Setsuki is a fast learner and she’s fast in general. She’s the hero of the Whitestar Order’s Ninjutsu spec:
Her first ability reflects how nimble she is. She can jump out of the way of an attack unless the attacker is extra careful. Her middle ability can make up for her low stats. She’s fast enough to strike an enemy before it strikes her, letting her avoid taking damage. But it’s her max level ability that is truly powerful: drawing 2 extra cards per turn is A LOT.
You’ll normally play 1 worker per turn and 1 other card if you want to maintain your handsize of 5 cards. With a max level setsuki, you can play 1 worker and 3 other things without going down in hand size, so you’ll want a lot of really low-cost cards. That’s similar to how she works in Yomi too: you get to play a lot of cards, though each one is probably not that strong on its own. That said, killing a max level Setsuki should be a top priority for your opponents. They might get buried under all that card advantage if you keep it up.
Setsuki has some early game Ninjas she can fight alongside. Here’s a simple one from the white starting deck:
A 2/1 for 2 isn’t bad, and the sparkshot can sometimes deal an extra 1, or at the very least it can make your opponent not patrol in the slots they really want to in order to avoid your sparkshot. More relevant than that, you can buff your white units so this 2/1 becomes a 3/2 with Aged Sensei’s help (I showed him in the Discipline spec article). Or use Sensei’s Advice:
There is one Ninja who you won’t want to buff though:
If you try to target him, he’ll disappear in a puff of smoke. He can be really annoying because he slips past patrollers. Opponents often don’t want to even bother killing him, but if they don’t he can get away with doing 5 damage over 5 turns or something.
Here’s another Ninja-like trick for you:
Don’t like an opposing Squad Leader? No problem, drag it somewhere else so you can attack a different thing. You might also pull their Technician patroller to a different slot, then kill it, so that it won’t give your opponent a card when it dies. That cost you a card, yes, but Setsuki hardly cares about that if you’re max level and drawing 2 cards per turn. 0 is the right price!
Moving on to Setsuki’s spells, one can power her up:
She already gets swift strike at level 4, and this spell gives her a slew of other combat-related buffs. You can use this to play a control style where you threaten to dominate the board and kill anything your opponent plays.
Throw down a rain of shurikens, dealing 1 damage to each patroller. Some strategies involve a bunch of 1/1 tokens, so Shuriken Hail can threaten to kill several of those at once, or to soften up some bigger patrollers so that the rest of your forces can do cleanup.
Speaking of strategies that involve a bunch of 1/1 tokens, that’s you. That’s your strategy:
Setsuki calls her friends for backup, and they arrive ready to strike immediately, thanks to haste. The stealth part lets them ignore patrollers and attack whatever you want. Setsuki is already dangerous at max level just due to her card draw, but now factor in that at max level she can also cast this spell over and over. That’s a lot of Ninja friends.
Switching over to Ninjutsu units now, at tech I you can get Fuzz Cuddles. And who wouldn’t want such a ridiculously cute dog? Gameplay-wise, Fuzz Cuddles can be tricky to use. He has to survive a turn for his healing to trigger, and you have to have things that are damaged but not dead so that he can heal them. Sometimes you won’t manage to make those stars align. If you do though, it’s a huge swing. Healing two damage on EVERYTHING you have that’s damaged is pretty amazing when it works. Try using Fuzz Cuddles with things that are already hard to kill, such as this:
When you fight 1,000 Ninjas, they tend to be pretty weak. But when you fight just ONE Ninja, it’s usually epically strong. That’s why Inverse Power Ninja is at her best when she’s alone. You get an absurd 6/6 for just 3 gold if you’re willing to go it alone with her. You might want at least one other unit or hero on the table, but she’ll shrink in power for each one of those. She’s pretty different than most tech Is in the game, so this opens the door for some unique rushdown strategies for Ninjutsu.
Let’s see what tech II Ninjutsu can do. First, a ridiculous Ninja:
Glorious Ninja is one of the reasons to use the Ninjutsu tree at all. Haste and swift strike together have an incredible synergy. For 5 gold, he’s basically a kill spell AND a unit. As soon as you play him, you can attack with him and kill anything with 4 HP or less and you still get to keep your Glorious Ninja. Are you worried about him getting attacked back on your opponent’s turn? Glorious Ninja will STILL deal his combat damage first (due to swift strike), even when he’s attacked, so they better attack him with something that has more than 4 HP or that has swift strike also. That is why he’s so glorious.
Ninjutsu is also partial to Cute Animals:
While most of Ninjutsu is aggressive, this little guy gives you a defensive option too. Who wants to attack into a 6 HP patroller with deathtouch? Ouch!
Ninjas and Cute Animals, you say? What if we combined both of those into one?
The Masked Raccoon is both a Ninja and a Cute Animal. That works really well with his abilities, which rely on both Ninjas and Cute Animals. So if you have two Masked Raccoons in play, they can both slip by patrolling units and on opponents’ turns, nothing can attack your Masked Raccoons either. Notice that a pair of these give you a total of 6 ATK and that’s enough to destroy a tech I, II, or III building in one turn if the opponent isn't patrolling any heroes. You're threatening to do that EVERY turn because a pair of Masked Raccoons is hard to kill.
Here’s another card that interacts with Ninjas and Cute Animals:
This is the school Setsuki trains at. It’s an all-girls school of Ninjas, taught by an old master named Jade Fox. The Fox’s Den School is hidden in the forest, and is invisible to those without detection. That makes it very hard to attack. It makes all your Ninjas and Cute animals invisible, which means they are untargetable, unattackable, and they can ignore patrollers. The School can even train other units to become Ninjas!
Look back at some of the earlier cards to see how Fox's Den School affects them. Fox Viper and Smoker from your starting deck both become invisible. Even those early units are not bad when they get to ignore patrollers AND become unattackable themselves AND become untargetable by opponents. Same goes for your Inverse Power Ninja at tech I. And an invisible Glorious Ninja now gets to ignore patrollers and go for the kill, too. You're putting an opponent on a clock here, and they are unlikely to be able to kill any of your Ninjas OR the building that is making all your Ninjas invisible. Remember, the Fox's Den School itself is invisible!
Now let’s meet the school’s headmistress:
The venerable Jade Fox is a Ninja herself, so that means she also has flying and swift strike. Between her and the Ninjas she arrives with, your opponent only gets 3 more turns to live. You can make it even faster by using other Ninja units you have laying around.
The Ninjutsu spec is stealthy, fast, and formidable in combat. The Fox’s Den School has taught them well.