Annie Devlin - by Steve Crow

If your opponent plays a successful attack against you,
then you may play up to two additional attacks during
your next Attack Phase.  Dodges will not avoid multiples
attacks that you play.  You may have up to five Master
cards.

Overview

Annie can be a tricky Immortal to employ.  To understand
her and get best benefit out of her Persona ability and
cards requires a bit of study.

Game-mechanic questions further.  Even if an attack does
no damage, either inherently (Dirty Tricks, Improvised
Weapon/Attack) or after modification (Dr. Sonny Jackson,
Dr. Anne Lindsey), it is still "successful" and Annie's
Persona ability kicks in, getting her two additional
attacks.

Annie's additional attacks are cumulative with most other
ways to get multiple attacks.  Thus, if she is
successfully attacked and then plays Combination, she
gets a fourth attack.

Her secondary ability has occasionally been misconstrued. 
A dodge will work whether she makes one attack or
multiple ones.  However, a dodge will not protect against
more than one attack.  Essentially she has an inherent,
continual Flashing Blade (CotW #37).

Persona-Specific Cards

Among her general Persona-specific cards, Annie has the
"standard" Back Away, and the by-now standard Evade, and
that's it.  All of her non-Reserved cards are subtly
different from the more familiar ones.

Her Combination not only gives her an additional attack,
but forces the opponent to play a separate defense
against each of her attacks.  This can prove costly,
particularly when combined with anti-dodge in-play cards
like Master's Advance and Lighthouse.

Continuity lets her make free Power Blows, but only if
her opponent does so.  Still, she doesn't have to
_successfully_ defend against the Power Blow.  But this
won't catch an opponent by surprise past the second time
she uses it.  It's more likely that if they're worried
about her Power Blowing, they'll wait until her
Continuity runs out.

Her Duck is weaker than either Duncan/Connor/Nakano's, or
Fasil's.  Still, it gives her a large area of evasion,
lets her dodge and counter-attack, and avoids those
painful Head Shot-prone upper areas.

Extra Shot only lets her make an additional attack if her
opponent did not attack (you can't benefit from this on
your first turn, if you go first).  There are a number of
ways to assure this, from Pedestrian/Delay-2 to Weapon
Bind to a Darius'd Intimidate/Slan. The second attack can
be further augmented with Lunge.

Flashback is the standard Situation/Exert version that
Duncan and Kern have.  I must admit, I've never seen much
use for it in Annie's hands.  Perhaps if she needs to use
Battle Rage and still Exert for something (a Power Block,
perhaps?), this can benefit her.

Trip, besides its Standing Defense removal capability,
lets her do an extra point of damage on _any_ successful
attack played that turn.  Since she can potentially make
three attacks without playing a Special (more, with
Berkeley, Master Race and The Prize/Extra Attack), she
only needs to hit once.

That brings us to her Reserved cards.  Her Battle Rage is
a simple way to make multiple Power Blows.  She'll still 
need a way to play more than one attack, of course.  More
on that below.

Escape often seems to be an overlooked card.  Unlike the
Kurgan's Disguise, it doesn't impact Annie's ability to
play Police cards.  If she can get and keep down a couple
of these, she can either go Situation-heavy, Plot-heavy,
or even direct damage-heavy.

Annie's Master's Attack is, quite frankly, a very cool
card.  The trick is being able to play it.  While a block
will restrict her first attack, it won't restrict her
second or third attacks if she can use her Persona
ability.  She can usually play it via Extra Shot and
Combination as well.  If she plays it as the second
attack of an Extra Shot, it can't be stopped normally by
Master's Block.  Evade will also let her play this.

Her last Reserved card is Run Through.  This version is
also different, giving her multiple Hidden attacks.  The
timing on this can be tricky, but three Hidden attacks
can be formidable.

Generic Cards

Dr. Sonny Jackson and Dr. Anne Lindsey are vital cards
for Annie to use.  Besides their inherent advantages,
they also assure that Annie can make three attacks and
take no damage.

