Shadowverse is a card game by Cygames available on mobile devices and Steam. Though new, it has received raving reviews and is currently in the process of establishing their second expansion, Rise of Bahamut. Want to try the game out? Check out our Shadowverse Competitive Primer series to learn how to get started in Shadowverse! Additionally, the first three card reveal analyses for Shadowverse Rise of Bahamut can be found here, here, and here.
Cygames has continued to reveal more Rise of Bahamut cards for Shadowverse through the official Twitter! While some of these cards attempt to bolster less viable playstyles in the current Shadowverse metagame, others provide interesting new ideas when coupled with previous reveals. This article will try to cover the potential effects each card will have on the future of Shadowverse, given the current ranked metagame. A one sentence summary of each card review for this set can be found at the bottom of the article.
Three points for 3/2 in stats is often rather unfortunate, as two point followers usually have two attack, allowing them to trade equally at better value. Additionally, Rush is an underplayed ability, directly inferior to Storm which allows attacking of the opposing leader as well as followers on the first turn out. The three point follower tier for Swordcraft is very crowded, too, with Novice Trooper, Ascetic Knight, White Paladin, Fencer, Ruthless Assassin and Pompous Princess all seeing play.
In control-based Swordcraft decks, the extra stats and defensive capabilities offered by Ascetic Knight or White Paladin are very helpful. In offensive decks, the immediate offensive presence of Fencer and Novice Trooper can help quickly get in early game damage. Pompous Princess can fit into both to help maintain board control, and Ruthless Assassin is effective removal with a Commander up. With offensive stats but Rush instead of Storm, Blitz Lancer struggles to find a place among Swordcraft's efficient low-cost followers. The extra one attack over Novice Trooper allows it to match up better versus some early game plays such as Snake Priestess, Sweetfang Vampire, Sky Dragon Ethica and Deathchaser, mostly when going second.
Still, aggressive Swordcraft decks may prefer to ignore these followers and simply deal damage to face, which only makes Snake Priestess relevant. Control Swordcraft decks would still prefer White Paladin to stall with Ward and, later in the game, to evolve for its powerful effect. Under the commonly used Royal Banner, this card becomes a 4/2 with Rush, making it a more effective way to remove opposing followers, but Ruthless Assassin is far better because it gains Storm and Bane under the same circumstances, guaranteeing removal. There may be an argument in saying that Blitz Lancer's stat distribution and Rush may help strengthen Swordcraft's already strong early game, but it still seems inferior to Swordcraft's many other three point drops.
As yet another three point 3/2, Damus, Oracle of Inquity already must fight an uphill battle. While Havencraft does not have as many viable three point plays as Swordcraft, they still have options such as Divine Birdsong, Elana's Prayer, Sister Initiate and Prism Priestess. Compared to the somewhat delayed presence of those cards, however, Damus offers an effect that can activate as soon as the opponent's next turn. Early game, this card seems like it may not be much use, given that it can be taken out by a two point follower that would have traded with it anyways, but in practice, Havencraft has many tools to ensure this card may destroy two or three opposing followers, or more.
Early game, Snake Priestess is a hard card to get past, as a 1/3 with ward narrowly avoids being taken out by nearly all two point cards except Blackened Scripture. Playing this card immediately after Snake Priestess, assuming the opponent does not remove it with a spell such as Whole-Souled Swing or Undying Resentment, allows it to take down at least two opposing followers. If Blackened Scripture is used the turn before to clear off a two point follower, Damus can be played onto an empty board and potentially force an Evolution to get rid of it, gaining even more value. Late game, this card has even more options to shine, especially if combined with cards such as Guardian Sun providing Ward followers to protect it. Aggressive Havencraft decks may not find the room to run this, though its three attack and the way it can clear parts of opposing boards is quite appealing.
In control based, late-game Havencraft decks, Damus can easily help set up for an game-ending play such as Prince of Darkness or Enstatued Seraph by removing some threats from the board. Damus almost always trades one for one against an attacking follower and can easily trade for more in the right circumstances. This card only destroys at the end of the turn, however, so it will not stop lethal. Damus offers good value early game and even higher value potential late game, especially when provided with Ward followers, and will no doubt find its place in many Control Havencraft decks.
Shadowverse adds in yet another three point 3/2, for Shadowcraft this time. While its stats may be inferior, it at least has Ward, which can help Shadowcraft withstand the strong early-game aggressive decks that many Shadowcraft archetypes lose to. However, Shadowcraft has an arguably better Ward follower with Spartoi Soldier, who has a higher defense, and whose one attack is still effective versus many board-swarming followers. It may be justified to run more early game Wards as Shadowcraft finds itself weak against aggression, but this card's value is dependent on its Necromancy effect.
