Secret HQ


art (c) Mike Trap

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Unaligned

Ka-chink!  Time for a little redemption action...  Here are the unaligned cards -- they have no resource requirements, and therefore are available for inclusion in any deck.  Unfortunately,  many of these cards pay a price for this universality by being overpriced for the abilities you get, but still, in the right deck, they can be used to your advantage.

Characters    Events    States    Edges    Sites
 

CHARACTERS

  Bandit Chief
The Chief is a card that is situational to use.  Sometimes, he's a really effective use of power, while other times he is just a waste.  Expect to turn your Bandit Chief to heal on a regular basis.  Both Mr. Big and Cave of a Thousand Banners give this card a slight boost.  You have to be careful in choosing your attack, as you opponent will try to incept in a chain to trigger this card's drawback if possible.
  Cassandra
Since she's only uncommon, the designers must really think that people will want to play with Cassandra all the time, but I won't be.  She's like the Man With No Fashion Sense -- kinda usable, but doesn't quite get you where you need to be.  And can slow you down if things don't go smoothly.  Cassandra is more of a metagame factor than anything else.  In our environment, Cassandra would be used maybe once or twice, then get flattened (more likely once), so you've just spent 2 power to filter your top 5 cards and do 2 damage to a character of your opponents choice.  No big advantage there.  She might be marginally okay in a tower of power, where you are going to get erratic draws -- still, if you are playing her first turn and fishing for resource characters, you're not in a good way.  Another one of those cards that might be okay in a slow environment, but with the beats in our part of the Secret War, Cassandra's just a nameless casualty.
  Cheap Punks
A mainstay of the Hood deck, Cheap Punks are trying to get you some power economy.  What you are hoping for is a rebate that will make this card a 1-for-2, but that requires having a Hood card that you can (and want to) play when Cheap Punks are Smoked.  Remember it doesn't have to be a character -- you can bust out The Rackets or a Drug Lab when this card is Smoked.
  Claws
Subtitle should have been Unplayable Hood Bruiser.  I like Luis so much more than this guy it's not funny.  And for general play, White Ninja is more solid in the 6 cost low/no resource slot.
  Da Boys
Shaolin Agent mark 2?  Uhm, no.  Most of the time this guy is going to be a 4 cost 6-8 fighting with zero abilities.  And that's a no-gooda.  Even though this character requires no resources, it's not fast and is too dependant on your opponents.  And if you are beating them mercilessly, they won't have many cards in play.  And if they have lots of cards in play, Da Boys ain't gonna help much.  Seriously look at Luis or Big Daddy if you are making a hood deck, and any of the generic 4c-for-7f faction characters are going to be better in almost all decks.
Dark Traveler
If your group is anything like ours, you can expect to have about 2 of your sites burned for power, with the potential for a bunch more in a crazy game.  With only 1 site in your Smoked pile, Dark Traveler is effectively a Walking Corpses, and can only get better from there, making it a great comeback card if you've been feeling the burn.  This card also goes well with site destruction events and the sites that can redirect damage to Smoke themselves or other sites (Turtle Beach and City Square).  You can't go wrong throwing one of these in a deck.
  The Displaced
Often found in dueling decks, The Displaced can shut down you opponent if you draw enough early.  Of course, they will be slowing you down too, so you need to know when to and when not to play them.  Late game, The Displaced are of limited value, but you may be able to catch a Dragon player without a Golden Comeback in their hand and get their best hitter out of their Smoked pile.
  The Faceless
While these guys have a neat State stealing ability, it rarely seems to come into play.  Usually The Faceless wind up getting Smoked before they get to use their ability.
  Hsiung-nu Mercenaries
Guts on a 3 Fighting character is usually not enough to make it worthwhile unless you are playing States to increase Fighting score.  The Hsiung-nu really take 3 power to play, but you get one back after they have been Smoked.  All in all, I think I'd rather go for a Stuntman, who won't be turning a Mole Network into a Nerve Gas.
  Jimmy Wai
