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Friday, April 18, 2014

Wizard101 Level 98 Shadow Spell Guide and Analysis

Wizard101 Level 98 Shadow Spells - Khrysalis Part 2

Wizard101's release of Khrysalis Part 2 brought with it three new sets of spells. The first was a set of Shifts (HERE),  then globals (HERE), and the third is three new shadow spells! While my original prediction that the first set of shadow spells would be related to the Moon school, the next the Sun school, and the last the Star school was incorrect, these new shadow spells are definitely an adequate substitute. Let's give them a look.

Darkness is Upon Us (Where Do I Get the Darkness!?)

These new spells are similar to the old ones, but have some major differences. For one, these cost two shadow pips each (though evidence suggests they were originally going to cost only one). That means that once we train these new spells, we'll have the potential to gain an additional shadow pip. They also have a shadow icon where the spell type is listed, which our current shadow spells do not have. At least two of the old shadow spells have these symbols, and all of them probably will eventually.

The most major difference is that these do damage instead of increasing our stats. Instead of polymorphing into a shadow creature, one crawls out as a shadow behind us, watching for three rounds before it makes its attack. I'll explain that in detail in just a moment. First, you're going to want to run and pick these up! Doing so will take you from Initiate Shadowmancer or Journeyman Shadowmancer. Once you've hit level 98, and progressed far enough into the story to rescue Elana Darksun in the Solar Arc in the Kondha Desert, you'll be able to learn one new Shadow Creature spell for free based on your school.

How These New Shadow Spells Work

Each one of these new spells is an attack. You choose a target and then a shadow crawls out behind you. Now you have three rounds before it attacks. Like previous shadow spells, you can either please it or upset it. Not only will this affect backlash, but it will also grant bonus effects.


Dark Nova
Dark Fiend
Dark Shepherd
400-1600 Shadow damage

Please it on Round 1, and receive a +40% Shadow damage blade.

Please it on Round 2, and receive a +10% Shadow piercing blade.

Please it on Round 3, and it will cast a universal +25% damage trap.
580-945 Shadow damage to all enemies

Please it on Round 1, and receive a +40% Shadow damage blade.

Please it on Round 2, and receive a +10% Shadow piercing blade.

Please it on Round 3, and it will pierce an enemy shield.
300-750 Shadow damage to all enemies, swap half to health

Please it on Round 1, and receive a +40% Shadow damage blade.

Please it on Round 2, and receive a +10% Shadow piercing blade.

Please it on Round 3, and it will place a +25% incoming healing trap on you.


Each of the three likes and dislikes different things, as explained below. Each one corresponds with an old shadow spell - Dark Nova with Shadow Shrike, Dark Fiend with Shadow Sentinel, and Dark Shepherd with Shadow Seraph. It likes similar things, sometimes including its matching shadow form!

Wizard101 Level 98 Shadow Spells - Khrysalis Part 2 - All Spell Cards

Dark Nova
Dark Fiend
Dark Shepherd
Dark Nova favors high amounts of damage. Increase your damage output to keep him happy. Preventing damage will displease him.

Likes: Blades, traps, buffing, etc.

Dislikes: Shields, negative wards, defenses, etc.
Dark Fiend likes all obstacles removed from hitting his targets. He will attack the entire enemy team.

Likes: Attacks, steals (Steal Ward), Shatter, etc.

Dislikes: Shields, negative wards, defenses, etc.
Dark Shepherd likes to steal health and keep her caster healthy. Don't bother adjusting how much damage you can do.

Likes: Heals, Guiding Light, Guardian Spirit, etc.

Dislikes: Blades, traps, buffing, etc.


At the end of three rounds, the shadow behind you will take form and attack. The attack ranges are pretty big, meaning it could be a lot of damage or a more average amount of damage, but for two pips that you really can't utilize otherwise, this is pretty great.

Come to the Dark Side

These shadow spells have a lot of advantages. Think of it simply as a one-round attack that you use and move on. You have to use it in such a way that the spells that follow will be based on what the shadow likes. However, they can like things like attacks and steals, heals, and blades and traps. Simply decide what you're getting ready to do, and cast the corresponding shadow to match. You'll get an above-average-damage attack for pips you can't really use otherwise for essentially nothing, if you play it right.

Nothing except... backlash. Like all Shadow spells, these new ones have backlash, and it can be as small as a few hundred damage or as large as a few thousand damage. You'll see bosses use these spells in Khrysalis Part 2, and their backlash is usually much higher. Players can manage theirs much easier.

Dark Nova

Wizard101 Level 98 Shadow Spells - Khrysalis Part 2 - Dark NovaDark Nova does 400-1600 Shadow damage. For only two Shadow pips that couldn't be utilized elsewhere, that's pretty powerful, but it's also a big range. That's another drawback to this type of Shadow magic. With the initial spells, you were taking some damage for increased stats (and the occasional boost). With the newest spells, you're getting higher damage output at the cost of taking some damage, while also having to deal with high damage ranges, but having the benefit of added buffs and bonuses with your chosen shadow.

Dark Nova is all about maximum damage output to a single enemy, dealing up to 1600 damage naturally. While there's no Shadow damage boost, natural boosts very likely apply, just as universal resistance applies to Moon damage, though it doesn't show on your stats page. It's not hard to have very good stats and end up with about 50% universal damage. That's a 600 base for two shadow pips at minimum, and up to 2400 on the upper end. Definitely something to both utilize and watch out for.


