art (c) Mike Trap
Sixguns and Shuriken is the old west expansion for the Shadowfist CCG.
The best place to find it is at the
Shadowfist Web page via
For this set, I am adding a new feature to my card reviews -- a numerical
rating. Since these are totally subjective, I always enjoy feedback from
those of you who have differing opinions!
0: Total Coaster
1: Bad, don't play this card
2: Average, could be better
2.5: The Benchmark for playing
3: Solid, play this card
I have to say that the Architect cards are
definitely on the strong side, with only a few cards that have their heads
clearly out of the water. A few of the cards are a little specialized
for my tastes, but they do what they do well enough.
Not a lot to say about this guy. Low resources and two boldface
ability makes this pretty useful in almost any deck. Where Agent
Tanaka will excel is in the old Midnight Whisperer BuroMil Godhammer deck,
making him a bargain at 4 power for 7 Ambush damage. While bland, this
is the type of card I like because it promotes aggression. Assassinate
could be mildly amusing until you get a gun, but once you do, sites will be
your primary target. And he's Ninja Seven.
More Architect take-out.... This one is playable, and decent in a
limited format, but it has the problem of competing with three of the best
cards in the game -- Nerve Gas, Imprisoned and Neutron Bomb. This can
be an interesting meta-game card, especially if you have opponents who you
know will be playing decks that are vulnerable to it. But again, if
you have access to
you really may want a Bomb instead. Then again, in the right deck, you
are hoping to clear all the chaff in your way as you play only beef.
This card is definitely worth trying out, but you may find your self
gravitating back to the tried-and-true zaps.
This card plays a lot like one of my favorite cards, the Cognitive Spirit.
While not useful on it's own, this card can be a game winner if you can get
out a serious thug (CHAR) and get in an attack with both of them. A
great choice for Reinvigoration Process if you've got a hitter in play and
some spare power. The low resource condition makes it great for a
multi-faction deck (you know the Blood Eagles want to Scout for T2 or G2!).
If you can get two of them in play, you can use the abilities on each other,
making a nice 1-card-2-copies combo.
Your mileage will vary on this card, depending on how early it comes out and
what your opponents are playing. The Architects have a problem in the
4-for-6 slot because of our old friend CHAR, and characters will forever
come up short when measured against that stick. Where you get some
juice is when you time it right so that you stop your opponent from
recurring a good character -- note that BoneChill immediately toasts, so
even a Roar of the Beast is too late to cancel the Toast. Note that
while BoneChill can eat the Destroyer, he won't be coming back as the copy
ability gets forgotten when BoneChill goes to the smoked pile. Notice they
were smart enough not to make BoneChill and Abomination, so to recycle him,
Golden Comeback is your best best (and oddly enough, can be played in
response to an opponent recurring a character to toast it instead).
Dan Dammer, Jammer Slammer
Despite the really cool name this a pretty average thug. 4-6 Guts
isn't very exciting, but Dan Dammer has a couple of extra features -- he's a
Cop, so you can do Police Station tricks (and it much better than
Super-Soldier) and he also has that goofy gravy ability of p'wning Jammers.
Dr. Curtis Boatman vSG
While this card is definitely got some juice, it sort of boxes itself into a
few niche decks by requiring
The opponents must pay you 1 power to attack is a killer, and is going to do a good job of
discouraging attacks (much like a Temple of Angry Spirits will). On
top of that, you get a Fighting bonus for a couple of designators. The
obvious combo is with ArcanoWave Reinforcer, but you can get work some more
synergy with cards like Bouncing Benjii and Johann Bonengel vSG.
One of the best card in Sixguns, Evac2066 is a game winner. This card
requires skill and timing to use, but shouldn't be too much of a problem.
This card can turn your DNA Mages and other badness into Back For Seconds.
Also remember that unturning has multiple uses -- attacking again, turning
to heal, turn abilities, etc. Now, the way you are going to want to
use this card is to attack, unturn, win, but don't overlook sacrificing a
turned or foundation character to unturn an opponent's character if you
think they will chump intercept. Cards like Bouncing Benjii and
Reinvigoration Process will ensure you have bobos to sacrifice.
Like it's forerunners the Alpha and Beta Bests, the Gamma Beast is another
failed abomination. The obvious combo card is ArcanoWave Reinforcer,
where you can maximize this guys bonus. Gamma plays a lot like Big
Macaque Attack and Bloody Hordes, and suffers the same fragility problems in
that it can crumble like a house of cards. You don't count on this as
a foundation (like you can with BMA). If you want a killer combo, play
Gamma Beast, Vivisector and Reinvigoration Process, then turn Vivisector to
sacrifice the Gamma Beast, then use the Process to replay the Gamma -- you
can gain 3 power for only spending 6!
Jessica Ng (Promo)
A moderately interesting card, with a permutation of an ability we've seen
on a few other cards (Gnarled Marauder, King Kung). Where this will
work well is against larger site structures where you can get at one site
relatively easy (say a Bandit Hideout) and put a world of hurt on the site
next to it (say a FSS heavily defended with turned characters). Like
the Marauder, you will want some punched up damage, and BuroMil Godhammer
might be her best friend. Note that she was much cooler before she
joined the Slumdicate.
Johan Bonengel vSG
Another card that doesn't take too much effort to figure out -- play lots of
1-cost characters, and try to get some extra mileage out of them. An
easy combo to try out is play 5 each of BuroMil Grunt and Bouncing Benjii.
While this card does three different things, it doesn't quite have the
synergy to be great. Playing and attacking out of turn is always
difficult to master, and be prepared to argue the rules when you play or
encounter this card (a rules-lawyer can usually cheese someone out of
attack). I'm not sure if you can use a Reinvigoration Process to play
this out of turn or not -- we'll have to wait for the FAQ.
This is almost a solid card -- we all know how good Rig Dis is, but this
falls short. Not being able to copy your own characters is a huge
drawback, and stops you from creating a synergistic deck -- you have to
completely rely on your opponents and hope to get lucky. Compare
Personality Shard with Occult Kung Fu -- the +1 Fighting makes all the
difference in the world. Still, there are times when this card will
win you a game, but not as often as you'd hope.
This is a powerful card, but it requires that you play it right and
construct your deck to take advantage of it. No, it's probably not the
best card for a horde deck, but, if you get your resources into the smoked
pile early, and then only play cards with serious muscle, you can really
maximize power-to-damage output. Still, this card is never going to
lose you power, as you can expect to at least get a 1-cost character back,
and in the right situation (which you are shooting for, right?), you will be
netting 3-5 power (CHAR-Ice Queen). We'll have to wait on the FAQ, but
I don't think sacrificing a character will trigger this, but if it does,
Rise of the NeoBuro
This card could potentially be almost as good as Shield of Pure Soul.
This is a card you can use almost every turn to really tune your hand.
This will ensure you have a hand full of zaps, and that you'll be dumping
those excess DNA Mages mid game. This card can also help in a deck
that is mostly Architects with a splash of another faction or two -- this
card could be a real threat if we start to see Architect decks with Golden
Comebacks and Shadowy Mentors!
My analysis of the Ascended in
SixGuns shows that it falls short of the mark set by the Architects.
The cards feel more like variations on existing cards over something
innovative. Also, I think the theme is somewhat over applied, and I
would have seen a few cards set in different eras.
Corrupt Land Agent
If you're familiar with my theories of Shadowfist, you know how much I like
ramp characters, and this card is a fine addition. It fills a
different role than Gruff Lieutenant (attacking) and Cabinet Minister
(control) in that it's an alt-power generation card. I don't think
it's as good as the previous two for a couple of reasons -- since you
are probably playing Family Estates, this type of deck can generally hum
along and doesn't go thirsty on power (although it still loves it).
And, at least in my neck of the woods, opponents just hate to let anyone
else get free power, and this guy will have a huge target on him.
Also, if you get into a late game stalemate (a problem that is getting all
to common), Corrupt Land Agent wont be near as useful as the two other cards
I've mentioned in a similar role.
Coyote Clan Scavengers
Here we have a new foundation in the Tranimal sub-theme. Good and Bad
News: it's better than the previous 2-cost Tranimal foundation -- but,
it's still not that great. The Scavengers get a little better if you
can increase their damage (say a Shotgun), but then you will find it hard to
get through to any serious targets -- your opponents will use foundation
characters as speedbumps. That extra damage would have been better
spent on a character with Stealth.
Fistful of Dollars
The value of this card is going to greatly depend on how your opponents
play. You are effectively playing a mini-Bull Market, but with huge
disadvantage of giving up tempo. You opponent is going to be able to
use that power first -- they have G2 in their hand but only 4 power?
Ka-ching, you've just lost a site. And remember, losing a site is
effectively -1 power generation, so you've negated any gain. Yes, this
card is good if your opponents are using that power to play bad cards, but I
suspect that they are only going to activate it when there is a card in
their hand that you don't want to see.
Mr. Strange writes in:
I think you have seriously under-estimated this card.
In a four player game, this card could give each of your opponents 1 power,
and net you 4. More opponents really makes this card shine. It also really
helps level the playing field, as 1 extra power is decent for a leader, but
REALLY GREAT for someone lagging behind. I know my games are always at their
best when everyone is involved. For both those reasons, I think this card is
a solid 3.0.
I think you just made my point -- this card helps your opponents
more than it helps you! The Ascended excel at both generating extra
power. It seems that most of the combos with this card are from your
opponents, whether it's something simple stealing the power back with a
Kiii-Yaaaah! or going the jank route with Mysterious Stranger et. al...
