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art (c) Mike Trap

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Lotus

You defy the Lotus?  Prepare to Die!!!  Modeled on the bad guys of so many historical Hong Kong Fu flicks, the Lotus excel at that role.  Filled with Demons and Eunuchs, they are one of the factions with the most character.  The lotus has a few signature abilities, two of which are Regenerate and and characters that return to play from the Smoked Pile.  The Lotus also has three decent resource characters that provide Magic, which is a good thing since a majority of the Demons require Magic as well as Lotus resources to play (making them immune to Nerve Gas in the process).

Foundation Characters    Utility Characters    Hitters
Events    States    Edges    Sites

 
 

 

FOUNDATION CHARACTERS

Big Brother Tsien
This guy is an oddity.  Not only is he a Unique foundation character, but he can bust out for some serious damage both early and late game.  Normally to get a 3 power for 5 fighting deal, you have to have 3 resources (like Silver Band or The Reconstructed).  Not to mention that he's a Demon Hood, which is only surpassed by Demon Martial Artist for coolness factor.  BCL and 10KB give the Lotus several new Hoods, but I've yet to make the deck work -- there's too much chaff, and not enough meat.
  Bloody Horde
A resource character that usually winds up as hitter as well, the Bloody Horde is a staple of Cave Network Lotus dueling decks.  If you don't need much Magic (or have access to another factions Magic resource characters), these guys can cause some serious trouble.  If they ever make another Demon Horde, these guys will get even better.  Don't forget about Identity Chop Shop and Sinister Accusations to add the designator Horde to you Demons.  And Evil Twinning a Blood Horde can be a decent deal mid to late game.
  Claw of Fury
If Nine Cuts weren't already a coaster, this card would have put the nail in his coffin.  Using Assassinate to talk out those specialty characters can be useful (especially in multiplayer), and the Claw's ability to come out for free when you get used for a Pocket Demon is the icing on the cake that makes this card very playable.  This is one of those high utility characters (like Righteous Fist) that is worth playing two of in a deck, but loading up too heavily will slow you down.
 

Demon Whiskey
First off, if you didn't notice it, this card also counts as a Demon Horde, so you can play them with your Bloody Hordes.  I find this an interesting card -- it's lousy as a foundation at 3 power and not even providing , but, Demon Whiskey has a chilling effect on the game -- your opponents are going to have to think twice before burning sites, especially if you have more than one of these in your smoked pile.  When considering Demon Whiskey, count it as half a resource at best, otherwise you may find your deck is too slow.  Also, this card competes with the nearly broken Underworld Tracker, but the tracker is lacking the stupid name.

  Earth Poisoner
If you haven't already, take all your Eunuch Underlings out of your decks and replace them with this card.  While Earth Poisoner is not earthshaking in itself, he can whack a little extra damage on those annoying sites that usually get turned during an attack (like Kinoshita House, City Square, Turtle Beach, Sacred Heart Hospital and Fox Pass). 
  Eunuch Underling
Even though Earth Poisoner is strictly better than this card, it's always been a staple of magic Based Lotus decks.  The Eunuch designator lets you do stupid Eunuch tricks, and you may find yourself still including one or two of these in a deck over Sinister Priests because of that.  Note:  Official Errata changes this card's designator to Sorcerer Bureaucrat.
  Hopping Vampire (Standard)
Bad bad bad,  It's a Dragon Fighter without Guts.  Of course, you can really humiliate your opponent if you can win with a 3rd turn Hopping Vampire.
  Ogre
Since he doesn't provide magic, I don't think Ogre will make the cut.  Compare this guy to Low-Rent Cyborg -- he provides a talent and always hits for 5.  You also get to recycle him with In Your Face Again/There's Always One More.  Ogre you get to play for free if someone steals power or a character from you -- this is just a free play, not a cancel like Hacker.  Do you see the difference?  You might actually want to pay 3 power for the Cyborg, whereas you almost never want to pay for Ogre, meaning it's just going to sit in your hand.  Gobble gobble gobble -- I have yet to see the turkey in play.
Palace Guards
Rate these guys as one star higher if you are playing a deck specifically designed around them, with lots of Lotus sites that you plan to work into your front row.  The Guards also do a good job defending the Emperor, and they are more than willing to sacrifice themselves at Ghao Zhang;s command. Usually you want to play five of this card, but sometimes just throwing in one or two to fortify your Lotus resources in a mixed faction deck may prove useful.  I've found it very efficient to stock up on Lotus faction sites -- that way your Palace Guards will rush to defend an attack against your site structure -- it can really discourage attacks (not to mention fueling a nice big Die!!!)
  Poison Clan Warriors
I guess these are okay for a foundation character -- they have an ability and potentially useful designators.  But...  they are outclassed by existing foundations in my opinion.  There are already four 1-cost foundations that I would seriously consider playing before the Poison Clan even in a Hood Martial Artist deck (Shamanistic Punk, Vassals of the Lotus, Sinister Priest and Palace Guards), and there is a better 2-cost Hood foundation, Big Brother Tsien.  Sadly, this replacement for Thorns of the Lotus is going to wind up sitting next to them in the card box instead of seeing much play.  I've played them a couple times, and maybe zapped once, but they have been remarkably unspectacular. 
  Shadowy Horror
Three Fighting is just a little to low to make this guy's Regenerate ability kick in.  Of course, you could be playing him along with Discerning Fire just in case you feel like spending 5 power to smoke a Shadowy Mentor (bah, Claw of Fury is even better at that).
Shamanistic Punk
Not too much to say about this card.  You are probably more likely to do +1 damage than you are to do -1 damage, but this ability is pretty much ignorable.  This card is a second Sinister Priest, and that means you will probably only ever be playing Earth Poisoner/Eunuch Underling in designator decks.  This guy gets a little competition from Palace Guards -- you may not want to play the full 10 1-cost talent providers, choosing to slip in a few of the returning Guards instead.  Solid foundation -- play it (and see it played) all the time.
Sinister Priest
He passes the test of being a 1 cost foundation character and passes the test of having an ability (providing Magic), which makes him a staple in most Lotus decks.  Of course Throne War shakes the Lotus up, and this guy might see a decline in play as Palace Guards become a character of choice, with Earth Poisoners giving that Magic support.
  Thorns of the Lotus
This guy is bad bad bad.  There is only one good play with this guy (other than discarding him whenever you draw him that is), and that is the tricky designator match of Archer with Sun Chen.  Of course, that is if Confucius allows it that is.
  Thugs
Pretty un-inspiring.  These cards are so marginally better than Vassals of the Lotus that it's not funny.  You weren't really planning on winning with Thugs and Tools of the Trade, were you?  You also bust out your Swords of Biting for the
Swords deck (assuming you want to forego playing Swords, which is, almost never in this deck).  I've played these a few times, and I did get a +1 Fighting once, but I can't remember exactly what the situation was, but these are still way down the list for cards I'd consider playing.
  Vassals of the Lotus
While these guys used to get some play in a speedy Lotus deck that wanted to bust out fast, the appearance of Palace Guards in Throne War has pretty much condemned the Vassals to spotty appearances in a Hood deck.
 
 

UTILITY CHARACTERS

  Abysmal Absorber
If can bust out an Abysmal Absorber second turn with a Pocket Demon or Proving Ground, you can dominate a duel by toasting all of your opponent's resources by aggressively attacking their characters.  But, when in a multiplayer game, such aggressive play with the 'Sorber is usually not your best plan.  Taking one player out of the game by hosing their resources only destabilizes the game and makes it very hard for you to stick to your strategy.  Instead, use the 'Sorber to attack their sties -- odds are you won't be intercepted, and then you can use this card to sit back on defense because the other players will be reluctant to have their characters absorbed.
  Abysmal Daughter
Four power to do just a few damage is not good.  Compare to Mark of Fire which is going to plink sites all day.  Even Purist Sorcerer is going to give you more bang for your buck.  This card would need to cost about 2 power to consider playing, and even then I don't think it would be very good.
  Abysmal Deceiver
The Lotus have so many great utility characters that are foils to the various strategies, it's often hard to choose which one to play.  The Abysmal Deceiver is one of those cards, who you are hoping to counteract Shadowy Mentor, Tortured Memories, Heroic Conversion or Xin Kai Sheng.  Since this card is Unique, I wouldn't recommend overloading on them, but putting one in your deck if you have a open slot is usually a strong choice.  And having the Thing or a Ravenous Devourer around also lets you worry less about opponents taking control of your characters.
  Abysmal Horror
Another card that usually only sees play in sealed (where it's a house), this card is very mediocre.  Underworld Tracker is the same cost, and looks to be much more useful.  At 4 Fighting, the regenerate doesn't kick in as often as you'd like.  If you want regenerators, pay one more power for Kun Kan and the Demon Emporer.
  Abysmal Prince
The Prince has got to be one of the goofiest cards in the game.  He turns Edges into Characters -- sort of.  Once you've targeted an Edge with Abysmal Prince, you will probably try to Smoke it with a Shattering Fire or White Disciple, but don't overlook other faction damage cards like Final Brawl.
  Abysmal Spirit
Classic example of over valuing Assassinate in the first edition (ala Nine Cuts).  Coaster coaster coaster.  Claw of Fury is the way to go.
 

Agathon's Deputies
This is a pretty narrow card that will go into a deck based around it, but not much else.  Police Station is probably your best bet, which will get you a 5 Fighting regenerator.  You will have to be careful in playing cards like this, as wily opponents will try to two-for-one you by taking out the card that is keeping this around.  Underworld Tracker is another must, as they are Cops and tend to come back a lot.

Mr. Strange says:
This is my favorite card of the set - I love 2-for-3's, I love regenerate, and I love adding a well-established designator to a faction which generally doesn't use it. I guess I also like the theme of the card. So this one is a big winner for me all around.

My Response:
   While I like 2-for-3s too, they have to have something going for them, and the Deputies don't got much.  My play environment has canny players that would like nothing more than to cripple your deck by causing your Deputies to smoke themselves.

 

Bloody Herd
At the start, this is a 3-for-4 Toughness:1, so it's playable out of the starting line.  Now to that, we add a crazy copy ability.  I think it falls more into the fun card category than useful.  There are a few times when there will be a small character that you copy for some extra synergy with Bloody Herd's innate Toughness: 1, but it wont be that often.  And yes, this is a really stupid card thematically.

