Reporter

Event
REPORTER:  Each player gains 2 Ability.  May not exceed
maximum. (errata'd text)

Here's another Series Edition classic.  Unlike last
issue's Maurice, though, this one is a Common, and one
that folks were initially probably pretty sick of seeing
in all of those booster packs.

Reporter's popularity has waned and risen as the
Highlander CCG rules have changed.  initially it's use
was somewhat limited.  Then folks figured out how to make
stall decks work, and Reporter became much more valuable.
who cared how much Ability your opponent had, as long as
you had even more and could time the game out after 30
minutes.

Now, with stall- and supra-Ability decks on the wane
again, now seems like a good time to take a look at
Reporter.

Game mechanic questions first.  DUEL IS DELAYED on the
original text is flavor text, has no impact on the game,
and has since been errata'd out.  Reporter is, needless
to say, a Reporter card.  This makes it vulnerable to
cards such as Sovereign Media, Trench Coat, Scare/Kurgan,
and Casual Killer/Corda & Reno.

Reporter works just like Angry Mob/SE, except in reverse.
The person playing it gains the two Ability on the
Ability Adjustment phase of the turn he plays it.  The
opponent gains the two Ability at the end of _their_ turn
during their Ability Adjustment phase.  Thus, if the
opponent is Nefertiri, they don't get to draw up to their
new +2 Ability until after their Ability Adjustment
phase.

Regardless of when you play Reporter, your opponent is
considered to gain the +2 Ability during _her_ turn, not
yours.  So this means they will subsequently be a legal
target for Kate.  Since they didn't play the Special
themselves, Stalk/Hyde will have no special effect.

So what can you do with Reporter?  The only real use for
it is if you have less Ability then your opponent.
Optimally, you want to play it when your opponent is
already at his maximum Ability, so that they gain no
benefit from it whatsoever.

Of course, nothing is as easy as that.  First of all, you
do not _want_ to have lower Ability than your opponent,
and strategies that you know will cost you Ability should
(hopefully) zap your opponent for an equal amount or
more.

Thus, the Kurgan packing Reporters to handle the four
Ability loss he knows he's going to take from playing a
Bloodlust won't do much good, because hopefully he'll
inflict even more damage on his opponent.  In which case
Reporter is useless to him.  Ditto for Battle Rage or
Bassett & Hotchkiss.

So Reporter is really more of an emergency precaution,
for when your opponent nails you on that first turn with
a Power Blow/Seduce and you failed to draw that Live
Forever?  You can take 12 points of damage, each pass
through your Endurance, and recover it with six
Reporters.  This still leaves your Watcher/Treatments for
other stuff.

Of course, if you're that poor a player, or having that
much bad luck, you're probably in trouble anyway.  Still,
this demonstrates Reporter's use as a beginner's tool.
Most starting players will have it due to their Common
status, and it can help to assure they aren't totally
crushed by an unlucky draw.

Still, if you're up against an Angry Mob/SE + Careful
Planning type of opponent, Reporter can prove useful in
avoiding a loss.  Greenfield Hobby and Spiritual Center
might be a bit better...but you also have to have those
particular cards.  Remember that Reporter is a Common.

We mentioned Kate above, but healing them for two so that
you can subsequently inflict two damage on them isn't
really of much benefit.

One overlooked facet of Reporter is that it is the only
card that lets you heal your opponent.  If you don't want
them to escape a battle due to 0 Ability, this can prove
remarkably useful.

Of course, it's only useful if you want to take their
heads instead.  With careful use of Reporter, you can
whittle down an opponent to near-zero with normal
attacks.  Keep attacking them to use up your non-Head
Shot attacks, get them down to 0, then bring them back up
again, while boosting yourself up if you're down in
Ability.  This requires a bit of careful timing, but
means that your opponent can't throw himself on to your
non-Head Shots so that he can get to 0 and exit the
battle.