Frenzy of the Shark
While this card looks kinda cool, you are going to find it just doesn't have
the gas you want for 4 power. Conditional Toughness:1 isn't as good as
Tougness:1 that's always on, so there's a big strike against the Frenzy when
compared to the new version of Fist of the Bear. To compensate, Frenzy
gets some conditional extra damage, but it can go away and generally can't
be counted on. The problem here is that you don't want to want to
damage opponents' characters, you want to smoke them. Yes, Frenzy
counts your characters too, but then having a bunch of damaged characters
leaves you vulnerable to attacks of opportunity not to mention Final Brawl.
Also note that the timing wont allow you to burn for power and turn to heal
damaged characters if you want to keep the damage bonus. Consider
playing the Blue Cardinal's Guards, and you find yourself with more options,
but if you are playing Frenzy, you want to be playing Gunboat Diplomacy as
Here we have another metagame card -- do your opponents regularly play
Sites, Edges or States that turn? Against some decks, like say a
Scrappy Kid + Fusion Rifle deck, the Gunboats will wreck them. Against
other decks, the effect will be not as major. You may also need some
diplomacy of your own as well -- you may find one opponent who is reluctant
to turn a card to stop another opponent as they are afraid of bombardment.
This is a discount card -- it gives you two different build-in ways to make
it a 2-cost 3 Fighting character -- Family Estate and nailing a 1-2 Fighting
foundation after Gunslinger comes into play.. And, if you combine the
two cost reducers, you have sort of got yourself a 1-for-3 (which is turned
with 2 damage). I have two problems with this card. First,
wasn't there something better to play with your Family Estate? And, do
you want to draw and spend a turn playing a card that takes out an
opponent's foundation character, or a better target? I see this pretty
much relegated to a Faceoff deck (most likely Mon/Asc) where you are trying
to do Bookie tricks.
This card almost makes the benchmark (it is 3-for-4 Stealth), and probably
isn't as good as his cousin, Coil of the Snake. What I like about Coil
is that it encourages attacks, and lets you control the ability. With
the Horse Thief, you may find players that hold this card in reserve, in the
hopes of later power gain or just a chilling effect (this is much like how
Fire Mystic plays -- you are reluctant to attack since you want to use the
ability). And let's face it, how good is the Night Market ability?
I've tried to make Night Market work for years, and my experience is that
it's just not that strong. I think I would always play 1-2 Serena
Chases over Horse Thief in most decks.
Mildly janktastic, this card does have it's place in a heavy-designator
deck. The obvious ones are Pledged and Lodge -- you can make most of
your characters non-interceptable and unable to be attacked. Of
course, you probably could have smoked that character anyway with a timely
application of Operation Killdeer. Where you might get a little extra
juice out of Hydrophobia is in a Asc/Mon deck where all the sites (and the
hitters) have the designator Netherworld. Of course, you've just
jumped through hoops to make Hydrophobia effectively a Nerve Gas that's
vulnerable to State removal.
Mr. Strange writes in:
Although not a great card, I think that you have missed the
excellent diplomacy options this card opens up. This can encourage people to
team-up the way you want them to, by disallowing their biggest characters to
attack together. Voiding an interception with this card is just a late-game
punch-through technique. I'd rate this a 1.75.
I don't want my opponents teaming up at all! If I want them
interacting, I'll play Dirty Tricks and get them mad at each other.
Watch out turtles, their's a new shark in the swimming pool. This is
the type of card I like -- it promotes attacking, and gives you incentives
for doing it. This is a card that is somewhat hard to totally gauge --
where does it fit in an faction that has innate Stealth, good alt-power gen
(Mole, Bite, Bull) and 0-cost punch-through (Killdeer). I put this a
fun and playable card -- you get do some tricks, especially when combined
with characters or abilities that boost damage instead of fighting.
Well, if getting smacked down, this guy is just a Fist of the Bear.
But, if you get get Toughness: 2 or better, then all of a sudden Floyd
becomes threatening. This guy is sort of like Grey Mountain, but you
are trying to keep sites in play instead of other characters to maximize his
trick -- both of which can often be difficult to do. Again, Rainmaker Floyd
would lend himself to a lot more interesting decks if he only needed two
resources instead of 3. While you might be thinking BattleGround deck with
this card, I don't think it's a great way to go, other than Bandit Hideouts
and maybe Sliding Paper Walls. What I think will work better is a
heavy mix of non-Feng Shui Sites, hopefully from another faction, and
possibly even some Trade Centers.
Texas Jack Cody
While not terrible, Jack has the problem of really being a 6-for-8.
Sure, it's similar to the Blue Cardinals Guards, but they are slightly less
expensive, and their abilities are more versatile. This is a guy that
definitely could have used 1 resource less to make him more splashable.
As is, I find it hard to play him over Raven Li, who never ceases to amaze.
The Honorable Earl Mason
While initially glancing at the Hanging Judge you might say 'wow -- he can
smoke anything!' don't let your first impression fool you -- this guy is a
turkey. The standard expected cost to smoke a character is 1 power
with some limitations. This guy removes the limitations, but at a huge
cost in increased power. Remember, it's going to cost a whopping 6
power to whack T2. And compare with the Voice of the Unnamable -- in
his case the power you spend doesn't just smoke one target, it has the
potential to clear out a lot of junk. As much as I hate to say it,
Shadowy Mentor is so much of a better option than this guy it's not even
I can't quite say the Dragons in Sixguns are
disappointing, but I can't say they are exciting. Other than Pony
Express, most of the cards seem bland and retreads of what we've seen
before, with a slight little twist (Swift Eagle is an example of this).
This was almost a good card, but it's getting killed by one little thing...
it only works when you play it from your hand. Another problem is the
timing -- often you will want to unturn during an attack (for some healing)
and the Regiment wont let you do that. A straight 3-for-3 Independent
is a bit below the curve, and frankly, for your power, Reluctant Hero,
Wandering Swordsman, Hiro Asataka and Wu Bin are all more useful. And
you potentially get to do some cool tricks with a couple of those and Is
That All You Got?!? which is what you're playing with these mid-sized Dragon
Fastest Gun in the West
Another card that falls sort of flat on it's face. I am sure that we
will agree that 2 power is too much to spend just for Ambush, especially on
a State that can be zapped. So, that leaves you to cards that reduce
it's cost like Kar Fai's Crib or Ice Commandos (but not Johnny Tso) or cards
that get a specific bonus for having a Gun State on them such as Katie
Kincaid (oof, bad combo), Ex-Commando (iffy unless you have more Guns on him
already) or Ranchers (wooohoo!). This is a one-of card you'll put in
your Gun deck and wind up discarding most of the time. Honestly, I
think Bag Full of Guns is a much more interesting card in that you can hope
to do something more interesting with it than just gain a boldface ability.
Here we have another tricky combo card. Without any added jank, you
are going to get, on average, a 3-for-4 who's special ability is lose 2
fighting at then end of the turn. To get some action out of this card
you have two option -- controlling the coin flip with Aztec Pyramid (usually
so-so at best) or negating the effect of filling Tails by giving Gambler
Toughness (Eagle Mountain or Brick House). This card does follow good
design principles though -- any card with a random element should be
underpowered, or it has the potential to turn a game into a coin-flip,
replacing strategy with luck.
I will start off by saying this is a very innovative card. Then I will
continue by saying I think the leader of the Jackson Gang is problematic.
Unless you are playing Hostile Takeover (and why aren't you?) he is a
virtually free 4-fighting dude with Guts. If your opponents are dumb
enough to bid against you, he gets even better. But, if your not
playing Hostile Takeover, you have a really narrow window of opportunity for
Hoosegow -- you ideally want your opponents to have 1 or less power unless
you feel like spending 3 power. I will have to check the FAQ to see if
this guy triggers on a comeback/ITAYG, and if so, bummer, dude.
The Jackson Five (ABC, easy as 1-2-3!) is a perfectly fine card, and
shows you just how dated Silver Band is. While I don't like this card
as much as I do the Stone Fox, it's got a few things going for it.
Instead of Serena Chase's Stealth, you gain +1 Fighting and lose the
restriction of picking a target with 3 sites. Not much more to say --
great combo with Back for Seconds, you get a rebate on ITAYG, and becomes a
monster when the Jackson's Open a Can of Whupass.
Just a Scratch
This is another card that is suffering from a flaw that keeps it from being
outstanding. If it triggered on 2 damage instead of 3, you would have
a great combo with Final Brawl, but alas that it is not. JaS is more a
card for big sticks than new generation of medium Dragon heroes. When
it comes to healing, I just have too much respect for Chinese Doctor, Back
For Seconds and the awesome Sacred Heart Hospital to give it up for Just a
Other than its dreadful name, Liquored up functions quite similar to another
card in Sixguns, Just a Scratch. While JaS is a tad more powerful,
it's a lot harder to use than the bottle. Liquored up is going to get
you that extra punch when your characters only have a few damage on them,
such as after, say, a Final Brawl. Given a choice of having to play
one of these two, I would choose Liquored Up and go with usability over
I think this card has a lot of potential, and is now the Dragons 3rd (and
best) playable Edge. This might be good enough (if you can overlook
the dreadful theme) to send those Thunder on Thunders back to the box.
First off, once you get this into play, you are going to want to play a
little conservatively, keeping a character in play at all times. While
you can go all out and ramp up the discard (Magic for Curtain, Ascended for
Covert Op and Dirty Tricks or even stay in faction for T2s Bandits), this
card is still playable without all the extra juice. For 1 power,
you've played an Edge that is either going to gain you a lot of Fighting or
seriously retard your opponents' card flow.
