If it weren't for Little Grasshopper, this card would see constant
play. It's still not bad, turning into a Walking Corpses (or more)
late game in the right kind a deck - by that I mean a site heavy deck like
a Senshei Chamber deck or Big China which features lots of Trade
Centers. This card has several useful designators (Monk, Martial
Artist) so it gets affected by a bunch of Hand cards that trigger off of
them. This card pretty much outclasses the Noodle Lady, and I'm
going to miss her cool Quentin Hoover art. It seems Buddhism is
spreading, and their monks can be found in abundance. This is really
what you want in a 2-cost foundation -- it provides a talent resource and it
has an ability useable late game (if you are doing well, which is a nice
This is a great example of modern design -- a card that is good early,
middle and late game. Early game it's a foundation (albeit 2 cost),
and it provides the crucial Chi resource. Mid-game you are hoping to
get 3 Fighting for 2 cost, and late game a free play to shutdown a win.
But, this card has three problems: Golden Candle Society, Little
Grasshopper and Buddhist Monk -- all three of these are probably just a tad
better, but Celestials is still very playable.
The GCS is a pretty standard resource character, who you're almost always
playing to get access to early Chi for a Violet Mediation. As an
added bonus, these guys don't share too many designators, so you are less
likely to get zapped that way. Expect 5 in most Hand decks, and I am
always short of these guys.
||Instrument of the
While the Noodle Lady is a staple of many decks, there are other options
other than the Instrument after filling up with 5 Golden Candles.
Still a solid choice if you need lots of Chi resources (for say something
like Shih Ho Kuai or Healing Earth). This is one of those cards that
you need in your deck, but you usually hate to spend 2 power on. The
exception is when you are taking advantage of the Instrument's designator
Martial Artist for some tricks like Try My Kung Fu.
Say "hello chi." This card is going to change a lot of
stuff. With up to 10 1-cost chi providers, the Hand and all those
heavy chi cards are going to be everywhere. 'nuff said.
Between pumping up Shih Ho Kuai (I've seen him over 15 fighting recently)
and getting discarded by Billy Chow, Little Grasshopper has cemented the
Guiding Hand as the Chi faction.
A fast resource character, often the Fu Student gets to hit for 2 mid
to late game. While he doesn't replace the GCS, you can swap out an
Instrument or two to speed up your deck. Note that this guy shares a
lot of designators with other cards, which can be an advantage, or a
disadvantage -- you have 10 1-cost Students for the Dra/Hand Dojo deck.
This is a very interesting card in what it is trying to accomplish -- free
resources. Since 1 power is generally better than 1 fighting on the
board, you are almost always going to want to use the ability. The
trick is finding a deck that wants Hand but doesn't want Chi -- and that can
be hard. Often this is a Swords deck, where are stuck playing
SwordsGimps as a foundation. This seems bets in a multi-faction deck,
where you are already at a disadvantage at having a high power requirement
to get resources. And before you make the deck, remember that
Inauspicious Return creates zombies that can't be sacrificed, so you wont be
doing tricks with Railroad Workers. And it doesn't work with Rig Dis,
3-cost foundations have to meet the very high bar of being useful both
early and late game, and these guys clear it. Not only do they
provide Chi, but they smack for a serious 6 damage if you are behind (and
even more with Rigorous Discipline. Unlike the Fist of Freedom, this
rebel is good enough to see play both in and outside of the Black Flag
deck. It also works well with all of the Hands non-FS power
generating sites to keep the ability active. DF has only been
available in limited quantities, and I've already ran into my first Rebel
Consumer deck, and it was a good start for a deck archetype.
While this guy doesn't provide Chi, he gives you that important way to get
rid of a Shadowy Mentor if you couldn't Confucian it to begin with.
A classic play is to put this guy on top of your deck with Shield of Pure
Soul. I like one or two in every hand deck.
An interesting addition to the Hand's arsenal, the Righteous Protector is
designed to play damage redirection tricks and foil attacks. At a
whopping 3 power, he's slow, and you don't want to use too many unless you
are relying on Cave Networks or Proving Grounds. Similar to Fox
Pass, you can declare him as an Interceptor, then turn to use his ability
to hose up the attack. Righteous Protector is more of a specialty
character than a Foundation, as his ability is more useful mid-to-late
game. If you are playing him as a resource, he isn't much better
than a Shaolin Monk.
This guy is a run-of-the-mill three-for-three with a so-so ability.
Ok with Caves, but that's about it. Currently two cards trigger his
+1 Damage ability, the Shaolin Master and Shan Tsu.
In theory, this guy can net you 2 power under the right conditions -- but
if those conditions never come up, you pretty much have a bland 1 cost
resource character. I expect to see him the most in a Dragon Dojo
deck where you are drawing cards -- but honestly, the Fu Student is much
better, and if you want to play Chi with any reliability, you are probably
going to have to ditch most of your Shaolin Students for Golden Candle
This is the card that just might make the Swords deck work -- not lift to greatness,
but finally work. The trick is to wait for your second turn, and then
play Shaolin Swordsman with a Butterfly Sword for an early burn. You
are going to need a sharky environment, but I think it might be doable.
And even late game, this combo is still strong enough to pulling of.
I've had a reasonable amount of fun with this guy -- he really is the
2-cost foundation of choice when doing a Hand/State-based deck. My
Solar Sword deck can explode with these guys, getting a quick damage threat
for low power throughout the gamecycle.
Ack! Until they make some more cards that interacts with Soldiers in
a positive way, this card will be a coaster. +1 Damage from the Bad
Colonel doesn't cut it, and you are better off with Fu
Students. UPDATE: Two changes have come down the
pike. First, the designator rules have been changed, allowing Sword
to be split like Gun (so this guy is a Swords and a Man), and secondly,
there have been a bunch of new Swords and Sword characters. But one
thing that hasn't changed is that this guy still sucks -- he doesn't give
you the chi you need, so you never want to draw him.
Joining Big Brother Tsien in the Unique resource character category, the
Wandering Monk is a house of pain. If you are willing to stay even
on the Feng Shui count early game, this monk can do some serious
damage. You can also Rigorous Discipline his ability to smoke an
opponent's character if they are closer to victory -- mmm... .tasty.
While the Black Flag Rebels can get huge real fast, they can go down just
as quick. This card is a five=of in a deck or nothing, as by itself it's a
2-for-2 with a medium resource requirement. Since you really want to
get multiples of this card into play, you want a smaller deck, Into the
Light/Faked Death/Golden Comeback to get them back, as well as Rigorous
Discipline to double up on the ability. While you don't need to
overload on other Rebels or Rabble, you do want to try and get a Cave of a
Thousand Banners into play with your Black Flag Rebels. There have
been a couple of new Rebels in recent sets (Rebel Consumer, Gong Wei, and
Fist of Freedem in the hand, and a bunch of Jammers), this deck is still
I have really come to like the Blue Monk, and consider him to be the best
of his brothers. He's the standard deal as a 3-for-4, but has a
kick-butt ability. At least one character isn't going to intercept
him the turn he enters play, with the possibility of a lot more if you are
running up against a Pledged or Monarch (Netherworld) deck.
I think this will be a sneaky go for the win card, and if your opponents
are smart, they wont leave it in play for very long. Blue Mandarin
and a superleaper is pretty much going to get through any defense.
Of course, Blood of the Valiant will do almost the same thing, and as a
surprise, so maybe this card wont see much play after all.
This is another card that is better in 10KB than in
constructed. Blue Monk is way better at getting to damage
sites, so this card's Toughness will be best as an anti-character
ability. And not having Toughness on defense makes the Bulletproof
Monk pretty wussy. And with two resources required, this guy will
see about as much play as the Green Monk. Go see the movie instead
of playing this turkey.
This is the type of card design I sort of like to see. I'm not sure
if the card is good enough to rate being unique for other than story
reasons, but I like the break from the old model of mostly high cost uniques.
Two things you may have overlooked at first -- Carmen is a Swords
characters, and she provides
Let me know if you get to pull off some amazing Quai Li tech with Carmen
Zhao (and unlike Quai, revealing sites in response to Carmen still gives her
a fighting bonus as she's already in play and her rules text is active).
While she started off in my Swords designator deck, she's migrated into
most Hand decks with any emphasis on Chi. She never gets very big, but
revealing a site (or two) of your own to pump her up makes a huge difference
over having to rely just on your opponents.
If I wanted to look at your hand, I'd play Covert Operation and get rid of
your best card. Even the Arcanowave Researcher is better than this
card -- it costs less, gives you more resources, and has an ability on par
with the Sage. I did make a pretty fun deck with Confucian Sage
recently, combining it with Hexagram Spirits for maximum effect.
Watch out for Resistance Squads of course.
Since it was ruled that the extra cards you draw with the Elderly Monk
don't apply to triggering card effects (i.e. the extra card doesn't get
played for free with Surprise Surprise or get you Johnny Badhair back),
this card has taken its place in the coaster pile.
This card almost makes the cusp -- his problem is that he's an
anti-character card (and small characters at that). You want to be
smacking down foundations and healing, but that doesn't put damage on sites
-- note that he heals after combat. Blue Monk is still the king in the
slot, being able to get through when needed.
