Card of the Week #15-17


Twist of Fate

EVENT:  Play this card to force your opponent to discard all Edge cards from
his hand.

Well, another straightforward card.  Play it, and your opponent loses all Edge
cards.

Like any forced discard effect, your opponent must discard at the beginning of
his next phase, which is his defense phase.  Twist of Fate is a "must do"
effect so your opponent has to discard before any "may do" beginning-of-turn
effects.  However, your opponent can resolve other "must do" effects first . .
. or choose to do them after he discards due to Twist of Fate.

Since Selective Memory specifically prevents the discarding of cards, you may
play it (even though it is an Edge card itself) to avoid discarding your other
Edge cards.  You may choose to discard some or all of your Edge cards when
using Selective Memory in this manner.  If you want to keep those Alertness
cards, but want to get rid of Weapon Binds, now would be a good time to do so.

Nefertiri is immune to Twist of Fate, as she is to most discard effects.

So that's what Twist of Fate does.  But what is it good for?

The best way for anyone to determine if they should use Twist of Fate is to
determine which Edge cards are messing up their strategies.  Let's go down the
list of Edge cards and see what shows up.

Alertness cards:  the two that let you block/dodge certain attacks can mess up
your Seduce/Amanda strategies.  Do you use Seduce?  If so, add Twist of Fate.

Alertness/Hidden:  this card, plus Feint, lets Power Blow specialists like
Slan and Kurgan strike with relative impunity.  If you have trouble with
Personas like this, use Twist of Fate.

Careful Planning:  Ever had trouble with Angry Mob/SE?  Here's your solution.
Since some decks use a fourth Careful Planning via pre-game Darius, that just
means one more card you can make them lose.

Courage:  Okay, you probably don't see this very often.  But if someone's
built a deck around these cards (Kastagir and Duncan, perhaps?), stripping
them of it will cripple them.

Excessive Force:  Another _really_ annoying card.  If you deprive them of
Excessive Force cards, this might discourage them from playing those Police
cards until they can draw another EF or two.

Feint:  See Alertness/Hidden above.  Also good against those Connor decks that
use Ped/Hidden-Only + Mountain Cave to force you to make Hidden attacks which
they then use Feint against.

Focus:  Do you want opponents ignoring your Carls and Safe Havens and Master's
Advances and The Gatherings?  Of course not - use Twist of Fate to put a stop
to that.

Iron Will + Practice Practice:  If your opponent is using any kind of disarm
strategy, removal of these two cards will slow her down considerably.

Lean & Mean + Patience:  Both of these have about the same effect - rapid card
cycling for your opponent.  Slow them down a bit.  An opponent can also re-
draw using Patience after you've hit them with a heavy discard loss (Inquest,
Charm).

Reconnaissance:  If you don't want them ignoring your Locations, use this.  If
your opponent is using Locations and ignoring them himself using
Reconnaissance (Factory, Light House), this is a good way to hoist them on
their own petard.

Schemer:  Removal of this can slow down a plot-using deck.  Popular in many
Xavier decks, for obvious reasons.

Selective Memory:  You're probably just giving them an excuse to use this card
by playing Twist of Fate.

Weapon Bind:  This card is going to become more and more useful as time goes
on, as Card of the Week #16 next week will explore.  Non-combat decks also
tend to use this card to stall their opponent.  They won't after you remove it
via Twist of Fate.

Watcher's Chronicle Edge Cards:  We can't go into much detail at this time,
but they are almost all extremely formidable cards.  Lunge and Flashing Blade
are _really_ ugly cards in the hands of a determined opponent.

Looking over this list, it becomes clear that the loss of certain Edge cards
can make a huge difference.  So who should use it?

Amanda, for sure.  Wait a few turns, let them get a few Alertness cards in
their hand, then play Twist of Fate and use Seduce next turn.  Watch them run
for Holy Ground.  Also, Lunge can cripple an Amanda deck - use ToF to get rid
of it.

Anyone else using Seduce via Darius:  Well, maybe.  By the time you add four
Seduce/Amanda cards, and at least four Darius cards, _and_ Twist of Fate,
_and_ some Carls, you're looking at a pretty large deck.  Richie might be able
to pull this off, but it could be a bit unwieldy for any other Persona.

Nefertiri:  The mistress of discarding strikes again.  Are they using Patience
to draw back as soon as you make them lose cards, or while in the Factory?
They won't after you hit them with a Twist of Fate or two

Kastagir:  The same as Nefertiri, concerning his use of Charm and Kiss Your
Butts Goodbye.

