Card of the Week #43-44

Cat and Mouse/Extra Attack and Draw

SITUATION:  When you play Cat and Mouse, total the number of Cat and Mouse
Plots in play by all players.

(For "Extra attack" version):  After you play this card, you may play an
attack this turn for each Cat and Mouse in play.

(For "Draw" version):  After you play this card, draw a card from your
Endurance for each Cat and Mouse in play.

Watcher's Chronicles adds two Cat and Mouse plots, bringing the total up to
five.  Card of the Week looked at the first three CM plots back in #24.  Now
let's see what you can do with these two new versions.

Cat and Mouse plots are cumulative with any and all Cat and Mouse plots
already in play on the table.  You count the Cat and Mouse that you are
playing when adding up the total number.  So when you play the third Cat and
Mouse, you are considered to have three "in play."

Game-mechanics questions first.  For Cat and Mouse/Extra Attack, this is the
_total_ number of attacks you get during your turn.  So if you play this plot
as the first CM on the table, you only get one attack - same as normal.  You
need at least one CM already on the table before you can play this plot to get
multiple attacks.

Cat and Mouse/Extra Attack is worded so that it is _not_ cumulative with other
multiple attack providers.  If Amanda plays two Cat and Mouse/Extra Attack,
she may make two attacks that turn:  not four.

CM/EA defines the number of slots you have in a turn.  Once you have those
slots, you may handle them normally.  Thus, if Kern played CM/EA, and it was
the second CM on the table, he could Exert for attacks twice (assuming he had
two Exertions available to him).

CM/EA is optional.  This means first that it can't be used to bypass cards
like Pedestrian/Delay-2 and Intimidate/Slan or Luther.  This also means that
you are not obliged to make any attacks at all the turn you play it.  This can
let you play CMs early while saving up attacks for later when there are more
CM/EA in play.

You may use the Draw version of CM at any time during your turn, subject to
the usual limitations on playing Specials.  The draw requirement here is _not_
optional.  Normal end-of-turn discarding rules apply.

To review some general rulings, Director's Cut/Situation can _not_ be used as
a substitute Cat and Mouse.  CM has no "requirement" so DC is useless.

Underworld Contact will negate any single Cat and Mouse effect directed at
you, in the normal manner.  However, in the case of the these two new CMs,
these effects are self-directed.  There is no reason for you to use UC against
them even if you could.  And by the time it is your opponent's turn, the
effects have already resolved and it is too late for him to use UC.

So what can you do with these cards?

Cat and Mouse/Draw is a good "emergency" card.  Like Patience and Heroic Deed,
it can give you a kick of cards if you're short a defense, or if you've just
undergone some forced discarding due to Charm (Fitzcairn's or Kastagir's),
Kiss Your Butts Goodbye, Caught in the Act/SE, etc.

The problem is that you must discard the extra cards at the end of your turn.
But this provides us with a new use for a previously under-used card:
Master's Endurance.  This Master card lets you keep those excess cards.  If
there is already three CMs in play, and you use Schemer to play a fourth and
fifth CM/Draw, you will be six cards ahead at the end of the turn.  And cards
are power in Highlander.  The more you have, the more you can deal with and
defend against.

This tactic becomes even more powerful when mixed with a particular promo
card:  Measure of a Man.  This card lets you draw a card for each Situation:
Plot you have in play.  This only lets you draw for your own Plots, not your
opponent's.  However, if you've put a fifth CM of your own into play and drawn
five cards . . . next turn you can play Measure of a Man and draw five _more_.
And you can keep them, thanks to Master's Endurance.

Nefertiri, of course, can put the extra cards back rather than discarding
them, and in whatever order she wishes.  This means she won't be able to get
at them until her next turn, though.  Unlike Dr. Alan Neyman or Battlefield,
this won't do her much good against Katana's Taunt.

What about Cat and Mouse/Extra Attack?  This plot is tricky to use, since it's
the only Special you can play in a turn.  Strategies that work for Berkeley
Distributors, a discard-to-use Situation, won't work for CM/EA.

The ever-reliable Flashing Blade (CotW #38) can be used to limit the
effectiveness of your opponent's dodges against a multi-attack sequence.  A
well-placed Lunge (CotW #37) does nearly as well.  And Watcher/Involvement can
counter a Master's Block.

