Card draw simulator
|Gwen Hits the Griddy
journeyman2 · 17918
Shadowcat can guarantee the triggers on Unflappable and Hard to Ignore using her Phased constant effect, with minimal investment and often ending up with more cards in hand. With her defense well covered from her kit alone and extra resources from Quick Shift and Unflappable to prepare tech; we look to Repurpose to provide her with excellent burst thwart and damage.
Using some neat cards like Jocasta, who recurs Quick Shift, and Forcefield Generator, which protects against small pings until going out in a blaze of glory, we can control and set up until it's time to burst down the villain.
This deck was inspired by my previous deck, Gwen Hits the Griddy. Shadowcat and Ghost Spider have some notable differences. Ghost Spider readies easier for Repurpose, while Shadowcat takes no damage for cheaper. Ghost Spider's damage potential is higher, but Shadowcat's better economy and thwart give her a flexible early game. Ghost Spider runs True Grit and Web-Warriors, while Shadowcat can afford and avoid the downsides of Forcefield Generator.
How Does Shadowcat Work
Take a look at this video from community member SC0E who put out a great video explaining Shadowcat! This is a great primer on all the little quirks she presents.
Basic Form Technique
- Phased is a Forced Response, making it mandatory to flip after an attack or defense and giving it timing priority over regular Responses
- Solid is merely a Response meaning the flip from Solid to Phased is optional after attacking or defending
- Attack and Defense cards count as attacking and defending for Phased and Solid, in addition to basic powers
- Basic defending or playing a (defense) event only begins the defense. The defense shares an end window with the attack, so Unflappable and Solid/Phased do not trigger when Shadowcat plays her (defense), but only after the defense ends, which is after step 4 of the enemy attack
Basically, we want to end every hero phase in Phased, by flipping from Solid with our last attack of the turn (remember we don't have to flip after every attack since Solid is optional). Then we want to defend the villain attack, guaranteeing we take no damage.
Intermediate Form Stances
When an enemy attack begins we can use Quick Shift. As an Interrupt, it immediately draw 2 cards, before the attack resolves. As a (defense) card, this makes the attack considered defended without needing to exhaust
Ready to Rumble is essentially Indomitable for any aspect. If we exhausted to defend and thus trigger the Forced Response on Phased to form change, we can trigger Ready to Rumble to ready. This is useful if we need to defend again or to start the hero phase unexhausted, guaranteeing an attack that can return Shadowcat to Phased
Counter-Punch can trigger after we defend and use the Forced Response on Phased. Since it is an attack, it gives us the option to flip back to Phased. Useful if we need to defend again, or the first thing we want to do in the hero phase requires being phased such as Selective Intangibility, Airwalk, Phase Strike
This is the baseline, and it's already very good. Now let's turn it up a couple notches.
Advanced Form Mastery
Very important is that Phased is a Forced Response, so the flip to Solid occurs before all of our "after defends" Response cards such as Unflappable, Hard to Ignore, Electrostatic Armor, Ready to Rumble, and Counter-Punch. The order the Response effects trigger is interchangeable. Rarely it matters, but remember that these can be triggered in the order of your choosing for when it does. More on this later.
We could not play a Quick Shift drawn off of Unflappable here, since Quick Shift's Interrupt timing is at the start of the attack; but we could play Counter-Punch drawn off Unflappable, triggering a form change).