 

Cenotaph
This is a pretty average thug, that I expect to see from time to time.  At 3 cost, I recommend replacing the odd Evil Twin in decks with a reasonable amount of low to mid-cost characters.  You should be shooting for 6+ fighting when you play it, but an easy burn would be worth playing it for less Fighting.  What Cenotaph has against it is that the Lotus specialize in returning their cheap characters -- between Inauspicious Return and Palace Guards, it may be hard to keep your smoked pile full.  I take back what I said about dropping an Evil Twin for Cenotaph -- he just hasn't turned into a threat card for me.  Also, Assassinate as a special ability has always been of questionable merit.

Destroyer
The Destroyer has earned the nickname "Energizer Bunny"  because he keep on going and going and going and...   You will almost always want to play this card in a Lotus deck.  Now there is a specific strategy once you get the Destroyer into play -- you want him to die every turn!  You are either running him into a large character on your turn or you are incepting a large character on an opponents turn.  And make sure the Destroyer dies -- it really stinks when you start your turn with a 1 Fighting Destroyer.  And while this card can take Sites, remember that is primarily anti-character card.
  Doomed Lackey
Since the Doomed Lackey is a 1 cost Eunuch, you can try and pull off stupid Eunuch tricks with it, like playing it for free with Dragon Throne.  Very rarely will you use the Toughness ability, and you will probably get more mileage out of the Shadow Creeper.
Eater of Fortune
This Throne War demon has turned out to be simply amazing.  Eater of Fortune is an apt name, as it will eat up your opponents' fortune.  This is a card that I like one of in a dueling deck and two of in a multiplayer deck.  Not only does it have the chance of equaling the monstrous Walking Corpses, it also Smokes an opponent's Edge which is a huge advantage, whether it is Shield of Pure Soul, Paper trail or a Feast of Souls.
  Elite Guards
Another weapon in the Eunuch deck, the Elite Guards can serve the important role of protecting your big Eunuch hitters from Events.  While playing 5 of these may not be warranted, playing 2 or 3, especially if you are relying on cards like Gao Zhang, Shi Zi Hui or Jueding Shelun as your your major hitters.  While the main purpose of the Elite Guards is to save you from Events, they can get in some much needed damage, and can benefit from playing the smaller Lotus specialty Unique Characters like The Emperor, Wu Ta-Hsi or Big Brother Tsien.
Evil Twin
Even with the errata making Evil Twins of Unique characters Unique (i.e. there can be only one Evil Twin of Ting Ting in play, but there can also be an Evil Twin of  the Thing in play at the same time), this is still one of the best (if not the best) characters in the game.  Three power gives you the best hitter on the table -- not only can you copy your opponents characters, you can go offensive and play and copy your own.  And with only one resource required, expect to see Evil Twin in any deck that even splashes Lotus (along with Tortured Memories).
  Feng Kan
In a way the Wind Demon is a comeback card.  You are really hoping to get that 1 cost 5 Fighting character in a 4 player game, but more realistically he's 2 cost, but that's still respectable.  I wouldn't load up, but 1 or 2 of these along with a couple of Underworld Trackers makes a nice mid-rage demon threat.  Since he reduces his own cost, you can use Dragon Throne and other cost reduces to get extra mileage.  Argh.. I only got one Feng Kan to play with out of too many boxes, still, he seems decent the few times I manage to draw him.
  Fo Shen
Bleech -- it's a bummer to see such an important story character relegated to such a useless card.  Even in the Eunuch deck, White Disciple is way better.  Although I did once see an Identity Chopshop used to turn Fo Shen into a Useless Eunuch Sorcerer...
 

Flesh Eater
Well, we all know what a coaster Abysmal Horror is outside of draft (and even in draft, the is tricky).  So, to make this slot/character playable, we have an added ability.  How good is Flesh Eater's return a card ability?  Well, it's kind of hard to trigger, but returning a card to hand is generally good, especially when it's something along the lines of a Tortured Memories (which makes a great follow-up). 

Four Burning Fists
BFB is a beat down machine.  He's big, he's got a Gas mask, he regenerates -- what more can you want?  Oh, did I mention he's fast?  FBF can actually come out on your second turn by using combinations of 1 cost foundation characters, Pocket Demon, Proving Ground or Glimpse of the Abyss.  And Toasting a Site is not much of a drawback, as you get to choose which Site, and you can often remove a vulnerable one from play.  And of course that puts you farther away from victory, which helps keep his increased Fighting and Regeneration active (as does Glimpse).  Also, since the Toast a Site is a come into play effect, you can Evil Twin your FBF with impunity, even if you have no Sites in play.
  Ghost Assassin
While the Ghost Assassin can be powerful, you need to play it in conjunction with with characters with useful abilities.  Remember you only get to use those abilities once, as you will have to toast the source of those abilities.  You can try to take advantage of removing characters from your Smoked pile by playing Netherworld Return, but you need to be careful that you don't remove all your resources.
  Ghostly Seducer
This Demon is a reusable Imprisoned -- sounds great in theory, but in practice it never works.  If you Seducer makes it into play without being zapped by an Event, you need to do some serious protecting.  Expect a horde of resource characters to head her way at first chance.  You get to bounce one attacker, but the odds are your Seducer is history unless you some hidden take out.
  Gibbering Horror
Seating can make a huge difference in how good a Gibbering Horror is for you.  You want at least 4 Events in your opponent's Smoked pile to play Gibbering Horror, while 5+ starts making this card a good deal.  While it's really hard to find room for this card with other awesome choices like Underworld Tracker, I sometimes throw one into a deck and hope for the best -- in the right situation, Gibbering Horror can exceed 5 Fighting.
  Gnarled Horror
This card is very similar to the Righteous One, except it is a lot easier to use.  Unfortunately, with a Fighting of only 1, the Gnarled Horror is vulnerable to those annoying Dragon events Final Brawl and Carnival of Carnage.
  Gnarled Marauder
Everybody loves the Gnarly.  It's a card that just screams out "make the Gnarled Marauder" deck.  To get the most mileage out of the double damage effect, load up on weapon States.  Unfortunately, this card is often seen as a major threat and your opponents will form a temporary alliance to get it off the board.  I think this guy will like riding on Hell Chargers.
  Hired Bodyguards
These guys play a lot like Snake Fighter, but a little better (okay, it's not that hard to do).  Yeah, I would have liked them as Hood Martial Artists, but what are you going to do?  To get mileage out of them, you're going to have to be safe in attacking, as they will get intercepted.  Don't plan on them triggering a lot -- they are a chilling effect card -- people won't attack if they know you can get a free kill in.  They're bad dudes on a motorcycle, and might be okay riding a Hell Charger (or with the undervalued Hall of Portals).. They are sitting in my Lotus Hood deck, which I haven't had the motivation to play, as the Hood theme has been feeling kind of tired for the last few sets.
  Hopping Vampire (Seven Masters)
Like the Bloody Horde, this is a card you build a deck around, and you will want the full compliment of 5 in your deck.  They're okay, but not top-level beats.  The official 7M FAQ should be able to answer the timing questions on how exactly these guys works.  I came, I saw, I build the deck, I got bored with it, I took it apart.
  Imperial Guard
This is one of those cards that on it's own is fairly useless, but in the correct deck can be very playable.  In the case of Imperial Guard, the Eunuch deck is his home.  With the great influx of Eunuch cards in Throne War, it's time to dust off the Guard and drop a few into decks.  You can reasonably expect him to at least be a Walking Corpse by mid game.
  Je Pai
Here we have an okay anti-turtle card, which you need to wait on playing this card to maximize effect.  You want them to have a decent sized unturned characters, and either a one column site structure, or a site that will be easy pickings when the character in front of it turns to change location in response to Je Pai coming in to play.  Don't expect her to live more than 1 turn unless you have some tricks like Kinoshita House or Fox Pass -- she will be the #1 target for your opponent. 
  Jiang Fei
I find her to be very average, but playable.  Jiang Fei is the type of card I throw one-of in a deck and hope to get a little bit of extra mileage.  Remember to hold off on using her counters until interceptors are actually declared against her.  Jiang still falls short of the amazing Cognitive Spirit, who is beats and a half.  This is another card that sort of falls into the Lotus+Weapon theme.  We saw her played a little bit when Red Wedding first came out, but she seems to have returned to the Underworld these days.
  Jueding Bao-Fude
With his list of grudges, you can expect at least 8 damage for your 4 power, and possibly a bunch more.  While this card can be offensive (its 5 Fighting can take sites), it usually plays a more defensive role of guarding your most vulnerable site and sniping at Unique cards.
  Kun Kan
With it's base 5 Fighting, Kun Kan is definitely big enough to benefit from it's Regeneration ability.  One old style Lotus deck in these parts was build around Kun Kan and The Hungry, burning for victory giving you both power and making your Earth Demon grow.  Now with Throne War, the Lotus has a lot more options, including another 4 cost regenerator (Demon Emperor)
  Legion of the Dammed
I've tried the Legion a couple of times, but they've never quite payed all the bills they could.  The Lotus have a lot of choices in the 3 cost range, and this falls short of a few others.  Still, if you're crazy, you can try Legion and Walking Corpses in a Dragon Throne deck, using the designator undead.
  Malachi
Malachi is another card I blew it on with my original assessment.  A 1- cost pinger is useful card -- too bad he's rare and so hard to come by.  Providing a magic resource is also a nice bonus..  He becomes truly dangerous if you are mixing Architects and get his counterpart Hermes into play.  Sigh...  you can't use Inauspicious Return on Malachi or Hermes, so you won't be able to go crazy with the combo.  What is going to become truly frightening is the Dark Future -- The Purists are going to be introduced as a new faction, and rumor has it that you will be able to play the Architect and Lotus Purists by substituting Purist resources -- all of a sudden, Malachi and Hermes are looking bad-ass.
  Mother of Corruption
Even though she's huge, I find it hard to spend 5 power on a mainly defensive character.  The Obsidian Eye now gives you a second card to go along with Larcenous Mist that will allow the Mother to attack, so you can try to build a deck around this card.
  Poison Thorns
Bleech...  These guys just aren't very exciting.  They have that real limited Toughness, which seems to be primarily anti-Police Station, but we've known for a long time that a Hood vs. Police matchup is the makings for a real bad game.  The gain power ability only works when your behind, which makes it all the harder to make it work unless you are Glimpsing like mad.  Even then, this guy only gets about as good as Walking Corpses, so why go through all the hassle when you can start with the Corpses?  And sadly, NeNe hasn't returned to doing Shadowfist art -- this was an old piece from the vaults.
Purist Sorcerer
Purist Sorcerer got a huge boost from Throne War's Sinister Accusations.  Now you can reliably expect your opponents to be playing Buro characters.  Even without Sinister Accusations, Purist Sorcerer has two solid abilities.  First, he does still scoop up control of CHAR, which is the Architect hitter of choice.  Second, being able to ping characters for a point a damage gives you lots of options.
Ravenous Devourer
This demon is solid -- no longer do you need to spend 6 Power to get out the Thing to munch things after Tortured Memories -- this guy does it for two.  He is also Mentor defense of a last resort, and he can punch through damage by eating a few Sinister Priests and Palace Guards.  Unfortunately, you can almost always expect this guy to be intercepted for at least 2 damage to smoke him at the end of the turn, so Secret Heart Hospital or Turtle Beach can be of some use.  I've had some fun with a Lot/Hand deck with Devourers and the Hand character stealing cards -- Peasant Uprising, Peasant Leader and Tranquil Persuader.
  Red Dragon Troupe
I'm not getting very excited over this card (although JerO's art is really cool).  They have a somewhat usable evasion ability.  The obvious card to use with them is Demonic Plague, but there is also Infernal Plague in faction, as well as the always useful pingers (White Disciple, Purist Sorcerer and Malachi).  Going mulitfaction, dropping a brawl before playing the Red Dragon Troupe is going to let them through, but you're going to have to choose your target carefully  since you are only doing 4 damage.  Okay, I was wrong about these guys -- they actually have potential for punch-through.  They went through a real popular phase here when Red Wedding first came out, but haven't been seen as much.  If you haven't figured it out by now, Demonic Plague is the go-to card for the Red Dragon Troupe -- you opponents will fear it -- even knowing you've got one in hand (since you've been returning it) will cause them fits as they are over a barrel.
  Red Scorpion Killers
I just did a search at
Chimpshack for 4-cost 5 fighting characters, and there were a lot more good ones than I expect.  And some great ones (cough monkey cough).  But, Red Scorpion Killers is not one of them.  They fall somewhere between Leatherback and Marauder Lord, two cards that don't see a lot of play (at least in my portion of the globe).  You can use them in conjunction with the theft cards, but, I'm a huge fan of Ravenous Devourer, who gets you the benefits without the extra power investment.  The do you give a last ditch protection against Mentor and Brawl (sac your foundations to keep the Killers alive).  Pretty much just for Hood decks or administering the beat down in draft.  I have run into several people that think this is a good  card, but they still haven't put their money where their mouth is.  I guess it makes an expensive deterrent to Mentor when you've run out of State-hate.
 