At first, this effect is a direct downgrade from Skull Rider, thankfully also making the Necromancy cost cheaper. Skull Rider rarely sees play, however; while four damage to a follower and establishing a 4/3 for four points is great value-wise, six Shadows is a high Necromancy cost that might be better spent on cards such as Foul Tempest. Feathered Patroller unfortunately suffers similar issues. Four Shadows by turn three, even with Shadowcraft's extra Shadow gain cards such as Skull Beast and Burial Grounds, is difficult to achieve and assumes that every follower played is destroyed by the opponent, a hard to achieve scenario. Even assuming that, two damage for four Shadows is unhelpful when Shadowcraft would much rather save those Shadows for more significant effects such as Foul Tempest, Death's Breath or Charon.
This card attempts to be an anti-aggressive card for a class that desperately needs them. Assuming the Necromancy effect is triggered, this card can trade two-for-one against the small followers that many aggressive decks run, and forces trades because of its Ward. However, Spartoi Soldier is a better follower to stall for time due to its higher defense, and, because there is no choice whether to use Necromancy or not, this card may drain Shadows when the player might be saving for a better effect. Feathered Patroller's bad stat distribution and inefficient use of Shadows make it difficult to justify playing this card, even if trying to stop aggressive decks.
Seven points for a 1/7, even with Ward, is horrible value, but Forest Gigas gains +X/+0 for every card in the hand, meaning it can be as high as a 9/7, which is incredible. Realistically, it will probably range from 5/7 to 7/7 in stats, which is definitely not bad. With the other main seven point plays for Forestcraft being Homecoming and Forest Archelon, Forest Gigas is definitely a contender as a large, defensive stand-alone turn seven play, unlike Forest Archelon which requires two other cards to be played first.
At the moment, most Forestcraft decks do not run high cost followers, with the largest typically being Elf Knight Cynthia, Fairy Beast, or the occasional Odin as a tech card. While all three of these cards provide useful utilities such as buffing stats, large late game heals, and powerful, non-situational removal, Forest Gigas provides nothing special. Playing four fairies or other one point followers onto Ancient Elf provides a Ward follower with 6/7, basically matching Forest Gigas in strength while still being an effective early game play. Ancient Elf can even be played onto a partially established board to gain the same stats but at an even lower point cost. Master of the Canopies is not usually viable but it easily matches Forest Gigas's stats with only six cards in hand, which Forestcraft can easily maintain, though it lacks the ward.
Forest Gigas seems to want to lean Forestcraft towards a deck archetype based on a large hand size, as there are many other Forestcraft cards that also benefit from it. Unfortunately, this type of deck is too slow compared to the current Forestcraft variants that can chain incredible combos and versatile, quick effects with cards such as Rhinoceroach or Crystalia Tia. Forest Gigas is a slow, defensive late game play that seems hardly justified in comparison.
Four points for a 3/4 is average, though 3/4 is arguably better than 4/3. However, most class cards come with powerful beneficial effects, so Goblinbreaker Teena needs to prove herself better than them. Like many four point followers, Teena can be Evolved for additionbal effects, though, again similar to them, she only gains +1/+1 as opposed to the typical +2/+2. Teena can deal two or five damage to an enemy follower, depending on whether it is neutral or not.
The number of neutral followers commonly ran in the metagame is quite low and consists mostly of either early or late game plays, compared to the mid-game where Teena's point cost fits best. The extra damage is wasted on cards such as Unicorn Dancer Unica and it may not be realistic to assume there is an Evolution in the late game to help Teena take down Dark Angel Olivia. The lack of neutral followers to target means that Teena's ability should be evaluated based on the base two damage it deals. In this case, it is directly inferior to both Dragon Warrior, Playful Necromancer, who deal more damage and are more versatile, respectively. It also finds hard competition with Priest of the Cudgel, which often offers better trades on turn four. Outside of these, other plays such as Timeworn Mage Levi Evolved before using Crimson Sorcery simply offer more value for their specific classes.
In a Shadowverse metagame where Goblin is run in every deck, Goblinbreaker Teena will still probably have no place. Like many neutral cards, she is just below the mark when compared to similar cost, class specific followers. This card serves no specific purpose in a metagame with few neutral followers and most of the time will either be a weak vanilla card or a waste of an Evolution.
