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Match brains and brawns in this regal prequel!

Shovel Knight: King of Cards is the fourth campaign of Shovel Knight, featuring King Knight. Like the other campaigns, it is available for free to owners of Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove. It is a prequel that tells the tale of how King Knight ascended to the throne and joined The Order of No Quarter. It was released alongside Shovel Knight Showdown on the 10th of December 2019.


Long ago, the lands were untamed, and roamed by legendary adventurers!
By all appearances, peace has flourished, and carefree new pastimes have taken hold.
A card game called Joustus has swept the land, and with it, word of a grand tournament.
Presiding over the contest are three Joustus Judges. These wise kings have been chosen to spread joy and unity.
This contest is of great interest to King Knight. For though some call him a fool who merely plays at king, even fools know this:
Whoever defeats all three Joustus Judges will win an incredible treasure, and be crowned King of Cards!
Competing for the Joustus Crown is no simple matter, but King Knight schemes, undeterred, toward a kingdom of his own.

Major Differences from Shovel of Hope[]

  • King Knight can attack by dashing toward enemies with a move called the Shoulder Bash; he can dash in the air as well. Hitting an enemy, a rough wall, or any object this way will send him into a twirl.
    • Shoulder Bashing twice will cancel the bash into a roll.
  • Many more Characters have a dialogue portrait.
  • An optional card battle mini-game named Joustus, featuring 148 cards of characters and enemies, can be played.
    • New areas known as Houses of Joustus can be accessed - each world contains one House of Joustus.
  • King Knight can buy Royal Decrees, single-use items that help King Knight get through a level in various ways.
  • King Knight loses one full heart per hit as opposed to Shovel Knight, Plague Knight, and Specter Knight only losing half a heart per hit (unless playing in New Game+).
    • However, enemies when damaged sometimes drop heart-shaped collectibles which recover one heart when King Knight collects them, making it easier to regain health.
    • King Knight's health meter consists of heart-shaped icons instead of bubbles.
  • King Knight uses his own form of Relics, this time called Heirlooms. Like Shovel Knight and Donovan, King Knight's magic (called Vigor) is numerical as opposed to a meter.
    • Most Heirlooms are acquired in Heirloom courses found all over the world map.
  • Like Specter of Torment and Plague of Shadows, this one features a unique kind of currency called Merit Medals (formerly Crown Coins).
  • Like Specter of Torment, this campaign features new stages - over 30 in this case, divided between 4 worlds - as well as new enemies and new bosses.
  • Some stages contain secret exits that, when used, open up new routes and unlock access to new levels.
  • King Knight's base of operations is the Glidewing, which can be accessed anytime on the world map.
  • Unlike previous campaigns, most main stages don't end with a boss.
  • Instead of focusing on defeating eight main bosses like the other three campaigns, this campaign is structured around progressing through four different worlds to get to the main boss of each world.
  • The other seven Order of No Quarter knights are encountered as Wandering Travelers.
    • Specter Knight also serves as the boss of one of the game's first stages.


Pridemoor Kingdom[]

The Homestead[]

While stumbling through the plains King Knight stumbles upon his Mom's house. While his mother is expecting a ingredients for a meal, King Knight doesn't care and tells her his plan of being King of Cards. His Mom offers Hearty meat pies that can increase King Knight Health. Then the knight goes off to the Spectral Ravine.

Plains: Spectral Ravine[]

As King Knight quest for the Joustus Crown continues he meets someone named Specter Knight. The phantom thinks that King Knight is not up to challenge of competing in the King of Cards Tournament, so he battles King Knight. After King Knight wins, Specter Knight impressed gives a King Knight a Joustus starter deck to and tells him to go to the House of Joustus to start his Joustus Quest.


Once at the House of Joustus King Knight either after beating Black Knight in Joustus or going back on the rat rope King Knight will be confronted by two people, Cooper and the Bard. These two friends think King Knight can win the Joustus Crown for them, so they invite him on their their airship the "Glidewing". Once on the Glidewing Cooper and Bard tell King Knight the first of three kings that need to be defeated is King Pridemoor and that they are nearing his domain Pridemoor Keep.

