Card of the Week #18-20

Flashback/Recover Edge

SITUATION:  You remember a similar experience.  Discard to return the last
Edge card you played to your hand.  (Restricted to 2)

Well, here's an interesting card.  There are not a lot of cards that tamper
with Edge cards for good or ill.  Twist of Fate (CotW #15) does.  And Rachel
Ellenstein does.  And that's about it.  Until this promotional card was

Game mechanic-wise, there are a few issues.  As with any "discard to use"
card, you can't play it and then use it that same turn.  Your opponent gets a
chance to remove Flashback from play first.  Since there is no time limit on
when you can use Flashback, this is important.  Your last Edge card may have
been played ten turns ago, but you can still use Flashback to recover it.

Flashback won't let you recover an Edge card that you discarded or bypassed
due to other reasons (Twist of Fate, Cat & Mouse/Endurance, Counterfeit, etc).

Flashback is, well, a Flashback card.  It counts against the six total cards
you can have in your deck with a title of "Flashback."

Presumably, if you play multiple Edge cards simultaneously, you can choose
which one you played last.  This is currently not significant.  Later down the
road, however, if a situation arises when you can play two or more different
Edge cards to modify a single circumstance, this will be important.

As with Twist of Fate, Flashback's usefulness depends on the Edge cards you're
using.  Let's run down the list:

Alertness - Block/Dodge:  these are high maintenance cards since they are
unplayable if your opponent doesn't use the appropriate types of attacks.
Rather than add extras of these, use Flashback to double the number.

Alertness/Hidden:  if you're a Power Blow specialist like Slan and Kurgan and
plan to use this card, use Flashback to reuse.  Since you may be limited in
how many you use (since you'll probably want one or more of the other
Alertnesses), Flashback lets you get around this limit.

Careful Planning:  I'm not one to encourage cheese/damage decks.  However, if
you absolutely _must_ use Careful Planning + Angry Mob, you'll want Flashback
to get around the 3-card limit on Careful Planning.

Courage:  With a CotW rating of around 3 for either version, you're probably
not going to be using this, or feel any pressing need to recover it if you

Excessive Force:  Another cheese/damage card, and one that if you're going to
use, you'll want to use again.

Feint:  An excellent card for Connor/Pedestrian/Mountain Cave decks, or if you
want to make Power Blows and sucker someone in.  Flashback to recover it is a
good idea.

Focus:  A "must-use" card.  Many recommend you have six of this in your deck -
Flashback lets you get more than six uses out of it.

Iron Will + Practice Practice:  Primarily good for Disarm strategies.
Flashback can let you get these cards back if you failed on your earlier

Lean & Mean + Patience:  Both of these have about the same effect - rapid card
cycling.  They're also good cards to play if you are locked (due to Wargames
West, Renee Delaney, etc.).  Since you don't have to play Flashback the turn
you use it, you can discard FB to recover a Patience, play that, and satisfy
the "play a card or Exert" requirements for that turn.

Reconnaissance:  Despite their Rare status, Locations are rapidly becoming the
predominant control factor in any given game.  You win or lose by who has
their Location in play . . . and whether you can ignore it or not.

Schemer:  As with any card that is Restricted, Flashback lets you get around
the restriction by reusing a card.  You still can't play two Schemers in a
turn, but you'll have a third one later on.  A great card for a Xavier/Cat &
Mouse deck.

Selective Memory:  A so-so card to recover, unless your opponent is hitting
you heavily with discard tactics.  This doesn't seem to happen very often, but
can be a life-saver against Charm (particularly Kastagir's version) and Kiss
Your Butts Goodbye.

Weapon Bind:  See CotW #16 for uses for this card.  Use Flashback to recover
it and stall your opponent even further.

Watcher's Chronicle Edge Cards:  We still can't go into much detail at this
time.  However, Lunge and Flashing Blade are cards that, if you're using at
all, you're going to want to use a lot.  Since Kern tends to be Flashback
heavy, he may not wish to reduce the number of his persona-Specific Flashbacks
that he can use to four.  But he is heavily reliant on those Edge cards, so
he'd be best off doing so.

So looking over the above, it seems that Flashback is best used when you are
using Edge cards that are restricted, either due to an actual Restriction
number (Schemer, Careful Planning), or title limitation (Alertness).  This
strategy is a little iffy - your opponent may Police or otherwise remove your
Flashback before you can use it.  However, it lets you avoid the use of a pre-
game Darius and use your six pre-game slots for something else.

And if they do Police it . . . well, that's one less Situation-remover they
have for something else.  Xavier users take note.

