Shotgun King: The Final Checkmate

Shotgun King: The Final Checkmate

52 ratings
Card Review and Enemy Guide 2.10
By freezframe
A comprehensive review of black and white cards, guns, and some general tips on each enemy type.
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Introduction
Heyo! I've been a fan of this game since discovering the beta back in early April and thought I might share some tips, info, thoughts, and discoveries.

Why you should consider this guide: I've got 50+ hours of writing (not including a lot of demo play) and completed Rank 15. I'm no master but I've played enough to form an opinion on what works and what sets you up for failure.

MASSIVE UPDATE IS COMPLETE! Finally got those few of those extra elusive cards. Small updates being made as cards are tweaked and niche combination tests are made.

Feel free to comment, rate, and favorite if you found anything useful or discovered something I missed. Helpful comments and folks who help test niche cases get shout outs!
Shotguns


Solomon: The default, the average, the Mario. Also the only option in Endless and Chase. If none of the other options are working for you, get good with this one.




Victoria: My personal favorite. The sniper options. Firepower is king and the accuracy is the best on offer. You'll be hurting for ammo for sure, grab any ammo cards and make sure you don't end up empty in Zugzwan. Also best option imo for the highest ranks as it can reliably point-blank Knights, Bishops, and Pawns even with their extra hp and your worse accuracy.




Ramesses II: If you like knockback, this is for you. Otherwise, stay away. Knockback is less bad than it used to be but eh.




Richard III: More ammo in the bank and the chamber, but crap in damage in accuracy. Worst option imo as those extra shots equal wasted turns due to weak and unaccurate shots. Unlisted bonus 25% piercing chance making this an underwhelming Spray and Pray starter. Get some Firepower and things might get interesting.




Makeda: Great for Blade runs, not so good for others. Pray for Bushido and Nightsbane and you will run wild but it will be rough until you get those cards... if they show up. While Blade builds are viable at any difficulty, the first round will at the highest level will be like ramming your head in a concrete wall.
Black Cards p.1 (Buffs)
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[name in brackets to help with searching]
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Review: What I think of it and when you should consider picking it (or avoiding it)
Rating: Up to 4 stars. * Rarely worth it. ** Niche, good with some builds. *** Good but not flawless. **** Amazing, always worth considering.
Synergies: Cards that pair nicely and work well together.
Anti-Syn: Cards that directly hinder or run counterproductive.

[A Piercing Truth]

Review: Used to crippled your gun, now just works some of the time. Effectively a 30% damage increase but only on the ones you aren't aiming at. Decent for softening up clumps of pieces, gets better the higher your firepower. Stackable
Rating: **
Synergies: Blunderbuss, Crow's Blessing, Caltrops
Anti-Syn: Divine Healing

[August Presence]

Review: Great for survivability, bad with blades. You can lock out chunks of the board and laugh at the piece that can't figure out how to attack you. Makes it hard for queens to pin you too. Sure, enemies also won't offer themselves up to pointblank shots. Basically slows the game down for you and them.
Rating: ***
Synergies: Egotic Maelstrom, High Focus
Anti-Syn: King's Shoulders, Blade Builds

[Black Mist]

Review: Once the best card in the game, now still pretty damn good even with the range nerf. Saves you from discovered checks, running out of moves, RBS, and any other stupid mistake you might have been able to avoid. Stackable
Rating: ****
Synergies: None
Anti-Syn: None

[Black Plague]

Review: Hard to get and a bit underwhelming but better than it seems. It won't likely cause piece to explode often but it still softens them up. It's effectively a +1 to firepower but it works even if you don't shoot but you can't pick the target. Requires both Crow's Blessing and Ravenous Rats so if you actually see it, might as well grab it.
Rating: ***
Synergies: None
Anti-Syn: Divine Healing

[Bloodless Coup]

Review: Nearly useless. Either there aren't enough pawns to be helpful or so many pawns that you can't reach any other enemies without killing some. Apparently they can attack you even on a free turn if you kill one and they have you in check? Haven't confirmed myself. Friendly pawns or not, they get to the end and they turn into threatening real pieces.
Rating: *
Synergies: None
Anti-Syn: Cannon Fodder, Small Fry Harvest, The Secret Heir

[Blunderbuss]

Review: A strong upside and a moderate downside. This is great for spray-and-pray as well as point-blank blasts but that arc can be felt even two squares away. You are sending out more pellets but if you've played for an hour, you know RBS can screw you. Don't take risks and you have a great pick. Works decent with other cards that bring your arch back in line too. Great in a Spray and Pray build. Stackable
Rating: ***
Synergies: A Piercing Truth, Caltrops, Engraved Scope
Anti-Syn: None

[Bushido]

Review: The most important part of a Blade build. If you can get this with Makeda and/or Nightbane you are going to have a fun, if different, time. Even outside of said build it has good use in finishing off nearby pieces. That -1 Firepower hurts but if you can play around it, it's strong.
Rating: ***
Synergies: Blade builds
Ant-Syn: Augustus Presence

[Caltrops]

Review: The more reinforcement cards you have, the better this is. Works best with a Spray and Pray style, just barrage the pawns from long range and watch as the pieces can't get out to attack you. So yeah, be aggressive early on and you'll get to play slower later. Sadly, this ALSO hinders helpful over time effects. Pieces healed to full will LOSE THE PENALTY. Stackable
Rating: ***
Synergies: A Piercing Truth, Blunderbuss, Kingly Alms, Reinforcement cards
Anti-Syn: Egotic Maelstrom, Divine Healing, Golden Aging

[Cannon Fodder]