Wizard101 Level 98 Shadow Spells - Khrysalis Part 2 - Dark FiendDark Fiend

Dark Fiend does 580-945 Shadow damage to all enemies. That's a pretty powerful spell all by itself, but add in those blades and buffs from pleasing it, and you could be in for some big damage. Dark Fiend has a smaller damage range, but also can't do as much damage naturally, which is generally true of AoEs. The compromised damage amount for a smaller range doesn't mean you can forget about backlash and bonuses from pleasing the shadow. This particular one is useful, as its third-round effect is potentially piercing an enemy shield, and effect that can add to any big-damage hit. And it doesn't require you giving up blades or casting the spell yourself and wasting that turn.

Dark Fiend is perfect for a pre-hit setup. It likes damage and steals and shield-clearing in general. If you're preparing for the shadow, you're probably "wanding" off shields and using small attacks to prepare as it is. The boosts for Shadow damage only you'll get from pleasing it will be all the setup you need with this output damage.

Dark Shepherd

Wizard101 Level 98 Shadow Spells - Khrysalis Part 2 - Dark ShepherdDark Shepherd does 300-750 damage to all enemies and swaps half to health. With healing included, that's 450-1125 health offset with that single spell with Shadow pips with no use otherwise. And that's just one enemy. As you get more, it translates to more damage and more health, like with Dark Fiend. It has the middle damage range (450) - larger than Dark Fiend's 365, but smaller than Dark Nova's 1200.

Dark Shepherd is great for Life wizards and the healers in the group. If they're already going to be using Guiding Lights and healing spells, throwing this shadow up beforehand will really pack a punch while you're reviving teammates - and that's one of the coolest parts of these spells. If incorporated properly into your usual routine, they can set up for themselves and deal major damage.

The Real Backlash

With the first set of Shadow spells, KingsIsle took a lot of heat, particularly from disgruntled PvP players who were complaining about Shrike. There are certainly times that it pays to speak up and voice concerns for the betterment of the game. I decided to observe some of these myself, and while they did seem to be, in part, additions to "Crit Monster" setups, Shrike can essentially be negated with a shield. And let's be realistic - how many attacks can you throw out one after another that really do effective damage in three rounds? Maybe three - if the opponent sat and did nothing in response.

The new spells don't normally get tested very thoroughly until they hit the live realm, and I do hope KingsIsle realizes that in deciding whether or not they need changed. I often feel like any change is reluctant and once something goes live, it's tough to correct. Hopefully, players will find that these spells are at least somewhat balanced in PvP, though one major issue I'm seeing is the huge damage output with only one shield available, which is going to start making certain spells a necessity. We'll see where it leads, though, and hope for the best.

What are your thoughts? Let me know by commenting!

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral! Thanks to Seffers and Alex Lionheart for information on the function of these spells.

4 comments:

  1. I would like to add that Dark Shepherd doesn't just like Heals, but also Steal spells like Ghoul, Vampire, Wraith, Scarecrow, etc. Dark Shepherd is awarded to Life and Death Wizards free, so the spell must accomedate both schools main functions.

    Dark Fiend doesn't like Buffs (Blades, or traps) as far what I've found on Duelist101 and I haven't seen any thing confirming that Dark Fiend dislikes shields. If you want any spells that don't like buffs to be stronger, you'd have to cast them before the Shadow Creature.

    All Shadow Creatures like their previous Shadow Self spells, so using Shadow Shrike with Dark Nova or Dark Fiend and Shadow Seraph with Dark Shepherd can yield a powerful combo.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "negative ward" as a Trap is a negative ward. Otherwise, you're overview was very informational and helpful as always.

    I'm really liking these new spells and I'm hoping PvP won't go into a whole outrage like they did with Shadow Shrike. I have a feeling Dark Nova might get some attention, but for the most part, these spells aren't too damaging. Alone, these spells barely make it close to 2000 damage, which can be a bother if you're one who likes big damage (of course Fient(+70%)+Potent Fient (+80%) can change that). They also can't Critical or are unlikely to Critical so not a hole lot to worry about.

    As far as I'm understanding, you kinda have to base your deck setup around these Shadow Creatures to use them effectively. I'm not sure how many PvP'ers are willing to do that so I don't think these spells will make a huge impact.

    -Cunning Finnigan Sharp

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  2. PvP won't go into an outrage over these, because they're too slow in the current metagame.

    To achieve maximum output on these spells requires a lot of input on the player, and right now, PvP is moving to fast to make them effective.

    Finnigan is correct in that you'd have to base your setup around them. For people playing to climb ranked, I can't imagine them basing their strategy around a spell you have to wait for 2 shadow pips to cast.

    Sure, we'll see these spells for a little while because they're new, and in novelty setups, but they will most likely not be apart of the successful setups you see past Commander and onwards.

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    Replies
    1. I think these really will have a place in PvP, just like Shrike does. Not only that, but they'll be effective. Shrike essentially negates shields or much resistance and adds additional damage bonuses.

      To get the most out of these spells, you DO have to put some work into them. But that's optional, not required. If you have Shadow pips at your disposal and have the potential to do major damage with them, why wouldn't you utilize them?

      I think a majority of people may avoid these in part because of their larger damage range, but largely because they feel like they have to center setups around the spells. This is not always the case. In many instances, these spells are pleased by ones that are a very natural part of a match or setup, and so if you start incorporating these spells into your strategy where they fit instead of incorporating your strategy into these spells where IT fits, then we might see some real potential.

      I think it's a good thing that these won't be terribly common, though. Like any good spell, it's only useful if used correctly, and I like the idea of some people being comfortable with using these and others avoiding them, because it means diversity in PvP. And that's a challenge - dealing with different setups before every stepping foot in the arena.

      That's how difficulty should have always been curved in Wizard101 - diversity rather than larger health numbers and bigger hits. I can't wait to see some of these in action!

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  3. just wondering, since earthquake removes everything from opponents, do fiends like earthquake?

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