As a "Flashback" title card, this version does count against your six.
However, currently, the only Personas that have a serious need for the
existing versions of Flashback are Duncan (due to Scotland the Brave), Kern,
and Fitzcairn.  The Movie Edition Flashback remains at this time an inferior
version of Elizabeth Vaughn.  Until such time as either a card comes along to
boost that Flashback's effect, or more cards are released that affect
Reporters and/or Event Allies, use Elizabeth.

So who should use Flashback?  Looking at the above, it's an obvious choice for
Kern.  A plot-user, probably Xavier (or the Kurgan with Cat & Mouse) should
use it if they plan to use Schemer.  Cheese decks (most likely Katana) should
add it for Excessive Force and Careful Planning.

Power Blowers without the ability to see Hidden, and who intend to use
Alertness/Hidden, should have two in their decks as well.  This includes Slan,
and probably the Kurgan.

So overall, Steve gives Flashback a _7_.  It's a surprisingly versatile card,
and I'm surprised it isn't seen more often.  It lets you beat the quantity
restrictions on a number of very useful Edge cards, both cheese and non-
cheese.  Any card that lets you get around either Restriction numbers or the
"six of a title" rule is handy.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Ben - No response

Jeff - A surprisingly useful "fun" card, obviously best when used with Schemer
or Careful Planning.

Rick - An excellent method for getting around card restrictions on Edge cards
(like Careful Planning).  A "Discard to use" Sacrifice without the penalty.

Hank - "Play to recover" cards are typically used (like the Feint Event) to
effectively have more of something in your deck.  Flashback is great for
Careful Planning/Angry Mob or Schemer decks, for example.

Alan - This is a card that should be in almost any deck, since it can give you
the equivalent of 8 of any Edge card (Focus, Patience, etc.).  Being a
Situation, it doesn't depend upon your opponent playing anything; it can be
used any time.

Jim - Flashback/Recover Edge is a good card for any deck that relies on Edges.
It will help diffuse Lock Decks provided you aren't facing Katana
(unfortunately, you can't count on that very often).  This is very useful for
reusing a Focus you played on a previous turn.  FB/Recover Edge is also
helpful in extending the usefulness of Edges like Schemer where you are
limited to 2 per deck.  Using FB/Edge, scheming immortals like Xavier can
retrieve Schemer and got those plots unfolding much more rapidly.

Chip - No response

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   7
Ben                   N/A
Jeff                    6
Rick                    6
Hank                    8
Alan                    7
Jim                     6
Chip                  N/A

Average:                6.67

The Prize/Extra Exertion

OBJECT:  While this card is in play, all players may play an additional
exertion during their turn. There may be only one Prize in play by all
players. The winner of the duel may claim The Prize if it is in play when the
game ends.  (Restricted to 3)

This card has been going out in tournament packages, but it doesn't seem to be
seeing a lot of use.  Part of this may be due to the delayed release of
Watcher's Chronicles (see below).

Another reason may be that people just aren't that fond of using "You may lose
this card"-type cards.  Some people are willing to risk Quickenings.  However,
many are not.  The Prize is even more vulnerable to loss, since you merely
need to lose the duel, not your head.  Holy Ground/Forfeit won't let you keep
The Prize either.

One game mechanics note:  you can _not_ Exert for an attack or defense and
then, by making an extra Exertion, _continue_ that Exertion.  The one
exception to this is if you don't play any cards from the first Exertion.
Thus, if Duncan Exerts for a defense against a URA, and the best he gets is a
Dodge, he can't play it and use Flashback to get a Upper Guard.

A few general observations:  The Prize remains the most reliable way to gain
an extra Exertion each turn.  Flashback and Inspiration are the other two ways
to currently obtain extra Exertions.  Inspiration is pretty much useless in
this circumstance:  if you play Inspiration you have no way to play an
additional Special the same turn to take advantage of your extra Exertion.

Flashback can be used to set up a sequence such as Battle Rage/Scotland the
Brave.  However, this is a rather elaborate combination, requiring three turns
to set up (1 - Flashback; 2 - Scotland the Brave; 3 = Battle Rage and two
Exertions).  Here's hoping your opponent lets you keep those two Situations
out that long.

The Prize is an Object, which means it is more difficult to remove/counter
than an Event or a Situation.

Due to the "one in play" restriction, The Prize is also a good preemptive
card.  Jeff Barnes notes below that The Prize/Extra Exertion is not as useful
as The Prize/Extra Attack.  Perhaps.  However, if you play The Prize/EE first,
your opponent has to remove it before they can get _their_ The Prize down.
This could prove restrictive, for example, to an Amanda deck trying to get
three attacks per turn.