This is one cop that knows every donut shop on the beat. If I get
enough of the chubby cop, I'm going to try out the turbo-Cho deck using
Violet Meds, Proving Grounds and hand size increasers to see how fast and
how fat he can come out. How about first turn GCS x 2 + Art of War +
Proving Ground. Second turn Violet Med + Fatty for 7 Fighting (or 6
if I keep a power to back up a Confucian or drop a Whirlpool). I
think the key to this card is speed over size. Dropping a 30
fighting Fatty from a Supercomputer isn't the same as second turn beats.
A 3 cost 6 damage hitter is a real deal, but this version is a lot harder
to pull off than it looks. The Hand lacks in persistent character
removal, but I can see the occasional Wing of the Crane to support the
Fist. I think this card is going to become more of a backup in the
Black Flag Rebel deck, where it's fighting gets pumped, although I'd give
serious consideration to playing Rebel Consumers first.
||Fist of Shadow
This guy is rude -- he attacks for 2, and when you've decided that an Edge
is getting too obnoxious, you can sacrifice him to smoke the Edge and gain
a power. It's almost as if it were a Realpolitik that does 2 damage.
And remember under the timing rules, his ability is active as soon as he's
played, so you can sacrifice him immediately to nuke an Edge -- he can't
get brawled away in response like some many other specialty characters.
Even though they can't heal non-Feng Shui sites, Gardeners are still
useful. They come out quick and can save already damage sites from a
burn, plus they give you a nice Chi resource boost. Like Military
Commandant, this card often forces an opponent to over commit to an attack
to insure taking a site. One of the most devious uses I've seen is
the Undead Gardeners deck, using Inauspicious Return to bring these guys
back three at a time.
Another character that pays a hefty price for having an off-faction
ability (Toughness is in the Dragons' realm), Green Monk rarely sees play
outside of limited environments. Too bad the Green Sensei Chamber
doesn't share it's Orange Cousin's ability to reduce character costs.
I put this into the coaster pile, where it can use it's Toughness to
protect your wood table from embarrassing stains. What were they
thinking with this card? For 3 power you should be getting something
a lot better. Since the effect is localized, it's not going to let
you attack. Still haven't seen anyone do anything with him, and I
still think he's too expensive to do RigDis tricks with.
A very interesting character indeed -- if you take the vow of poverty, the
Impoverished Monk can reap you rewards, but without it, he's nothing more
than another noodle peddler with a shaved head. Requiring two
resources, he's a little slow to give the early game beat down that you'd
really like to achieve with him. To work around that, cards that
work in conjunction with the Impoverished Monk to pump up his damage and
Fighting are the way to go. 18 Bronze Men and Temple of the Shaolin
Dragon give him some size, and Try My Kung Fu makes a poor monk near
invulnerable with Toughness:2. Point Blockage is an obvious combo
since he can use it in conjunction with Superleap.
Jade Dragon Monk
Again, I just find it too expensive to play a 3-for-3 with superleap.
Especially when for 4 or 5 power you have access to such better cards.
Honestly, how often would you play this guy even if he were a resource
character? Come to think if it, I need to submit that -- a 3-for-3
superleap hand/chi foundation -- that just feels about right on the power
curve (which is mostly unplayable for 3-cost foundations).
get a couple of these in a draft at KublaCon, and they were a nice threat in
my deck (because of the superleap, not the cancel), but I still haven't seen
them outside of a limited environment.
More whole-fruit goodness here. Superleap, draw cards, reasonable
resources -- what more do you need? Much like Carmen Zhao, you can
drop Jia in almost every Hand deck and not be disappointed. Like all
cheap evasion characters, they make great subjects for an extra damage state
(like Pump-Action Shotgun). If you want to go extreme combo, Fusion
Rifle is great for drive-bys, and can get rid of a pesky foundation
character that happens to be unturned.
The Troupe has the problem of having to live up to the bar set by the
Ba-roken Monkey. Drawing a couple of cards just doesn't quite make
it. I've played Old Uncle a bunch, and it's a useful ability, but
there are so many other Hand/Chi effects for getting cards, I don't see
the Tigers getting that much play. This picture matches up with Red
Dragon Troupe, and would make a cool print. I've tried a couple
of Acrobat decks, and this card has been just marginal. Maybe in a
true Peacock deck, but I've always had problems with power because playing
all the foundations eats it up.
Well, you really want him in the janky Senshi deck. At least they did his
abilities right -- he still gets big even when they steal your Chambers,
but he only buffs the ones you control. I guess you are hoping for a
3-cost 6+ Fighting thug -- not terribly exciting, but at least he's a
Every time I've tried playing this guy, I've always wished he were
something else -- anything else! Yes, he does let you play your
Butterfly Swords more reliably (and the Swordsman deck can stall on Chi
sometimes) or a surprise Thunder Sword, but he's way too fragile, and
loading up on cards that you can only play while the Blacksmith is in play
is going to lead you to death by clogged hand. Into the Light (and
Spirit Pole) are going to get your swords back into your hand faster and
Like Blue Mandarin, this card provides some utility, but it's very
fragile. One nice thing is that it prevents Whirlpool wars, but it's
still an iffy choice to rely on unless you can protect him. I much
prefer Void Sorcerer, who has more tricks up his sleeve. I've tried
him in a few decks, but so far, I've always wanted a Whirlpool instead,
and usually chuck the Master Gardener.
This is one of the few Swords characters I like. Like Shaolin
Swordsman, the Master gets a decent ability when you actually are able to
play a sword him. And he provides Chi, another thing the sword deck
can find itself lacking. So, when you pull off the obvious combo of
Master Swordsman + Butterfly Swords, you have a 4-for-5 CHAR that does 8
damage -- that feels about right -- even though it's more damage, it's still
not as good as CHAR because of the resources you need and time to set up the
combo (not to mention drawing the cards) -- and, States do tend to get
washed away a fair amount of the time...
Fong's mom isn't a character to build a deck around, but is a support
character instead. She goes okay with larger characters that tend to
soak up damage -- but if she is your only character in play you have a
glorified Shaolin Monk Shih Ho Kuai is about the best to go
with her, as he has the same relatively low cost, and can get big enough
to soak up some damage. Mom can also go as your offense in a Faceoff
deck -- not for the actual Faceoffs, but as a clean up hitter afterwards.
I've found this card just too difficult to use, and tend towards Blue
The Old Master shares a role with the True Son of Heaven -- he can boost
offense while offering some defense, and he can take a site sometimes when
needed. While not a great card, it is playable in fun decks that have
lots of Chi characters that he can pump up.
One Eye Chan
Yow, how about this card for effectively increasing your hand size? Be
prepared to defend One Eye, as your opponents will be gunning for him
big-time. The obvious card-type to choose is Event, but there may be a
rare-occasion when you need to grab a different card type. If it
wasn't obvious, Chan is better late game than early.
||One Hundred Names
While the Names make solid defenders, you should consider playing with
more offensive cards -- for 3 power, I want the option of taking a site as
well as defending. The Wandering Teacher from Throne War looks to be
a possible replacement for this card. Of course, you can turn the
Name's drawback around by using Rigorous Discipline to keep your opponent's
hitters from attacking.
This character pretty much goes in one deck -- the Peacock deck. The
name refers to a deck that tries to splash most (if not all) factions, and
the name comes from the site Peacock Summit. The deck can be unwieldy
because of its larger size, but once it gets rolling, it can have some
steam. So, you are basically hoping that Orange Master is going to be
a big thug, with a maximum fighting of 9, but more reliably 6-7. What
is going really help this character is that you can play it for only 2 power
if there is an Orange Senshei chamber in play. He's another guy that
gets wasted by Larcenous Mist, which along with Temple of the Monkey King
are almost too good not to play. Peacock decks in our circle are
more XYY decks, not decks designed to get out every faction -- those rarely
work, as you really do need more focus, and can't spend all your power on
foundations. The Orange Master really needed Superleap to motivate me
to build the deck.
While Superleap is an awesome ability, for the same 5 power you could be
playing Sun Chen. Even with States, the Orange monk is too fragile
-- one zap and you have several turns worth of card playing gone.
Even at -1 cost from the Orange Senshei chamber, this Monk is going to
lose in the first round of the big kung fu tournament.
While this card is a little better than his green brethren, he's still a
little touchy. Getting back cards is good (it normally costs you a
power per card), and if you get back a couple, this guy has paid himself
off. Of course, not getting back Hand or Chi cards is going to be
very limited. I've become a big fan of Orange Senshei chamber (it's
almost always like a Temple of Celestial Mercy), and it does reduce the
Orange Sage's cost to a more reasonable 2. I'm guessing that in
the right deck (and that deck is a Orange Senshei + Architect deck) that the
Orange Sage can be tweaked ArcanoTechnician -- you don't have to toast a
character, but you're gonna have to settle for getting back Nerve Gasses
Bleah -- a conditional 2-Fighting-for-1 Power with no other abilities
isn't worth the cardboard it's printed on if it's not a resource
character. Notice that these guys aren't cumulative -- +1 Fighting
is all they get regardless of how many peasants in play. I'd much
rather play a Kung Fu Student.
