SpryFox's Shadowfall Guide
Written by (obviously) SpryFox
Are you tired of getting killed by Shadows? Do you want to be a better Shadow? Do you hate being misguided and unskilled at Shadowfall? Well now you can be just unskilled! My guide will help you to be a better Legend and Shadow in the Shadowfall game mode, or else...well I'm sure this will help someone. I have finished all of the Shadowfall quests and I'm going to assume you know the basics of Shadowfall.
Becoming a Legendary Survivor - Who to pick?
There is a legend for every play style, find yours! They all have their strengths and weaknesses in this game mode. Here are the legends with my personal rating for their effectiveness, out of 3 stars.
Their tactical is good for when you hear a Shadow nearby, but don't know where they are hiding. Their ulti makes him just as fast or maybe faster than the shadows, but it is pretty loud. It is good for making that last push to the evac ship.
His gun shield and dome shield are quite useless, although throwing his ulti on the evac ship for the last push will devastate the shadows. Although since his ulti will hurt himself, make sure to time your rush for right after the destruction has stopped.
Her abilities aren't worthless in Shadowfall, but the gameplay is simply too fast paced to make a difference as a survivor.
Arguably the best legend for Shadowfall. His grapple is great for getting up high, or getting away. Just don't grapple a shadow. His zipline could be, and often is, the difference between escaping and dying for both himself and the other survivors. Just make sure to zipline up high so you are jumping down onto the evac ship.
Her portal can be useful, even though it is a little too predictable for the shadows. However, if she can get close enough to the evac ship, she can wraith form the rest of the way for a guaranteed win. Her passive helps her to avoid being ambushed.
Her smoke will only aid the shadows, so don't use that. However, if you time it so that you throw her ulti to the evac ship, then run right behind the exploding artillery, that will clear away any shadows in front of you. The shadows will still be able to kill you from behind, though.
His ulti will be good for the final push to the evac ship, but will hinder your teammates. Traps are still good, but the game is too fast paced for them very useful, but if you survive, then you can throw traps out while in the evac ship before the ship leaves.
Side note: A survivor team full of Caustics would be amazing. Just chain together traps and ultis to create a gas highway to the evac ship. Marvelous!
His decoys can fake out the shadows more than I thought (they show up in red to the Shadows just like a real Legend), but his real value lies in his ulti. If he can get close enough to the evac ship, then his ulti will take him the rest of the way unseen. Do not use his ulti in water, as the splashes from his footsteps will give you away.
Her fences are deadly to the shadows, but require valuable setup time. If she can get to the center of the circle and setup, then she can rack up a high shadow kill count. Shadows can still destroy the nodes with their melee attack.
Fences. The best strategy for building fences is actually right where the evac ship will be and out in the open. This means the Shadows will need to drop into your fenced area, or try to melee the nodes, both of which give you time to kill them. The second best strategy is to get into a building next to the evac ship landing zone and fence off the entrances. Remember to zig zag the fences to get the most effective layers of fences.
His jump pad is great for that final push to the evac ship, and his speed alone is a great asset.
The drone just requires too much setup to be that useful. The shadows are too fast to really plan ahead with the intel anyway.
Where to drop?
I've ranked these locations in order from "🎵I think we're alone now🎵" to "Holymolytheentireserverdroppedhere". I won't be listing all locations, just the more major ones.
Swamp Land: Nobody drops here. Loot to your heart's content.
Slum Lakes: You might get one other legend with you, but you can take 'em out, right?
Interstellar Relay: Maybe one will land with you. Guard the zip lines.
Water Treatment: Usually at least one will drop with you. Loot quickly, then wait by a door to ambush the other player.
Runoff: About the same as water treatment, but with a likelihood of more players.
The Pit: This one is hard to measure because you are either alone, or about 5 players drop there. The loot there is crazy good though.
Thunderdome: Play it smart, cover is scarce.
Repulsor Station: Usually a small crowd will accompany you here.
Airbase: This one is popular when the drop ship is over it at the beginning of the match.
Artillery Battery: This one is very crowded.
Skull Town: Ever popular.
How to Play?
I've broken down the general play style into two categories: Surviving and Killing.