Review: This card can be fun. Like Small Fry Harvest, this encourages you to bully the pawns. Using the soul is free so don't worry about losing a turn, just make sure you have an open slot for it or this is a big nothing-burger. And if you use Blade you can keep stacking the boost since it doesn't reset until you shoot.
Review: **
Synergies: Gradual Resolution, Sacred Crown,Small Fry Harvest, additional soul slots
Anti-Syn: Bloodless Coup

[Church Organ]

Review: Requires Cathedral which requires Cardinal but damn is it strong. Basically 2 Extra Barrel cards without the accuracy penalty and 2/3 an Ermine Belt. Not one to build for but a must get if it comes up.
Rating: ****
Synergy: Unjust Decree, Welcome Gift
Anti-Syn: None

[Cornered Despot]

Review: Another card I'm a big fan of. All the perks of Blunderbuss but only on the edge. Either B-line for the side before shooting or make a sniper build and you can kill something every shot. Or let them come to you. Be wary of Rooks and Queens as they can lock down your precious edge. Just don't get yourself pinned without an escape.
Rating: ****
Synergies: Sniper build, The Moat
Anti-Syn: Cards that add Rooks

[Courteous Jousting]

Review: You got lots of knights? Get this. Not too many knights? Eh the accuracy boost is still nice. Never a bad choice but the White Cards you take will determine how often you get free turns.
Rating: ***
Synergies: Cavalry, Crusades, Knightmare
Anti-Syn: Unfaithful Steed, cards that remove Knights

[Crow's Blessing]

Review: A staple of the Sniper build and a helper for Spray-and-Pray. A good complimentary card though it doesn't offer much on it's own unless you want to bully the pawns from turn 1.
Rating: **
Synergies: Sniper builds, Spray and Pray builds
Anti-Syn: None

[Deep Waters]

Review: A buff to one of the best defensive option and a damn good one at that. Any non-knight in or behind the moat is 100% helpless. You can even get next to Rooks and Queens inside the water if you want. You can still get attacked from pieces outside the water so don't swim too long. Requires The Moat obviously.
Rating: ****
Synergies: None
Anti-Syn: None

[Egotic Maelstrom]

Review: A slow burn but a steady improvement. Unless you are rushing the King, floors tend to last plenty long enough to get a good boost going. The higher the Rank you are on the longer it will take too.
Rating: ****
Synergies: Augustus Presence, The Moat
Anti-Syn: Caltrops

[Elite Gem]

Review: Of the ammo boosting Black Cards, this is my favorite. The passive boost to range means that even if you don't drain your reserve to the point you need boost, you're still getting something. Also if you've fired all your shots with multiple barrels, you might have noticed it takes longer to regain ammo due to the single shot reloading, this alleviates that.
Rating: ****
Synergies: Unjust Decree, Spray and Pray builds
Anti-Syn: None
Black Cards p.2 (Buffs)
[Engraved Scope]

Review: A right-click option meaning it is exclusive from the other right-click options. Obviously great on Sniper bullds or if your Firing Arc is out of control. Due to losing a turn to reactivate every time you move/reload you'll need support cards to slow the advance, extra barrels help a lot too.
Rating: **
Synergy: Extra Barrel, The Moat, Sniper builds, Wand of Wrath
Anti-Syn: Speed boosting cards

[Ermine Belt]

Review: The vanilla ammo booster. Not a bad pick, but there are more exciting options. Stackable
Rating: ***
Synergies: Unjust Decree
Anti-Syn: None

[Extra Barrel]

Review: An excellent boost with a minor downside. Now that all guns but Victoria start with 2 barrels this is less of a game changer but it's still great to have an extra shot in the bank when you're under attack. Just try not to let your ammo get too low or your reloads will grind to a crawl. Stackable
Rating: ****
Synergy: Engraved Scope, Unjust Decree, Welcome Gift, Ammo boosters
Anti-Syn: None

[Fool Companion]

Review: Another double pre-req in Throne Room and The Jester and probably the least powerful. Still not a bad one, basically takes the slightly improved Pawn that is the Jester and makes him into a bonus target. Still not bad, free turns are always good.
Rating: ***
Synergy: Cannon Fodder, Small Fry Harvest
Anti-Syn: Bloodless Coup

[Force-Feeding]

Review: Silly but kinda hard to use. Best to either spend the first few turns stuffing 4-5 extra shots in the barrel while the pieces come to you, or keep in your back pocket in case you end up in Zugzwang. {Need to see how it works with Welcome Gift}
Rating: **
Synergy: Engraved Scope, Unjust Decree, Ammo boosters
Anti-Syn: Welcome Gift

[Golden Aging]

Review: Just got a buff from underwhelming to nearly as good as Subtle Poison. The accumulated speed penalty WILL apply to Queens that join midway through reinforcement and promotion. Otherwise can help avoid those embarrassing King checkmates. In Theocracy, Bishops lose speed but don't lose health.
Rating: ***
Synergy: Iron Maiden, King's Mistress
Anti-Syn: None


[Gradual Resolution]

Review: A conditional Firepower bonus that is honestly quite hard to use consistently. You're usually better off having your soul slots filled for escaping check or moving in for the kill. Better with synergies. Seems to only appear when you have multiple soul slots, I had to have 3 before it finally showed up...
Rating: *
Synergy: Cannon Fodder, Sacred Crown
Anti-Syn: None

[High Focus]

Review: Another part of the Sniper build but a great pick on it's own too. Improved damage and accuracy means you can reliably killshot just about anything from 2 squares away, in addition to more effectiveness at long range. Just make sure you don't get rushed down and you will have fun with this. Stackable for more damage and accuracy under the same conditions.
Rating: ****
Synergy: August Presence, The Moat, Sniper builds
Anti-Syn: None