For those times when she must take damage,
Watcher/Treatment is even more important.  Adding in some
Lost Loves might even be worth the effort.  Healing has
earned itself, perhaps deservedly, somewhat of a bad
name.  Still, when your primary Persona ability requires
you typically (not always) take damage for it to kick in,
it's pretty vital to have such cards.

Due to her inherent Persona ability duplicating Flashing
Blade, Flurry Strike is the best generic attack card
Annie can use.  Her Persona ability keeps a dodge from
working against more than one attack, and the second and
subsequent Flurry Strikes can't be blocked.

Slashes can be hard to avoid, and become even harder with
Annie's secondary Flashing Blade ability.  Mix in an
occasional Slash/Upper, doing two damage, and your
opponent may have serious problems.

Anti-dodge cards such as Master's Advance and Kiss Your
Butts Goodbye can make avoiding her multiple attacks even
more difficult.

As noted above, Generic cards that give her even more
attacks that are subsequently enhanced by her secondary
Persona ability are useful.  These include Berkeley
Distributors, Master Race, and The Prize/Extra Attack. 

Since Annie is attack-dependent, Trenchcoat and
Discipline/Attack help to assure that she can keep on
attacking.  Carl also helps to keep wary opponents from
fleeing to Holy Ground.

Annie's ability can enhance discarding.  If she is
successfully attacked, she can play a Disarm, see if it
succeeds, and then play two regular attacks.  Once her
opponent is disarmed and can no longer attack, though,
her Persona ability is useless.  Still, if she can get
multiple attacks through other means (particularly
Combination), her secondary Persona ability means a
disarmed opponent who tries to dodge will be in serious
trouble after a turn or two.

And there's always Parrying Blade.  It's no worse than
Yung Dol Kim's as far as protection goes.  And since
she's likely to have more attacks than average, her
chance of having the right attack to block at the right
time is greater.

Location Cards

Interestingly, Annie doesn't really lend herself
particularly well to any given Location.  Laundry Room
and Lighthouse, for instance, require that she be
successfully attacked.  If Annie's opponent successfully
attacks her, then they probably won't have to worry about
the "penalty" of missing an attack.

Since Annie has no inherent protection against direct
damage, Spiritual Center is probably a good default
choice for her.  Watcher Regional HQ, if she combines it
with cards like Watcher/Fair Fight and Greenfield Hobby,
could also prove useful, giving her more cards to draw
upon and a better chance of having three attacks and
damage-prevention at any given moment.

Annie does have Duck and Evade, meaning she is a bit more
versatile in the Dead End Alley than many Personas:
certainly more than her WC compatriots.  She will
probably still want Reconnaissance so she can play Back
Away against those multi-area attacks, though.

Mountain Cave can let her unleash a barrage of Hidden
attacks.  At the very least, if she can't stop her
opponent's Hidden attack(s) in the Mountain Cave, she
will get multiple hidden attacks in return.  Against
Connor, of course, this strategy is useless.

As always, the use of other Locations is possible, but
will have to be specifically tailored to a particular
strategy that you choose for Annie.

How to Win

Doctors Lindsey and Jackson are essential to Annie's
success.  You have to be able to let yourself
successfully be hit and yet not take any damage.  These
cards are remarkably useful for doing this.

You'll want a fair number of attacks so you can take
advantage of Annie's Persona ability.  Six of these
should be Flurry Strikes.

You want to encourage your opponent to attack you.  Cards
like Louise Marcus (CotW #9) are not particularly
helpful, and often actually help the opponent by allowing
them to cycle cards.  The best incentive to force
attacking is Annie's Extra Shot.  Combine it with Lunge,
and they'll soon realize that if they attack you, at
least they'll be able to play _some_ defenses from their
hand against you.

Disarming can prove useful, but only if Annie let herself
be hit.  As noted above, let yourself be hit, play a
Disarm, see if it works, and then unleash two follow-up
attacks (preferably augmented with Lunge and Iron Will).