Fitzcairn:  The same as Kastagir, concerning his use of Charm.

Other Personas:  None seem to be really hurt by the use of an opponent's Edge
cards.  Patience can let an opponent bypass the effects of Cat &
Mouse/Defense:  if you have a deck that uses that card, Twist of Fate is a
good idea.

However, Twist of Fate also acts preemptively to stop their strategies.  You
don't _know_ that they've built a strategy around a particular Edge card.  But
do you really want to find out the hard way whether that Slan deck has an
Alertness/Hidden and a Feint in his hand?  Or do you want to play Twist of
Fate and take that Hidden attack, free in the knowledge that there's not a
thing they can do about it except dodge or try to block?

Generally, it seems like Twist of Fate is a good card to have a couple of in
almost any deck.  For its value against Focus and Patience alone, it's worth a
decent rating.  It is certainly recommended for Amanda, Nefertiri, Fitzcairn,
Kastagir, and Cat & Mouse users if they are using the strategies listed above.

So overall, Steve gives Twist of Fate a _6_.  With the current Focus-heavy
environment, this card is never going to be a total waste.  It's a toss-up
whether you want to allocate space in your deck for it.  However, there's
enough Edge-based strategies out there (with more on the way in Watcher's
Chronicles) that it seems a pretty good gamble.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Ben - The only reliable "counter" to Edge cards.

Jeff - Useful if you play Sedarius or lock decks.  Limited aside from that.

Rick - This card can help against really trim decks that use Lean & Mean or
Patience for card cycling.  Any really trim deck would probably rip a TCG to
stop this one.

Hank - Forcing an opponent to discard all Edges can occasionally be useful,
but discarding Dodges or all Specials is usually more effective.

Alan - This isn't a card I have ever put into one of my decks, but there are
indeed times when I have regretted it.  I still don't use it, but it _has_
come under consideration from time to time, particularly with the number of
Focii that are out there (usually "six in every deck" :-) )

Jim  - Twist of Fate is a good card to play in conjunction with a "Search and
Destroy" deck that makes use of superior knowledge of your opponent's deck and
hand.  It is good to follow up your use of Upper Hand or Gypsy with Twist of
Fate on the next turn if you catch your opponent with an Edge-heavy hand,
especially if they have more than one Focus in hand and you're using a
Situation-based strategy.  As the number and variety of Edge cards increases,
Twist of Fate will become much more useful.

Chip - This is one of those cards that you look over the first time.  If you
are tired of Angry Mob plus Careful Planning then this one can help.  Any time
you don't have a better Special to play this one can help buy you the time you
need as well as cycle some cards.  I think you will start seeing more of this
card start turning up.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   6
Ben                     9
Jeff                    3
Rick                    6
Hank                    4
Alan                    6
Jim                     6
Chip                    6

Average:                5.75

------------------------------------------------------------------
Weapon Bind

EDGE:  Play in conjunction with a block.  If the block is successful, you may
not attack this turn, and your opponent may not attack on his next turn.
(errata'd text).

We come to the last card of the first "cycle" of Card of the Week, and perhaps
one of the most sorely underrated ones.

The game mechanics of this card are fairly simple, once the errata is noted.
You play a block and Weapon Bind:  you cannot play an attack this turn - your
opponent can't play an attack next turn.

Unlike cards that say you lose "an" attack (Distraction, Dodge), Weapon Bind
prevents you and your opponent from attacking at all.  Thus cards like
Combination and Extra Shot, or Amanda's Persona ability, are useless when
providing an extra attack, since you cannot make any attacks whatsoever.
Weapon Bind's effect is more akin to Pedestrian/Delay 2 Turns and Slan &
Luther's Intimidate.

The difference between Weapon Bind and those cards, however, is a critical
one.  Weapon Bind is an Edge card, making it both less vulnerable and
providing you with a few more options.

Unlike Pedestrian, Weapon Bind is immune to cards like Run Away Train and
Rooftop, as well as anything that bypasses/removes Situations (Police, Focus,
Katana).  Weapon Bind can also be used if an opponent played Renee Delaney or
Charlie, or has Wargames West or Honor Bound in play - unlike Intimidate.

So at the very least, Weapon Bind can be used as part of the arsenal of a
"Opponent Never Attacks" deck.  If the time comes when you are out of
Intimidates and Distractions and Pedestrians, let them take their attack,
block, and play Weapon Bind.

