Shadow Architects and you!

Shadow Architects. For players new to the game, they are one of the most misunderstood card types in the UCG. Decks can go without many things, and Shadow Architects are a part of that list. However just like leaving out ramp, card draw, removal, or direct damage; you must understand what you’re giving up when leaving Architects out of your builds.

I. Allies Earned

When viewing a Shadow Architect card, one of the first things you might notice is the value where Terra Cost is usually labeled is instead occupied by a numeral. Okay, that’s not terribly different, but it does mean something else entirely. First of all, since this isn’t a Terra Architype card, you can’t pay for it with Terra, the stuff you generate when you expend a resource card. Cards with the Shadow Archetype, or any cards played in your shadow zone, require that you control resources. So, they are free to place down once you control a number of resources equal to or greater than the Resource Requirement of the Shadow Architect in your hand.

Spoilers: Free cards are good.

II. Shields Up!

The Power Icon

It’s important to note that Shadow Architects also have a value where a Character’s Combat stat would be, but if we look closely you’ll notice the field behind the number is different. Kinda looks like a battery. That’s because Shadow Architects don’t have Combat, they instead have a stat called Power. It is similar to Combat in that it determines how much damage they can sustain before being Consumed by the Void (placed your discard pile) in UCG. However, an Architect deals no damage in an encounter. This seems like a raw deal, except for the fact that no matter where damage is coming from at you, your Architect absorbs that damage on your behalf. In fact, if an opponent dealt 1,000 damage to you with their Blood Omen, and you control a Shadow Architect, you would take no damage to your deck. Now I don’t want to mislead you, that’s because all the damage came from a single source, being attacked with 1,000 characters with 1 Combat would be the end of both you and your Shadow Architect, because each source would check after the damage was dealt whether the Architect’s Power was depleted.

III. You Will be Assimilated

Architects generate a resource they use to fuel their abilities. At your draw step, if you control a Shadow Architect, you use it’s assimilate ability rather than drawing a card. In addition to whatever benefit this provides, your Architect gains a Retribution Counter. These are used to fuel their Retribution Abilities; these are listed below the solid line under the Assimilate ability. This gives you a lot of tactical flexibility, after your first draw with your Architect out, you could use their retribution -1(assuming they have one, most do at this point), every turn. Whatever you choose to do it is important to note, on the turn you play them, Architects can’t do much besides take hits for you. They need to make it to your next draw phase first!

IV. Why not just play Dretch?

New players ask this question a lot. It is a fair question. Dretch Muerte012 NEORAR012 DretchMuerte0001 does let you do things that in most card games are the only things you care about. Draw an extra card, deal direct damage, play cards for free and get cards back from the Void (discard pile). The fact of the matter is, no matter how attractive an option he is; Dretch Muerte, often, isn’t the BEST architect for many decks. He isn’t bad for combo decks, drawing two cards is nice. But Drake Zkard’s072 NEORAR072 DrakeZkard0001 Assimilate allows you to look at the top 3 And move the two you don’t choose out of the way for his next Assimilate, plus his -3 Retribution Ability can really help decks with few win conditions close out games. Gracelyn Bishop070 NEORAR070 GracelynBishop0001 goes a long way here too, providing some of the best disruption economy in the game. She can hit your opponent’s hand for two cards every turn after her first assimilate if you choose; plus, she can turn your enemies’ deck against them or give you a search effect. Well then, I must be playing Dretch Muerte in all my aggressive decks, right? Again, you could. But Molly Holly174 NEORAR174 MollyHolly0001 and Evelyn Bishop108 NEORAR108 EvelynBishop0001 are much more appealing in this role, both can come out earlier than Dretch Muerte and both effect the board in more impactful ways sooner than Dretch Muerte. I could go on, are you playing a lot of Permanent Effects or Pitfalls? Stephen Zkard.098 NEORAR098 StephenZkard0001 Are you trying to lock out specific threats? Gregory Jones.158 NEORAR158 GregoryJones0001 The bottom line is if you know what your deck is supposed to do, there are other Architects that probably get you where you want to be faster than Dretch Muerte.

So, those were four free pieces of advice when selecting an Architect for your deck. Or, maybe this can help you decide against against using them entirely. Remember, just because you believe you’ll run fine without one, doesn’t mean you won’t have to overcome them. Like they say, knowing is half the battle. The other half is playing the game! Make sure to download our Lackey plugin or, order some physical cards and start building!