Bad Santa – A Quick and Dirty Guide

by Preybird

Hi all,

There has been some talk of Bad Santaicon being no good (or hideously overrated), so I thought I’d put together this little article about what is in my opinion one of the most powerful and versatile cards in the game.

Before we start…


I need to make special mention of the game rule that makes Bad Santaicon work, the one that states you can never have more than 7 cards in hand at any point. If Shadow Era didn’t have this rule I can assure you Bad Santa would not have the utility that it currently does.



Bad Santa is one of the best draw cards (if not the best) for high tempo/rush decks, simply because your cards are generally cheaper than your opponents, and you will get far more bang for your buck out of the cards you draw as opposed to your slower opponent. Also at 2 cost you can give yourself draw and drop threats relatively early on in the game.

The Santa Bomb


A term that is almost synonymous with the card, a Santa Bomb is when you play Bad Santa when your opponent has a full (or nearly full) hand, netting you the full benefits of the card, while your opponent doesn’t get anything due to the 7 card maximum rule. Most people believe that this is a turn 2 play only when going first, but there are many MANY other opportunities during a game to execute a Santa Bomb. It is an incredibly powerful move to level the playing field in terms of hand size, and can allow you to keep up with the massive draw that some classes can produce (Warriors, Priests, Rogues). It also is a counter to cards like Tainted Oracleicon, Treasured Heirloomicon and other unilateral draw sources.

If you are planning to use Santa for this purpose, ensure that you count your opponent’s cards before doing so to make sure you get more benefit than them (also include their draw for the next turn when counting).



This is the other main reason you will use Bad Santa, digging for that winning/game changing card. I use it a lot with Elementals when I have 7 resources as I can hunt for a Mind Controlicon (I call it the Mind BombTM), though it can work for any card out there, and this can and will win you games.

Dimension Ripping


This is a neat combo with Dimension Rippericon. Use Bad Santa to fill your opponent’s hand prior to swinging with Dimension Rippericon and you will draw from them, but they cannot draw from you, resulting in a unilateral steal. Very very useful.



Santa Bombing on steroids. Using a string of Bad Santas and Feedbacks you can make massive plays and generate huge draw power while your opponent gets very little. When this goes off, it goes off. It’s not the most reliable thing out there but it’s a huge amount of fun. The Johnnys among us love this kind of play.

Instant Steadfast (of a sort)


This is a really neat little trick and your opponent usually won’t realise you’ve done it. Cast Bad Santa right before the end of your turn to push your hand up to 7. Now, if you have a full hand your allies cannot be retreated, which means that you have instantly given your entire force steadfast (of a sort), plus filled your hand for the next turn. This is especially nasty if you can Santa Bomb at the same time.

The Futurama Kill (Death By Santa)

Now we all know that when you or your opponent deck out you take a point of damage for every card you should be able to draw but can’t. It’s in this situation that Bad Santa becomes an offensive spell, dealing 3 damage for 2. If you have a couple of these in hand when your opponent decks out you can really chip their life total down quickly, or even kill them. Bear in mind however that as Bad Santa is bilateral if you have decked out you’ll take damage too.



So there you have it, a basic breakdown on the usage of Bad Santa. There are more niche uses for the card, but those are the main ones.

Have fun!

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