Unfortunately for Jimmy, there are very few turn and maintain effects that see lots of game play.  If you're lucky you can zap a Blanket for a turn, but then Jimmy Wai will be a marked man.
  Jui Szu
Jui Szu has a problem.  She dies fast and hard after hitting the table.  First of all, Lotus players will make attacking Jui Szu there number one priority, ganging up on you if that's what it takes.   Secondly, anyone who has seized a Site of yours will also consider her a primary target.  That's bad all around for you, so be prepared to spend a lot of resources defending Jui Szu once you get her into play.
  Luis Camacho
This card has only one role -- as the big hitter in the Hood deck.  And he gets big.  Luis is often a 4 power for 14+ Fighting.  He whups on the Thunder King is a lot of situations.  
  Mooks
Mooks stink.  They don't even go in a Hood deck unless you are particularly lacking in creativity.  There are enough other Hoods so that you no longer need Mooks to fill out a Hood deck.  Use Mooks to save your valuable wooden furniture from potentially embarrassing water marks.
  Mr. Simms
Ever hear of Cheap Punks?  They are a much better unaligned 2 cost Hood character.  Compare this guy to Street Gang -- yes, their ability only gets to zap sites, but they have the crucial advantage of providing you a resource that will let you develop and play more cards.  I can just see it now -- d'oh!  I opened another Mr. Simms -- anyone want to trade me an old Nine Cuts for him?
  Mysterious Stranger
Slightly over-costed, the Mysterious Stranger basically has the ability "may not be intercepted by player with power in their pool."  Adding a gun or two may get you a few power, but by far the best use is with Bull Market.  When a player intercepts, the Stranger's ability is triggered and starts a new stack.  Respond with Bull Market to load up on power than your opponent can't even spend.
  Nine Cuts
If you were wondering if it gets any worse than Nine Cuts, stop wondering, it doesn't.  This card didn't even see play before the Claw of Fury came along to make it even more obsolete.
  Nine Cuts vPAP
Shadowfist's #2 assassin finally got the upgrade he was deserving.  While not as crazy as the White Ninja, Nine Cuts can still take out almost any character.  And people like to learn his abilities through Rigorous Discipline.  Also fear the invincible Nine Cuts -- add Shadowfist, Whirlwind Strike, Fortune of the Turtle, Sports Car!
Ninja Six
Holy Ninjas Batman!  Ninja Six is pushing the power curve.  For a 3 cost Stealther, you expect to either have a hefty resource requirement, or have crippling disadvantage like the Professional Coaster... err... Professional Killer.  Not only does Ninja Six not require resources, it actually has a pretty bitchin' ability in the right deck.  And by right deck I mean designator jank deck fueled by Police Stations, Twisted Gardens, Fanaticism and their ilk.  You are going to be surprised at just how often you are going to want to put this Ninja into a deck you are making..  Yup, he's in a bunch of decks -- it kinda stinks not being able to use his designator trick the turn you play him (unless you have an available ID Chopshop, which is going to be in the same deck).  Still with Stealth, he's got a chance to snipe a site.
Reverend Zebidiah Paine
What we have is a 3-cost for 4 fighting with a build in Golden Comeback.  It's playable if you can keep the power flowing.  Without some useful ability, the Reverend is often just a speed bump.  Now, I could be really wrong about this card, depending on the metagame.  It's quite possible in the slow buildup game that having a returning character might get you somewhere, but the Destroyer this guy ain't.  He's only uncommon, so an opponent might be playing Zeb as well, so you need to bone up on your auction skills so you don't wind up toasting your own Reverend.  I feel the Paine -- I'm playing him more and more, as sort of a last ditch 2-cost denial (well, 4 damage speedbump).  Fear the Underworld Tracker.
Shung Dai
This old monk knows how to kick butt.  Not only is he okay in dueling, I think he's going to be good in multiplayer.  He's best as a speed card, and if you can get him out on the second turn (using Proving Ground like in a TurboCHAR deck), he's going to be hard for your opponents to stop.  Even mid-game he can be okay against a player who has a larger site structure where you can exploit interceptors to trigger Shung's abilities.  We lub Shung.  We don't have enough Shung.  The Dai-master has been good in every deck I've seen him in, even those that don't need the Chi (like with the Dragons and Is That All You Got?!?)  If you're looking for some mid game punch through, this card makes a good option.