Reverend Adam Wither
Yowza, can you feel the power?  We are talking some serious smackage with the good Reverend here.  Of course you lose a lot of control over this ability when attacking -- you can darn tootin' bet that he will be intercepted by a tiny character if at all possible.  Also, remember that if you attack a character directly (which you may want to do, especially if you have enough to outright smoke your target if not intercepted) that the attack will be unsuccessful (since it wasn't combat damage).  Where that card is to be feared is on defense -- you get to pick and choose who you're gonna smack.  And, the Reverend is hard to take out, as it will require multiple characters in the first attack (or your opponent runs the risk of the aforementioned unsuccessful attack).

  Shadow Creeper
The Shadow Creeper is the best Assassinate character in Standard, and he's a Eunuch to boot, which allows him to interact with a bunch of other cards.  Also only costing 1 power, you can bring this guy back with Inauspicious Return, allowing you to Assassinate at will.  But since the Claw of Fury made his debut, I don't think Shadow Creeper is really worth playing outside a Eunuch deck.
  Snake Fighter
Gah...  Making Flying Guillotine look good.  In reality, dropping a Guillotine on a foundation is going to get you more mileage than this turkey.  Even if you are focusing on Hoods and have a Dragon Throne out, I'd rather have a Student of the Shark most of the time.
  Snake Man
Even though he has super-Regenerate, Snake Man doesn't hold up against the other 4 cost Demons, with Destroyer being the best example.  Of course, Snake Man in a Speed Boat in a big multiplayer game would be cool.  I'll have to dusk off some Snake Men and try them with the new Lotus vehicles -- Hell Charger and Demon Tank.
  Sung Hi
While Smoking an Architect State is occasionally comes up (an odd Godhammer or ArcanoTank), Sung Hi's primary job is to stop the Architect Event triumvirate -- Nerve Gas, Imprisoned and Neutron Bomb. Sung Hi also has a Gas mask, and his low cost doesn't hurt you that much if he is Imprisoned, do don't hesitate to use his ability even if you think your opponent is holding two Events.  The Purist Sorcerer also plays a similar anti-Architect role for the Lotus.
  The Bound
The Bound is interesting -- it doesn't really fit in with the Lotus.  It's 3-cost character that hit's for 6 and has Mobility.  The goofy Hosed ability is almost never going to come up, but actually does benefit the character as it has the annoying tendency to get intercepted by 3 Fighting worth of characters.  Being a Netherworld Horror means that it might not fall victim to Discerning Fire, as Eunuchs and Demons are all too prone to.
The Emperor
The game changes once The Emperor hits the board -- until he is dealt with, people will be afraid to play non-Unique characters.  Of course, you will be dealing with those Unique characters with cards such as Die!!!    Since The Emperor is only a 1 Fighting, you will want characters on the board to help defend him, and Palace Guards are one of the best choices as they are willing to die over and over again for The Emperor.  They also help out because being a 1 cost foundation character, they will get you to this card's hefty four resources quickly.  You will also want a decent supply of smaller Eunuchs available for sacrifice to cancel those pesky Events that could head The Emperor's way.
  The Mantis
While he's not totally out of control power-wise, The Mantis is kinda cool.  He lives up to the current  generation of assassins like the new Nine Cuts, White Ninja and Sting of the Scorpion.  If you can get his fighting up a little, he becomes somewhat respectable.  The obvious combo in the set in Evil Master, but I think Hell Charger is probably a better way to go -- that way he's gonna be able to use his toughness more (and he takes down 6 fighting dudes).
  Ti Kan
This card doesn't seem to fit in Shaolin Showdown -- a set with very few Tech cards and set in 1865 China.  The Metal Demon seems more like he'd be unleashed in the dark future...  Ti Kan is a specialty card -- the other 3 cost Demons are more versatile, but if your play group has lots of Tech players (Architects, Jammers), he can slow them down a little bit.  It's a nice mix up, he kills CHAR, and that +1 damage even hits sites from time to time.
  Tomb Spirit
Often an overlooked card, the Tomb Spirit takes sites at will.  You almost always have 3 or more characters in your Smoked pile that aren't doing you any good, and they can make this card huge.  As always, the problem is keeping your Tomb Spirit alive, as he will almost always be intercepted by a foundation character, which will put that one point of damage on him so he will be Smoked at the end of the turn when the pump-up wears off.
  Tong Hatchetman
As much as he tries, he's just no Sting of the Scorpion.  Remember, his target has to do less damage than his fighting score, so you're going to have to pump him up, or only stick to whacking foundations, which is mostly a waste of time.  There are just better cards in the 3 cost slot for you to pay the bills with.  The card one could compare the Tong to is Butterfly Knight, which we all know and love (or hate if you're on the receiving end) -- what makes the BK rock is smacking down sites big time -- just with the Tong does not do.
  Two Hundred Knives of Pain
This Demon is an interesting card -- it's a mid sized character with a powerful offensive ability.  At 3 cost, 200KoP can fit into your Cave Network deck, but the Lotus have so many good characters that this card often gets overlooked.  Consider playing with Rigorous Discipline or a couple of States that increase Fighting or Damage to get the most out of 200KoP.
Underworld Tracker
Underworld Tracker is just nuts -- too bad he's uncommon and somewhat hard to get or every Lotus deck would have five -- well, not that many, but every deck does want a couple.  Two Underworld Trackers in your Smoked Pile effectively shuts down Golden Comeback as you will almost always equal your opponent in Fighting.  You also will make that controlling Hand player sweat as he decides whether or not Wind on the Mountain is worth it.  The prevalence of Underworld Tracker has caused me to squeeze a Bzzzzzt! into most of my Architect decks so it can be dealt with when needed.
  Vassals of Chin
I guess you are hoping for a low resource Silver Band with these Vassals.  That is actually a nice feature given that Hoods are spread out over the factions, but this card just doesn't have enough juice to do most of what you want.  And they tend to be of limited uses -- you have to turn some small guys to pump them up, but those small guys will get picked off, leaving you high and dry next turn.  Not to mention that these guys have no ability on defense.
Walking Corpses
I remember back when we first saw these guys in action way back in '95 -- M:tG was still in it's first few sets and these guys were christened the "Juggernauts" of Shadowfist.  Walking Corpses have the insane ratio of two Fighting for 1 power (same as Draco!), and are cheap enough to not get stuck clogging up your hand.  A classic play is first turn Sinister Priest, followed up by a second turn Walking Corpses.  Unless your opponent is playing Architects, he is going to have a very hard time not letting you get in the first burn.  While this card has two drawbacks, the offensive power alone offsets not being able to heal or change location (i.e. intercept anywhere else).
  White Disciple
An all-around useful card, I find it hard not to have one in a deck, especially if I am also playing Amulet of the Turtle.  Not only does he plink of annoying utility characters, the White Disciple can often let you damage a site enough to take it.  Don't overlook smoking your own cards (especially sites) to make an attack unsuccessful.  White Disciples like to visit City Hospitals.
  Wu Ta-Hsi
As a rule, I like two anti-Ascended cards in a tight Lotus deck -- Shifting Loyalties and Wu Ta.  While Shifting Loyalties is usually better against Shadowy Mentor, Wu Ta can also get rid of that Paper Trail and more importantly, can turn to cancel an Operation Killdeer that was going to cause one of your characters to be Smoked during combat without reciprocating.
  Vile Prodigy
While I like the Vile Prodigy, it's a hard card to play to good effect, so I am probably rating it a little higher than it should be.  You need to have patience when playing the Vile, and you should hold off until you know you are going to get in a successful attack against a Site to that it will grow to a three.  Also having a Shattering Fire or White Disciple to protect it until you can grow it to a 4 also helps.  This card usually falls short in constructed, but if you get a chance to play it in a limited format, the Prodigy can be quite nasty.
  Xiang Kai
I get what they are trying to do with the Poison Clan Chieftain -- he's trying to be a 4-cost for 8 Fighting side of beef.  But, he's really only got 4 Fighting + 4 Damage when attacking, and a piddly 4 Fighting on defense.  I'm just not a fan.  Note that the damage is mandatory, so he's really bad if he's the only character in play.  Of course, if you really want to go nuts, you can try him with "We Need Bigger Guns!" where you can get a nutty 11+ damage out of Xiang Kai.   I've given up playing this guy -- he's a big fizzle.  Maybe I'll dust him off the next time I make a Hand/Lotus copy power deck -- then again, maybe I wont...
  Xiu Xie Jiang
Damage redirection effects are incredibly powerful, and you can wreck and opponent with Xiu Xie Jiang if you can pull it off.  There are two requirements for this card -- first your opponent has to have one of the four designators to redirect the damage to.  The second requirement is that you need to have character in combat to redirect the damage from, as Xiu can't redirect from Sites.
  Yuen Sheng
If you can get past the art, I think he's okay.  I like the increase in low cost uniques that have moderate abilities.  Stealth is nice because it's out of faction, and can be a neat trick with a Hell Charger.  The temporary hand reduction is iffy, and does make Yuen a target, but it's going to give you a lot of information if you're thinking about going for the win.  Note that you can play some politics in describing other players hands.  I've dropped Yuen into a couple of decks, and he's held his weight.  The zap a card can get annoying to people, especially if you can keep him around a couple of turns.
 
