Card of the Week #7-8

Improvised Weapon/Attack

SPECIAL ATTACK/RANGED:  This attack may not be blocked, but it may be dodged.
If the attack is successful, your opponent takes no damage, but must take the
top 3 cards from his Endurance and place them in his discard pile.  This
attack may not be a Power Blow.  (Restricted to 3, Middle Center area)

Well, last week we dealt with Improvised Weapon's Dirty Trick counterpart -
Pummel.  Comparing the two, which have the same effect, is a good place to

Unlike Pummel, Improvised Weapon is a Special Attack.  This means you can't
play it from an Exertion, and you can't make it Hidden.  Also, Improvised
Weapon is restricted to 3.

And finally, since the card itself says that this card cannot be blocked,
Alertness/Block can be used to block this attack.

These are Improvised Weapon's disadvantages.  What are its advantages?  The
primary ones are that it's a Ranged Attack and it's generic.  It shares these
qualities with Pistol:  however, Improvised Weapon is only of Uncommon rarity,
making it easier to get hold of.

One favorable advantage of Improvised Weapon over Pummel is that an opponent
can't evade an Improvised Weapon with a Back Away or an Evade.  Only a Dodge,
Jump, or Duck will do it.

Also, an Improvised Weapon lets you do attack under a circumstances when you
normally couldn't.  If Louise Marcus is out, rather then discarding a defense
after playing a Back Away, you can play Improvised Weapon instead.

While a Pistol does one point of damage (two, in the hands of the Kurgan),
Improvised Weapon does not do any damage.  However, the effect that does have
- causing the loss of three cards from top of Endurance, can sometimes be just
as effective, if not more so.  Also, you don't _have_ to play a Back Away to
use an Improvised Weapon.

It is rare that someone can afford to lose nine cards (three, from three
Improvised Weapon attacks).  When the target has control over what is
discarded (due to Holy Ground/TV, Interference, etc.) this is bad enough.
When the cards are essentially lost at random, it is far worse.  With a very
few exceptions, there's not much you can do to control which cards are lost.

As I noted in Card of the Week #6, very few players want to take the chance of
losing three cards, when one of those three cards may be the Seduce or
Bloodlust they were counting on.  Most folks would rather play a Dodge then
lose the cards.  Large decks may choose to take the hit, but currently these
seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

The main reason to use Improvised Weapon in practically any deck is that there
is no real downside to it.

Yes, three of them take up a little more space in your deck.  However, did you
ever have a turn when you used Back Away and then could only play one more
card, a Special?  Toss out an Improvised Weapon and draw the card you would
have got if you hadn't added Improvised Weapon to your deck in the first

That's why Improvised Weapon really takes up no space in your deck.  Your
choices are having three more cards in your deck and using them to gain some
benefit, or having three less cards but having no attack to play the turn you
play a Back Away.

When you attack with an Improvised Weapon, your opponent is going to do one of
three things.

First of all, he may simply take the hit.  It's rare that someone is going to
be happy about losing random cards.  They might even do something absurd like
use a Holy Ground to avoid the card loss.

Secondly, they'll play a dodge:  either Dodge, Jump, or Duck.  If they play
Dodge, then they lose an attack.  Which gives you a turn to set up an attack
of your own.

If they play a Jump or Duck . . . well, they probably would have anyway in a
turn or two.  It's not too hard to find occasions to play those two particular

Third, they'll play Alertness/Block and block the Improvised Weapon.  This
suggests one potential use for Improvised Weapon right there:  as an

Which Personas benefit from doing these things to an opponent?  Well, anyone
who can otherwise make unblockable attacks can benefit because their opponent
may waste Alertness/Block to avoid that Improvised Weapon.  And that's one
less Alertness/Block they'll have for that Hook or Stalk or Seduce/Amanda.  If
you dodge a lot and/or make other unblockable attacks, Improvised Weapon is a
good choice.  So try it in your Amanda and Xavier decks.