This guy is highly annoying -- don't expect him to live long in
multiplayer. Throwing one or two in a deck can clear up a little
garbage and offer a little bit of fun. Always tasty if you are
playing with a card that lets you sacrifice -- say a Ravenous Devourer.
I expect to see him every now and then -- too bad he doesn't provide Chi,
or he'd be top-notch. You have to make a choice when you have the
Leader in play -- do you use his ability offensively on your turn, or save
him for defense (and thus increasing his chance to stay alive)?
Well, if you know me, I'm using him offensively to grab a resource and
suicide him into some other character.
This is a card I recommend for lucky people -- if you're lucky, you've
just got yourself a hack 6 damage for only 3 power. If you're
unlucky (like me), you got a cruddy 2 damage. I almost never
see this card played,
There are many cards better at revealing (and damaging sites) than Quai
Li. With only 1 Fighting, this card doesn't give enough offense for
use when you can't use the ability. Note that sites tend to get
revealed ASAP to avoid getting hit for 2 by this card, making her really a
2-cost Satellite Surveillance (which costs 0 for a reason).
Well, this guy does share something with CHAR -- both are low-resource
4-for-6s. His ability will really depend on the flexibility you build
into your deck -- with a 40 card tight deck, forget about the Redeemed
Pirate (other than possibly some crazy dueling deck). An 80 card
two-faction deck? Yeah, that's where he belongs. You can get him
out early with the low resources, and late game, you can pitch those extra
resources to heal him.
Since he's a 3-for-4, the Red Monk isn't bad -- but is he good?
While Superleap is an amazing ability, you will find that the Red Monk
rarely gains it, as more often than no, the Red Monk is the card getting
zapped by the targeted Event. You will wan to pack a lot of ways to
counter Events if you are really trying to get this card to do its
trick. Most of the time, you will find that Blue Monk is a more aggressive
Let's get the power stealing ability out of the way -- it's gravy, and
frankly, it's never going to come up. I think you are more likely to
trigger Ice Healer than this guy. So what does that leave us?
A 3c-for-3f superleaper. That usually isn't paying the bills unless
you are planning on some Rigorous Discipline tricks. And even then,
the Hand has so many Superleapers now that you don't have to resort to
tricks like this. Repeat after me -- Blue Monk...
Now I can definitely say this guy is a blast. It's about the closest
thing to Walking Corpses that I've seen in a while. They really can
get very big very fast (my record is +7 for a total of 9 Fighting the turn
I played one). And they work unreasonably well with Rigorous
Discipline. Maybe this guy will be the core of the amazing
Swamp/Motorcycle/Agent deck -- who knows?
This guy is an ugh. He's not the worst ever, but it's just so bland
that I can't see myself wanting to build the Gardener deck just to play a
possible 2-cost for 3 Fighting Superleaper. Yes, he goes with the
Swords theme, but there are other characters that I just want to play over
him (and you get the bonus of not having to worry about your site mix).
For reference, there are currently 7 Garden sites - Stone Garden, Puzzle
Garden, Garden of Bronze, Moebius Garden, Rust Garden, Paradox Garden and
The Twisted Gardens. I made the deck, but it didn't last very long, and
this was never a card that proved to be any threat.
Even if these guys had Superleap as an innate ability, they'd be a
questionable use. 1 Fighting is usually not enough to take a site,
so to get the most bang out of Shaolin Warriors, you need to pump them up
with States or other effects like the True Son of Heaven's ability.
Yes, you can transfer their ability with Rigorous Discipline, but nine
times out of ten you are better off with either playing a straight
Superleaper to Rig Dis or playing with Flying Kick to get the same
Shao the Killer
As you can see, they really tried to make this card not broken (i.e. can't
copy it or play Shadowfist on it). This has the effect of making him
less interesting that Nine Cuts (which is a fine card) in that there is less
you can do with him during deck construction -- put him in, play him, try to
smoke characters and not get attacked. While you could opt for
Safehouse, Iron & Silk is probably going to do a better job of keeping him
alive. One of my personal problems with Shao is that that he has a
huge turtle-factor (no, I don't mean he's like that guy on Entourage) --
with Shao on the table, people are going to be reluctant to attack until
he's been dealt with.
||Shih Ho Kuai
With Shih you are really hoping to get a decent hitter (6+ Fighting) for
the bargain-basement cost of 3 Power. The White Sensei Chamber can
give this card a tremendous boost when played with the other chambers, and
it's not unheard of Shih Ho Kuai getting into the 9+ Fighting range fairly
Healing Earth goes great in a deck with this card, giving you lots of
healing options. And watch out for blanking abilities like Larcenous
Mist, Obsidian Eye and Temple of the Monkey King -- they send Shih to the
smoked pile asap.
Swords of Heaven
Woohoo, more Swords-jank, and with more resource requirements than needed!
Realistically, what's better -- Swords of Heaven, or Shaolin Swordsman?
Remember him? He was the guy from the last set that made a few of the
swords a tad more playable. I'll stick with what I said before --
this guy is not as good as a certain foundation character, and you really
don't want to be playing it.
For Tactics to work, the ability has to be on a character that has a
reasonable chance to take a site (like Melissa Aguelera or Shi Zi
Hui). While The General can give Tactics to a character that can
actually benefit from it, the power cost of 4 is way to high. Go for
the Hanging Coffins if Tactics is an absolute need for your deck.
Ook Ook! The Iron Monkey is one amazing card, and there are people
who've bought the Guiding Hand deck just to get more of this guy for their
constructed decks. A 4-for-5 Superleaper is almost good enough on
his own, but add in the power stealing ability and you have one of the
best characters in the game. Expect to protect your Monkey, as he
will have a bit target painted on him. While the Iron Monkey seems
similar to the Virtuous Hood, there is a subtle difference. the Hood
is an early game card, designed to pound on Sites and engage in combat
while the Monkey is more of a mid to late game card, designed more to
bypass defenses and take Sites. The Iron Monkey really shines in
multiplayer, where you have your choice of players to rob.
This card is one of the feew high cost (3 Power) low Fighting cards that is actually
playable. Not only can he "convince" other characters to
work for you, even when you don't have the power you can mess with attacks
by declaring his ability. The take control effect resolves, then it
immediately ends, returning the character to it's previous
controller. But, since it has changed controllers, it is immediately
removed from attacking or intercepting.
Son of Heaven
Another strange Hand card, the True Son can give quite a boost to offense,
or act as an alternative source of power (but not both). He is
somewhat of a threat card, so the True Son will be singled out as a target
by your opponents if not defended well. This card has the potential
to deal out some explosive damage, especially if you have a few extra resource
characters in play. Remember the True Son's damage pump wont help
you on defense, as it only effects attacking characters.
This Monk is too much of a specialty character to be of use in most decks,
and his Fighting score is a little low for his cost. The best use is
in a deck where you are playing a lot of non-Feng Shui Sites, so you can
take them back quickly with a Violet Monk.
It's hard to decide whether the Wandering Teacher's ability is a drawback
or advantage. This card is right in the league of Silver Band and
the Reconstructed, with a solid 3-to-5 ratio and a hefty resource
requirement. Unfortunately, the only time your opponents will be
paying power to unturn or heal your characters is to stop the win, and
this may make you the fall guy, as they can force you to intercept while
still holding that Nerve Gas in their hand.
While this Monk has a strong ability, it is often confusing to use it to
your best advantage. His Fighting score of 2 means that he can die
very quickly, denying you more than once chance to use his ability.
Bonus points to this card for having a quote from Dirk Wiseley in it's
While you tend to see Xiaoyang Yun in highly specialized decks that
involve multiple factions and Peacock Summits, she can be a surprisingly
strong card in just a two faction deck. The key factions you want to
neutralize are the Architects, the Lotus and the Ascended, with the added
possibility of Dragons for Golden Comeback and Final Brawl. You
should only play Xiaoyang on a turn where you are expecting to take a
Site. Remember that because of the timing rules, your opponents wont
be able to respond with Events as this card effect resolves
immediately. Two variations of a Xiaoyang Yun deck are a defensive,
mostly Hand deck with lots of control cards and an aggressive
Hand/Architect deck that relies on Rhys Engel and Dunwa Saleem to provide
some extra faction resources.
I really like 1-cost non-Foundation with strong abilities and/or talent
provisions. This guy does both. I try to throw a Gardener or
two in most Guiding Hand decks, but this guy is going to give him a lot of
competition. Your opponents are going to have to waste their tempo
taking him out if they have any foundations around. Don't overlook
the recon ability of this card to ping unrevealed sites.
You're probably thinking the Hand doesn't need another big superleaper,
and you're probably right, but this one is actually decent, given you
construct the deck around him. You want lots of chi cards -- Golden
Candle Society is great for stopping Imprisoned, and your Violet
Meditations are going to stop Killdeers and Brawls. Note that his
ability can be used to stop any event, so you can even hose a lot of
alternate power generation. Increased hand size is also nice to go
along with this ability. Another card that needs some play time -- 6
is a lot of power to spend on a character.