 

HITTERS

 

Ang Dao the Corrupt
This is another card that seems too specialized to see much play.  Generally, you can't count on your opponents having Weapons in play, so you are hoping to double the mileage of your own by attacking, then playing Ang Dao, then attacking again getting double bonus from the weapons.  For general usage, I'm a big fan of the Demon Emperor, who I think is better than this guy.  Also, Kun Kan is almost as strong, especially if you are planning to to burn a site or two (such as when playing The Hungry).  And, do you really want to take that weapon from Long Axe and Short Axe anyways?  I think I've managed to actually win a game or two with Ang Dao in my Solar Sword deck -- but that's just cause Solar Sword is so nasty, and a 12 damage demon for 4 power is something that no one wants to be on the receiving end of.

  Chang
This guy just might take the prize for the most confusing wording in the set.  If you take some time to read it, it is decipherable.  Basically, your opponents don't want to intercept him with small characters.  Generally, Chang's ability is not as useful as Toughness:1, so that gives you an idea of how playable he is at a 5-for-7.  He's got a couple of interactive designators, but dropping and Evil Master on him doesn't make me excited.  As no one seems of the mind to play him, it looks like Chang is nothing more than a footnote in the two-fisted-tales of the secret war.
  Demon Emperor
Playing Demon Emperor is a no-brainer -- you can just swap out one of your Kun Kan's in an existing deck for this card.  While you're at it, you can slip in a few 2 cost utility Demons (like Eater of Fortune or Abysmal Deceiver) to take advantage of the Demon Emperor's Stealth ability.  At 6 Fighting, this card has a more than reasonable chance of surviving combat and using his Regenerate ability.
  Desolation
Wow is this guy big.  He's generally okay, although at 7 cost, Desolation is a risky proposition (as is anything that costs that much).  He's not quite the dueling monster that the Eastern King is, but he may be able to turn a game around for you.  I suspect that I'll be playing him along with Glimpse of the Abyss so I can get him out and burn early (probably also in conjunction with The Hungry).  The protection from opponents' control is crucial -- he wont loose a game for you the way Sky Dragon will if he gets mentored.  And the +1 cost for events targeting him helps, and rarely are you going to need to target him.  Desolation is so big that he eats a fat interceptor and still takes a site. 
I know some people are ga-ga over this schmuck, but every time I get him in play, my opponents just seem to have no problem thwarting him.  The most embarrassing was Desolation being intercepted and smoked by a Sinister Priest (with a little help from Who's the Big Man Now?!?)
  Gao Zhang
While Gao has a useful ability, the fact that it requires turning eliminates Gao's ability to attack.  And with a 10 Fighting character you really want to attack, so 99% of the time, this card is just a weaker version of the original Draco.
 

Huichen Kan
Here is a solid offensive character.  The Dust Demon's got the standard cost-to-fighting ratio, and a boldface ability.  In addition, Huichen Kan has a synergistic ability that is going to keep the owner of the target from intercepting with characters at other locations.  This ability is only useful if your opponent has multiple columns and maintains an unturned character, but that happens often enough to make the ability useful.  Also note that it shuts down Mobility for the defender as well.

  Gao Zhang vPAP
While he may no longer be the Center of the Lotus, Gao Zhang is a faction leader to truly be feared now.  While throwing Gao in a random Lotus deck wont get you very far, if you take the time to craft a deck around him, you can dominate a game.  Palace Guards go great with Gao Zhang -- not only can they be sacrificed to re-target Events, but you can play them for free using Gao's play cost reduction.  You also will want so low cost Events, so you can get even more effect out of the cost reduction by being able to play them on opponent's turns.
  Jueding Shelun
A qualifies as a hitter at 5 power for 8 Fighting, Jueding Shelun has a good chance at taking some sites when he gets into play.  I've played this card, and I find that his ability almost never comes into play -- he either never gets intercepted, or there are no unturned cards on the board to effect (we like to attack, so characters are usually turned).  If there is a site that requires turning, odds are they will turn it to affect Jueding's attack.  I usually prefer other cards, and if you have enough demons in your deck, I might consider Lai Kuang over Jedung, otherwise I really like Shi Zi Hui.
Juedeng Shelun vNew
The Ghostly Juedeng doesn't seem so bad - he's sort of a 4-for-7 Fight, that has the chance to improve the ratio if he sticks around.  You aren't getting back the Dispaced, but you are getting back Malachi and some other specialty characters.  The Dragons seem like a natural pairing with Juedeng, as you can get back Chinese Doctor, Consumer on the Brink and Scrappy Kids.  My Juedeng deck is to be feared -- I went the Hermes Malachi route, and along with Throne of Skulls, it just seems to hum like a well-oiled machine.  I'll swap out the Purists for Dragons one of these days.
  Kan Li
MegaTank ruining your day?  All of your characters wind up working for Shadowy Mentors?  Kan Li is your answer.  Not only is he a good deal cost wise, his special ability can really help you out in a pinch.  And if you don't need to smoke any States, he's still big enough to take sites.  Of course he does have a little competition with the addition of the Mad Monk in Throne Wars, but he's still a card you want to play with.
Kong Jung She
The second biggest character in this set also belongs to the Lotus (see also Desolation).  This renegade Seven Master is pretty beefy, but with just the Regenerate ability, doesn't quite make the cut for me.  I'm going to go with the old Ice Queen or White Ninja unless I really really need something that this card provides (which I can't see).  The gravy ability of discarding 2 cards is nice considering how many return effects there are these days, but not worth playing this card for alone -- this ability would be much more meta-game useful on a mid-sized character.  Kong has shown himself to pretty much be a monster.  His drawback doesn't really kick in to a significant amount, and his discard to toast ability has shown itself to be surprisingly strong -- he really does take a bite of of recursion, especially the Dragons.
  Lai Kuang
If you build your deck correctly, most of the time Lai Kuang is a 2 cost 8 Fighting madman.  You do need to stock up on demons, but there are several 3 cost demons that are worth playing, not to mention several good 4 cost.  If you want to have some evil fun, try a Dra/Lot deck with Lai Kuang, 3 cost demons, Wu Ming Yi and Golden Comeback -- non-stop demon thrills!
  Li Yu
The Fire Demon is somewhat interesting, and needs more play time to see how good he really is.  He's immune to a couple of cards you really hate to see (Brawl, Killdeer, Avenging Thunder, Nerve Gas), which makes him pretty tough.  With Dragon Throne, Li Yu could become a second tier CHAR, but that is still yet to be seen.
  Long Axe and Short Axe
The best weapon for these guys is the Butterfly Sword, which will turn them into a 12 damage hitter for the cost of 5 power and two cards.  They do have a little bit of protection (when they have a weapon) against a few annoying sites, but unfortunately they still get lost in the Fox Pass (v2 has errata and does not target).  Remember these guys only double damage bonuses, so other damage and + fighting on weapons will only trigger their immunity ability.  Of course, without a weapon, Long Axe and Short Axe are just a thug, which makes me think that I'm really going to want to play Mad Monk over these guys.  He's in my Solar Sword deck, and he grimaces at opponents -- that's about it.
  Madam Yen
Another just okay.  She can use her damage ability for punch-through, but only after you spend a turn to first get those counters on her using Assassinate.  Speaking of Assassinate, you can't pull of any nifty tricks like assassinating a character, then blasting someone with the damage before the attack ends -- there is no window in the timing under the current rules (there used to be).  On offense, she is a superior version of the water demon, Shui Yu on offense.  Where Madam Yen gets a little more formidable is on defense, where she can be a deterrent, but, as you probably know by now, I like characters that have offense, not just defense.  As expected, most smart players get out of her way, not letting her do much with her damage-counter ability (but getting out of the way isn't always a bad thing), but she's still too a little to anti-character-centric for me.
Mad Monk
The Mad Monk is mad beats -- he's one of the best Superleapers in the game.  At only 4 cost, you can use various tricks (like Pocket Demon and Proving Grounds) to bust him out early and take Sites.  His drawback is negligible -- if your opponent is playing Hand, discard the Mad Monk and don't waste your power.  For that reason, you can't count of this card for your sole offense, but he does make a good backup hitter.  Oddly enough, Mad Monk goes great in a Hand/Lotus deck, giving an extra layer of protection against Shadowy Mentor.
  Miasma
I'm not a big fan of characters that are primarily designed to attack other characters, and that sort of what Miasma is.  With only 6 Fighting, it's going to be hard for her to reliably take sites, and I always hope to do a quick burn after plopping out 5 power on a character.  That said, the ability can be powerful, but takes a bit of work to set up.  Also, a few counters on Miasma can really deter attacks at her location.  Her designator is going to be a hard match for Discerning Fire, which is a bonus, and I don't recommend playing her in conjunction with Feast of Souls.  I've tried to make Miasma work, but it seems that my opponents alway s manage to disrupt her before any real damage kicks in. 
  Poison Clan Killers
Well, they're giant Butterfly Knights that only get the free attack against characters, which really takes them down a notch.  What you want are two site a turn machines, but in reality what you get is a thug that takes out a character, and then turns to heals.  There are much more fun characters for the Lotus like Seven Evils or The Burning King.  If you are lucky, you can get a dueling soft-lock on your opponent by smoking everything they put out and turning to heal, but that is very fragile to Gas/Mentor.
 