Three of the four Personas that only have Back Away (the Kurgan, Slan, Kalas)
should find a use for Improvised Weapon.  Particularly with a Slan or Kurgan
deck, you want to keep them off-balance and trying to avoid you, rather than
trying to get off an attack.  Improvised Weapon is a way to keep the pressure
on under a circumstance when normally, you wouldn't be able to attack.  Add
three Pistols, and you'll have an attack to use all six times you play Back

Kern is the fourth Persona that only has Back Away.  However, since he plays
attacks primarily from Exertions, he can't really use Improvised Weapon.  This
limits its effectiveness a bit for him.  Still, Improvised Weapon remains a
good card to play from his hand after he's used a Back Away.  He's a bit more
likely to draw it in an attack Exertion, however, and have to waste it.

Since these four Personas are best-suited to using Catwalk, this also means
that an opponent can't dodge the attack at all unless they spend a turn
playing something to get rid of or ignore the Catwalk.

In fact, _any_ deck that uses Catwalk should use Improvised Weapon.  You don't
have to be those three Personas to use Catwalk - many future Personas will
have Evade rather than Dodge.  You might choose to play, say, Annie with no
Evades and use Catwalk.  Improvised Weapon will help her out.

Ironically, the opposite also holds true.  These four Personas are hurt by
Improvised Weapon as much as helped.  Why?  Since the only dodge they have is
Back Away, they can't avoid it without wasting an Alertness/Block or a Narrow

And finally, Improvised Weapon causes card loss.  If you're using a "marathon"
deck that uses cards like Pummel, Counterfeit, and Desert, Improvised Weapon
is an excellent addition.  You can play it more freely than any of these other
cards.  Heck, use a pre-game Darius and add a fourth!

In sealed deck-style tournaments, Improvised Weapon is also helpful.  Dodge,
the only dodge-type card likely to avoid it, is even less common.  If they
want to waste a Dodge, or an Alertness/Block, to stop your attack . . . that's
one less resource they'll have against your Power Blow or Master's Attack.

So overall, Steve gives Improvised Weapon a rating of _6_.  There's no real
disadvantage to having it in your deck, since you can play it under a
circumstance where you normally couldn't play an attack.  It's lack of power
drags down the rating a bit.  However, properly used, it can be a real
resource-waster for your opponent.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Take me out to the ball game . . . useless unless you just want to burn
your opponent through their deck -- or you're just a baseball nut.  Since it
can be Alertness: Block'ed, it's essentially just a restricted Dirty Trick:

Rick - It duplicates the Dirty Trick/Pummel.  But Dirty Trick/Shove, now
that's a card that needs to be in everybody's deck.  That one rates a 10.

Hank - IW/A is limited to 3, and there are better ways to make people burn
through their Endurance.

Alan - Upon first reading it, this card appears to be exactly like Dirty
Trick/Pummel.  Indeed it is, except that Improvised Weapon/Attack is a Ranged
Attack, which means that it can be played after you Back Away.  However, it
has a big drawback in that it can't be played as part of a Battle Rage.  All
of my previous comments regarding Dirty Trick/Pummel apply to Improvised
Weapon/Attack (see CotW: Dirty Trick/Pummel)

Jim - Improvised Weapon is a good card for marathon decks.  It is especially
nice because it is a Ranged attack and therefore can not normally be blocked.
Unlike Shooting Blade and Pistol, IW can be blocked if Alertness/Block is
used.  Since IW only causes a three card Endurance burn it is mainly useful
for marathon decks but it can prove useful against decks of any size because
it makes you bypass cards.  I like using IW in decks where the only dodge is
Back Away and I'm using Catwalk as the Location of choice.