I just want to survive.
Recommended drops: Swamp Land, Slum Lakes, Interstellar Relay, and Water Treatment.
Drop to the edges of the map, using the above "Where to Drop?" section and the last bullet point as a reference. You want to be alone. Loot up quickly and plan out your loot path because you usually have a far distance to run for the first ring.
Stay indoors or covered from above as much as you can, since that will make the shadows less likely to see you while they are dropping.
Avoid killing anyone! Killing legends will probably make them want revenge and will alert other shadows you are there after matching up the white skull icon on their screen/map with the kill feed, so they know if it was a Shadow or another Legend that did the killing. Killing Shadows will tell all the other Shadows where you are by the red skull showing on their screen/map.
Stealth, stealth, stealth. If you see another Legend, leave them alone or wait for them to pass. Kill shadows only if you must.
Team up? Crouching up and down is the sign for "Let's team up". If both players do this sign to each other, it means you are now on a team together. I've done this before, and it is nice for surviving. I've even been in a team of 5-6. Then one other legend starts shooting at one of our team and we all kill them. Is this how the game was meant to be played? No. Does this help to survive. Yes, which is why this tip is here.
When you are put on the team of ten survivors, you have two options: team up or stealth.
Teaming up: This means getting together with your teammates and going as a group. The downside to that is you will likely attract more shadows, but generally this is the safer option to survive.
Stealth: This means staying alone, unseen, and not killing shadows. This will divert the Shadows' attention away from you and onto your fellow survivors. This could be enough to get you to the evac ship, but since this is harder to do, only attempt this if you are good at stealth.
The most difficult part will be the last push to the evac ship. Use your Legend's abilities wisely to make it, usually involving your Legend's ultimate. Getting up high or hunkering in a building next to the evac ship will greatly help.
I want to kill.
Drop more towards the center of the map or towards locations with lots of targets-- err, Legends.
Ambush! If you know a player is going to loot in your direction, wait in a corner or something and kill them when they walk by. This isn't the most honorable way to kill, but hey, kills are kills.
Watch the skies. If you kill a Legend, they will likely want revenge. Trust me. Keep an eye in the sky since they will drop near you or ahead of you so they can ambush you. Yes, you can kill them as they are dropping.
Trust me? This one is a bit devious. From the "Team up?" tip above for surviving, players can and do team up before the final ten Legends are officially teamed up. All you need to do is team up with a Legend, have them go ahead of you, then kill them. Rinse and repeat, you sicko.
An essential part of surviving is killing the Shadows. I believe they have 30 health, so it won't take much to kill them. Their melee attack will one-shot a legend without shields or with white shields, and it will two-shot a legend with blue, purple, or gold shields. They can climb indefinitely, so high ground will slow them down, but it won't stop them. High ground, such as being on top of the wall around Repulsor, might actually be a bad idea as the Shadows can climb up anywhere around you and you won't see them coming until they are right next to you.
You hear that? It is highly recommended that you use headphones, as the Shadows do emit a whispered, doom-sounding noise continually. You can hear this through walls and everything. So always have your ears open as their sound will give them away if they are waiting for you in an ambush or anywhere near you. They also make a more pronounced, distinct sound when they drop near you.
Range, range, range. Keeping your distance from Shadows is the single best thing you can do to survive. This might seem like an obvious tip, but if you know a Shadow is hiding behind cover, keep your distance and move toward your teammates or the evac ship. Don't bother trying to flank them around cover; it will take too long and take too much of your attention.
Keep your head on a swivel. Once you see a Shadow, assess what it is doing quickly. If it is coming at you, then kill it. If it is trying to get a better position, take note of where it is going, do a quick 360 scan around you, keep an eye on the original Shadow, then rinse and repeat. Never let a Shadow take up your attention when there is little to nothing you can do about it (i.e., when it is behind cover) because that will give an opening for other Shadows to get in close and kill you. Position the Shadow so you are running away from it and towards the evac ship. This way, the Shadow has to come out of cover to chase you, meaning you can turn around and kill it, but do so quickly.