If you're following the BCL storyline, this guy is based on Bruce Lee in
Enter the Dragon, facing off against the Nefarious Master Chin, who is
based on Master Han.
Make no mistake, this guy is Not-so-Gooda(tm). On his own, he's 7
Fighting-for-5 power. That's only marginally better than a Hopping
Vampire considering he requires 4 resources. If he stays alive, he
has two abilities that are hard to set up. Having lots of Swordsmen
for him to pump up is always difficult, and that means you have to be
playing with Swordsman who are incredibly bad. Playing with Sword
states to trigger his second ability isn't bad in itself, but giving up
2-3 damage and paying 1 power to essential Op Killdeer is harsh.
Flying Sword Stance is your best bet to trigger him, but of course you
never have the 2 Chi because you are playing crappy Swordsmen...
While a little steep on the resources, Chin Ken is a standard Hand hitter
in our parts, finding a home in almost every hand deck. 90% of the
time his ability does nothing, but just as often as not it can be a
drawback as your opponents get to chose how they intercept.. Chin Ken
seems to be fated always to fight with Prototype X. Also be prepared
for annoying calls of "I feel like Chin Ken (chicken) Tonight"
after the TV add.
The Hand is about the worst faction for the Cop on Vacation's
ability. The Hand likes to build Site structures and play with
defensive Edges. Another problem with the Cop is that he can quickly
lose his Guts if your opponent decides to intercept. So, this guy is
mainly a 4-for-6 thug, and since there aren't any other Hand Cops, you
probably wont be taking advantage of the designator by playing Police
Stations (which are also more cards in play).
Derek just doesn't quite do it for me. Yeah, he's big, and he can
get through or live through some serious Event stoppage, but he's just too
costly. 9 Power is just a little bit too much to pay in one turn in
my play environment, but might work in more turtley places like Finchley.
I'm gonna be dropping Billy Chow from BCL in decks before Derek Han.
||Fong Sai Yuk
A big tasty Superleaper, this card can take almost any site in the
game. I rate him a bit below Sun Chen because the +1 Fighting is
almost never worth the additional power cost, and Fong's designator of
Martial Artist is a little too common.
Sai Yuk (Shaolin Showdown)
We pretty much have the same old Sai Yuk, with the addition of a gravy
ability. He's still real good, and a nice extra addition to a Hand
deck, but still ranks behind Sun Chen and the Iron Monkey.
Outside the Rebel deck, Gong Wei is a useless thug. Inside the
deck, he's letting you get a soft-lock, if you're really really lucky. You are hoping to sacrifice
your 1-cost Rebel trash to get back all your Confucians, Robusts, Iron and
Silks, etc. Probably the best is to get back your Rig Dis so you can
go turbo. This card will need to see some play to time see if he
just winds up being worth playing, or if you find that you'd rather draw
Wind of the Mountain over him.
This guy is a true master of the Confucian Principles. While he's
not quite the Golden Gunman, he does usually hit for a goodly amount, and
if you have the power, he is protected against 1 targeted Event per
turn. This guy ranks as one of the Hands best hitters, along with
Iron Monkey, Leung Mui and Sun Chen. He even blows through most
resource characters, making up for any damage he takes with his + damage
Well, the Hand got CHAR last set, now they get a non-independent Golden
Ting. He's pricey, one less fighting that you'd like, but has a few
oddities. Notice that he's not effected by Events, period. No
brawl damage, no Neutron Bomb. In fact, they make okay combos with
him. While he's also not effected by your own Events while in play,
there is the killer Mysterious Return combo where you get to Comeback him
for only 1 power -- when it's time to put Kwan back in the smoked pile, the
Event doesn't see him, so it fizzles (as do Surprise Surprise and Unexpected
Rescue). And he's not a legal subject for
States? Yeesh. I've had my fun with Kwan -- he's not the
punch-through that some of the big superleapers are, but he's still
respectable, especially if you're in a characters stealing/high event denial
Another entry in the 4-for-7 Unique character category, Leung Mui kicks
butt. Being independent alone makes her worth playing, and the fact
that you might be able to get a few licks in with some resource characters
is just gravy. While Leung Mui goes with the Black Flag Rebels in
the storyline, you need to be careful in playing them in the same deck as
it is some serious Discerning Fire bait.
Well, for 5 power you really want Sun Chen or Hung Hei Kwon, but this guy
ain't the worst kid on the block. He lets you stock up on
situational cards or cards that you don't want multiples of and lets you
burn through them -- drew your second Shield of Pure Soul? Not a
problem for Li Sen-Hao. His respectable 8 Fighting puts him on the
cusp of being playable, but only in a deck where you expect to draw at
least some Chi cards.
Lui Yu Min
I guess this card is okay, but it just doesn't leap out at me. A
5-cost for 8 Fighting CHAR is not bad, but usually the Guiding Hand relies
on other tricks. Speaking of tricks, you are going to need to
play with your site mix in order to trigger Lui Yu Min's Superleap.
You really can't count on people burning for victory (at least in our
group), so you might want to consider a Turtle Island or two (sort of think
of how you would use them in conjunction with Gorilla Fighter). Also,
since Lui triggers off of any seized site, Bandit Hideout is a nice low-risk
site that wont come back to bite you if seized by an opponent.
gotten him out a few times, and he's a solid hitter, living the thug's life.
Master Hao can be a beating stick, especially if you can drop a tasty
little damage state on him. Be prepared to put up some defense, as
he has a big target painted on his head. Note that he has the hefty
4 resource requirement, making him much more balanced than the Broken
Monkey. His ability is a little like Ambush if you think about it.
The jury is still out on Wu, who is really master of the Yellow
principal. Yellow Senshei chamber rocks, but Yellow Monk is hard to
use. I think Wu will be somewhere in the middle. Notice that
his ability triggers every time (the other are only single use) and he can
redirect any type of damage. This is not the card for those who can't work
out complex damage in their head before attacks, or who are not wizards at
the complex redirection rules. Still, at 5-cost you are almost
always going to want Sun Chen or Hung Hei Kwon.
The Perfect Master is below average at best Superleaper with a one-to-one fighting
to power cost ratio, but it's always hard to find a place for him in a
deck. To get the most out of his ability, you have to have a fair
amount of characters on the board, which leaves you vulnerable to a
Neutron Bomb. Also, since many Hand characters already have some
sort of evasion ability, giving them Superleap can be of limited use.
Cough... cough... Iron Monkey... cough cough. Your opponent's are
always going to make sure this guy has a little damage on him. At
least the timing rules are in your favor -- even though the Red Master will
lose Superleap if he has to speedbump a foundation character, at least it
will usually be too late to declare any turned characters as interceptors.
And healing a Red Master after interceptions have been declared will make
him magically jump over any turned characters. Good think the Guiding
Hand excels at healing. The conditional Superleap works every now
and then, but a Chinese Connection or Healing Earth will give you a lot more
confidence in the Red Master's kung fu.
One of the best of the uncommon hitters in Standard, the Shaolin Master is
to be feared in limited environments. Outside of that, he's a pretty
vanilla thug, and there is no real reason to play him, even if he does let
your Shaolin Monks do extra damage.
One of the Hand's avagere hitters, Shan Tsu sees occaisional play. Since
he requires only two Hand resources, he can come out fairly quickly and
you don't have to worry about it much in a multi-faction deck. Shan
Tsu has a very aggressive ability, but don't expect him to be intercepted
much by characters with less than two resource conditions -- his real
ability is to get through to the target of his attack.
Probably the Hands best big Hitter, Sun Chen just loves to take sites, and is
a very reasonable 5 power. Extra love goes to Sun Chen for unusual
designator of Legendary Archer -- a very hard match for Discerning Fire.
He has only been eclipsed by the Iron Monkey as the Hand's most feared
Expect your opponents to love intercepting this guy -- all their
foundations, and maybe even a few other characters will always try to pile
on. He's a little bet better of wall than 100 Names, but that isn't
saying much. Not being a target for Shadowy Mentor makes this guy
worth at least playing around with to see how he does. You may want a
few unburnable sites or Battleground Sites so as to stretch out your opponents' structure to
lessen the chance of interceptors. Also, you may be able to get the
power rebate yourself with a little Rigorous Discipline.
some fun with the Sword Saint -- he's nowhere near being over the (or
anywhere close) to the top, he's fun, especially if you can pull off the
RigDis trick. And he's great at playing ping-pong with Bandit
Hideouts. He stands clearly above his evil brother the tree-demon Shun
The Silent Cowboy
While I love Blood of the Valiant, this card's built in version doesn't turn
me on. If you don't have a power to spare, The Silent Cowboy is a
4-for-6 with no ability. If you do have a power, yes, it's like having
a Blood in your hand, and the odds are that you're going to get through most
characters (though I suspect that most opponents would be willing to
intercept with something as beefy as Big Bruiser). When it comes to
this slot, I am much more a fan of Virtuous Hood, Master Han, and the 800 lb
gorilla in the room, Iron Monkey.