Chip:  Improvised Weapon/Attack could be a good card if you are playing some
kind of discard deck.  This is the only use that I can see for this card and
as hard as it is to make simple attacks hit I don't know how effective this
would be.  This is not a card that I would put in one of my decks.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   6
Ben             [Abstain]
Jeff                    2
Rick                    5
Hank                    3

Alan                    7
Jim                     5
Chip                    3

Average:                4.43

Kiss Your Butts Goodbye

EVENT:  All players must discard all dodges in their hands.  If a player does
not discard any dodges, he takes 2 damage.  (Restricted to 3)

Well, after a few weeks of reviewing attacks and Edge cards, we're back to
familiar territory as we look at a Special, and the one that has the honor of
having the longest title.  Not only that, but it has a cool picture.  But what
does it do?

At first glance, KYBG seems similar to Stumble and Watcher/Hunter/Discard
Dodge, albeit a bit more powerful.  Instead of discarding one dodge to avoid
taking one damage, you discard all your dodges to avoid taking two damage.

However, a critical point with KYBG is that the discard is _not_ optional.
The card makes this quite clear, by putting the "must do" in the first
sentence, then establishing the penalty in a separate sentence.

This makes it different than the other cards, which apparently are optional as
to whether you take the damage or not.  With Watcher/Hunter, you can keep the
dodge, take the damage, and then negate it with Police/Counter Damage or
Greenfield Hobby.

KYBG gives you no such option.  Whether you have a way to deal with the damage
or not, you have to discard the dodges - you are given no other alternative.

Note that merely the possibility of this card doing damage is enough to make
it unplayable by an opponent if you have Safe Haven/Situation out.  You may
never actually take damage from this card in the course of a game, however.

Because of the way KYBG is designed, even Selective Memory is of limited use
against it.  You can choose not to discard by using Selective Memory.
However, then you'll take the two damage.  You have to discard at least one
dodge to avoid the damage penalty.

Fortunately, damage prevention cards will work normally against KYBG.
However, since you have no choice concerning the discarding of dodges, you may
not even get a chance to use cards such as David Blake or Unexpected

KYBG's only real disadvantage is that it affects everyone, including the user.
Of course, you have the advantage of knowing there will be KYBGs in the game:
namely, yours.  You can take adequate precautions.

The first way to deal with KYBG is to use it when you have no dodges in your
hand, either by using Dojo from Watcher's Chronicles or simply picking a
moment when you've played all your dodges.  Then play KYBG and Careful
Planning.  KYBG is one of only three cards in the Movie Edition that Careful
Planning works with (the other two are Explosion and Skylight).  You've
essentially lost nothing, while your opponent(s) have to deal with the effects
of KYBG.

The second way was mentioned above:  use Selective Memory.

The third way is to look to the Persona who is the mistress of discard
control:  Nefertiri.

Like several other cards (such as Inquest), there is no reason for Nefertiri
to omit KYBG from her decks.  As long as she has a dodge in her hand, she can
meet the primary requirements of KYBG, take no damage, and then draw back the
dodge(s) she just discarded to her Endurance.

The only problem with this strategy is that Nefertiri _has_ to have at least
one dodge in her hand.  If she has none, then she can't meet the primary
requirements of KYBG and takes the damage.

One way to avoid this is through the use of Careful Planning, as mentioned
above.  A trickier one is to use Greenfield Hobby.

This may seem an odd choice at first.  After all, Greenfield negates _all_
Event-based damage.

However, the odds are extremely good that your opponent will have at least one
dodge in his hand at any given time during the early and middle parts of a
duel.  Since it's unlikely they're going to take damage, who cares if
Greenfield protects them or not?  It acts as insurance for Nefertiri if she
doesn't have at least one dodge in her hand, and it protects her from other
direct-damage Events.

In fact, the main strength of KYBG is that is forces the discard of all
dodges, not that it does damage if the opponent is unable to discard.  The
latter is a nice penalty, but KYBG would be just as useful if no damage at all
was done.

So much for Nefertiri.  What other Personas benefit from the use of KYBG?