Factory and the use of Cat and Mouse/Defense can help here.  Get a Factory
out, then play a third CM/Def, then next turn play a fourth CM/Extra Attack.
Defense deprivation via Battlefield or Charm/Kastagir can also work here.

So who should use the new Cat and Mouse Plots?  Just as before, Xavier is the
obvious choice, since not only can he use 12 Cat and Mouse Plots, but he can
use 12 of the _same_ CM Plot.  If he wishes to, he can use 12 CM/Draw.  Mix
with Master's Endurance and Measure of a Man, and he can have a very large
hand at any given time.

Alternately, Xavier can use six CM/Endurance Burn and six CM/Draw.  He can sit
back and burn their cards and have plenty of his own.  Alternately, he can
substitute CM/Lose Attacks for Endurance Burn, and keep them from attacking
while he brings his own strategies to fruition.

Kalas, Annie, and the Kurgan all have cards that aid them in using Plots:
Forgery, Escape, and Disguise, respectively.  CM/EA helps to give Annie extra
attacks even when she is not successfully attacked - her Flashing Blade-like
ability serves her well here.

The Kurgan doesn't have to hit very often to be effective, thanks to his extra
damage.  A mix of Extra Attack and Lose Defense Cat and Mouse cards can weaken
an opponent, while assuring that the CMs stay out to accumulate.

Kalas can mix Factory with Cat and Mouse and his own Song of the Executioner
for additional card deprivation.  Again, a mix of Extra Attack and Lose
Defense CMs on top of this can take out an opponent.

We commented above on the effectiveness of Battlefield (CotW #3) and Factory
(#23) when used with Cat and Mouse Plots.  The Personas who tend to benefit in
general from these Locations are Kastagir and Nefertiri.

Cat and Mouse/Extra Attack helps Kern, since the second and subsequent ones
can let him either Exert multiple times for an attack, or play an attack from
his hand and then Exert to play some more.  Kern's major weakness is being
stuck with attacks in his hand:  one in his hand means one less for him to
draw in an Exertion.  CM/EA helps him to bypass that.

Other Personas can take advantage of either or both of these Plots.  Their
powers and cards don't necessarily lend themselves as well as the ones
mentioned above, however.

So overall, Steve gives Cat and Mouse/Extra Attack a _4_ and Cat and
Mouse/Draw a _6_.  CM/EA is a bit weaker, and perhaps not the most effective
of the five current Cat and Mouse Plots.  In the right hands it can be
dangerous.  CM/Draw is more universally effective, and in the right
combinations can give a major boost to hand size and therefore available

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Whoa.  These two (especially the extra attack one) put C&M on the map.
Imagine a Xavier deck with 6 C&M: Defense and 6 C&M: Attack.  Throw in some
Flashing Blades, maybe a Schemer, and voila... death on a stick.  The draw C&M
isn't as useful, but I suppose it'd be nice to get in sealed deck.

Rick - More Building Plots.  Excellent idea.  I like these cards.  After
playing several C&M Discard defenses, then popping down a C&M Attack, your
opponent better have the C&M draw cards to cope with the onslaught.

Hank - Cat & Mouse Extra Attack is a fun card, especially for my attack-heavy
Xavier deck (works great with C&M/Def and Flashing Blade)... I love it, as I
do all swordfighting cards.  Cat & Mouse Draw is interesting because it can
let you draw way past your current Ability... it's a good anti-lock card, it's
good for card throughput, and (again) it's fun in Xavier decks.

Alan -

Jim - (Attack) A really good Plot for any attack deck.  Especially good if you
can make multiple Power Blows.  Use with Locations Catwalk, Ruins, or
Battlefield.  (Draw) A good Plot to use to defeat lock decks.  Very good for
Xavier to use with Hidden Explosives.  For Xavier I like pairing this Cat and
Mouse with the one that causes Endurance Burn.  A wonderful card for Katana
attack decks that use Taunt.

