The Keyword Dictionary

by DB Momojelly

Welcome to the Shadowverse Keyword Dictionary. In this dictionary, I’ve listed out keywords in Shadowverse, defined them as the game does, and provided helpful information regarding the keyword to explain how cards with the keyword may perform in the game. I’ve also included here some unofficial terms that are good to know that players might use when talking about Shadowverse. This dictionary is a supplement to MomoJelly’s Beginners’ Guide to Shadowverse (coming soon), and as such, is intended for newer players looking for a quick place to CTRL-F a mechanic they are not understanding or need further details on. If there are words you’d like to see added to this dictionary, you can send a dm to MomoJelly on discord or ping her on the Dawnbreakers discord. @her on twitter if you want. Up to you.


A mechanic unique to Shadowverse and accessible to all classes, Evolution is very key to swinging tempo or taking the lead in Shadowverse. If the player is going first, the player gains the ability to evolve on turn 5, and if going second, this ability is gained on turn 4. This is not the only first vs second difference for evolution either; if you are going second, you get one more evolution point than your opponent. Evolution points are a resource expended to evolve a follower. Only one follower can be evolved per turn using an evolution point. Normally, a follower cannot attack on the turn it is summoned, but if you evolve a follower, it will gain the ability to attack other followers on that turn (however, it will not be able to attack the enemy leader). A follower will also typically gain +2 attack and +2 defense when evolved, but there are exceptions to this. There are followers with the specific keyword Evolve: these effects will activate when that follower is evolved with an evolution point. There are also cards that have an additional effect only in their evolved state. Examples:

Fighter is a neutral follower that gains the standard +2/+2 stats on evolve as well as the regular ability to attack other followers.

Archangel of Remembrance is a neutral follower that also gains the standard +2/+2 stats on evolve as well as the regular ability to attack other followers, and in addition to this, the card has an Evolve: ability. When an evolution point is used to evolve Archangel of Remembrance, the card prompts the user to select a card from their hand, puts a copy of that card into the player’s deck, then draws 2 cards. 

Yurius, Traitorous Duke is Bloodcraft  (unlimited, not in rotation) follower that when played is a 3pp 1 / 5 follower. When evolved, the card gains +4 attack and does not gain any defense. Both unevolved and evolved, Yurius has the effect “Whenever an enemy follower comes into play, deal 1 damage to the enemy leader and restore 1 defense to your leader.” Only when evolved, however, does Yurius have the effect “Whenever this follower attacks and destroys an enemy follower, if this follower is not destroyed, restore 4 defense to this follower.”

The evolution mechanic also interacts with other keywords. Union burst and Skybound Art effects will activate sooner depending on the amount of evolutions that have occurred in a game. There are also cards that will gain bonus effects if a certain amount of evolves have occurred in a game. 


According to Shadowverse, “Fanfare effects activate when you play the card from your hand using play points”. (similar to Hearthstone’s Battlecry) The keyword fanfare denotes that the effect that follows the word activates when the card is played from the player’s hand, and this is to be taken explicitly. If a card is summoned from the effect of another card, for example, if it is invoked or reanimated, then the fanfare effect will not activate. 

Elf Child May deals 1 damage to a random enemy follower when the player spends 1 play point to play the card from the player’s hand.

Last Words

According to Shadowverse, “Last Words effects activate when the card is destroyed.” (similar to Heartstone’s deathrattle) Followers are destroyed when attacked by another follower whose attack is equal to or greater than the follower’s defense, or a follower is destroyed when it received damage from an effect that is equal to or greater than the follower’s defense, or a follower can be destroyed by an effect from another follower, including bane. However, last words effects do NOT activate if a card is banished, transformed, or returned to the player’s hand.

When Skullcradle Widow is destroyed, the player draws 1 card.


