Lore: TO BE ADDED
The Undead Alignment is one of the most synergistic alignments in Shadow Era, and also the most versatile. This is most likely due to having available Undead alignment cards as early as Call of the Crystals and having been constantly added with each of the subsequent expansions up to our current Lost Lands Expansion. The tribe in general has an overall feeling of aggression and being hard to get rid of …. completely.
This guide is an evolving article which will change periodically, depending on balancing card changes or a change in my though process after playing more with the cards. Special thanks, as always, to Gondorian, Starval, and BobRoss for input!
- General Combat Types: Ice and Sword
- Ability Damage Types: Ice and Generic Ability
- Graveyard Interactions (Recursion, Discard, Exile, Conversion)
- Swarm (Resource Renewal, Reduced Summoning Cost)
- Ping (On Summon/Enters Play Damage, Activation Ability, On Death Damage)
- Staying Alive (Growth, High Health, Damage Reduction)
Characteristics: Ice Attack, Swarm (Reduced Summoning Cost), Ping (On Summon)
Notes: Frostmare is typically not seen much play outside of boosted attack haste decks (Shard of Power, Raikka, and Rothem). Personally I tend to use him in some of my builds for his tempo plays. The reduced summoning cost of his ability is generally what I am drawn to most, combing with Tombstone Beacon for potential net resource gain; as a easy combo with Pithing Spear; and possibly as a cheaper alternative to Death Mage Thaddeus in decks that have other ways to deal with stealth. Frostmare is good tech against human rush decks, being able to take down a Turn 1 Kris, and provide possible Turn 2 swarm with another 2 cost ally. In general because of the potential “free” cost, Frostmare also combos very well with cards needing a friendly ally source in play (attachments, Sacrificial Lamb, Energy Discharge, etc).
Harbinger of the Lost
Characteristics: Sword Attack, Graveyard Manipulation (Discard)
Notes: Currently he is the go to 2 drop for the Undead Alignment because of the 2/3 stats which is great early in the game. The discard function of his ability allows him to assist with possibly discarding other Undead allies to help get to graveyard requirements of allies such Cryptspawn Tormentor and Der’kan, as well as creating potential targets for use with Shadow Knight and Necromancer’s Shroud. The discard occurs from the top of everyone’s decks so you can also use him to alter top cards of yours (Meat Wagon) or opponents decks (Scrying Eye). The discard function is also something that can be built around outside of the Undead so he is often used in other decks (Mill, Homunculus, etc).
Characteristics: Ice Attack, Staying Alive (High Health), Graveyard Manipulation (Conversion)
Notes: Kiruth Devotee is an excellent addition to the 2cc pool of Undead allies. His stat line really opens up the early game options for those decks not wanting to run Harbinger due to his self discard or other non-undead options. Devotee will play favorably with Heroes and decks that can create tempo swings (Vess, Baduruu, Zaladar, Jeweller’s Dream, Feedback, Kiruth: Thaddeus’ Vault, etc) since he has a fairly costly ability and he really will need assistance in killing marked ally. While the cost of ability is high the benefit is worth it. It becomes essentially draw and play this (marked) ally with vanilla stats. That is quite a bargain for 3cc, but of course you need to build around being able to capitalize on killing that ally fairly routinely. Once you can get rolling your newer allies can start assisting in kills for you. It is also interesting to note that newly recruited allies will have the Undead Alignment so they will synergize with cards like (Undying Bond, Grave Resistance, Charred Cowl of the Damned [NOTE: Non-Enflamed (un-marked) Vanilla Undead allies killed while you control Charred Cowl of the Damned will return the ally to play under your control with its original card stats and abilities, if any]) When you have another ally marked via Kiruth Devotee’s ability he acts sort of like a protector in that your opponent will want to kill him first to make sure ability is not able to kick in.
Some Information in Forum Card Thread about SRO in relation to allies killed while marked (below for quick reference).
Case 1: If i have Charred cowl of the damned, and a friendly ally with Kiruth ability on.
This ally die and both abilities can trigger, which one resolve first? and why? in Case 1:
In board: CCotD + Kiruth + other Undead ally (Anyone, let’s call him PoorAlly) : PoorAlly is with Kiruth effect activated. My opponent kill the PoorAlly, so he can returns at board by 2 ways, by Kiruth Effect like a PoorAlly without abilities, or like the normal PoorAlly in Blaze by CCotD. But reading the Ruling, if i understood well, say that allies effects should resolve first, so PoorAlly should returns to board like a Undead PoorAlly without abilities (By Kiruth Effect, and ignoring CCotD).
