A Shadow is the highest ranking demon in existence, second only to archdemons. They serve as the main commanders and most powerful minions/weapons of their queen, the Forgotten. Killing shadows directly weakens her, not enough to kill her, but enough for a capture. This is also likely the reason she brings them out very rarely, or to protect a key point.
A Shadow is a rather strong opponent and can be very destructive if it appears in early waves (and/or in large numbers depending on how lucky you are with the Chasing Shadows Battle Trait).
They have around 10000 HP at first and around 1200 Armor. These values change each time you encounter one, though they are primarily dependent on how many waves you have beaten before they appear and the difficulty of the field, determining the level of the shadow, which can be seen upon targeting it. A shadow on Field E2 after 32 waves will be at a lower level than a shadow on Field W4 after 28 waves.
Their high armor makes them practically immune to direct damage from low grade gems and it increases during battle. The rate of new armor is determined by level and is measured in added armor levels per minute.
Some of their abilities vary between shadows and are as follows:
- The Shadows move around the battlefield randomly with a rather high (sometimes low) speed and they can move slowly even when the game is paused ("move through frozen time," not when the pause MENU is accessed). This makes them hard to shoot them with towers, because they can basically move away by the time a gem resockets - of course you can always use a Gem Enhancement spell to resocket it instantly.
- Their armor slowly adds while the game is paused as well.
- They may shoot projectiles towards your Orb of Presence and Towers, you must shoot them down as they cost mana if they reach it, though it only requires one shot per projectile. These projectiles are given utmost priority by the towers and will be shot at even if a target is manually selected.
- They will heal a large amount of health if they enter an invincible circular form.
- They can summon spawnlings into the field if they stop over a path; they do not always summon them if they stop over a path.
- They are also immune to damage while in cloud form, though all strike spells will still affect them in this form. The Freeze Strike Spell will slow Shadows down to the speed they move at as when the game is paused. Pausing the game after freezing a shadow will make it almost completely stop.
- Sometimes they will attack your Orb directly by launching shadow projectiles, and reduce your spells charge level or burn a portion of your mana.
- There is a possibility that Shadows "directly attacking your Orb" may just summon shadow projectiles right on your orb, which equals "direct attacking".
- At higher levels, they will begin to act as a beacon, providing monsters with shields, healing, and additional speed.
- Finally, Shadows can act as quick fire Possession Obelisks, randomly choosing one or several monsters on the field to become possessed with three random buffs and increased health, armor, and banishment cost (among other possible buffs such as beacon summoning, summoning beacons upon death, healing nearby monsters upon death, higher speed, etc.). Unfortunately, they still grant the same mana and XP reward as before possession.
After beating field K4, shadows seem to appear randomly during battles in about every third or second battle, but some shadows appears as bosses on certain fields (this is not random).
Shadows drop a significant amount of Shadow Cores upon death and they get stronger every time you kill one.
One particular kind of shadow, known as the Grand Shadow, is fought in Gemcraft Labyrinth. It is basically the same as other Shadows that are encountered later in the series, but its stats are very nasty, about 4 times as powerful as the first shadows in CS2, and having an OH-KO final trick when its health goes down to 50,000. It basically becomes huge and flies right into your orb to kill you.
It summons armored monsters, and cannot be banished.
The free version of Gemcraft Labyrinth has a bug whereby the Grand Shadow is able to fly directly over your orb and spawn armored creatures that directly attack your orb, smashing it almost instantly. This bug was only resolved in the Steam version for field D4; the bug still exists elsewhere. Even if you have towers and amplifiers placed directly near the orb, this bug is insurmountable.
Gemcraft Chapter 2: Chasing ShadowsEdit
If a Shadow appears early, you should consider restarting the battle, because they will make gaining enough mana to set up proper defenses much harder, especially on new fields or unfamiliar battle settings. On the other hand they provide a challenging, but fun boss battle, as well as a lot of shadow cores.
The best way to kill a shadow is to shoot it with a Bolt enchanted Gem. However, you might want to defeat some waves before attempting to kill it to make a stronger gem. You can also try tearing down its armor (a low grade purple gem with beam is very effective on shadows below level 100).
While you are gathering the required mana to upgrade your gems you must shield your Orb from projectiles. It can be done with many low grade gems, or by a single gem with beam (as long as that gem has nothing else to shoot at, the beam spell will last a long time).
Don't take too much time to kill it, though, as its armor will grow very large and its projectiles and swarmlings will come in greater amounts. But, if it is more convenient to focus on the last waves of monsters on a field rather than the Shadow(s), high grade or supergemmed poison gems (and many of them) can quickly whittle down a shadow's health. The trick is to not rely on one single poison gem, as the shadow moves too much for the player to rely on lucky placement or repositioning.