Destruction

SITUATION-PLOT/Part 1 - Duel

SITUATION-PLOT/Part 2 - Defeat

EVENT-PLOT/Part 3 - "Tonight You Sleep in Hell!" (Movie Edition Version):  To play this card you must have
Duel and Defeat in play.  Discard all 3 cards.  For your next 3 turns, any Upper Left, Upper Center, or Upper
Right attack may be a Head Shot.  This counts as a Power Blow.

(The Gathering Version):  To play this card you must have Duel and Defeat in play. Discard all 3 cards.  For your
opponent's next 5 turns, they may not play Holy Ground.

Here's another Plot.  Anybody on the receiving end of the original ME version can testify how unpleasant it is.
Whether that's because people haven't put enough of the appropriate defenses in their deck, or because people
prefer the straight-forward game-winning nature of Destruction to, say, Head Hunter (see CotW #66) is
something we'll take a look at.

Game-mechanic questions first.  Concerning the original ME version, it is optional whether you make the attack a
Head Shot or not.  If you do, it is also a Power Blow.  As such, any upper or partially-upper attacks that you
play that can _not_ be a Power Blow (Slash/Upper, cross-corner Slashes) do not benefit from this Plot.  You can
use Master Swordsman to make an Upper Attack a Head Shot, since you are permitted to make it a Power Blow.

When Destruction/ME states its effects last for three turns, that includes the turn you complete the Plot, and
the subsequent two turns as well.

If you make more than one Upper attack while Destruction/ME is in effect, you have to state which
attack is the Head Shot/Power Blow as you make it.  You cannot wait to see which attack(s) you make that are
successful.

You are still limited by the rule that prevents you from making more than one attack per turn a Power Blow.  So
Amanda cannot play two Upper attacks and make them both Power Blow.  Unless, of course, she uses a card like
Annie's Battle Rage, Kern's Rage, or Scotland the Brave to do so.

If you play Underworld Contact, the effects of Destruction/ME are negated.  However, this does not
retroactively effect any Upper Attack/Head Shots that were made prior to the play of UC.

The effects of the "new" ME2 Destruction are fairly straightforward by comparison.  Your opponent's next
turn, after you complete the plot, is the first of the five turns.  He cannot play any card with the title Holy
Ground:  the various SE and ME Retreat versions, the Event/Forfeit version, or the Location/forfeit version.

The effects of Destruction/ME2 are an absolute preventative.  It is not that they play a Holy Ground and
it is countered:  they simply cannot play it.

So that's how the two versions of Destruction work.  What can you do with them?

The effects of Destruction/ME are straightforward.  For the two turns after you complete the Plot, you can play
another Special and still make a Head Shot.  There is no other way to do this in the game.

This means that Destruction lends itself well to cards that make the attack harder to defend against.  Amanda's
Seduce and Fitzcairn's Fast Talk are the two obvious cards to use in conjunction with the Destruction-enhanced
upper attacks that you'll be making.

Cards that make it difficult or impossible for an opponent to dodge are also useful to use in conjunction
with Destruction/ME.  These include the second attack of a Kurgan/Follow-Up, Kalas' Trip, and Lunge, to name but a
few.

In fact, an often-overlooked aspect of Destruction/ME is that it also lets you make Upper Attacks "free" Power
Blows (i.e., Power Blows without an Exertion or playing a Special) for two turns.  Even on the turn you complete
the Plot, you can play an Upper Attack/Lunge.  This may not sound like much to Slan, but for some Personas it can
be very useful.  In this case, the Head Shot is a handy side effect, but incidental to the fact you're making
Power Blows.

The alternative ME2 Destruction has its uses as well.  Our reviewers below note that this effect is inferior to
several anti-Holy Ground effects listed below.  And that there are now other means of avoiding attacks.  However,
consider this:

You cannot Focus past the effects of Destruction/ME2, unlike Carl, Turn of Events, or The Gathering.

Unlike The Gathering or Turn of Events, Destruction/ME2 does not affect you.

Unlike Carl, Destruction/ME2 is not vulnerable to anti-Ally cards such as Seduce/Fitzcairn.