I am a huge fan of 1-cost foundations, and here is the Dragon's third one,
and with a much more narrow focus. Part of what makes Friends and
Students yummy is Dragon Dojo, a card I find hard to omit in almost every
Dragon deck. You are giving up that minor synergy for an okay ability, but
just very conditional. You can have some great first turns with
Ranchers -- turn to attack, get intercepted, drop a Shotgun and grind
through for 4 points of damage to a site. Of course, if you're not
careful, someone else will get the easy pickin's. This is still an
okay card, but one mainly for a Gun deck, which tend to be dueling decks.
If Silver Band wasn't a coaster before, they sure are now. At 3-for-5
with only 2 Dra resources needed, this sets the curve. On top of that
you have a moderately interesting ability to crank out some extra damage.
While this is sub-optimal with the old standby Pump-Action Shotgun, it does
work okay with some of the new guns, and you can get that extra janky flavor
out of Tommy Gun.
This guy is about as good as he is boring, and he's really boring.
What we have here is pretty much a conditional Gunman-lite -- for 1 less
power (and one more resource) you get 7 fighting Independent - that's good.
And you get to cancel events that target him by tossing extra FSS from your
hand. I am sort of at a loss for words as to what to say as Swift
Eagle is self-evident.
Well, what do you get for 7 power these days? You don't quite get the
Eastern King, but you aren't getting stuck with Kar Fai either. The
Seven are going to be either a really good card for you or an over-costed
thug -- it will depend on your metagame. Our personal metagame has lots of
takeout and not as much waxy character buildup as others, so for us, The
Seven is going to be getting through all the denial. If your game is
more dominated by large characters, then this card is just going to be an
expensive 8 Fighting.
This card reminds me a lot of Big Brother Tsien's Big brother. Much like
Swift Eagle, there isn't a lot to say other than play Yosef and thug it up.
He does continue the Dragon / Magic sub-theme, which is cool, and if he's in
your smoked pile and you have 3 power and an ITAYG, you have 10 points of
sweet lovin' at your command when your opponents may not suspect it.
It looks like we are reversing the downward trend
as we see more cards. While nowhere near as cool as the Architects,
the Guiding Hand does gain a few new options, but again it seems like there
could be a little bit more variety.
This is a great example of modern design -- a card that is good early,
middle and late game. Early game it's a foundation (albeit 2 cost),
and it provides the crucial Chi resource. Mid-game you are hoping to
get 3 Fighting for 2 cost, and late game a free play to shutdown a win.
But, this card has three problems: Golden Candle Society, Little
Grasshopper and Buddhist Monk -- all three of these are probably just a tad
better, but Celestials is still very playable.
This card almost makes the cusp -- his problem is that he's an
anti-character card (and small characters at that). You want to be
smacking down foundations and healing, but that doesn't put damage on sites
-- note that he heals after combat. Blue Monk is still the king in the
slot, being able to get through when needed.
In general, most Faceoffs aren't that good, and going with the concept of a
Faceoff deck is a one-way ticket to loserville, population you. This
is in the top tier of Faceoffs (that's not saying much) simply by the fact
that is can bring you closer to victory. The timing is someone tricky
-- you don't want to do it too early as it counts against Violet Meditation,
and it also limits the number of FSS you can play. This Faceoff really
wants to be used as a bushwhack -- play it at the end of the turn of the
player to your right when you are at play and take (two sites from victory).
If you win High Noon, you should be at Take (one site from victory) at the
cost of only 1 power and a point or two of damage -- this can be explosive
in that it nets you two extra power over having to play a 4th site (which
costs 3 power)
More whole-fruit goodness here. Superleap, draw cards, reasonable
resources -- what more do you need? Much like Carmen Zhao, you can
drop Jia in almost every Hand deck and not be disappointed. Like all
cheap evasion characters, they make great subjects for an extra damage state
(like Pump-Action Shotgun). If you want to go extreme combo, Fusion
Rifle is great for drive-bys, and can get rid of a pesky foundation
character that happens to be unturned.
One Eye Chan
Yow, how about this card for effectively increasing your hand size? Be
prepared to defend One Eye, as your opponents will be gunning for him
big-time. The obvious card-type to choose is Event, but there may be a
rare-occasion when you need to grab a different card type. If it
wasn't obvious, Chan is better late game than early.
This is a very interesting card in what it is trying to accomplish -- free
resources. Since 1 power is generally better than 1 fighting on the
board, you are almost always going to want to use the ability. The
trick is finding a deck that wants Hand but doesn't want Chi -- and that can
be hard. Often this is a Swords deck, where are stuck playing
SwordsGimps as a foundation. This seems bets in a multi-faction deck,
where you are already at a disadvantage at having a high power requirement
to get resources. And before you make the deck, remember that
Inauspicious Return creates zombies that can't be sacrificed, so you wont be
doing tricks with Railroad Workers. And it doesn't work with Rig Dis,
Well, this guy does share something with CHAR -- both are low-resource
4-for-6s. His ability will really depend on the flexibility you build
into your deck -- with a 40 card tight deck, forget about the Redeemed
Pirate (other than possibly some crazy dueling deck). An 80 card
two-faction deck? Yeah, that's where he belongs. You can get him
out early with the low resources, and late game, you can pitch those extra
resources to heal him.
There are endless things to do with this card, and here's a few: Wait
for an opponent to attack a character you control and play Hoedown, choosing
the character being attacked. There are special rules for cards that
change controllers during an attack -- all attacking characters are removed
from the attack, but if the target changes controllers, *I think* the attack
follows it (but I could be wrong here, and if I am, figure out some stupid
tricks to use this to foil attacks). And if that overly-complex
example makes no sense, substitute being targeted by Nerve Gas -- you get
power, the opponent gets nothing. I guess I just can't leave you with
two uses for Shaolin Hoedown -- it can also be a quasi Bull Market, and
you'll have the tempo if you play it during your turn. While nowhere a
amazing at stoppage as Netherworld Return, there are a few situations where
you can pass of a character to defend a site (or let someone gain power to
play a zap). If you want a simpler combo, try Hoedown with Wing of the
Crane -- you can power (which you can spend on Wing), your opponent gets
Rating: 3+ ?
Shao the Killer
As you can see, they really tried to make this card not broken (i.e. can't
copy it or play Shadowfist on it). This has the effect of making him
less interesting that Nine Cuts (which is a fine card) in that there is less
you can do with him during deck construction -- put him in, play him, try to
smoke characters and not get attacked. While you could opt for
Safehouse, Iron & Silk is probably going to do a better job of keeping him
alive. One of my personal problems with Shao is that that he has a
huge turtle-factor (no, I don't mean he's like that guy on Entourage) --
with Shao on the table, people are going to be reluctant to attack until
he's been dealt with.
Simple Paper Fan
The first think you need to know about this card is that it's not bad.
The second thing you need to know is that it's difficult to play.
Simple Yellow Fan (it should have been titled The Yellow Principal) turns
the subject into a limited Yellow Monk. If you don't have a lot of
experience with Yellow Monk, Yellow Senshei Chamber or Old Man Wu, you may
have some difficulty with using this to full effect. But, once you've
master the Redirection Principle, it's really easy to outplay your
opponents, who may see some of the tricks you can do.
The Silent Cowboy
While I love Blood of the Valiant, this card's built in version doesn't turn
me on. If you don't have a power to spare, The Silent Cowboy is a
4-for-6 with no ability. If you do have a power, yes, it's like having
a Blood in your hand, and the odds are that you're going to get through most
characters (though I suspect that most opponents would be willing to
intercept with something as beefy as Big Bruiser). When it comes to
this slot, I am much more a fan of Virtuous Hood, Master Han, and the 800 lb
gorilla in the room, Iron Monkey.
The Willow Bends
When it comes to healing, The Willow Bends is not in the top tier.
Why, you ask? Well, it's got to compete with Healing Earth (you are
playing Chi, aren't you?) and Chinese Connection (which our group considers
to be a game breaker).
points out that Sites indeed are cards, and The Willow Bends can turn any
site effectively into half of a City Park. Urgh... I am just
about to fear this card. The sick and twisted members of my play group
will use this card with Temple of the Angry Spirits to inflict much pain.
Simon Johnston also adds in "The
Willow Bends provides a resource as well. So not only do you get to heal the
the first turn ToAS your opponent ran into (which you played after the
Railroad Worker which you sac'd obviously), you get a free resource out of
it was well. I think this cards is crazy good." My reply: You
must remember young grasshopper that if you are cut off from your Chi, you
will wither, no matter how strong your connection to the Perfect Master!
littlemute writes in: I would up the rating a bit on the Willow
Bends. It's the very fact that you mention--not needing Chi--that puts this
at least a 3 for me; you can take the chance and play the solid Hand
foundations that provide Chi, Railroad Workers being one. I took the
Shadowfist shaft because of this card during Gencon last weekend.
My Response: Indeed it does sound like Julian had a deck that
made use of Willow Bends. This is at least the second time that he has
used his status as a developer to build a deck in advance of the cards
getting to the general public for a major event...
Sixguns gives us a pretty decent
round-up of cards for the Lotus. Nothing too bad, but nothing too over
the top except for maybe the Sherriff. Unfortunately, the flavor of
the cards has a really bad feel -- I have to say that the theme really fails
here trying to put ancient Chinese demons in the old west (especially as the
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Devil's Rope (Promo)
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.
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
Rating: 2.5 +
Well, we all know what a coaster Abysmal Horror is outside of draft (and
even in draft, the
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
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
The Jammers are a mixed-bag, but
then again, aren't they always. While there are a few turkeys, the
general power level has rebounded and we are back to the level that we saw
with the Architects (mainly fueled by a couple of overpowered cards).
Again, we have another card with an aggressive philosophy. Much like
Butterfly Knight, this card is pushing the limit and trying to be a 3-for-6.
