golden Comeback opportunity later.  Of course 8 Fighting with Guts takes sites, and with The Prof or Back for Seconds, you can often win the turn Jack hits the table.
  Jason X
Like Ze Botelho, Jason X enters play with a big target pained on him.  Still, a 4-for-6 Guts can reliable take revealed Sites, it's often worth putting Jason X over a second Mad Dog in your deck to give you more options.  Since this card's ability takes effect as soon as you play it, Jason X can't be Nerve Gassed in response without your opponent having to pay the extra power.  As a bit of secret tech, you can use Victory For The Underdog to Smoke Jason X if he is Shadowy Mentored.
  Joey Paz
Another victim of the Dragon curse (in any other faction this card would rate better), the Pazinator has a hard time making a cut into a deck.  If you wanted Toughness, just play Mad Dog or Dr. John Hayes, and you don't have to worry about trying to attack so as to trigger Joey Paz's ability.  And if opponents are playing Events during your turn, that is usually a bad thing.
Johnny Badhair
There are three ways to play Johnny Badhair.  The first is a straight up 5-for-7 Guts and not worrying about whether his return to play ability triggers or not.  The second way is to play with lots of States so as to have a greater chance of triggering his ability.  The last way is to play with a bunch of cards that get him into play cheaply (like Surprise Surprise and Mysterious Return) and hope to get Johnny back at the end of the turn.  Most likely, you are actually playing a little bit of all three, which makes Johnny Badhair such an all-around solid choice for a deck.
  John Tower
This card has a problem.  It's called Ting Ting.  You know, I really like the new mechanic of spending damage for power, but this card has such an insane opportunity cost, that it's rarely ever going to come up (especially since opponents trigger the ability -- they just aren't going to Op or Gas John Town when he has 5 damage on him.  So, you're left with a 4c-for-7f Independent, and that's just worse than T2 without any appreciable distinction.
  Kar Fai
No card is worth 7 power (well, except for the Eastern King) -- that alone dooms the Dragon's leader to seeing little play.  Sure he's fun, and his giving all your Dragons +2 Fighting and Guts is good, but if you spent all your power getting Kar Fai out, you usually don't have any other card in play to apply it to.
  Katie Kincaid
Another card that really only fits in one deck -- a Dragon Gun deck.  Without a gun on her, she's a vanilla thug.  But with a Gun, she has a 50% chance to mob up when attacking.  I put her in the Tricia Kwok range -- nice to have one of in the deck, but Ex-Commando is where your bread and butter lie.  I hate games that come down to winning a coin flip as well.
  Little Jim
The great thing about Little Jim is that there is always an opponent in multiplayer that just has to play an Event, and thereby heals him.  While Little Jim is safe from Nerve Gas, your worst nightmare is to have him Shadowy Mentored, followed closely by Imprisoned.  Still, this card is worth considering if you are running Hackers or Dirk's and are in need of another beefy hitter.
  Mad Dog McCroun
Mad Dog's bite is definitely worse than his bark.  Even though this card has been overshadowed by Dragon characters in the expansion, Mad Dog is still a model of card design.  Two abilities that work well together on a reasonable cost to fighting ratio card, offset by a Unique restriction and a moderately high resource condition of three.  Compare this card to Strike Force and you see what I mean.
  Marisol
Since the Dragons have a good number of decent 4-for-6 characters, you need to pick the ones that go well with the other cards in your deck.  A typical Marisol deck will load up on cards like Final Brawl, Booby Trap and Jagged Cliffs to get around the drawback of having to damage your own characters as well.  The Yakuza Enforcer has a similar ability, and is often seen in Marisol's company.  Goddammit -- it's been ruled that Marisol doesn't stop Temple damage -- how lame is that?
  Melissa Aguelera
Another rare character for a theme deck, you can expect to see Melissa Aguelera in a Tactics/Battleground deck.  While you had an iffy selection of cards at best to play with before Throne War, two new cards give a little bit of life to the Melissa deck.  Bandit Hideout is the best Battleground Site to day, and Shi Zi Hui is a decent character with Tactics.  Hanging Coffins and Attack Helicopters are also good cards to give Tactics to trigger Melissa's bonus to Fighting.
  Oscar Balbuena
While Oscar excels at attacking and being able to defend adjacent sites, his ability puts him more in the realm of the other faction's 4-for-7s (Kan Li, Nirmal Yadav, Vladimir Kovalov and Chin Ken) rather than in the 5-for-8 butt-kicking Dragon tradition.  Of course you could make a crazy Red Alert deck with Oscar...
  Redeemed Assassin
Like Tactical Team, the Redeemed Assassin tries to let you capitalize on burning for power.  You should never play this guy as surprise stoppage -- there are much better cards than this at much less than 5 power.  If you do have the power, and there are sites on the board, you should be playing him and attacking.
  Silver Fist
Alas, poor Silver Fist will forever be known as the "Poor man's Ting Ting."  She is still a great deal with a good ability and a decent power to Fighting ratio.  Don't overlook the benefit of Independent characters, especially when combined with cards that let you unturn them.  Silver Fist not being unique might have been misprint, but she's never been given errata for whatever it's worth.
  Silver Jet (Flashpoint)
Since he's a 5-for-8 with no special abilities once he hit's play, you mainly see Silver Jet in Ice Dragon theme decks.  Still, he's a good deal, and since you will be playing with cards like Queen of the Ice Pagoda, you can expect to pop him out for free when your opponents' decide to gang up on you.  Note that Silver Jet has been given errata to make this card Unique.
  Silver Jet (Red Wedding)
See Monarchs.
  Six Bottles Hwang
Hwang is a fun card -- and he will aggravate your opponents to no end.  People just hate discarding random cards, and if they have less than 3 cards in hand, they can't intercept.  For added fun splash Magic resources to zap your opponents with the Curtain of Fullness.  An added bonus is that Hwang only requires two Dragon resources -- he should be model of what cost/resource requirements should be (yes, T2 is ba-roken).
  Spencer's Beauties
The card to compare this to is Zheng Yi Quan.  For 6 power, you get a thug with Guts -- the Beauties are -1 Fighting and don't pump Students, but gain Mobility (iffy) and Independent (good).  I think the Beauties win out but then again, you are only playing Zheng in a Student Deck.  Then again, the Dragons have 2 good foundations that are Students.  I can't see a compelling reason to play any 6 cost Dragon character just because of the ridiculously good 4 and 5 cost ones.  If you are playing the Beauties, make sure you stock up on plenty of Golden Comebacks (and maybe some Back for Seconds, too).
Steven Wu
I'm sure this card is exciting lots of people, but I'm just not one of them.  This card is half Ting Ting and half CHAR, and doesn't do much of anything new.  I still think Ting Ting is better for anti-Mentor, and for 1 less cost you often as much fighting (if not more).  And while not getting damage redirected/reduced is really good, being immune from Events is just that much better, so the Zen Gunman just doesn't quite offer much that the Dragons don't already have.  I'm not saying this card is bad -- in another faction it would really stick out, but in the Dragons, it's very muddled.

