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Beat the Dragons

The Dragons have been making a real showing at tournaments lately.  Red Wedding gave them a tremendous boost, and they have achieved top-dog status.  In this strategy article, I'm going to list some cards to consider playing when you need to send those pesky heroes to their graves (permanently!).

The Dragons biggest threats are their ability to cheaply return characters to play (Golden Combeback, Is That All You Got?!?) as well as some cheap universal character damage (Final Brawl, Carnival of Carnage).  They also have some limited power stealing (Ki-YAAAH!), and event recursion (Fighting Spirit).  Finally, the Dragons are known for having some of the best Unique hitters in the game, and Guts, Toughness and Independent are not uncommon abilities for them to have.

All Factions:
Blessed Orchard:  The Dragons love to attack, wait for the smoke to clear, return characters to play, and attack again -- if they've been giving you power, they will have a lot less tricks to pull.
Casbah:
  It has a slight chance of delaying a Final Brawl, or maybe some other 0-Cost Dragon Madness.
Field of Tentacles:
  The Dragons got their Dojo and Crib, both of which can inch them to a victory, so shutting one down in a pinch isn't a bad strategy.
Garden of Bronze:
  The Dragons have to generate a lot of power early to get those big characters in play, so expect them to try and burn at first opportunity.  Gaining 3 power in response can keep you in the game.
Lusignan the Fool:
  If they Brawl on your turn, you can stop them from getting it back with a Fighting Spirit.
Maze of Stairs:
  The Golden Gunman hates this site.
Mourning Tree:
  It's about the only way you can shut down Independent (outside of character blanking).
Puzzle Garden:
  It does slow down Guts (as well as the Dragon's generally high Fighting scores)
Temple of the Monkey King:
  This can level the playing field a little, taking the oomph out of the Dragon's top-notch characters.
The Displaced:
  Toasty-toasty -- you gotta stop that recursion somehow, is this is one possible way.

Dragons
Big Bruiser vNew:  Toughness:2 stops almost everything on the board -- one of the Dragons best assets is also one of their worst enemies.
Carnival of Carnage:  If they start a fight, you may just want to finish it.
Final Brawl:
  See Carnival of Carnage.
Heroic Conversion:
  Very minimal effect, especially since the Dragons have several top-not immune to control characters.  However, it does do a great job softening up Big Bruisers.
Jane Q. Public:
  You are almost always either getting a power rebate or getting through with Jane Q against the Dragons.  Extra good with a surprise Shotgun.
Last Outpost:
  Yup, it's almost all bad, and nowhere near as good against Brawl as is Festival of Giants, but it does make for quite a surprise.
Little Jim:
  The Dragons love to send a character to his death fighting someone, only to play an event to return them to play so they can finish the job.  Little Jim will have none of that. 
Marisol:
  Final What?
Tough as Nails:
  Sometimes in Dragon vs. Dragon, it's a war of "who's the Toughest" and this event can make sure your character is the one left standing.
Wu Bin of Turtle Island:  3-for-4 Independent is good on it's own, and while he doesn't have any specific anti-faction ability, he can fetch you a card that does, and is always a good inclusion in any deck.

Lotus
Banish:  Returning Dragon characters to hand is much worse for their controller than smoking them -- now they are going to have to save up power to replay them over cheap return to play events.
Destroyer:
  The Energizer Bunny is great for making those inevitable comebacks you can throw him in front of as many attackers as you like and pick himself back up from those Final Brawls.
Drugged!:
  A very minor anti-toughness card, only be used in situations where you can expect a lot of it (also great against Big Bruisers).
Evil Twin:  Sure the Dragons got the best characters in the game, but your copy only costs 3 power.
Feast of Souls:  Expect your smaller character to die in droves -- this is one way to capitalize on it.
Five Fingers of Death:  Really hard to use, but it does Toast.
Inauspicious Reburial:  The grand-daddy of the character toasters, this can stop all the Dragon's nasty recursion, but you gotta play around Hackers.
Kong Jung She:  This is a great anti-recursion card.  You will be cleaning out the Dragon player's smoked pile.  And, if get a character or two Brawled away, Kong's -1 Fighting per character drawback is less of one.
Li Yu:  He can shrug off a Brawl, but that's about it against the Dragons.
Necromantic Conspiracy:  Again, if you can get around the Hackers, you can strip a deck of their main recursion event.
Poison Clan Warriors:  Not much here, but they can sometimes take someone with them in a Final Brawl.
Red Scorpion Killers:
  If you're about to be hosed by a Brawl, some quick sacrifices of guys about to bite it might just save some of your characters or make sure they take a few extra with them.
Soul Theft:
  It does put a temporary glitch into the subject's Golden Comeback, but it's really only a delaying tactic.
Thing with 1000 Tongues:  He's big and tough and old-school.  The Thing rarely fears a Final Brawl, and is tough enough to plow through all but the beefiest of defences.
Throne of Skulls:  We all know the rate at which Dragons die -- time for you to cash in out it.
Underworld Tracker:  This guy is huge in our game -- they can completely shut down Dragon character recursion.  Best used in multiples.
Flood on the Mountain:  It's one of the weaker faction-hosers, but, it does go after the Dragons.