Midnight
A horse is a horse, of course... but, is this horse worth the ride?  Midnight's Mobility giving doesn't excite me, but it's gravy.  The real horse-meat of this card is the ability to retarget Events (much like the original Ghao Zhang, so it's in faction).  Of course, this is going to cost you a boatload of power the turn you play it, and Midnight is still vulnerable to sites and characters. 

  Seven Evils
Seven Evils subtitle should be Demon Beating Stick instead of Demon Lord.  While 6-for-10 is an average ratio, it's his ability to foil all those annoying  turning sites (like City Square and Fox Pass) that makes Seven Evils make the cut into a deck.  Festival Circle makes a good backup to this card since he is vulnerable to Events and you don't want to be on the losing end of 6 power.  Remember that none of your cards are vulnerable to Shadowy Mentor while Seven Evils is in play -- you can just Toast them in response to give Seven Evils Independent.
 

Sherriff Agathon
Yowza, this card gives me a healthy fear of the law.  To start off with we have Regenerate, which is kick-ass on a character with 8 Fighting.  Add in the turbo Imprisoned, and you've just got a great rebate on your investment in the Sheriff.  And, I bet you just imprisoned the lone defender of a FSS, making it an even better deal.  Agathon is a demon, so that has a few ups and downs, but it should work to your advantage.  If you're playing a healthy 70+ card deck, his discard your hand shouldn't be too much of a drawback, although he may sit in your hand a turn or two before playing him is optimal.

  Shi Zi Hui
Probably the best character with Tactics, Shi Zi Hui is a good choice for a hitter, both in Eunuch and non-Eunuch decks.  Drawing a cards is a good thing, and this general lets you do that.  It is possible to construct a deck with Shi Zi Hui and Evil Twin that lets you draw your entire deck in 2-3 turns, which lets you sit back and control how you will go for the win.  And Inauspicious Return is going to make sure you have lots of characters attacking to draw cards with.
  Shui Yu
He we have as Demon thug -- 6 Fighting-for-4 Power with a so-so ability.  The Water Demon does punish people for playing mono-faction decks, but since they get to choose how they will intercept, his ability prevents him from ever being intercepted by two characters of the same faction, and will always be intercepted by the most advantageous for your opponent.  The best use of Shui Yu is to Rig Dis his ability on the unwary -- in that way it's almost a drawback if you are going up against the Hand.
  Shun Kan
There may be some turbo-dueling deck that makes good use of this card, but it's mostly a big wall.  If play Shun Kan and attack, you've just spent 4 power to for a 7 Fighting no ability character, of which you should be doing better.  The way to try and make it work is with The Dragon Throne, Proving Grounds or Cave Networks, and maybe Lai Kuang.  The Hungry would also be good to refuel this demon's ability to attack.  Just throwing him in a deck doesn't work -- you really need to combo him with a blanking ability, and then you've still only got a 3-for-7 unless you've got a cost break mechanism.
  Tanbi Guiawu
Tanbi is a big dumb beast.  Almost as good a ratio as Sergeant Blightman, Tanbi's 9 Fighting takes Sites, not to mention that it can't be touched by Nerve Gas.  Usually you will want to have Tanbi as part of the first attack you declare in a turn, as your opponents' will try to burn you by making that attack unsuccessful if Tanbi isn't included to try and trigger his Smoke drawback.  Don't overlook Larcenous Mist, as it can save this card in a pinch.
  Ten Thousand Agonies
T-Dogg pointed out that this card is a lot like Dirk Wisely -- it's a trick card to do a lot of damage for less power.  If you can clear the way, you are going to hit for a lot.  If you get intercepted, you're not.  The card should also play like Sergeant Blightman, and you're going to want a Sacred Heart Hospital to make sure he hits for 9.  Simon Johnston from the UK pointed out to me that Ten Thousand Agonies works pretty well with Amulet of the Turtle -- you can absorb damage at the normal rate, but the only the overspill is +1.
  The Burning King
How can you not love 14 Fighting?  This guy is HUGE!  I think you can have some fun with the card, but it gets hurt a lot by not being able to enter play when you are ahead -- this is a case of paranoia by the designers.  I sort of think of the Burger King in the same vein as the old Thunder King, only worse.
  The Nefarious Master Chin
What really kills this card is it's onerous three-resource requirements.  It's got two average abilities -- about the only thing that makes them interesting is that they are linked, so you can try to maximize them.  I know a straight-up 4c-for-7f with no resource requirements would be insane, but I think two resources is still reasonable given that it has an ability that triggers mostly out of faction.  Yeah yeah, he works with death ring, but it would be a lot cooler if you have some reliability when combining Master Chin with any of the three factions that actually give you a Faceoff event. 
  The Strangled Scream
Another thug, the Scream has a couple of interesting designators -- Netherworld Horror.  When you think of the Lotus, you think of Demons and Eunuchs, not this guy.  His ability is a turtle power -- normally you want to be attacking with an 8 Fighting character, but to use the Scream effectively, you want to hold him back and use his ability on an opponents turn.  Chances are that you are not going to be denying someone resources, but maybe you can foil a Comeback, or better yet, play some killer character like the Gunman and punish your opponent for being a cheeser.  Glimpse of the Abyss just might give you enough Power to get this guy rolling.
Thing with a 1000 Tongues
"Yum, yum -- eat 'em up!" is the Thing's rallying cry.  If you can keep a few resource characters to feed the Thing with, this card is remarkably hard to get rid of.  And he takes sites.  Since this card's ability requires a sacrifice, it doesn't work with Inauspicious Return, but it does still work great with Tortured Memories.  You can also try to pull off Sinister Accusations with Purist Sorcerer to feed your Thing as well.
  Tommy Hsu
This hood sorcerer is not great, but he's not bad, either.  He's got the failsafe Mentor protection of being able to eat himself, and he's got some resistance to Events, even though it hurts.  You can play Vassals with him, but you will be reducing your access to Magic or passing up the really amazing Palace Guards to do so.  I don't think the Lotus Hood deck is really where it wants to be yet.
  Walker of the Purple Twilight
Another great uncommon for sealed play, the Walker just doesn't hold up in constructed.  His ability is very solid, and triggers much more often then Jueding Shelun's (which is along similar lines), but at a whopping 5 cost, the Walker just doesn't make it into many decks when there are better hitters that cost less power.
  Xin Kai Sheng
According to the storyline, Xin Kai Sheng eventually winds up on the Dragon Throne after the Throne War shakes out.  As such, XKS has a pretty nifty ability -- he gain permanent control of anyone he Smokes when attacking.  This makes him an part of an anti-character rather than an Site taking strategy (although opponent's will be hesitant to intercept XKS if he does go for a Site).  Healing abilities go well with this card, so Sacred Heart is a must, and consider cards like Chinese Doctor or Beneficial Realignment if you have the correct factions.
 
 

EVENTS

  Banish
The Dragons ruining your day?  Banish them!  This card almost always gets you ahead on power, and it also really slows the Dragons down.  They would much prefer you to Smoke their characters to set them up for a Golden Comeback.  Sending their hitter back to their hand is just going to cost them extra power and clog up their draws.  Watch out for Ring of Gates.
Bribery
While this card looks cheaper than Tortured Memories, it's still a 2 power swing -- you are -1, and your opponent is +1 (although costing you only 1 can be huge).  That said, I think there is going to be a place for Bribery in a lot of Lotus decks.  It doesn't replace tortured, it just gives you additional options, and I would take a look at your local meta-game to see how much usage you can get out of it.  The event is just made for Ravenous Devourer, where you are going to be munching up the junk you steal.   If your group is anthing like ours, you see this card on a daily basis.  It's almost as good as Tortured Memories, and the 1-cost just gives you extra options (as well as making opponents leery when you save just 1 power).
  Chin's Criminal Network
I'm not a fan of Master Chin.  As for his Criminal Network, it's sort of along the lines of Now You Made Us Mad!  You are hoping to gain 1 power, rarely 2, and a lot of the time you are just playing this card for no power at all.  The problem with this type of card is that it is of most use when you are ahead, and not as much when you are behind, which is when you really need the power.  I recommend seriously looking at Pocket Demon and Glimpse of the Abyss before including this card in your deck.  This is a Hood card, so you can try and beef up Luis a little with it.
  Corruption
This is a card to watch in the set, and has the potential to become a staple event for the Lotus.  It's a lot like Shaking the Mountain, but not quite as powerful.  To compensate, the resources are lighter, and it has the odd ability to sneak in a little damage.  The timing on this one is a little tough -- often you will want to play it in response to your opponent playing a character -- that way they can't declare an attack.
  Dance of the Centipede
Since cards that turn are essentially a free effect, you will be down on power when you play Dance of the Centipede.  So, you need to weigh when you are going to play this card.  Usually, you are best of saving it to cancel at Site (like Fox Pass or City Square) the turn you go for the win.  Of course, Whirlpool of Blood accomplishes the lion's share of what this card does.
Demonic Plague
I'm not so sure about this card.  In multiples it can start clogging up your hand size, but playing only a couple in your deck can clear out some early junk or get in some free damage.  I think this card will play somewhat like Helix Chewer.  Who knows, this could be the ultimate card Red Wedding is remembered for, going in every Lotus deck, unbalancing the game when drawn first turn.  I'm a lot more sure about this card now -- I love it.  There is not reason not to play one in every Lotus deck, and maybe more if you got some spiffy tricks.  The worst part about this card is remembering to return it to your hand --we often try to keep it at the top of the smoked pile, staring us in the face, so we remember.  Also, if your opponents are playing this card, you really want to keep close track of it to avoid a bonehead play forgetting about their 1 point zap.
Die!!!
A 0 cost Neutron Bomb that only effects your opponents -- what were they thinking?  By itself, this kills a dinky foundation character.  With a few characters in play, it strategically take out your opponents' characters.  With a large character base, you are wiping the board or smacking some serious hitters.  Die!!! even takes out the Golden Gunmen as it doesn't target.  Once again, Palace Guards come to the forefront as a card you want to play -- when they declare an attack against a Lotus card of yours, you can return the Guards, declare them as interceptors, and turn them to fuel a big Die!!!  And it works great with Inauspicious Return, too.
 

