A Shadow is an avatar of The Forgotten, likened to her blood drops and the second-highest ranking enemy next to the Forgotten herself. Killing shadows directly weakens her for a capture, but not enough to kill her. This is also likely the reason she brings them out very rarely, or only to protect a key point.
Shadows have multiple different abilities that vary from game to game, but a few powers are common to all games. recovering armor, creating monsters, firing mana-burning shadow, projectiles at the orb, and directly it themselves.
The Grand Shadow appears as the final boss, and is similar to 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 CG2, and having an OH-KO final trick when its HP goes down to 50K. It's huge and flies right into the orb to kill the player, and summons armored, unbanishable monsters. Additionally, it spawns with a large number of shields and a significant amount of regenerating armor. Weaker shadows can also be encountered with the Shadow Clash battle setting.
A shadow first appears in Field V4. From Chasing Shadows onward, Shadows will actually get stronger the longer they're in battle. In addition to starting with high armor, their armor no longer has a cap, and will continue to grow indefinitely at a rate measured in armor levels added/minute. Furthermore, their attacks will become more dangerous as the battle continues.
A Shadow can be very destructive if it appears in early waves (and/or in large numbers, depending on how lucky the player is with the Chasing Shadows Battle Trait).
The first ones appear with around 10K HP and 1.2K armor, with changes to these stats and their armor growth each time the player encounters one. This primarily depends on how many waves have been beaten prior to their appearance and the difficulty of the field, which determines the Shadow's level. This can be seen when it's targeted.
After beating Field K4, shadows seem to appear randomly in about every two or three battles on the Glaring difficulty or higher; they may also appear at random on some fields with the Looming difficulty. However, some shadows are guaranteed to appear as bosses on certain fields.
Shadows drop a significant amount of Shadow Cores upon death. If multiple shadows are present on the field simultaneously, other shadows will get stronger every time one's killed.
If a Shadow appears early, consider restarting the battle, as 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 can provide a challenging, but fun boss battle, as well as a lot of shadow cores.
- Shadows move around the battlefield randomly with a relatively high (sometimes low) speed. This makes it hard to shoot Shadows with towers, because they can move out of range by the time a gem resockets. Gem Enhancement spells can be used to counter this by resocketing gems instantly.
- In addition to burning mana, their shadow projectiles can now reduce the charge levels of spells if they hit the orb instead. Towers will prioritize them over all other targets, even manually selected ones, and can destroy them in a single hit. Every salvo a shadow launches will contain more projectiles than their previous salvo.
- They will heal a large amount of health by entering an invincible, circular form.
- They can stop over a path and summon spawnlings, though this does not always happen when they stop over a path. These spawnlings resemble the spawnlings found in Tombs, with higher armor level, and give no mana when killed. They may do this within a certain distance of the Orb. Every time a given shadow does this, they will create more spawnlings.
- They can disperse into a cloud of shadow particles and re-materialize elsewhere on the battlefield. They are immune to tower attacks while in this form cloud form, though all strike spells will still affect them. The Freeze Strike Spell will slow Shadows down to same the speed they move at when the game is paused. Pausing the game after freezing a shadow will make it almost completely stop.
- Shadows will occasionally attack the Orb directly, draining mana or spell charge.
- They can act as rapid 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. Unfortunately, "possessed" monsters still grant the same mana and XP reward as before possession.
- At higher levels, they will also begin to act as a beacon, providing monsters with shields, healing, and additional speed.
Bolt-enhanced Gems are extremely effective against shadows, sporting high DPS and ignoring their ever-growing armor. Tearing down their armor is also helpful and effective; using a low grade purple gem with beam is very effective on shadows below level 100. Finally, poison can be quite an effective defense against shadows, though they generally must be employed in numbers so they can cover the whole field, since shadows move to much for the player to rely on lucky placement or repositioning. Poison gems used against shadows should also be fairly powerful when possible, being of a high grade, supergemmed, or using amplifiers to bolster their power. Poison also synergizes quite well with the beam spell, stacking up very quickly while it's active.
Remember your strike spells. Freeze may not stop a shadow completely, but it can delay them in strategic positions- such as within range of a powerful or enhanced gem- and increase the effectiveness of your armor tearing gems. Curse lets shots ignore a portion of their huge armor and boosting their damage taken from all sources, especially poison.
While battling a shadow, the player must also shield the orb from projectiles. This can be done with many low grade gems, or by a single gem with beam that has nothing else to shoot at, causing the beam spell to last a long time. To be sure you can conserve the beam spell, remember you can turn down the range of your gems.
No matter what tactics you use against a shadow, however, don't take do long to defeat them- even if you can manage the growing armor and the larger and larger shadow projectile volleys, the increasing large groups of spawnlings they create can become overwhelming. That said, defeating some waves before attempting to kill it may be necessary to make a stronger gem, and in any case you can't neglect your normal defenses against monsters.
It first appears in Field G3. The premonition that indicates shadows is changed such that it has many parallel vertical black lines in the top half of the screen.
They have same abilities as CS shadows, but can now also disable gems in towers.
- Field V4 resembles Field G13 in Gemcraft Labyrinth.
- Alternatively, if Field K4 is played instead, then it would be the player's first Shadow encounter.
- The free version of Gemcraft Labyrinth has a bug where the Grand Shadow is able to fly over the orb and spawn armored creatures that directly attack it, smashing it almost instantly.
- This bug was only resolved in the Premium version for Field D4, but the bug still exists elsewhere.
- The only way to counter this is to have a strong gem already present on the field and have enough mana to survive all of the monsters that are sent the orb.
- A shadow on Field E2 after 32 waves will be at a lower level than a shadow on Field W4 after 28 waves.
- They can also move slowly and slowly increase their armor, even when the tactical pause is used, but not when accessing the pause menu
- In Steam version, the achievement In Flames can be triggered with Shadow´s spawnlings rather than disturbing a Sleeping Hive.