The Guiding Hand got a number of relatively high Fighting thugs this
set -- Tong Su fits right in with the rest of them. You have to have
at least 4 cards in your hands to get him the equivalent of a Shaolin
Master -- and generally an 8 Fighting-for-5 Power isn't good enough of a
deal to make it a game winner. To really make this guy worth
playing, you want around a reliable 10 Fighting -- which means you will
have to keep 6 cards in hand most of the time, which means playing with
cards that increase hand size. The Guiding Hand have Temple of
Boundless Meditation, Dragon
Boat Festival and Orange Senshei. I am a big fan of the Orange
Chamber -- I often play it even in mono-hand decks for the +1 hand size
and as a power generating site. The Temple can get you a few cards,
but you are playing it for itself -- Tong is more a combo with it than it
is a combo with Tong. Dragon Boat is a bit more iffy since
it gives the same bonus to your opponents (unless you are doing something
goofy like turning it or canceling it during your main shot). The
same goes for Art of War. Sunless Sea Ruins is very hard to play
with, but their may be something interesting that someone figures out that
fits right into the Hand's ultimate goals.
Remember at some point fighting doesn't matter. I
would guess it's about 11-14 depending on the board situation. A 12
Fighting Tong is mostly likely as good as a 24 Fighting Tong, so don't go
overboard. The bottom line -- if you
have a control-based deck that wants a large hand size (or are playing a
Peacock Deck), Tong Su Yi makes a nice backup hitter, but he's not going
to replace Sun Chen or Hung Hei Kwon.
Another thug the Hand doesn't need. He's a below average 7
Fighting-for-5 power if you don't have a State on him, and when you do
have a State, he pretty much is the equivalent of a character with
Stealth. Sun Chen blows this guy out of the water. And you
know this guy is going to be the victim of a Shadowy Mentor, so you
opponent will have Jin doing his trick while you cry over your lost
Rob from the rich, give to the poor. That's the Virtuous Hoods
motto. And since you can almost always make yourself poor, you can
expect to reap the rewards. Virtuous Hood is essentially a 2-for-6
if you get one attack through -- you paid 4 power, but you get to subtract
both the power you gained and the power your opponent lost. If you
get a second attack through, this is a free card. The Hood has been
getting some stiff competition from the Iron Monkey as of late, but he
still has his place, and is generally a little better in dueling than the
Monkey, and you can get multiples out since he's non-Unique.
The Master of the Fox Style is another mediocre addition to the Hand's
arsenal. He's got a respectable Fighting for his cost, but his
ability only works against specialty decks. He's basically Kan Li's older and
better brother. The Hand has been spoiled by Leung Mui, Iron Monkey
and Virtuous Hood in the 4-cost range.
||Wong Fei Hong
Big, dumb, only marginally better than his Dragon counterpart Zheng Yi
Quan because you have access to Confucian Stability to protect Wong from
||Wong Fei Hong
(Year of the Dragon)
While he's better, Wong is a bit iffy as a hitter. You still have to
cough up 6 power to get him into play, and you really need to have a
Fortune of the Turtle in your hand to make Wong Fei Hong worth
playing. Shadowfist and Contract of the Fox are also good Chi States
to play with this card -- you really don't need ones that increase Fighting
and should concentrate on control
The Hand has been missing a 6 Fighting-for-4 cost Superleaper for a long
time. Too bad this guy had to come out after the Iron Monkey, who
has raised the bar insanely high. Mixing in Ascended or just ganking
a Family Estate makes Yen Fan even sweeter -- you can reduce his cost to
an insanely low 3. The ability to block Stealth attacker wont come
into play much, but it's still nothing to knock (and I think it's better
than his brother's ability to block Superleapers).
Compared to all the sub-par Hand hitters we saw in Shaolin Showdown, this
guy looks to be broken! Seriously, this card has some potential if
you can keep the site he targets in play (and under your control).
Since he can heal sites, you just might be able to do that. And
keeping him alive isn't all that hard for the Hand, who excel in
defense. It might be fun to save him from some nasty event (say
a Neutron Bomb) by hitting him with Wing of the Crane -- not only does he
come back, but he gets to pump another site's power generation.
Also, there is almost no one better to make a Mysterious Return than Yung
This is the best of the Faceoffs, potentially gaining you the most
advantage. You really want this when playing against the Architects,
as that Nerve Gas or Neutron Bomb is gonna be a package of smackage.
See the strategy section on Faceoffs.
Heal target character or site -- it don't get much simpler than
that. To get the most out of Beneficial Realignment, you want big
characters and high Body sites. Of course, Temple of Angry Spirits
and Puzzle Garden are very annoying when healed.
of the Valiant
In combination with a hitter, Blood of the Valiant is going to take Sites
(and Smoke some of those annoying interceptors on the way). How many
you play really depends on what character mix you are playing. If
you've loaded up on hard to intercept characters like Shan Tsu and Sun
Chen, Blood of the Valiant wont gain you a great benefit, but in a deck
where you are going to administer beats with Chin Ken and Wong Fei Hong,
this is an amazing card.
Breath of the Dragon
This is a card that I wish only cost
at least this set felt like it got a Seven Masters card. This is a
potentially strong punch through card like Blood of the Valiant, but pretty
much late game (although it lets you get site-taking damage with a 3-cost
character). I'm torn between Breath and Deadly Hands -- both are very
similar, but have different pros and cons. You also have to contend with
solid cards like Butterfly Swords. Ultimately, this falls into another
one of the hands many weapons, that will probably get passed over because of
the high resource requirement in other than very specialized decks.
Still in the passed-over category for now, but someday it might see some (if
just very little) light.
A must in every Hand deck, it's hard not to want to play more than five of
this card. Good timing of Events is one of the master strategies to
Shadowfist, and you usually want to get your opponent to overextend before
playing your Event. Of course, you usually wind up overextending to
get into that position, and one Confucian Stability can make your entire
plan collapse, which is why you want to be playing this card on your
||Difficulty at the
This card can either clog up your hand all day, or it can totally hose
your opponent by having them waste power on Sites and Characters, only to
have them Toasted. A deck based around Difficulty at the Beginning
usually doesn't work well because once your opponent catches on, they will
play more conservatively, saving power just in case for this Event, but it
still can stall an opponent enough to eak out a win. Consider this a
dueling only card.
This is one the most general of the Faceoffs -- it works decently for
Bushwhacks and for trying to generate a little offense on your turn.
See the strategy section on Faceoffs.
Eight Pillars of Heaven
Urgh... Yes, this is going to win a game for you every now and then,
but it's just so narrow that it's going to be discarded 99% of the time (or
lethally clog your hand). I guess it's trying to promote a Hand-weenie
deck, but we all know that the Hand usually wins by getting a big
Superleaper through. As much as I've tried to make GeoScan Report
work, it just never does, and I think this card will have the same result.
Yes, it's better than GeoScan, but it's more expensive, and the
pre-conditions (have 2+ attackers/defenders with the same designator) is too
restrictive. Compare this with Evil Chanting.
This card has
the best good art to uselessness ratio in the game I think -- too bad we
never get to see that cool art.
At first glance, Festival of Giants looks like a 0-cost Confucian for Final
Brawl -- it's that and a whole lot more. As a defensive card, it
lets you play with specialty characters and not worry as much about
defending them -- a Claw of Fury trying to assassinate your Tranquil
Persuader or Gardener? Festival of Giants shuts that right
down. On offense, Festival of Giants can act as a Blood of the
Valiant if you are attacking with the bigger characters -- your Chin Ken
will get through those two resource characters intercepting him and get
through for some serious damage. While I know Iron and Silk is a
staple, I find it hard to choose it over Festival of Giants, which just
has so many uses.
Not only is this Event a come-from-behind card, you can include Proving
Grounds in a deck designed to exploit it. Don't hold back on this
card, hoping to gain more power from a subsequent attack unless dueling
and they have a high cost character on the board -- cycling your cards in
In general, most Faceoffs aren't that good, and going with the concept of a
Faceoff deck is a one-way ticket to loserville, population you. This
is in the top tier of Faceoffs (that's not saying much) simply by the fact
that is can bring you closer to victory. The timing is someone tricky
-- you don't want to do it too early as it counts against Violet Meditation,
and it also limits the number of FSS you can play. This Faceoff really
wants to be used as a bushwhack -- play it at the end of the turn of the
player to your right when you are at play and take (two sites from victory).
If you win High Noon, you should be at Take (one site from victory) at the
cost of only 1 power and a point or two of damage -- this can be explosive
in that it nets you two extra power over having to play a 4th site (which
costs 3 power)
||Into the Light
Spend a power, get the best card in your Smoked pile back. Mmm Mmm....
good Malt-O-Meal! You can even recycle you Into the Light's with
Wind of the Mountain for the ultimate in recursion craziness.
||Iron and Silk
As long as you can keep two characters in play, this card can shut down an
attacker. I saw two because a wily opponent, expecting Iron and
Silk, will first target your lone character with an attack, not allowing
you an interceptor to play this Event on. While this is a popular
card, I think more people should be looking at Festival of Giants.
of the Wind
This is a limited use multi-character Back For Seconds. While not
nearly as useful, it can unturn a lot of characters at once. I will
often play one Laughter in a large, more defensive Hand deck as a
surprise. Most of the time it will be discarded, but occasionally it
will let me double my offense and grab up two Sites for a win.
