Fisticuffs – Abysmal Li

Name:  Abysmal Li
Faction:  Lotus
Size:  45

Lotus Cards (30)
Characters (22)
3x Abysmal Prince(!!)
5x Eater of Fortune(!)
3x Gibbering Horrors(!)
3x Li Yu
5x Sinister Priest
3x Ti Kan

Events (4)
2x Die!!!
2x Flying Sleeves

Sites (3)
3x Infernal Temple

States (1)
1x Five Fingers of Death

Generic Cards (15)
Events (6)
1x Discerning Fire
5x Pocket Demon

Feng Shui Sites (9)
1x Ancestral Sanctuary(!!)
1x Mobius Gardens
1x Petroglyphs
3x Pinball Hall
1x Puzzle Garden
1x Temple of the Angry Spirits
1x Whirlpool of Blood

Best deck.  Oh, not ever.  That would be far too limiting.  The best deck possible in any combination of panverses, encompassing all space-time.

That is what has been conclusively proven through its lifetime winning streak.  Yup, not only is it retired undefeated, like so many of my V:TES decks, it is undefeated with two – one more than one – wins!!  Not a lot of my undefeated V:TES decks can make that claim.

Miguel handed me a couple extras boxes, which I’ve spent some time going through though not as much time as I would have when I was disemployed in my younger days.  Lotus are always the easiest faction to build around because … uh, even though I have no interest in eunuchs and little in magic, Lotus are like the most awesomey faction ever.  I like creature, er, character removal/steal.

Working backwards through the last seven games, played yesterday and Thursday, we have …

Two Modern games:

Miguel (Dragon/Monarchs I Heal For Power) -> Cy (Dragon/Monarchs Mass Damage Doubled!) -> Ian (Khofesh Returns) -> Oliver (Flower Glower)

As is always the case with Shadowfist, this game was decided by auctions … with an “s” …??!!??

Since I’m working backwards, Oliver hadn’t played in a while and was playing my straightforward Flower Glower deck for a second straight game.  This game, he got to do things, like have two 11-Fighting Blossoms of the Black Lotus, with their Crowns of Thorns, in play.  He had four FSSs at one point and might have won if he had remembered Arcane Esotericist discarding to stop Hungry Ghosts from eviscerating a Moon Petal!

At some point, there’s only so many times you can say “Welp, that’s Shadowfist.”

Miguel burned two sites for victory, which made it easy for him to get to four.  We regulated him.  Cy got to three but had to spend a lot of time regulating as he and I were sitting at one site and one burned for victory for a while.

My first Khofesh was at 14 or 16 fighting.  Miguel played Khofesh and bid 3 power and Cy wasn’t interested in spending 4.  That gave Miguel both the Prince of the Ice Pagoda and a boring, 5-Fighting Khofesh.

Cy eventually decided to play Prince of the Ice Pagoda and pay one more to have his copy exist.  I Thunder on Thundered Miguel’s one (of five in the deck) Crystal Heart as part of the deal.

I Golden Comebacked Khofesh and bid one to restore her to the player playing five Inauspicious Returns.

Welp, that’s Shadowfist.

I play, drop Sewer Scum, take with Scum, take with my 11 or 12 fighting Khofesh, for the usual triple auction victory that shows up like 70% of the Shadowfist games or … whatever.

Miguel (as above) -> Cy (Heroes Band) -> Ian (Chi) -> Oliver (as above)

My deck was made up of mixing Year of the Goat Ascended and Hand.  It’s won a game, but it usually doesn’t fare that well.  It didn’t really matter.  Once we ganged up on Miguel’s Average Jane, Cy’s Average Jane survived and he destroyed us with Heroes.  His Band of Heroes, Ejector Seat Malfunction, etc. deck routinely just crushes us.

Two three-player games before Oliver arrived:

Miguel (Heat of Battle/Proving Grounds) -> Cy (Mass Removal as above) -> Ian (Skyfire)

I got an Arcanomoth.  I had to play a second to Fire in the Sky away a Virtuous Hoods.  I was irrelevant thereafter.  Miguel could just keep Heat of Battleing into Virtuous Hoods and stuff.  Cy got off his Snow Seer Iron Fists McQueen bombo (we just thought it was funny for IFM to be a queen, so we didn’t bother looking up whether it was true) for the win.