[Holy Gunpowder]

Review: Another boring one... but this is boring done right! Firepower is king and this is the only way to get it without a downside. Stackable
Rating: ****
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: None

[Imperial Shot Put]

Review: Requires King's Shoulders and lets you utilize it much more often. Picking it up is free and it deals 3 damage same as throwing a piece. Saves ammo and blocks enemy pieces from moving but you won't rely on it to replace your gun. Stackable
Rating: **
Synergy: None
Anit-Syn: None

[Kingdom Wealth]

Review: Like Ermine Belt but less boring. This is for the sustained fight, the player who likes to take out everything before moving in on the King. A fair way to play if you have the firepower to keep from getting swarmed. Warning: Theocracy causes ALL Bishops to get +2 health.
Rating: ***
Synergy: Spray and Pray builds
Anti-Syn: Theocracy

[Kingly Alms]

Review: Ok this got a MAJOR rework, multiple buffs and debuffs if you played before the big update. No longer draws from ammo but only does 2 damage, less bouncy but can bounce off the edge and deal no damage to anything. Honestly these are pretty weak now, only good for softening up enemies while they are still grouped up. Stackable
Raiting: **
Synergy: Caltrops
Anti-Syn: Divine Healing

King's Shoulders]

Review: This one's a bit silly and there's some that the card doesn't explain. You pick up a piece within reach and get a free turn. Then, you carry that piece around until you take your next shot. You next shot does not use your gun, but instead you chuck the piece you were carrying at your target, dealing 3 damage to each. If the piece you were carrying had more than 3 health, it lands next to your target... OR you can just toss it off the board into space for an instant kill! Free turns are never bad and this is also a great tool for getting bothersome piece away from you. Can be used to yeet the Iron Maiden away.
Rating: ****
Synergy: Iron Maiden
Anti-Syn: August Presence

[Majestic Censer]

Review: Extra Soul Slots are very nice even if you only use them when your trapped. Has some powerful synergies and hey, free bullet.
Rating: ***
Synergy: Cannon Fodder, Gradual Absolution, Sacred Crown
Anti-Syn: None

[Nightbane]

Review: A powerful melee option/buff with no downside. A solid option on it's own and a game changer with Bushido. Obviously goes with a Blade build.
Rating: ***
Synergy: Blade builds
Anti-Syn: Augustus Presence

[Philanthropy]

Rating: A solid upgrade to grenades, free turns are always nice. Excellent for softening up threatening enemies to make sure RBS doesn't screw you. One catch, if the grenade falls off the edge your turn ends.
Rating: ***
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Bunker, Shortage

[Possessed]

Review: A better version of Succubus locked behind both Unholy Call and Conclave. Both fine picks but makes this card exceedingly rare. At least it's a good one if it does show up.
Rating: ****
Synergy: Cannon Fodder, Gradual Resolution, Sacred Crown
Anti-Syn: Theocracy

[Presbyopia]

Review: Hilarious and powerful. Requires Golden Aging and makes Queens and Bishops a LOT less threatening. You can get right in their face and deliver some point blank pain or use them as a barrier. Though Golden Aging is meh, if you do get it then get this.
Raiting: ****
Synergy: Blade builds, Iron Maiden, The Moat, The Red Book
Anti-Syn: None
Black Cards p.3 (Buffs)
[Ravenous Rats]

Review: Jerma joke. In all seriousness this is great. The rats won't attack until after the piece move so while they won't save you from being in check, they won't open any new discovered checkmates. Rat dominoes are always funny and the damage really helps softening up pawns and pieces alike. Rats can damage intangible Knights during Knightmare. If you have Undead Armies the rats will always target the newly spawned pawn. {Need to see if they target Iron Maiden}
Rating: ****
Synergy: Kingly Alms, Knightmare, Spray and Pray builds.
Anti-Syn: None

[Rightful Curtsy]

Review: This isn't as bad as it used to be. A piece knocked back is stunned for the round so is can be used as a Hail Mary if you are pinned down. However you are still vulnerable to new discovered checkmates if you open the path for another piece. Still has the same issue of making it harder to finish off piece if you are pursuing them. Need to test if it has any effect on Iron Maiden. Stackable
Rating: **
Synergy: The Moat
Anti-Syn: None

[Ritual Dagger]

Review: How the mighty have fallen. From -4 in Beta to -2 and a Range penalty. The Blade is worthless unless you already have a Blade build. You're a lot better off just getting a Firepower increase.
Rating: *
Synergy: Blade builds
Anti-Syn: Range decreasing cards

[Royal Loafers]

Review: Why pick b
[Sacred Crown]

Review: This was called Speed Chess in the beta and I think that name was cooler. ANYWAY this is an awesome mobility tool fueled by Soul slots. Gives you more excuse to use them too, functioning similar to the above top tier Royal Loafers. Moving will reload or find ammo too so if you just need to stall to get your bullets ready, this one has got you covered
Rating: ****
Synergy: Gradual Restitutions, Majestic Censer
Anti-Syn: None

[Sawed-Off Justice]

Review: Like Blunderbuss but with both a minor downside and a major one. Also like Royal Loafers in that you move and shoot at the same time. The problem is that you can't control it, you ARE moving back unless you're at the edge or next to another piece. Can save you as often as it can kill you. At the very least, it makes the game a lot more complicated.
Rating: *
Synergy: Cornered Despot
Anti-Syn: None

[Small Fry Harvest]