Simon Johnston writes in:
Strangely I also find Steven helpful against other Dragons decks, where he is the only 5-drop that kill Big Bruisers. Stupid [Big] Bruisers.
And he says no to Netherflitter as well, nothing better than kicking some stupid little character in a Netherflitter that keeps blocking GG & TT.
Sorry, went a bit off topic there. I don't think Steve gets enough respect.

  Suong Xa
Suong is a very interesting character -- she has 3 abilities, all of varying difficulty to use.  Independent is the easiest -- attack!  The play at -2 cost is sort of a no-brainer, but it's a late game trigger, and playing or seizing a 5th power generating site is fairly rare, and you still have to have 2 power.  The ability that takes skill is giving Suong Guts -- you can wait through interceptors or sneak a Brawl through and maybe hit for 6.  It's also nice to be able to smoke your own Suong Xa (or put some extra damage on her) in response to a Mentor.
 

Swift Eagle
This guy is about as good as he is boring, and he's really boring.  What we have here is pretty much a conditional Gunman-lite -- for 1 less power (and one more resource) you get 7 fighting Independent - that's good.  And you get to cancel events that target him by tossing extra FSS from your hand.  I am sort of at a loss for words as to what to say as Swift Eagle is self-evident.

 

The Seven
Well, what do you get for 7 power these days?  You don't quite get the Eastern King, but you aren't getting stuck with Kar Fai either.  The Seven are going to be either a really good card for you or an over-costed thug -- it will depend on your metagame. Our personal metagame has lots of takeout and not as much waxy character buildup as others, so for us, The Seven is going to be getting through all the denial.  If your game is more dominated by large characters, then this card is just going to be an expensive 8 Fighting.

  The Nemesis
I guess he's okay -- The Ascended have long shown us that Stealth is a strong ability.  And Ting Ting's loyalty has long been proven a key ability for the Dragons.  I don't think I really like David Maxwell mechanic -- yes, it does let you break the 5 power cost over two turns, but that means keeping a 2 fighting character in play that has a decent enough ability to make your opponents think about taking him out.  And you could have just saved the power over 2 turns.  And it's not very useful with the Dragon return a character to play cards.  I think in most situations, Dr. John is going to be a better choice, and he's got a cooler hat.  I have The Nemesis in my 2FT theme deck where he's thugged it up, and I still haven't done the switcheroo.
Ting Ting
Everyone loves the Ting Ray!  Not one, not two, but three special abilities (not counting the extra resources she provides) grace Ting Ting's rules text.  Independent is never something to be sneezed at, especially when there can be a Golden Comeback at any time.  It's very easy to exploit Ting Ting's + Fighting ability by playing Proving Grounds and burning for victory, you can expect this card to be at least an 8 Fighting most of the time.  And finally, no one is going to take your Ting Ting away, which makes this card ideal for taking on the Ascended with their Shadowy Mentor and the Lotus with their Tortured Memories.
  Tricia Kwok
In any other faction besides the Dragons, Tricia Kwok would be significantly better, but as a Dragon, you have a lot of other characters to choose from.  Without a Gun, she is a 4-for-6 thug.  If you drop a Really Big Gun on Tricia, she becomes a 5-cost, 7-Fighting, 9 Damage, Toughness:1 character, which is decent, but you really need that Weapon State.  For that 5 power you could have played Johnny Badhair, Iala Mane', Jack Donovan or The Golden Gunman, all of which are better (not to mention the slew of 4 cost Dragon characters that are better).  Sill, if you want to play Tricia, you can try in a Gun deck, or better yet, a Cop deck with a few Guns.
  Wu Ming Yi
This guy is a beast -- all he is missing is a gas mask to be top notch.  He eats everything.  Since he has Regenerate, he goes amazingly well with Final Brawl -- heck, anything that is 6+ fighting and can attack and has Regenerate is good.  Often you want to eat a resource character first turn to get him up to 7 fighting where he has much more resiliency.  Wu is a character that will draw your opponents' notice.
  Zheng Yi Quan (Standard)
Zheng is big and dumb and takes sites... but... only if your opponents don't mess with him, which, since you're playing Dragons, you have don't have much to say about it.  Sorry Zheng, I'd always go with the Queen of the Ice Pagoda over you.
  Zheng Yi Quan (Shaolin Showdown)
A cost of 6 is what really kills Zheng -- that is just so much to spend on a character that doesn't have any built in protection from Shadowy Mentor or Events.  Zheng is a can of whupass at 10 Fighting with Guts, but he's just too close to Kar Fai to be terribly interesting.  Playing one in a Golden Comeback heavy deck might just work out.  Update:  Zheng is proving to be really good with Student of the Bear and Student of the Shark -- that makes him all that much better when you Mentor
him away from the poor sap that actually paid the power to play him).
 