  The Big Boss
Another blah Hood -- I guess you are trying to make Chin's Criminal Network work or something.  I just don't see you getting much out of it.  Even if you have a Dragon Throne out, 1 free Vassal on every one of your main shots isn't going to get you very far.  And playing 4 power just to get to replay a good hood (like Mr. Big or Luis Camacho) just ain't worth it.  Big Daddy Voodoo is a better way of economizing and maximizing your Hoods.
  The Dis-Timed
Sure they can generate you a little extra power, but outside of a Black Flag deck are you ever really playing these guys?  And even then, it's probably only 1 or 2 in the Rebel deck since these guys don't do much for you other than not attack in hopes of gaining power
  The Ickies
I kind of like the Ickies -- they are, well, icky.  I wouldn't be playing 5, but maybe 1 or 2 in some decks that aren't going to be playing a FSS every turn.  Stealing that one power can be crucial in slowing down your opponents.  This card is a minor combo with the cards that put you farther from victory, with the Lotus' Glimpse of the Abyss probably being the best, although you can try it with Who Wants Some?!? if you're really manly.  A pretty rude first turn would be, when note going first, drop the The Ickies and a Bandit Hideout, attack a player who has only played a Site and no characters, and then steal their power at the end of the turn!  I like these guys, and really try hard to squeeze them into decks, but, they are just a card that's gonna make your deck bigger and keep you from really doing your thing.
  The Losers
Shadowy Mentor targeting the Golden Gunman?  I think you want The Losers instead!  Actually, The Losers never do their trick because they are a deterrent.  A good player will not waste their Event (unless they have a second as backup and are desperate) while this card is in play.  Instead, they will wait and try to take out The Losers with their characters, then hose you with their Event or State.
  The Man With No Name
Some people are nuts over this card, but I don't see why.  Maybe it has to do with the turtle mentality.  If I play a character, I want to attack, not turn to draw a card.  The add a faction resource is an interesting, but unreliable ability, but might be of marginal use in a three faction deck.  "Where's Waldo?  He's a prisoner of the Monarchs." said Lusignan.
  White Ninja
Yikes!  Bad bad bad.  Someone needs to send her back to Ninja school -- wait... they did!
White Ninja vPAP
What hurts the Ninja the most is not its lack of offense, but its lack of defense.  When the White Ninja is attacking, nothing gets in her way, and she is going to either take out a character or take a Site -- unless, that is, she gets zapped.  And of course, the White Ninja is vulnerable when she is the target of an attack or intercepting.  So you want to consider having good Event defense, like Festival Circles and Ring of Gates when playing this card. 
  Yakuza Enforcer
The Yak breaks the design rules of the game -- he is a 3-for-4 with no resource requirements and a special ability.  His only possible drawback is the designator Hood, which isn't much.  You usually see Yakuza Enforcer working for the Dragons as he just loves Final Brawls, but he goes well with Jagged Cliffs and Temple of Angry Spirits in your own deck.
  Ze Botelho
This is another one of those cards that I try to squeak one of into many decks.  Most people will agree that the Ascended have the most powerful cards in the game, but also have the most vulnerabilities.  Ze Botelho is one of those vulnerabilities.  The trick to getting the most out of Ze is to play him when the Ascended player's board is clear of hitters.  Thier  first target will be Ze, and if he has sufficient characters on the board to take him out, all you will be doing for yourself is maybe buying a turn -- not a good deal for 3 power.  Ze Botelho is always a good choice in a Cave Network deck.
  Zino the Greek
This guy is pretty dokey.  I think the best use is going to be in a deck with Resistance Squads, Dragon Graveyards and other effects that trigger off of looking at your hand.  You're only going to pull the trick off once, but it'll be pretty funny when you do.  The way the timing works on this card, the pay power and take control happens at resolution, so there is no window where you can cancel the peak effects but not cancel the control effect.  Pretty much a stupid card, but sometimes it's fun to be stupid.  On a good day you can piss someone off enough to ping pong him, but, that's as good as it gets.
   