Wayne - Abstain

Prodipto - (Attack) This card has a lot of potential.  Just about any attack
oriented deck could get a boost out of it.  The one to benefit the most from
this card is Kern.  He could play all his attacks but one, then exert for that
last one, and play all the attacks from the exertion.  Of course a single all-
encompassing dodge or a Master's Block will still avoid the damage, but
coupled with some good anti-dodge cards (Master's Advance, Catwalk,
Battlefield, Lunge etc), this card has a lot of potential.  An interesting
alternative is a Kastagir deck with Charms and Kiss Your Butt Goodbye.  This
card would also work well with Berkeley Games to add some extra attacks if
you're not Kern.  (Draw)  A good card for Nefertiri, since she can draw
several cards, then put some back on her deck (and sort them in the order she
wants to draw them back).  Otherwise it's of fairly limited value if you
construct your deck well.  Medium sized decks will receive the most benefit
from it, since you have a good chance of getting a card you need.  Similarly,
it's not a bad card to play in your defense phase if you don't have the
defense you need, and want to save yourself an exertion.  Overall, though,
there are a lot better uses for the space in your deck than this card.

Allen - (Attack) An intriguing card, especially when the last of several C&M's
you played was discard defense!  I love including one of these in my attack-
heavy Xavier C&M decks.  As with most multi-attack sequences, you need to set
this up with special restricting situations/ locations, or play it in
conjunction with Flashing Blade.  Otherwise your opponent will most likely
avoid your large expenditure of resources with but a single dodge or Holy
Ground.  (Draw) The usefulness of this card varies, depending upon whether or
not you are facing hand-jam.  However, it is always a good late-game card when
you are low on ability.  Nefertiri can avoid the downside almost entirely (by
discarding to the top of her deck, although it will take her a bit to draw
them back), whereas Xavier (obviously) can count on getting more cards from
it.  If you plan on using this card late-game, consider Master's Endurance as

Ratings Overall:

Format is:  Extra Attack / Draw

Steve                 4/6
Jeff                  7/4
Rick                  7/5
Hank                  9/8
Alan                  N/A
Jim                   8/7
Wayne                 N/A
Prodipto              7/3
Allen                 7/6

Average:                7.00/5.57

Donna Ondrejka

EVENT:  A past lover offers a chance at a new life. Shuffle your hand into
your discard pile and randomly redraw the same number of cards from your
discard pile. You lose 2 Ability.  [Restricted to 2]

Successful use of Donna Ondrejka requires a clear understanding of how the
card works, as well as the new "Sweep Phase" concept.  Several people I know
have looked at the card and failed to understand exactly what it does.

Game mechanic questions first.  "A past lover..." is flavor text.  The loss of
two Ability occurs on the Ability Adjustment phase when you play Donna.  Donna
is not removed from the game when you use it.  She is shuffled in and then
possibly drawn back as part of your hand.

So exactly how does Donna function?  Let's go through what the card text says,
step by step, in a typical circumstance.

You're playing a traditional 44-card Lean and Mean Sedarius deck, using the
Kurgan.  You go second.  On turn one you play Carl, one Lean and Mean, and a
block.  At the end of Turn One you have 15 in your Ability/Hand, one on
display, two cards waiting to be "swept," 26 cards in your Endurance, and
nothing in your discard pile.

You do the same thing on your second turn:  play a Carl, one Lean and Mean,
and a block.  At the end of Turn Two you have 15 in your Ability/hand, two on
display, two cards waiting to be "swept," 23 cards in your Endurance, and two
in your trash.

On Turn Three, you play a Lean and Mean, and get exactly what you need.  You
then play a Darius, a Seduce/Amanda, a Thrust, and Exert three cards for a
Power Blow.  To simplify things, your opponent plays a Holy Ground next turn,
and you discard Carl to stop it.  We'll figure in that discard now, however.
Overall, you have 15 in your Ability/hand, one on display, four cards waiting
to be "swept," 16 in your Endurance, and eight in your trash.  Your opponent
takes six damage (Thrust + Power Blow + the Kurgan's +1 damage).