Review: Ah Pawns... So easy to ignore in the early game, so fun to rain lead on in the late game. This goes hand in hand with that late game part. If the Elite Gem is too passive for you, this is a more engaging alternative. Stackable
Rating: ***
Synergy: Spray and Pray builds, Cannon Fodder, The Secret Heir
Anti-Syn: Bloodless Coup

[Subtle Poison]

Review: A gift that keeps on giving. The penalty to King and Queen health is great, and the movement penalty guarantees that they won't be harassing you until you've taken out half the pieces already if not already won. What's more, the movement penalty applies to reinforcement from Genderqueer AND promoted Pawns! For the full duration!
Rating: ****
Synergies: Genderqueer, Iron Maiden, King's Mistress
Anti-Syn: None

[Taunting Hop]

Review: The free turn makes this one a LOT better than it used to be. An amazing escape tool, anything that gives free turns is at least good. Just make sure you don't accidentally jump into death when you meant to shoot.
Rating: ****
Synergy: Blade builds
Anti-Syn: Augustus Presence

[The Moat]

Review: A game changer. This one is more useful the more non-pawn pieces you have to face. Very high potential, especially with Sniper builds but not without a catch. The Moat also hinders you should you (Knight soul and Wand of Wings work). That said it is quite fun to kite the remaining Rooks and Queen to one side of The Moat, only to cut back across and go after the lonely King while they struggle to cross again. Also handy if the pawns start promoting.
Rating: ****
Synergy: August Presence, Rightful Curtsy, Sacred Crown, Wand of Gust, Wand of Wings
Anti-Syn: Unfaithful Steed

[Undercover Mission]

Review: A lot with this one but the effects are pretty underwhelming. Flip a White Card (good if you had to take something dangerous or a bad Anti-Syn), reduce max hp by 1 (good if you get to the space before you start shooting), refill ammo (better in the mid-game if you are running low, also refills grenades!), and get a free shot on the king (best option if nothing else appeals). The space usually shows up around the 5th-6th row so you'll have to work to get to it.
Rating: **
Synergy: Royal Alms
Anti-Syn: None

[Unfaithful Steed]

Review: Way worse than before. Knights are usually the first piece type you wipe out so you won't have this benefit for long. Can help with rushing at the start of the floor but so can soul slots.
Rating: *
Synergy: Cavalry, Knightmare, Military Training, Unholy Call
Anti-Syn: Courteous Jousting

[Unholy Call]

Review: A more fun version of Undercover Mission. The circles can show up close to spawn making them easy to reach. What's more, they all refresh once you hit all 3 so you can get more free turns and Firepower. The more mobile you are, the more you can abuse this one.
Rating: ***
Synergy: Sacred Crown, Unfaithful Steed
Anti-Syn: None
Black Cards p.4 (Buffs)
[Unjust Decree]

Review: Another fun one to build your playstyle around. This one cranks up your DPS the more barrels you have and lets you shred whatever you point at. Your ammo will drop fast and it's useless if you don't have more than 1 shot loaded but I can't knock its effectiveness and powerful effect on the board. Takes Spray and Pray to the next level.
Rating: ***
Synergies: Blunderbuss, Extra Barrel, Ammo boosters
Anti-Syn: None

[Wand of Downpour]

Review: First a brief overview of the Wands. They get 1 use every floor and activating them does NOT advance time. So basically they are all free of downsides! The more enemies still alive, the less noticeable the effect of this Wand will be. This is great for finishing off an injured group in the middle of the round, trying to soften up those healthy Queens and Rooks in the beginning, and HILLARIOUS for auto-killing the King when he's the only one left.
Rating: ***
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Divine Healing

[Wand of Frenzy]

Review: One of the best Wands and they are all decent. Free reload if you get caught with your pants down and free total ammo refill if you run out. No need to pretty it up, this is top.
Rating: ****
Synergy: Unjust Decree
Anti-Syn: None

[[Wand of Gust]

Review: You won't need this every round but it can come in clutch. It moves ALL enemy piece that aren't already at the top of the board, giving you several more turns before the pawns reach promotion and potentially getting yourself out of a pin.
Rating: ***
Synergies: The Moat
Anti-Syn: None

[Wand of Hypnosis]

Review: The only new wand and probably the weakest one even if it isn't bad. Can be good to move a piece to pointblank for an easy kill or make them stop threatening you.
Rating: ***
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: None

[Wand of Wings]

Review: While all wands are good, this one is the most boring. Free movement up to 3 squares is certainly enough to get you out of trouble though and this includes moving over pieces in the way. Works with The Moat.
Rating: ***
Synergies: The Moat
Anti-Syn: None

[Wand of Wrath]

Review: For the final Wand we end my second favorite. This is a back-up sniper ready to take out any one target per round... or at least soften them up. Save this until you an enemy is in your way, don't just blast the Queen on Turn 1 when you might get pinned by the Bishops before she gets out from behind the pawns. Try to time it with conditional bonuses for extra oomph.
Rating: ****
Synergy: Blunderbuss, Cannon Fodder, Cornered Despot, Welcome Gift
Anti-Syn: None

[Welcome Gift]

Review: A big opener and then nothing. The more you can do without reloading the better obviously. Weak on it's own but can get very strong with its synergies. Does NOT work with Force-Feeding {thanks LordMondayIX } or Wand of Frenzy.
Rating: **
Synergies: Extra Barrel
Anti-Syn: Force-Feeding
White Cards p.1 (Enemy Modifiers)
Layout is the same as Black Cards but with new Rating guidelines. A few more things to consider with White Cards are the health added to the enemy pool, the threat of addition additional pieces, and how many pieces on the board will be boosted by improvements. Ratings will be looking at the card itself in a vacuum.
Rating: Up to 4 stars. * Very dangerous. ** Risky but workable. *** Fairly safe. **** Almost free, always worth considering.