 

EVENTS

 

Lateral Reincarnation
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.

Secret Pact
This one is pretty much a no brainer.  Too bad it has such a lame name -- this card would have fit perfectly in with the Year of the... cards, helping to fill out the Chinese calendar.  If you haven't figured it out, you will probably want to play 1-2 of these in every multifaction deck.  You'll probably be gaining power, but don't overlook drawing or returning cards to help or hinder a win.  Beware of the Underworld Tracker, for he does not honor Secret Pacts...  A great card, that I need about 20 more of.  I only play 1 per deck (and not all the decks I want to because I don't have enough), but I'd play at least 2 in any deck over about 70 cards  if I had them to play.

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?

 

The Swords Unite
Why?  Why?  Why?  Actually, if I put my mind to it, I can come up with at least two reasons to play this card.  The first is that you really want to play Sword of the Master, but only have a single copy -- The Swords Unite is going to give you a couple more chances to draw it.  Also, if you are trying some sort of Swords blitz deck (say with Shaolin Swordsman) and you want more than 5 Butterfly Swords.  Still, I think it's on the janky side of playable.  This actually makes a Solar Sword deck work, where you quickly get all your swords and start recycling them.

  Uprising
While this card goes in only a couple of specialized decks, it can be strong when you do pull it off, and it has the potential to get better with every Rebel card printed.  The math works out like this:  3 Power gets you 2 characters back, 4 Power gets you 3 characters, 6 power gets you 4, etc.  I might just have to try it out with The Displaced in my toaster deck, but it's going to take a lot of power and I am going to have to have drawn at least 2 Displaced.  Here is a list of non-unique Rebels/Rabble for your perusal, and watch out for BuroMil Elite!

  Black Flag Rebels, Fist of Freedom, Peasant Mob, Rebel Consumer
  Buffalo Soldier, Deep Cover Rebels, Demolitions Expert, Just Another Consumer, Punks, Resistance Fighters, Violence Junkies
The Dis-Timed, The Displaced, The Faceless, The Ickies, The Losers

Yippee-Yi-Yo Kiii-YAAAH!
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.

 
 

STATES

  Attack Helicopter
Like it's fellow Vehicle States, Attack Helicopter is way over priced for what you get.  The value of adding Mobility and Tactics was way over estimated.  This card is of minor fun in Melissa Aguelera deck, and it is cool to have your guys buzzing around the table.  But compare to the Jammer's Rocket Scientist, for the same 3 power you get a 4 Fighting character that's ready to go.
  Big Rig
Hrm... a 4 point Amulet of the Turtle, but at the cost of 1 power.  I think this is going to wind up in the eventual coaster pile.  If you are playing a vehicle deck, you are probably playing Dragons, and there is just better stuff.  The timing in this card is a little weird, so you don't wind up doing as much as you could.  Might be okay in Battle-Matic deck, and I'll have to try it before I write this card off completely.
  Elephant Gun
Ker-BLAM!  Damn that's a lot of extra damage.  This is a nice card to sneak in for effect, and is even better if you are playing Johnny Tso or Ice Commandos and can get it out for free.  If your especially gutsy, you can try for a second turn burn with the Elephant Gun, but this only works if your opponent stalls -- First turn:  FSS, 1 cost char -- Second turn:  Attack, Gun -- this is the same deal as Explosives, but only more costly.
  Elevator to the Netherworld
A great surprise card, the Elevator is a sneak game winner.  The trick is to make an attack and have your opponents spend all their juice making it unsuccessful.  After the smoke clears, drop the Elevator to the Netherworld and give a character Independent and go for the win.  
  Explosives
Explosives are often a hit or miss card.  They can give you a site on your first turn if you go second.  They could also cost you a power and gain you nothing.  I guess if you think of it as "Spend 1 power to force an opponent to play a denial Event," you are doing ok.  Explosives combines well with Stealth and other evasion abilities.
  Grenade Launcher
The card has effectively been made obsolete by Pump Action Shotgun. 
  Heavy Machine Gun
I've found this card just too hard to pull off -- it is a pretty hefty effect, but is just one point of damage more than the Nunchucks.  One or two in a Vehicle based state can be a nice surprise, but don't plan on using it as a key part of your strategy.  Having too many states in your deck is also going to cause you a shortage of characters.
 

Living Legend
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!

  Motorcycle
Yeesh... this card doesn't even grant Mobility, it just gives you the ability to turn to change location -- what a rip!  About the only two decks you'll see this in are a Righteous One deck, and in a Swamp deck where your are playing Motorcycle on an opponent's character in order to prevent damage to your own site.  Don't forget the light-weight combo with Grease Monkey to turn him into a Chinese Doctor for free.
  Netherworld Passageway
Another one of those cards that is of questionable use.  Generally, Mobility only comes into effect when you are in desperate straits and are forced to intercept to block the win.  If you are in this situation, more than likely you don't have the power to spare for a Netherworld Passageway.  It could be of some use if you had a large structure with lots of Battleground Sites, but then all your characters get stuck in odd positions -- unlike when defending an opponent's sites, they don't return to the Passageway for your sites.
  Partners
As down as I was on some of the other cop cards in this set, I sort of like Partners.  It's a nifty trick to get +2 fighting for 1 power in a state (which would be pretty good) by adding a significant opportunity of requiring two Cops in play.  While I hate legacy effects (stuff that sticks around for turns after the source has left play), this state uses it to good effect by reducing some of the fragility of having it depend on two characters (unlike Street Fighter, who sucks it up if they remove the character he was giving a bonus to).
  Public Enemy No. 1
It is a way to take out some annoying characters, and has political possibilities -- you really want a little help from and opponent or two (the old gang up) to get the best effect of this card.
Pump-Action Shotgun
Ka-chink!  The Pump-Action Shotgun is the best Weapon State that is usable by all factions.  While this card is only usable the turn it's turned, it's still superior to Really Big Gun, because any character with a RBG will only be attacked by just enough Fighting to Smoke it, ignoring and extra Weapon damage. 
  Really Big Gun
Almost always you are going to be happier whipping out a Pump-Action Shotgun over the RBG.  While this card doesn't require turning, often that 1 extra damage will take a site for you.  Also that damage bonus isn't going to do you any good if you are being attacked by just enough Fighting to smoke your character.
 