Since Annie currently has no anti-direct damage cards, or
ways to turn such damage to her benefit, Police/Counter
Damage, Greenfield Hobby, and Spiritual Center are all
necessary cards.

Escape can prove a useful bulwark in protecting Annie's
Situations, particularly Plot-type ones.  It's also a
good defense against Bedsoe and Precinct.  Unholy
Alliance is always useful.  Head Hunter/ME, when
supported by other methods of multi-attacking, can
quickly drain off an opponent's dodges.  It's a bit
expensive, Exertion-wise, but Annie's Battle Rage will
potentially let her pull off multiple Head Shots in
conjunction with Destruction/ME1.  And The Darkness,
although it won't last too long, will let Annie unleash a
barrage of Hidden attacks in conjunction with her Run
Through.

How to Defeat

Avoid attacking Annie.  However, with the new rule
modifiers and alterations, and Annie's Extra Shot, this
may prove difficult and/or painful.

If you're going to attack, make your attacks worth it. 
Dirty Trick/Shove can keep Annie from counter-attacking. 
Unblockable Head Shots mean that Annie has to dodge,
since otherwise letting the attack succeed will mean the
end of the game for her.

Flurry Strikes and the Kurgan's ability can also strain
the damage-prevention cards Annie no doubt has in her
hand. 

If you're Amanda, you may have to play a cautious game. 
Since you only do one damage with most of your attacks,
Annie can defend against one of your attacks, let the
other hit, and then go for a three-attack combo.  This
can prove excessive even for the dodge-heavy Amanda.  If
you use most Slashes, you may have similar problems.

Dirty Trick/Kick, Pummel, and Improvised Weapon/Attack
are also attacks that Annie may very well let herself be
hit by so she can get multiple attacks (although with
Kick, she'll only get two attacks rather than three).

Basically, be very careful about attacking Annie unless
you have three or more defenses, or unless you can make
your attack a powerful one.

Concerning Annie's Nemesis, Compromise, this absolutely
shuts down her Persona ability.  However, since Annie
currently isn't a popular choice, you may not see much
opportunity to use this Nemesis.  The fact that there is
currently no Quickening that duplicates her ability means
that Watcher Database and to a great degree Watcher's
Chronicle are pretty much useless.

Overall

Overall, Steve gives Annie a qualified _4_.  I think she
has potential, and the current fluctuating attack/non-
attack environment makes it hard to determine exactly
what impact her Persona ability has on the game.  Her
power does mean she is dependent on generic damage-
prevention cards a bit more than I prefer.  Still, the
cards for her are there.  And oddly, her ability is the
most reliable and damaging of those Persona with inherent
multi-attack abilities.  Amanda does only one damage per
attack, Kim needs to keep those Frenzies out in the post-
ME2 environment, and Kern relies on the vagaries of an
Exertion.  Annie doesn't need to worry about playing
either Flashing Blade or a multi-attack Special to get
those attacks.  I think once the attack-oriented changes
in the rules are re-evaluated, she'll rank a point of two
higher.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Annie has the unfortunate stigma of being one of
the few Personas that actively encourage cheese, lock,
and stall due to her anti-attack nature.  Attacking Annie
with less than three Dodges (or two Dodges and blocks
that cover a lot of grids) is somewhat stupid... unless
you're going for her head.  Annie tends to be too
powerless against non-attack decks to really be
competitive currently, IMHO, and probably doesn't pack
enough defenses and Alertness to be really successful
against Head Shot decks, making her a bit unviable
(though very surprising) in tournament play.  Her cards
also fail to support her main attack theme (though Extra
Shot is kind of nice).

Hank - As part of Watcher's Chronicles, Annie was
designed to be a swordfighter at heart... but whatever
strengths she had have been eclipsed by the releases of
The Gathering and the Duncan & Methos Collections.  I've
tried to play her before, but I always think of someone
else who can do better...

