A Shadow is the second-highest ranking enemy next to the Forgotten. 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.
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).
They begin with around 10K HP and 1.2K armor, which change 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.
Their high armor makes them practically immune to direct damage from low-grade gems, and it increases during the battle. The rate of new armor is determined by level and is measured in added armor levels per minute.
- Shadows move around the battlefield randomly with a relatively high (sometimes low) speed, dispersing into a cloud of shadow particles and re-materializing in another part of the battlefield (cannot be targeted while they are "teleporting" in this fashion). This makes it hard to shoot Shadows with towers, because they can move out of range by the time a gem resockets. Gem Enhancement spell can be used to resocket it instantly.
- They may shoot shadow projectiles towards the Orb of Presence and Towers. It's a priority to shoot them down as they cost mana if they reach it, which only requires one shot per projectile. It's 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 onto the field if they stop over a path; though, they do not always summon them if they stop over a path. These spawnlings resemble the spawnlings found in Tombs, with higher armor level, which give no mana when killed. They may do it near the entrance of the Orb.
- 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 same the speed they move at when the game is paused. Pausing the game after freezing a shadow will make it almost completely stop.
- Sometimes they will attack the Orb directly by launching shadow projectiles, and reduce the spells' charge level or burn a portion of mana.
- There is a possibility that Shadows "directly attacking the Orb" may just summon shadow projectiles right on the orb, which is "direct attacking".
- 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.
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 appear as bosses on certain fields, which isn't random.
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.
The Grand Shadow is fought, which 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 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.
It first appears in Field V4.
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 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-enhanced Gem. However, defeating some waves before attempting to kill it will need to make a stronger gem. Tearing down its armor is also helpful and effective, using a low grade purple gem with beam is very effective on shadows below level 100.
While gathering the required mana to upgrade gems, the player must shield the orb from projectiles. It 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.
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. However, 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 (or amplified) poison gems (and many of them) can quickly whittle down their health. The trick is to not rely on one single poison gem, as it moves too much for the player to rely on lucky placement or repositioning.
It first appears in Field G3
They have mostly of the same abilities as CS shadows, but now can 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 game is paused, except when accessing the pause menu