Shurikens
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!)

 

Six-Gun
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 Six-Gun.

  Spear of Destiny
This is a pretty crazy card, and it does reuse the X faction resources mechanic which I like.  But, for 2 power, I sure like a state that is going to do something really amazing.  Spear tries to, but, it really just doesn't cut it.  This is a card you can add one-of to your casual Spirit Pole deck and try to do a trick with.  Probably the best place for this is, again as a one-of, in a Johnny Tso/Ice Commando/Rebecca Dupress deck, but, is it going to better than just some straight up beating stick like Elephant Gun?  Probably not.  Note that it's been ruled that the Cancel is PERMANENT -- this leads to some interesting possibilities in really hosing a player by blanking an entire column.  But, beware not being able to make the follow-up -- you don't want to spend  all your juice taking down one opponent only to have another opponent reap the rewards.
  Speed Boat
IF you absolutely have to have Tactics and Mobility, spend one more power for an Attack Helicopter.  The game needs a new Speed Boat for those water based action sequences (how do you get to Turtle Island or the Sampan Village with a Speed Boat anyways?)
  Sports Car (Standard)
Just a smidgeon better than Speed Boat, Sports Car does have one cool use.  Average Joe looks eminently cool when driving away from a Final Brawl in his vintage Mustang, totally unscathed.
  Sports Car (10KB)
Here we have another Really Big Gun variant... yawn.  This card doesn't really belong in 10KB, and seems that it would go a lot better with all the vehicle related jank in BCL.  I'm not a huge fan of Mobility, as it often makes you the chump interceptor.
  Sub-Machine Gun
If you can get past the art on this card, it okay in certain situations.  On defense, you are likely to spray your own characters with stray bullets, which is not ideal.  But, on offense, you might just get lucky and hose down a horde of your opponents' characters.  Remember that you can change locations in response to using SMG, so expect to see lots of characters running.
  Sword of the Master
This sword is big, and definitely a useful card.  It's in that range where it gives a vehicle-like Fighting bonus, but if fails because it doesn't interact with weapon designator cards (like Johnny Tso and Ice Commandos).  The damage-negating ability comes up surprisingly often -- not only does Sword of the Master negate other States (guns and vehicles), there are numerous characters that get whittled down when confronted with this sword (like Ting Ting and Fu Students).  A decent card, but not being a Weapon keeps it from greatness.
  Three Sectional Staff
Yeesh -- here we have yet another Really Big Gun, but this time only if you play it on a Martial Artist.  I think Flying Windmill Kick as taught us that coin-flipping for extra damage just can't be counted on to win games.  Every time I'd go for a pump-action of this just for the reliability.
  Throwing Star
Another sub-par card, if you really have the need to punch a few points of damage through, include some Magic resources in your deck and go with Shattering Fire or Alabaster Javelin.
  Tiger Hook Swords
Just when you thought you had seen all the Really Big Guns, here comes another.  Actually, I like Tiger Hook Swords for one reason -- their designator.  In a weapon deck, I would recommend these over RBGs if you don't lose much interaction just to save you from Discerning Fire.  About the only swordsman worth playing is the Master Swordsman, so don't load up your deck with coasters just to trigger the draw a card part of Tiger Hook Swords.
  Tommy Gun
This is moderately interesting in just one situation -- your opponent's have hordes of characters you want to mow down, and Final Brawl just isn't your style.  But, if you're really crazy, you might have some fun with Brawls crazy cousin, Carnival of Carnage -- for 2 power you may just be able to clear the board (that's a big may).  Still, it's pretty hum-drum, and doesn't have the flexibility to take sites, which is always something I look for in a weapon.  I still had a bad taste in my mouth from Sub-Machine Gun.  The Tommy Gun is lots of fun, especially around here where we really favor 1-cost foundations.  Most often, you are going for a site only guarded by a foundation or two, and getting that aforementioned mow-down.  Like Fusion Rifle, Scrappy Kids have a strange fondness for Tommy Guns.
  Water Sword
When playing with Water Sword, beware the Helix Chewer problem -- this card will often get returned to you hand at an inopportune time, costing you a card draw.  About the only use is in a Gun deck with Ex-Commandos and Johnny Tso, where the card actually isn't too bad.
 