If you're using a "cheese" non-attack deck, you're probably not using most
those cards (a Luther/Intimidate cheese deck?!?).  Weapon Bind is still useful
to you, however.  If they play a Reconnaissance to slip by your Verona
Location and launch an attack, block and then Weapon Bind.

The value of this strategy is that it doesn't cost you the play of a Special
that turn.  You can go right ahead and play an Angry Mob/Careful Planning
combo that same turn.

Weapon Bind is also a handy card in decks non-Connor and Duncan decks where
you want to Power Blow.  Block, make a Power Blow, and you don't have to worry
about Hidden counter-attacks.  This makes it particularly valuable to Slan and
the Kurgan.

So Weapon Bind has some value in decks, both combat and non-combat oriented,
where you don't want to worry about your opponent attacking.  But what other
value does it have?

Weapon Bind's other strength is that it is an ideal "set-up" card.  Ever have
trouble as Xavier playing that Stalk because your opponent keeps bombarding
you with attacks?

What if you're Slan, and you have a Shooting Blade in your hand.  You're
either short on Back Aways or can't play them (due to Master's Advance,
Challenge/SE, etc.), and you can't draw those Upper or Lower Center blocks to
save your life, while your opponent keeps hitting you.  How do you fire your
Shooting Blade?

Weapon Bind lets you "lock" your opponent attack-wise for a turn, and then
lets you attack to any area on your next turn.

In Xavier's hand, Weapon Bind can be a powerful tool.  He can block an attack,
play Weapon Bind, play one of his formidable Situation Specials, then next
turn he can play _another_ Special and Stalk.  This can let him do something
like play Carl or Forethought the turn he plays Weapon Bind, then Twist of
Fate (see CotW #15) and Stalk on the next turn.  His opponent will find it
very difficult to avoid the Stalk attack.

Obviously, Connor and Duncan don't particularly need Weapon Bind, since they
can launch their Special Attacks and Slashes regardless of where they block.
Amanda probably isn't going to have much trouble playing a Slash, Master's
Attack, or a Seduced attack either.  Kastagir and Katana might want to use
Weapon Bind to pull off their own Master's Attacks, although they can attack
through their Master's Guard and Master's Block, respectively.

In Persona of the Month #1, we'll talk a bit about the Kurgan using Slashes.
These hard-to-avoid attacks are downright painful when he combines them with
his +1 damage ability.  But how does he play them?  Short of using the less-
effective Upper/Lower Center Blocks and Parries, the Kurgan is probably going
to have his blocks get in the way of his ability to counter-attack with a
Slash.

Not any more.  He can block, use Weapon Bind, and then on his next turn attack
freely with a Slash.  If he has the Ruins Location out, and/or uses anti-dodge
cards, his opponent is in serious trouble.

As the above example shows, Weapon Bind is good for Personas (other than
Connor and Duncan) who want to set up attacks that cover multiple areas.
Evade is another useful way to do this, but as a dodge it is vulnerable to
many things:  Challenge/SE, Kiss Your Butts Goodbye, and Catwalk in
particular.  Also, out of the 13 existing Personas, six (Luther, Xavier,
Nefertiri, Slan, Khan, Katana) don't have Evade or something similar like
Master's Block/Dodge/Guard, Duck, Jump, Distract.  If they want to use Darius
or the Methos Quickening to play other Personas' multi-area attacks, they'll
need Weapon Bind to set it up.

As was hinted at in CotW #11 (Parrying Blade), there will likely be more
multi-area attacks in the future.  There are really only two good ways to set
these up:  Evade and Weapon Bind.

One final note:  as Alan notes below, Weapon Bind is a good set-up card for
certain cards like Louise Marcus (CotW #9) and Nefertiri's Cunning (in
Watcher's Chronicles).

So overall, Steve rates Weapon Bind as a _6_.  It's a nice addition to those
decks that try to keep their opponent from attacking.  It can provide you with
a breather whether you are playing an attack deck or not.  It is a great set-
up both if you have other cards that penalize your opponent for not attacking,
and if you want to set-up a difficult-to-play attack.  Connor, Duncan, Amanda,
and anyone with Master's Block/Guard/Dodge probably don't need it, but most
other Personas will.  As the game evolves, this card will probably need to be
reassessed and rated a point or two higher.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Ben - This card is only useful if the deck is built around it.  It is also
useful in sealed deck, where defenses are at a premium.