Mysterious Return is an overlooked Nerve Gas. Both are Events that
cost 1 power that can Smoke a character. Mysterious Return just
suffers from a higher opportunity cost -- the character has to be
attacking you and you have to have a big enough character in your Smoked
pile to take them out. Extra kudos for playing Mysterious Return on
Yang Chung, The Prof or Johnny Badhair.
For one power you get to smack (cancel and Smoke that is) a Tech
card. How good this is will depend on your play environment.
Confucian Stability usually does better at stopping Events and States, but
is is nice to Smoke those CHARs and oddball Tech characters and edges.
||Onslaught of the Turtle
While this card is generally not as good as Banish (which has a similar
type of effect), it can come in handy. This is a call based on your
play environment. Returning a CHAR is a good deal, and getting a few
resource characters and maybe an Arcanowave Reinforcer puts this into the
definitely worth playing category.
Orange Mediation is an attempt to address two weak cards card areas in the
game, and doesn't do well with either. The first is the general
weakness of States. Rarely do they give enough benefit to be worth
the cost in power and in drawing them, and the addition have having to
draw and hold this Event doesn't address the problem. Orange Meditation
is also an attempt to boost the lowly Orange Monk. Playing one or
two in an Orange deck isn't going to overly hurt you, especially with the
two decent Chi States that are in Throne Wars.
out of Chaos
Can anyone say free Hacker? Especially against the Hand, where you
are not expecting the nasty Toast or Power stealing events. This
falls into the realm of Cyclone of Knives and maybe Far-seeing Rice Grains
-- a fun card, but risky. This card also has odd resource
requirements -- you can meet them anywhere from early game with two Golden
Candles, or get stuck with it until mid-game if you are playing only
Peasant Uprising usually does one of two things -- it either gets you an
early Site, or it will sit in your hand. Playing Peasant Uprising
also depends on your playgroups preferences -- do they play Sinister
Priests, or do they play Hopping Vampires?
This is an often overlooked win denial card. Play this Event, and
usually there will be enough character based stoppage on the board to have
an attack fall flat on its face. Of course, if you're extra sneaky,
you can be fetching a Shadowy Mentor with Positive Chi, to get ahead on
the power swing.
||Progress of the
The timing on this card makes it very difficult to play correctly.
Usually, you will have to wait for your opponent to do something, which
generally means they will get out at least one character or one
site. If you have a few power to burn, you can try to slow down your
opponent with the psychological effect of this card -- they will just hate
giving you any power and are likely to end their turn without playing more
Shaolin vs. Wudang
This is the mother of all Face Offs. And seeing how difficult it is
to often pull off a single one-on-one Face Off, I just can't see the epic
battle that Shaolin vs. Wudang pretends to be. I guess it's a way to
make playing 2-cost foundations playable, but it's seriously tough to pull
off to great effect. It's really rare to see any faceoffs in our
part of the woods, yet alone one that's pretty hard to set up. Gotta
rate this one a no show.
Here we have some borderline jank. Note the Main Shot restriction on
Secrets of Shaolin -- this means you wont be stopping the most commonly
encountered 0-cost events, the alternate power generation trio (Pocket
Demon, Violet Meditation and Scrounging). Confucian Stability is
still going to be your main Event control card. Playing Secrets of
Shaolin is a metagame decision -- if a couple of your opponents are prone
to playing a lot of 0-cost events, then supplementing your deck with one
or two of these is worth trying out. Red Wedding also has some new
0-costers, and that might make Secrets of Shaolin marginally playable.
I play this card fairly often, and most of the time I wish it was a
Confucian Stability, but every now and then it's a game winner. Plus
you get to say "no can do, ancient Chinese secret" -- well, no, don't say
There are endless things to do with this card, and here's a few: Wait
for an opponent to attack a character you control and play Hoedown, choosing
the character being attacked. There are special rules for cards that
change controllers during an attack -- all attacking characters are removed
from the attack, but if the target changes controllers, *I think* the attack
follows it (but I could be wrong here, and if I am, figure out some stupid
tricks to use this to foil attacks). And if that overly-complex
example makes no sense, substitute being targeted by Nerve Gas -- you get
power, the opponent gets nothing. I guess I just can't leave you with
two uses for Shaolin Hoedown -- it can also be a quasi Bull Market, and
you'll have the tempo if you play it during your turn. While nowhere a
amazing at stoppage as Netherworld Return, there are a few situations where
you can pass of a character to defend a site (or let someone gain power to
play a zap). If you want a simpler combo, try Hoedown with Wing of the
Crane -- you can power (which you can spend on Wing), your opponent gets
Shaolin Surprise is a general utility card, that especially in multiplayer
can cause some of the strangest situations in the game. You have a
decent possibility of grabbing up a Gun or Tank and using it against your
opponent. Of course, the preferred use is to take over a Shadowy
Mentor. By spending one power, you can move the Mentor off your
character (returning control to you) and place it on an opponent's
character (gaining control of it). Now all you have to do is Smoke
the character that is now the Subject of the Shadowy Mentor and you don't
have to worry about losing your character at the end of the turn.
on the Water
I would say that the stuff on the water is left over from whatever they were
smoking when they printed this card. First, note that it's the
anti-combo with Superleap, which is often the punch through method for the
Guiding Hand. People are still gonna have pretty good options for
intercepting. Festival of Giants will get your hitters through the
horde of weenie defenders and be useful when you are intercepting.
And if you got 1 power, Blood of the Valiant kicks
of the Just
Storm of the Just has two play requirements that are often very hard to fulfill,
but when you do, this card can be a powerhouse. Since you don't want
your opponent burning your sites for power if you are relying on Storm of
the Just, sites like Turtle Island can insure that they will have to seize
at least a portion. This card also has a third, less obvious play
restriction -- you need to have characters in play to take advantage of
the increased Fighting, and the more the better.
This is an interesting Event is that it's both offensive and
defensive. The most common use with be with a resource character as
an interceptor to stick an extra 2 damage on an attacker (and hopefully
Smoke it in the process). The most tech use of Superior Kung Fu is
when attacking -- say you are attacking with an Impoverished Monk who
winds up being intercepted by a 3 Fighting character -- with Superior Kung
Fu your monk will overcome the defender and damage the target of the
attack, causing it to be successful, even if he is going to be Smoked at
the end of the turn.
with the Hand
Temple bullet anyone? The problem is, Temple usually hurts you the
most when it's face down, and this event don't do squat then. The
other non-combat source you are likely to see is Final Brawl, but there
are already two infinitely better alternatives than this coaster.
I'm always big on Festival of Giants, and the versatility of Confucian
Stability just blows Swinging with the Hand out of the water.
Ick. Gack. Superior Technology for swordsmen with
swords. And you can move them around. Not so good. What
you are hoping to do is attack with a thug with a sword, then pay 1 power
to move the sword to someone else and attack with them again. Remind
you of anyone? Gunrunner maybe? So, do Gunrunner + limited
Superior Technology add up? Get out the drinks, it's coaster time.
This is one of the cards that makes Shadowfist a great game. So many
characters have interesting and useful abilities -- how could you not want
to share them? The can range from great offensive abilities (Chin
Ken goes to Ninja school and learns the White Ninja's ability) to
defensive (your CHAR has to spend the day in the DNA Mage lab) to just
plain utility (I bet you didn't know Gardener is a Swiss Banker during
||Robust Feng Shui
Robust Feng Shui is the Guiding Hand's all purpose take out. It can
trash characters and sites. This is one of those cards that you
expect to see played either when someone is going after the Hand player,
or someone is going for the win. Always worth packing at least one
in a deck to keep your opponents on their toes, and often you will want
Unfortunately, there just aren't enough abominations to make this card
useful every day. Only the Architects have numerous Abominations,
and then you are likely to see a fair amount of other hitters (CHAR, Sergeant
Blightman) that don't have the designator. Still, you can toast
those Vivisectors and Test Subjects, and if you are really lucky, you can
clear an Architect player's board if they are using Arcanowave Reinforcer.
In the right deck, you can gain a little bit of spending change with this
Event -- notice that it's the first rare non-unique we've had in a
while. While you can use it in a Faceoff deck, generally Unique
characters are doing battle all the time -- now you just have to make sure
it's the other guys character getting smoked, not yours. Remember
the unusually high four resource cost on this card.
The best thing this Event has going for it is that it doesn't trigger
Hacker. The Hand have a couple of other filter/draw cards, but this
one seems to be okay. You will need to have surplus power to burn,
but The Orange Principle can get you out of a stall or let you draw a
needed card. It looks to be better in Tower of Power decks (100+
cards) where you have a big mix -- you don't want to be playing (or
drawing) this very-late game, when you are going to have a lower chance of
drawing the same cards you put back. I originally put this in a
deck because I mistakenly thought I could play it for free with Orange
Senshei Chamaber -- closer reading revealed that the discount was only for
characters, and the Orange Principle got filtered out of the deck.