“If 1 of your followers in play has Ward, the opponent can only attack that follower. If mulitple allied followers have Ward, the opponent may attack any of them.” If you have an allied follower with ward and other followers without ward, your opponent’s followers can only attack the follower with ward, and your opponent’s followers will not be able to attack your other followers or your leader until the follower with ward is removed. (Similar to Hearthstone’s Taunt)


“Followers that have Rush can attack enemy followers on the same turn they’re played. On the next turn, they are also able to attack the leader.” Followers cannot attack the turn that they are summoned unless they have an effect that allows them to. Rush is an effect that allows a follower to attack on the turn the card is played, but this attacking ability is restricted to only the opponent’s followers. This restriction is lifted the following turn.


“Followers that have Storm can attack on the same turn they’re played.” Unlike Rush, storm followers have no restrictions to what the card can attack when played. Some effects give followers storm and some followers gain storm under certain circumstances due to their effects. Storm followers often represent burst damage or win conditions. 


“Followers that have Bane automatically destroy any other followers they attack. Followers that attack them are automatically destroyed.” (Similar to Magic the Gathering’s death touch or Hearthstone’s Poisonous) There are exceptions, followers with an effect that prevents them from being destroyed by the effect of another card will not be destroyed by bane.


“Your leader recovers 1 defense for every point of damage that followers with Drain deal when attacking. Drain doesn’t activate when followers defend.” (Similar to Hearthstone’s Lifesteal) A follower with drain restores health to the player’s leader equal to the follower’s attack, regardless of the defending follower’s or leader’s defense.


“Followers that have ambush can’t be targeted by enemy spells, amulets, or followers. They lose Ambush if they attack or deal damage.” (similar to Hearthstone’s stealth) Though ambush followers cannot be targeted by effects, effects with randomly selected targets can still affect ambush followers.


“Follower’s Strike effects activate when attacking an enemy. They do not activate when receiving attacks from enemy followers.” Strike effects can also be further divided into Leader Stike, which activates only when the follower attacked the leader, and Follower Strike, which activates only when the follower attacks another follower.


“Follower’s Clash abilities activate before damage is dealt, whenever attacking or defending against an enemy follower. It does not activate when attacking leaders.” Take for example Owlcat, when attacked or attacked by a 1 attack follower, Owlcat’s effect will destroy the 1 attack follower before it does any damage to Owlcat, letting the Owlcat survive the attack.


“Select one or more cards. Different effect will activate depending on the cards chosen.” Cards with Choose will prompt the user to select a card or cards from some options. These options will be listed in the card’s effect, and you can click on the name of the card in the effect to read more about that card.

For example, when played from your hand, 0. Lhynkal, the Fool gives you the option to choose between Rite of the Ignorant and Scourge of the Omniscient to add to your hand. You can click on “Rite of the Ignorant” or “Scourge of the Omniscient” to read more about these cards. 


“Countdown amulets have a number that counts down 1 at the beginning of your turn. When the Countdown reaches 0 the amulet is destroyed.”  An amulet with countdown will usually have a last words effect that will activate when the amulet has finished counting down; the countdown on the amulet will reduce by 1 at the start of each turn, but some have additional effects that can help speed up the countdown.

Pinion Prayer is an amulet with countdown. With a countdown of (2), if this card is played on turn 1, then the countdown will hit 0 on turn 3, summoning a Holy Falcon, which is a 3pp 2/1 with storm. Countdown amulets allow a player to play less play points for strong cards by paying for those cards with time, rather than play points. These cards require thinking ahead and sacrificing tempo and board space when they’re played to receive the payoff later.


“Invocation allows you to play cards directly from your deck by satisfying specified requirements. Even if you have multiple copies of the same card in your deck, activating Invocation will only put one copy into play.” When a card is invoked, if it has a fanfare effect, the fanfare effect will NOT activate. Invocation cards are listed in the Battle Stats page in game.