Light 'em up! One of the most important things that you can do in the war against the Shadows is to pick the right weapon. I'll give you my ratings of the effectiveness of each weapon when used against the Shadows. No matter which weapon you use, don't bother using anything other than the 1x scopes. Also, "one-shot" means killing a Shadow with one shot of the gun to the Shadow's body.
Weapons to Use Against the Shadows
If you get the Hammerpoint hop-up, then this will one-shot the Shadows. Otherwise, it's okay. The fast reload is a great asset.
This will eat up your ammo, and the clip is too small to make it that useful.
This will one-shot Shadows, but will require some good aim, specifically leading your shots.
2nd only to the G7. Terrific in close range. One-shot kills, fairly rapid fire, fairly big magazine.
Definitely can one-shot, but you need to lead your shots more than you think and it doesn't fire as rapidly.
Overkill, slow reload.
Can one-shot kill, but the small magazine and slow reload will cost you.
This will one-shot easily, but the fire rate is a touch slow and is a little harder to use on the fast-moving Shadows.
G7 Scout ⭐⭐⭐
Hands down the best weapon for killing Shadows. One-shot kill, big magazine, fast bullets, rapid fire.
Overkill, slow reload, and worthless scope.
Triple Take ⭐⭐
Fast bullets and the spread makes it easy to land, but the Shadows have to be close enough for at least two bullets to land in order to one-shot, and the fire rate is a bit too slow for 3 stars.
Once you've wound this up, you can take out a slew of Shadows at once, but the wind up, slow reload, and the fact it eats through ammo makes this a bad option.
The large magazine means you can take out large mobs of Shadows at once, and will one-shot with headshots.
The limited ammo, high recoil, and overheating all point to using a different weapon.
Fairly fast reload and okay to control.
A burst can one-shot, but the magazine is a little too small and can be hard to control if you aren't rapid firing.
Will melt through Shadows quickly, has a good reload speed, but it will be hard to shoot only the number of bullets needed to kill a Shadow.
Flatline ⭐⭐ (with Anvil Receiver ⭐⭐⭐)
The Anvil Receiver hop-up will turn this weapon's single-fire into a one-shot monster, but since getting the weapon and the hop-up together can be hard, it gets two stars.
A burst will one-shot, fast bullets, and the big magazine will last you through quite a few Shadows.
R-301 ⭐⭐ (with Anvil Receiver ⭐⭐⭐)
The Anvil Receiver will turn the semi-auto into a one-shot, but like the Flatline, getting the two together is too inconsistent to give 3 stars.
The wind-up and muzzle flash makes this weapon perform not as well as others out there.
Becoming a Deadly Shadow
My most favorite part of Shadowfall is being a Shadow. The speed, the hunt, the ambushing. I've gotten more Legend kills as a Shadow than being another Legend, and I'll tell you how I do it.
As a Shadow, you are faster than a Beast Mode Bloodhound, can climb forever, can see Legends in red, and deal 158 damage per melee attack. The downsides are you constantly emit a whispering doom-sounding noise, have only 30 HP, and you can't heal (maybe unless you are near a Lifeline drone - I haven't done it). The only actions you can do is jump (regular height), take a zip line, climb, crouch, slide, and melee. The only way to open doors is by meleeing them, which destroys them, making a loud noise. You can melee by pressing the melee button or the right trigger (fire button).
When you die as either a Legend or a Shadow, you return as a Shadow by dropping from a random point in the sky. There is a red swirl pattern on your screen/map that will mark the location of the Legend that just killed you. If you kill that Legend as a Shadow, you get a "Revenge Kill," which is nice, but doesn't do anything. Also, the Legend will be notified that they have been "Retribution Killed," which again is nice, but doesn't do anything.
You can hear the doom-sound from your fellow Shadows and are alerted at the death of a Legend or a Shadow by an icon showing on your screen/map of a white or red skull respectively. Meaning, when you see a red skull, you know that a Shadow was killed at that spot by a Legend.
Your melee attack will cause you to lunge forward a short distance, like what happens when you are a Legend, but the lunge distance is further when you are a Shadow. While sprinting, your footsteps sound like other Shadows footsteps, which can be heard from slightly farther away than your doom-sound. As a Shadow, you take no damage from being outside of the ring.