[Ammunition Depot]

Review: If you can handle Rooks, this is a solid choice. If you can one-shot Rooks, you'll come out ahead in ammo. Stackable
Rating: ***
Synergy: Ruins
Anti-Syn: None

[Analysis Paralysis]

Review: First new white card and I'm not a fan. Requires my beloved High Focus and forces you to lose several turns. If you don't have some escape tools you might be in checkmate before you get a chance to move. More pawns might make pieces less threatening but they are still getting a jump on promotion. Stackable and oddly synergizes with itself as check still ends it.
Rating: *
Synergies: The Moat
Anti-Syn: None

[Ascension]

Review: Bishops will always be on you unless you are off their color, they can even avoid The Moat (thanks ruislimppu for confirming first). Exceptionally dangerous if you've been grabbing other Bishop buffs but it does have one good use. Bishops will be able to get to you right away which makes them easier to kill before you get swarmed with all the other pieces.
Rating: **
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: The Moat, The Red Book, Theocracy

[Assault]

Review: Pawns take around 25 turns to get from the 7th row to the first. This will knock off about 5 turns, but also gets them into your firing range faster. Better than increasing their speed and the cards that do that give them other perks too. {Need to test with Undead Armies}
Rating: ***
Synergy: Militia
Anti-Syn: Pikemen

[Backups]

Review: While this adds 9 health to the enemy pool, Pawns are low threat and can even help hold back more threatening pieces. Stackable.
Rating: ****
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: None

[Bodyguard]

Review: If you just kill the few knights on the board in the opening moves like normal, no problem. You let Pawns get to the back and promote or let reinforcements come, a Knight might spawn right as you were about to finish off the King. Protects EVERY Bishop in Theocracy (thanks Jophiel Joestar). Can quickly become overwhelming with Anti-Syns.
Rating: **
Synergy: Courteous Jousting
Anti-Syn: Cavalry, Crusades, Military Training, Kite Shield, Knightmare, Theocracy

[Bowl of Blood]
Review: Yeah this isn't a White Card but it IS an enemy modifier so shut up! Thankfully this powerful effect only comes up in Endless Mode after Floor 12. Hope you don't get this one because you won't get a choice if it comes up... but it will eventually if you are good enough.




[Bunker]

Review: Only shows up if you have grenades and serves to make them even more underwhelming, cutting their damage from 2 to 1. Otherwise comparable to Pillage without adding Pawns.
Rating: ***
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: None

[Cardinal]

Review: A fairly minor change. Only 1 point to the health pool but losing a shot could be an inconvenience.
Rating: ***
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: None

[Castle]

Review: A real problem if you try to go for the King right away, but actually a decent option if you try to take out all the threatening pieces first. And if those Rooks are threatening you, a long range shot to hit the King for chip damage, shunt them away. Pieces will be stunned for a moment when moved so no more risk of putting yourself into discovered checkmate. Protects Bishops in Theocracy.
Rating: ***
Synergy: Ruins
Anti-Syn: None

[Cathedral]

Review: Obnoxious and can be hard to account for when under pressure. Rooks go from dangerous to your biggest priority. Can be hard to get to them too as any pieces in front of them are going to be taking only 1 damage so you have to wait for them to come to you.
Rating: *
Synergy: Ruins
Anti-Syn: None

[Cavalry]

Review: The first of the reinforcement cards and a fairly harmless one. By turn 15 the board should be somewhat under control and they start all the way at the back row so they won't bother you for another several turns unless you are in deep.
Rating: ***
Synergy: Caltrops, Courteous Jousting
Anti-Syn: Bodyguard, Kite Shield, Lookout Tower

[Conclave]

Review: Very similar to the above though Bishops can cross the board right away.
Rating: ***
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: The Red Book, Lookout Tower, Theocracy

[Conscription]

Review: A slow but constant stream of Pawns. Pawns are only dangerous if they make it to the front of the board and you'd have to TRY to let these guys get there. Can make chasing the King marginally harder but that's a stretch. Stackable
Rating: ****
Synergy: Cannon Fodder, Small Fry Harvest
Anti-Syn: Guillotine

[Court of the King]

Review: This one is a game changer. Adds a LOT of health worth of threatening pieces to the board but debuffs EVERYTHING too. Pawns, Queens, and Kings are also slowed down. Don't get this one early but if you're brave, this is a challenge you can rise to once you've got a good gun. Even slow piece still lock down parts of the board. Stackable
Rating: **
Synergy: Courteous Jousting, Sacred Crown, The Moat
Anti-Syn: None

[Crusades]

Review: A simple piece swapper. Just remember not to get overwhelmed by Knights. They might be weak but they are fast and more than 3 can be overwhelming if you get in their range.
Rating: ***
Synergy: Courteous Jousting, Unfaithful Steed
Anti-Syn: Bodyguards, Kite Shield, Knightmare

[Divine Healing]

Review: Makes Bishops a bit less threatening but a lot more obnoxious. They heal all pieces within 3 squares by one including themselves. Invalidates chip damage and hinders Spray and Pray builds. Focus enemies down and don't bother with chipping at anything within their heal range.
Rating: **
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Caltrops, Royal Alms, Spray and Pray builds

[Entitle]

Review: Exactly the same as Cardinal but you add a Knight instead. A great pick but watch your ammo.
Rating: ****
Synergy: Courteous Jousting
Anti-Syn: Bodyguards, Kite Shield, Knightmare

[Full Plate Armor]