“If you have enough play points, they’re automatically spent to activate the Enhance effects of a card when you play the card from your hand.” Enhance cards allow you to spend additional play points to activate additional effects on a card. Sometimes, it can be tricky to manage an Enhance, Accelerate, or Crystalize card, with these cards, if you have enough play points to play the higher cost version of the card, you do not have the choice to play the card for its lower cost effects. 

For example, if you want to play rapier master for Enhance (6), it will gain +3/+3 and bane and ward, you need 6 or 7 play points, if you have 8 or 9 play points it will play the card for Enhance (8).


“If you do not have enough play points to play a card, it can be played as a spell instead for the Accelerate cost. Only the Accelerate effects will activate when a card is played this way.” If you have enough play points to play a follower for its full cost, you are not able to play a card for its accelerate effect. One way to conceptualize and view Accelerate effects are as a separate spell card from the full cost follower it is attached to.

Reclusive Ponderer is a 4pp 3/3 follower with ambush, but if you have less than 4pp, you can play Reclusive Ponderer for its accelerate cost, to play it as a 1pp spell that draws a card. Effects that prevent you from playing spells, prevent you from play a card for its Accelerate effect.


“If you do not have enough play points to play a card, it can be played as an amulet instead for the Crystallize cost. Only the Crystallize effects will activate when a card is played in this way.” Similar to Accelerate, Crystallize effects play a card for a play point cost less than the full cost follower the effect is attached to. Crystallize plays a card as an amulet.

Sacred Groundskeeper is a 5pp 4 / 5 follower. If you have less than 5pp, you can play this card for Crystallize, playing this card as a 1 pp amulet with Countdown (9). This amulet has the effect “At the end of your turn, subtract X from this amulet’s Countdown. X equals the number of allied followers with Ward in play.” and “Last Words: Summon a  Sacred Groundskeeper.”
The amulet does not have ward, but the full cost follower Sacred Groundskeeper does. The amulet summoned by the crystallize effect will summon the full cost follower version of Sacred Groundskeeper when the amulet is destroyed.


“Your Rally count increases by 1 each time an allied follower comes into play. An effect written as Rally(10) will activate if your Rally count is at least 10. Followers that have Rally as a Fanfare effect do not count towards their own Rally count when played.” Rally increases when you play a card from your hand, and it increases when a card effect summons followers. When you burial rite a card, it also increases the rally count. Rally count can be checked in the Battle Stats page. Cards with Rally will usually also display the rally count on the card’s description when you click on the card in your hand.


 Banish is an effect that is written into cards, but unlike other keywords, it does not have an option to click on it to get more information. When an effect banishes another card, that card is removed from play, but it does not generate a shadow or activate the card’s last words effect if it has one. Banish cards are counted as “removed from play” but not “destroyed”.

Union Burst

“Union Burst effects activate if your turn number is equal to or greater than the Union Burst value. Whenever an allied follower evolves during your turn, the Union Burst value of the cards in your hand decreases by 1.” Union burst effects were introduced with the tie-in cards with Princess Connect. These cards are no longer in rotation. The union burst card needs to be in your hand when a follower evolves for the union burst value to be reduced. 

Skybound Art

“Skybound Art effects activate if your turn number is equal to or greater than the Skybound Art value. Whenever an allied follower evolves during your turn, the Skybound Art value of the cards in your hand decreases by 1. (Super Skybound Arts will have their own starting value.)” Super Skybound Arts have their own starting value, but function the same as the Skybound art, in terms of being reduced whenever an allied follower evolves. Like Union Burst cards, the card with Skybound Art needs to be in your hand when you evolve to reduce the Skybound Art. The number in the parenthesis following the Skybound Art text, ie, Skybound Art (8), will update as followers are evolved. Skybound Art was introduced as a part of the Eternal Awakening card set and as a part of the Granblue Fantasy tie-in that themed that set. As of writing this article (pre-mini Renascent Chronicles), Skybound Art cards are currently in rotation.