 

EDGES

  Art of War
Perhaps the most chaotic card in the game, it can move around the table as fast as player turns do.  Playing Art of War requires some concentration and remembering when predictions have to be made.  Generally, it's uncool not remind a player to predict just to cheese it to the next player.  Both the Ascended and the Architects benefit greatly from an increased hand size, and both have Events that can affect whether an attack is successful or not, and Art of War goes well with them.
  Magnum Justice
This is another card I'm down on.  I don't like throwing away my characters as take out.  There just aren't that many good cops -- most of the ones you are playing are 2-3 cost, and often you want to be taking sites, which this edge isn't going to be helping do much (other than get a couple of damage in by maybe being un-intercepted.  Wouldn't you always rather play a Police Station?
Stand Together
Designator Fanaticism -- pretty boring, but still worth playing.  Cops, Hoods and Rebels stick out, but I bet there are a ton -- maybe Spirits?  What other designators are shared across two factions?  D'oh!  Students!  Beating Stick!  Note that this effects all characters so your opponents' characters will get the bonus if they have the magic designator (not to mention all the Mentor bait you're playing).  Great card!  It brings the designator decks to life by... gasp...  forcing mutli-factioning!  What a concept.  While it's a pain to keep track of all the fighting scores, this card is still revolutionary in a good way for the game.
  The Rackets
The biggest effect The Rackets will have on a game is forcing other players to spend all their power every turn.  Of course, this isn't a bad thing, especially if you are playing with cards like Final Brawl or Neutron Bomb to take advantage of your opponent's over extending.  In multiplayer, you are more likely to have a target to steal a power from, but, use strategy in who you choose.  If there is more than one target, think about who taking a power from will hurt more, and if you need to keep them down, or will you weaken them too much so other players will gain the advantage?  Also look for that Architect player who is sitting on Gas or Bomb power -- they are a prime target.
  Safehouse
Your character is going to die to Final Brawl or Nerve Gas anyway, so save yourself 4 power by discarding this card instead.  An before you start thinking The Prof in a Safehouse in invulnerable, I think there is a horde of White Disciples that have something to say about it.
 
 

SITES

Bandit Hideout
Throne War has finally given us a Battleground Site that really makes the cut.  Bandit Hideout is pretty straight forward, play it, attack and gain power.  While your opponent's gain no power directly from seizing it, since a Site transfers control as an immediate effect, they can turn it in response to the attack they seized it with to gain 1 power.  
  Battle Arena
This card is schizophrenic -- it's good (well, okay), and it's also really really bad.  Where it's okay is that Battle Arena will allow most of your foundations to win in a faceoff without blinking, letting you enjoy the winner effect.  The bad is that once your opponents have seized these from you, you will never win a faceoff again, leaving you with a hand full of dead cards.  This card is sort of like Orange Senshei chamber -- did it really make Orange Monk playable?  No, and this doesn't make faceoffs playable by itself, either.  Note that if you have one and your opponent has one, they are both a wash -- the toughness:1 exactly offsets the +1 damage.  Faceoffs are bad, and why shouldn't their Battleground?
  Blood Fields
I have never been able to get this card to work that well -- it suffers from the classic problem of relying on your opponent to have good and useful sites.  If you need a Whirlpool, it just seems to me that you are better off playing one over Blood Fields.  But, I need to play with the card more to see if it's a true coaster or not.
  Car Wash
This card is a little too combo intensive for me, especially when you put it side by side with Sacred Heart Hospital.  Of course, when your opponent seizes it from you, they wont be using it.  Still, it's really hard to find room for this when it has to compete with Chop Shop and Motor Pool.
  Casbah
Mon-cherie don't like it, and neither will your opponents.  This is a highly annoying card that's neither great nor horrible.  0-cost events are the bread-and-butter of a lot of decks, and this can really annoy them.  And if they need those 0-cost events, and Casbah is keeping them from playing them, you're still doing okay on the chilling effect factor.  Be prepared to defend the Casbah, as your opponents may just have something to say about it.  Note that the timing rules don't let you steal the power generated by a event, as Casbah gets added to the scene, and resolves before the event generates/gains power.  People weren't expecting this at KublaCon, and it gave them more trouble than they initially expected.  I think this is a great choice when looking for a non-FSS power generating site to fill out your deck.
  Chop Shop
Don't expect to be chopping up Big Ass Cars and Motorcycles for spare parts -- this card is for tanks.  Who knows, Tank Warfare might even be playable if you get the Shop going.  Note that the sacrifice is a cost, so if someone zaps you with a Field of Tentacles, your Tank is gone and you get no power.
Drug Lab
You just can't say enough good things about the Drug Lab.  This site can keep you even in power production early in the game, while still allowing you to play characters to apply pressure on your opponents.  It also makes a nice wall in front of your valuable Feng Shui.  Nancy Reagan got it wrong, just say yes to this card when building a deck.
  Exile Village
Well, it's a Drug Lab that will probably only work for you, and not for your opponents, but it's still not worth playing.  If you are playing a 3+ faction deck, you aren't going to want to be playing this anyways, as you are going to be trying to make the faction aligned part of your deck working.  Exile Village is just going to wind up as junk passed around the board, giving respite to the targets that everyone should be attacking if they ever want to win.  For power generation in a Battleground deck, you want the alternate power events, not Exile Village.  Now, say you are playing the janky Peacock deck... maybe, just maybe this will work (in this case, you are trying to run Feng Shui light, and not be a target), but I think you will just stall out (especially without powerful FSS to rely on).  And don't have dreams of having 6+ sites in play -- if you can get away with that, it's time to move up from the bush league into the majors.  Exiled to the coaster pile.
  Forty-Story Inferno
Forty-Story Inferno is best used against a weenie-horde deck, but even then, is of limited use.  And when you get to multiplayer, this card's abilities will be even more minimized.  Usually you only put one or two of these in a deck where you are really trying to do tricks with Battleground Sites.
 