Mom Joins Glidewing[]

Once Pridemoor Keep's Enchanted Conclave, Duelist's Grave, or Turncoat's Tower is completed, King Knight's Mom comes aboard the Glidewing. Although King Knight is not supportive of her staying, Cooper and Bard see it as an advantage as she knows much about King Pridemoor.

King Pridemoor[]

Once King Knight goes to the Grand Hall of Pridemoor Keep he meets King Pridemoor. King Pridemoor expects King Knight to play Joustus (as he is a Joustus judge), King Knight wants to beat him in battle instead. King Pridemoor realizes this is eligible as the rules only say "Defeat the Joustus Judges", so the two battle. King Knight wins, King Pridemoor impressed by King Knights skills gives him a ride to the Glidewing on his Griffoths, Plume and Beaky. On the ride King Pridemoor gives King Knight knowledge about the next Joustus judge, King Knight nodded along vacantly. Once at the Glidewing, The crew praises King Knight for defeating King Pridemoor. After this exchange King Knight suggests sending off King Pridemoor. But Cooper and Bard object to this due to his high status, So King Pridemoor stays on the Glidewing. Cooper says the next Joustus Judge is the Troupple King residing in the Troupple Pond.


King Knight also encounters Baz. When approached, he is at first annoyed by King Knight's interruption of his private training, but as soon as King Knight mentions Joustus Crown contest, he becomes interested. But he incorrectly assumes that defeating a person means taking their title and before King Knight can properly explain, he is attacked. King Knight beats him and leaves.

King Knight also visits the Eerie Manor. King Knight mistakenly assumes that the manor is Pridemoor Keep and then he is attacked by The Big Creep, a giant ghost. When he leaves the manor, Phantom Striker appears on the map and King Knight also encountered him. Phantom Striker trapped King Knight, thinking he is a wraith, forcing King Knight to defend himself. After King Knight beats him, he leaves without saying a word.

Troupple Kingdom[]

Approaching Troupple King[]

Once halfway through the Troupple Kingdom. On the Glidewing King Pridemoor can be seen showing King Knight's mom how to do a coronation, with King Knight's mom being very impressed. Then, King Knight comes on the rat rope and Cooper informs everyone that there approaching the Troupple Pond. King Pridemoor gives out information about the pond and the Troupple King. King Knight's Mom encourages her son to listen to King Pridemoor. King Pridemoor adds on to King Knight's mom, by saying him and her are "together as one". King Knight is surprised with his mom's current relationship with King Pridemoor and encourages her to stay from away from him.

Troupple King[]

Once King Knight goes through the Royal Pond of the Troupple Pond, King Knight wonders where the Troupple King is. Eventually, the Troupple King appears and King Knight thinks he is not the second Joustus Judge he's looking for. The Troupple King angered about this starts the battle between them. King Knight then wins, but the Troupple King does not accept defeat until a Troupple Acolyte reminds the king about his participation in being one of the Joustus Judges. The Troupple King then gives King Knight a ride back to the Glidewing, with the Troupple Acolyte along. On the way the Troupple King gave King Knight kingly wisdom, King Knight pretended to listen. Once in the Glidewing, The Troupple Acolyte explains that he represents the Troupple King to the crew. Then once again King Knight is praised and the acolyte stays. Cooper says that the final Joustus Judge is King Birder residing in the Birder Bluffs, who is apparently new.


King Knight also encounters Plague Knight with Percy. At first Plague Knight and Percy are seen arguing. Plague Knight says that their location can be easily found out, while Percy reassures him that it won't be. Plague Knight then sees someone and leaves. King Knight enters the scene and talks with Percy, who attacks him afterwards. After Percy is defeated, Plague Knight returns and fights with King Knight too. But like Percy, he is defeated.