The Prize/EE doesn't require you to make _any_ Exertion.  It merely lets you
make a second one if necessary.  Because of this, The Prize is not a bad
emergency card.

The Prize is also handy in several emergency scenarios.  If your opponent
played Toadies and launched a Power Blow, you can Exert both to prevent the
Toadies damage and to make a Power Block.  If you need to use Angus, you can
do so.

Turn of Events was featured several issues ago (see CotW #17).  The Prize
allows you to meet the Exertion requirement for playing two Events in one
turn.  It is the only "generic" card that currently does so.

Cards that affect Exertions, such as Master/Swordmaster and Collect, are
excellent cards to supplement The Prize.

So the question is, should _you_ use The Prize/Extra Exertion?

The primary issue is:  do you need to (or think you may need to) make more
than one Exertion per turn?  In many cases, the answer is no.  Xavier and
Amanda, for instance, probably could care less since they don't want to make
Exertions at all, and are rarely required or forced to do so.

Of the existing Series and Movie Edition Personas, Katana gains the most from
The Prize.  Using it, he can Exert to remove two Situations, or Exert to
remove a Situation and then Exert for something else.  This card even lets him
partially bypass the effects of Psychosis.  With The Prize, he can Exert to
remove a Situation as required by Psychosis, and still Exert for that Power
Blow, or for an attack to play with his Taunt.

The Prize can also be useful for Duncan, adding to his arsenal of extra
Exertion cards like Flashback and Inspiration.  These cards were initially not
particularly useful.  However, with the emergence of promotional cards like
Scotland the Brave, the ability to make multiple Exertions becomes much more

Slan's Berserk becomes more powerful in conjunction with Scotland the Brave.
A barrage of ten Power Blows, supplemented with two or three Carls, is enough
to give any opponent pause even if they have an Ancestral Blade out.

Connor lacks his clansman's Flashback/extra Exertion talent.  However, he is
also fond of Power Blow/Exerting for the same reason as Duncan:  he suffers no
penalty from a counter-Hidden attack. The Prize lets him Power Blow/Exert and
still have an Exertion to spare.  He also has Battle Rage, and can pull the
same stunt of making five attacks Power Blows via Scotland the Brave.

Khan, Nefertiri and Richie have Battle Rage.  An opponent with an Ancestral
Blade can probably handle five Power Blows more easily then Slan's ten.  They
may or may not wish to use Scotland the Brave.

This pretty much covers the Series and Movie Edition Personas.  As we noted
above, however, one long-awaited Persona from Watcher's Chronicle, the one who
may benefit the most from The Prize, is Kern.

While we can't go into a lot of detail at this time, Kern's Persona ability
has been revealed (in Castle News) as the ability to play any number of
attacks from an Exertion.  As noted above, this means Kern can Exert for five
cards when attacking.  This leaves him with an Exertion available for Hogg, or
to make one of his attacks a Power Blow, or if he needed to Exert for a
defense or against Toadies.  He can't extend his initial attack Exertion with
the second Exertion, but he can extend his Exertions using other cards like
Bowie Knife and Collect.

Hugh Fitzcairn also gets a boost.  As noted in Castle News, Fitzcairn can
Exert to prevent an unspecified amount of damage.  Like Katana's ability, the
only limit on how many times per turn he may use this ability is how many
Exertions he can make per turn.  The Prize lets him get around the "one
Exertion per turn" rule.

So overall, Steve gives The Prize/Extra Exertion a _6_.  It is a powerful
supplement to several Personas (Duncan, Katana, Slan, Kern, and Fitzcairn).
It is of limited use to the others, but can prove handy in an emergency.  An
opponent is very unlikely to have a deck that takes advantage of it like your
deck does, or that can take advantage of it once the game begins.  And The
Prize/EE  stops the use of The Prize/Extra Attack.  Not a bad trade-off for
the potential loss of the card.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Ben - [Abstain]

Jeff - Not as useful as its multi-attack cousin.  In fact, I can't think of a
whole lot of reasons to use it, unless you want to stick somebody else with

Rick - What would a Katana deck be able to do with this one?  Since Exertions
are currently "under-utilized," Katana is the biggest winner with this one.

Hank - Making an extra Exertion might be useful in particular decks (Katana,
maybe, or Turn of Events) but it's not generally useful:  there's never been a
huge run on Duncan Flashbacks.  It's useful for things like Scotland the Brave
with Berserk, I suppose.  I also don't like giving up cards if I lose a match.

Alan - This card should be a must-have in any deck which needs to use
Exertions (Katana, Battle Rage, Bloodlust, Scotland the Brave, Kern, etc.),
since it is always useful to be able to do more than one Exertion in your
turn.  I have only recently begun to see the true value of it in my L&M Connor
Battle Rage/Scotland the Brave deck.