 

EVENTS

  Array of Stunts
This is a trick card with not much trick to it.  Since you can usually just play a good defensive position, you rarely need Array of Stunts.  What you are hoping to do is to lure your opponent into attacking a weak column, and moving your characters over to intercept efficiently, Smoking their attackers while keeping your interceptors in play.  Unfortunately, this usually requires turning to heal on your next turn, denying you a lot of your offense to follow up on their potential lack of defenders.  Hall of Portals just outclasses this card.
  Ashes of the Fallen
At 3 resources required, Ashes is going to be pretty much relegated to mono Dragon decks, but there are plenty of those to go around.  It's more focused than it's cousin Fighting Spirit, so you get to control what Event you are getting back.  This works especially well for decks with lots of multiples (i.e. 5 Final Brawls).  I think you still want Fighting Spirit in a diverse deck (along with a few Ashes of the Fallen), and maybe also in multi-faction decks, but you usually aren't recycling events as much in that case.  Time has shown that Fighting Spirit is still the high-water mark, and I almost never see Ashes played.
  Assassins in Love
Just in case you are wondering what cards this effects, here's the list (up through 10KB):  Nine Cuts, White Ninja, Buro Assassin, BuroMil Ninja, Philippe Benoit, Sting of the Scorpion, Tooth of the Snake, Redeemed Assassin, Ghost Assassin, Abysmal Spirit, Claw of Fury, Shadow Creeper, Fire Assassin, Fire Martyr, Dr. Celeste Carter, Coil of the Snake, Poison Clan Killers, Senior Ocho and The Mantis..
Back for Seconds
The Dragons just don't know when to quit!  They just keep on going with cards like Back for Seconds.  While this is good when you use it to unturn a thug and attack again, it gets even better when you start doing tricks with it.  One of those tricks is using BFS to heal after you've been intercepted, allowing you to hit a site for you full Fighting Score.  Another trick is with cards that have bonuses until the end of the turn like Bronze Sentinel and Redeemed Gunman.  Independent characters go great with BFS as you never have to worry about unsuccessful attacks.  And don't overlook specialty characters who have abilities that require turning, as you can often get away with using them a second time with this card.
  Booby Trap
This Event plays a lot like Suicide Mission.  You are hoping to Smoke your site, thus making an attack against it unsuccessful.  While this doesn't automatically work, you do have the added potential of damaging some attacking characters as well.  Be prepared to move you characters out of the way unless you have Marisol or Yakuza Enforcers.
  Carnival of Carnage
On the surface, Carnival of Carnage looks better than it is.  The big problem is that you need a board full of smaller characters to get the most use out of it, and that is an unreliable situation.  Final Brawl will almost always be more useful.  Of course, Final Brawl combos well with Carnival of Carnage -- you can play Carnival first, then Brawl, then hope to take out some hitters with the extra Carnival damage.  This card gets better with more players in the game.
  Cliffhanger
I like it.  But then again, I love Surprise Surprise and Unexpected Rescue.  Purely for fun, and random fun at that, if you hit the jackpot, you can get a great cheap win on Cliffhanger.  It's obvious, but you want to load up on Unique characters when playing this, but the Dragons have such a nice range of Uniques of all cost, that shouldn't be a problem.  I've found this is sort of a hand-clogger, but still fun.  I have it in my Fist of Legend deck that has about a billion unique characters.  I think I need to really try it in a Dra/Lot deck with the Destroyer for some extra fun.
  The Crucible
With the addition of Underworld Tracker in Throne War, I am seeing this card as almost a must for the Dragons.  Even if you only Toast one Demon, you've gotten your power's worth out of it.  I also consider playing at least one Crucible a must for dueling, as it also deals with Destroyer and Bloody Hordes (to a lesser extent).
  Damsel in Distress
Possibly the worst faceoff ever?  I don't know about you, but I don't like risking giving my opponent a 3-cost character return when I don's have to.  And if I'm playing the Dragons, I don't have to.  Who wouldn't have rather just seen a reprint of Is That All You Got? over this card?  See previous comments!
Dirk Wisely's Gambit
If you haven't figured it out by now, Dirk Wisely's Gambit is an amazing card.  With the only restriction to play a moderate opportunity cost, after about the 3rd turn you can expect to play the Gambit 80%+ of the time.  In the worst case you are getting free, un-Inauspicious Reburial resources.  At best, you are getting that, plus 2 power to continue fueling your attacks.  Scrappy Kids and Jane Q. Public go well with this Event, insuring you a power gain more often than not.
  Fake Out
This is a card that looks better than it actually is, just because it's so hard to pull off (though you got to love any card with Dirk in the picture).  Scrappy Kid is an obvious combo, but throwing one is a deck to have a little fun is okay, but don't plan on this card winning you the game unless you are extremely lucky.  And it's probably not a card you want to get back with Fighting Spirit.
  Fallen Heroes
This card is very comparable to Can of Whupass, a favorite of mine.  Can usually gets you more fighting, but Heroes gives you the element of surprise.  And turning those extra Hackers into +2 damage isn't that bad, especially after you've dropped a Dirk Wiseley's Gambit to fortify your resources.  Speaking of Hackers, watch out for Hacker wars, as this is an event that toasts.  Fallen Heroes is a nice substitute for all of you that didn't get a stack of Cans.
  Fast as Lightning
You may recognize this as an Event form of the ArcanoSeed.  It's a little more versatile in that, as an event, you can surprise your opponent with it (they see the Spud from a mile away). It's less optimal in that it costs power.  I'm not a real fan of this card -- about 80% of the time Back for Seconds is going to be just as good, and it has non-combat uses and lets you get in multiple attacks.  The Ascended also have this card -- it's called Operation Killdeer, and it works on defense, and it doesn't cost power.
Fighting Spirit
The biggest drawback to Fighting Spirit is that it triggers Hacker since it technically is an Event that Toasts cards other than itself.  Still, this card lets you get back your good Dragon Events likes Golden Comeback and Final Brawl.  I usually like one or two in most Dragon decks, and discard them aggressively if there aren't Events in my Smoked pile that I want back.
Final Brawl
Everyone who plays Shadowfist quickly learns the power of Final Brawl, so I won't go into detail  Characters with Toughness go well with Final Brawl, as do Marisol and Yakuza Enforcer, both of which take no damage when you play this card.
  Final Sacrifice
The problem with Final Sacrifice is that once an opponent suspects it, they can usually get around out.  Say you attack with Johnny Badhair along with a Hacker for the win and your opponent is holding an Imprisoned -- they will most likely intercept (and Smoke) your Hacker before playing the Event, giving you no opportunity to cancel it.  Even though Let's Book! costs more power, it will always save you where as you have to be lucky with Final Sacrifice (which is also cancelled by Hacker).
  Fists of Fury
Yet another janky Dragon event that just doesn't hold up to plain old Back for Seconds.  Of course, if you are a real masochist, you can try this with Fast as Lighting and for 2 power and 2 events you can smoke two characters.  Or you could just splash Architects and play Nerve Gas. 
  Flying Kick
Superleap goes best with large characters, and the Dragons are all about large characters.  Remember to use surprise when playing this, you can often get some important potential interceptors turned, allowing follow up attacks.  Also goes great with The Prof or Back for Seconds, allowing to take advantage of the Superleap twice.  And don't forget to give it back to the Hand when your done.
Golden Comeback
This card is one of the few that can actually challenge Operation Killdeer for best Event in the game.  It takes longer to set up, but excels in power.  Once you've gotten a serious hitter in to play, your opponents will expect to see them over and over because of this card.  Also, since Golden Comeback only needs one resource, it is very splashable and the hitter you are planning on returning doesn't necessarily have to be a Dragon.
  Going Out in Style
While this is a somewhat interesting card, it has the major drawback of Toasting your character.  This can hurt you resource-wise and for a setting up a Golden Comeback later.  Once you've gotten enough resources, you can try using it to keep your Smoked pile trim for a Netherworld Return or In Your Face Again, although Plains of Ash does that rather nicely (and helps Fighting Spirit too).  Did I forget to say Hacker check?
  Got My Mojo Working
Very very iffy.  Since it doesn't stop Imprisoned, Mojo is not as good a card against the Architects as Victory for the Underdog (Imprisoned is so much better than Gas these days).  Yes, it's nifty when you get to stop a Final Brawl (you never stop Discerning Fire because Dragons never share designators and if you build your deck right), and it's super bonus when you get to unturn a character, but 99% of the time, this card is going to sit in your hand, doing nothing, causing you to shake your fists in frustration.
"Is That All You Got?"
Yikes!  I guess Golden Comeback wasn't good enough!  Using this card is going to depend a lot on your deck.  It's a natch for the Whupass deck, but it has it's place in other decks, especially when you are running a lot of mid-range or specialty characters.  Spending 1 power to bring a character is a lot better than spending 2.  This card is similar to Inauspicious Return in power level.  There are a million and one good cards to bring back -- from Dark Traveler to Nine Cuts (which makes "Is that All You Got?" practically a Nerve Gas).  ALERT ALERT ALERT!  This is probably the most defining card that has been published since the original Netherworld expansion! (well, really since Throne War's Inauspicious Return, but you know what I am getting at).  There are so many decks that just cry for this event that it would be impossible to list them all.  ITAYG has breathed life into a million overlooked 3-cost characters.  This card is so prevalent in our play area, that we've taking to anti-recursion measures such as Inauspicious Reburial to deal with it.  The combo-de-jour has been with Big Bruiser vNew -- I'd buy that for a dollar!
  "I Will Avenge You!"
Pay a power to get character after a character you control has been Smoked by an opponent's attacker or Event?  Yikes!  This makes Array of Stunts look good...
 