Review: Comparable to Court of the King, adding to the health pool without adding to the threat. Also hinders Blade builds. Arguably better but still a tough pick.
Rating: **
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Blade builds
White Cards p.2 (Enemy Modifiers)
[Genderqueer]

Review: Back to backup but this one is unique. Removes a Bishop but adds a Queen once the round gets going. Was much more dangerous when she would spawn on your side of the board but now she comes from the back like everyone else.
Rating: ***
Synergy: Subtle Poison
Anti-Syn: Iron Maiden, Lookout Tower

[Guillotine]

Review: Literal game changer. Makes it so you have to kill ALL the pieces so no instant-wins and a lot more bullets required unless you were already clearing the field before going for the King. Do NOT combine with endless reinforcement cards or you'll have a bad time.
Rating: *
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Conscription, Military Acadamy

[Highest Dungeon]

Review: Rooks are usually the last piece to attack you as they have the most trouble getting past the pawns. This means that the flip effect is less likely to come into play before you've already been feeling the effects. Requires Remparts but still rare af.
Rating: *
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Trowel

[Homecoming]

Review: If you don't pick this... you've either hacked the game or never beaten Floor 3. Added for completion sake.
Rating: ****
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: None

[Iron Maiden]

Review: This turns the Queen from the most threatening piece on the board to a horror movie monster... who's still the most threatening piece on the board. Though slow, this Queen will deny massive chunks of the board and whatever moves you gain from the reduced speed, will be lost in running away. Also, the King likes to move behind his impenetrable wiafu which means she'll stuff your shots. Also you'll never get another Queen Soul (without yeeting her into space). Even the Synergies are less good combos and more 'ways to deal with it'. Pawns might help block her but don't let them promote or you'll be swarmed with a terminator army.
Rating: *
Synergy: Deep Waters, King's Shoulders, Sacred Crown, Subtle Poison
Anti-Syn: Genderqueer, King's Mistress, Succubus

[Karma]

Review: I hate this card, not entirely sure why but I hate it. Objectively it's not even THAT bad, the better your gun is the less this will hurt.
Rating: **
Synergy: Blade builds
Anti-Syn: None

[King's Mistress]

Review: In the beta demo this also reduced the speed on Queen Souls, now it doesn't :). This keeps the Queen from jumping across the board, noticeably reducing her threat. The second Queen can be a problem but smart play can minimize the danger.
Rating: **
Synergy: Sniper builds, Subtle Poison
Anti-Syn: Iron Maiden

[Kite Shield]

Review: If you aren't able to spray the approaching knights from range to knock off their armor, you are going to be dealing with them for a lot longer than normal. Fire as soon as they get past the pawns and hope you nick them for 1 and the rest goes into the pawns, or just don't pick this one.
Rating: *
Synergy: A Piercing Truth, Blunderbuss, Crow's Blessing, Kingly Alms
Anti-Syn: Bodyguards, Knightmare, Military Acadamy, Saddle

[Knightmare]

Review: Makes knights a lot harder to deal with and forces you to be more tactical with your timing. Shots will path through them harmlessly into whoever is behind them but they ARE damaged by Ravenous Rats which is hilarious.
Rating: **
Synergy: Courteous Jousting, Ravenous Rats, Wand of Downpour
Anti-Syn: Bodyguards, Kite Shield, Saddle

[Last Guardian]

Review: Unless you go out of your way to kill all the pawns, this is totally free. Even if you do, this really isn't bad. {To test, does this proc multiple times with Conscripts?}
Rating: ****
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Cannon Fodder, Small Fry Harvest

[Lookout Tower]

Review: In a vacuum, this one isn't bad. A single Rook on turn 14ish isn't bad... but this card is anti-synergy by design. The more you clean house, the faster backup comes. Stackable
Rating: ***
Synergy: Caltrops, Ruins
Anti-Syn: All backup cards

[Military Acadamy]

Review: More threatening than Cavalry and Conscripts but again, not terribly dangerous on its own. Assuming you haven't been buffing the Knights that is...
Rating: **
Synergy: Courteous Jousting
Anti-Syn: Bodyguards, Guillotine, Kite Shield, Knightmare

[Militia]

Review: Attacking from every direction just means Pawns can attack on the backwards diagonal. So long as you don't hug them this is a nothing modifier. What's actually helpful about this is that Pawns may waste turns going not forward meaning they aren't getting closer to promotion!
Rating: ****
Synergy: Assault
Anti-Syn: Pikemen

[Peace]

Review: Not bad but consider if you've grabbed more Knight or Bishop buffs.
Rating: ***
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Courteous Jousting, Unfriendly Steed

[Pikemen]

Review: Turn those Pawns from a slowly advancing line of low threat, threat blocking mooks into a slowly advancing wall of death. Massive increase in danger if you have a lot of pawns. More reasonable if you get rid of them but then nothing's blocking those already dangerous pieces. It does make it easier to slip past them if you can drill a hole in the column. When combined with Militia, Pawns can threaten 2 squares up, down, left and right too!
Rating: **
Synergy: Bloodless Coup
Anti-Syn: Militia, Pillage, Scouting, Zealots

[Pillage]

Review: Makes Pawns tougher and adds a lot of them. I'm not a fan but does have some niche uses if you want to lean into using the Pawns as blockers.
Rating: **
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Pikemen

[Remparts]

Review: Unlike the Bishop and Knight equivalent, the Pawn-to-Piece card for Rooks takes two pawns and no bullets from your reserve. If you can handle Rooks or have too many Pawns, an excellent pick.
Rating: ***
Synergy: Ruins
Anti-Syn: Castle, Cathedral