There are a variety of ways to answer this questions, and answers may depends on what ally “poor guy” is and whether he is left (closest to hero) or right (farthest from hero)
On your Turn:
If Devotee is left, his ability will trigger before poor guy and before CCotD
If Poor Guy is left, his ability will trigger (if any) before Devotee and before CCotD
On Opponents Turn:
Opponents Stuff Triggers First, If Devotee is left, his ability will trigger before poor guy and before CCotD
Opponents Stuff Triggers First, If Poor Guy is left, his ability will trigger (if any) before Devotee and before CCotD
Case 2: A extension to the example, what happen if the ally is Cryptspawn Tormentor (with undeads in the graveyard) ?
Tormentor goes to hand (SRO checks ally, before armor — Ruling)
Case 3: And the last, I saw that if i kill Eternal Troll with Kiruth ability enabled, Kiruth ability trigger and eternal troll pass to my control (Why is this effect over eternal troll passive skill? )
Troll comes to your side as vanilla undead 2/2. SRO allows your sides effects to resolve before opponents (SRO your Kiruth before his Troll)
Case 4: What happen if i control Kiruth + Eternal Troll (Original, with passive ability) and i use Kiruth ability?
If you own troll, and opponent has Kiruth and used ability on your troll, and troll dies on your turn, he will trigger off himself before devotee so comes back as a 2/2 eternal troll homun with his ability still. (SRO your Troll before his Kiruth)
If you own the non-vanilla version of Eternal Troll (Summoned/Revived) and that troll is to the Left of Kiruth (Troll closest to hero), Troll will trigger off himself before devotee so comes back as a 2/2 eternal troll homun with his ability still. (SRO Troll before Kiruth)
If you own the non-vanilla version of Eternal Troll (Summoned/Revived) and that troll is to the Right of Kiruth (Kiruth closest to hero), Kiruth will trigger before Troll so comes back as a 2/2 vanilla undead. (SRO Kiruth before Troll)
Characteristics: Sword Attack, Ping (On Death Ability)
Notes: Deathbone has been around since the beginning of the game, and is not a very popular Undead ally. His ability is one that looks good on paper, however the actual execution is a bit lacking. This generally is due to having low health and the opponent getting to choose how he dies and where to absorb the 2 damage. He has some good synergy with existing cards like Bone Sabre and Necromancers Shroud to assist with directing the on death damage source however, you can typical get better value from other allies using the same tricks and keep deck building options tighter. He should have some synergy with new comer Kiruth Devotee but same limitations will exist. He can be good tech if you know you are facing opponent with Evil Ascendant. Deathbone also has synergy with Raikka’s ability to boost damage dealt from death or combat as well as increae surveability.
Characteristics: Sword Attack
Notes: Like Deathbone, Keldor has existed from the beginning of the game when alignments had not yet been fully designed. Unfortunately he is a weak ally that is made weaker by the existence of Death Collector. Keldor could have potentially made a great 2/5 ally (which the tribe is missing). There are not many decks where you can run this sub par ally because there are just too many other good options to choose from. The only instance where I might choose to run Keldor is as tech if I know I am facing Elementals most likely running Mind Control where I can spot use the ability around Mind Control.
Death Mage Thaddeus
Characteristics: Sword Attack, Generic Ability Damage, Ping (On Summon/Activation Ability)
Notes: Death Mage Thaddeus has been a strong Undead ally since the beginning. He creates that additional 1 damage source needed sometime to take out opposing allies while still be able to put a body on the board. He is also able to bypass stealth which keeps him as a favorable option for almost any build. Later sets have created potential replacement allies but they are different enough and have differing cost that Death Mage Thaddeus should remain a strong consideration in deck building.
Characteristics: Lightning Attack, Graveyard Manipulation (Exile), Staying Alive (Growth)
Notes: Death Collector is a strong 3cc ally and is flexible enough to be considered outside of Undead builds. With the potential to grow stronger from his activation ability he can be considered a Mini-Fatty or Fatty-Lite. This flexibility put him in good company with other fatties as he can stay on the board (save other fatties) and grow, seeking targets of removal from opponent. Additionally he is able manipulate any graveyard creating a nice tech option against decks revolving around graveyards. Death Collector also pairs favorably with resource renewal effects.
Characteristics: Ice Attack, Graveyard Manipulation (Recursion)
Notes: Tormentor is one of the Undead allies you are least likely to see in non-undead builds. He is essentially a vanilla ally until you hit achieve the graveyard requirement of 2 Undead allies in your graveyard (usually mid-late game). Once this happens he becomes a solid ally choice as all ally removal/board wipes are all abilities. He is excellent tech / bait for board wipe heroes. He has lots of Undead synergies but can at time not play well with other alignment cards that remove allies from the graveyard. Most favorable pairing cards are with Necromancer’s Shroud and Sacrificial Lamb.