King Knight also encounters Mole Knight. King Knight finds a pile of rocks and digs into them, sending him underground, right into the hot tub where Mole Knight was relaxing. The water is drained and Mole Knight is irritated. King Knight also further angers him with his posturing, so he attacks. Fortunately, he is defeated and dragged away.

King Knight also encounters Treasure Knight. King Knight finds an area filled with treasure and anchors. He jumps at one of them and is taken upwards, right into Treasure Knight's hands. Treasure Knight is angry because King Knight scared the fish has was waiting for away, so he at least decides to take King Knight's armor as compensation. Fortunately, King Knight defeats him.

Birder Kingdom[]

Approaching Birder Bluffs[]

Once halfway through the Birder Kingdom, when King Knight goes on to the Glidewing, Cooper, Bard, King Pridemoor, King Knight's Mom and the Troupple Acolyte can be seen watching a flock of birders flying, from the window. With King Pridemoor then frightened of the birders jumps into King Knight's Mom arms. Cooper then reminds King Knight that they are approaching the Final Joustus Judge, with Bard encouraging King Knight.

Specter Knight Second Encounter[]

Specter Knight from earlier is talking to a cloaked figures. The cloaked figure asks Specter Knight if her plan is coming to place. Specter Knight replies by saying someone (King Knight) has defeated two Joustus Judges and is about to get the final one. The other figure is excited with the progression of the plan but the female figure feels that Specter Knight is uncomfortable with the male figure and leaves the reaper back on his "task" and the two figures disappear. King Knight comes and Specter Knight warns him about his leader's power and suggests him to show more reverence. King Knight denies this suggestion and says he kneels for no one. Specter Knight angered by King Knight's denial starts a battle. After King Knight beats Specter Knight, Specter Knight suggests that King Knight chooses allies wisely and keeps going on the path of defeating the final Joustus Judge and he can get what he wants.

King Birder[]

Once King Knight gets through the King's roost, He finds the cloaked male figure from earlier with also King Pridemoor and the Troupple Acolyte alongside the knight. The figure reveals he is King Birder and a fight begins with King Pridemoor and the Troupple Acolyte watching on the sidelines. After King Knight defeats King Birder it's revealed that King Birder is just a normal Birder. Then the female cloaked figure appears and reveals that she's the Enchantress. She explains the the Joustus crown was just a ploy for people to go after the judges. Her plan was to get all kings together, (as they are all here at the moment right now) and use magic on them. But she says the King of Cards conspiracy has done enough as people are distracted by Joustus and then she can make a grand army of evil knights, the Enchantress then disappears. After the Enchantress disappears, King Knight, King Pridemoor, and the Troupple Acolyte find out the Birder can talk as becoming King Birder he was also given a voice. Being King Birder , the Birder heard the Enchantress's plans and offers to help King Knight. The Birder then gives King Knight a ride to the Glidewing, on the way the Birder told King Knight about the Enchantress's plans, King Knight failed to grasp the gravity of the situation. Once back at the Glidewing, everyone is panicking. But Cooper says that even though the Enchantress tricked them, she still brought them all together and suggest to defeat the Enchantress, with of course the help of King Knight. So the Glidewing flies to the Tower of Fate.


King Knight also encounters Tinker Knight. King Knight enters the room Tinker Knight is hiding in. Fearful that King Knight is there to steal his research, he attacks him with his machines and tools. But King Knight defeats him.

King Knight also encounters Polar Knight. King Knight enters the room where Polar Knight is. Polar Knight is on the hunt with his Spinwulves. Since King Knight loves dogs, he has a positive conversation with Polar Knight, which culminates in the friendly battle between them. King Knight then emerges victorious.

King Knight also encounters Propeller Knight. After finding a rose inside the chest on the hill, King Knight returns to the Glidewing, only to find it under attack. Cooper then runs to the steering wheel, while King Knight deals with intruders. After taking out the minions, King Knights follows Cooper to witness conversation between him and Propeller Knight, who accuses them of stealing his rose. He then attacks, but is fortunately defeated. King Knight and Cooper then return to the Glidewing to find it damaged.

