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art (c) Mike Trap


Syndicate Strategy

The first thing you should do is check out what I have to think about the individual cards that make up the Syndicate.

So, What does the Syndicate Do, Anyway?

You, know, that's a tough question.  Besides Influence, they don't have much that we haven't seen before, and they don't get any cost-breaks on the cards they do duplicate.  The Syndicate has a minor theme of playing your opponents' cards with Jessica Ng, Data Theft and Catching Bullets (at cost or more, which makes the ability near-useless).  They also are the only faction to have foundations that provide both Tech and Chi. 

Influence can best be described as a reusable but downgraded Stealth.  The thing to remember is that most of the time, it wont be stopping that brick wall in front of you, it will be letting you get around the speed bump.  Corporate Warfare is your most durable method of using Influence (all the characters are way too fragile to expect to last), but getting two out to make them effective is risky due to Discerning Fire.  Inside Man has an alternate use for Influence, but his high cost and low fighting (not to mention that the Fighting bonus wears off at the end of the turn) make him unviable.  On the smallest possible positive note, Influence is immune Wall of a Thousand Eyes, so go nuts.

While at first glance, the Syndicate foundations seem okay, they are really not -- trying to make use of two Talents thins the water too much.  You might think Triad Punks and Mars Colonist are good because they are 1-cost Talent-providers, but you don't want to be playing them together in the same deck -- for Tech decks you are going to want the Triads and Street Sweepers, and for Chi the Colonist and probably Street Sensei.  Tech decks are also going to want Cybermod Parlors, which in in the end is going to make Tech the preferred Talent for the Syndicate.

As for Utility Characters, Influence is about all you are going to find.  There is also the off-beat Corporate Hacker, who feels more like a Purist card (at least he provides a Talent resource, unlike Junior Executive). 

The Syndicate's best hitter is Nihilist -- he's probably on par with CHAR for power level, but he's going to need protection.  Devendra Chalal is also going to be a damage machine, but is also lacking an ability to get through stoppage.  The Syndicate's remaining hitter are pretty much jank -- over-costed card that need some combo or trick to make them work.  In fact, there is some anti-synergy going on in the Syndicate -- they have characters with abilities that work only in combat, but they have non-character cards that avoid combat -- it leaves one scratching their heads.

Of the remaining cards, the two that are most interesting and flavorful are Inconvenient Debt and Bait and Switch.  These two Events are staples, but most opponents will see them coming from a mile away.  Unfortunately, both of these cost 1 power, which means you are going to have some difficult choices and they are don't always work.

And finally, looking at Chi and Tech, they don't seem very synergistic.  Chi is the better and more established of the two, but Tech is slowly getting better cards.  Two key cards to mention are Violet Meditation and IKTV Special Report -- these are going to be your alternate power generation for the Syndicate.

The Factions

    Just Say No.  Syndicate alone just doesn't have the juice to get very far.  Also, running both Tech and Chi will give you resource problems.

  Not much going on here.  If you pick either Chi or Tech, you can get some secondary resource support from the Dragons, with Tech being formost because of Hacker.  Unfortunately, there are better Dragon characters in every slot, so maybe you are looking to Influence, but that wont get you far.

  Well, the Hand will get you all the Chi you need, so you try and mix Chi and Tech, but I think you are probably better off just sticking to to Chi for early and reliable Wing of the Cranes.  Again, there are better characters in the hand, so the old standbys of  Inconvenient Debt and Bait and Switch.are going to be your Syndicate flavor.

  I just don't see much in combing these two factions, other than the standard Evil Twin/Tortured Memories splash to beef up a deck.

  If you didn't catch the not-so-subtle hint on Harbinger, there is some very minor resource synergy between the Syndicate and the Fire-Chi deck.  Of course, they didn't make a Secret card in the Syndicate with takes the air out of the sails for that idea.

This pairing reeks of bad cards all around.  The only point of playing Syndicate together with Purists is to try and make good by playing cards normally eschewed by opponents in the hope they you can sneak a win because they have no idea what the cards do.

  You have two (bad) obvious combos here -- Transformed (Chi) and ReAscended (Tech).  Transformed is just bad bad bad (remember the Paths from Shaolin Showdown?) and as for ReAscended, Syndicate is by far the weakest choice for providing Tech (I favor the Architects for their zaps).

  This gives you some of your best access to Tech, along with some serious anti-character Event support.  I think you can find one of the best Influence Synergies here playing a "weenie" deck with + Damage effects (ArcanoWave Reinforcer, Bouncing Benjii, and BuroMil Scout), not mention making Assassin Bug a threat on offense as well as defense.

  Playing the Syndicate with the Jammers is similar to playing them with the Architects, but without the good stuff like Imprisoned and Nerve Gas.  You have some smaller character with good damage potential that benefit from Influence, as well as a plethora of bad Jammer hitters that makes the Syndicate hitter look almost reasonable.

  Eww.   It's like ordering Prime Rib and then putting ketchup on it.

  The oldest form of Peacock deck had it's basis in Hand (and Chi), so dropping two Mars Colonists is probably not a bad thing.


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