Shifted units can’t attack, block, or be selected by any cards. Their passive abilities still function, and they can still be affected by global effects.
Units remain Shifted for three turns, then emerge ready and gain Unblockable for the turn.
Units with Shift, may be played Shifted for their Shift cost.
Shift is both a keyword and a mechanical state for units on the playmat. Shifted units are neither ready or exhausted, and have limited interaction with other cards. The associated keyword emerge refers to the transition out of the Shifted state.
- Find more cards with Shift, and cards that interact with it, in its category page.
Playing Units Shifted
Units with the Shift keyword may be played from hand into the Shifted state, by paying the listed cost in power. This is an alternative to playing the card normally, and the Shift cost may be different than the unit's cost stat. Influence restrictions still apply when playing a unit this way.
Shifting a unit into play is optional, after playing a unit with Shift you are given a choice—drag the unit to the left to play it normally, or right to play it Shifted. If you only have enough power for one of its costs, this selection is skipped and it is played that way directly.
Units can also be Shifted through other cards or effects, such as being played with Remembrance or having their state changed by Phase Out. Any unit may become Shifted this way, it isn't limited to units with the Shift keyword (non-Shift units don't gain Shift).
Some Shift units list an additional effect, which is activated whenever it becomes Shifted, both through its Shift cost or by another card.
The Shifted State
While a unit is Shifted, it exists in play like any other unit, but its interactions are limited. Shifted units cannot attack or block (including being attacked by Killer units or relic weapons). They also cannot be selected by either players' cards (for example, they can't be targeted by an enemy Torch, or sacrificed to its owner's Devour).
Passive unit abilities still work while Shifted, so a card like Xulta Loyalist would still buff another attacking unit.
Some cards specifically affect Shifted units. For example, cards such as Death Ripple work best with multiple Shifted units in play.
Emerging From Shift
Units do not stay Shifted forever, they remain in the state for three turns. Shifted units are marked by a countdown timer with 3 glowing inscriptions—at the start of your turn an inscription is removed.
When its last inscription is removed, the unit emerges from Shift, transitioning into the ready state. It's immediately able to attack and block, and it temporarily gains Unblockable for the turn.
Some effects can increase the time a unit is shifted, such as Frost Elemental and Secret Weapon. If a unit is increased beyond 3 turns of shift, a + symbol will appear in the middle of the other shift symbols. Units can be delayed more than 4 turns, although no additional symbols will appear.
Some cards, such as Avalanche Yeti are affected as the unit emerges.
Though hard to do, Shifted cards may still be silenced or transformed (by non-targeting effects such as Passage of Eons)—this doesn't emerge the unit or affect its countdown, and it still gains Unblockable as it later emerges.
The Shift keyword was first seen in Dire Wolf Digital's Dark Frontier spoiler season announcement about the set's themes on the card Cen Wastes Smuggler, though the mechanic's details were not explained. The community speculated while new Shift cards were revealed. An explanation was expected during the ECQ: Dark Frontier live stream, but instead the card Phase Out was displayed during the closing moments (without comment by the hosts). Shift was detailed in a mechanic reveal announcement the following day.
- DWD News - Dark Frontier: Shift (May 06, 2019)
- Shift clarifications in the official Eternal Discord, by Patrick Chapin (5/6/19), posted in this Eternal subreddit discussion.
- DWD News - Insignias: Changing the Balance of Power (May 03, 2019)
- Dark Frontier ECQ with Andrew Baeckstrom and LSV stream by DireWolfDigital on Twitch.tv (May 5, 2019)