Jeff - Moderately useful in certain decks where a one-turn reprieve will allow
you to set up your game, or in combination with a Renee Delaney or other
denial card.  Not a game-breaker, but not a bad little card.

Rick - So we both can't attack, what's the point?  If you want to stop me from
attacking, use Ped-2 or Verona.  They will last longer.  Still, it could be
used to buy yourself that one extra turn you need to complete a plot instead
of having to play Holy Ground.

Hank - If you're getting pounded on, Weapon Bind is a useful card, and
thoroughly appropriate to the genre.  I like the card a lot.

Alan - A card I have used from time to time, but not on a regular basis,
usually in with Louise Marcus in play:  my opponent can't attack, and so loses
a defense for nothing.  A result I like very much.  I'm sure it will become
even more useful over time, with the release of expansions.

Jim - Weapon Bind is of limited use to attack decks but is useful for direct
damage decks.  It is good to play with a Guard since it will keep your
opponent from using Dirty Trick: Shove to remove the Guard.  You can then use
your Special to play a direct damage card instead of needing to play an attack
denial special.  Weapon Bind can be used by attack to take a break from
fighting as you replenish your attacks, or build up an attack plot.

Chip - I can see this working well in a cheese deck.  Being an Edge card it
won't take up the slot that Special would, allowing you to play those Angry
Mobs, Boom Booms, and such, and preventing your opponent from attacking.  I
haven't ever played with this card but it does have merit.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   6
Ben                     5
Jeff                    5
Rick                    3
Hank                    8
Alan                    6
Jim                     4
Chip                    5

Average:                5.25

------------------------------------------------------------------
Turn of Events

SITUATION:  While this card is in play, all players must make an Exertion to
play an Event.

A promotional card that has become available recently, Turn of Events is a
very interesting and unique card.

A brief game mechanics note:  although the phrasing of the card might indicate
otherwise, you play the Event(s) first and make the Exertion(s) at the end of
the phase.

Nothing else in the game limits an opponent in quite the same way.  While
other Situations limit an opponent's ability to play certain cards (i.e.,
Honor Bound disallowing the play of all Specials) no other Situation blocks
the play of a card while allowing a player the option of Exerting to play that
card.

By forcing all Players to Exert whenever they play an Event, it gives players
a choice as to how important something is to them.  This is an interesting
technique, somewhat similar to cards like Joy Ride, Toadies, Stumble,
Battlefield, Song of the Executioner, or Watcher: Hunter.  I enjoy cards which
limit or hurt an opponent but give them a choice about it.  Cards like this
makes a player think, which adds to the strategy of the game.

A word of warning:  Turn of Events affects both players equally.  Like Avery
Hoskins, a player should only play with Turn of Events if their deck is
prepared to either Exert a lot, or not play Events.

Turn of Events is of only minor effectiveness against Plot-based decks.  Two
of the three Plot cards are Situations, so only one Exertion (when the Plot is
completed) is necessary.  Still, one Exertion is better than no Exertions.

There are some interesting side-effects of this card that are worth noting.
Every Event played requires an Exertion. This wreaks havoc with any multiple-
Event plays, or Event/Exertion combos, which suddenly require multiple
Exertions in a single turn to pull off.  Some of these cards include:

          multiple Dr. Sonny Jacksons (or Sonny/any Event)
          Darius/Seduce (or Darius/any Event, for that matter)
          Chessex
          multiple Kirk Matunas cards
          Connor:  It's a Kind of Magic
          TSC Troopers
          Duncan: Inspiration (not limited, but made useless)
          Kurgan:  Bloodlust
          Kurgan:  Master's Disarm
          Connor, Duncan, Khan, Richie, Nefertiri:  Battle Rage

Obviously, because Turn of Events requires an Exertion, players can't play
Events if they need the Exertion to power block, power blow, or search for
attacks or defenses.  By forcing them to Exert, this card will quickly run
them through their Endurance if their deck isn't built to handle Exerting a
lot.

Also, Katana can't Exert to remove a Situation _and_ play an Event on the same
turn.  If he wants to remove Carl and play Holy Ground, he'll have to use
other means than his Persona ability.