“Followers with Maneuver can’t attack. If an allied follower that meets the specified conditions comes into play, it will temporarily leave the area, allowing the follower with Maneuver to attack. When the follower with Maneuver leaves play, the follower Maneuvering that card will return to play.” As of the time of writing, all followers with Maneuver are tokens.

When Val, Trusty Getaway Car comes into play, it cannot attack. While it is in play, if a follower that originally costs 2 pp or more comes into play, then that follower will Maneuver Val. That follower will “leave the area” (this does not count as leaving play), and then Val will be able to attack. When Val is destroyed or banished, the follower that was Maneuvering Val will return to play. If Val is transformed, then the follower that was Maneuvering Val will never return to play.


“If you have enough shadows, they’re automatically spent to activate the Necromancy effects of a card. This can happen when they’re played, evolved using an evolution point, or under other specified conditions.” Necromancy is often checked using some other keyword, ie, Fanfare: Necromancy (1) – which can translate to,  “When this card is played, if you have at least one shadow, spend 1 shadow and activate the following effect:”


A shadow is a resource in Shadowverse, though Shadowcraft uses Shadows the most with its Necromancy effects, every class actually generates and has shadows. A Shadow is generated when an amulet or follower is destroyed, when a spell is played, when a card is overdrawn, or when a card is discarded. Depending on the resolution size of your game, you can see how many shadows a player has on the screen:


“Randomly summon a copy of 1 of the highest-cost allied followers that has been destroyed during this match and costs less than or equal to the Reanimate value.” By checking the battle log and going to the Destroyed Followers tab, you can check which cards might be reanimated. If a Reanimate (4) effect is activated, but there is no 4 cost followers that have been destroyed, and only one 3 cost follower is destroyed, then you can know before playing the the Reanimate effect, that you will summon that one 3 cost follower. 

Burial Rite

“If you have a follower in your hand and an open space in your area, remove its effects except those that change its attack or defense and put it into play. Then destroy that follower to activate Burial Rite effects.” As described by the game, it is important to remember that you need both a board space and a follower in hand to sacrifice to use a burial rite effect. Also note that if you have a board space and a follower, if you play a card with a burial rite effect, you will be forced to activate the burial rite effect to play the card. Because effects are removed from cards sacrificed with burial rite, followers with last words destroyed by burial rite will not activate any last words effect nor will they count to effects that track the number of cards that had last words when destroyed.


“Overflow effects activate when you have at least 7 play point orbs. It’s mostly Dragoncraft cards that have Overflow.” Rather than Necromancy or Fanfare, effects that trigger at a certain point or by meeting a requirement of resources needed, Overflow is more of a state. This state does require the player to have at least 7 play point orbs for the state to be active. Cards with Overflow are often worded like “Do X if Overflow is active for you” or “If Overflow is active for you, do X”


“Vengeance abilities take effect when your leader’s defense is 10 or lower. It’s mostly Bloodcraft cards that have Vengeance.” Similar to Overflow, Vengeance is a state that is only active when the requirement, of having 10 or less defense, is met. Where effects “Do X if Vengeance is active for you” or “If Vengeance is active for you, you do X”. Unlike Overflow however, there are cards that will artificially put the player in a state of Vengeance being active without the player needing to have a defense of 10 or less. 


“Wrath is active when your leader has taken damage during your turn at least 7 times in a match.” Wrath is another Bloodcraft state that is active once the requirement of dealing damage to your own leader 7 times in a match during your own turns is met. Like Vengeance, this state can be artificially activated by other card effects. 


“Avarice is active when at least 2 cards have been added to your hand from your deck in a turn. This includes drawn cards and cards destroyed due to having a full hand.” Avarice is another Bloodcraft state that is active on turns where the requirement of having drawn at least 2 cards is met. This includes the start of turn draw. If you go second, you draw 2 cards on your first turn and therefore are in avarice on the first turn.