Architects
BuroMil Grunt:  It's nice how they can pop out after a Final Brawl to intercept that pesky Dragon who's attacking you.
ArcanoTank:  Not a huge anti-Dragon card, but it can really negate a Final Brawl and get some punch-through on attack.
Assassin Bug: This is one way of keeping those unique Dragons in line, especially when recycled with Renvigoration Process
Bzzzzt!:  Again, not a great card, and very vulnerable to Hacker, but it's going to get rid of the Big Bruiser once and for all.
Elsa Winterhagen:  She's big, thuggy, and shrugs off Final Brawls. and doesn't do half-bad fighting her way to a site through a mass of defenders.
Homo Omega:  The magic Toughness: 2 and a lot of Fighting -- yeah, he's expensive, but getting either version on the table will be extremely difficult for the Dragons to deal with.
Imprisoned:  This card hurts the Dragons much more than other take out -- they have to pay the full power cost for a character in their hand, and they can't use their recursion tricks.
Jason X vNew:  Hey, he turned traitor!
Police State:  This is a very under-played card.  It has huge flexibility.  Add the fact that it doesn't target, and you got one smoked Gunman.
Spirit Shield Generator:  This is an expensive way to negate Final Brawl

Hand
Festival of Giants: The anti-Brawl.
Green Senshei Chamber: Toughness: 2 !
Mad-Monkey Kung Fu: Decent Fighting bonus and immunity to Brawl are all wrapped up in this state.
Scales of the Dragon:  While Toughness:2 is always useful, it's nice to stop a Brawl in a pinch.  But, watchout for the timing rules -- you can't play Scales in response to a Brawl in time to use it before the Brawl does damage.
Secrets of Shaolin: The Dragons usually pack a lot of 0-cost events, but don't skimp on Confucian Stabilites.
Swinging with the Hand:  This dreck has just one purpose, to hose Final Brawl.  It's kind of iffy in a deck (especially since you could just be playing a Confucian and be stopping lots of events).
The Red Harvest: It's hard to pull off, but you can gain a power rebate in response to a Final Brawl on your turn.
Tranquil Persuader: If you can keep him around, he's a big threat against all but the most loyal Dragon characters (T2 and Steven Wu)

Ascended
200 Guys with Hatchets and Ladders:  The Dragons are all about Unique guys, so this might slow them down just a little, but watch out for Toughness as it will mow through your horde of Pledged.
Grey Mountain:  Magic words, Toughness:2
Master of Disguise:  Another sneaky way to take out one of those unique-characters that the Dragon's love -- and, it's going to cost them 1 power in addition if the Master is still around when they try a Golden Comeback.
Sam Malory: With his weird Toughness, he's fairly hard to kill by some of the Dragon tricks, but he still can be beaten by a big character.
Shadowy Mentor: Yes, this an amazing card against all factions, but I'm including because it's one of the banes of the Dragons, especially on the Gunman.
Shinobu Yashida:
If you are fighting someone with 8 or more Fighting, there is a good chance it's a Dragon -- Shinobu is a cheap (3 power with a Family Estate) character to keep from being bull-dozed by the Dragons.
Ursus:
The bear has an interesting feature of loving Final Brawls.  Anyone who survives is going to be chewed up by Ursus and his damage immunity.

Jammers
Buffalo Soldier: He grants his event immunity to your horde -- get two Soldiers out, and they cover each other's behind.
Kick 'em When They're Down:
  This is sort of like Brawling after a Brawl -- if the Dragon player took some damage to clean out some opponents, this might just clean him back (although it's hard to justify playing this over Who's the Monkey Now?"
Punks:
  They make a pretty mean speed bump for all those unique Dragon heroes.
Stolen Plans:
  Between Ki-YAAAH! and Dirk Wiseley's Gambit, you might have a chance of pulling this off against a Dragon player, although this card can be a hand-clogger.
The Ape is Loose:  Monkey see, Monkey get to ignore a Brawl and do +2 damage.
Who's the Monkey Now?:  The ultimate answer to Final Brawl -- not only do you cancel it, but you take one of the Dragons with you!

Four Monarchs
Armies of the Monarchs: A couple of these in play, and the Dragon heroes are going to be falling to your mid-range characters.
Avenging Thunder:
Toasty toasty -- no Comeback for you!
Blood Lust:
With all the Brawling going on, this event has a chance to bring you in a steady stream of power to compensate for the damage you're taking.
Darkness Warriors:  More than once I've gotten my 1-power rebate in response to a Final Brawl.
Queen of the Darkness Pagoda: Again, being Toasted is the Dragon's greatest fear, and the Queen excels at it.

Purist
Jenaya Oyu:  Again, not a great character, but you can hit back for 2 from a Final Brawl.
Material Transcendence:  While this is generally decent character removal, it has the added bonus of denying the Dragons a quick comeback as well has prohibiting them from playing another copy of a unique card.
Purist Aspirant:  Sure you gotta Sacrifice them, but they will soak up all that Final Brawl damage heading to your characters while letting everyone else fight it out.

Seven Masters
Li Mao:  You can choose to have him immune to Dragon events, bypassing those Brawls and Carnivals.
Sky Dragon:  Sure, he takes damage from Brawls, but, he's going to make short work of most Dragon heroes in combat.

Magic
Memory Reprocessing: Take advantage of the killer Dragon event, then get it out of the game so it can't be recycled with Fighting Spirit.

Chi
Dim Mak: This is a stretch, but the Dragons are known for their Toughness, which has no chance against the Dim Mak!
Fortuitous Chi: This will save all characters with matching designators from a Final Brawl, but it's really hard to pull off.
Invincible Stance:
You got the possibility for Thing with 1000 Tongues level toughness with this state.
Shadowfist:
Without point-take-out, a character that's invulnerable to combat damage is going to be difficult for a Dragon player to deal with.

Tech
Disintegrator Ray: It's not that reliable, but it can toast in a pinch.
IFF Missiles:
This event is pretty janktastic, but it has the best chance of going off against the Dragons, as they are the faction with the least designator matches.
IKTV Special Report:
Dragons love to play unique characters, you'll love gaining 2 power.
MegaTank: Again, the magic Toughness: 2.
Replacement Parts:  If your character survives the Brawl, this state can get them back up to speed in no time.

 

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