Potentially, almost all of them.  Any attack-reliant deck has some kind of
advantage they can obtain from KYBG.  Multi-attack type Personas like Slan,
the Kurgan, and Kern can eliminate a good-sized chunk of their opponent's
defenses with the play of one card, and then use Berserk, Bloodlust, or their
attack-Exertion ability, respectively.  Since Slan and Kern can make at least
one of their multiple attacks a power blow, this gives them an additional

To a lesser degree, other Personas with multi-attack abilities also benefit
from KYBG.  This includes Annie, thanks to her Persona ability, and Nefertiri
(again), Connor, Duncan, Richie, and Khan due to Battle Rage.

Of course, all of these Personas except Kern and Annie have to play KYBG on
one turn, then play the necessary Special to make the multiple attacks on the
next turn.  Still, if you hold off attacking for a few turns, your opponent
will probably build up a stock of dodges . . . which you then use KYBG to
strip them of.

Note, however, that three of the Personas mentioned above, Kern, Slan and the
Kurgan, only have one type of dodge (Back Away) themselves.  They, plus Kalas,
stand a good chance of losing all they have of a particularly useful resource,
or being caught without any dodges to discard, at a critical moment.  Use of
Selective Memory and Careful Planning, as mentioned above, is a good way for
them to avoid this problem.

Anyone who uses Factory and Battlefield also stands to benefit from using
KYBG.  As was mentioned in CotW #3, Kastagir benefits from Battlefield.  His
ability to minimize defense Exertions works well if he is low on cards due to
Factory.  So KYBG is a good card for Kastagir to use as well, particularly in
conjunction with these two Locations.

Should Amanda use KYBG?  She has a lot of dodges to spare, but having to draw
to replace them after use of a KYBG can quickly run her through her Endurance.
Still, since her opponents sometimes count on a single dodge to avoid both of
her attacks, her use of this card is warranted.  Since she probably will have
a lot of dodges, she has a lot to lose, but also has a good chance of drawing
more dodges.  Of course, this could cycle her through her deck faster.  You
may wish to experiment with this one.

Luther, Xavier, and Katana don't get much benefit from KYBG, unless they're
using attack-heavy decks (?!?).

Also, KYBG works well when handling those pesky opponents who have been
Disarmed.  KYBG is a nice card for Connor, Nakano, and the Kurgan (thanks to
Master's Disarm).  However, it neatly supplements any other Persona that uses
a Disarm or Break Weapon strategy.

Overall, KYBG is useful in a large number of decks.  It's almost essential in
a Nefertiri deck, can augment heavy-hitters like the Kurgan, and is of at
least some passing benefit to practically everyone else.  It takes a little
set up with other cards for optimal use, but it's well worth the payoff.

Taking all of these factors into account, Steve's rating is a big _8_.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - A heavily underrated card.  Whether played with Nefertiri or Careful
Planning in a Slan deck, this card can devastate an opponent.  Add in
Factories or Battlefields, and have fun.

Hank - Fun card, especially with Nefertiri/Battlefield decks or
Connor/Master's Block decks.

Alan - This is a great card to have in your deck for almost any strategy, but
particularly for multiple-attackers (through the use of Battle Rage,
Bloodlust, Persona Ability, etc.)  It will minimize the number of dodges in
your opponent's hand, forcing them to almost exclusively block.  In the hands
of the Kurgan, it can be particularly nasty:  Master's Disarm + KYBG +
Bloodlust makes for a *very* nasty combo (though granted, it is a 3-card,
3-turn combo, unless he's using Chessex + Focus).  A useful and oft-overlooked
card indeed.

Jim - Killer card!  I love KYBG.  It is a very powerful card.  Especially
deadly on the Battlefield.  It is nice to use in conjunction with Catwalk
where an opponent's dodges tend to build up.  It's a cool card to use with
Factory or Ruins also.  Kastagir benefits greatly from KYBG as he can use
Charm to eliminate blocks and KYBG to get rid of an opponent's dodges.  KYBGB
is somewhat useful for Amanda as she has dodges to spare, but it is best for
decks that use few dodges such as Slan and Kurgan.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   8
Ben             [Abstain]
Jeff                    8
Rick            [Abstain]
Hank                    7
Alan                    8
Jim                     9
Chip            [Abstain]

Average:                8