And unlike _all_ of the Situations mentioned above, Destruction/ME2 is immune to the effects of Simple Mind
and Det. Bedsoe.

Does this outweigh the fact that Destruction/ME2 is a three-part plot?  Perhaps.  Certainly, cards like
Forgery/Kalas, Director's Cut, Schemer, and Plot Twist help to ensure Plot completion.

In fact, Director's Cut/Situation, if you can find it, is probably the most useful way to employ Destruction.  How?
By using the extra Plot-playing power to complete _both_ Destruction plots.  Use one Part 1, one Part 2, two Part
3/MEs, and two Part 2/ME2s.  And...six Director's Cut.  Complete Destruction/ME2 first (since it lasts longer),
than complete Destruction/ME the next turn.  You've now got two turns where you can play a Special, a "free" Head
Shot, and they can't play Holy Ground to escape.

So who should use Destruction?  As noted above, Amanda's Seduce and Fitz's Fast Talk are the best ways to use
Destruction.  The ME2 version will keep a Seduced opponent from escaping to Holy Ground.  And they can't
play HG (or much of anything else) from their hand against Fast Talk anyway.

Don't forget Connor and his Master's Block/Lunge combo.  He can block an attack, complete the Plot, and launch a
unblockable, dodge-from-an-Exertion-only Head Shot.  Better still, if he completed Destruction on one of the
previous two turns, he can play a Special with this combination.  Slap down a Carl, or one of those other
anti-Holy Ground cards mentioned.  For real fun, play a Darius'd Intimidate/Kalas and then they can't Exert for a
dodge, either.  Or a Darius'd Trip/Kalas and then they can't dodge from their hand or an Exertion.  Mix the
Trip/Kalas with the Lunge, and they can only dodge from an Exertion _if_ they play Alertness/Dodge.

And Katana, although sometimes overlooked post-errata, can use his Taunt and get nearly the same results as
Fitzcairn using Fast Talk when using Destruction/ME.

As noted before, the Kurgan's Disguise and Annie's Escape tend to minimize Plot-removal (or at least make those
Katana Q users work for it).  For the Kurgan, a mix of six Head Hunter/ME plots, six Destruction/ME plots, and
six Director's Cuts (while keeping a Simple Mind out, since it doesn't interfere with his Plot/Situations) can
be an unpleasant combination.  Complete the Head Hunter, complete the Destruction, and start launching Lunge/Head
Shots for a couple of turns.

If you're inclined towards using a Xavier combat deck, you could do worse than Destruction/ME.  Use the ME2
version to stop the from playing Holy Ground (also good for your Stalk(s)).  Have Alertness/Hidden on hand to
handle those Hidden counter-attacks.  Add Cat and Mouse/Defense Depletion to play on those two turns after
you completed the ME version, and enjoy.

Pretty much anybody else can do the same thing using the Katana Q.  Still, Xavier has Forethought to assure that
they won't be using other means of escaping (Disappear, Live Forever).

Destruction/ME2 can actually backfire against Kalas, since he wants them to play Holy Ground and unleash his
own Stalk.  However, the ME version gives him the same benefits as Connor's Master's Block/Lunge combo mentioned
above.  If he completed Destruction/ME on a previous turn, and they were foolish enough to escape to Holy
Ground, he can now launch an unblockable/undodgeable Head Shot _and_ play a new Special.  For instance, he can play
Forgery to put one of the Destruction parts he just discarded, back into play to gear up for the next
sequence.  Or Intimidate to keep them from Exertion/Power Blocking if they play Alertness/Block and don't have
other means of Power Blocking.

Don't forget Disarming strategy.  If you don't have enough Head Shot Events in your deck, or would like some
more, use this Plot.  It'll keep them busy playing Sit-removal Specials rather than slapping down those Extra
Weapons and Fair Fights.  Disarm them, then next turn complete the Destruction/ME and Lunge/Upper Attack next
turn (and next turn, and next turn).  Kalas' Trip and Katana's Taunt are useful here.  Personas that are good
at disarming (Fasil, Amanda and Kim since they can Disarm _and_ launch a second attack in the same turn without
playing a second Special) are even better.