Hideout
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.

  Killing Ground
One of the better Battleground Sites, Killing Ground lets you do a little extra damage when you are intercepted and gets around the main hindrance of Battleground Sites -- the limit of playing only one a turn.  Be sure to play a Feng Shui site first if you have Killing Ground in play, as it only allows you to play extra sites.  Also, this card is almost a must if you are trying to pull off tricks with Illusionary Bridge. 
  Lusignan's Tower
This card is more annoying than everything else.  As a non-Feng Shui site, it's a pretty good deal -- 8 Body for 2-cost.  I have found that people really hate those random discards, so the Tower often comes with a bright red bull's-eye that says take me.
  Motor Pool
This is going to likely be one of the defining cards of Dark Future, enabling a bunch of new decks centered around Vehicles.  Homemade Tanks just might be getting out of control.  This card just might be strong enough to see an increase in Field of Tentacles.  As always, watch out for the Waterfalls.  You are going to get the most mileage out of 2+ cost Vehicles, so Battle-Mattic doesn't get a real boost from Motor Pool.
  Netherworld Portal
This card is actually somewhat playable, and unlike other Battleground Sites, it rarely gets seized and used against you.  Other than being an obvious combo with Duodenum, it lets you work over your opponent, potentially taking a site every other turn.  In dueling, this is never going to get used against you, and can be surprisingly effective.
  No Man's Land
This card is pretty much anti-Killdeer, and just not that great at even that.  Battleground sites are already too good, so I expect to see mostly see these 'one-ofs' for Battleground theme decks.  Note that it only works on opponents' effects, so no Scrappy Kid madness.
  Police Station
One thing that is often overlooked about the Police Station is that it is a huge wall.  It sits there at 10 Body and guards your Feng Shui.  Occasionally, you can turn it to whack a random Hood, but your best use is pumping up your own cops.   The more Cops in your deck, the more of this card you will want.  Even with as few as 5 Cops in your deck, it is worth playing one Police Station, and you can go all the way up to five if almost all of your characters are cops.
  Portal in Tower Square
I wouldn't recommend dropping a Portal unless you were going for the win.  It can effectively take out two interceptors, but its hefty 3 power gain for being seized means it wont stay on your side of the board for long.
  Rebel Camp
This is an interesting Site, that while hard to find room for in a deck sometimes, it can be very powerful.  First off, it goes well with Events like Nerve Gas and Golden Comeback, and can be a deterrent to attacks if your opponent's suspect you are holding one just for such an attack.  Also, you can get some of your power invested in characters by joining in on attacks.  You need to use measure -- you want to join in on attacks that will weaken players so that you can take advantage of them, not just join in on attacks that will your opponents free sites.
Secret Headquarters
How good this card is isn't much of a secret.  It costs 3, produces 2, has a chunky 10 Body, and has a drawback that doesn't come into play 90% of the time because your opponent's would much rather seize this card than Smoke it (those greedy bastards!)
  Seedy Dive
Drinks anyone?  I've got your coaster right here.  A 2-cost site that does nothing but Back For Seconds up to 3-cost worth of Hoods?  And doesn't generate at least 1 power?  What, you think this must be a misprint?  I can't argue your logic there.  All we can do is keep our tables safe from wet drinking glasses until someone comes to their senses and issues errata for this card.  See the first two sentences of this review.
  Sliding Paper Walls
This site is a departure from the Battlegrounds of the past -- it's effect isn't character based, and there is no power involved in seizing it (in fact it can't even be seized unless it's text is cancelled by say Palm of Darkness).  I think this card will become a staple of Battleground site decks just because of its throw away nature -- it only costs you playing a site for the turn, and doesn't give your opponents any advantage.  The site could also see some play in highly tuned defensive decks, but the fact that it isn't going to trigger Shield of Pure Soul makes it less desirable.
