Paradox Defiance Constructed Set Review: Shadow

Paradox Defiance Constructed Set Review: Shadow

It is Shadow’s turn, and we have a lot of interesting things going on here.

Constructed Reviews: Fire | Time | Justice | Primal | ShadowMultifaction

This is my rating scale. It is highly similar to other set reviews from other card games, with considerations for Eternal. Note that cards intended mostly for market usage see a rating comparable to normal cards due to how frequently Markets are accessed in normal games. For the constructed review, I won’t talk about cards that are obviously bad for constructed, meaning no draft cards. Lastly, number ratings don’t give the full picture. Be sure to read the full explanation for the rating.

Card Rating Scale

5.0: Format warping card. The most powerful cards in the game. (Valkyrie Enforcer. Torch. Merchants.)
4.0: Powerful cards used in multiple decks that often enable or define archetypes. (Haunting Scream. Cauldron Cookbook. )
3.0: Good cards that will show up in many decks or be very powerful in a few. (Sherriff Marley. Dusk Raider. Shakedown.)
2.5: Roleplayers that help certain decks but aren’t quite mainstays. (Quarry. Nocturnal Observer.)
2.0: Niche or fringe playable card, especially in the Market, or generally just a “maybe”. (Cloud of Ash. Back-Alley Delinquent. Unstable Form.)
1.0: Extremely narrow usage. (Back in Set 2, I played a Magma Javelin in my Skycrag sideboard specifically to hit a Silverwing Familiar as I otherwise had no reasonable way to kill it if I was on the draw and it got a weapon played on it, and Charchain Flail had just gotten nerfed. I still stand by my decision.)

Lethrai Lobotomy

Constructed: 2.0
Sadness rating: 5.0

R.I.P. Dino 🙁

The problem here is that the relics that you’re happy to get rid of seem to be few and far between. Combust is a much more castable 1-cost kill, and even it requires some pretty strict deckbuilding in order to not be terrible. I might be missing something with all the Relic’s Matter in this set but I think they’re just not up to par.

Rat Cage

Constructed: 2.5

I’m going to be generous here on the idea that there are some engine/combo-style decks out there that want a lot of units to sacrifice but needed more or other options than Grenadins in order to function. Rat Cage can get pretty nutty in multiples, so cards like this will ensure you have plenty. In any other deck, I’m not sure you want to be bothering with 1/1’s that can’t block.

Secret Passage

Constructed: 3.0

We might be in a new set, but Blitz decks didn’t just die overnight. Secret Passage looks like a key player in all manner of One-Turn-Kill Blitz decks, Scream/Infiltrate decks, and even Shadow-based Aggro decks if ever get to venture down that avenue again. Ghostform has always been incredibly niche due to needing to get a lot out of the swing, but Secret Passage sticks around to use over multiple turns. Of note, when you use the sacrifice method to give a unit Unblockable, it isn’t until end of turn (unlike the summon effect), meaning it keeps it anytime the unit is copied or returned.

Weary Spiteling

Constructed: 2.0

I am not sure Wisps has what it takes to be a powerhouse constructed deck, but if it does, this is a mandatory 4-of in the deck.

Mournful Deathcap

Constructed: 2.0

This might be a stretch, but between the Market, copying, and returning, it’s doesn’t seem unreasonable to be able to consistently have two or more Mournful Deathcaps on the field. You only need to get a few hits off of this to be able to Solitude them for lethal. I’m guessing this deck isn’t a real contender, but it could probably make Masters and snag a lot of people by surprise. More than anything, I’m certain I’m going to lose to it on stream at some point.

Scavenge

Constructed: 2.0

Winchest (FJS) gained a few go-wide pieces this set, such as this one. Tokens that can’t block are among the worst tokens, but anything that makes more than one unit is always worth considering. Perhaps alongside Exiles and Grenadins there is room for a FJS Tokens deck, and in that shell I think Scavenge has the chance to be passable.

Mug

Constructed: 2.0

Three is a lot to snag a card, but it does hit anything. This is currently the only way to discard Sites from hand, so if you need to get rid of one, I suggest you get to mugging people.

Rhysta, Acantha’s Herald

Constructed: 2.0

Not blocking is a huge downside to an otherwise decent card. A 4/3 Warcry on attack for 3 is just not that scary for the general speed of the metagame, even if it has some sweet value attached.

Governor Sahin

Constructed: 2.5

Pit of Lenekta and Martyr’s Chains are some pretty awesome Relic’s to cheat out. It will require a bit of deck building tricks to play out a Relic without playing one from your deck, but this set seems to have given a handful of options to make that a reality.

Pillar of Dreams

Constructed: 2.0?

Again, we have some pieces for a deck featuring a lot of unit sacrifice. Is this the missing puzzle piece for some sort of go-wide Xenan-based deck? Slamming this and then A + Spacing with a field of tokens will make all the remaining ones quite scary. Xenan Obelisk probably does that a lot better, but who says you can’t double up?

Bloodlust

Constructed: 2.5

This gets my vote for “Scariest Market Card of the Set.” It effectively makes any unit they play capable of hitting them back for double damage, which in many board states is a one-way ticket to the victory screen. Just remember that 6 is a lot and probably out of reach for most low to the ground decks.

Dizo’s Office

Constructed: 3.0

There was very little hype surrounding this card when it was first revealed but I think this is one of the better Site’s. Upon dropping it, it immediately kills a unit and sets you up for massive life swings. Scheme is also very strong when done for free at the start of a turn. Dizo is also a pretty solid unit when you aren’t casting him for his normal casting cost, and getting will probably be easier than most Sites with a board of Lifesteal units protecting his office.

Acantha, the Huntress

Constructed: 3.0

I would hope to never play Acantha for her full cost, but for 5 with Grasping at Shadows she is quite valuable. Between this and Scourge of Frostholm, you can have a wider array of scary threats to cheat out and play to your hearts content. Unlike Scourge of Frostholm, she is also one of the best targets for cloning effects thanks to being more useful in multiples. I think there is a deck out there involving her, End of Hostilities, and West-Wind Herald, and some of those other “reanimation” cards we’ve gotten this set. Just be careful for when someone decides to bring the nonsense to an end with an Adjudicating Gavel.

Conclusion

The best cards here look like Secret Passage, Bloodlust, Dizo’s Office, and Acantha, the Huntress. Though it feels like less than the other factions overall, I have a feeling these cards will all have an impact of some sort, especially if we do see a real Grasping at Shadow’s deck come to life.


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