Turn Four is the critical moment.  The Lean and Mean, Seduce, Thrust, and
Darius from your last turn enter your discard pile.  You have 15 cards in your
hand, and 12 in your Trash.  Your opponent makes an attack.  You look at your
discard pile.  There's a Darius, a Seduce, a Carl, three Lean and Mean Edges,
two blocks, a Thrust, and the three cards you Exerted past to make that Power

What you'll have to look at is what is in your hand and what is in your
discard, and whether mixing the two together and drawing 13 at random will
benefit you.  If your current hand of cards is garbage, redrawing some or all
of your cards from your discard can't hurt, and you've got nothing to lose by
doing so.  You have a Watcher/Treatment and a Thrust in your hand, but other
then that your hand is not so good, so you go for it.

You play a block, then Donna Ondrejka.  Those two cards wait to be swept, and
are neither in your Ability/hand or your discard pile.

You take the 13 cards in your hand, and shuffle them together with the 12
cards in your discard pile.  From these 24 cards you then deal yourself 13 and
the remaining 12 form your new discard pile.  You lose two Ability, and now
have a number of cards in your Ability/hand equal to your Ability score.  You
end Turn Four with 13 cards in your Ability/hand, one on display, three cards
waiting to be "swept," 15 in your Endurance, and 12 in your discard pile.

Quickly checking your hand, you see you drew back the Watcher/Treatment and
the Thrust.  You also managed to grab the Seduce, Carl, a Lean and Mean, and
Darius back.

On Turn Five you "sweep" Donna and the block from last turn into your discard
pile.  You then play Lean and Mean, a block, Darius, Seduce, Thrust, and exert
three cards for another Power Blow.  You end up tossing Carl, which we'll
account for now.  You do six more damage (see above).  You then draw four
cards.  You end with an Ability/hand of 15, nothing displayed, five cards to
be "swept," nine in your Endurance, and 17 in your discard pile.  Your
opponent is down 12 Ability.

On Turn Six you sweep your five cards from last turn, play a block and a
Watcher/Treatment.  You draw 4, leaving you with an Ability/hand of 15,
nothing displayed, two cards to be "swept," five in your Endurance, and 22 in
your discard pile.

On Turn Seven, you sweep the two cards from last turn, and have your second
Donna Ondrejka in your hand.  Should you play it?  Now you'll be shuffling the
15 cards in your hand with the 24 cards in your trash.  You should consider
carefully whether you want to save Donna for after the Endurance burn, or take
the risk now based on the good stuff in your Ability and/or discard.

As becomes clear from the example above, Donna Ondrejka is most useful in Lean
and Mean format.  Consider this:  potentially, you can have a deck of
effectively 32 cards.  Using six LM reduces the deck size down to 44 cards.
However, of that 44, six are LMs which essentially "pass" through your hand
without taking up space.

So you really only have 38 cards in your hand?  How do you get down to 32?
Use six Patience cards.  Like Lean and Mean, they take up no space in your
hand if you play them to draw.

Out of those 32 cards, 15 must be the mandatory nine attacks and six blocks.
That leaves you with 17 cards, and two Donna Ondrejkas reduce that further
down to 15 remaining cards for your overall strategy.

What do you do with those 15 cards?  Well, that's the whole reason behind LM
format, of course - figuring that out.  What you can do with those 15 cards
also points us towards who should use Donna.

What you want are cards or combos that are prevalent enough that you have a
good chance of drawing and redrawing what you need.  A Kurgan/Bloodlust deck,
for instance, probably isn't a good bet because out of those 44 cards, the
chances of drawing even one, much less both Bloodlusts, before exhausting
isn't that good.  Also, factoring in the 15-card Exertion which may further
force you past Donna or your other Bloodlust, and it doesn't seem good.

What you want is redundancy.  That brings us to the Sedarius example mentioned
above.  Even with TCGs limited to two, this is a good bet.  The Kurgan and
Slan can do cheap Power Blows, while Richie can snag an extra Seduce without
using a Darius to do so.  Master Swordsman (CotW #35), a new "free" Power Blow
card, gives extra versatility in attack placement and means the Kurgan and
Richie don't need to make an Exertion.  It also provides a good emergency
defense against Power Blows.

The "traditional" Katana direct-damage deck also works well.  Three Careful
Plannings, three Angry Mobs, and two Toadies can take up eight of those 15
"free" cards in your LM deck, and still leave room for seven more cards to add
a few Master's Blocks or Swordsman, a Nexus, and two Watcher/Treatments.