  Sniper Nest
Sniper Nest is great at keeping people from doing 'free interceptions' -- they will think twice about the potential of taking some heavy damage from Sniper Nest.  And though this card has a very low Body of 4, the clause that your opponents will only gain 1 power from seizing it more than offsets it.
  The Bazaar
This card is okayish, but I don't think you are playing it all the time.  Maybe a couple in big decks to help you filter to cards, but with only 5 Body, you are going to have to defend it.  It's going to be passed around like Bandit Hideout, but The Bazaar isn't really a card to build a deck around like the Hideout is.  I have this in my Seven Masters decks -- I am using them as a way to speed through cards because of the limited resource characters available to the masters.  I think this is a good card to keep the card-flow going, especially if you have enough to time to develop a deck before being pounded by your opponents.
  The Forest of Fallen Banners
Another jank site.  You can't defend it if you want it to generate power, which means it's not doing as much as you'd like.  I don't think this is as good as either Lusignan's Tower or the Two Dragon Inn, both of which are unaligned sites.  The one exception might be in a Lotus deck where you are returning a lot of characters to play with Inauspicious Return and the Destroyer, so you get to draw some cards.  But,. I think you will wind up drawing only a few cards and get yourself hand locked (not drawing cards normally), especially if someone seizes this (undefended) site.  Kinoshita House is a must with the site, as probably is Fox Pass.  Hrm...  If you want to pull off some ultra-jank, you can use Lodge Machinations to swap this with the back row site at an opponents first column... mmm.... janky...  Mmm... Still janky after all these years...
  The Home Front
While multiple Home Fronts can make your front row Sites huge (I've seen Feng Shui get +6 Body from this card), it is fragile in that if they take out your Home Fronts, you can have a lot of very vulnerable Sites at short notice.
  The Junkyard
This is likely to be one of the rarest distinct cards in Shadowfist (along with Can of Whupass) -- it only appears once on the N2 rare sheet, where all other cards except for the alternate art Silver Band appear at least twice.  The card itself seems to be a specialty item, that can actually fit into some combo decks and give you a few extra recourses.  This site can generate two power a turn, but it rarely does, since it has the chilling effect of not being attacked if there is a better target on the board (which is not a bad thing).
  Trade Center
A much more balanced Secret Headquarters, it's tendency to "cut off your Chi" (see card flavor text) means that it can get you into a bad situation.  While putting the Secret HQ into a deck is a no-brainer, Trade Center requires a little more thought, and I recommend that you play several non-Feng Shui sites that you can maneuver into a side-by-side postion with this card.
  Training Camp
Yes, this is as bad as it looks.  You can try to make a Soldier Battleground deck, but it's not going to hold up in all but the worst of playgroups (Hopping Vampires with Swords of Biting bad).  
  Two Dragons Inn
This card I just don't know about.  I like offense and dislike Turtles, so I think I will find some uses for this card.  Scrappy Kids and characters with Stealth would seem to combo with it since you can declare low risk attacks.  Shaking the Mountain seems like another card to force your opponents hand.  This also seems like it could have cool interaction with a few of the more annoying sites like Temple of Angry Spirits, Cave Network, Blessed Orchard and Market Square.  I don't think the Inn is strong enough in itself (they can just spend all their power every turn and ignore it) to build a deck around, but it can augment the right type of offense.
  Zodiac Lounge
This card almost feels like a Battleground Site in disguise.  It's got a somewhat powerful ability, but only if you have a lot of characters and something to attack.  I kind of like the idea of Inauspicious Return with it.  Unfortunately, the site's low body just makes it too easy to take, especially considering that the ability only works when attacking.  And boy is it going to suck when you draw hordes of little guys and have to face a Zodiac Lounge that your opponent has seized. 
 

 

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