Detonating Corpses
While this card looks interesting on the surface, when you finally get around to playing it, you'll find that it's not that useful.  The problem with Detonating Corpses is that the opportunity to play it is very narrow (but at least much easier to play than the similar Life in the Fast Lane).  You have to have the card in hand, a power, and a character you control has to be smoked at a location with a lot of opponents' characters.  Remember, if you are trying to set this up as a combo, you have to consider the cost to play the character you are detonating as part of the total cost to play this card.  Generally, you going to be happier with a straight up zap (Shattering Fire, Shrieking Witch Heads or Discerning Fire).  The exception to this is when you have a deck with a heavy free recursion theme -- Destroyer, Underworld Tracker and Demon Whiskey.  A caveat emptor:  remember that using this card is usually going to be at the end of a failed attack, and if you clear an opponent's board, you may be leaving them vulnerable to to another opponent to scavenge an easy site.

Mr. Strange adds:
    I think that you'll see this card played in a bunch of decks that steal characters.  I think I'd rate this significantly higher if I were planning to use and opponent's character as the corpse. Playing it on my own hitter is always a back-up plan. This card also allows a single decent hitter to defend vs. a horde of weenies.

  Evil Chanting
The second ability of this event is its primary ability.  I don't really expect to see enough Seven Masters characters in play to be zapping them all the time, and 1 power for 4 damage isn't that great.  The +2 damage could be useful with Inauspicious Return, and it's clearly better than GeoScan Report, which is a fizzle for a card.  Note that this effects all Lotus characters, so avoid (or use to your advantage) this bonus on your opponents' characters.  The quote was almost right -- Oh no!  Why am I playing Evil Chanting?
 

Dust Storm
I think this card has some potential in getting through waxy character buildup.  It's kind of like giving Stealth to all attacking characters.  Unless they come back and nerf the wording, it can be played at any time during an attack, and since there is time for new scenes between combat with interceptors, you can save this for the character you really want to bypass.  And, if you have two in your hand (and the power to play them), you can play multiple Dust Storms during the same attack, bypassing multiple interceptors.

  Evil Whispers
This one is kind of sketchy.  It requires magic, so you need to think about your resource characters.  It doesn't replace Pocket Demon as a comeback card, and it doesn't have the raw power of Glimpse of the Abyss (which also combos with a lot of cards that work when you are farther from victory).  It might be okay as a speed bump card since it can be triggered off of opponents playing their third Feng Shui or the majority of the non-FSS.  Definitely better in four-player, where you have a reasonable chance of it not staying in your hand for more than a turn.  I've played it in a few decks, but I think it's only left in my Eunuch deck right now.  It's just not enough of a boost to really make it worth taking up a card slot (unlike IKTV Special Report, which shows that 2 power is better than 1)
Flying Sleeves
This is a pretty straight-forward card -- Flying Sleeves is a one-shot Fox Pass.  That said, we all know how good Fox Pass is, but this card plays a little different.  This card lets you stop a win, but at the cost of taking some damage yourself, so you want to use Flying Sleeves sparingly.  Note that this card does not trigger Palace Guards or Blessed Orchard -- their effect (and several others) are based on the Declaration of the attack, not the target.
  Hypnotized!
Here we have a very marginal event.  First off, do you have
resources?  If yes, have you considered playing Larcenous Mist?  Secondly, so you have any resources?  Is there a zap that's going to just plain get rid of that guy you don't want intercepting?  Maybe I'm spoiled, but for 1 power, I really need a card to do something good more often than this will.  (for reference, compare this to a very solid but not broken card, Prisoner of the Monarchs).  I hate to say it, but is this card almost worse than Dance of the Centipede?  Yeah, it removes an interceptor, but it won't cancel a site, state or edge in a pinch.
Glimpse of the Abyss
While this card is not as abusive as Dangerous Experiment was before it was given errata, Glimpse of the Abyss is still on the cusp of being a game breaker.  Gaining power is good, and being one Site farther from victory can often turn into an asset.  It lets you build a larger Site structure while being less threatening, and it lets you take advantage of cards like Nine Dragon Temple which key off of being farther from victory.  Since this card requires three resources, you don't want to play more than a few in a multifaction deck, but in a pure Lotus deck stock up because even playing this on the third turn for 2-3 power can win you a game if you can drop a hitter and burn a Site for power.
Inauspicious Reburial
While Inauspicious Reburial can totally take one player out of the game, that may not always be a good thing.  Often that will destabilize a multiplayer game and throw it into chaos, not putting you on top as you thought it would.  In dueling, if you can get ahead, you can lock out an opponent.  But, the faction that you really want to use this against, Dragons (because of Golden Comeback and high resource requirements on many cards), has the best defense with Hacker, which shuts Reburial right down, and the Gambit's which provide resources that you can't Toast with this card.
Inauspicious Return
While you can't just throw Inauspicious Return in any deck, it can be quite devastating in the right deck.  You have two ways to go -- either specialty 1 cost characters that you want to keep in play like Gardeners or Scrappy Kids, or you are going for brute for damage with cards like Arcanowave Reinforcer.  Of course, you could play with Feast of Souls or Imperial Boon (with 1 cost Eunuchs) and turn Inauspicious Return into a power generating card.  This card has inspired more decks than any other Z-Man card.
Infernal Pact
While drawing a specific card you need isn't a bad thing, most Shadowfist decks are so chocked full of good cards that drawing anything will give you options.  While Infernal Pact is a 0 cost Event, it really costs you at least one power to play as you have to sacrifice an unturned character.  You can also try Fox Pass/Flying Sleeves tricks with Infernal Pact -- change the target of a character's attack to your unturned Sinister Priest, then sacrifice him to look for a card and make the attack unsuccessful in the process.  It also works with Tortured Memories on defense in a pinch -- steal the biggest attacker, intercept the next biggest, then sacrifice it to the Infernal Pact.
  Infernal Plague
This is a pretty junky event.  You are hoping to Smoke at least three of their characters to break even.  The Monarch's Mark of Fire is much superior at this type of damage.  And Die!!! does the same as Infernal Plague and a whole lot more usually.  Not to mention the new event Corruption which looks to be better in 90% of situations.
  Infernal Plot
This card may be a little bit better in dueling than I rate it just because it isn't vulnerable to Hacker like Reburial and Conspiracy.  It really can hose one player really bad -- which is why I don't like it in multiplayer.  Taking one player out of game destabilizes it too much, and doesn't benefit you nearly as much as the cost.  In a duel where you can Glimpse for quick power, you can hope to completely slow someone down by hosing all their resources, buying a time advantage.
  Necromantic Conspiracy
Generally you only want to play Necromantic Conspiracy if you have power to spare, as it's 2 cost is never directly recouped.  You get the advantage over the game by denying the target opponent one of their key cards.  Shadowy Mentor is always a great target for this card, as are Neutron Bomb and any Event takeout.  Don't overlook taking out a character if your opponent is overly dependent on just one or two power hitters.
  Poisoned!
This is for all of you who already have 5 Infernal Plagues in your deck, and it's just not enough.  Sorry, but this event isn't making me feel the love.  This is basically a waste of a card slot in your deck, as there are so many more useful cards that you can play.  Even Corruption, which isn't great, but can be a situational game winner (let alone a good card like Demonic Plague).  Still a no show.  Just in case you are still considering playing Poisoned! remember that all your opponents get to declare interceptions independently, and you are never going to zap more than one opponent's characters with this event.
  Rend Chi
While this card looks okay at first glance, it's hard to pull off.  It gets even harder once your opponents expect it.  There is a reasonable opportunity cost of having a character with damage counters on it and an opponent having a character at the same location.  Since the Lotus also have the benefit of Regenerating characters and characters that return to play when Smoked, Rend Chi is sort of an anti-combo.  You are often better off playing Shattering Fire to get some damage in.  Note that removing damage is Healing, so you can't use this with cards that can't be healed.
  Shifting Loyalties
Shifting Loyalties is one of those cards that you really want to squeeze into your deck.  Not only does it just plain hose the Ascended (Pledged and Mercenary are very common designators for them), you also can occasionally get these cards as well:  Hsiung-nu Mercenaries, Mooks, Cheap Punks, Nine Cuts or Marisol. 
  Shrieking Witch Heads
The event plays very much like Shattering Fire, except that it's going to get you a little more damage in most cases.  You should expect to see it most in decks that don't have a lot of Magic (for Discerning Fire) and decks not tuned around Inauspicious Return/Palace Guards/Die!!!  Direct damage has been a little bit out of favor, and this might bring it back some.  I've tried with the Witch Heads, and it's really fallen short as a zap.  The * Fires have been better, since I almost always have magic in my Lotus decks -- but then again, Lotus decks without Magic seem to really fizzle for me, it it may be just as much a function of the deck as this event.
  Throwdown in Chinatown
Besides having the best card title in the set, Throwdown is another in the Lotus' growing arsenal of events.  At one time they had Tortured Memories and that was about it -- the last two sets have given them this and Corruption.  Throwdown is an alternative to Die!!! -- Die!!! works when you have characters in play, and Throwdown works best when you don't.  Saving up two of these is going to dish out 16 points of damage in a four player game -- that's almost a Neutron Bomb.  I expect Die!!! to still rule in mono-Lotus decks, and expect to see Throwdown crop up in multi-faction decks because of it's light resource requirement.
Tortured Memories
Tortured Memories is probably the Lotus second best Event, only topped by Glimpse.  The obvious use is to take your opponent's characters and use them to take sites, but often the better use is as character takeout and creating unsuccessful attacks.  If an opponent is attacking and has two hitters in play, you can Torture one to intercept the other, hopefully Smoking both.  In this way, this Event behaves very much like Discerning Fire, but without having to match designators.  The only faction that this trick has trouble against is the Dragons, with both Ting Ting and the Golden Gunman being immune to Tortured Memories.
Verminous Rain
I think this card is strong.  Early game, you are using Verminous Rain to speed bump a Gambling House or other site that is giving a quick boost to an opponent.  Late game you can reload this and use it to punch through for a win.  Notice that it cancels all sites, not just those that turn (such as Puzzle Gardens and Temple of the Angry Spirits).  It at all possible, you want to avoid toasting The Destroyer, Underworld Trackers and Palace Guards when reloading.  If a deck of mine has Lotus and Magic, espect to see at least 1 of this card.  I don't overload because I can reload it when needed, and you don't have to worry about it clogging your hand is it's eminently dumpable on a random site in play.
  "You Fell into my Trap!"
Anyone who's old school knows the ups and downs of Cave Network.  It's a strong card, but can be greatly negated by an opponent who knows how to play against it.  I rarely play decks based around Cave Network, but I've been known to throw one in a deck here an there just for the extra surprise factor.  YFintoMT is very similar.  If you load up on them (and Cave Networks), they are going to clog your hand as your opponents will build sites and defenses, and wait on attacking until it's to their advantage.  But, one or two can be a nasty trick.  You can always discard YFintoMT -- it's not like you've committed to the strategy as you when playing a Cave Network.  I still haven't built the deck, but I still the card has some playability, although it might not be as good as just packing 1-2 Cave Networks to keep your opponents honest.
 