How to Play?
If you want to be a Shadow right from the beginning, there is a strategy that will favor you. From the initial drop ship, drop down immediately and fall off the map. Then as soon as you respawn as a Shadow, go for the supply ship. You will generally land there at the same time as the Legend(s). They will be busy looting, which will give you time to kill them. The supply ship is close quarters, which is good for Shadows. If they manage to jump off the supply ship, follow them down. You can melee them as you fall on top of them.
Keep in mind that when you drop as a Shadow, you will be unable to melee for a second, just like dropping as a Legend. Dropping next to a Legend by yourself is a bad idea because they can hear it and you won't be able to melee for a second. Because of this, if you want to land on top of a Legend to kill them, try landing up high somewhere nearby or ahead of where they are running, then land on them from above. You will get the warning to get back to the ground with the timer counting down, but that has usually been enough time for me to jump down and get the kill since I'm not in the drop animation and can melee as I land. If you are going to do this and the Legend is going to run beneath you (at say, on top of the mountain over the opening between The Cage and Nesting Grounds), jump down on them before they are beneath you. This way it is easier to time your landing to be on top of them.
Generally, you want to be hard to hit. This means sprinting (the push forward to sprint option is great here), sliding, and jumping erratically. Running directly at a Legend is good for closing the distance quickly, but only do this if they aren't looking at you. Otherwise, run, slide, and jump towards Legends at an angle. See the image below for an overhead view of what I mean:
The tactics for Shadows can be broken down into two categories: Swarm and Ambush
Swarming is when multiple Shadows attack a Legend at the same time. I've hunted with another Shadow and the two of us could swarm effectively, but it takes teamwork and timing.
Tailing. Tailing is a tactic that involves finding a Legend, then following them. Whether or not the Legend knows you're there isn't important. What is important is following them as close as you can, while not being killed. This means only following when they aren't looking, or moving from cover to cover. You do this until they encounter another Shadow, then you move in for the kill. You have to time it so that the both of you arrive at the Legend at the same time.
Wattson fences. You will encounter Wattson fences. They are annoying. However, you can still melee the fence nodes. If you cannot get to the Legend(s) without going through fences, then you can try swarming in if there are enough Shadows ready. Otherwise, you have two options: Wait them out, or move on to other Legends.
Wait them out. This is more viable if the ring is closing on them, or if they are the last Legend left. Climb their building and wait on top. This is the least likely of the two to happen.
Move on. Waiting for Wattson to come out is time you could be spending taking out easier targets.
Caustic Traps/Gas. These can be annoying, but they don't last forever. Set them off gingerly so it forces Caustic to keep replenishing his traps to stay defensible.
Red skulls. When you see a red skull, swarm in that direction. When you see the Legend, see how many Shadows are with you. If you are alone, stay cover near the Legend and wait for more, then swarm. You should usually stay busy swarming towards red skull locations.
Ambushing is positioning yourself so the Legend walks into your attack. This generally means getting between the Legend and the ring, and waiting someplace where you are sure they will run by. This is good because your doom-sound will come to them gradually, meaning they might not catch it and walk right into you. Stay crouched until they are near. Being above them is good, but you can be spotted easier that way. Staying on the ground is safer, but you are risking them just going around you. The best is waiting near a choke point where the Legend has to go through, like around The Pit or through Bunker. Just remember not to jump out in front of them.
If you die to a Legend early on, take note of where they have and have not looted in that location. If the location is big enough, you can get to the ground in a place they haven't looted yet. Then wait for them near a door or around a corner, and take them out when they come to loot. The key here is being patient enough to wait for them.
Ambushing near loot can work well to distract the Legend, then you can take them out as they are looting, or at least looking through the loot. This is especially great if you can setup an ambush near a death box.
If a Legend is in a building and you are on top, crouch and move. This way, they might be able to hear that you are on top, but it will be harder to pinpoint where exactly you are if they can't hear your footsteps.
Have fun with this! I found it was easier to escape twenty-five times in the evac ship than I thought. Especially because many players quit when they die as a Legend, but then they miss the best part! You can find me on the Outplayd Discord if you have any questions for me.