Jim - This is an extremely useful card for Katana and anyone who needs to make
more than one Exertion each turn.  It is pretty much a prerequisite for a deck
that uses Scotland the Brave if you aren't playing Duncan.  Kern should also
consider using this card.

Chip - [Abstain]

Ratings Overall:

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

Average:                5.33

Verona, Italy - 1637

LOCATION:  No [errata:  Special] attacks may be played.

Note:  this review and rating is currently of the old, unerrata'd version.

If the last two promotional cards reviewed, you do not see Turn of Events and
The Prize/Extra Exertion used much.  Verona definitely is the opposite.
Anyone who has encountered a "cheese" deck that employs either direct damage
or a "lock" strategy has probably seen Verona any number of times.

There is good reason for this.  However, first let's look at the game
mechanics involved, and any timing issues.

Verona's effects seem fairly simple.  No attacks may be played.  Emphasis on
"played."  An attack that is not played (via a card) is still legal.
Fortunately, the only attack that currently meets that criterion is Xavier's 1
pt. Middle Center attack.

Timing-wise, Verona will stop an opponent from attacking as long as it is in
play.  However, the opponent can remove it with a a Special and still attack
that same turn.  The same applies for the Verona user:  they can make an
attack and then play Verona.  This timing sequence is similar to that found
for Catwalk, Dead-End Alley, Ruins, and Rooftop.

Compare this to Locations such as Battlefield and Desert.  These are mandatory
beginning-of-turn effects.  The person playing the Location ignores the
effects on the first turn.  Their opponent is harmed (unless they play
Reconnaissance) even if they remove the Location right away on the next turn.

So Verona is a fairly straightforward card.  What can you do with it?

As comes as no surprise, Verona's best use is in "cheese" decks.  For whatever
reason, Thunder Castle created a card that is the antithesis of a
"Swordmaster" game.  Verona works nicely with non-swordfighting decks.

The first category of cards are Event/Damage cards.  The most popular is
currently the Angry Mob/Careful Planning combination.  Alliance, and Toadies
are also popular cards in such decks.

Verona allows these decks to reduce the number of cards they must devote to
defense.  If your opponent can't attack, you don't need defenses . . . leaving
you more room for damage cards, card-cyclers (Holy Ground/SE, Patience, Lean &
Mean, Elizabeth Vaughn, Flashback), and cards to counter your opponent's non-
attack strategies (Police, Do It Yourself).

Such decks will typically use many dodges for those times when an opponent
bypasses Verona:  by removing Verona with an Event, playing another Location,
or using Reconnaissance.

The other deck where Verona is typically used is a "lock" deck.  By the use of
only three cards (Verona, Jack Donovan, and Honor Bound), a small-sized "lock
deck" can sit without Exerting or playing cards.  Meanwhile, an opponent is
forced to Exert in an infinite cycle.  If your opponent can't deal with these
cards as quickly as you play them, they're doomed.

Verona's use outside these two basic deck concepts is problematic.  A heavy
Power Blow-oriented deck might use Verona.  In this manner it can attack by
using Reconnaissance, and not have to worry about a counterattack, Hidden or

So the question is:  how do you handle Verona decks?

Unfortunately, if their use wasn't mandatory with the Movie Edition's release,
Locations now almost have to be used with Verona out, in _any_ deck you
create.  Locations remain the most effective way to deal with an opponent's
Locations, since they not only remove his Location, but let you start your own
tailor-made deck strategy.

The best alternative strategy is to use the Illusory Terrain promotional card.
This will lock up the Locations in their hand unless they deal with Illusory
Terrain.  Even Katana will Exert to remove, hopefully costing him the cards he
needs to defeat you.

Get Away From It All will remove Locations, but there is no real strategy to
it.  You play it - that is the only Special you play that turn.  This makes it
hard to take advantage of the momentary window of attack opportunity.

The final removal strategy against Verona is TSC Troopers.  We have already
talked about this at some length (see CotW #14).  To reiterate what was said
in the main review:  the two decks that typically use Verona are those that
most likely will not Exhaust.  If your opponent doesn't Exhaust, it doesn't
matter where his Verona Locations are - in his discard pile or out of the
game.  However, several of our reviewers felt TSC Trooper was a solution to
Verona abuse.  Try it and see for yourself.

Those are the four ways to _remove_ a Location.  There is a fifth way to
_deal_ with a Location, however, and that is Reconnaissance.  This Edge card
will let you attack _and_ play a Special to enhance your attack.  This is
superior to three of the four methods mentioned above:  only Illusory Terrain
functions differently, being a preventative rather than a removal card.