The Red Harvest
One always has to take a close look at power generating events -- they can
be the factor that puts you over the top. Red Harvest is more playable
that Dark's Soft Whisper, but doesn't have the comeback potential of Heat of
Battle (an underplayed card) and Violet Meditation. Yes, you have the
dream play of running two Golden Candles into a 2-cost opponent's foundation
first turn for two power, but that's nothing to base a deck around.
Don't overlook discarding cards, which can improve your next draw,
especially if your hand size is increased. This card may have more of
a home in a deck where you are building sites for power, and not as
dependent on comeback events (although this is often a losing formula).
Still pretty much Dark's Soft Whisper v2.
The Willow Bends
When it comes to healing, The Willow Bends is not in the top tier.
Why, you ask? Well, it's got to compete with Healing Earth (you are
playing Chi, aren't you?) and Chinese Connection (which our group considers
to be a game breaker).
points out that Sites indeed are cards, and The Willow Bends can turn any
site effectively into half of a City Park. Urgh... I am just
about to fear this card. The sick and twisted members of my play group
will use this card with Temple of the Angry Spirits to inflict much pain.
Simon Johnston also adds in "The
Willow Bends provides a resource as well. So not only do you get to heal the
the first turn ToAS your opponent ran into (which you played after the
Railroad Worker which you sac'd obviously), you get a free resource out of
it was well. I think this cards is crazy good." My reply: You
must remember young grasshopper that if you are cut off from your Chi, you
will wither, no matter how strong your connection to the Perfect Master!
littlemute writes in: I would up the rating a bit on the Willow
Bends. It's the very fact that you mention--not needing Chi--that puts this
at least a 3 for me; you can take the chance and play the solid Hand
foundations that provide Chi, Railroad Workers being one. I took the
Shadowfist shaft because of this card during Gencon last weekend.
My Response: Indeed it does sound like Julian had a deck that
made use of Willow Bends. This is at least the second time that he has
used his status as a developer to build a deck in advance of the cards
getting to the general public for a major event...
My Kung Fu!"
In the right deck, this card is a nice speed bump. By the right
deck, I mean one where you are likely to have the correct designator in
play, and hopefully with a resource character. Unfortunately, that's
often hard to do, but Impoverished Monk is a favorite target for this
||Wind on the
Wind on the Mountain is over the top -- it lets you Into the Light as many
Events as you are willing to spend power for. Combine this with zero
cost and power gaining/stealing Events, and you can get a machine
going. Don't forget to get back a Confucian Stability or two to
force through all of the Events you just returned. This
recursion is so powerful if often will put a Ring of Gates in a deck to
try and deny it -- of course that is why I always play Whirlpool of Blood
in the deck with Wind on the Mountain! This has been one of the
cards on Z-Man's broken cards watch list, and for a very good reason.
Have Offended Shaolin!"
This card has offended my sensibilities! While Superleap is a powerful
ability, the Hand usually doesn't have a lack of superleaping characters
on the table. And if it does need to give a character the ability,
Rigorous Discipline often does the job. Is it my imagination, or are
you almost always going to want Blood of the Valiant over this guy?
Sure, the return to your hand gravy ability is nice, but it only matters
if you want this card in your hand in the first place. And the Hand
has never had a problem returning events to their hand in the past...
If this were Magic the Gathering, this card would be Crusade. While
not all Hand characters gain the bonus, enough do to make this card worth
while. You have to protect your front-row site where you've played
this, but that's what the Hand excels at. Be sure to always factor
in 18 Bronze Men -- with all the new modifying cards in Shaolin Showdown,
you can often sneak in some wins by your opponent's miscalculating your
actual Fighting scores.
Charge of the Righteous
This Edge is very much in the flavor of CAT Tactics. It's maybe a
tad more useful, and a little bit easier to play as it requires faction
resources instead of talent resources. It's Limited, so don't go nuts
with it, but it makes a fine one-of in a casual deck. My problem
with this card (and a lot of other cards too) is that I just keep forgetting
about it when I'm making a fun deck. My fingers do the walking, but
they keep stopping on Shield of Pure Soul and Chinese Connection instead of
Charge of the Righteous.
This is a potentially powerful state, and I'm sure if it's good enough to
shake up the game or not. If you think about it, it's 1 power for +5
or more Fighting (I'm thinking this card can be real strong in a deck with a
few hand size increasers). I think this card needs some play time --
it's unclear in my crystal ball if it's going to be best on foundations,
mid-sized characters or on the major hitters (I shudder to think of the
Deadly Hands of Iron Monkey). Timing-wise it's slow, as you can't
discard until the next scene, so you can't play it in response to a Brawl
and discard to pump up. I've tried to make this go off, and it
really doesn't have a lot of gas. Spending the initial power hurts.
Without the toughness of Breath of the Dragon, the subject of Deadly Hands
tends to get smoked at the end of the turn after taking a speedbump.
Essence Absorbing Stance
This is a State version of Rend Chi -- there isn't much more to say about
it. You lose a little bit of surprise, but you get some reusability.
Honestly, since you are playing the Guiding Hand, I think you are better off with a straight-up healing event,
especially if one that can heal sites as well. By the time this was
printing, I think everyone had had their fun/fill of Rend Chi, so there was
no interesting in playing this clone.
Know Your Enemy
Yes, this cheaper Ultimate Mastery can be pretty cool when you pull it off, and it does avoid the classic problem
of Chin Ken (he always winds up fighting Prototype X), but I have one major
problem with Know You Enemy, and it's called Rigorous Discipline. Rig Dis is just so amazing, and I know I always want to play more that I
actually do, and having to wait for combat to copy abilities (let alone use
them) is too restrictive. See above comments about RigDis.
I have a general dislike of states that rely on other states just because
you wind up. Luckily, there are enough good Chi states.
Fortune of the Turtle is a no-brainer, but a couple of the 0 cost Chi
states are decent too (Flying Sword Stance and Path of the Storm
Turtle). Unlike Jack Hades, this card makes your good states better
and more versatile -- not trying to de-coasterize cards that no one ever
Monkey Kung Fu
Just can't get enough Swords of the Master... This one is okay, but
not spectacular. I would probably rate it the worst of the lot
(this, BK97, Sword and Real Bad Cat)
from BCL. Part of the problem is that it
just doesn't have enough synergy with other cards. With the evasion
characters (superleapers and Blue Monk and Master Hao) you fill find that
Butterfly Sword is almost as good, and that the 1 power difference is
huge. In an environment where you are going to be facing at least 5
Final Brawls every game the card might do a little better.
2 Power for +1 Fighting and an evasion ability? That's weak.
And my opponent gets to use it against me? That's crazy.
Flying Sword Stance is about 90% as good as Master Killer, and wont bite
you in the ass.
This is a tricky card. At first glance, you might think this card is
a power generating card that you can use to ramp up your own sites - BZZZT!
wrong-o! What Ornamental Garden really does is help you take sites
by letting you do double damage. Blue Monk is going to be doing a
respectable 8 damage if you drop one of these States on a Site
mid-attack. It's sort of like Geo-Scan report, but works better with
less attackers. Plan on burning/smoking the site you play this on,
as it will be darn hard to defend if you place it in your front row.
I still haven't gotten around to it, but I think there is some jankiness
to be found with Puzzle Garderns and The Chinese Connection. Hrm...
you can give that extra power you generate with Ornamental Garden to your
||Power of the
Bad bad bad. Not only is this hard to pull off, if you ever do get
enough counters on Power of the Great to get you closer to victory, and opponent
will just seize that site and reap the benefit.
Righteous Heaven Stance
I think this state is playable as a one-of surprise in a fun deck, but
like Mad Monkey Kung Fu, it may wind up being cut after a game or to as a
deck is tuned. The ideal target is some really useful 2-3 cost
character -- putting Righteous Heaven Stance on a higher-cost character is
going to be putting too many eggs in one basket unless you are going for the
win and think you can withstand all the denial you are going to draw out.
I sort of like Celestial Stance better, but it's rare, and has some slightly
different resource requirements. About all that I can add (besides
mentioning the scarcity of play of this card) is that you can get an extra
trick out of if, even in the world of state-hate. Play it in response
to interception, and even if it gets washed away by Waterfall Sanctuary, it
still momentarily resolves, so you jump over all the currently declared
Scales of the Dragon
Very average, but somewhat playable. Generally, I've never gotta
great usage out of the more defensive character states -- I play an
offensive game, and I like offensive cards. This is going to give an
attacker (or defender) more or less a one-time 0-cost toughness:2 which does
give you some options (and is useful from saving a character from a Final
Brawl (whether its yours or someone else). I know Festival of
Giants is an amazing card, and I don't play it enough. And I like the
surprise and versatility of Festival way over Scales.
Simple Paper Fan
The first think you need to know about this card is that it's not bad.
The second thing you need to know is that it's difficult to play.
