Caught in the Act/Series Edition
Target discards 3 attacks. (Restricted to 3)
Caught in the Act/SE is another oldie-but-goodie. A card
that saw at least some use in its initial release, it
seems to have been usurped by late cards. Or has it?
Game mechanics first, as always. Caught in the Act is
relatively straight-forward. It can target any player,
including the owner. If the owner targets himself, he
discards the attacks at the beginning of his next phase.
_Any_ attack is fair game. If the owner has more than
three attacks, basic, Special, non-Special, or Ranged, he
can choose which to discard. However, if he has, for
example, only one of each, he must discard all three.
And that's about it. So what use is making your opponent
discard three attacks?
Well, in this regard, not much. With the proliferation
of new attacks, and the returning emphasis to attack-
based strategies, it's unlikely you're going to make a
serious depletion in your opponent's resources. What
with Ripostes, Slashes, Pistols at R2, and more Master's
Attacks and Lunges then ever before, your opponent can
probably afford to discard his basic attacks while
holding on to his particularly important stuff. New
Weapons of Choice such as Claymore (with its Cleaves),
Rapier (which emphasizes non-Basic attacks by not
penalizing them, as well as Slices), Saber and Spear
(with their potent Slash-enhancement), Katana (also
emphasizing Slashes), and Parrying Blade (with its
Surprise Strikes and Dual Attacks), make this even more
unlikely to occur.
In short, there's no Weapon of Choice that helps a non-
attack strategy, and they all seriously strengthen
particular attack strategies. So more attacks because of
this works out to less chance that three successfully
played Caught in the Act/SE, in and of themselves, will
have a significant impact on your opponent.
However, Caught in the Act/SE can make a useful tool for
supplementing other attack-discard strategies. These
primarily include Charm/Fitzcairn, Angry Mob/ME, and
Sword to Snakes/Nakano. Proper use of Darius with the
first and last of these cards can be fairly potent
anyway. Imagine a Kern Deck that sets up the top of its
Endurance with attacks on a previous turn using Dr. Alan
Neyman or Calm Before the Storm, then plays Swords to
Snakes the next turn, Exerts for attacks, and plays
Flashing Blade. The opponent must deal with a multitude
of Hidden attacks, and most likely discard two attacks to
remove Swords to Snakes. If you've hit your opponent
with Caught in the Act/SE a time or two before that, he
may not now have enough attacks to discard to remove
Swords to Snakes _and_ keep up an offensive on Kern.
This gives Kern a chance to pull off the same stunt next
turn, with the additional advantage of playing a new
An overlooked use for Caught in the Act/SE remains to
play it on yourself to cycle your own attacks out.
Unlike Angry Mob/ME, this does not give your opponent a
chance to cycle attacks out as well. Due to cards such
as Master's Proficiency and Impale/Spear, Basic attacks
still remain potent. Nonetheless, if you have a deck
that emphasizes non-Basic attacks, cycling out basics via
CitA lets you draw to your non-basics that much faster.
This also means you don't actually have to waste turns
playing them. Combine this with Master's Stratagem,
Methos, or his Quickening, and you'll never have to play
attacks you don't want to.
While the Methos Q is probably the most reliable way to
cycle out attacks if you're playing a cheese deck, Caught
in the Act/SE can still prove useful. How useful this
strategy is, with the newly-added rule that your opponent
can discard a defense if you don't attack, remains to be
So who should use Caught in the Act/SE? Properly
supplemented with the cards mentioned above, CitA can
deprive your opponent of attacks, allowing you to attack
freely. Besides Kern, other Personas who benefit from
this tactic include Slan and the Kurgan, since they don't
have to worry about a hidden counter-attack. Fitzcairn
can supplement CitA with a "natural" non-Darius Charm or
three, which gives him a chance to set up attacks using
Combination. Annie Devlin and Kim, with their nine-grid
Master's Attacks that require a little extra finesse to
play against an aggressive opponent, might also want to
consider CitA's use. Paul Kinman can use the extra
freedom permitted him by an attack-deprived opponent to
play those 9mm attacks where he wishes, rather than being
limited by a block.