Because Turn of Events is not limited, a player who builds a deck around this
card should certainly put many of them in the deck.  Like Avery Hoskins, the
card doesn't stack (making a single Exertion to play an Event fulfills the
requirements no matter how many ToEs are out).  However, it allows a player to
put many of them into play at once.  This also helps against Police/Remove and
Katana decks, because this is a card (like Honor Bound) that screams out to be
removed from play.

You should therefore use Turn of Events in two types of decks:  decks that
don't use Events much (if at all), and decks that don't mind Exerting
regularly.

One option for using Turn of Events is to play a deck with few or no Events.
This is a difficult proposition:  my "standard deck" template begins with two
each of Holy Ground, Watcher: Treatment, Misfortune, and Police/Remove.  Very
few of my decks use fewer than those eight Events.  This would therefore mean
that the proposed deck is either built with very few Specials (maybe as few as
Honor Bound and Turn of Events) or with only non-Event Specials (Situations
and Locations).  My Connor/Stance deck, for example, uses Honor Bound and
other Situations, and is built with only three Events (a Police/Remove, a Head
Shot, and a Misfortune).  It could use Turn of Events nicely.

The other main option for using Turn of Events is to play a deck which makes
use of cards like Master: Sword Master and Collect to minimize Exertion costs.
A deck using these cards could play Events, while hurting an opponent's
ability to play them.  A Katana direct damage deck, for example, could use
Master and Collect to minimize the expense of Exertions, play Event damage and
Situation/Plots, and serve the double duty of removing an opponent's
Situations (with Exertions) and limiting their ability to play Events (with
ToE).

Which decks rely on Events?  Many swordfighting decks use cards like
Combination, Extra Shot, Power Blow, Head Shot, Battle Rage, and more.  Direct
damage cards are almost all Events, so Turn of Events hurts both of these
decks pretty equally.  Many Personas also have a lot of Immortal-specific
Events that they rely on, and ToE can crimp their style quite effectively.
Some other cards (those listed above) become _very_ difficult to play, because
they suddenly require multiple Exertions in a single turn.

The Kurgan, for example, loses a number of his best cards due to this.
Currently, Flashback (the version that allows an additional Exertion) and the
Prize/Exertion cards are the _only_ way to make multiple Exertions with Turn
of Events in play (Duncan's Inspiration is an Event, and therefore requires an
Exertion to play it in order to get an extra Exertion).

In conclusion, Hank gives Turn of Events a _8_.  ToE is a useful anti-cheese
card.  Steve gave Simple Mind a 7, and I think ToE is more painful against
decks unprepared for it.  It could prove quite annoying to most opponents,
because Events are a significant part of so many strategies.  It doesn't
_stop_ cheese, it just makes it more expensive.  It's a Situation,
unfortunately, which limits its effectiveness against Katana, the Persona of
choice for cheese decks right now.  Turn of Events is a momentary hindrance to
Katana, nothing more.  ToE as an Object or Location (with an appropriate name-
change) would have been a more effective anti-cheese card.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Ben - [Abstain]

Jeff - A theoretically nice card for anti-cheese -- even if it _is_ a
hard-to-find promo.  However, not any good against Katana decks, which
comprise 75% of cheese decks, so I have a hard time recommending it in that
capacity.  I'd prefer it against non-Katana Renee decks, myself.

Rick - It's a double edged sword.  While it's clearly a Chessex inhibitor, it
doesn't promote swordplay since you'll need to exert to play any attack
enhancements (Head Shot, Combination, Extra Shot).  Without any additional
Exertion cards, you can rule out Battle Rages, Berserks, and Bloodlusts.
Still, in the right deck (Slan perhaps) this could be nasty.

Steve - Mix with Greenfield Hobby and you have a anti-direct-damage deck that
will give even Katana pause.  Since Events are a part of so many swordfighting
strategies, ToE is probably best for Slan, the Kurgan, and Xavier.  These
three aren't particularly dependent on Events, and gain huge advantages if
their opponent is penalized for Event play.  This is also a good anti-Holy
Ground card, even against Katana.

Alan - [Abstain]

Jim - Turn of Events is a good anti-cheese card.  It works well against most
decks that use direct damage.  It is very strong when played in conjunction
with Greenfield Hobbies and a deck that utilizes a strong Power Blow attack
offense.  Since it is a Situation it is vulnerable to removal by Katana.

Chip - [Abstain]

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   7
Ben                   N/A
Jeff                    7

Rick                    3
Hank                    8
Alan                  N/A
Jim                     6
Chip                  N/A

Average:                6.2

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