Shadowfist CCG, "Synergy" Deck Construction Approach 


Shadowfist, is a multiplayer or duel based collectible card game where one player has to beat every opponent at once to win.

One such deck I have utilized in a tournament settings to a high level of success involves the Architects of the Flesh faction. Through dissecting my tournament winning design strategy, I will attempt to show the level of intricacy within strong deck construction.

This is the build I won Origins and Smackdown Championships of 2006 with,

Training Experimentation(Origins 2006 build) 
by Jim Przytulski (58 cards) 
5x Buromil Grunt 
5x Assault Squad 
2x Loyalty Officers 
4x Colonel Wilhelm Reigner 
4x Rapid Response Team

5x Imprisoned 
5x Dangerous Experiment 
2x Neutron Bomb

2x Art of War

Feng Shui Sites 
4x Diamond Beach 
2x Roller Rink 
2x Fox Pass 
2x City Square 
2x Mountain Fortress

5x Killing Ground 
5x Bandit Hideout 
2x Training Camp


The Defense 

The goal of Shadowfist is to take your last Feng Shui Site for victory. This deck relies on using meat shield battleground sites placed in front of Feng Shui Sites. This inherent site structure makes defending my FSS easier. In addition, I utilize defensive feng shui sites. These include Fox Pass and City Square. With these two FSS, my defense is further bolstered. However, I also play defensive characters, capable of being played for free or on opponent's turns to deter enemy attacks. If I get behind, I play Dangerous Experiments as immense power generation to comeback. And, two of the strongest removal events in the game are at my disposal in Imprisoned and Neutron Bomb.

The Offense

The offense is bolstered by my strong defense. In effect, I flood the board with battleground sites as I illuminated earlier. This flood can be utilized to increase any number of my soldier characters to immense fighting with Colonel Wilhelm Reigner.



What I really want to elaborate upon is the deck synergy. This deck can be looked at as an engine, where every part relies on every other part. I will show this through a synergy chain using arrows. The arrows signify something is synergistic with something else.

BuroMil Grunt and Assault Squad --> Colonel Wilhelm Reigner ---> Battleground Sites --> Fox Pass + City Square --> Dangerous Experiment --> Imprisoned/Neutron Bomb

These cards are the basic "synergy" this deck is composed of.

Let me explain each card arrow's synergy in words. BuroMil Grunt and Assault Squad are foundations. These are required and integral to every Shadowfist deck. However, these soldiers have affinity with the Colonel Wilhelm Reigner. Colonel Wilhelm Reigner has synergy with all my battleground sites (because they allow him to boost soldiers). The soldiers have affinity with my battleground sites because they can be played defensively as meat shields or offensively as bandit hideout power generation.

Fox Pass and City Square have affinity with everything included in this chain. Basically, they augment my defensive position. This in turn allows me to play Dangerous Experiment as offensively or defensively. Often, I would flood a board with characters, taking two or three sites after an offensively played Dangerous Experiment. The defensive aspect is amplified by Imprisoned/Neutron Bomb removal.

The rest of the cards are interchangeable. However, this is the "core" of the deck.


Synergy for Other Decks

One question one may ask, is how can this synergy chain be applied to general deck construction? Basically, I start through looking at single cards which have quirky, specific dynamics. After this, I look at what card magnifies or strengthens this inherent dynamic.

For example, one key combo I used within the Jackson Smackdown multiplayer tournament followed this protocol.

The card I looked at was Casbah. I noticed this card has a powerful effect. However, it has a narrow effect that could be self defeating. What I decided to do was design a deck that played very or no zero cost events. I would channel and direct my offense through free edges. Synergistic with Chinese Connections was Red Master. Not only did I have repeated healing effects contingent on my power pool, I had game winning tricks as well.



As I illuminated in this article, strong Shadowfist decks often rely on synergy. I hope current players or future players can gain something from this "synergy" design process. Good luck with deck construction.