 

STATES

  Deathtrap
Deathtrap is a great deterrent to being attacked in multiplayer.  People love plinking sites with their leftover resource characters, but they will look for other targets than sites with this State on them.   Deathtrap goes especially well with Puzzle Garden, Temple of Angry Spirits and Dragon Mountain.  And a Deathtrap (or two) on Hartwell Iron Works is just rude.
  The Demon Within
This card has three uses -- it can pump up your resource characters a bit, it can be used in conjunction with Monster Hunter to take your opponents characters and it can be used to Smoke your opponents' Demons.  Even with so many uses, the heavy cost of 2 power often makes other cards a better option.
  Demon Tank
This tank is quite unspectacular, but this is partially due to Hell Charger -- two similar cards (in the same set) with one being standout better than the other.  Also, this card has a major drawback of not being able to be played on Demons, which is going to limit either your deck construction or play opportunities.
  Drugged!
Slightly beefed up Helix Chewer, maybe along the lines of Pain Feedback.  Either way, it's a marginal card, and along with Hypnotized! and Poisoned, the Lotus has created it's own axis of evil that we should call up the national guard and stamp them out once and for all.  This is not a card that people have been playing -- Demonic Plague is just such a bomb that it's hard to outshine it.  Still, this would be an okay card in a draft or sealed game.
 

Devil's Rope
This is the retail only promo.  This plays a little like Lateral Reincarnation in that you are probably going to use it on a character that is about to be zapped.  You can also use it to make an attack against a character at this location unsuccessful.  But, where the trick in this card may lie is that it's a permanent way to sacrifice characters (or at least 1 a turn), so you can try to work out sacrifice tricks.. Probably a little expensive at 1 power, but that's what Hidden Tomb is for.

  Evil Master
Spending 3 power on a state in the age of the Waterfall is a risky proposition.  Evil Master is about as blah as they get.  Sure, it's good for sneaking through damage after interception, but that is more than countered by the fragile nature of the state.  Gimme a solid 4c-for-7f almost any day of the week.  The exceptions are if you can find a really useful character to take advantage of the Fighting bonus, like The Mantis, but even then, I'd be much happier with a Sword of the Master (or even a Pump-Action Shotgun)..
  Fearsome Foe
Sometimes you can pull a trick with this card, but a lot of the time, it just means a resource character gets in the way while the real interception happens elsewhere.  It only really becomes useful when opponents have only one possible interceptor, but that's pretty rare for good targets.
  Five Fingers of Death
Son of Really Big Gun and Bride of Disintegrator Ray all in one state!  I'm not a big fan of either of those, and you can probably guess that I won't be a fan of Five Fingers.  As for the toasting part, I just hate to spend 1 power and a character to do it, and for damage, Shotgun gets you +3.  If you're toasting, I'd go with Abysmal Absorber and the Displaced over this card every time.
  Flying Guillotine
This cards saving grace is that it's zero cost.  If you are lucky, you can try to do 2 damage to a character for no power outlay, which is a so so deal at best considering the hoops you have to go through to get Flying Guillotine to work.  Of course, it's a really cool movie that this card comes from, and that makes it almost worth playing!
  Gloating Laughter
This is a strong candidate for the worst version of Training Sequence yet award.  Limited states are just going to clog up your hand.  Sure, you play one copy in a eunuch deck, but that's it.
  Hell Charger
Whoa Nellie!  Keeping with the new standard of Sword of the Master, this state packs some punch for your power, and is a nice surprise in any deck.  In my experience, the heal 2 damage is almost as good as regenerate. and turning to change location makes sure that you are making the decisions when it comes to intercepting.
 

Involuntary Embalming
This is a situationally useful card.  First off, it has the huge potential to hurt you, especially if you are working the recursion angle that I see in a lot of Lotus decks.  The 2-for-1 Fighting toast is kinda harsh, so you probably wont be getting much more than +4, and possibly less.  Still, this can be quite powerful on the right character, such as one with Regenerate.  Also, you have to think about the situations when you are playing this card -- I suspect it will either be to take a site, or save a character of your from being smoked in combat while smoking your opponent's character.  When you do play this, you ideally want enough resources in play so as not to cripple yourself -- an Infernal Temple or two might go a long way in this case.

  Inexorable Corruption
Have no doubts about it, Inexorable Corruption is very slow when played against an opponent.  Usually you go for a site unless you know they are relying on healing (like Sacred Heart Hospital) to keep the pressure up, in which case you might want to throw this on their hitter.  Remember you can't seize a site that is the subject of this card since the damage can't be removed (the site will be Smoked immediately after you seize it).  Don't overlook playing Inexorable Corruption on a site of your own if you will be hosed if your opponent seizes it -- that way they will have to burn it.  Of course, you could put this on your own Turtle Island or Inauspicious Termites to create a Feng Shui site that your opponents can't burn or seize.
  Larcenous Fog
Spend two power to nullify an opponent's site?  Ick.  This goes along with all those other incredibly bad 2-cost Lotus states like Veiling of the Light and and Sphere of Defilement.  Definitely not the answer to the Temple of Angry Spirits.  Compare with the Jammers Sabotage.
  Poison Needles
This card will Smoke any other card in the game, provided that your opponent is unwilling to pay 1 power ever turn.  But if you do the math, you find that you often wind up on the short end.  If you play it on a site, that site will usually wind up paying for the Poison Needles, so it will take three turns for you to get ahead, and games can be won or lost in three turns, so you may never get your power back.  If you play it on a character, more often than not, that character will be running into other characters, getting Smoked by combat damage before your opponent has to pay for this State.  And, if there are no characters for them to run into, they are taking Sites.  All around, this is usually a losing proposition.
  Sinister Accusations
On it's own, Sinister Accusations isn't going to get you far.  But in combination with other cards, it can be extremely powerful.  The cards you need to make it work are those that interact with designators, and the Lotus has two of the best, Purist Sorcerer and Shifting Loyalties.  Both of these can make Sinister Accusations a devastating card.  Don't overlook Discerning Fire -- while it gets expensive, this State can insure you two targets.  You will also want an Identity Chop Shop in any deck where you are doing designator tricks.
  Soul Theft
This could be fun in a multiplayer game where you are biding your time, and are lying low and trying to annoy your opponents.  Unfortunately, Soul Theft only triggers off of smoking by damage, so when the Neutron Bomb goes off, you are out of luck.  If you add in Shrieking Witch Heads, you have the poor man's Shadowy Mentor, but this combo is probably balanced (Mentor is broken).  Tortured Memories and Bribery are just too good to play the card with any frequency.  And Waterfall Sanctuary and Stone Dolmens just kill this card.  Between Tortured Memories and Bribery, it's just so hard to squeeze this into a deck (not to mention all the State-hate out there).  Still, I do have one in one deck -- I've stolen Ting Ting with Xin Kai Sheng, and I'm gonna steal her with Soul Theft one day too!
  Sphere of Defilement
Two power is a lot to pay for an effect that only slows down an opponent.  Yes, Sphere of Defilement will make them think twice about using their Sites at every opportunity, but they will still use them when they need to.  You can hope to weaken their sites enough to make them easy to take, but for the same power you can get in two Killing Rains, which are more reliable.
  Sword of Biting
Yes this does let your weenies do 4 extra damage.  So what?  This card is hard to use, and 9 times out of 10 you will do just as well (if not better) with Shattering Fire.
  Terracotta Warriors
This state pretty much goes in the Deadly Sites deck along with Death Trap, and not anywhere else.  It's a bland deterrent, and probably not even as good as Death Trap.  But, if you can get a couple out, you might have a pretty tough site.  Of course, if an opponent does seize the subject, you might find that you can't get through the army of Terracotta Warriors yourself.  With 2FT's Hidden Tomb, you can play this state for free.  Our play has sown that Deathtrap is generally better, but we really favor 1-cost foundations over the more costly ones.  Still, this is a pretty janky card.
  Theft of Fortune
Theft of Fortune needs about 3 turns in play for you to feel like you've broken even for playing it.  Odds are you are using the damage to reveal sites, since your opponent will try to avoid having characters that will be overly vulnerable to the effect.  Odds are, you would be better off playing Inexorable Corruption if you are playing a long game and are willing to do your damage over many turns.
 

Two-Headed Horror
This is a pretty evil card.  2 power to smoke an opponent's character is okay, especially when out of faction in the Lotus.  Then you have a bonus copy ability, which is hit or miss.  Of course, there is often some great synergy in copying abilities.  What hampers Two-Headed Horror is that it can be difficult to set up.  You need a character in play with Fighting higher than your target (you can always suicide a resource or two to make sure this is the case) and you need 2 power -- all of which makes this difficult to pull off in a single turn.  Still, when you can do it, it's extra satisfying for the double hose on your opponent.