Another heavy-hitter, curiously, is Kastagir.  Boom Boom is an unpleasant
card, and in this format well worth adding a fifth via a pre-game Darius.
Play 2-3, then use Donna, play a couple again, then play the remaining 2-3
that were in your Endurance when you used Donna.  Play a second Donna, and
play 1-2 again.  Instead of inflicting 4-5 Ability loss with Boom Booms, do
8-9.  Boom Boom only takes up five of your fifteen "free" cards, so put in
Nexus and two Watcher/Treatment, and the remaining seven cards can be used for
five Master Swordsman and two other cards (Second Wind, perhaps?) of your

As for others, the author will leave it to the reader's imagination.  Donna
Ondrejka effectively makes any Lean and Mean deck much more powerful.  If your
LM deck relies on just 1-3 key cards, you may wish to give it a pass.  But if
you've already got an effective LM deck, Donna will probably make it stronger.

What about non-LM decks?  The problem is, the larger your deck, the better the
odds that the important stuff is in your Endurance waiting to be drawn on a
later turn.  That's exactly where it should _not_ be if you want to use Donna.
To use an extreme example, if Kastagir is using a 100-card deck, and those
four Boom Booms are in the last 10 cards, Donna is just taking up space in his
hand.  Not only that, but since the discard is larger when Kastagir _does_
play Donna, the odds of him drawing back one or more Boom Booms is that much

Playing Donna Ondrejka "late" when going through your Endurance is also a bad
idea because it can cost you cards that you may be hording.  Watcher/Treatment
is the obvious example:  a card that people will hold until after a pass
through their Endurance and the subsequent 5-Ability "burn."

So overall, Steve gives Donna Ondrejka a _5_.  It is a powerful card, but only
in a particular configuration.  For anything beyond a 50-card deck, it's a
calculated risk.  For decks above 60-70, it's rarely worth the space in your
deck, and can actually hurt you.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Awesome for Lean and Mean speed decks.  Why use Sacrifice to get back
your cards when you might get them back with Donna?  Sedarius gets another new
weapon, but one that (to be fair) isn't unbalanced in the least.  Might be
interesting in a perpetual Renee Delaney deck as well, if you don't mind
losing the lock for a turn.

Rick - It lets you get back those nasty combos that you've been pelting your
opponent with.  This one almost does away with card Restrictions.  Okay, I
think it's open to abuse even restricted to 2 but what about in using it?  The
combos I might recover had better be worth the two point Ability loss.

Hank - Donna is a weaker version of the NEXUS card.  NEXUS is discard-to-use,
and limited to one, but doesn't have any ability loss.  I use NEXUS and not
Donna - I have better things to play.  Still, it's probably fairly well-
balanced, I don't know how I would've changed it.

Alan - Admittedly, this isn't a card I have considered much.  My decks tend to
be such that I tend not to have a hand that I want to get rid of, and the two
Ability loss is a little steep for me.

Jim - This one is great for hard hitting Lean and Mean decks.  A single
Watcher/Treatment can offset the two Ability Loss.  Make sure you have either
lots of damage cards or attacks that are unblockable or undodgable.  You need
to have a target-rich discard and the best way achieve this is with a well-
constructed Lean and Mean.

Wayne - [Abstain]

Prodipto - This card, at face value, has a lot of potential.  For the cost of
2 ability, you can refresh a stale hand or give you a shot at putting that
really cool card back in your hand.  But when you examine her more closely, it
is obvious that if you craft your deck well, you shouldn't need her at all.
For the most part I'd use Donna in experimental decks until I had refined them
to the point where she was unnecessary.

Allen - Donna is an imprecise tool for regaining cards from your discard.
Best used when you have a shallow discard, or a very target rich discard (Lean
and Mean decks).  What you get should be important, for the very act of
reaching for it will cost you two points of ability.  While Donna can have a
big impact upon the game, she's not reliable enough for me to consider using
her very often.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   5
Jeff                    6
Rick                    4
Hank                    6
Alan                    2
Jim                     6
Wayne                 N/A
Prodipto                4
Allen                   4

Average:                4.63