Characteristics: Sword Attack, Generic Ability Damage, Ping (Activation Ability), Graveyard Manipulation (Discard), Staying Alive (High Health)
Notes: Corpse Shifter synergizes very well with the Undead but his ability requirement, of needing Undead allies to discard, limit him from consideration as a splash ally. He has high health which makes him a great turn 4 option and good choice to start absorbing damage or removal that other allies might normally receive. When building a deck containing Corpse Shifter you need to pack lots of draw (including Shadow Knight) so that you can keep his ability relevant for prolonged periods of time.
Der’kan, the Bone King
Characteristics: Ice Attack, Ice Ability Damage, Ping (On Summon), Graveyard Manipulation (Recursion)
Notes: Der’kan is the hardest Undead ally to use, having he has both positive and negative synergies. Der’kan compliments the Undead Ping Strategy very well but he really want to play by himself to achieve his best strength of self recursion. This is made stronger when he achieves his graveyard requirement so he can use his summon ping to help control the board or go for the hero to help finish the game. He plays well with self removal cards, being used on himself or other friendly allies to keep his solo state in effect. He is excellent against board wipe as long as he is last on the board he will bounce to hand on death (he would be last in play when his check down occurs – SRO). Due to his difficulty of use, he is not seen used as frequently. He does not play well with cards removing allies from a graveyard (except Necromancer’s Shroud) unless you can keep the Graveyard Requirement in check.
Characteristics: Sword Attack, Graveyard Manipulation (Recursion)
Notes: Like Death Mage Thaddeus, Shadow Knight is a common fixture in builds outside of the Undead Alignment, especially those relying on allies to fuel a particular strategy. Being able to place threats on the board while selecting known allies from your graveyard, including other Shadow Knight to potentially create a looping effect. He has very good aggressive stats so he combos favorably with Haste cards.
Characteristics: Ice Attack, Ping (Enters Play)
Notes: A fatty undead ally with an enters play ability to damage and stall (1 turn) an ally if not killed. This is actually a really good ability on an ally and works favorably with tempo play heroes like Baduruu and is a much needed type of ally for Gravebone with impactful enters play ability. He can pair favorably with Bone Sabre for some additional board control, as well as Charred Cowl of the Damned (NOTE: If Forgotten Horror is killed on opponents turn and returned to play by any source, his enters play effect will not trigger. Must be on your turn). Due to the stall-ish nature of his ability it will not surprise me to see him appearing in stall decks and/or freeze decks (looking at you Stalactitan for synergy).
Characteristics: Sword Attack, Graveyard Manipulation (Discard), Staying Alive
Notes: At such a high cost he has to be considered an ally designed with Gravebone in mind. This guy is a Sandworm on steroids and if you build your deck properly you can get him on board by Turn 3-4. Generally if Dakrath sticks for a Turn you have a strong chance of winning the match. While he does not have Steadfast he has some nice built in features that help with some specific match ups using either Freezing or Disabling Tactics.
Characteristics: Staying Alive (Damage Reduction)
Notes: Excellent card for decks seeking to have these allies survive by turning all your Undead allies into Gargoyles. No cost means you can always time it properly, but you will need to be able to draw cards very successfully to compensate the card lost from hand. This is an excellent support ability in a category that is rather underwhelming for the game. Note this is an excellent tech of you are facing Banebow reducing his Hero Ability effectiveness.
Undying Bond (Mage Only)
Characteristics: Graveyard Manipulation (Recursion)
Notes: There certainly a real synergy with the Undead Alignment and what this card offers, however the actual use of this card is very limiting. Lots of the Undead allies have a recycle ability either on self or others so often this can simply be left out of the deck building process and a similar effect achieved. The cost is also a bit high to combo play with, potentially resulting in a pass on playing at the board. The attack boost is hard to time consistently. You can get some good use with Corpse Hurler since he has high health an generally harder to remove and Undying Bond can help reload your hand by providing ammo for his discard outlet on same turn. Potentially Recycling Frostmare is also a possibility (didn’t say a great combo) as you can get free hasted 2 damage in the right scenario. Grave Resistance is also a potential combo to help Undead allies survive so that the attack boost can be relevant. What is interesting is that Human Mages can use this card as well to retrieve the top allies of their graveyard however no human cards are Undead Alignment so the attack boost will always be irrelevant.
Characteristics: Swarm (Resource Renewal)
Notes: This is a great draw engine by design, theme and synergy, but it is currently limiting with which Heroes/builds can use it effectively. You have to be able to capitalize on 3cc tempo loss, and then have an appropriate build to capitalize on both the draw and resource renewal (+1) which generally is not until later in a match. If you can build your deck properly, the resource renewal can prove to be valuable in getting a game changing combo in play.