The problem is that Reconnaissance doesn't do anything about that Verona still
on the table.  You've ignored it:  you may even have played that Berserk and
unleashed 10 attacks.  However, Verona is still in play, stopping you next
turn.  Also, you can only have six Reconnaissance cards.

So Reconnaissance is not _the_ solution to Verona.  However, use it with six
of a given Location, and you're set.  Use Reconnaissance on the turns when you
have a Special-oriented combination ready - play the Location and attack on
the turns when you do not.

Personas who can make effective normal attack(s) without the use of Specials
are the ones who will benefit most here.  Those are primarily:  Slan, Amanda,
Kern, and the Kurgan.  Any of these Personas, particularly when using the
Lunge Edge card in Watcher's Chronicle, can make it difficult for an opponent
to avoid even their "normal" attacks and/or Power Blows.

Reconnaissance is yet another "toolbox" card.  It is always useful:  you can
play it on your own Locations, if nothing else.  However, by the time you add
six "necessary" Reconnaissance, and six Focii to deal with those pesky
Situations, and a few Extra Weapons to deal with disarm decks, and some anti-
Event damage cards, and so on . . . you begin to have a deck too large to _do_
something.  You may have to use less than six Reconnaissances just to keep
your deck size viable.

Enough of how to deal with Verona.  Who should use it?

The typical Personas that use damage and lock decks are Katana and Xavier.
Katana rules pretty much supreme here:  he can Exert/remove most of the
Situations you can bring to bear against him (including Illusory Terrain, see
above).  He has a good range of cards to deal with what you throw at him (Do
it Yourself) and he even has another, underrated way to keep you from
attacking or make it painful to do so (Intimidate).

Xavier is not quite as powerful.  However, since his strength is in using
Plots, he can use Verona to stop you while using Unholy Alliance, Bassett &
Hotchkiss, and Poison Gas to lower your Ability and ignore your damage-
prevention cards.  Thanks to Forethought and Plan Ahead, he can counter most
of your cards.

Are there other Personas that should use Verona?  Not really.  A deck that
relies on "cheese" should probably do so, but it's rare that another Persona
does so.  Nefertiri perhaps, and Kalas has some potential.

Generally, however, if you have any kind of swordfighting strategy for your
deck, you do not want to use Verona.  There are other Locations that can
enhance your swordfighting strategy and/or deprive your opponent of needed

So overall, Steve's rating for Verona is a _8_.  It's an extremely powerful
add-on to a few already-powerful decks, and superior to the other existing
attack stoppers (Pedestrian/Hidden-Only, Intimidate, Pedestrian/Delay-2).  It
can be dealt with, however, but it can be hard to work around.  If you have a
deck that should use Verona, then its use is without measure.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Ben - [Abstain]

Jeff - Ranks as the most abusive non-pregame card in the game at present.
Extremely powerful, extremely deadly.  It's Verona; do you really need me to
say anything about it?

Rick - A cheese card that started with the best of intentions.  While Verona
can shut down attack decks, it's only a Location so there are many ways to
remove it.  This card alone makes playing with Locations a necessity.

Hank - A way-too-useful card for cheese decks.  Despite my moral outrage at
the very _existence_ of this card, it's definitely a must-use in those decks.

Alan - Ah, the bane of every sword deck's existence.  One of the most abusive
cards out there, particularly when combined with such other abusive (promo)
cards like Safe Haven/Situation.  A must-have card for every cheese and lock
deck.  As a Highlander card in general, I give it a 1.  However, as part of a
cheese/lock deck, I give it a 9.  (Averaged to 5)

Jim - This is one of the cards I hate most in this game.  It is very powerful
and really helps the cheesemongers.  It is not hard to deal with alone but
when it is combined with Wargames West and/or Honor Bound it is an absolute
attack deck killer.  Verona is particularly abusive when it is combined with
Safe Haven which leads the way in abusive cards that TCG should never have
released.  Verona is a must have for anyone building a Lock deck.  Anyone
frustrated with the use of Verona should consider using the often overlooked
TSC Troopers which lets you remove a Location from the *game* at the expense
of an Exertion.

Since TCG has never stated how this card is acquired, this card is terribly
frustrating for players who aren't plugged in to TCG's special underground
promo card release system.  Of course, you can get one through the promo
subscription plan but I've yet to hear any further details regarding the promo

Chip - [Abstain]

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   8
Ben                   N/A
Jeff                   10
Rick                    8
Hank                    9
Alan                    5
Jim                     8
Chip                  N/A

Average:                8.00