Ancestral Blade

OBJECT
While Ancestral Blade is in play, you may block Power Blows without an
Exertion.  (Restricted to 1 per errata)

Well, as we drop back a step or two to take a look at some promos, Ancestral
Blade comes up at the top of the list.  What's not to like about Ancestral
Blade?

But first, some game mechanic questions.  Not much, though.  Unlike Stamina,
using Ancestral Blade, like Continuity, does _not_ count as making an
Exertion.  This is important to keep in mind when it comes to Amanda blocking
Power Blows.

As soon as Ancestral Blade is in play, you may start using it to make Power
Blocks.  It will let you make a Guard that you already have in play a Power
Block.

You may use Ancestral Blade to make any number of Power Blocks per turn.

And that's about it.  So what do you do with it?

One thing.  But that's enough.  Ancestral Blade remains the single most potent
Power Blocker in the game, among the ranks of such cards as Stamina,
Continuity, and Focused Block, and Master Swordsman.

Stamina requires that your opponent _make_ Power Blows:  it's unplayable
otherwise.  Focused Block is almost as bad.  It's a one-area block that won't
stop stuff like Master's Head Shot and Upper Slashes.  Master Swordsman is a
great card, but uses up Master slots.  Unless it serves another strategy as
well (say, General Katana using Taunt + Master Swordsman), you want to save
those precious slots.

As for Continuity...well, it's close in strength to Ancestral Blade.  But
let's face it:  Continuity is a Situation _and_ a Standing Defense.  If your
opponent sneezes hard, you'll lose it.  Compare that to Ancestral Blade, which
can currently only be removed by Misfortune and the (errata'd) Thief.

Thief is _way_ too restrictive.  Never mind that it originally either forced
you to play without Objects, or waste turns putting them out and then removing
them yourself.  The new version not only still has these weaknesses, but makes
you lose one Ability for each Object removed as well.  No thanks.

Mental Ward will keep you from playing an Ancestral Blade, but do nothing
about an Ancestral Blade you have in play.  In an emergency, you can easily
play Recon to get AB down if you need it.

Ancestral Blade is essentially Luther or his Quickening.  Except it's a lot
easier to get than a Quickening, and doesn't preclude you using someone other
than Luther as your Persona.

Wisely, Ancestral Blade has been errata'd so that it is Restricted to one.
Still, cards like Security Guard/Object (CotW #58). Alex Johnson (#49),
Conjure (#65), and Archaic Collection will let you either protect it, grab it
quickly, or put it readily back into play.

If you use a strategy relying on Power Blows (typically the Kurgan, Kern, and
Slan, but quite likely Duncan and Connor, and many others under the right
circumstances), and you don't already have Misfortune in your deck to deal
with Hogg and Flying Machine/Wings, then put it in now:  you'll need it.

So, who should use Ancestral Blade.  The first obvious Persona to use it is
Amanda, due to her Power Blocking weakness.  If she uses Ancestral Blade, she
doesn't suffer from it.  This lets her use her Master slots for cards other
than Master Swordsman.

Second choices are those Personas without the standard Continuity.  This
currently includes:  Xavier, Katana, Kalas, Kern, Annie, Fitzcairn, Corda and
Reno, and Kane.

The subset of this group with only Back Away for a dodge have a greater
incentive to use Ancestral Blade.  This includes Kalas, Kern, Corda and Reno,
and Kane.

Khan should put Ancestral Blade in automatically.  He's already got Objects,
so it's one more card an opponent has to deal with using Misfortune.  He can
play it faster due to Armorer.  And it moves him one step closer to doing an
extra point of damage using Plunder.

The Kurgan, Kern, Richie, and Corda and Reno have yet another reason to use
Ancestral Blade:  if their opponent has to deal with that, then that's one
less Misfortune for Hogg or Flying Machines, or for the Kurgan only, Skull
Helmet.  Corda and Reno's Nemesis will remove Ancestral Blade, though, so they
should be careful.

The Kurgan and Kim have "cheap" ways of making Power Blows...but Ancestral
Blade is cheaper yet.  And the same rationale mentioned above for heavy
Object-users applies to Kim as well:  if you've got one more Ancestral Blade +
Extra Weapon than your opponent has Misfortunes, you're set.

After that...well, really anyone except Luther and Slan should at least
consider using Ancestral Blade.  Even if you're Duncan and can dodge eight
ways from Sunday, there's enough anti-dodge that someone is going to try to
pin you down with a Power Blow/Lunge or Trip-No Dodge combo.

So overall, Steve gives Ancestral Blade an _8_.  It's an in-play card that is
the equivalent of a decent Quickening, hard to remove, and easy to protect or
retrieve.   What's not to like?

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - In the dodge-light summer of 1998, one card stands supreme for those
who wish to avoid the ill effects of Lunge: Ancestral Blade.  A tough card
which made Xavier and Katana much more competitive than otherwise would have
been the case.  With its restriction to one, it seems most at home now in slim
decks that don't want to use a Luther Q or in multiple-Conjure decks.  And, of
course, in Amanda decks.

Hank - Even restricted to 1, Ancestral Blade is still a useful card.  It makes
its way into most decks I play, although lately Darius/Hogg has beaten it in
the lineup for damage avoidance.  Still, I consider Ancestral Blade to be a
very useful card.

Alan - A much less useful card, since the errata'd restriction number, but the
existence of Conjure and Alex Johnson make up for it.  An almost must-have
card for every deck.

Wayne - Ancestral Blade can be a very good card but only if played in a deck
with several Objects.  With the new set being out, Objects are much more
powerful therefore forcing players to play with more Misfortune cards.  If it
is your only Object in the deck I would say leave it out.  But if you have
more than a couple objects, this is a very powerful card.  Conjure and Alex
Johnson make this card even more powerful.

Prodipto - Except for Renaissance tournaments, I can't think of a single
reason not to include Ancestral Blade in any deck (except Slan and Luther).
It is a very potent card, inasmuch as it allows _any_ Persona to completely
block a Power Blow.  It essentially makes Power Blows impractical to make.  By
making it an Object, you tend to make sure it stays in play, or you can get it
back into play very quickly (Conjure, Alex Johnson, etc).  The restriction of
one on Ancestral Blade is for a good reason, but is its only drawback.

Allen - Old memories here.  Ancestral Blade is only the second Highlander card
I ever hated.  If you are not using Slan, Luther, or the Luther Q, then there
is no reason you should not use Ancestral Blade.  It's an Object so it can't
be Focused, Alex Johnson and Conjure make it easy to get and easy to keep, and
it pretty much puts paid to anyone's Power Blow strategy.  Superior to
standard Continuity in every way.  Don't even consider Stamina.

Bruce - This was always a very effective card:  the errata on Thief makes it
even more powerful. It is high on my list of Power Blow defenses, although I
usually just use Master Swordsman and some Dodges.

Stealth Dave - Even post-errata, Ancestral Blade is a powerful card.  It's
essential in any Amanda deck now that anti-dodge is so prevalent.  With the
new errata on Thief, Objects are quite a bit safer, and Conjure and Alex
Johnson can take care of that little restriction number quite handily.  It
also solves the relatively new problem of defending against multiple power
blows.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   8
Jeff                    6
Hank                    8
Alan                    6
Wayne                   8
Prodipto                9
Allen                   9
Bruce                   7
SDave                   8

Average:                7.67

------------------------------------------------------------------