While not as good as BK (whose damage bonuses get doubled), the Blasting
Crew can make use of We Need Bigger Guns for a whopping 8 damage.
Well, whenever you see 5-cost 7 Fighting characters, you have to be wary, as
this is traditionally a slot that's underpowered. While Ophir is not
great, it's not bad either. You are going to be able to smack a site
pretty hard (although it's a bad thing if they are unrevealed 8 Body sites)
most of the time --Ophir will blow everything from junk up to 6 Fighting
characters. But, against anything bigger this card has no ability.
So, you want to get in a few points of targeted direct character damage to
back up Ophir, such as a Nightclub or maybe Do You Feel Lucky, punk.
Of course, you opponents will be trying to do the same so they can
intercept. Probably the best way to go is a Jammer/Dragon deck where
you are Brawling before you play/Comeback Black Ophir.
This site seems pretty amazing, as it can generate you 2 power a turn (Trade
Center goodness), and, it only costs you 1 power net (you can use it the
turn you play it). So, a Drug Lab that gives 2 power -- are they nuts?
For extra turbo goodness, pretend this is a Family Estate that you will use
every turn. Drop this baby front row on turn 2 and start cranking.
Dr. Quentin Higginsbottham
Another solid card, especially good for playing tricks. He's both
offensive and defensive if you set it up right. Playing Temple of the
Angry Spirits is a must, and maybe you can go for extra-jank with cards like
Maze of Stairs. Heck, this is good with any site you can benefit from
losing -- say a Nine Dragon Temple for 3 power?
I think this ramp character is going to play a lot like Consumer on the
Brink, except that you have a little more control over the effect.
Yes, you can do crazy shizzle like play Killing Rains to maximize Fire
Woman, but., at only 1 power, she still should be good even you have only 1
Ugh.. you can try and play with A cards, but why? C'mon, the Jammers
already have Scrounging and most likely IKTV Special Report, and with the
mandatory addition of Potlach, why are you playing this card that might gain
you 1 power if you're lucky?
Well, they go into the Monkey deck as filler, but how good is this
card overall? I think it's makes a playable card, and makes up for
some of the Jammers' weaknesses by allowing you access to a whole slew of
Events. If you are trying to work the Pirates, you will want to have a
little power to back it up -- good thing the Jammers excel at alternant
Nerf! If you didn't realize it, they damage immunity no longer works
when Intercepting. Honestly, this card was broken before, so it needed
some remedy. Still, Netherflitter has some punch through, and a lot of
the same tricks as before will still work. What you lose is the
grinding halt the game would come to once Netherflitter hit the board.
Well, this card thematically fits the Jammers, especially if you consider
there theme to be self-destructive losers. I don't know about you, but
I like opponents having damaged sites -- it draws the heat away from you.
And you know what I really dislike? Losing a site because someone
smoked my character, and hey, that fits Nitro Jack to a T. Now, I will
say that Nitro could be problematic in dueling, where an opponent can be
Rating: 1 (better in dueling)
This is one of the cards that Sixguns and Shurikens will be remembered for.
This is right up there with Never Surrender for shear annoyance. Not
only is it a mini-Dangerous Experiment, it can also be uses as a little
tricky denial. Opponent planning to burn your site for power?
Why don't you help him out and keep the power for yourself! And, this
works great for power sites that you don't want your opponent to seize, like
say, Fox Pass. As an added bonus, it help fuel the cards trigger off
of an opponent's BfV pile, like, umm... Gorilla Fighter! And
Titanium Johnson and a few others. As an extra-added bonus, you can
really hose your opponent if they dependent on the comeback events -- Pocket
Demon et. al. all subtract for cards in your BfV pile. Too bad the
design team didn't clue in that this card goes in every Jammer deck and make
Revenge of the Patent
It seems that the Jammers keep getting one of these funky damage events
every set. The problem with all of these cards is Genocide Lounge,
which makes it really hard to balance Jammer Events. The card can't be
too good because it might wind up costing 0 power. This one isn't too
bad as it will net you an effect 4 damage against a site.. kinda like...
Disco Inferno. RotPO is nowhere near the powerhouse of the Inferno,
but it's light in its resource requirement, and can be worth playing just
for the occasional jank-factor.
Mr. Strange writes in:
I think there is more to be said about this card than you
said. First - it deals damage to a site only if there is a character at that
location - which can be a mixed bag. Second - the target character has lots
of time to move around, so the site damage will often be even less directed.
Unless you really like the low resources, I'd say this card won't make the
cut most of the time.
I call this a strictly-fun card. You are playing this because you want
to turn your opponents' characters into Monkeys just to make fun of them.
Well, if you must try to work it, consider Big Macaque Attacks as they can
get bigger in a pinch, but your real friend is going to be Eagle Mountain
and characters with Toughness, so you can steam-roll all those 1 Fighting
Monkeys you've Devolved.
Mr. Strange wrote in that that this is
the perfect weapon to toss to Black Ophir on occasion. Also, there is
the super-jank combo of the Devolver on Ranchers, who will crunch the newly
made monkey under their newly-found toughness:1/
This is a pretty strange card. The Trike has moderate resource
requirements, so you wont be busting out as fast as you would with the other
1-cost +3 damage states (Godhammer, TigerHook and Shotgun). But, to
make up for this, you get a totally random evasion ability. This is
one of those cards that can be included in a deck and held back for a
surprise value -- either drop it to sneak by an interceptor, or wait until
the path is clear and use the damage bonus to sneak a site.
I'm kinda 'meh' about the Monarchs. The good
thing is that the old west theme has been lightly applied, essentially to
the Thunder sub-theme. There are a couple of strong cards, and one
card that we all may learn to fear...
Hey, I think it's the Ice Shards little sister! (except this time the
cost is right). Not a lot to say about Anastasia, other than she's
really good. She's not going to be intercepted, and makes amazing
defense. Drop an Ice Sword on her, and have have a Brain Fire in hand,
and go to town. The art preview for this card is up on eBay and it's
kind of disappointed -- where is the kick-ass fu that 7 Fighting deserves?
I wanted something like Ice Shards -- now them you don't want to mess with!
This is a real oddball card -- it can be quite powerful if you get it into
play, but it's darn hard, and is likely to sit in your hand. Also, you
may have to play AD at an inopportune time -- you want to play it when your
opponents won't have a chance to attack it before you can get any use out of
it (this is the type of card any opponent will view as a threat, and they
are like to work against you to take it out). Also note that it's
going to be really hard to get a successful attack in with Avenging Darkness
as it toasts both characters AND sites (and a failed attack to toast an
opponent's site, or even toast a character may not be your best option for a
turn) . The direct card to compare AD to is Avenging Thunder, and that
is a proven winner -- it's going to get you some power (always useful) and
remove an attacker from the game (especially good with all the recursion
going around). Hands down, I'd go with at least one AT before any AD,
and possibly two ATs. Also, I'm not sure if you can Comeback/ITAYG
Avenging Darkness -- we'll have to wait for the FAQ. Oh, and I mention
that Avenging Fire waaaay nastier than this?
Schmee writes in:
to me the nice thing about AD is its surgical application compared to AF and
even AT. If you're holding AT when the underdog burns your site to get
back in the game, so he can help you stop the leader, you won't be able to
use it (or shouldn't, anyway). Doubly so for AF -- it stomps the offender so
hard he sure better be out front or you've seriously tilted the game to the
current leader (who probably isn't you as you just lost a site, unlike AT
where you've traded your loss for power, and maybe retained the lead.)
AD, though far weaker in terms of raw return/comeback,
can be a much more versatile tool to bring to bear on a finely balanced
table -- and even a pretty asymmetrical game state, for that matter. The
fact that you can use it to smack the guy who most needs smacking, rather
than the opponent that just burnt your site, is a HUGE plus, one that just
might balance AD against its mightier cousins.
That's actually an interesting point, and something that could be explored
more. The idea is comeback cards that let you nail the leader as
opposed to the person who nailed you. I will say that the down man
does get an easy burn in now-and-then often to get a site off the board that
is at risk for the leader taking. I will say that while it's a brutal
card, Avenging Fire has gone out of fashion because it is too punishing and
doesn't necessarily give the person who played it a huge boost. Still,
I like to win, and Avenging Thunder is the card that going to get me the
closest to winning more than any of the others.
At first, this looks to be a strong card, but, when you get down to the
nitty-gritty, what's under the hood may not match the paint. There are
4 cards to compare Chain Lighting with: Mark of Fire, Kunlun Clan
Assault, Shattering Fire and Discerning Fire. Mark of Fire is good --
we all know that. And it's really good of you can pull off the Blood
Lust combo. Kunlun is also good, but expensive. For two power,
Shattering Fire is going to do a lot of damage, probably 10-20 (Chain always
does 10) -- but, Shattering is most likely going to smoke (or seriously
damage) the biggest threat. Finally we have Discerning Fire, which
again, has proven itself to be one of the most versatile cards in the game.
Sure, sometimes you just can't find a match, but other times you are totally
wrecking a deck -- and you can zap non-character cards to boot. Chain
is difficult because it needs so many character targets -- remember Mark is
any 4 targets. And ideally you want the targets to be of increasing
fighting -- spending 2 power to Chain for foundations is bleh. I don't
know, maybe this card will prove situationally useful, and warrant throwing
one in some decks. Oh, did I mention Thunder in the West -- I think
that's much more of card to be playing with than Chain Lightning.
Rating: 2 (4 player)
Daughter of Flame
The Daughter is playable, even if boring. The ability is decent, as
knocking cards out of your opponents' hand has a potential to disrupt them.
So, we have a card that's kind of bland on its own, but you can combine it
with the few other cards that take advantage of the discards (Paper Trail)
or an opponent's hand size (Father of Chaos) for a little synergy.
