Shadowfist Netherworld Expansion

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Home > Sets > Netherworld
[posted 7 Feb 2003; updated 10 Apr 2003]

What's in the set? - rarity, distribution by faction, and obligatory statistics
Nitpicker's Guide - errors big, small, and ludicrously small
Storyline summary - the story behind this set, summarized in a couple of paragraphs
Card list - opens in new window
Etc - whatever's left, random thoughts and comments, sometimes my opinions on this set or cards in it, and/or the State of Shadowfist at the time of this expansion

What's in Netherworld?

Shadowfist Netherworld booster display boxNetherworld was Daedalus Entertainment's first expansion set for Shadowfist. It was printed in 1996, in booster packs only. All cards are black-bordered with a gold foil Ting Ting stamp Netherworld in the upper right corner (the same foil stamp as the Limited Edition). Some of the cards appear more than once on the card sheet, so you'll find them more often than others of the "same" rarity. I don't have any uncut sheets to check the counts, but my card lists include the information that Daedalus published.

Shadowfist Netherworld booster packThis set featured 134 cards, with rarities divided into Common, Uncommon, and Rare. Booster packs contain 12 randomly assorted cards; each display box contains 36 boosters.













Here's the breakdown by faction and by card type. Apologies for the formatting of the table, but it's much smaller to plop an image in than write a table in HTML. Eventually I'll try out the CSS thing and redo all my tables...

Shadowfist Netherworld Expansion breakdown by type and faction

Looking at this graphically may or may not help you, but I like it. Click either graph to see a larger version in a new window.

Breakdown of Netherworld cards by faction Breakdown of Netherworld cards by type

Huge, huge numbers of Characters in this set -- and a lot of them are pretty good, too.

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The Nitpicker's Guide: Netherworld

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Storyline Summary: Netherworld - The Molten Heart

The fiction for Netherworld was never published; I don't know if it was ever written. This is the follow-up to the story that started in Limited Edition (Operation Killdeer). My synopsis is based on the writeup that appears in the Back for Seconds book for the Feng Shui roleplaying game.

After Operation Killdeer, the Monarchs are convinced that the Ascended are worthy partners, so they form an alliance to create the Molten Heart, a device of magic and technology that can shut down the portals in and out of the Netherworld. After the portals are sealed, the Monarchs will take the Netherworld, and the Ascended will get the real world. They both need help with the high technology aspect of the Heart, so the Ascended dupe the Jammers into participating. The group is called the Triumvirate. The Dragons learn about the plot, convince the Jammers that they've been had, and destroy the Heart before it's too late. Apparently nobody dies in this story :)

It's interesting that there are less than a dozen Triumvirate cards in the set, and only two of those are Characters. There were a lot more Triumvirate cards in the Daedalus playtest files, but for whatever reason they weren't printed in this set, and since the Heart is destroyed in the story and the Triumvirate broken, it's unlikely there will ever be more of them.

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Etc: Netherworld

Netherworld really shook up the Shadowfist playing field, which actually wasn't that hard to do at the time — many groups had degenerated into cheese fests (event-heavy Ascended and Architect decks dominating) or waxy character buildup prior to one massive attack for the win. Netherworld changed that primarily by introducing alternate power generation cards, an antidote for the "turning" sites (Kinoshita House, etc.), plus a few ultra-good hitters that were immune to many of the anti-Character cards.

The alternate power generation was a mixed bag. Pocket Demon gave a much-needed boost to the Lotus and Monarchs, and unfortunately also boosted the Architects (pesky DNA Mage!). It also enabled the single-column deck (usually with a Proving Ground in the back row) to become a truly viable play strategy, allowing the player to burn for victory and still generate lots of power. The Hand got Violet Meditation, which wasn't quite as good as Pocket Demon in most metagames (well, ok, Violet Medication is a Chi card, but who else uses Chi regularly?) The Dragons got Kiii-Yaaaah!, another metagame-dependent card. The Jammers got left out in the cold, no power generation for them.

A number of other cards were introduced to try to help comebacks, like Fortress of Shadow, Garden of Bronze, Shield of Pure Soul and Heat of Battle. Many of these only worked if an opponent was closer to victory than you, which of course led to decks that purposely tried to play from a little bit behind so all these effects could be used.

Whirlpool of Blood introduced a much-needed effect to Stop the Madness(TM) of the overpowered "turn to annoy my opponent" cards from Limited Edition (Fox Pass, Kinoshita House, Turtle Beach, City Park, Proving Ground, etc.). Whirlpool became a de facto standard for deck building, especially in dueling; the only question was how many went in.

It's a tough call who came out on top in this set, but I'll give it to the Dragons due to Ting Ting and The Golden Gunman. The Gunman is the main reason that Dragon decks are playable :) The Architects came in a close second, with the amazing CHAR, Sergeant Blightman and Pocket Demon. Thus the Proving Ground engine was born, "2nd-turn CHAR" decks became the dueling standard. The Architects also got the Golden Gunman :) and "Vivisect Gunman/Bomb/Golden Comeback Gunman/attack for the win" was heard all too often.

The Monarchs got a lot of cards in this set, but only a few worthy of regular use. The Butterfly Knight rocks and the Queen of the Darkness Pagoda is no slouch, and on the Event front they got the faction-defining Brain Fire and the versatile Mark of Fire, but they didn't get a wide selection of useful events or good mid-range hitters to fill in the middle.

The Ascended didn't get much, but what they did get was another good, cheap Pledged hitter in Shinobu Yashida, so finally Adrienne had some company in decks.

The other factions are also-rans in this set. The Hand got a bunch of rare Sites. Yay. But at least they got alternate power generation in a couple of flavors (Heat of Battle, The Fox Outfoxed, Violet Meditation). The Lotus got some stuff that looked interesting at first, and some silver bullets against the Ascended (damn Monkey King from Limited Edition :), but not enough to push them into contention like the Dragons. The Jammers got screwed again, except for Entropy is Your Friend. They got a wide selection of cards, but none of them were quite good enough to do anything with, so Jammers ended up as Edge-providers in decks based around Dark Traveler (and even then they were arguably not as useful as the Ascended Suicide Mission flavor of the DT deck).

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