King Knight also encounters Mr. Hat. King Knight finds a shop in the middle of nowhere. He goes inside and tries to buy something but everything is too expensive, so he leaves. Mr. Hat also finds his crown fascinating. Mr. Hat follows him and tries to persuade him to buy something. When King Knight wants to use the rat rope, Mr. Hat already destroyed it. Mr. Hat attacks King Knight to take his crown but King Knight defeats him. Mr. Hat apologizes and is allowed to take his shop on the Glidewing. If King Knight returns where the shop once was, he finds two people there: Dolly, who is looking for a new beret and gives King Knight a Mr. Hat Card and Horzio, who can take King Knight and jump with him off the cliff, instantly killing them both. But if King Knight is under the effects of Decree of Rejuvenation, he survives and is transported to a Fairy Glade. There, Madam Meeber greets him and tells him to pick a fairy. After he picks, she begins a ceremony. Then it's revealed that the whole Fairy Glade was a dream and King Knight awakens in his room inside The Homestead.

Tower of Fate[]


On the Glidewing, there is a woman named Cardia, who promised King Knight a reward if he defeats all four House of Joustus Champions: Black Knight, Mona, 3 Spinwulves and Horace. After beating them and then talking to her, she transports her and King Knight somewhere else and transforms into her true form. Then she and King Knight have one last Joustus duel. King Knight is victorious and Cardia reveals her reward: becoming a hero on her home planet. However, King Knight refuses since no one would serve him on that planet. Furious, Cardia attacks King Knight, but he defeats her. She gives him a Card Crystal which can tell where all the missing Joustus Cards are and leaves. King Knight is then transported back on the Glidewing and takes two Joustus Card Cardia left behind.

Tower of Fate: ????[]

King Knight, accompanied by the Glidewing crew and the Three Kings (minus the Troupple King, who had sent the Troupple Acolyte in his stead), breached the Enchantress's chamber to stop her plan to take over the Valley. Impressed by his power, the Enchantress attempted to persuade King Knight to abandon his friends. However, King Knight's allies encouraged him to fight the Enchantress, so they battled. Afterwards, the Enchantress was left reeling and King Knight's friends implored him to finish the job, but the Enchantress recovered and tried once more to get King Knight to join her cause, calling him a true king. She then mocked the Three Kings for hiding behind their champion like cowards, and decided to use her magic to turn them into something "more useful" by fusing their bodies and essences together. The result was the creation of the Grand Triumvirate, a giant made of gold that had all the powers of the Three Kings combined. King Knight was able to destroy the titanic tyrant and rescue the Three Kings, but the resulting explosion left all of King Knight's allies hanging on the wall of the tower. With the entire crew hanging for dear life, King Pridemoor asked King Knight for help, but the Enchantress once again tried her hand at turning King Knight to her side, this time offering to let him be king of Pridemoor if he joined the Order of No Quarter. King Pridemoor begged King Knight to turn down the Enchantress and help his friends, but instead King Knight Shoulder bashed the wall to send all his allies falling off the tower. The Enchantress, delighted with King Knight's decision, welcomed him into the Order of No Quarter and asked him what his first proclamation would be. King Knight told the Enchantress that he wanted Joustus to end so he could be a king forever, so she had her minions go out and destroy all evidence of Joustus as they moved out to conquer the Valley.

Credits Sequence[]

First thing The Enchantress did was destroying the Glidewing with the assistance of Propeller Knight and his minions. This also shows how Cooper became injured and Bard lost his Music Sheets in Shovel of Hope/Plague of Shadows. Grandma Swamp is also seen leaving on her broom before being shot down by a cannonball.

House of Joustus - An Explosive Fad Ends[]

Various characters, namely Toader, Shovel Smith and Armorer are seen throwing their Joustus Cards near the explosive barrels, which then Plague Knight blows up with the assistance of Mona and Hedge Pupil. Hedge Pupil also accidentally drops his house key, explaining why he wasn't able to get in in Plague of Shadows.