[Revolution]

Review: Load up the pawns! At least it doesn't buff them like Pillage but that's still adding a bit of health to the pool. Better than Pillage but I'll usually take Backup over this so it gets the rating in between.
Rating: ***
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: None

[Ruins]

Review: A favorite of mine. Make those Rooks who could tank your starting gun crumble. Makes it easier to deal with Rooks at both close and long ranges, one of the strongest enemy debuffs available. Just don't go overboard adding more Rooks, the might be weaker but they can still box you in.
Rating: ****
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: None

[Saboteur]

Review: It means Pellet, not Bullet. One of your pellets is likely to go WAY wide on every shot. Kind of annoying and if you took any arc increasing cards, that pellet will likely fly off sideways. Other effects aren't bad but this is comparable to a -1 to firepower beyond pointblank.
Rating: **
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: None

White Cards p.3 (Enemy Modifiers)
[Saddle]

Review: Knights turn into buses, moving whoever they can with them as they jump. Extremely hard to plan around so expect to be overrun at any time and have a blocker or an escape plan whenever you see a Knight about to move. Can potentially move the King into range which is nice.
Rating: **
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Kite Shield, Knightmare

[Sanctity]

Review: Honestly not that bad, just stick with Queen and Knight souls and you'll never notice it.
Rating: ****
Synergy: Nothing
Anti-Syn: Iron Maiden, Theocracy

[Scouting]

Review: Knights aren't very threatening unless there's a lot of them and faster pawns mean faster promotions. There's worse picks but I avoid this one if I can.
Rating: **
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Assault, Zealots

[Shortage]

Rating: Reverse Ermine Belt and no, you don't need Kingly Alms for this to show up. If you find yourself with plenty of ammo then this isn't bad but no ammo means no damage.
Rating: **
Synergy: Elite Gem, Kingdom Wealth
Anti-Syn: Kingly Alms

[Succubus]

Rating: Adding a Queen might be scary but this is one of the only white cards to give you straight bonus too. It's not one you pick every time but always worth consideration at least.
Rating: ***
Synergy: Subtle Poison, The Moat
Anti-Syn: Iron Maiden

[The Bridge]

Review: Requires The Moat and removes two squares from the center of it. Might be worth getting if you often find yourself trapped by your own moat or if you want to try an bottle neck the pieces. I myself only got it once to fill out the Codex since I love the moat. The Knight backup is not a big deal at least.
Rating: ***
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: None

[The Jester]

Review: This only shows up if you grabbed Throne Room and it isn't bad at all. One Pawn gets improved speed and slightly improved mobility and if he dies, it transfers to another pawn. The buff is pretty minor so honestly, this one is free.
Rating: ****
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Scouting, Zealots

[The Red Book]

Review: The Bibble. This makes Bishops a LOT more threatening. They can't attack you orthogonally but they are almost guaranteed to threaten you on every move they make as they can actually change color. Note: Required for the SECRET BOSS along with Theocracy.
Rating: **
Synergy: Royal Loafers
Anti-Syn: Ascension, Zealots

[The Secret Heir]

Review: Not dangerous but risks drawing the round out. The Heir is revealed when you are in a direct orthogonal line from it. Or just spray down the pawns en mass and hope you get him before heading for the King. Does NOT seem to proc on the Boss though an Heir is selected at the start of the round.
Rating: ***
Synergy: Cannon Fodder, Small Fry Harvest
Anti-Syn: Pillage, Revolution

[Theocracy]

Review: A literal game-changer. Buffs Bishops but makes them your primary target. What they don't tell you is that when only 1 Bishop remains, he will run to the farthest corner of the board and unlike the old King, he's a REAL pain to chase down. This is not one to take unless you are ready for it... or going for the secret boss. (Needs more testing on how cards with King exceptions and effects carry over.) [Castling activates on any Bishop hit. Wand of Wrath can still target Bishops]
Review: *
Synergy: The Moat
Anti-Syn: Kingdom Wealth, Zealots

[Throne Room]

Review: Similar issue to Kingdom Wealth but with the added detriment of buffing the Queen. If you have the Firepower this is no big deal but Queens
Rating: **
Synergy: Subtle Poison
Anti-Syn: Genderqueer, King's Mistress, Succubus

[Trowel]

Review: A massive buff to Rooks and that flip effect won't likely come into play unless you allow the pawns to promote. I'm not a fan.
Rating: **
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Castle, Cathedral

[Undead Armies]

Review: Adds a LOT of health to the pool and if you kill enemies near the front rows, you've got Pawns ready to promote early. And promoted Pawns can turn into fresh Pawns when you kill them to get a nice infinite loop if you let it. Pieces killed on the first row (where they promote) will NOT spawn anything so that's nice at least. Got a nerf in reducing the hp of all pawns but still a hard pick.
Rating: *
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Bloodless Coup, Pawn buffs

[Witch's Curse]

Review: A hefty debuff that is removed as soon as you kill a Queen. If you can handle it, this isn't that bad. Queens will get in your face as soon as they have a line so try make a path for them to get out so you can end the curse. And because it ends when you kill ANY Queen, extra Queens mean more potential targets.
Rating: ***
Synergy: Wand of Hypnosis, Wand of Wrath
Anti-Syn: Subtle Poison

[Zealots]

Review: Improves the speed of Pawns so faster promotions AND makes Bishops a lot more threatening. It might not seem like much but this one can roll out of control fast. BUT the fact that you can flip it is nice. Get rid of those Bishops and the Pawns slow back down.
Rating: **
Synergy: None
Anti-Syn: Ascension, Scouting, The Red Book, Theocracy
(In Progress) Enemy Data
Knowing is half the battle and if you've played, you likely know most of this but eh... I'll note base stats, cards that weaken/strengthen, and cards that increase/decrease. Later down the road I'll also add thoughts about how to handle them and their basic AI strategy...