Ian (Abysmal Li) -> Miguel (Senoritas & Jammers) -> Cy (Mass Removal as above)

This looked like it would be a pointless game, as Cy and I both had incredible problems playing anything.  Cy had gotten out two foundation characters.

I didn’t.

I had Pocket Demons and Eaters of Fortune and Infernal Temples coming out of my ears.  At one point, I had three Infernal Temples in hand.  Yes, the sum total of all of the ones in the deck.  I did play out two Infernal Temples but couldn’t legally play Eater of Fortune – no magic – to ironically not have all the magic I could use.  At the end of the game, I had something like three Pocket Demons in my toasted pile, three Eater of Fortune in my toasted pile.  This having played one of each over the course of the game.

With six power and not having played a character yet or anything besides sites, I finally discarded my hand.  I drew a Sinister Priest and a Li Yu.  I played both.  I murdered a Blasting Crew with Li Yu.

So, bit more detail on Cy’s deck – it has Final Brawls, Just Gettin’ Riled Ups, and Twin Thunders.  I played two of my three Li Yus over the course of the game.  If you have no idea what Li Yu’s special is, there’s the virtually complete database (lacking Prince of the Ice Pagoda from what I can see) at Chimpshack.

I played an Abysmal Prince, thus signifying that I will win.  Miguel commented about neither seeing anyone play “Big Red” or my first play of the game, Ancestral Sanctuary (yes, first play of the game!, it survived for a while, somehow).

Let me get off on a tangent because what’s better to get off on?

Abysmal Prince is a horrible card.  Oh, not because it’s like paying 5 power to get a 2-Fighting Stealth character or something.  Its text is absurdly overcomplicated.  Senoritas aren’t just superior in nearly every way – Senoritas are hot.  Most 3-Power, 4-Fighting characters are going to have a relevant ability other than the designator Mastermind.

But, that’s why it’s so good.  See, just like V:TES, Shadowfist has multiple opponents.  Oh, sure, back in the time before running water, people would play two-person Shadowfist, and it’s more playable than two-person V:TES, but we have Type P Magic or Ultimate Combat! if we want to play two-person CCGs.  Yes, three-player is very different from four or five, as you more easily just get stopped.

But, Abysmal Prince is the “hunt” of Shadowfist.  It’s 4-Fighting for less than 4 power, with a strange ability that makes people question the need to murder his “Redness”.

I Die!!!d an Iron Fists McQueen to clear out anything on the table that mattered.  Using my second Abysmal Prince and Li Yus, I proved that no deck can ever be more finely crafted than Abysmal Li.

My only played Eater of Fortune ate nothing and never got above 2-Fighting.  I seized back one of my two Infernal Temples.  I played a Ti Kan for the “tech”-y play that didn’t really matter.  I discarded the two Gibbering Horrors I drew because somebody, who will remain named Miguel, only had one event in his smoked pile unlike a certain Cy who had plenty.

Welp, that’s Shadowfist.


Joren (Architects) -> Ian (YotG Dragon) -> Don (Purists) -> Justin (Deny Me A River)

Justin pulled out anti-event because of the previous game, to be talked about next.

Spear of Destiny got put into play twice and blanked a Mutator, a Stasis Engine?, some of my crap, a Mobius Gardens, and whatever.

Don was constantly putting out massive threats.  Justin had Li Po and Chin Ken but had some issues because of Stasis Engine lockdown.  Joren kept playing crappy characters but took The Gray with “We Can Rebuild Him” as well as Stasis Engine.  I had to Double Feature a Mutator and an Assassin Bug because Justin and Joren didn’t have any good targets earlier to help stop Purist power, and I had crap in my smoked pile.

