Death Before Dishonor

Situation
Discard to prevent an Ally from being removed from play. You lose 1 Ability.

This is another Situation, like last week's Berkeley, that has been around for
a while, but doesn't seem to see a lot of use.  Unlike Berkeley, it's a bit
more available since it was released in tournament packets.

Game mechanics questions first.  As per the FAQ, an Ally is any card with a
proper name of a character or characters in the title, excluding Personas.

Pre-game Ally cards that are removed from the game (via Divine Intervention)
are considered to be being removed from the game, and can be protected from
removal using DBD.

Death Before Dishonor will protect an Ally from removal from _any_ means.
However, if you prevent a discard-to-use card such as Carl or Rachel
Ellenstein from being removed when you choose to discard it, it has no effect
since it wasn't actually discarded.

The first thing to keep in mind is that Death Before Dishonor will really only
"protect" two types of cards: Situations and Pre-Games.  An opponent may be
able to remove an Event or Edge card that was played and is still in play
waiting to be "swept."  However, at this time removing an Event/Edge in this
manner will have no effect on what that Event/Edge has already done.

So Death Before Dishonor will only help defend Ally/Situations.  That's a
fairly small subsection of the total Allies.  Currently, this includes:

SE: Avery Hoskins, Carl, Tessa

ME: Angus MacLeod, Brenda Wyatt, Dugal MacLeod, Garfield, Heather, Jack
Donovan, Louise Marcus, Rachel Ellenstein

Watcher Chronicles: Dr. Anne Lindsey, Hideo Koto, James Horton, Joe Dawson,
Signorina Arianna

The Gathering: Lt. John Stenn

Duncan Collection: Debra, Anne

So when using Death Before Dishonor to protect Situation/Allies, the question
you have to ask yourself is: is it better to keep that Ally in play, play DBD,
and lose one Ability to keep that Ally in play?  Or should you simply play
another copy of that Ally instead of taking a turn to play DBD.

Only Stenn, Rachel Ellenstein, Hideo Koto, and Dr. Anne are Restricted among
the generics.  Duncan's Debra and Anne are as well.  It really doesn't do much
good to use Death Before Dishonor to protect Rachel, since Edge play is so
common that you're going to lose a lot of Ability trying to keep her in play
until you're ready for her to counter an Edge.

There can only be one copy of Anne and Hideo each in play on your side at a
time.  So you can't play multiples of these.  They may be worth protecting via
Death Before Dishonor.

Protecting Stenn in this manner can be expensive.  Not only do you lose one
Ability if you use DBD and keep him in play, but you'll lose another one
Ability when you discard to use him.

In the case of the other Situation/Allies, you're probably better off playing
multiple copies of that Ally, rather than play DBD to keep it in play while
losing one Ability.

The exceptions here are Garfield and Dugal MacLeod.  These are removed, fairly
easily, through other means.  However, DBD will not let avoid the two damage
from losing Dugal by keeping him in play.  It's the Guard's removal that cause
the two damage, not Dugal's removal.  You can probably use Focus to bypass
Garfield and keep him in play while drawing, rather than draw a card, have him
leave play, and use DBD to keep him around while losing one Ability.

There's also Security Guard/Situation, which will not only protect your
Allies, but other Situations as well.  It's Restricted to 3, and won't cost
you ability.  It won't help if you yourself remove your Situation/Allies.
However, that doesn't seem particularly helpful or worth the Ability loss.

So much for Situation/Allies.  That leaves Death Before Dishonor as protection
for pre-game Allies.  Here, DBD looks a little better, but not much.  The only
other card that protects pre-game Allies from removal is Do What I Say Woman!
It does exactly the same thing, and doesn't cost you Ability loss.  It also
protects Quickenings and TCG cards.  Unless you're heavily into those pre-game
Darius cards, your opponent will probably be targeting those Quickenings and
TCGs for Divine Intervention anyway.

If you're _really_ paranoid about protecting those pre-game Allies, Death
Before Dishonor makes an adequate back-up to the power of Do What I Say Woman!
Otherwise, you probably don't need it.

So who should use Death Before Dishonor?  Well, it doesn't seem to be a
particularly strong card for anyone.  Duncan has his two Persona-specific
Ally/Situations, and tends to use Carl a bit more than others.  If he combines
Inner Strength with Carl, he can force his opponent to Exert and cycle out
some garbage from his hand.  Mix well with the Kastagir Q for best effect.

Heavy-hitters like the Kurgan and Slan, or multi-attackers like Kim, Annie,
and Amanda, hoping to score with one hit out of many, might want to get some
extra damage and protect a Hideo Koto long enough to do it.

Otherwise, if you're using a particular Persona, and any of the Allies
mentioned above looks appealing, _and_ you are willing to lose a point of
Ability rather than lose that Ally, go for it.

Overall, Steve gives Death Before Dishonor a _2_.  It has some minor usage,
mostly as back-up to Security Guard/Situation and Do What I Say Woman!  Before
the Gathering release, it might have warranted a higher rating.  Now, its
effects have been surpassed by better cards.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Well, to be honest, I've never liked this card.  There aren't that many
Situation/Allies that I care about protecting.  What, he's going to Police my
Tessa or my Signorina Arianna?  Anybody playing with those cards outside of
sealed _and_ using DBD deserves to lose the one point of Ability.  Perhaps
other cards would have made DBD more useful in the future, but now there's
this card called Security Guard that works much better, doesn't entail a loss
of Ability, and works for non-Ally Situations, too.  Can't see any reason to
play with DBD.

Hank - Not terribly useful.  Security Guard/Situation is more generally useful
(unless you play with several Allies at once), and doesn't have the ability
loss.  Until Allies become a more useful part of my decks, I can't see myself
using this card.

Alan - Good card to have, due to the great number of Situation Allies
available, and the reliance that many Personas have on them.  The one Ability
Loss is worth the keeping of an Ally in play, at times, depending on the Ally,
of course :-)

Jim - This card will be invaluable as the number of Allies available increases
but currently there are too few to make much of a difference.  Security Guard
is a better bet.

Wayne - Decent card for protecting Allies.  I haven't ever used this card and
would probably rate it fairly low.

Prodipto - This is a more or less decent card.  It's not overpowered, but also
not useless.  It's a good tool for protecting extremely valuable Allies, but
there aren't enough Allies out that are worth sacrificing a point of ability
for.  I'd think very carefully if I was to use this card.  I'd probably only
use it for Dr. Anne Lindsay or Joe Dawson.

Allen - Death Before Dishonor does what it was meant to fairly well, but has
almost completely been supplanted by Security Guard: Situation.  The latter
can do everything the former can but does not cost you a point of ability.
I'd only use DBD if I'd already used 3 SG's and still wanted more.

Bruce - If you are playing with a lot of Allies, this card might be more
efficient than Security Guard to protect them.  It could also be better than
Do As I Say Woman! to protect PreGame Darius because the Divine Intervention
would actually leave the game.  But both of these advantages need to be
balanced against the penalty of losing one Ability.

Stealth Dave - With the existence of Security Guard, this card is just too
expensive to use.  That 1 pt. Ability loss may not seem like much, but
compared to the no-cost use of Security Guard, which can work on *any*
Situation, it's just not worth it.  If you're worried about your Pre-Game
Allies being removed from play, this may be the card for you, although you can
also use Do As I Say, Woman without incurring ability loss.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   2
Jeff                    2
Hank                    4
Alan                    6
Jim                     4
Wayne                   3
Prodipto                4
Allen                   3
Bruce                   3
Sdave                   2

Average:                3.30