3/3 is slightly below average for a four point follower, but is easily justifiable given a good effect. Bloodcraft's other four point plays include Night Horde, a powerful early game tempo swing that provides at least two 1/1s, Crimson Purge which trades leader defense for slightly less costly follower removal, Dark General, a high strength low cost Storm that requires Vengeance to be activated, Wardrobe Raider, which offers healing and board control on evolution, and Demonic Strike, a neutral card that provides three unsituational points of damage.
Compared to all of those, Moriana certainly offers a unique and powerful alternative. Evolution points are valuable ways to swing the game in one's favor and this card offers the only means to regain them outside of Dark Angel Olivia, which tends to be a late game play. However, Moriana also requires the leader to be at ten or less defense for its effect to activate. Vengeance is a hard to justify mechanic as it is really only safe to activate it when the opponent's board has few to no threats. Bloodcraft has efficient board clearing that can also help activate Vengeance with Demonic Storm, Razory Claw and Crimson Purge, but even control Bloodcraft decks usually choose to enter Vengeance range only near the end game.
While Evolution points are versatile and powerful, they offer slightly delayed effects which may put a Bloodcraft player at risk of losing in the very next turn. The two most common followers with added effects under Vengeance, Dark General and Alucard, bring immediate tempo swings. In order for Moriana to do the same, she or another card will have to be Evolved immediately after being played which can lead to interesting combinations in the late game. Moriana's Vengeance effect is not as much of a direct tempo swing as many other Vengeance cards but the Evolution point provides an unpredictable versatility that they don't, making her an option especially for Control Bloodcraft.
Six points for a 4/6 is not a bad value, but at first this card seems directly outclassed by Dragonguard, a 5/6 who can also have Ward. Though Dragonguard's Ward is more situational, by the time one can play six point followers, Overflow has probably activated already. Owl Guardian's advantage is it's Evolve ability, which discards from the had to deal a significant five damage to an opposing follower. This effect is reminiscent of a later-game Dragon Warrior, almost always able to trade two-to-one. Outside of Dragonguard, the Dragoncraft six point slot is occupied by the far more offensive Dark Dragoon Forte, which offers completely different benefits.
It seems that Owl Guardian is a hybrid between the two other common six point drops, aimed at maintaining board control. It provides both Ward and five damage, though the damage cannot hit the opposing leader, meaning Owl Guardian has the sole purpose of reclaiming the board. The discard cost for its Evolve ability is irritating but can be offset by Dracomancer's Rites. Looking solely at the value of the discard, it offers a slightly better effect than Dragonewt Fist, especially against large late game followers.
Though Owl Guardian's effect may seem underwhelming, it does provide a way for Dragoncraft to regain or maintain control of the board around or during Overflow activation. Dragonguard offers a similar effect but, at the cost of a discard, Owl Guardian's Evolve effect provides a more significant board-reclaiming effect. Though Owl Guardian is a predictable, unsurprising card, it may at least replace Dragonguard in late-game Dragoncraft decks owing to its utility.
As a four point cost spell this card should be compared to Spellboost Runecraft's other common options, Merlin and Fire Chain. Both cards offer board control possibilities and, of course, the ever important Spellboost. At first glance, Piercing Rune does not seem particularly valuable, dealing a somewhat restrictive distribution of four damage for an expensive four points. For a playstyle that thrives on spells that are either very cheap or very significant, a four point cost for this odd effect might make the card unplayable.
The saving grace for Piercing Rune is the discount it gains when an allied follower is Evolved. A one point spell is extremely valuable to help Spellboost the hand; many Spellboost Runecraft decks even run the neutral spell Angelic Snipe because it is a one point spell. The Evolution requirement is a little restrictive but it is balanced by Runecraft's ability to draw into the few followers that the Spellboost archetype runs, and the combos it can pull off. Evolving a Timeworn Mage Levi on turn four allows for an immediate follow up with Crimson Sorcery and Piercing Rune, spellboosting the entire hand twice and dealing seven damage distributed between board and opposing leader. Playing and Evolving Merlin on turn five allows for this card to be played immediately afterwards, perhaps helping clear the board and forcing the opponent to use an Evolve simply to remove Merlin.
Though this card does offer these scary possibilities, its value is drastically diminished without the Evolution buff. Nevertheless, it can still be used in a last ditch resort for burn damage and board control, so even at a four mana cost it is not useless, just inefficient. Piercing Rune requires a specific situation to be very good but given Runecraft's draw power and few followers, it will no doubt be easy for Spellboost archetypes to take full advantage of this card's benefits.