Troupple Pond - Submerged into Hiding[]

The Enchantress, in her disguise, is seen talking to a group of Troupple Acolytes while Troupple King lands at the exact spot seen in other campaigns. He then sinks to the bottom.

Armor Outpost - Setting up Shop[]

The Fancy Shop is seen dropped from the sky inside the Armor Outpost. Alternatively, if Mr. Hat wasn't recruited, he is seen dragging his shop on foot. Regardless, Dolly, Leo, Peacock Gent and Baz go inside to look on the merchandise, while Toader and Yoppler stay outside. Baz is seen examining the armor that he would don in the other campaigns.

Tower of Fate - Specter Knight - The Hunt Continues[]

Dark Acolyte and Missy are seen looking down on Specter Knight who is reminiscing with his amulet. He then summons his scythe and goes to the mirror to recruit more knights for the Order. From the background, it's revealed he already visited Lost City, Clockwork Tower and Stranded Ship.

Iron Whale - Treasure Knight - Laying Claim to the Sea[]

Treasure Knight is seen fighting Teethalon, revealing how it got a chest on its angler.

Hall of Champions - Fencing in Phantoms[]

Gouache is seen painting the portraits seen in Shovel of Hope/Plague of Shadows. Patrons and Cultured Fellows are seen running inside to flee from the ghosts. Phantom Striker appears and fences in The Big Creep and it's ghosts, explaining how the hall got haunted in the first place and people got trapped in there. If Duelist Di was recruited, she is seen being fenced in too.

The Homestead - Caring for the Betrayed[]

The Homestead is seen with numerous characters in it: Bard runs outside to chase one of his Music Sheets, King Knight's Mom is preparing meals, King Pridemoor is sipping tea, Juice Maid is bringing more tea to the back of the house, Cooper is learning how to walk with a cane, Magicist is creating potions and Doe, Chester and Ledge Farmer are seen relaxing while Hengineer is fixing a Tinkerbot. If the Heirloom merchants were recruited, they're also seen relaxing and Hengineer is fixing a TMK-500 instead of a generic Tinkerbot. Interestingly, in this case Chester is nowhere to be seen.

Birder Bluffs - Accepting an Invitation[]

Polar Knight, Tinker Knight and Mole Knight are seen meeting up and then looking at the Tower of Fate while Black Knight is spying on them.

Pre-Credits Scene[]

Bag Fellows are seen dumping Joustus Cards. King Knight is seen lying on the throne, arguing with King Pridemoor and his mom. He also tosses a coin at Pridemoor, in a condescending matter to mock Pridemoor's now poor state. Since King Pridemoor has nowhere to go, King Knight's mom offers him King Knight's old room. King Pridemoor tries to call his Griffoths but according to King Knight, they are guarding his parapets. King Pridemoor then leaves. King Knight's mom shares some last words with her son and follows him. King Knight then orders his subjects to make some renovations.

Post Credits Scene[]

King Knight is seen in the throne room, where everything is turned to gold. He is sitting on the throne and talks to himself that with his quest over, he'll be king forever. Shortly after, Shovel Knight emerges from the left side of the room and King Knight stands up, ready for battle.


  • The introduction text can be found in the files of version 3.0 and onward of Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove:
    • "Long ago, the lands were untamed, and roamed by legendary adventurers! While heroes seek their fortunes, villains lurk, plotting in the shadows. But none of that matters to King Knight, the most dapper dandy in the land! At heart, he is a monarch, but he is a king without a kingdom! This has to change! He’s ready for a quest! For recognition, for riches.. to conquer all! How will he attain glory? With brains? Brawn? Brilliant plotting? Not even King Knight knows! Nonetheless, full of determination, he sets out, ready take what is rightfully his… everything!"
    • This text was changed in a new intro in the King of Cards revision.