Template-
Health: Base health as well what ranks increase it
Speed: How many turns between movements
Improve: Cards that strengthen the piece
Impair: Cards that weaken the piece or reward you for killing/having them
Add: Cards that put more on the board
Remove: Cards that take them off the board

Obviously, ALL cards are Impaired by Court of the King and Improved AND Impaired by Full Plate Armor

PAWNS
Health: 3. 4 at Rank 15
Speed: 5
Improve: Assault, Bunker, Last Guardian, Militia, Pikemen, Pillage, Scouting, The Jester, The Secret Heir, Zealots
Impair: Bloodless Coup, Cannon Fodder, Small Fry Harvest, Undead Armies
Add: Assault, Backup, Conscription, Kite Shield, Militia, Pillage, Revolution, Ruins, Scouting, The Jester, The Secret Heir, Undead Armies
Remove: Cardinal, Entitle, Rampart, Sabotage, Shortage

KNIGHTS
Health: 3. 4 at Rank 10. 5 at Rank 15
Speed: 3
Improve: Bodyguard, Kite Shield, Knightmare, Saddle, Undead Armies
Impair: Courteous Jousting, Unfaithful Steed, Kightmare, Saddle
Add: Cavalry, Court of the King, Crusades, Entitle, Kite Shield, Knightmare, Military Academy, The Bridge
Remove: Peace, Scouting

BISHOPS
Health: 4. 5 at Rank 15
Speed: 3
Improve: Ascension, Divine Healing, The Red Book, Theocracy, Sanctity, Undead Armies, Zealots
Impair: Presbyopia
Add: Cardinal, Conclave, Court of the King, Peace, Possessed, Sabotage, Sanctity, The Red Book, Theocracy
Remove: Cathedral, Genderqueer, Revolution
(Note: Theocracy Bishops are also treated as Kings by other cards so they will be effected by some cards like Kingdom Wealth while Theocracy is active, though some are restricted.)

ROOKS
Health: 5. 6 at Rank 9. 7 at Rank 13. 8 at Rank 15
Speed: 4
Improve: Castle, Cathedral, Trowel, Undead Armies
Impair: Ammunition Depot, Court of the King, Ruins
Add: Ammunition Depot, Cathedral, Lookout Tower, Ramparts, Ruins
Remove: Bunker, Pillage

QUEENS
Health: 5. 6 at Rank 15
Speed: 4
Improve: Iron Maiden, Throne Room
Impair: Golden Aging, Iron Maiden, King's Mistress, Presbyopia, Subtle Poison, Witch's Curse
Add: Genderqueer, Homecoming, King's Mistress, Succubus
Remove: None

KING
Health: 8, 9 at Rank 4. 10 at Rank 7. 11 at Rank 15
Speed: 4
Improve: Bodyguard, Kingdom Wealth, The Secret Heir, Throne Room
Impair: Bunker, Golden Aging, Ritual Dagger, Subtle Poison
Add: None
Remove: Guillotine, Theocracy

BOSS KING
Health: 24. 48 at Rank 9 (Can go up to 99 with Divine Healing)
Speed: 3
Notes: Seems to be completely unaffected by cards which affect the King specifically, but is by ALL PIECE targeting cards.

BOSS BISHOP
WIP
34 Comments
tdfhjd Apr 14 @ 12:30pm 
undead army is goated if you have rats, especially so if you have 2 rats or the black plague. Can lead to insane domino situations.
Spooksies Nov 26, 2023 @ 9:16pm 
I think iron maiden deactivates when queen is the last piece left.

I once had a board clear with iron maiden active where the queen died last during the win animation, and iron maiden was flipped for a moment
Kektagon Oct 25, 2023 @ 11:37pm 
Iron Maiden + Guillotine wouldnt softlock you, the requirement is now just to kill all non-queen pieces.
Bob Vanus Sep 30, 2023 @ 8:50am 
So uh, would picking Iron Maiden and Guillotine softlock you?
Combustible Lemon Aug 4, 2023 @ 6:26pm 
RBS stands for Random Bullet Spread, or more accurately pellets in this case.
CoyoteTraveller Aug 1, 2023 @ 5:42pm 
Wishing I knew what RBS meant, too.
Grey Bigfoot Jul 31, 2023 @ 1:43pm 
Force Feeding does not work with Welcome Gift, I found that out the hard way. It's really good with Unjust Decree though.
Ciaphas Jun 29, 2023 @ 5:38pm 
what's RBS?
Kektagon Feb 12, 2023 @ 5:32pm 
Boss Bishop has same stats as Boss King, except for the fact he can summon 1 bishop at a time instead of moving, heals all pieces within 3 squares of each square he takes up (making the coverage a 6x6 square, minus the 2x2 in the center that he takes up). He is also affected by anything that affects bishops, except for ones that increase health. For example, he is affected by (and triggers) Zealots giving him 2 speed instead of 3 and all the other effects that Zealots have, but dosen't get any health from Theocracy (maybe because it gets ripped up before the floor starts? i forgot to check the normal bishop's health). He's also unaffected by any king-specific cards like Golden Aging or ritual dagger, and can be targeted by things that specify "non-king pieces" like wand of wrath.
Pachislot Rockman Ability Dec 25, 2022 @ 4:54pm 
I can confirm that Last Guardian does activate multiple times if you ever get more than one single pawn on the field again and kill one, usually via Undead Armies or something