“When you play a spell, the Spellboost abilities of cards in your hand activate.” Playing regular spells and accelerating followers both count towards spellboosting cards in your hand. There are also followers with effects that will spellboost the cards in your hand. 

Earth rite

“If you have an Earth Sigil amulet in play, it is automatically destroyed to activate Earth Rite effects. This can happen when cards with Earth Rite are played, evolved using an evolution point, or under other specified conditions.” If an earth sigil is not in play, then earth rite effects will not activate.

If there is an Earth Sigil in play when Juggling Moggy is played from the player’s hand, then the leftmost earth sigil is destroyed and Juggling Moggy becomes a 2 / 2 follower with Last Words: Summon 2 Earth Essences (which are Earth Sigils, with no additional effects). If there is not an Earth Sigil in play when Juggling Moggy is played, then it is a 1 /1 follower with no additional effects.


“Resonance effects occur when your deck has an even number of remaining cards.” Like Overflow and Vengeance, Resonance is a state that is active when there is an even number of cards remaining in the deck. It is mostly Portalcraft cards that have effects that activate when Resonance is active.


In Shadowverse, in addition to being categorized by class and type(Follower, spell, amulet), cards can also have traits. Some traits are class-specific, while others can apply to cards from any class. Some effects will only affect cards with a certain trait.


A Swordcraft-exclusive trait that is applied to Followers and Amulets. There are less commander cards compared to Officer cards in Swordcraft. Commanders can often buff or otherwise affect Officer cards.


A Swordcraft-exclusive trait that is applied only to Followers (at the time of writing, to my knowledge). There are many swordcraft officer cards and tokens. These cards can have effects that only activate when an allied Commander is in play.


A Swordcraft-exclusive trait (at the time of writing) that is applied to Followers and Spells. Some Levin cards synergize with having other Levin cards in play, in your hand, or in your deck.

Earth sigil

Earth sigil is a Runecraft-exclusive trait applied to Amulets. Amulets with the trait “Earth Sigil” are destroyed to activate Earth Rite effects.


Mysteria is a trait almost exclusive to Runecraft. (The only exception is Grea the Dragonborn, a Dragoncraft card from the Rise of Bahamut set). Some Mysteria cards synergize with having played other Mysteria cards or having other Mysteria cards in your hand.


Artifact is a trait exclusive to Portalcrat. Artifact cards are almost exclusively tokens. The only exception is Ralmia, Sonic Racer. Many cards synergize with different aspects of artifact cards. 


Machina is a trait that is not exclusive to any class.


Natura is a trait that is not exclusive to any class.


Listed below are some less formal terms often used within the Shadowverse community to describe decks, plays, and other experiences surrounding the game.


Gaining additional play point orbs other than the ones that you gain naturally with every new turn


Return a card from the board to its owner’s hand


Play very aggressively and only attack your opponent’s leader, ignoring their board and trying to get their health to 0 as fast as possible


The leader. When targeting the opponent’s leader, this is often referred to hitting them in the face.


Like tempo in music, tempo in Shadowverse can be described as keeping pace with the game, to specify it is using your play points effectively each turn and using your cards to maintain your position on the board. If your opponent has 4 followers on the board, and you only have 1, then you can be described as having lost tempo. Sometimes players will play cards even if they can’t activate their effects just to get more followers on the board and that is usually called playing for “tempo”. It is a somewhat abstract term that you learn and understand better the more you play the game.


Having enough damage to reduce your opponent’s health to zero


Using your followers to destroy your opponent’s followers even if that means losing them in the process


Cards that let you draw specific cards from your deck


Increase the attack or defense of a follower


A card created another card. Typically, tokens are not a card that you can open in a card pack or put into a deck. For example, fairies are tokens. Fairies are created from other card effects, but you can not put the card “Fairy” into a deck.


Short for “One Turn Kill”. In Shadowverse, an OTK can be described as a turn where you can deal 20 damage to the opponent’s leader in one turn. 

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