If we start in Phased, defend to flip to Solid, then Counter-Punch to flip back to Phased, our Hard to Ignore trigger will benefit from our ability to ignore crisis, since we are still in the same response window of "after you defended and took no damage". This would not work if Shadowcat ended in Solid, and is one example for the order of the triggers mattering
In multiplayer, Quick Shift can make Shadowcat the new target of an attack since it is playable on an attack made against any player and (defense) makes her the defender. For example, in 2-player, Shadowcat basic defends the first attack from Phased, Unflappable draws Counter-Punch, Counter-Punch puts Shadowcat back in Phased, Quick Shift pulls the second attack, fully resolving in Phased amounting to two attacks with no damage taken. Shadow and Steel also draws attacks against any player and works best from Solid, saving a Ready to Rumble or Counter-Punch and being paid for with Solid's free resource
Benefits so far:
- Have mitigated step 1 villain phase threat with Hard to Ignore
- Have mitigated step 2 of the villain phase by taking no damage from 1-2 villain attacks with Phased
- Have an effective 6 card hand with Unflappable, and sometimes 7-8 card hand with 1-2 Quick Shift
- Have potentially dealt villain/minion damage with Counter-Punch, Electrostatic Armor, or Shadow and Steel
Since we have effectively turned off the villain for most of the villain phase with little effort, we really only need to answer encounter cards and beat the villain. My answer is Repurpose. Increasing ATK takes care of minions and the villain, increasing THW takes care of side schemes, and the ready is good security against exhaustion/status and makes sure we can always get to Phased.
Similar to my previous deck, Gwen Hits the Griddy, rather than double down on our defensive efforts, we will be looking for ways to turn our defense into offense. This is primarily for 1-2 player counts, where being well-rounded is better than being laser-focused.
Repurpose is a great way to supplement the offense of heroes with good access to readies
Plasma Pistol makes the cut over Energy Barrier in our 2-cost spot. Shadowcat takes damage so irregularly, that getting the pings from Energy Barrier is inconsistent. Plasma Pistol is useful to tee up minions to the right health or ping toughs to let our large attacks thru
Forcefield Generator is a great one-of. Because of how little damage we take, it can stick around for awhile without discarding itself from its Forced Interrupt. Being max 1 and having good longevity means we really only want one copy, but it can stick around for a mega turn!
With Repurpose, Shadowcat Surprise, Ready to Rumble, and Professor X, we have 10 readies in deck to make use of these boosted stats. Ready to Rumble is showing that it is more flexible than Indomitable here, since we can trigger it in the hero phase after attacking and triggering a form change). The sequence would be Repurpose->attack->form change->ready to rumble->attack. At any point we are in Solid, we can play Shadowcat Surprise using Solid's resource and Deft Focus to deal 3 damage and attack again!
Remember when we said we would come back to drawing into Counter-Punch off of Quick Shift/Unflappable? When we Repurpose for attack in the hero phase, and then defend in the villain phase, we can trigger Counter-Punch to deal our boosted ATK value! This works because Repurpose boosts last until the end of the round, and as established earlier, the response window stays open throughout all of our "after defends" Response effects. This boosted Counter-Punch can be played off of any of the numerous defenses Shadowcat will make or as a card drawn by Quick Shift/Unflappable. I've played some 7 ATK Counter-Punchs with this deck, but presumably it can get as high as 9!
Thwarting sequencing is a little more restricted, since we still need to attack at least once to get back to Phased. Ready to Rumble is tougher to pull off since a basic THW won't trigger a form change. But when Shadowcat does boost, ignoring crisis while Phased can be beneficial to maximize value with fewer readies
Professor X is useful as a confuse+3 THW that isn't tied to stopping an attack like Phased and Confused is. The 3 THW means we can more often use Repurpose to boost attack, and his built in ready effect can let us swing again. We aren't running Utopia because triggering the ready effect is less reliable as Shadowcat doesn't need allies, much like Ghost-Spider
Shadowcat Surprise is our best card after Quick Shift, at base 3 damage, 2 thwart, and a flip to Phased; but the numbers only go up with Repurpose. Solid+Deft Focus combine for a lot of free Shadowcat Surprises
Note that Solid with Phase Strike is less good, since Phase Strike resolves before Solid's Response can flip her to Phased, meaning she won't be able to discard an attachment. Deft Focus takes the place of Solid here