Characteristics: Ping (Enters Play)
Notes: This card is probably one of my favorite cards in the game. Aside from being an armor, you can use the armors ability to revive an undead ally with a cost of 3 or less. This ally can be considered as a form of direct damage which is nice addition for Heroes/Classes with limited damaging ability access. With some careful planning, you can utilize this ally in other ways such as Drawing (Sacrificial Lamb), Recursion (Cryptspawn Tormentor dying at end of turn is considered ability damage), Graveyard Clearing (remove top ally so Shadow Knight can get one below), and even keep the ally on the board by removing the armor (attack with a weapon that will receive retaliation damage, Meltdown or play another armor).
Charred Cowl of the Damned (Mage/Warrior Only)
Characteristics: Staying Alive
Notes: Very synergistic armor for the tribe and quite different to Necromancer’s Shroud. This is very strong with allies that are hard to kill, such as Corpse Hurler and Dakrath, forcing opponent to essentially deal with them twice to officially remove them from the board. The hardest part is getting set up properly but I have found that Corpse Hurler and Shadow Knight are good pairings with this armor as you can keep a steady flow of allies on the board.
Bone Sabre (Mage/Hunter/Warrior Only)
Notes: This is an excellent weapon and able to provide pseudo haste to one of your allies. Weapon has Ambush so you do not receive any retaliation damage, and depending on the ally you can have up to 6 damage from one swing. You can use this with an ally that is just entered play, is exhausted, and/or to get a double attack from an ally already in play. This form of haste is pseudo-haste so haste blockers (Braxnorian Soldier) will not work except for Voice of Winter. (Note: You do not get the weapon benefit from last durability as the weapon is no longer in play to enforce the effect. Second Note: The retaliating ally of yours, will be the one with highest attack, that came on board first [closest to hero])
Kiruth: Thaddeus’ Vault
Characteristics: Resource Renewal, Graveyard Interaction
Notes: The Undead have a variety of ways to remove allies from the graveyard: Gravebone’s ability, Shadow Knight, Necromancer’s Shroud, Undying Bond, Cryptspawn Tormentor (self recycle), Der’kan (self recycle), Charred Cowl of the Damned, Death Collector (on own allies), Kiruth Devotee (own allies), Arthyle’s Crypt, Eternal Renewal, Soul Reaper, Infinity Core, Ghostmaker, as well as being able to trigger off of Anmor’s Call. There are other ways to get cards out of a graveyard that exist other than those listed above. Your deck should contain enough ways to capitalize on the extra resources gained as well as having enough draw to make it worth your wild.
Lyth: Kristan’s Ridge
Characteristics: Ice Ability Damage, Ping, Swarm
Notes: There are tons of undead allies that have ice attack, ping and swarm potential so there will be a natural pairing with the Undead. This particular location if one of those alt hero ability types so you will not be using as frequently as other locations unless you have some SE generator. Non-Controller side is also useful but again also an alt hero ability type. Both sides are able to target hero for damage which is a plus.
Ravenscrest: Valley of Secrets
Characteristics: Resource Renewal
Notes: While not apparently designed with Undead in mind they do have access to a pretty strong Support Ability, Grave Resistance. Valley of Secrets operates in a similar manner to Tombstone Beacon, in that you must have the resources available to summon and then the effects are performed (renew resources and draw a card). Additionally Classes have access to a bunch of underplayed support abilities which might become useful. Non-Controller side may or may not be too hard on you depending on the ability being Sought or Seeked. Most likely you are playing Grave Resistance so your naturally going to require more damage to be killed, and additionally works favorably toward Cryptspawn Tormentor’s death trigger condition. (NOTE: Groundshift is a support ability but it will remove Valley of Secrets before it will renew resources or draw a card.)
Gaderi: Braxno Citadel
Characteristics: Staying Alive
Notes: While not designed specifically for the Undead, most of them have aggressive stats so having defender really can increase survivability of your allies. This will work even better with weapon based heroes and anything that boost attack (War Banner, King’s Pride, Undying Bond, Bloodlust, etc). There is no downside on the Non-Controller side for playing this location.
Buqs [SF] Necronomicon (Undead Guide) [created around start of Shattered Fate release – Out of Date]
[LL 3.16] WC2016 – 3rd Place Finisher – A1 Fordfff
[LL 3.16] – WC2016 – 5th Place Finisher – TJ Pasdev
[LL 3.16] WC2016 – 10th Place Finisher – A1 H1TACH1
[LL 3.16] WC2016 – Top 32 Finisher – A1 Otto7
[LL 3.16] WC2016 – Top 32 Finisher – RS Seadog
LL3.16 Undead Moostalker by Index