I did make a bid for victory after Don turned some guys with a mighty horde of two Junkyard Engineers, a Netherworld Trickster, and a Hong Kong’s Finest.  (My epitome of power was two 4-Fighting Hong Kong’s Finests and some foundation dudes.)  I had a state in hand to get me up to 7 damage, but it was easily shut down.

I think Joren eventually won with “We Can Rebuild Him” on Stasis Engine.  Longer game.

Ian (Monarchs burn) -> Don (Tanks) -> Justin (Ascended) -> Joren (Monarchs burn)

This was a frustrating game for Don and Justin who saw their characters constantly being murdered.  Though, Justin did play The Eastern King, the good one, at one point.  While it didn’t go well for me, and I, again, only put out junk characters, I was amused at how Joren and I could murder things left and right and crosstable.

Joren eventually put two 5-Fighting(!) Fire Warriors in play and won.

I get that having all of your characters nuked is boring.  It’s one of the reasons I never cared that much about creatures in Magic.  When Don tried to play a tank on somebody, I wiped his board.  But, the damage cards we were using were not Twin Thunders on Final Brawl.  They either required power or didn’t do that much damage.

Just like in V:TES, there may be a good argument for not having overly focused decks.  Though, as much as I don’t find monkeys interesting, I don’t mind monkey madness.  My Flower Glower deck is not 100% lotus/petal/thorns, but it doesn’t really do much else.  Maybe it’s just that characters are more flavorful to people than events or states or edges.  I certainly don’t find heavy state decks appealing, nor heavy edge decks.

But, then, there are lots of things I haven’t seen as the old time players haven’t been building a lot of new decks.  Though, some of the old time decks I’ve seen are pretty “I either combo win or I suck”, which never interests me that much.

It’s also boring when you can’t kill characters.  I didn’t pick up Shadowfist for 15 years or so because I found the swinginess of Neutron Bomb to be off-putting.  Just meant I couldn’t reliably do anything, ever, making me feel like I had no control over my own game.  I actually kind of like Neutron Bomb’s role in the game, these days.  It doesn’t guarantee the person who plays it wins, plus it removes a lot of really annoying characters or board positions where someone simply has too much in play for anything besides surviving longer, hoping someone can remove some hitters.

Don (Dragon guns) -> Justin (as denial deck above?) -> Joren (Architects from above?) -> Ian (Abysmal Li)

Don buffed a couple of dudes with guns and unturned Ex-Commando a few times to be threatening.  I know Justin was playing Hand, but I don’t remember much of consequence getting played.  It wasn’t a long game.  Joren played Helix Rethreads, but he had severe resource issues and felt like he was never in the game even though he did his Midnight Whisperer with a Kincaid Magnum thing.

I played an Eater of Fortune to eat Joren’s Martial Focus.  I played Abysmal Prince.

The AP hung around because no one really had much of an incentive to rend him.  I dropped a couple of Ti Kans after getting a Li Yu in play for the win, with my two Eaters of Fortune in play being 3’s because of Justin’s edge.

So, I obviously should keep playing some of the cards I was playing.  Li Yu, for instance, Ti Kan for another instance.  But, I think “His Redness, Big Red” will have to take a break.  Just too busted.

– Mess with the red and you end up shed.


4 Responses to Fisticuffs – Abysmal Li

  1. brettscho says:

    As a request, I was wondering if you could talk a little about the Shadowfist reboot (what they did, how successful you feel they’ve been). I’ve been curious about it mostly because I think that it’s a potential model for a VTES relaunch. Of course, I can just talk to you if you don’t want to write something up :). Thanks!

    • iclee says:

      The way Shadowfist has done it is awful. Nobody is all that happy, and the game seems barely in existence.

      • brettscho says:

        Good to know – that was the sense that I got, but I wasn’t sure. So, it sounds like they just made new expansions for the old game, but created a new format (with just new cards) that nobody plays. Is that a good summary? So is it just new players that have an issue, or do players from the original Shadowfist have issues with it too?

        • iclee says:

          Yes, that’s the summary. I don’t know how many new players there are. Various veteran players aren’t interested in Modern for some obvious reasons, but also don’t like what cards Modern sets have added to Classic play. The Thursday night group does like new cards.

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