Just a Scratch
This is another card that is suffering from a flaw that keeps it from being outstanding.  If it triggered on 2 damage instead of 3, you would have a great combo with Final Brawl, but alas that it is not.  JaS is more a card for big sticks than new generation of medium Dragon heroes.  When it comes to healing, I just have too much respect for Chinese Doctor, Back For Seconds and the awesome Sacred Heart Hospital to give it up for Just a Scratch.

  Kar Fai's Last Stand
This is the one new Faceoff in Dark Future, and it's about on par with the rest of them -- that is it's nothing exceptional or worth playing in most decks.  The Dragons do have access to more characters with Toughness, which might make this a little more playable, but frankly, the reward just doesn't turn me on.  In my opinion, Faceoffs still don't have the support cards to make them good enough to play with any regularity.
  Kar Fai's Legacy
This card is is double edged -- yes, it gains you power, but at the cost of getting a really good card in play via Golden Comeback.  The problem is that Legacy is a 3 card combo (the character who gets smoked, Legacy, and the character in your hand you want to play with the power you just gained), where as Comeback only requires two cards.  I'm thinking the best use for Legacy is on the low cost uniques, like Jenny Zheng, who aren't really good candidates for Comeback.  Note that this is the fourth Dragon power event that is going to sit in your hand, waiting for a good opportunity (along with DWG, Now You Made Us Mad and Ki-YAAAAH!).
Kiii-YAAAH!
The potential six power shift of this card makes it something to be feared along the lines of Bite of the Jellyfish.  But, you don't want to overload on Kiii-YAAAH! as your opponents will catch on very quick, and not save power if they have three or more sites.  Your opponents will groan when you fish this (and a Final Brawl) out of your smoked pile with Fighting Spirit.
  Last Outpost
When you compare Last Outpost to the other common Dragon Events in Standard, it winds up being the short stick.  More often than not, you are going to wish you had a Final Brawl.  Then again, with Eagle Mountain, if all your attacking characters can get Toughness:2 when you play Last Outpost, you are almost assured of plowing through some major interception.
  Last Stand
Once again we have a card with a very powerful effect, but a low opportunity cost.  The high resource requirement moves this card to more mid to late (especially if you are playing 2 or more factions).  It's usually not too hard for the Dragons not to have the most Feng Shui sites in play with staples like Bronze Sentinel and Ting Ting.  The other opportunity cost you have to meet is having characters in play -- and you want a bunch with Last Stand. 
  Let's Book!
Let's Book is hoping to save you from Nerve Gas, Imprisoned, Neutron Bomb and Operation Killdeer, at the cost of ending your attack.  While this is only a second rate Confucian Stability, throwing one in a utility slot is not going to hurt you.  Final Sacrifice from Throne Wars is similar, but but harder to play, with the added bonus that you still have a chance at a successful attack.
  Life in the Fast Lane
Best use for this card is keeping your Pabst Blue Ribbon from leaving an unsightly ring on your table.  Trust me on this one -- this card just has bad synergy.  It's minimum of a 3-card combo (a character, a vehicle and this event) that 90% of the time would actually hurt you more than your opponents if you were actually dim enough to play it.  I like blowing things up -- Booby Trap is often an overlooked card that just one of in a deck can be a pleasant surprise.  This card just blows.
 

Liquored Up
Other than its dreadful name, Liquored up functions quite similar to another card in Sixguns, Just a Scratch.  While JaS is a tad more powerful, it's a lot harder to use than the bottle.  Liquored up is going to get you that extra punch when your characters only have a few damage on them, such as after, say, a Final Brawl.  Given a choice of having to play one of these two, I would choose Liquored Up and go with usability over sheer power.