  Underworld Gateway
This state is sure to get a lot of buzz during discussions of Seven Masters vs. the Underworld.  Clearly there is going to be an entire new deck archetype built around this new way to achieve victory.  All of the initial decks will be mono-Lotus, but there may be other abusive combo with another faction.  I expect Underworld Gateway decks to be very small and tight, as they need to draw at least 3 copies of this state to win.  As a starting point, I would consider playing Turtle Islands just to make sure there are sites in play as targets.  This one is going to take some time to shake out -- is it da bomb?  Or is it the next Power of the Great? 

Chris Turner writes in: 
I made a deck with Underworld gateways/illusory bridge/operation green strike for GENCON this past weekend. So these two virtually useless cards are absolutely essential in a rather annoying (though so far ineffective) deck type, and you might want to update your reviews if you feel inclined. Everyone I played with except Josh and Julian had no idea what I was doing until the first Gateway came out without me even attacking. Joy.

I have yet to hear of Underworld Gateway taking a major win.  Unfortunately, your opponents can gang up on you and really shut down your alternate victory condition, and if you can't manage a 5 site win when beaten down, you are in trouble.  I made a really funky UG deck that plays 5 Who's the Big Man Now?!? as it's punch through -- it doesn't do well, but it can occasionally generate some amusing plays.

  Vampiric Touch
The best use of Vampiric Touch  is not obvious at first glance of the rules text, Smoking an opponent's character.  You can slap this on their hitter, and declare the end of your turn, hoping they don't have an Event that can Smoke a character.  Trying to use this offensively is very difficult, and the best you can hope for is maybe two or three characters being Smoked the turn you play this State.  Don't expect your character to live another turn unless you have a way of Smoking a character during an opponents' turn, as it is unlikely that they will make an attack that gives you a chance at Smoking a character in combat.
  Veiling of the Light
It's hard to say whether this card will help or hurt an opponent.  Having sites that don't count towards victory is often a good thing -- you generate extra power and aren't as big of a threat for an immediate win.  This will slow your opponent one turn if they are about to win, but at a cost of two power, you will need to counterattack fast.
 
 

EDGES

  Chains of Bone
You are hoping to slow down Ascended players with Chains of Bone.  All of their characters still get to attack once, and the all get to defend.  This card will get Smoked by Realpolitik eventually, so you are hoping for it to have at least a 4 turn lifespan to start seeing an advantage.  This card is nowhere near as powerful as its opposite, Monkey King.
Feast of Souls
Feast of Souls is very slow, and it can take you many turns to recoup the cost.  Usually, you don't want to play this Edge unless you have several characters in play already, allowing you a jump on gaining the 4 power back.  I'm real down on expensive Edges since Eater of Fortune came out.  Remember it doesn't trigger off of Sacrifices, so you don't get power throwing priests to you Thing.
  Flood on the Mountain
This card just never pays the bills.  Dragon players see a Flood on the Mountain coming way in advance, and will be sending their characters off on suicidal attacks.  And Flood does nothing to characters with Toughness, and practically nothing to characters with Guts, and that is what the Dragon player will concentrate on once this card hits the table.
  Imperial Boon
Turning Eunuchs to gain power means you aren't attacking with them or using them with Die!!!  With the addition of Eater of Fortune in Throne Wars, Imperial Boon is all that easier to Smoke, taking all of your Eunuchs with them.  Imperial Palace and The Dragon Throne are much at getting a power advantage in a Eunuch deck.
  Insidious Plan
I like generating power, and I even like drawing cards upon occasion.  This card gives you a chance to do both.  I look at it as sort of a second-rate long-term Drug Lab.  Play it, and wait it out, and hope to get a big payoff later.  One nice thing is that it's near impossible for your opponents to zap it without you being able to pop it off for power after the turn you played it has ended and you've put a counter on it (hint, don't play it if there's a Fist of Shadow in play).   This card is as slow as I thought it was, but it's still okay.  I still like Throne of Skulls just a tad better (but it is rare and harder to find), unless you have some trick that makes use of sacrificing cards.
  Spies Everywhere
Coasters everywhere?  First off, never activate this ability against an opponent you expect of playing Resistance Squads.  The high resource conditions more than offset the low cost.  I guess you are hoping to get some advantage of knowing what denial your opponent has in hand, but that still doesn't give you info on any face-down feng shui sites they may have, which is just as much a problem.  In general, I find this type of information of minimal use -- it's nowhere near Covert Operation, which gives you knowledge and lets you strip a card, or even Curtain of Fullness, which can clear the way for a winning attack or just generally hose an opponent.
Throne of Skulls
This might gain you a little power, but by the time you get the resources out and get this in to play, I don't know how much game will be left to gain power from this.  Remember that this doesn't trigger off of Sacrifice, so you can't steal and much stuff and gain power.  Simon Johnston pointed out that Throne of Skulls has potential when played in combination with The Destroyer, Rev. Paine and using Big Brother Tsien as foundation.  I've seen this card enough now to show that's a good option when considering your alt-power generations in a Lotus deck -- it's going to give you a small and steady boost, and you're cripped by burning-for-victory with it like you are with Pocket Demon.
  Underworld Contract
This is a trick card -- it looks a lot better than it really is.  At 3 Lotus resources, it's very slow, and doesn't give you that early game boost when you need it.  That said, it's still okay to throw into a Demon deck and hope to generate a couple power over a longer game, and maybe a little more if you overload on stuff to make attacks unsuccessful.  Of course in multiplayer this becomes more a deterrent to attack than a power generating trick, but not being attack isn't that bad if your deck has room for a little offense with all the defense.
  Underworld Presence
You occasionally will see an Underworld Presence as a free spot in a deck, but this card has such unpredictable results and you can never predict exactly what it will do.  You can try to maximize the effect by playing characters that can't turn to heal and Regenerating characters.  You can also try to get around Underworld Presence with Sacred Heart Hospital, but it will be a major target for your opponents to seize.
  Wasting Curse
I think this is the next Underworld Presence.  You play Wasting Curse when you want to annoy your opponents without really winning.  It effects your own characters too, so it's a real downer.  It's not limited, so you could get 5 of these in play if you are an evil bastard.  While I rarely see Underworld Presence in some terrible deck, I've yet to see Wasting Curse take the stage.  Also, with so many Big Bruisers out there, it doesn't seem like it would be effective... hrm... that gives me a deck idea...
 
 

SITES

  Death Ring
Well, it's an obvious combo with Master Chen (and about the only reliable way to get him in a Faceoff because of the high resource requirements).  Most of the time it's going to be a limited form of assassinate, that can be used out of turn.
  Guiya Zui
While the Demon Site is better than I Ching because you can actually filter your draw more by discarding unwanted cards, it's still very expensive for the effect.  Throwing Guiya Zui in a Tower of Power (large 100+ card decks) is one of the better uses, as you are planning on a slower game and the card filtering is more important.
  Hall of Brilliance
See Feng Shui Sites
Haunted Forest
I'm not really sure about this site.  It can be darn powerful, but it's also hard to position correctly.  I'll have to play with it some more -- I expect the place to try it is in the Palace Guard/Imperial Palace deck, where it will be a bit easier to defend.  Time will tell if this turns into a standard weapon for the Lotus, or a highly-specialized combo card.  This cars still draws mixed opinions from people, and I'm in the it's good camp.  You have to have power sites to copy, and since it's only 4 body, you have to be able to defend it (think of it like a KHouse that needs a combo).  Where the problem lies is that your side structure can fall like a house of cards if it gets cracked.  Oh, added bonus, Haunted Forest in not a Feng Shui Site, so Whirlpool of Blood doesn't stop it (but Field of Tentacles will).
  Imperial Palace
By itself, you probably aren't playing Imperial Palace.  But, if you are playing a Eunuch deck, this Site has the potential to generate 3 power a turn, and you can use it the turn you play it to make its cost effectively one.   Of course you will want lots of Eunuchs and Guards to take advantage of this, and Eunuch Underling, Earth Poisoner and both Imperial and Elite Guards pop out for free.  You can also get a break on your big hitters -- Gao Zhang pops out for only 4 power if you have the Imperial Palace in play.  Hall of Brilliance has its own built-in combo with this Site, and of course Palace Guards do a decent job defending the Imperial Palace.
  Infernal Temple
The real power of this card is not that it provides Magic resources, the power of Infernal Temple is a Lotus card.  This means that your Palace Guards will return to play when an attack is declared against it, so it can be used to set up a reasonable defense.
  Registry of the Damned
A lot of people have mixed feelings about Registry of the Damned, but in the right deck, it can be quite powerful.  It combos well with two characters -- Palace Guards to defend it and Walking Corpses to recycle with it (not only are the Corpses good by themselves, they only need two Registry counters to play).  Of course, having this Site seized by an opponent can really stink, as they play cards from your Smoked pile, and you may be fighting against your own Walking Corpses.
The Dragon Throne
Any deck that shares a lot of designators can take advantage of the Dragon Throne.  The trick is to make this Site generate at least one power every turn, with being able to play two characters with it is optimal.  Oddly enough, a minor problem for the Lotus is that they have too many cost reducing cards -- if you get Gao Zhang, Imperial Palace and Dragon Throne into play, you may not be able to take advantage of all that cost reduction.  Also be prepared to defend this Site, as your opponents will want to seize this and chose a new designator.
  The Twisted Gardens
I don't think there is much reason to play this outside a Demon deck.  A Toughness:1 site isn't bad, but how often to you play Dragon Mountain?  In the Demon deck, it's a nice little utility, but not a foundation.  It also bites  I don't quite get the +3 Body ability -- I guess it's just a kicker to try and make you play with the Demon Site...
  The White Leopard Club
This card has a very powerful effect, but at a huge drawback.  2 Body stinks, and unless you are playing an almost all Hood deck, I'd skip it.  Unfortunately, this is only main shot, so you can't use it to cancel those Pocket Demons when you want to (especially since the Club only fuels them).  When playing against White Leopard Club, it's probably best to smoke it unless you can stick it back row behind a well defended site, as your opponent will quickly grab it back and have it beefy again.
 

 

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