Alan - Abstain

Prodipto - Abstain

Allen - Annie Devlin is hampered by the fact that half of
her ability only works if she is damaged, and even then
only if damaged by an attack (editor's note: actually,
her Persona ability is only indirectly related to taking
damage - whether an attack is "successful" is the
trigger).  While other Immortals may use all the damage
prevention Annie has access to, they may do so without
having to use it up merely to let their power kick in. 
To make up for this you need to make the part of her
power that does work do so as well as possible.  Master's
Advance can work well for her here.  People tend to
overlook her Escape, but you can use it to help keep
Master's Advance and Scotland the Brave in play. 
Combination is her best attack card.  Use it to
concentrate on _one_ corner.  Master Swordsman is a great
help in this tactic.  Extra Shot can work well with
Weapon Bind, but in general I prefer Combination. 
Unfortunately, whenever you build an Annie deck you are
happy with you can almost always toss in 6 Flashing
Blades and ask, 'what if I were immortal X?'

Bruce - Annie has a fairly mediocre set of cards and a
power that is weak when used and unusable against non-
attack decks. The real problem is that you just can't put
together a good deck for Annie.  Like most of the WC
personas, she is weak defensively but her offense just
doesn't make up for it. She is inferior to several other
Personas when attempting to make multiple attacks,
especially when you consider the conditional nature of
her power. I have not seen a competitive Annie deck since
Fast Talk was made Signature.

Stealth Dave - Annie probably has the best spread of
cards from the Watcher's Chronicles.  Her unique
Combination ensures that she can make multiple attacks
even when her opponent doesn't attack, and Extra Shot
penalizes them for not attacking.  Unfortunately, the
best way to stop Annie is to not attack, making non-
attack decks even more popular.  Still, a lot of fun to
play; _if_ your opponent unsheathes his sword.

Jonathan - Annie's been a favorite of mine since she
first debuted in WC. The biggest criticism of her is that
she's too reactive a Persona, but she can be downright
nasty against attack decks. She s got a built-in Flashing
Blade, one of the best cards to utilize in a multi-attack
arsenal, and can dish out a world of hurt to her opponent
if they attack her successfully. She doesn't need to clog
her deck (or her hand) with a tremendous number of
defenses, because she'll probably want to take some non-
painful attacks (Slashes, select Dirty Tricks, Amanda
attacks, Leg Sweep, etc.). She can utilize healing and
damage prevention cards to negate the effects of those
attacks, while still being able to execute her strategy,
be it Flurry strikes, Slashes, or other difficult-to-
defend attacks.  However, all these plans are wasted if
her opponent isn't attacking. With the new trend toward
attack decks, Annie will become stronger and better able
to execute her game-plan at the major tournament level.
She has little use for her ability in first-blood (unless
her opponent foolishly plays a non-damage attack) but
should be able to dish out a significant amount of
punishment throughout the game. She can utilize cards
such as Berkeley to make multiple attacks if her opponent
fails to cooperate with her plans. Overall, becoming more
powerful with the growing trend toward attack decks,
Annie Devlin will show up more and more as people realize
her potential.

Charles - With the built in Flashing Blade, Annie is one
of the better multi-attack Immortals in the game. With
Prize/Extra Attack and Berkeley, she can grind away at
her opponent's defenses with ease. To make matters worse,
if her opponent plays an attack, she can choose to take
the attack and play up to 2 additional attacks. On the
Battlefield, she is a force to be reckoned with since it
allows her to cycle defenses even when not being
attacked.  The downside to her Persona is that she loses
all of her combat oriented power when she goes to First
Blood. Her extra attacks are generated by Special cards
and her Persona power, and taking a hit in first blood is
not a viable means of generating extra attacks. 

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   4
Jeff                    4
Hank                    5
Alan                  N/A
Prodipto              N/A
Allen                   5
Bruce                   1
Sdave                   5
Charles                 6
Jonathan                7

Average:                4.63

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The card text is copyright 1997 by Thunder Castle Games. 
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