  Mano a Mano
Bleech.... another blas´┐Ż' faceoff.  Sure, you might be able to do some extra damage, but there are similar janky Dragon events (Fast As Lightning and Fists of Fury) that are about on the same power level and never see play.  If the damage was to any character in play (notice that Monkey vs. Robot lets you pick any site) it might be a little better, but it's not, so it ain't.  I rarely if ever see faceoffs, and this doesn't even make it onto the rare list of those seen.
Never Surrender
***Broken Card Alert***
Expect to see this card in every Dragon deck -- it's that good.  It gets to count towards victory (see the RW rulescard) and can generate you power sometimes as well.  This card is very similar to City Park, but with a little extra kick.  I could be wrong, but I think Never Surrender will have a major impact on the game of Shadowfist.  While it hasn't been completely determined yet, this card could potentially be a tournament winner based on tie-breaks (a card in your BFV is 3pts, where sites in play are only 2).  This has to be the most hated card I've seen in a while.  It's all over the hardcore scene, and there are some players who refuse to play this card just because it's so stupidly powerful.  While I think the point of Never Surrender was as a comeback card, it's too abusable as a lose-to-win card.
***End Broken Card Alert***
  Now You've Made Us Mad
This card can usually gain you 1 power, or 2 if you're lucky.  The price of gaining this power is having to hold NYMUM in your hand for possibly several turn, and then you also have to get a decent sized character into play and get it damaged.  Usually you are better off with Dirk Wisely's Gambit to accelerate your power curve.
  Old Hermit's Gambit
You can pretty much expect any non-character card turned by an opponent to be a Site that is trying to mess with your attack.  To take advantage of this, you will either need to be sure that you attack is successful, have Independent characters, or have a turned non-character card that you want to reuse (like Rackets or Proving Grounds).  While this card provides resources, you usually don't need Magic or Chi in your Dragon deck.
  Open a Can of Whupass
A great fun card, Can of Whupass is actually a decent card as well.  Since you can't play it during an attack, your opponent's will always see it coming, but still, a 9 Fighting Silver Band or 11+ Fighting Ting Ting are nothing to be sneezed at.  While this card won't be as reliable as Who's the Big Man Now? for taking Sites, it is offset by not setting you farther back from victory, which gives you more leeway in opening a can.  This is one of the rarest Shadowfist cards, and if you see one for trade I recommend grabbing it up.
  Out for Blood
This card might prove to be of use in dueling, but I'm not sure that you're always going to get it off in a four-player game (where I think you are going to be better off with Dirk Wiseley's Gambit for a little extra power).  Also, Hacker is going to stop this event.  Never seen it played, but I still don't think it's much good.
  Slo Mo Vengeance
Another staple of the Gun deck, Slo Mo Vengeance lets you recycle your Weapon States.  There isn't too much Strategy -- pay your power, replay your guns.  While you can (and should) get back Both Guns Blazing with Slo Mo, you don't get to draw cards with any guns you play on the same character from the same Slo Mo.  There hare been a bunch of new weapons introduced by Z-Man, so this card has lots of new possibilities -- I like the Homemade Grenade myself.
  Storming the Gates of Hell
This is sort of an all or nothing event, with my money riding on nothing as being the most common result.  Sure, can get some extra damage in, but there have been several other similar effects that just haven't proven to be that useful.  And smoking your characters at the end of the attack is really going to deter you from using this with any character that you've invested much power in or have used to set up some combo (or have loaded down with states).  Where this could work is in conjunction with Golden Comeback or Is That All You Got? -- you return the smoked character(s) to play unturned, and administer beats again.  That's a real fickle gambit, but sorta cool.  About the only cool thing I can say for this card is that the name comes from the original heroes of the Secret War, the Silver Dragons of antiquity.
  Surprise, Surprise
This is one of the most fun cards in the game, just because of its incredible randomness.  There is an incredible amount of strategy in what to do with the drawn card, and only experience and an assessment of the play board will be able to guide you.  Generally, you want to play the card if it can gain you some immediate benefit, like an intercepting character that will be Smoked by combat damage.  Cards that you don't plan on playing on your next turn usually go the Toast pile, along with Sites, unless they have an ability you can use for the combat or will trigger a Uniqueness auction.  Most of the time when you hold a card, it will either be a hitter that you are planning to play next turn (and you don't want to have it toasted by playing for free) or an Event that lets you through to take a site.
  That Which Does Not Kill Me...
Usually, giving a character Guts is pretty decent, but this Event has a fairly high opportunity cost.  I find that more often than not, characters are intercepted with just enough fighting to smoke them, so the Guts isn't as likely to get you a site.  Occasionally you can get a good play out of this, but I think 4 times out of 5 you will wish it was a brawl.
  The Golden Gunman's Gambit
Anyone else notice the Dragons slowly ramping up on
?  Sure, you can play this turn 1, but it's not always going to happen.  I'm thinking this is a really solid card that will make it's way into a fair amount of decks.  It's an aggressive card -- attack away, and if you get intercepted, pull out and smack 'em.  While Independent works will with this gambit, it's not needed all of the time.  You can also play this on other players turns, as long as you have an attacking character, so be ready for some tricks!  I still haven't made this deck, but I really feeling the urge.  The Dragons have a zillion Independent heroes, so it's going to be no problem setting up the combo.  Without Independent, this card is a lot like one-shot Tactics with a nice little zap.  Note that the event is the source of the damage is the Gambit itself, so you don't have to worry about Killdeer stopping it.  Note that the working is very specific in that the Gambit doesn't target, so you can play it with the Golden Gunman himself.
  The Prof's Gambit
This card is deceptive in that it's not as good as it looks.  If you're losing, you can sort of turn it into a Nerve Gas if you have a character to attack or intercept with.  This one needs more play time for me to get the most use out of it.  I have noticed that it's slow -- it's not a good way to get early game Tech -- stick with Hackers and Dirk Wisely's Gambits.
  Tough as Nails
Hey, you're always gonna get 1 toughness out of it, and potentially more.  We all know Last Outpost doesn't work too well, and Brick House is slow, but Tough as Nails seems really solid for early game beats, and just maybe, on a lucky flip, a game winning Toughness:3.  No reason not to play this card, especially since it's so dumpable, and can be play to decent effect on your first turn.  It can also save a key character from a Final Brawl in a pinch.  I've been taken with this event.  I've been fond of Brick House, but in dual-faction decks, I've had a hard time with the resources of the aforementioned state.  Tough as Nails solves the resource problem -- sure it doesn't stick around, but, half the time, you get Toughness:2, which almost guarantees a site on a hitter.
Thunder on Thunder
Getting rid of edges is good.  Toasting them is dangerous, as you will have to pass a Hacker check all the way around the board.  Also Thunder on Thunder has a hidden cost of prohibiting you from playing Edges.  But then again, the Dragons have what -- three Edges? 
  "Time to Kick Ass!"
This card can be marginally useful if you have a larger site structure, characters that defend well (say with Toughness) or characters that you want to unturn for a particular reason (Iala Mane, Purist Sorcerer).  Unfortunately, most of the time this card is going to clog up your hand.
  Ting Ting's Gambit
Early in the game, you can play Ting Ting's Gambit just for the resource boost and not have to worry about this card's ability.  Late game, you can try and lure out all of you opponents' stoppage by making an attack that you know they can stop, then play Ting Ting's Gambit and bust out.  Since you are playing Dragons, this can be a little tricky, as opponents will expect Independent characters.
  Victory for the Underdog
In dueling, the Dragons aren't as worried about the Architects because of The Golden Gunman and Golden Comeback.  But in multiplayer, a well timed Victory for the Underdog can change the entire landscape of the game.  You are also more likely to encounter Architect cards multiplayer (duh), so the opportunity cost isn't as great.  And it sure is sweet when you stop that Neutron Bomb.
Wedding Gifts
See Monarchs.
  Who's the Big Man Now?
Playing WTBMN? requires a certain mind-set.  Think of this card as a Glimpse of the Abyss -- you are playing it to burn a Site for power (preferable), or burn for victory, offsetting the penalty while putting an opponent down.  You can take advantage of being behind in Sites by playing cards like Nine Dragon Temple.  A couple of these in a Dragon deck can give you a little oomph and set you up for a comeback.
  Who Wants Some?
Clearly the game designers consider Who Wants Some?'s effect to be very powerful -- powerful enough in fact to warrant both Limited and have it put you one farther back from victory, but not enough to make this Event Toast It (so it is recyclable with Fighting Spirit).  To make this card worth playing, you are going to to have to take a Site, which means you will have to have at least two hitters out and probably more than that, and I just don't see that happening very often.  And since your playing Dragons, you have access to good Independent characters, which makes Who Wants Some even less attractive.
 