Intangible Interference can be great when we have a boosted thwart stat from Repurpose or can play a full strength Airwalk. It gives a bonus 2 threat removal from a crisis side scheme at the cost of an exhaust, useful for things like Hydra Patrol or Abduction Protocols. This must be done from Phased
Acute Control is a bit more situational. Ignoring guard requires an attack from Phased and thus a forced flip to Solid. While it can be useful against Goblin Thralls, M-Type Sentinels, and Master Mold II, Shadowcat will still need a second attack to get back to Phased. Both of the upgrades are great Caught Off Guard fodder. Thinning the deck, perfect when there's an extra Deft Focus lying around
Jocasta probably deserves her own section. She gets us a 3rd use of our best card, Quick Shift, turning her into 2 ER for 4 THW and a block, or 2 ER for 2 THW and 2 blocks. Insane value. Getting 3-4 free blocks per deck cycle allows us to save our exhausts for big Repurpose turns
The X-Jet is a good economy card for the things Deft Focus can't touch, like the tech cards and allies. Honorary X-Men is here to give Kitty Pride the X-Men trait so she can benefit from the in alter-ego. Useful to clear a few cards that give us a hard time like Frozen and Seduced. The +1 hit point is situationally useful, against Ebony Maw’s spells for instance
Phased and Confused can sometimes be a hindrance since we can't trigger Unflappable if the villain doesn't attack. Turning off a villain attack and then drawing into Quick Shift feels really bad. It’s expensive and doesn’t working with Deft Focus or Solid. The confuse is useful, but against non-steady villains, Professor X is a better confuse. Phased and Confused can be good in circumstances where Shadowcat is stuck in Solid or if she can hit Unflappable by defending a minion instead. It can buy time early game, before our Unflappable engine is set up. Just be careful when playing it that it doesn't shut down the engine entirely!
Kitty's Room is amazing burst heal. With two uses and a REC, mitigated by our copious readies, she can heal 7 damage quickly. Shadowcat can take no damage over the course of the game, but using her health as a resource can generate a lot of tempo in certain situations. Having the option to heal quickly comes in handy. When combined with Phase Control, she can choose the healing or draw depending on what's useful or what is in hand. If we have Phase Strike and the villain has an attachment, rolling into Phased is prudent. If we just REC and have Shadowcat Surprise, roll up to Solid to pay for it and ready. If we have no way to attack, roll up to Phased to prepare for the villain phase
In multiplayer with my Colossus deck, I replace x1 Plasma Pistol with x1 Shadow and Steel. It can draw attacks from other players, trigger Unflappable, and deal some damage to the villain or hopefully clear a minion. This helps preserve Colossus' toughs
Should We Only Defend From Phased?
The benefits of defending from Phased are clear:
If Shadowcat cannot meet these criteria, then she should not defend. She typically only wants to flip to Phased off of Counter-Punch or after spending the Solid in the hero phase; rather than flipping to Phased from a defense trigger.
Having reliable access to starting in Phased and using Quick Shift three times per deck cycle (with help from Jocasta), should keep us covered; but what should Shadowcat do when attacked while in Solid, such as after a first defense from Phased or the rare occasion of starting a villain phase in Solid?
My baseline advice is don't defend in Solid, unless able to meet 1., 2., or 3. above. Blocking some damage is not worth the expenditure in exhausts or resources. There are a handful allies that can stick around as emergency chumps, but don’t be afraid to tank a full attack. Kitty's Room can burst heal Kitty Pride, so taking damage is a minor inconvenience.
However, if we can guarantee a combination of the above points, defending from Solid becomes a better value proposition.
Quick Shift can get us 1. and 3. for instance, by flipping to Phased and thus taking no damage. Though losing the draw 2 is a shame. Definitely evaluate if it is worth it to burn a Quick Shift this way before playing it, as holding it for next turn to defend and draw 2 is also viable
Defending a minion attack or having Forcefield Generator active can guarantee 1. And 3, while also saving some energy counters
Multiplayer provides more reason to defend from Solid. Shadow and Steel can use the Solid resource, hitting 1. and 3. We can use Counter-Punch after our first defense from Phased to flip back and take a second attack from Phased. Lastly, we can exhaust to defend in Solid as long as we have an in-hand Quick Shift for the second defense from Phased