Shadowfist Deck: Bully!
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[posted 1 Apr 2003; updated 5 Apr 2003]
Note: I wrote this article in September 2000 for InQuest Gamer [wizarduniverse.com, 1 Apr 03]. It was originally printed in InQuest #69 as "Killer Decks II," and is copyright 2000 by InQuest Gamer. Reprinted here by permission (ref. email from Mike Searle, 27 Feb 2003). Thanks!
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Shadowfist is back! Two new setsYear of the Dragon and Throne Warwere released at GenCon. The Eaters of the Lotus got the lion's share of cards in Throne War, and now you can put together a mono-Lotus deck that doesn't rely on Inauspicious Reburial and expect to win! Like Kan Li says: "You defy the Lotus. Prepare to die."
The release of Throne War at GenCon led to a flurry of new deck concepts in just a few days. A lot of players have begun exploring the possibilities of a Lotus deck that attacks early and often with the new 3 cost / 4 Fighting demons. Bully takes that to one extreme, concentrating its firepower in the form of hitters that your opponents don't want to intercept unless they absolutely have to, and backs them up with damage-increasing states.
Bully is a no-holds-barred attacking deck that uses cards from the new sets exclusively. You've got defense for when you need it, but who cares? You're here to kick butt and chew gum, and you're all out of gum. Bully is designed for a three-player game, although it'll hold its own in dueling and four-player games.
Your primary early and mid-game offensive weapon is Two Hundred Knives of Pain, backed up by Thing with a 1000 Tongues and Xin Kai Sheng in the late game. Opponents won't throw their characters away to stop attackers like these unless they're desperate to stop you from winning. Two Hundred Knives generally gets through untouched if he's heading for a high body feng shui site because your opponent assumes you won't be able to take the site. Wrongafter interception is declined, drop a Pump-Action Shotgun and use the damage bonus to grab that site!
Don't be afraid to use Glimpse of the Abyss to get a jump-start on the power curve. Even if you can't take a site that same turn to offset the extra one you'll need to win, it's not a big deal. You want to stay equal with or slightly behind your opponents as long as possible anyway (so Two Hundred Knives regenerates), then go for the big dramatic finish.
Your opponents will try to stop your attackers using anything other than their characters. They'll try Events first, hence the Festival Circles. If you're playing against Architect or Ascended opponents, get a Circle into your front row as fast as you can. They'll also try feng shui sites like City Square and Turtle Beach to foil your attacks; save your Whirlpools to counter those sites whenever possible. And remember Seven Evils' unturning ability--that'll put another kink in the armor of a player who's relying on defensive sites that turn to generate effects.
Two Hundred Knives' and Xin Kai Sheng's abilities only work when they are attacking. Your opponents know this and may try to attack them directly to get them off the table. Get a few Palace Guards into your smoked pile early so you have some automatic defense. And since characters can intercept while turned, feel free to use a Die!!! or two to whittle down the attackers prior to interception. Not enough Guards around? Use an Inauspicious Return to pull back some Sinister Priests, then Die!!!
Your non-feng shui sites are here as greasers. Infernal Temple is an extra source of power. The Dragon Throne can pop out weenies for free, or help you get demons into play fastpick whichever designator is most immediately useful.
Your defense is mostly intimidation, so talk big. Get a Temple of the Angry Spirits out and let it defend itself. Back that up with a Fox Pass and you have an effective warning to "attack elsewhere or face the consequences." If you need to get a badly damaged site off the board before an opponent takes it, Four Burning Fists loves to eat fragile sites--you can find him dancing at the Festival Circle most nights. And don't forget that you can use your Desolate Ridge in response to an Event you play to zap your own sites. Save this trick for when an opponent is attacking your weakened site. Drop a Die!!! or Inauspicious Return during the attack, then nail your own site with the Ridge in response--that'll cause your opponent's attack to fail since there's no target to inflict damage on any more.
Even with all the juicy new cards in Throne War, the Lotus still have a hard time dealing with Events. Your main defense against Events is Festival Circle--use it to stop the common removal and denial cards like Imprison and Operation Killdeer. Gao Zhang can help out too, but only under limited circumstances. Once you get him on the table, try to keep at least one Palace Guards in play so you can use Gao Zhang's ability to redirect an Event. A face-up Desolate Ridge will also make opponents think twice about using Events if they have a fragile utility character or badly damaged site in play.
The deck doesn't have anything to deal with Edges. In a lot of playgroups that's not a problem, but if somebody is big into Edges in your group or starts using Lotus hoser Edges like Monkey King, add one or two Eaters of Fortune.
Two Hundred Knives' ability isn't nearly as cost-effective against hordes of weenies as it is against the usual mid-game hitters. If you find that your Knives are going down to the mob, swap a couple of Eagle Mountains for the Desolate Ridge and Gambling House. The Toughness bonus doesn't help Two Hundred Knives to abuse his own ability, but it does mean he can pretty much ignore weenie interceptors and concentrate his efforts on worthy characters instead.
Stefan Vincent was recently thrilled to see the trailer for the rockin' new Shadowfist movie. Then his alarm went off...
[Note: this is the bio line that I submitted. In the printed article, the InQuest folks changed it to something about the PowerPuff Girls. Ironically, I think Mojo Jojo would make a great Jammer card :) ]
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Foundation Characters 5 Sinister Priest 5 Palace Guards 2 Earth Poisoner Hitters 5 Two Hundred Knives of Pain 2 Evil Twin 1 Four Burning Fists 1 Seven Evils 1 Thing with a 1000 Tongues 1 Gao Zhang (from Year of the Dragon) 1 Xin Kai Sheng Events 5 Die!!! 3 Inauspicious Return 2 Tortured Memories 3 Pocket Demon 2 Glimpse of the Abyss States 3 Pump-Action Shotgun Sites 1 Infernal Temple 1 The Dragon Throne Feng Shui Sites 2 Temple of the Angry Spirits 2 Fox Pass 2 Festival Circle 2 Whirlpool of Blood 1 Desolate Ridge 1 Sacred Heart Hospital 1 Gambling House
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In the Throne War story, Quan Lo didn't manage to seat his emperor on the throne, but maybe you can help the Guiding Hand do better. Another deck using only cards from the new set, Rebel With A Cause lets you lead the Guiding Hand forces to victory against the despicable Lotus.
Your characters all have interesting abilities to copy and you may find yourself wishing you had more Rigorous Disciplines. Get a sudden Fighting increase by copying your Black Flag Rebels during an attack, or get a Bandit Chief through to his target by copying The Iron Monkey's ability.
An early Peasant Uprising in a multiplayer came can get you a sitego for it if you have the opportunity. In the late game, you can still use it to collect weenies for an attack using Leung Mui's Independent ability. Use Festival of Giants to protect your Black Flag Rebels and Bandit Chiefs from weenies and direct damage.
Foundation Characters 4 Golden Candle Society 5 Kung Fu Student Hitters & Specialists 5 Black Flag Rebels 5 Bandit Chief 2 Leung Mui 2 The Iron Monkey 1 True Son of Heaven Events 5 Rigorous Discipline 3 Peasant Uprising 2 Blood of the Valiant 3 Festival of Giants Edges 1 Shield of Pure Soul Sites 1 Rebel Camp 2 Bandit Hideout Feng Shui Sites 1 Cave of a Thousand Banners 2 Petroglyphs 2 Inner Sanctum 3 Möbius Gardens 2 Whirlpool of Blood
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