 

STATES

  Bag Full of Guns (Standard)
Too bad this effect expires at the end of the turn, or it might just be playable.  As it is, there are better ways to get damage through.  Since this is a Gun State, you can play it for free on Johnny Tso, and that rates some serious style points.
  Bag Full of Guns (10KB)
This card is a lot better than the original Bag, but it still has it's problems.  If you are paying full cost, this card is probably below the power curve.  But, if you are using some form of cost reduction (Kar Fai's Crib, Johnny Tso, Ice Commandos, Slo Mo Vengeance), this card moves to the strong side of the fence.  The Bag is one of those cards that lets you cement a game -- when you are ahead, Bag can give you a soft lock, but when you are behind, it is often a card you don't want to be drawing.
  Baptism of Fire
The timing on this card makes it difficult to play.  You need to drop it on a damaged but not Smoked character.  Even then, 1 power for 2 Fighting is questionable when you have other options like Pump-Action Shotgun and Claws of the Dragon.  Baptism does combo well with Kar Fai's Crib and Now You've Made Us Mad.  Recently I've taken a shine to Real Bad Cat for beefing up characters.
  Big Ass Car
I don't know about you, but I get smacked by my wife every time I use 'big' and 'ass' in the same sentence.  This card is a variant on Training Sequence, and like it, you never want to pay full price for this card.  Motor Pool is only a deal on 2+ cost vehicles, so that leaves you Outlaw Trucker and Kar Fai's Crib.  It's still iffy at best, and if you want the toughness, stick with Brick House instead.
  Borrowed Nuke
This card can be incredibly powerful, but it generally bad (not fun) for the game (in multiplayer that is).  The usual result is taking one player completely out of the game by smoking two of their sites, and maybe some characters as well.  The obligatory combo is, of course, Scrappy Kid, and this card looks like it could become extremely gross with Kar Fai's Crib reducing the cost to 1.  At least you can't play it on your own front row sites and taunt people into attacking -- now that would be too insane.
  Both Guns Blazing
A staple of a Gun deck, Both Guns Blazing isn't worth playing unless you have stocked up on Weapon States.  That said, this card really gives steam to a Gun deck.  With only one resource required, they come out fast, and don't be afraid to dump them on resource characters if you need to draw into more cards.  This is a Gun State, so don't overlook returning it with Slo Mo Vengeance.
  Brick House
She's a what?  Not much to say about this card -- it's got a hefty resource requirement, but free toughness:1 that can stick around is pretty good.  I've gotten it out on turn one -- Friends, failed attack, Ting Tings Gambit, Scrappy Kid, Brick... House...
  "Bring It"
This is a funky combo card, but I don't exactly know what to combo it with.  Bring It is a Reloadable Righteous Protector.  At 1 cost it's sort of okay for a single use some of the time (this is really 2+ cost if you consider the character eating the damage).  You also have that one-use Guts, which could also help out in a pinch (and is a good surpise)  While it's unique, you can Reload Bring It late game when you have surplus power and need to get some damage through.  The card is rare, and only goes in Hand/Dra decks, but I do expect to see it every no and then.  Thanks to Simon Johnston for pointing out that Marisol has been given errata, so you can't do cool tricks with her. 
  Bullwhip
For all it's fancy wording, this State basically grants Stealth to one of your attacking characters (not necessarily the subject, as you cause someone incepting another attacker to cease).  And when you don't need the Stealth, it's got a nice gravy +1 damage.  And it's a weapon, so you got all the cards that combo with weapons.  And it's a
State, so you can chill out in Kar Fai's Crib.  Not a great card, but it has some serious utility potential, and playing one in a deck (especially if you're cribbin) isn't going to hurt you.  It is Limited, so don't go nuts.  I still really haven't done much with this weapon -- my problem is that with the Dragons, their characters have such good abilities that I worry more about keeping (and returning) them in play over enhancing them.
  CB Radio
Bad news sports fans, you are not the only person to think of comboing this with Melissa Agulera.  Good news is that this card looks to have some potential.   This card is going to encourage offense, and you are looking to sneak a site here and there by over-committing, and pulling out after defense.  Extra good with Independent, and look for some goofy combo characters like Shaolin Agent and Plasma Trooper.
  Charmed Life
While not as good as Fortune of the Turtle, Charmed Life is a good response to a Nerve Gas or Neutron Bomb.  There are some lesser played effects like Police State and Roar of the Beast that this card will also stop, along with some of ones introduced in Throne War like Die!!! and The Emperor.  You may also want to consider Let's Book!, which is an Event will a similar effect.  You can do some super-tech and play Charmed Life in response to your own Bomb and live to see the sunrise.
Claw of the Dragon
Claw of the Dragon has two great abilities for only 2 power, and sometimes for no power.  And the abilities go great together -- +2 Fighting and Guts can go the distance and will take Sites for you.  I like this card best in a deck with a good amount of medium hitters and Cave Networks.  Kar Fai's Crib makes Claw of the Dragon a great deal, and don't overlook letting someone Seize or Burn a Site of yours if you can bust out with this card and take it right back.
  Comrades in Arms
Comrades in Arms tries to do two things -- and neither of them very well.  If you share a lot of designators, you can try and play an off-faction character without spending the time (and power) to gain resources, but frankly, there are other cards that are better at this (Kar Fai's Crib and Smiling Heaven Lake).  The second ability is also keyed off of sharing designators, but this time it gives Toughness:1 if you are playing Battleground Sites, but of course Comrades in Arms is so cruddy, that it doesn't even give the Toughness to the character it was played on.  
 