Cards that solely provide buffs, no matter how cheap, are often tossed by the wayside. The few cards that escape this verdict are not only cheap, but also provide significant repeated buffs continuing throughout the game, such as Elana's Prayer. Compared to such an effect, Executioner's Axe falls short. Giving a follower Rush might be worth one point if the follower is cheap and has Bane, but the only card for Bloodcraft that satisfies those roles sometimes is the rather useless Venomous Cobra, though the newly released Alpha Wolfman may have some potential. The added Rush combined with a drain follower can offer some quick healing, but even then the effect is underwhelming as the only non-situational drain followers that Bloodcraft has is Sweetfang Vampire. Perhaps rushing a big late game follower can provide a player with a little more initiative on the board, but that seems like a very situational and desperate play.
It may be tempting to evaluate Executioner's Axe on the +2/+2 it offers when Enhanced, but even then it falls short. Assuming the Rush is worth the base cost of one point, Executioner's Axe provides +2/+2 for an expensive three points, which is hardly efficient. Using this on a follower already in play can provide a two extra damage output, but that wastes the additional Rush effect and is challenged by Demonic Strike, which deals three less situational damage for the same cost. Bloodcraft is also neither short of one point nor four point plays, with one point options being Precious Bloodfangs, Ambling Wraith and Cursebrand Vampire,
Executioner's Axe will probably be like many other stat boosters, almost completely unplayed. Rush is an underwhelming effect on most of Bloodcraft's followers and the Enhance effect on this card is overpriced.
At first glance, this card seems underwhelming. Three points for two temporary 1/1s is rather weak, considering Shadowcraft has many other options. Rabbit Necromancer provides two damage to the opposing leader, albeit delayed, and a 3/2 for the same cost, Foul Tempest is more effective if the opponent has more than two followers and Soul Hunt provides more single follower damage. However, since Phantom Howl is often found in Shadowcraft decks, especially aggressive ones, and because Voices of Resentment provides a very interesting Enhance effect, perhaps this card is still worth considering.
This card is both cheaper than Phantom Howl and does not drain Shadows. Nevertheless, on an empty board, it may be worthwhile to pay the extra one point and Necromancy costs for up to three more damage, but that is highly dependent on the situation. In both cases, the Ghosts can be comboed with Cerberus's Coco for a little more damage output. Despite this, Voices of Resentment seems a little lackluster, at least until turn eight. Giving the Ghosts Bane is the equivalent of making them into hard follower removal, stopped by Wards but getting past targeting immunities such as that of Aurelia, Regal Saber. At an eight point cost for two follower removal, this card still provides a slight edge over the typical five point cost for removal cards.
Like some of the other revealed Enhance cards, Voices of Resentment offers versatility. It can help with both board control or aggressive tactics, much like Phantom Howl. The Ghosts can be comboed with Soul Conversion for extra draw. Early game, Voices of Resentment may seem slightly inferior to other plays, but the Ghosts provide many new options, and late game this card can function as very good follower removal.
2/2 stats are on the low side for a three point card, but Alpha Wolfman attempts to make up for it with Bane and an additional Vengeance effect. As a three point play, Alpha Wolfman faces competition from Mini Soul Devil, Killer Devil and Dire Bond. While not under Vengeance, the first two provide better stats, while Dire Bond is simply a good all around card. While an early-game Bane card may seem like a good way to maintain board control, there are too many ways to deal with two defense followers.
Under Vengeance, this card provides the equivalent of 4/4 in stats, split into two 2/2s with Bane. This seems like incredible value as, not only is this card cheap, it can also help with hard removal. Unfortunately, this suffers from the same issues with many other early game Vengeance cards. Not only is it difficult to enter Vengeance range so early in the game, many cards are very low value outside of it, with the exception of Cursebrand Vampire. Additionally, once under Vengeance, plays that have delayed benefits like this one are not favorable, as many decks can burst a weakened leader down to the point of no return.
In the late game, this card suffers from the same issues. Putting two Bane followers on the board might threaten large opposing followers, but being in Vengeance range often means they can simply ignore Alpha Werewolf and attack directly. This card can be comboed with Executioner's Axe to provide the very valuable Bane and Rush/Storm combination, but that is the equivalent of four points and two cards for one hard removal, a difficult to justify cost. Alpha Werewolf, like many other Vengeance followers, will probably never see play in a metagame where being in Vengeance range requires high, instant-value plays.
Four points for a 3/4 is not a bad stat distribution. Even when put up against other four point Swordcraft followers, such as Floral Fencer, Cursed General and White General, Amelia, Silver Paladin holds its own. All these are incomparable to the valuable Royal Banner on turn four, but they all have their pros and cons. Where the other four point followers strive to maintain board advantage, Amelia helps to regenerate the hand, similar to the previously revealed Thief. Gelt, Vice Captain is a previously revealed two point follower with 2/2 in stats, that gains +1/+0 and Ward if a Commander is in play.