This is a card with moderate possibilities -- mainly what you are looking
for are sites you can turn during you turn to get an advantage. First
off, this card doesn't work with Proving Ground, so the best combo is nerfed.
I think we will see some combos with Dog Soldiers on the somewhat janky
side, but a 3 cost character that has to attack to unturn a site is going to
be too expensive to really get some good use out of it. You can also
unturn a site if you join an attack, but that probably has more going
against it than for it.
Mr. Strange writes in:
The fact that this is yet another Soldier for the Monarchs is notable.
The real question here is whether or not you can unturn sites that turn when
you declare an attack, like Thunder Pagoda. Also, if anyone ever made good
use of the Thunderdome, this might be a good character for that deck. I
think we'll see this guy in decks with sites like:
Cave Network - could be pretty interesting. Maybe.
Four Sorrows Island
Motor Pool - (an interesting mix there)
Opium Den (out of faction)
Sacred Heart Hospital
Blue Moon Club
We tried to come up with a really good combo with Dog Soldiers
the other day, but just kept falling short. Having to attack means that you
are risking throwing away a 3 cost character just to unturn a site, which
really cripples what you're hoping to do.
I've been playing a deck with some success at my local (Copenhagen)
Proving Ground/casual play environment, which makes good use of unturning
a Mountain Fortress coupled with Obsidian Mountain, Shields of Darkness
and Mark of Fire. Some success in this case means fast wins against two
or three opponents on the strength of the combos contained within.
The idea is to attack with a character, which is boosted by the
Mountain Fortress, and, provided the attack succeeds, attack with Dog
Soldiers thereafter, unturning the Mountain Fortress, then using the
Fortress on the Dog Soldiers. This should be a good way of providing
cheap punchthrough and take some sites.
Mark of Fire, in this context, seems a good bargain, as it is common
to be able to pay 1 power to add 2 damage to a Mountain Fortress (one
point of damage done to MF, another to Obsidian Mountain), 1 damage to
the target of the attack (ideally), and 1 damage to an interceptor
(typically). An effective +4 damage to the target of the attack, you
could say. If you're able to reuse MF with Dog Soldiers, the total is +6
damage for 1 power.
As the core consists of 15 cards of a single faction and 10 out of a
probable 11-13 FSS, there is still plenty of options available in order
to expand the deck into more than a one trick wolf or make it a steady
machine of murder (Ice Shield, Snowblind, Pocket Demon, Plots and
Intrigues/Blood Lust, etc.).
The reliability of decks and combos varies depending on which
remedies are popular in different playgroups, obviously, and there are
plenty to deal with this one. The MF + Dog Soldiers combo may seem
hopeless in your environment. Locally, opponents do not always have a
Whirlpool of Blood in play by turn 3 or 4, nor do I.
By turn 3, one might well have amassed the power to play this combo -
all it takes is 1 power gained from an alternate source and a good draw
(foundation, 2 fss (1 being MF), Dog Soldiers, Mark of Fire, (alternate
PG if not an FSS already in play)).
In any event, I like gaining more figting with my Dog Soldiers, in
order to better the odds of their reuse, rather than being able to gain
a power at the expense of three power and four damage. I'm sure they
won't mind partaking in Moonlight Raids along with Butterfly Knight,
The bugs are pretty much a 1 1/2 trick pony. The first trick is get a
lot in play, and attack. Of course, your attack options are limited --
you can attack characters for mondo damage, but then all your ants will die.
The other option is to attack sites since the Ants are unlikely to be
intercepted, but then you do very little damage. And remember, all
that is needed to off an Ant. And, their damage shrinks as each one
goes poof. The 1/2 trick is trying to pump up their fighting to make
them a semi-deadly Insect -- Fanaticism and Armies of the Monarchs are the
first two that spring to mind, but there are a few others. And there
will be the ubiquitous Inauspicious Return Ant deck, but I think the
probably the best combo with Fire Ants will be Entropy is your friend,
making them deadly to both characters and sites. Oh, did I mention
that Fire Ants don't provide
Stick to Fire Acolytes, and you'll be much happier unless you are trying a
really specialized deck.
This guy is okay, but he has to take a slight rating ding for his resource
requirement -- he just doesn't deserve
Without a weapon in your smoked pile, Naikute just a unique Silver Band, and
Silver Band is going the way of the dodo. Pretty much the deck you are
putting this is is an Ice Commandos Spirit Pole deck, where it acts as your
combo -- sort of. Yes, he's really good when you pull off the Ice
Sword combo, but you are really looking to do this on a regular basis with
the rest of your deck, not just a Naikute one-shot.
This is perhaps my least liked card in the set -- this shows how the design
team can be off-base with the Shadowfist playing public. I am a huge fan of
foundation sites -- I was a big advocate for Bomb Factory and Paradox Garden
reprinted in Red Wedding. Foundation sites are just generally good
when played right, and I think they are a necessary component of the game.
So, why don't I like this card? First, the name is, frankly, retarded.
On such an important card as this, why go over the top with theme?
Second, I think it's a big mistake to have the Thunder designator on this
card -- why make a card that all the designator fans can't play? Are
we going to have to wait another 3 years to see each sub-faction get one?
Thirdly, where's the
Paradox Garden can get away with not having the extra talent because it's a
pro-active card -- you use it every turn -- the Wigwam is reactive, and it
may do nothing for you for many turns. The Four Monarchs are a magic using
faction, and Thunder is especially weak in it. Yes, providing a talent
has been hit or miss on the foundation sites, but why not make this a really
good card? Finally, Sacred Wigwam has an important ability. For
the last two years at least, Shadowfist has been dominated by recursion
(playing or retrieving cards from the smoked pile). Sacred Wigwam
gives a new (almost) faction-defining ability -- why is this disparately
needed ability relegated to the weakest Monarch? So many bad choices
went in to this card, and I find it a great disappointment.
Michael Stadermann writes in:
I just read your rant on Sacred Wigwam. While I
agree that the name is retarded, I'm not quite following some of your
complaints. How does the Thunder designator keep it out of other designator
decks? Do you automatically include Fanaticism in those decks, or is it just
a matter of style for you?
Also, you mention that the ability is strong, and
needed in Fist. So, do you think it's strong enough that a factionless site
with the ability would be playable (I think it may well be, but haven't
tested it enough)? If yes, the Mon resource is almost a bonus, and the Mag
resource certainly wouldn't belong on the card. And if it's a faction
defining ability (and a good one at that), why not give it to the weakest
Monarch to make the faction more playable?
Which other faction would you have given the ability
to, had it been your choice?
I'm a big fan of Fanaticism, and I think it's really
shaped the way a lot of people play the Monarchs. It really has become
a (sub) Faction defining card. Again, my judgment could be clouded by
the horrible name.
You make an interesting point -- is this card good
enough to put in any deck as a counter-measure? Probably not.
You hear rumors of Paradox Garden being in non-Pursist decs, but that's
mainly is tall decks where you are pro-actively using the ability to filter
your draws -- it's harder to find place for a reactive 2-cost non-FSS.
As for what faction to put this in, the Monarchs is fine, but I just wish it
hadn't been assigned to one of the themes.
If this had been a Feng Shui site... boy, I
really need to think about it. I suspect you'd actually see it
reasonably often, but not as often as Whirlpool of Blood or Waterfall
Sanctuary -- maybe on par with Stone Dolmens... maybe... it's really
hard to say. You definitely don't want to be playing it if you have a
heavy recursion deck, which has become quite a theme for the Dragons, Hand
To which Michael Stadermann replied:
I suppose we have diverging opinions on Fanaticism;
I rarely think giving up the diversity that all four Mon factions offer is
worth the benefits. I also used to play in an environment that was very
edge-hate heavy (due to a Mon player and an Asc player), so I rarely got my
money's worth out of it. Thus, I'm not too upset about the designator.
I agree that the ability is reactive, and may be
useless in some games, but it is still much stronger than Paradox Garden,
even though the Garden is proactive. When playing in a recursion-heavy
environment (or tournaments), I would probably toss a Wiggy or two in the
deck. I guess I'm just that tired of seeing the same Red Bat, Big Bruiser,
or GG return for the umpteenth time.
I think it's interesting that you'd be more tempted if
it was an FSS. Would you play Whirlpool if it wasn't an FSS, but a regular
site instead? I find non-FSS useful enough as alt-power gen and FSS
protectors in the late game even without ability. I'd be very happy if more
of them came with useful abilities; there are typically more FSS with good
abilities that I want to have in play than just the four or less I'm allowed
To which I reply:
You have to remember that I usually keep 40 decks built, and
so I have to stretch to make a lot of themes work -- Monarch goodstuff only
goes so far. And yes, we have a tremendous amount of Edge hate -- I
don't think I am going out on a limb in saying that there is too much Edge
removal in the game, at least as it was originally balanced. This hate
has in turn caused Edge-cost deflation (they have to be cheaper to play
because they are more vulnerable), which makes a lot of the old Edges over-costed.
It's hard to answer the "what ifs?" about Whirlpool -- there
are other cards that cancel sites, and I find I don't play them that much.
Non-FSS sites are great, and I play them in almost every deck. But,
other than Drug Lab, I really like them to have an ability that is active
(even if it's only a resource). Paradox Garden has proven itself to be
You do have a good point about a tournament
environment. Robert Stettler won KublaCon this year with a varied
Monarch deck. Next time I chat with him I'll have to ask him how much
of a problem recursion was and if he'd have played Wiggy. One thing I
find with huge threat cards like Wiggy is that opponents will really try to
smoke them at first opportunity -- this is the same reason that BattleGround
decks don't work. Maybe this will change the meta-game. Who
knows, Field of Tentacles could be on the upsurge!