Fastest Gun in the West
Another card that falls sort of flat on it's face.  I am sure that we will agree that 2 power is too much to spend just for Ambush, especially on a State that can be zapped.  So, that leaves you to cards that reduce it's cost like Kar Fai's Crib or Ice Commandos (but not Johnny Tso) or cards that get a specific bonus for having a Gun State on them such as Katie Kincaid (oof, bad combo), Ex-Commando (iffy unless you have more Guns on him already) or Ranchers (wooohoo!).  This is a one-of card you'll put in your Gun deck and wind up discarding most of the time.  Honestly, I think Bag Full of Guns is a much more interesting card in that you can hope to do something more interesting with it than just gain a boldface ability.

  Fist of Legend
Even with the cost reduction of Kar Fai's Crib, this card is still a turkey.  Why would there ever be more than a few Unique Characters in your Smoked pile when you are playing Dragons?  Golden Comeback costs the same amount of power, and gets you hitter back.  Jenny Zheng helps, being a low-cost Unique, but the Dragons still lack -- you can try a multifaction deck with the Lotus who have a lot of unique small characters, but it looks to be unfocused.
 

Four Mountains Fist
I guess a 0-cost state that gives +1 damage is balanced, but I can't see playing it a lot.  If I want Dragon states to beef up my characters, I'm going to be using Kar Fai's Crib to play them at -1 cost, so there is no reason to play Four Mountains Fist.  And for one more resource, I can get Brick House.  That leaves with the crazy non-combat damage ability.  Yeah, it's good, but only in very limited situations.  The deck to build is the CHAR+Four Mountains fist -- I think it works. 
I made a real sold deck around the 4MF/CHAR./Steven Wu combo, and it was astonishingly good.  Jan was able to take this deck, 82 Mooks, all the way at KublaCon.  Outside the combo deck, 4MF has still shown itself to be okay, with the occasional trick, but nothing over the top.

