art (c) Mike Trap
With the release of Critical Shift, Shadowfist's 10th (and most unnecessary)
Faction has reached the critical mass of 27 cards (which exceeds the Seven
Masters card total of 23). Instead of following the 7 Masters elegant
design, the Syndicate unfortunately mimics more of the chaotic design of the
Purists -- but with TWO talents thrown in helter-skelter instead of just one.
Utility Characters Hitters
Half of your required talents, which is just going to be bad since
Syndicate wants both Tech and Chi.
This is twice as bad as Mars Colonist, which makes it pretty bad. !
Influence is garbage, making this more useless than Noodle Lady since the
Syndicate needs two Talents.
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.
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.
The Syndicate badness continues with this card. If case you haven't
figured it out, 1-for-1s with no ability are bad. Spending 2 power and
turning 2 Fighting to do it is even worse. Yes, it does give you
something to sacrifice, but if you are playing a sacrifice deck, you are
already playing jank, so why play even more?
Four Syndicate resources? What where they thinking? Hirake is
a card that you don't want to play until you are ready to use to steal a
character (ignore his Influence, it's generally worthless). Once he's
out, your opponent's wont play non-uniques until he is smoked. #
fighting helps a little, but if you have any experience with Mr. X, you know
that in the long run, your results aren't worth the cost. As an added
bonus, you can combo with LaGrange 4, to steal a character, run it into
something, then steal another (that if if your opponents are generous that
This guy is badness on steroids (and I mean bad bad). He has a
terrible ratio to start off with. Except for Corporate Warfare, you
are turning Fighting (on fragile characters) to give Inside Man fighting,
And, his Fighting wears off at the end of the turn, so he has the risk of
being smoked even if he survives combat.
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.
Yawn, Influence, boring. And while I usually like ramp characters,
the Syndicate is so resource hosed you are better off playing another of the
1-cost Talent foundations (Triad Punks or Mars Colonist) than the Junior
Turkey here (who only provides faction resources).
Since she's uncommon, Rei is going to be one of your bread and butter
characters -- unfortunately, it's stale bread and spoiled butter. If
you can keep her in play, it's a 2-cost re-usable Brain Fire or Stealth --
but that 2 cost keep in play is killer on a character. Rei has Final
Brawl written all over her. Compare her with two of my favorite
Uncommon Uniques, Jenny Zheng and Monsoon, and you will find that Rei's on
the losing team.
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).
The Sumo is pretty iffy -- he's too dependent on your opponents having
Limited and Unique sites. Also, he requires Tech, which has the
potential of slowing him down early game.
Playable, but pretty bland. Devendra's going to ignore foundation
characters, but will trade with any 7+ Fighting character. Yes, it's
going to take sites for 5 power, but Devendra is vulnerable to stoppage,
which is all too common these days.
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.
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
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.
Xu Mei, The Dragon
Yes, good if you can ever get her into play, but Xu Mei's whopping cost
and onerous resources would make Chuck Norris cry. If this is the best
the Syndicate have to offer, they got not hope...
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
While this card may look appealing at first glance, it's actually pretty
bad. It plays like a watered down Who's the Monkey Now? that's only
good against a few cards (most notably Operation Killdeer, Imprisoned and
Nerve Gas). Yes, it's really good against those if you have power to
spare, but most of the time it will way too reactive, and just sit in your
hand instead of getting you somewhere. WTMN? is a better card for two
reasons -- it triggers on *any* card you own being targeted (not just a
character), and you get an immediate zap at no additional cost.
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?
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.
This is a somewhat fun dilemma card, if not very reliable. 0-cost
makes it playable, and cancelling characters is good -- but since your
opponent controls the effect, they are going to pick the one that does the
least harm. Think of this much as you would Larcenous Mist -- it's a
card that can be really good situationally, but invariability gets cut from
the deck to make room for something more useful.
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.
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.
Here we have a faction defining card -- and it's a pretty bad definition.
I suspect that everyone will slowly come to realize that Influence is way
down at the bottom of the useful boldface ability lists, along with Tactics.
Yes, it helps a little, but it's not worth the power. The second half
of Corporate Warfare is okay -- nuking an Edge for 1 power is acceptable,
but in multiplayer, you'd rather have other players spending their power to
get rid of Edges.
Very playable as a non-FSS, but with a questionable ability. First
off, you think wow, this card can protect my FSS, so it's great! The
problem with that is that Non-FSS are almost more valuable in the long term
because of their fixed cost. Often it's going to cost you less than 2
power to replace a FSS (and sometimes you are gaining power), so losing one
doesn't hurt as bad. Where this does step up to the plate is when
protecting a hoser site that has been exposed, but even then, how long is
Cybermod's 6 Body going to last? You may very well wind up spending 2
power to get 2 sites ripped off of you, whereas if you had played this back
row, it wouldn't be a target.
Simon Johnston adds:
It has six body, which is nice (I bet
some people won't notice, assuming it has 5)
--Yes, the +1 Body over the usual foundation sites
does make a difference. We were playing the other day, and the
Infernal Temples and Abominable Labs were bouncing much more than the