Caught in the Act/SE provides another "cycling" card to
Nefertiri. She can discard some or all of the three
attacks to her discard, draw back the rest, and draw
extra cards for what she discarded. In larger deck,
cards like CitA, Narrow Escape/reprint, Foresight, and
Heroic Deed can all supplement Desperation for her.
There are probably about an equal number of Immortals
that don't need Caught in the Act/SE under most
circumstances. Amanda would probably prefer her opponent
to attack so she can Jump and use Acrobat to get Hidden
attacks. Multi-attack types like Ceirdwyn (and sometimes
Kim and Annie) don't have to worry about being block-
restricted by an opponent's attacks, since they can
typically skip their first attack and play the second one
anywhere they want (although this can be expensive for
them). Amanda can also do this, without a "cost" such as
losing two cards or being successfully attack. The
MacLeods aren't particularly restricted by anything.
Kanis combines multi-attack (due to Leader of the Pack)
with attack-deprivation (due to Hound/Cornwall), so he
probably doesn't need CitA either.
Other Personas, and even those mentioned above with
certain strategies, may find a use for Caught in the Act.
So overall, Steve gives Caught in the Act/SE a _3_.
Sadly, the card becomes less and less useful as each
expansion adds new cards, and the pendulum swings towards
attack-based strategies, new non-basic attacks, Weapons
of Choice, and multi-attackers. All of these mean more
opponents have more attacks in their deck, so that CitA
has less impact on them. Still, under the right
circumstances, this card can give certain Immortals a
What Our Other Raters Say:
Jeff - A card I've found surprisingly useful in sealed
deck (one time, I got an opponent's Master's Attack and
Shooting Blade while he had a Nef Seduce and a Challenge
in his hand =). Not terribly useful in constructed these
Hank - Flushing an opponent's attacks out of his hand
might be a useful thing to some strategies. I've always
gone the opposite route... if I was attacking, I wanted
them tossing defenses, and if I wasn't attacking I wanted
their attacks piling up in their hand (with Safe Haven or
Ped/Hidden or some such). You can always use it on
yourself, but there are other ways to card cycle.
Alan - Abstain
Prodipto - While not a spectacular card, it is a good way
to force attacks out of your opponent's hand. It is very
important to beware of decks that rely on sloughing
attacks, such as cheese or stall decks. It's often worth
hanging on to that one Caught in the Act, if it forces
your opponent to hold three attacks.
Allen - Abstain
Bruce - Caught in the Act/SE is a decent card in the new
First Blood environment. It forces the stall player to
dump the few attacks that they were holding onto for
First Blood and the full press combat deck to use their
cycling just to keep attacking. A small deck with Caught
in the Acts can enter First Blood with a serious
advantage on attacks. This card is hurt by the current
environment's extensive use of cycling and Nef's powers.
Stealth Dave - Abstain
Jonathan - Though often overlooked, this card may find
new uses within the current "Attack-Environment" that TCG
has encouraged. There's nothing like the look on
someone's face when this card is played, and the only
attacks they had to discard are Killer Precision, MHS,
and Master Swordsman. The restriction number of three
is well-deserved. However, the discarding rarely hurts
unless the opponent has only decent attacks such as
these. A couple Caught in the Act, along with a card such
as Skull Helmet, can really hurt your opponent's chances
at maintaining their stiff offense, and provide a setback
to multi-attack decks. The card just doesn't do enough to
find it's way into many top-level decks.
Charles - If this card is being used offensively to
prevent your opponent from attacking, then there are far
better cards to use--such as Hugh's Charm. If this card
is being used to cycle your own hand, then there are far
more useful cards that can be used. If this card is being
used to cycle your own hand while preventing your
opponent from attacking, then Angry Mob/ME is better.