She provides less direct, unsituational value compared to the other plays, but aggressive Swordcraft decks do enjoy being able to maintain a steady stream of low cost followers in the hand. More importantly, even in Control Swordcraft decks, this card might find a place in holding out against board flooding aggressive decks. With three or more followers on the opposing board, the Gelt, Vice Captain cost becomes zero, making this card the equivalent of a 6/6 with partial Ward, since Gelt will get the buffs as Amelia is a Commander. Between the Ward and significant stats, this card on turn four can be a hard stop to aggressive decks, without even needing to use an Evolution as Floral Fencer might require.
Even without three opposing followers, Amelia provides solid value. Regenerating the hand is something that Swordcraft truly appreciates, and Gelt is, as previously evaluated, a solid enough follower to play on its own. While Amelia is slightly more situational than the rest of Swordcraft's turn four plays, the value offered by this card is too much to ignore.
Five points for a 4/5 is surprisingly good value for a Havencraft specific follower, matched only by Pinion Prince. Indeed, Havencraft's five point plays are surprisingly lacking, consisting mainly of Radiance Angel, the neutral Wind God and the neutral removals Execution or Dance of Death. None of these plays do particularly well versus a strong minion-swarming aggressive board, as they do not remove much damage. Ancient Lion Spirit, on the other hand, seems built to do that.
Perhaps because of its significant Evolve effect, Ancient Lion Spirit does not gain any stats upon Evolution. However, dealing two damage to every opposing follower is powerful, allowing for significant board clears of common aggressive followers. Even if there is a slightly larger follower remaining, such as the above mentioned White General in an aggressive Swordcraft deck, the Rush provided by Evolving can allow Ancient Lion Spirit to beat it. The combination of two damage to all opposing followers combined with a four attack rush nearly ensures this card can clear most turn four boards, swinging the game in the Havencraft player's favor.
Outside of its Evolution effect, Ancient Lion Spirit still offers solid stats. It feels oddly similar to Priest of the Cudgel in that it is a powerful Evolution play that can clear or almost clear every single opposing play made beforehand. Ancient Lion Spirit helps fill a hole in Havencraft's five point plays and offers an amazing tool for board control, especially versus aggressive decks.
Blitz Lancer: An unusual stat distribution and a bad effect make this three point follower inferior to most of Swordcraft's many other choices.
Damus, Oracle of Inquity: A powerful and difficult to avoid control option for Havencraft that can become especially dangerous when paired with some of Havencraft's other cards.
Feathered Patroller: Despite Ward and a cheap Necromancy damage dealing effect, this card is not good at dealing with aggressive decks and is generally inefficient.
Forest Gigas: Despite potentially gargantuan stats, this card's high point cost and mundane effect make it difficult to imagine using in the usually quick, combo based Forestcraft decks.
Goblinbreaker Teena: Generally inferior to class-specific turn four and Evolve plays, especially given the lack of mid-game neutral followers in the metagame.
Moriana the Bejeweled: Offers a very unique Vengeance effect but one that still might be too slow, though it is better than other options.
Owl Guardian: A viable alternative to Dragonguard as an aggression stopper in Dragoncraft despite inferior stats, especially given its Evolution ability.
Piercing Rune: An interesting spell that can be comboed easily with the few followers that Spellboost Runecraft runs for massive value.
Executioner’s Axe: Despite its cheap cost, it's hard to imagine this in Bloodcraft decks as the value it offers is very low.
Voices of Resentment: A versatile alternative or companion to Phantom Howl, potentially, as it offers both aggressive and defensive capabilities, especially given its Enhance effect.
Alpha Wolfman: Yet another unfortunate, slow Vengeance play, too dangerous to risk, despite two 2/2s with Bane being very good.
Amelia, Silver Paladin: A great turn four play that also offers hand regeneration for Swordcraft; the value grows ridiculous if the opponent has three or more followers in play.
Ancient Lion Spirit: A powerful Havencraft five point follower with a great Evolution board clearing effect.
As yet another Shadowverse Rise of Bahamut card reveal and review goes by, the future metagame grows even more interesting. While some playstyles such as Vengeance Bloodcraft still seem unfortunately underpowered, others have gained new powerful tools to strengthen their decks. The Shadowverse Twitter continues to reveal new cards and we here at TechRaptor will continue to review them, up until December 29th when Rise of Bahamut is finally released.