Johnston writes in:
I pretty much agree with your rant. All of the other
foundation sites show a location that somehow epitimises that
foundation, ie Archies get a Lab, Jammer a Bomb Factory, Hand a
Sanctuary*. And the Monarchs get a Sacred Wigwam???? Also this is the
only foundation site that works against an opponent, rather than
providing some benefit to it's owner. And the Thunder designator is just
[* I have always imagined the House on the Hill to be the house
in the Feng Shui intro story where a bunch of Dragons come back from
a mission to find the Butler hanging upside down taped to a load of
explosives. I've no idea if this means anything to you though..]
Alistair Hutton writes in:
To give some context I'm a Monarchs player. If Sacred Wigwam was
sub-faction less or provided magic then it would turn into a
complete no-brainer. It wouldn't be broken but it would be totally
ubiquitous. There would be absolutely no reason at all not to play
it. Ascended decks don't always play Family Estate but Monarchs
decks would always play the modified wigwam.
Thunder decks have to
play non-foundations to get magic, wigwam keeps it consistent. With
a magic resource it would completely change the tone of thunder.
How ubiquitous are Bomb Factory and
Paradox Garden? The former has made some penetration, but the
latter has become a 'no-brainer' -- is this bad or a problem for the
game? For example, Drug Lab is stupid good, and should go in
most decks -- again, is it that bad?
And yes, it's a pain to get
if you are trying to play a Thunder deck, which makes them
consistently -- consistently bad. While Thunder does have some
good cards, it has yet to develop a powerful and cohesive theme
(like the other sub-factions) -- get those Faceoffs out of here!
I think you are missing a little of my point -- I was
ranting about why I dislike this card. With a little tweaking
this would be a fine card -- a Thunder foundation site that provides
or a Monarch foundation without the talent that is unaligned with
one of the sub-factions -- either would have been more palatable.
And a name that wasn't just plain stupid...
Skin and Darkness Bats
Yawn... another sub-par foundation character with a really narrow use.
I think we all know and love Darkness Priestess, and if haven't found
intersecting things to do with Darkness Warriors, you should really go back
and give them a shot. The only real reason to play the bats is if your
deck is doing recursion tricks, the Priestess of ItchScratchy and Obsidian
Dagger mainly -- of course, both of those are pretty bad, and heck, Darkness
Warriors can be sac'd too -- this card gets the default rating because it is
a 1-cost foundation without a drawback.
Bwaaak! The Big Bird of Shadowfist! This is your somewhat below
average +X fighting character. First off, it has no ability other than
gaining Fighting, but, at least it doesn't go poof when hit by a Larcenous
Mist. Now, the question is, how big will it get? At
you are going to want at least 8 Fighting to be decent and are really hoping
for 10+ -- depending on your meta-game, that's either going to happen
towards the endgame, or not. Our metagame is very aggressive, and often
players will have 1 or no FSS in play. Other times, everyone will have
2 sites -- it's really hard to predict. This is not really a comeback
card, as you want FSS in play to maximize the effect. Also remember
that Thunder Bird can shrink fairly fast if a lot of sites go boom in a
rapid succession -- and you may want to seize rather than burn sites you
take, which can be somewhat limited. T-Bird is just crying out
for you to play some janky sites to get some chocolate in his peanut butter
-- Auspicious Termites and Turtle Island can't be burned, so you can up the
sites in play count that way, and ultra-jank Ancestral Sanctuary doesn't
count for victory, so you can theoretically have 9 FSS in play all on your
own to pump T-Bird.
Rating: 2.5 (four player only)
Thunder in the West
Danger Will Robinson! Broken Card Alert! I am seeing a lot of
potential problems with this card goofing up games. I don't know if
you've played with Cutting Loose Ends much, but it's an amazing card, and
TitW has a similar function (if you time it right). This card can be
denial (especially if an opponent only has 1 character and no other cards),
and it can also be used as punch through. And this card is neither
One-Shot or Toast It, so look for multiples AND possible recursion.
Rating: 3.5 +
Joey B. Ferreira writes:
I should mention that (as of the last time the question came up in playtest)
Thunder in the West will not combo with your own Darkness Priestesses; your
opponents choose the victims, but you are considered to be the one toasting
them. It's still a brutal card that I'm not glad to see printed, but
at least it can't also be fantastic alt power gen.
I remember that being the case as well, but the current wording could be
clearer (one of the sub-themes in this set!), and in their effort to up the
power level after the final round of testing, I thought they had changed it
back. Still I think this card is going to be problematic. Who
knows, maybe this card will wind up like Positive Chi -- amazingly borked,
but never played (although I think Thunder clearing the board may be close
to a bomb-like effect to go for the win).
The last card for the Monarchs this set is pretty bland -- we have nothing
new in a +3 damage Gun by itself, and the mini-Bag Full of Guns seems pretty
iffy at best, since they have to remain at the same location AND the Thunder
Stick has to stay around. I'm not feeling the love, especially at 2
You probably know that I'm not a big fan of the Purists as their own
faction -- I think they have done more harm to the game than good.
That said, I think they are living up to their reputation of being mostly
irrelevant in this set as well, with Dr. Fermat as the standout.
Children of the Sharp
While this card isn't quite as juicy as Walking Corpses (but hey, they are
top-tier), this variation is playable. While the Children don't
provide Magic, they don't require it either, giving another option to the
languishing magic-lite Purist deck. Unlike their brethren the Walking
Corpse, the Children can be healed, but it needs to be from another effect,
so even something as light-weight as a City Hospital could work out for ya.
This is what I call an oddball card. It's got kind of an interesting
ability that is fun to pull off, but is the card that good? Probably
not. Having two unturned sites shouldn't be that hard, and since the
Preacher doesn't require turning, you can send him off on a suicide mission.
Of course, if you sacrifice him, his part of the attack wont be successful.
Yes, you can hold this guy back on defense, but that's entering the
janky-turtle realm. What you want to be doing is attacking a site with
a lot of non-unique characters with a big unique hitter and the Crazed
Preacher -- just how often is this going to show up? And at 2-cost,
that's expensive for take-out, and you may want to try Math Bomb instead if
you really need mass removal.
Fermat's Last Stand
In case the bad wording on this card is baffled you, what happens is this:
On resolution, first all your characters gain +1 Fighting permanently, then
all your characters take 1 damage. So, unless your characters have
toughness (Eagle Mountain here), they are going to have to turn to heal to
make use of their bonus. Bogus. This card is a tad better than
Superior Technology, but then aren't most cards? This is a minor combo
with Guts, but requiring
makes it a little less splashable. Some people have pointed out the
dubious combo with Now You've Mad Us Mad, but that's bordering on jank.
Maybe Fermat's Last Stand has it's place, but first I am going to look to
Stand Together (and Fanaticism) for pumping up my army.
This is more of a comeback card than a go for the win card -- if you are
winning, you are most likely to have the most cards, making this pretty
janky. The direct comparison is with Cop on Vacation, who has shown
time and time again that it is not worth playing. Ambush is better
than Guts, but still not good enough when it's this conditional. And
if you drop a gun on the Soldiers (which is kinda what you want to do with
Ambush), it's one more card that's going to count against you.
I really dislike this card, and that's not just because they hosed one of my
childhood heroes by making him a Purist. This card has some
possibilities of generating a soft-lock, especially when combined with Event
protection (Fortune of the Turtle). The reason you are playing this
card is to come up with some stupid MTG combo-deck where you essentially
play solitaire until you go off. I'll have to keep an eye on this card
to see if that happens. Otherwise, Empower Norton is a 3-cost super
Safehouse for all your characters, which is going to let you get turtly by
keeping all your fragile specialty characters in play.
Morse Code Poet
In a normal deck, this guy is going to be a 3-for-5 under optimal conditions
-- 3-for-6 if you expose yourself. Without any other ability (and the
possibility of shrinking), Morse Code Poet isn't worth playing. So,
that leaves us the BattleGround deck, and while they can be fun, they are
sort of like a house of cards, and if your opponents know how to play
against them (i.e. smoke the sites), they don't work.
While some people are going crazy over Math Bomb, I just can't see what they
are all worked up over -- this isn't Netherflitter (the other card that uses
this odd/even mechanic). First off, the Purists already have several
good single character removal cards, so it's not a weakness. For Math
Bomb to be economical, you really want to get at least 2 characters.
But, what this card lacks is versatility -- it really needs to have a combo
available to make sure it works. Now, that said, you can go super-jank-tastic
and combo with Mark of Fire to make sure that, for 3 power, you have the
effect of a Neutron Bomb that only nails opponents' characters, but how good
is this really? Remember it's a two-card in hand combo. Also,
Math Bomb checks on resolution, so you opponents may have an occasional way
to save their characters. As a hint, if you are trying to milk this
card, you really want to play with 1-cost foundations and even fighting
This card is pretty much chafe -- there are times when it will work for you,
but it's going to clog your hand. For s sure-fire cancel, you have to
wait until an opponent's out of power (except in the situation where you are
cancelling a gain 1 power type of card like Monkey House). This is
nowhere near the utility of Verminous Rain, and that's a card that I often
have a hard time squeezing into decks. Whirlpool of Blood still
remains the best way to cancel most sites ,and at 8 Body, Field of Tentacles
is not bad either for non-fss. Even the lowly Hot Springs can often
surprise you with an interesting interaction. Play Nothing Happens and
you'll that a lot of the time, nothing happens...
Mr. Strange adds:
This card is mostly useful for getting
a 2-power swing out of your opponents when they pay you off. That's often
more useful than actually cancelling their site. And since sites tend to
stay on the board, getting this card back over and over is actually a good
thing, unlike many forced reloads.