  Heroic Conversion
Usually you only see Heroic Conversion in trick decks which rely on cards like Fox Pass and Flying Sleeves to direct attacks to targets you are willing to loose.  Since the take control effect doesn't take place until the end of the turn, you will find that a savvy opponent will either not attack you, or suicide the character with Heroic Conversion into one of your characters.  Still, this is a 0 cost card, and it can give you a reprieve from attacks for a turn or two if you need to rebuild your board.  And you are playing Kinoshita House, right?
  Mask of the Nemesis
Pretty average in what you expect from a State.  I probably wouldn't play it outside a deck with a couple of Kar Fai's Crib.  And then I don't know how many I'd play (it is unique).  It's got some strong competition from Bullwhip, which isn't as powerful, but at only 1-cost is a lot more versatile.  Also, Running Out of Time might just be useful in more situations.  Also, in your Nemesis theme deck, you don't want to be playing it -- no reason to play States on David Maxwell since he's bouncing to your hand, and The Nemesis himself already has Stealth...  With so many +Fighting states for the Dragons, this isn't making the cut for me.  Yeah, I like Stealth, but I also like Guts, and Claws of the Dragon has that nice freebie clause...
  Mobile HQ
If you got Motor Pool or Kar Fai's Crib in play, this card is a really good deal.  If you don't, it's sort of a wash.  I consider this to be mostly in the new Sword of the Master category for states.  I don't think I like some of the blanket cost reducers -- they virtually force you to overcost new cards to compensate for the possibility that they might be played at reduced cost.   Again, make sure you are packing plenty of Whirlpools, or Waterfall Sanctuary is just going to ruin your day
.
  Ready for Action
I don't care if there is some janky combo with Iala Mane, this card isn't cutting the mustard (even if you play it for only 1 power with Kar Fai's Crib).  Back for Seconds is a card I love but never seem to play enough of, and I'm always going to play it over Ready for Action.  Another advantage of Back for Seconds is unturning an opponent's character to chump intercept.  Again, I haven't seen any deck that makes the card go off (or that even plays it), but you have to remember that we pack so much State-hate in our metagame that Ready For Action has a disadvantage from the get go.
  Real Bad Cat
I'm thinking that this could be one of the stars of BCL.  Forget all that Vehicle garbage, this state is tons better.  The real key is going to be Kar Fai's Crib.  +3 Fighting and Independent for only 1 power is a beating and a half.  This is probably the best of the Swords of the Master -- the ability is useful, and the cost-reduction with the crib makes it amazing.
  Repulsor Beams
Repulsor Beams are often overlooked in favor of more offensive cards, but if you are trying to build a more Site intensive and defensive Dragon deck, it is worth consideration.  You want to use this in combination with a big front row site like Puzzle Garden or Temple of Angry Spirits.  Avoid playing the State on a site you are planning to turn, as using Repulsor Beams turns the site.  And even if your site is seized, you still control the State, so your opponent can't use it against you.  Too bad it doesn't work with Maze of Stairs, and of course CHAR laughs at Repulsor Beams.
  Ring of Silver
Gack... this is a rare?  For the life of me, I can't figure why the card just doesn't give you Guts permanently, leaving the really hard to pull off gravy ability of Back for Seconds as the turn ability.  This goes in the janky Dragon/Monarch Red Wedding theme deck, and not much else.  Yes, you can play it for free with Kar Fai's Crib, but why aren't you playing better stuff like Claws on the Dragon or Real Bad Cat?  Well, I had one in my Red Wedding theme deck for a while, but I can't remember ever playing it (unlike it's cousin, the amazing Ring of Ice).
  Running Out of Time
Not great, but not the worst card ever.  It gives the best cost-fighting boost in the game, and you can play it first turn.  Imagine going second in dueling and smacking for 4 -- not great, but a threat.  I'll admit it, I've won games with Training Sequence, and this seems to be a hands down better version because of the tempo.  And it works great with Guts, which the Dragons have good access to.  And it's a must for a Kar Fai's Crib deck.  I have to say that I've a surprising amount of fun with this card.  Most of the time it winds up on a Student of the Dragon, but occasionally +3 Fighting on a hitter works over a site (and makes you're 3-for-4s a real threat -- great fun on Reverend Payne or the Destroyer).
  Spirit of the Gun
See
Purists.
  Stolen Police Car
Stolen Police Car is pretty much a fun only card, unless that is unless you like winning or losing on a coin flip.  To back it up, Ring of Gates can cancel a failed flip.  Also, you can play it on your opponents' characters if you are playing Marshes to stop them up.  Since this is a "Stolen" Police Car, you don't want to play it in a Cop deck -- especially since it gives an opponent a chance to Discerning Fire on Police, taking out your Vehicle and Station.  The card can be a game winner, but I hate reducing a game to a coin flip.
  Training Sequence
Even though a character can be the subject of more than one Training Sequence, that isn't necessarily a good thing.  Kar Fai's Crib is a must with this card, and sometimes you can trick a seizure of a site if you time it right.  There are just better ways of getting your fighting up, but this is okay if you are playing sealed deck.
  Undercover
This is a good card for taking on that player who loves to play huge defenses up front, while hiding his more powerful sites in the back row.  There isn't much surprise factor with this card, since you have to play it before you declare your attack, but you can still hope to grab that back row Whirlpool that is only protected by a Temple of Angry Spirits.
 
 

EDGES

  The New Heroes
Here we have a real stinker.  The only thing good about this card is the art (it has the three new unique Dragon characters from N2).  Since this card only gives Toughness against combat damage, it doesn't combo with Final Brawl.  Shaolin Showdown gives you two more Unique characters with Toughness:1, too bad Dr. Shen is about as good as Big Bruiser, but Big Mack with the additional Toughness seems pretty good.  Dr. John gets an iffy bonus from The New Heroes -- he usually Steaths by anything that is going to cause him trouble.

Pony Express
I think this card has a lot of potential, and is now the Dragons 4th (and best) playable Edge.  This might be good enough (if you can overlook the dreadful theme) to send those Thunder on Thunders back to the box.  First off, once you get this into play, you are going to want to play a little conservatively, keeping a character in play at all times.  While you can go all out and ramp up the discard (Magic for Curtain, Ascended for Covert Op and Dirty Tricks or even stay in faction for T2s Bandits), this card is still playable without all the extra juice.  For 1 power, you've played an Edge that is either going to gain you a lot of Fighting or seriously retard your opponents' card flow.

We Got the Funk
Superfly Edge?  WTF is that?  I sure looks like someone got way carried away with the bad 70s trip.  The jury is out on this edge, but it's best friend is Ting Ting.  You are almost guaranteed to be able to play her on the turn We Got the Funk unturns.  Note that this card sucks when nabbed by a Cabinet Minister since cards unturn when they change controllers (they get the power, and you get squat).  As far as I know, there are no tricks to get the power twice. 
  Wind Across Heaven
This card can take all of the offense out of a Lotus deck.  And with all the new Lotus cards in Throne War, I expect to see a little more Wind Across Heaven.  The sweetest revenge of all is when they have to play Die!!! and all their characters are Smoke as well (each takes 2 damage when turning for Die!!!).
 
 

SITES

Dragon Dojo
While this card is a main-stay of a Student deck, there are enough Foundation characters to trigger it fairly often in a other decks without having to rely on the more specific Master and Teacher cards.  How good is drawing one card?  Well, iffy at best in my opinion unless you are playing some trick deck like Dra/Asc Student + Bull Market.  Five Body hurts, but House on the Hill is rarely useful, so I've been going Dojo for a resource bump.
  House on the Hill
A smart opponent is going to try and find away around giving you the Toughness bonus from your House on the Hill.  It's not a bad site, but having only 5 Body means that you need to be able to defend it.  If you are trying to do tricks with Toughness and Final Brawl, consider Eagle Mountain since you have more control over the effect.
Kar Fai's Crib
With 7 Body, the Crib makes a decent Site to defend.  It does give you a nice boost in resources, both by providing Dragon and Chi, and by the turn-to-ignore resource condition ability.  Most of the old Dragon States aren't worth playing, but with the Crib, they get a little less stinky.  My favorites include Training Sequence and Claw of the Dragon.  Baptism of Fire also comes out for free, but I find that it is very hard to set up a situation where it's worth playing.  UPDATE:  Three words -- Real Bad Cat.
  Lair of the Nemesis
This card winds up fairly low on my interesting scale.  It's a Secret HQ in disguise, with a half-hearted ability that costs its extra power generation.  Sure, the Dragons play lots of unique characters, but they also like to replay them with Events, which this power gain doesn't help you with.  I don't expect that The Nemesis really spends that much time in his lair.  I think I squeezed this into my Fist of Legend deck, and I know it's in my 2FT theme deck, but has yet to make an appearance.
 

 

 

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