Simple Yellow Fan (it should have been titled The Yellow Principal) turns
the subject into a limited Yellow Monk. If you don't have a lot of
experience with Yellow Monk, Yellow Senshei Chamber or Old Man Wu, you may
have some difficulty with using this to full effect. But, once you've
master the Redirection Principle, it's really easy to outplay your
opponents, who may see some of the tricks you can do.
The Jade Dragon
If I'm paying 3 power for a State, it had better be good. Shadowy
Mentor good. I dont think the Jade Dragon makes the cut. The
problem is that you also need to be able to defend the subject site, which
is going to be hard to do since you just spend 3 power. I suspect that
the Jade Dragon is going to be hiding in the Temple of Angry Spirits a
bunch. This is sort of the type of card that solidifies you winning --
you only play it when your ahead, and when you don't have a better play,
like a site taking character. Sure, the site can't be burned, but that
just means your opponent seized a 3 power generating site and is going to
kick your but with it. Remember that sites can always be smoked, so
there's no killer ArcanoTower combo. This is just so expensive...
Increasing power generation is good, as Yang Chung has shown us, but this
card lacks the versatility of Ornamental Garden.
||Thunder on the
This card can greatly slow down and Architect player. Playing a
turned CHAR just bites. The problem is that the you will become
their primary target. Since Thunder on the Mountain has to be played
on a site, it will be Smoked if that site is Burned. This can be
dropped in preparation for a go for the win attack -- save up power, drop
this card, go for the win on your next turn.
Should have been called the Turtle Connection. As long as you can
keep the power flowing (and the Hand usually does pretty well with all the
Senshei chambers), you can keep stuff from being reduced to 0 body.
This card is extra annoying when combined with defensive sites like Inner
Sanctum, Tangram Alley, Ominous Swamp, Puzzle Garden, and of course,
Temple of the Angry Spirits. Don't overlook the sneaky-tech of given
an Architect player 1 power when another opponent is going for the win to
fuel their denial.
This card has proven to be surprisingly useful every time I've gotten it
into play. Like Shield of Pure Soul, I think this edge is going to
become a staple in every Hand deck, letting character heal a point
mid-attack as well as keeping those Puzzle Gardens neat and tidy.
And it's got a nice little bonus of providing a Chi resource.
Increased hand size for you is good. Increased hand size for
everyone else is bad. In a 4 player game, that's six more chances
for everyone to have a Nerve Gas or Op Killdeer or Final Brawl or Neutron
Bomb... You might be able to get away with the Dragon Boat Festival
in a few highly specialized decks revolving around Xaoyan Yun, but it's
risky. Because of the establishing shot order (generate, unturn,
discard, draw), you can try to manipulate the Dragon Boat so that only you
get the benefit of the extra cards by using Cabinet Minister (or a card
that would turn an edge), but this is often too fragile. Still,
there are some decks where you want opponents to have larger hands (Father
of Chaos, Hexagram Spirit), and there and a bunch of Hand cards that you
can do wonders with if you're hand size is increased.
was Kung Fu Fighting
The problem with this card is that while you are drawing and playing it,
your opponent is drawing and playing characters to take advantage of
it. If you are going to play it, make sure you have an easy way to
get rid of it or it will bite you in the ass. Stone Garden and other
innocuous sites that turn are sorta okay, but I like Defiant Bloom.
Think of it as more or less a one-use sort of Death-O-Rama.
||Fire in the Lake
It takes 3 turns to get back your power from playing this card, so you
need to figure that into both adding it to a deck, and when you decide to
play it. Of course, Fire in the Lake has a psychological advantage
similar to Paper Trail -- your opponents will often look elsewhere before
declaring an attack against you. Combine this with Shifting Tao and
Shield of Pure Soul, and you may find yourself free from any attack shy of
one going for the win.
Since you have to be behind on the victory count, For China! is somewhat
limited in uses. You can try and get around it by playing an above average
amount of non-Feng Shui Sites for your power generation. You will
also want cards that you can get a benefit out of by unturning, such as
Swiss Banker and Tranquil Persuader. Even unturning your hitter can
give you some extra defense if you have a larger Site structure.
||Hill of the
Like all the pay 1 power Edges, timing is everything with Hill of the
Turtle. Hold off on dropping this until it is guaranteed to Smoke a
card because it's controller has no power.
of Pure Soul
Gain power? Search for a card and put it on top of your deck?
What is there not to like about this card? The only real question is
how many to include in your deck. I generally like one to two, but
that depends on how many Chi resources I have. Also, if I'm playing
a large deck or a deck that has a particular combination of cards it needs
to get out, I will go up to three. This is one of the Hands
The trick to making Shifting Tao work for you is to play the right
selection of sites. Puzzle Garden is probably the best, as you heal
it almost as fast as your opponents can damage it. Large sites will
benefit the most -- they are most likely to be damaged but not taken in an
initial attack. Just one Shifting Tao can eliminate the threat of
being attacked by 1 Fighting characters, and two of this card makes you
practically invulnerable to resource characters.
Gak -- compare this to Defiant Bloom, and scratch your head. One
power for an edge that does almost nothing. I can think of two
reasons to play this card -- you've run out of Confucian Stabilities, so
you are having to play Fortune of the Turtle, or you are using it as a
trick target to save your Shield of Pure Soul from their edge removal.
Just plain bad.
Another solid card, the Blue Chamber can go in any hand deck -- it's not
reserved for the janky Senshi deck. Will all the common designator
decks brought about by N2 and SS, you should have no problem figuring out a good
one to use to apply the beats.
of a Thousand Banners
See the Feng Shui Sites.
Just the threat of giving Toughness:2 to one of your characters is often
enough on its own to prevent interceptions. The Green Sensei Chamber
goes best with the White, taking full advantage of the Regeneration
negating the drawback of having to put damage on it.
Even in a mono-Guiding Hand deck, an increased hand size of 7 can be a
significant advantage. When you get to two or three factions, you
hand size can dominate the game and become a threat to the other players,
bringing their attention to your Orange Sensei Chamber. The second
ability that reduces the cost of Orange characters currently only effects
the Orange Monk, making him over-priced instead of ridiculously
Well, you knew it had to happen -- they finally made a bad Senshi chamber
-- well, it's not really bad, it just clearly the worst of the lot. Declaring an attack against back-row sites isn't that bad
-- it allows you to pick off specialty sites like Whirlpools. What
kills this card is the canceling Superleap, since if they take it, some of
your best characters are potentially negated. Better in multiplayer
since you have more targets to pick and choose from.
Occasionally you find yourself in need of a a few extra Chi resources, but
Shaolin Sanctuary is really a resource accelerator. The card that
this will matter most with is Shih Ho Kuai, who can get huge with just a
few Monks in play. The low Body of 5 means be prepared to
defend this site with your best kung fu.
This is a mid-to-late game card that can give you a little punch in the
right deck, but now with 18 Bronze Men and Temple of the Shaolin Dragon,
the Hand has lots of options for increasing Fighting. You really need to have a character in play to use the +3 Fighting
the turn it comes out, and restricts how you play and build your
deck. Pretty much a candidate for the janky Senshi deck and
aggressive monk decks, but does have the potential to get better in future
sets. Speaking of future sets, Tong Su Yi in Shaolin Showdown is a
good candidate for inclusion with the Temple because of the hand size
Temple of the Jade Dragon
This card is pretty straight forward -- you are using it make sure you've
got that needed card in hand, which I suspect is going to be a Confucian
Stability a lot of the time. I see it fitting in decks that rely on
increased hand size, which is something the hand does reasonably well.
It's also a 2-cost Feng Shui Site, and there's a lot to consider when
playing them in a deck as well. I haven't played it in conjunction
with hand-size increasers, but, as it it, it might as well be a Creche of
the New Flesh -- the only excess cards I seem to be willing to discard are
foundations, and getting back a character isn't always that optimal -- this
card almost turns into a Perpetual Motion Machine that way.
of the Shaolin Dragon
Another mid-late game pumping card, the Temple is nice in that it's an 8
Body Feng Shui site with the added defense ability. With all the +
Fighting cards the Hand has now, it's almost impossible to keep track of
everything without slowing the game down with ponderous recounts. I
like this card over Temple of Boundless Meditation, but both can go in the
same deck and are good for turtling as well as offense.
While this card may have the worst art in N2 (although not as bad as
Shaking the Mountain in SS), it is one of the best of the
seven Chambers. While Soul Diver is very fragile and has the same
ability, Violet is much more reliable and is going to let you do all sorts
of tricks. Again good enough to play on it's own without the other
Chambers, and is really more of a multiplayer card.
The White is the weakest of the Sensei Chambers, being of most use in
conjunction with the others. A 6 Body site that Regenerates just
quite isn't big enough to make use of the ability. This card can
provide a quick Chi acceleration, which does go well with Shih Ho Kaui.
The most devious of the Sensei Chambers, the Yellow should give you a lot
of options when declaring your attacks or interceptions. You need to
be up on the damage redirection timing rules to get the most use out of
the Yellow Sensei Chamber, and quite often, if an opponent seizes this
Site, they will not be able to use it optimally.