If you can get by the dodgy art and questionable theme (I guess she gets her
fu power from whacking former students with a ruler), this card seems to be
playable. It's kind of a weird ability conditional Toughness, but only
vs. good fighting ratio characters (and particularly good against the big X
fighters). Of course, if you add a little regular ol' Toughness, you
have a nifty package. And why isn't School Marm a Teacher?
Here we have Satellite Surveillance combined with a potential power gain,
but with an added cost. I am just going to find it hard to fit this
into decks -- I like effects like this, and usually I don't mind discarding
a few cards, but having your mojo dependent on your opponents having
face-down (and hopefully unique) sites is a little much. You can
really try to tech out with Strange Ore and Chi Syphon, but the odds are
you'll be pitching the Syphon to fuel the peeky.
The Insidious Dr. Fermat
The Doctor is looking to be a moderately strong card to me. 4-for-6
Independent is is on the cusp of being above-average, and when you drop in
an extra ability, it pushes the card over the top (a great example of card
like this is Gorilla Fighter). As for Dr. Fermat, he's got a built-in
Larcenous Mist, and Mist is one of the most powerful cards that never seems
to get played. A card that plays along these lines is the Monarch's
Skin and Darkness Zealots -- if you haven't been playing that card you
should -- blanking characters never ceases to amaze me in that it keeps
getting better and better.
Whispers in the Dark
Here we have a mostly-improved Pain Feedback. It's kinda nifty, and if
done right can be played as a limited Operation Killdeer. This is
really going to take some time to see if it works better than the always
interesting and unusual Glimpse of Brief Eternity, of which I'm a fan, just
for it's weirdness.
To date, almost all of the site rearranging cards have been mediocre at
best. The Wild Spirits probably fall into that category, and may only
see the light of day in some crazy Spirit-designator deck. Speaking of
designators, this one is pretty bad. Yes, there are tricks to do with
rearranging sites, but that mostly involves attacking sparsely defended
sites while an opponent is sits back to protect their more valuable cards --
if they see Wilds Spirits on the board, they will see the ol' switcheroo
coming, and try their best to stop you -- this card lacks the
surprise-factor that is needed for this effect to really work well.
Hey everyone! Be sure to let Shadowfist Games know that you want to
keep on seeing more Seven Masters!
Bridge of Birds
This is a nice solid card, with the appropriate cost and resources.
This is pretty much a defensive turtle card, which you are
threatening/bluffing an interceptor if you have some power in your pool.
And what's the best way to have power in your pool after your turn ends?
Why burning for power of course! Speaking of extra power out of turn,
the obvious combo with Bridge of Birds in the Master of the Liquid Sword,
but there are lots of characters that you can get some tricks out of by
playing them out of turn. Notice there is no restriction beyond other
players' Main Shot, so you can drop a bad boy (or two) during an attack.
And going back to to combos, how about some serious jankage by dropping Mr.
Red and joining in!
Joey Ferreira writes in:
First, the real beauty of Bridge of Birds (aside from it being
a new 7M card, of course) is the janky combo with the old Iala Mane. Before,
you could build the Iala Mane deck: once you'd played a copy of Iala,
between Back for Seconds, Chinese Doctors, Golden Comebacks and the like,
you could threaten to attack at any minute. Great fun But now, you can play
Bridge of Birds and you don't even need to have played Iala Mane for you to
threaten surprise wins and sudden attacks! Sure, the 4 Dragon resources
combined with the 2 7M resources are trouble, and sure, there are better
combos out there, but it's the thought that counts!
I have a couple of old Ialas -- time to dust them
off and deal some blind-master-pain!
What follows is not for the faint of heart -- if you're a fan of the
Syndicate, you may want to skip this section! The Syndicate is, as the
kids say, 'teh suck' -- the lack anything really interesting or
powerful, and seem to be made of leftover cards that should have been in
other factions. I hate to say it, but they are pretty much fluff only
included to artificially drive sales -- Shadowfist new and improved -- now
with Green Horsehoes and the Syndicate. If you were expecting the
Seven Masters part duex, you will be sorely disappointed. Here are the
top cards you're likely to see in a Syndicate deck: Blade Palm, IKTV
Special Report, Violet Meditation and Information Warfare. Lacking any
true hitters, you're going to have to resort to the Ice Queen and White
Bait and Switch
While this is one of the best and more innovative Syndicate cards, it should
have gone into another faction, probably the Lotus or Purists. For a
minimum of 2 power, you are making one of your hitters un-interceptable --
maybe. And that's if your bait is a 1-cost foundation -- it could be
more. You know, for 2 power, you can do a lot of damage in a few other
factions. And in multiplayer, others will catch on to the Syndicate
tricks really fast -- if someone who isn't the target of the attack
intercepts your Bait, there are still players who can intercept your switch,
essentially costing you a power for nothing (unless the character you don't
want to be intercepted by is controlled by someone other than the target of
Strictly un-fun. Who likes having all their best cards hosed?
This is also bad because it's going to slow down the game (as does anything
that fiddles with decks). Yeah, it's a ramp, but it only ramps half of
what the Syndicate need.
Pretty janktastic. You are playing a sub-par card like Data Theft in
the hopes of getting a good card from an opponent's deck. Of course,
you could have just played better cards. So, what is the value of
denying your opponent a good card? Well, there is some to it, but you
lose the opportunity of holding a card in your hand -- once you start a Data
Theft, you have to go through it. And while this is a 0-cost event,
it's not really free -- you have to have a character in play to turn, and
you have to have power to play it. And again, didn't you have a card
in your hand you wanted to play more?
Echo and Silence
Here we have a card that's strong offensively against characters, but not so
much sites on its own, and can be somewhat weak on defense. Echo and
Silence are going to take a big chunk out of any character then enter combat
with, but anything about 8 fighting or more will leave them pretty hurt (and
11 fighting stops them cold... Ice Queen anyone?) The odds are you are
not going to get intercepted, and 5 damage won't take most sites (Ambush
damage is only against characters, never sites), so you're really going to
want to pump this guys damage up -- sure, Hyper-Alloy Blade is nice, but
you're still 1 damage shy of the magic number, 8. And defensively,
this guy is a pud. Every damage he takes is almost like taking 2
points of damage (sort of like Ten Thousand Agonies) -- expect Echo and
Silence to be Silenced by your opponents asap.
Yawn. Yes, it's better than Really Big Gun, but isn't almost
everything? The CHAR ability is cool, but it's still bland. You
can get a light-weight combo with Scrappy Kid, but I think we've all been
there and done that. And to top it off, this Blade is not a Sword, so
no cool Syndicate/Hand Swords deck.
This is probably my favorite Syndicate card, but I'm just not sure how
useful it will be. This will be good for breaking up a character
stalemate, but it relies to heavily on an opponent having some beef
available. Still, this is nowhere the powerhouse that Information
Warfare is, and it has a really insipid name to boot. The tastiest use
is going to be attacking with a Triad Punk and coercing something serious
into the attack.
Ugh... three resources. That's just what you don't want to see in a
new faction with limited cards. Anyone remember Monsoon? Seeing
the future is marginal, and as for the play at +1, it's sketchy. You
will need power power power, and the Syndicate isn't juiced like the
Ascended. Yes, Nihilist can give you some, but IKTV and Violet Med are
going to be your staples. To dig deeper: You could be playing
great cards in your deck, and paying their normal cost -- is it worth a 1
power premium to deny your opponent a card? Yes, sometimes, but again,
you need power to spare, which is only likely to be when you're winning, and
aren't there better cards than Jessica Ng to help you lay down the finishing
Joey Ferreira writes in:
I agree with your comments, but here's another problem
we found: she's loathed by all your opponents. Everyone has cards in their
deck they don't want to see used against them, and now they can see them
coming. Do you think an Ascended player with Shadowy Mentor on the top of
his deck is going to leave Jessica alive until your turn for you to use it?
And that's assuming he doesn't decide to terminate her early, let's say
something like Op Killdeer comes up and it's too late. Sadly, Jessica's
ability is most useful over a long period of time, when you can wait for
cards that are worth the +1 cost to play or deny your opponents. But she'll
never live that long. And, of course, she's not much fun to play against.
Mars Colonist (Promo)
It's a Golden Candle Society for the the Syndicate. The most
significant feature of this card is that it won't be readily available until
Critical Shift, which is going to hamper people getting up and rolling with
This guy has just about everything you could want in a non-unique character
(except good flavor). Nihilist has got the standard power-to-fighting
ratio and two abilities that will actually trigger. The best is the
power gain for nailing a FSS. This can give you a super power rush
(beware the bite) or a BfV or seize and a mild power rush. The second
ability doubles on offense and defense -- drawing a card every now and then
for offing a character can be a nice little bonus -- the problem is that the
Syndicate just doesn't have a lot of cards you can take advantage of with
those extra draws, so you're going to be looking to your other faction for
Lame. Look at Agent Tanaka for about where you want to be. And
this guy doesn't provide any talents. Yes, Ambush is good, but it's
really a tool to take sites (that's how you win the game). Spending 3
power on this guy just so you can whack characters of 4 fighting or less
makes will make you sad. And may be nullified if a large character
comes out as Salaryman doesn't have Assassinate either (see Tanaka again).
Song the Little Dragon
This is actually a card design I submitted years, so I can't be too harsh
(it was originally called Puzzle Beast (after Puzzle Garden) and was a
Purist card (at
it was supposed to be a CHAR rival). What playing with this card
showed is that it wound up being too defensive in nature -- the half damage
becomes a lot better when you can pick your opponents. If you do the
math, Song always has toughness 1, and it only scales up -- against another
6 Fighting character he has Toughness 3 and will overcome interceptors.
He hits a wall at 7 Fighting, but still takes a nasty chunk. One of my
problems with this card is that it's too much like Echo and Silence -- both
are medium hitters with anti-character abilities. E&S are offensive
only, while Song is more rounded. Both really want a +damage effect,
and as such, are just kinda meh.
