Chosen by the Green Emperor, the current bearer of the Shadow Mask mantle differs considerably from his predecessors, much to the distaste of the ambitious Green Serpent. The new Shadow Mask is unwaveringly loyal to his master who views him as the perfect instrument to further his plans. As the Emperor has already broken the Shijin cycle of rebirth, it is unclear just what his long-term plans for Shadow Mask are, especially to the rest of the Jade Cult.
Shadow Mask is a Level 1 Infiltrator benefitting from Stealth and with Blink movement type. Those abilities allow him to get close to Enemies which is where his strengths lie. His core Combat Action is Strike, a simple 1 AP Attack inflicting Damage 1 as Effect (FX) and Extra Effect (EFX); with an AP Limit of 3, Shadow Mask can inflict up to 3 Strikes per Round. Next is Shadow Claws (AP 1) which is Combinable; this short range Action has Stun as FX and Damage 1 or Suppress 1 as EFX – this makes it ideal to set up a Target to be hit with a following Strike in the same Activation. Finally there is Shadow Double – an AP 1 Minion Summoning Action, allowing Shadow Mask to keep re-Summoning Shadow Doubles when they have been KO’ed (although he is limited to one in play at any time).
Shadow Mask’s Power is Born In Shadows which gives him two benefits: firstly +1 die to rolls as Defender if the Action is used outside of Base to Base (BtB). This can be very useful if he is caught in Pulses, Blasts or Overruns. The second feature is that if he wins the rolls as Defender when outside BtB, the Attacker suffers 1 Damage. What this means is that combined with Stealth, the Enemy is forced to try and engage Shadow Mask in BtB, or needs to try and stack the odds in their favor at range.
It is the Shadow Double Minion that makes Shadow Mask really stand out. Shadow Double is an Exclusive Minion so starts in play despite being Summoned. In addition, only Shadow Mask can Command him. However, if both models are kept close to each other, Shadow Double can be Activated to not only complete his own Actions (Movement, and/or Strike or Shadow Claws which have the same Trait values – non-Trump – and FX/EFX as Shadow Mask’s Actions), but if he is in BtB with an Enemy can add an extra die to Shadow Mask’s Attacks through Mobbing. In addition, when an Enemy moves into BtB with either model, Shadow Double and Shadow Mask can trade table positions, then Shadow Double is KO’ed – very useful for removing close combat threats to Shadow Mask! Ultimately the key to using Shadow Mask is using Shadow Double effectively, and learning to maximize Shadow Mask’s various defensive capabilities.
Shadow Mask and Shadow Double function as a good delivery system to deploy Mambo closer to the Enemy, complementing how Shadow Mask and Shadow Double should work together; the Infiltrators can soften up a victim (with Stun and Suppress) for a subsequent Attack by Mambo. If using a Jade Cult Team with Green Emperor and Green Serpent, Way of the Dragon (Master Plan) can create a powerful Chain Activation of Shadow Mask, Shadow Double and Green Serpent, which can be useful against weak flanks or isolated Objective holders. Lady In Red can be very useful if Shadow Mask is inducted into a Forgotten Team (through Honorary Member), as she can move Power Up dice to Shadow Mask if a suitably juicy Target presents itself.
Learn more about the latest Shadow Mask’s ascension in the ranks of the Jade Cult here (click for link).