So overall, Steve gives Destruction/ME a _7_ and Destruction/ME2 a _3_.  The ME version isn't quite as
reliable or universally versatile as, say, Unholy Alliance, but it's a very close second among the Plots
strength-wise.  The ME2 version is considerably weaker, but if you can complete it, it does what you need it to
do, with minimum backlash or countering.  Mix the two Plot endings together, or mix with Head Hunter (either
version) or Cat and Mouse/Defense, and you can start head hunting with the best of them.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Easily the best of the three-part plots, the original Destruction is still only of marginal use in
trick decks (or decks to make your opponent nervous), using it with Amanda's Seduce, for example.  Katana's
Taunt or Fitz's Fast Talk are other possibilities.  Even so, I believe that it won't have much use in serious
decks. [Gathering]  Whee.  What a great plot.  Ranks somewhere below Sea Witch in my estimation.  I'd much
rather use a Carl, even with the existence of Focus and A Master's Focus.

Hank - The first ending was fun, it let you play Fast Talk or Seduce with Head Shots, which is pretty gross...
The second ending is pretty weak, with the plethora of alternatives (Kind of Magic, Disappear, Live Forever) to
Holy Ground (and with Carl around as a better anti-HG card).

Alan - I Still find the original plot ending much more superior... it's definitely one of my favorite Plots.
I'd rather use Carl to prevent the play of Holy Ground, although, if you combine the two plot endings, and
complete the two Destruction plots simultaneously, this can be quite effective, especially with the relative ease
of being able to make unblockable/undodgeable attacks now.

Jim - (ME) An excellent plot especially for Amanda and Sedarius users.  Kalas, Xavier, and Xavier Q. users can
also use this to excellent advantage.  The plot of choice for Head Hunting decks.  Be sure to use Schemer to speed
completion.  Director's Cut and Plot Twist are also excellent complementary cards.  [Gathering] A decent plot
if you find your opponent using lots of Holy Grounds.  You're probably better off using The Gathering though.

Prodipto - Destruction is the only plot I play with regularly, and typically I use it only with Amanda decks,
although it may sneak into my Fitzcairn decks as well.  Both endings are useful, but I prefer the original
version with the very nasty Seduce/Head Shot that Amanda can pull off.  The first version is also useful to Kalas
to use with his Stalk card.

Allen - The ME version can be quite powerful when completed.  Amanda with her Seduce has gotten excellent
use out of it before, and now Fasil should get a lot of mileage out of it as well.  Teach your opponent to use
Alertness.  (Or, better yet, use Twist of Fate.)  The ME2 version seems weak in comparison.  You've completed a
three card plot in order to ..... play a Gathering.  (Granted it can't be Focussed, or removed for 5 turns if
completed.)  Stick to the oldy-but-goody.

Bruce - There are legitimate uses for this Plot with either ending.  The original Destruction can be very
effective with the correct follow-up.  The new ending just takes too much effort for its effect.  Except under
special circumstances I suggest you just use The Gathering, Turn of Events, or Carl.

Stealth Dave - The new ending for Destruction just isn't powerful enough to warrant its use as a Plot.  There are
far more efficient ways to avoid attacks than HG (Disappear, It's a Kind of Magic, Live Forever) which the
new Destruction does not stop, and there are other, quicker ways to prevent people from playing Holy Ground;
Carl, The Gathering, Forethought, etc., several of which also stop IKOM, Disappear, et al.  As for the original,
there's nothing like a Seduce/Head Shot to brighten Amanda's day.  You are limited to one HS per turn (unless
you use a card that allows multiple PBs like Annie: Battle Rage or Scotland the Brave), but you can play a
Special and still make an attack a Head Shot.  Definitely worth the effort.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                 7/3
Jeff                  5/2
Hank                  8/3
Alan                  8/5
Jim                   7/5
Prodipto              5/3
Allen                 6/3
Bruce                 6/2
SDave                 7/2

Average:                6.56/3.11