What the heck? A 2-cost foundation with no real ability other than
providing the Talents the faction needs? Who designed this piece?
It's like giving us the Noodle Lady all over again. Sure, Kunlun Clan
Assault was pushing the boundary, but with only two foundation characters,
the Syndicate also needs to test the limits, and this ain't it. And
what's up with the name? Do they run around with brooms and garbage
cans on wheels?
Bland as they get. I guess you can try to go Hood crazy, but that's
about as exciting as you're going to get.
First off, this card requires
it's probably a late game card, but that's okay. The ability does
remind me of a lot of those bad
States that one one plays (like the Paths). Here's where this card
gets retarded -- it doesn't really combo with any of the Syndicate cards.
First off, the Syndicate doesn't have any characters that cost over 4, so
you can't Wall Run by the big beef that's going to be your real obstacle.
The two unique hitters, Song and E&S both have anti-character abilities, so
they have their own built-in interception deterrence -- anyone who'd be
intercepting wont be affected by Wall Running. That leaves you with
Nihilist (who also provides
for your one in-faction combo. Sure, it's decent, but you're really
going to have to look out of faction to maximize Wall Running.
Curse of Discord
This is a surprisingly hard card to pull off. Just how often are your
attack getting intercepted by multiple characters, and then just how much
damage is this really going to do? Any faction that has access to
going to have better takeout available to them. Yes, Discerning Fire
might not clear those interceptors, but it can also take out attackers,
which makes up for any versatility loss and then some. And, as for
straight damage, only the smaller of the two characters targeted by Curse is
going to be outright smoked, leaving the bigger character wounded, but still
intercepting (this could be really stinky if one of the intercepting
characters is say, a Friend of the Dragon, and the other is... say, Mad
Dog... Shattering Fire is going to give you reliable and
versatile damage when you need it.
I'm not so sure about this site -- it's kinda like Sliding Paper Walls, but
for characters. The basic gist of this card is that your opponents
will have to attack your front row site at this location (assuming you are
trying to abuse a 1-column structure. Yes, this can be some monster
site, but you're development will be crippled. I see it much for as an
attack waster, as I don't think you can set up any reliable combo to make
yourself immune to your opponents.
This is pretty much some Janky D, when you don't have access to Confucian
Stability. Most of the time you are Reincarnating a character that is
the target of a zap, and hoping to get something almost as good from an
opponent's smoked pile. Unfortunately, sometimes all you're gonna get
is crap. The cool turbo use for this card is as a bad Back For Seconds
-- attack a site, sacrifice your guy, then attack again.
Living Legend (Promo)
This is the new promo to replace Sword of the Master for league play, and I
will say that it's a worthy replacement. You get three great tastes on
one plate -- some fighting (not a great ratio) along with CHAR(mmmm) and
Mentor/Memories protection --Mmm Mmm good!
At least one of the namesake cards is worthy of the honor, and this is it.
Not a lot to say about this card, other than it's generally good, especially
early game when you can take advantage of a boost. And at 0-cost,
Shurikens is going to revitalize some of those old cards that trigger off of
weapons being played (aaaiiiieee! Ex-Commando with Shurikens!)
This marquee card has a few light bulbs out. 1 power should pretty
much outright smoke a character, not drop extra damage on a character that
is most like to die in the shootout. If you feel like packing a
pistol, I hate to say it, but you are better of with a Really Big Gun over a
The Golden Spike
Much like Secret Pact, this card is a no-brainer. While at first you
may be thinking Battleground deck, The Golden Spike's usefulness goes way
beyond that limited scope. The big problem with this card is that it's
not a comeback card, but a go for the win card -- it wont help you at all if
you've been beating down (like Secret Pact will). A couple of Non-FSS
will be of general assistance, as will a Bandit Hideout. Aaargh!
Who's the retard who made this rare?
Here we have a slightly less versatile (and fairly unoriginal) Secret Pact
clone. It's still a no brainer is almost every multii-faction deck.
Yeah, you can try and go crazy with Battlegrounds, but one or two Bandit
Hideouts will serve you best. This is uncommon, so be sure not to
trade them lightly.
Big Red Barn
Wow, this is as bad as they get. A 7 body site that's going to be
really really fragile. Sure, it can get big, but it can get small
really fast. The best you can hope for is that it takes a lot of
damage, then gets smoked as all your characters die. Is that what you
really want to hope for? You know you want to go for the janktastic
combo of Big Red Barns front row, with Hideouts behind them (and hope no
one's playing Brawl or Bomb).
Mr. Strange writes in:
This card is quite good - at least a
2.25, if I understand your rating system properly.
This card is more of the "encourage large site structures" theme of
the set - in any deck packing the BRB, you can pretty safely set it at the
far right slot and not worry about it for a few turns. Just 2 characters in
play means this is an 11 body slogfest that will make your opponents look
elsewhere. It's an Inner sanctum with a different restriction - and the
potential to be crazy intimidating.
It's not how well you play this card, it's how well your
opponents play. Yeah, you can do tricks returning characters but it's
a house of cards that will come crumbling down all around you. Also,
this site just falls to the White Ninja, who's been seeing a lot of play for
Here we have another variation on the gain 1 power site, but this one's got
a couple of problems. First, it only works when you are behind, and
frankly, I like to win. And 1 power is not a huge amount of you're in
need of comeback. It does have the interesting effect of being an
undesirable target to seize, as it will be unlikely to work for the new
owner (unlike Gambling House, which is a tasty treat). The other
drawback is that you have to discard a non-resource character. I think
this is pretty harsh, especially late game when you are going to need that
hitter. I think the discard for Monkey House is much easier to take.
I think this card is just below playable, and you're going to need 1 or more
non-FSS in play to use it reliably..
Mr. Strange most likely correctly adds:
I think this card is just bad. I can't
see myself playing this ever. 2 is too high a rating, in my opinion.
This card is specialized, in that it really favors 0-cost States. This
is not one for every every deck, but I think it will become crucial in a
few. States have been on the decline because of all the State-hate
(Waterfall being the big culprit, but there are others), and this card is
much needed. It's a must in your Ex-Commando Gun deck, but there are a
bunch of others that it will find a home in. And at 8 Body, at least
it's got a little defensive value. You can't go totally nuts because
you can draw only one card per turn, but you can try Superior Mastery, even
though it's pretty coastery. Of course, there' is nothing stopping you
from playing multiple Fields if you really want to try to go off.
think Superior Mastery is getting better over time as the standard of
zero-cost states seems to be improving, but a better way of playing States
in other turns is Slo-Mo Vengeance, which you play with Ex-Commando
anyway. And might as well play Dr Amanda Snow as well. Or there's always
We'll have to see. Going way back to the
Daedalus era, the way to prod Jose Garcia was tell him there was a card you
really liked, but found it hard to play. That way, there was a small
hope that he'd come up with another card that gave it enough of a boost to
make it playable.
Can you say Power Site? I knew you could! This is a variation on
a few of the existing sites, and is going to make some power denial.
This of it as a Fox Square... wait, no... make that a City Pass. I
don't think this card will be a huge problem in itself, but it will compound
the general problem with the Power Sites being too good. Another
reason to be sure to pack Whirlpools in your deck. (At this point, I
am sure you know all the tricks with redirecting damage, so I don't think I
need to explain how to really abuse this card).
This is a funky card, trying to make the most of the cannibal theme -- I'll
leave it up to you as to whether this is in good taste or not.... The
timing is a little awkward -- you have to have the character at the
beginning of your main shot, so you are going to have to protect your guys.
The +1 Fighting is permanent, so you are going to want a steady stream of
1-cost foundations to eat. The super-jank combo with Donner Lake is
Inauspicious Return (and other cards that can't be sac'd like Destroyer).
Since the Zombies can't be sacrificed, if you have no other characters
there, you're cool. I guess zombies don't taste good.
This is an example of really bad card design. This card is either
going to be terrible (when it gets cancelled), or is going to be amazing as
it churns out the power (such as in a draft or sealed event). Your
mileage is going to vary greatly on Mah-Jongg, and it will be a meta-game
choice as to play this or not.
The Steam Laundry Company
Healing is strong. A site that can heal over and over is even better.
Now, we all know Stone Garden is kinda janktastic, but it is marginally
playable. This card kicks it up a notch. Yes, it's not a combo
with the totally broken Temple of Angry Spirits, but you can do some tricks
the always useful City Square. And you can make your City Park heal
every turn. This is going to add some extra beef to the large body
sites (Inner Sanctum anyone?), so you may want to consider a few in a deck
where you are trying to abuse the Steam Laundry. Don't overlook the
denial part of this card -- if anyone is about to take a damage a non-unique
Yawn. +1 hand size, 7 body site. Nothing new or exciting to see
here. Move along. Cards like Temple of Celestial Mercy or Orange
Sensei Chamber that straight up increase your hand-size have been shown to
be winners. Cards like Coral Reef that let you draw and filter not so
as much. Now that I think about it, this would have made a great new
Sacred Ground at 9 Body -- as it is, there are just better sites to play in
most decks. Even if you get multiple libraries out, you are denying
yourself other good sites. It's not very clear what happens if
University Library gets blanked -- we'll have to wait for the FAQ.
Mr. Strange adds:
I really like + hand size, but this effect is different
enough that I think I'm going to like it. This makes random discard effects
much more palatable.