Another use for Reporter is to force a game into First
Blood, by keeping both players from winning.  Again, you
shouldn't play Reporter and extend the game out to 30
minutes if it looks like you can win before then.
However, if you can't, or if you want to rely on a Head
Shot after 30 minutes is over (through the use of the new
A&T pre-game, or the Kurgan/Duncan Master's Head Shots),
Reporter will prove useful to you.

Otherwise, Reporter's primary use is as an emergency
card.  However, it's an emergency card that's only good
if you're losing  What do you do with it if you're not?

Card cycling is the key.  Methos is the master of such
things.  If he's ahead on Ability and doesn't anticipate
a need for Reporter, he can dump it and redraw.

The other Persona who can dump unneeded Reporters
is...Nakano.  Don't need that Special?  Discard it to
duplicate your opponent's Event.  Heck, if Nakano is
using Master's Maneuver, make a Hidden attack the same
turn as you duplicate your opponent's Watcher/Treatment,
or Seduce, or Live Forever?

If you're going to use the Methos Q or Master's
Stratagem, you can also cycle out unneeded Reporters as
fast as you draw them.  However, that depends on you
keeping those cards out.  An inherent ability to ditch
Reporters will ultimately prove more useful.

So overall, Steve gives Reporter a _5_.  It may not be an
incredibly useful card in competitive play (except to
Methos and Nakano), but it can prove extremely valuable
to beginners, in sealed deck, and as a defense against
certain stuff like Angry Mob/Careful Planning if you
don't have other preventatives.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Formerly the card of choice for heal decks,
Reporter seems to have fallen into disfavor since the
advent of Trench Coat and the new First Blood rules.
Still a nasty card to prolong a game.

Hank - Each player gains 2 Ability... as useful as
Watcher/Treatment for you, and not limited to 2, but
useful to your opponent as well.  You can undo the
benefit with Kate, but it's using another Special to do
so. I've used it in heal/stall decks, and in decks that
rely on other ways to win (Head Shot decks, for
instance).

Alan - Abstain

Prodipto - Reporter should be used when your opponent is
at full Ability, or down only 1 to minimize the amount of
benefit they get from the healing.  Generally, it is best
used when you are losing.  As a result, the card is
fairly unappealing to me, since it implies an expectation
to lose.  For a healing-heavy deck, however, it's fairly
decent.  Just watch out for Hyde and Kate.

Allen - Abstain

Bruce - On its face, this is a fairly balanced card,
deserving of an average rating, but its lack of a
restriction makes Healing far too easy. If you want to
force First Blood or keep your opponent alive to take
your Head Shot, this is a fairly effective way to do it.
I have seen this card used to great effectiveness despite
the current countermeasures.

Stealth Dave - One of the many Healing cards in the game.
Back in the old First Blood days, this card was a staple
in Healer/Stall decks.  While it still makes its way into
a few of the newer Stall decks, its use has seen a huge
decline.  Since you now have to actually win the game or
go to First Blood, Reporter can hurt you as much if not
more than it can help you.  That and the existence of
Trench Coat can severely inhibit your ability to play
Reporters.  All that adds up to little place for Reporter
in today's decks.

Jonathan - Reporter is one of my favorite sealed deck
cards, mainly because it's easy to get in your Series
Edition boosters, and is a great way to help yourself out
early in the game if you get behind. In Standard
Constructed, it's much less useful. There aren't many
reasons to use Reporter in place of Watcher/Treatment. In
fact, with Hyde Stalking away, it's less likely that
we'll see huge healing decks, using any more than a
couple Watcher/Treatment. It seems to me that Reporter
will be relegated to being a nice sealed deck card, and
that's about it.

Charles - In spite of the anti-Reporter cards that have
been released, this card proves to be quite useful in
small quantities (1-3). It can aid you in staying alive
until time is called. It can also annoy your opponent
whenever he manages to score a hit and still not do any
permanent damage.

Ratings Overall

Steve                   5
Jeff                    6
Hank                    6
Alan                  N/A
Prodipto                5
Allen                 N/A
Bruce                   7
Sdave                   3
Jonathan                3
Charles                 4

Average:                4.88