While Scorn is in play, target player loses 2 Ability.
At the end of target player's 2nd turn, discard Scorn.
At the beginning of each turn for the next 3 turns,
target player loses 1 Ability. At the beginning of that
player's fourth turn, remove Scorn from play. All lost
Ability returns when Scorn leaves play.
While catching up on old favorites (and some not-so-
favorites), the two Scorn cards come up as some of the
typical "almost-forgotten" cards that we've been reviewing
recently. These cards never drew a great deal of
attention on their initial release. Now, several
Collections, Editions, and Expansions later, let's take
another look at them.
Game mechanic questions first. Both of these cards
affect Ability, rather than inflicting damage. As such,
this means that they can't be negated by cards that
prevent damage. Most such cards only work against Events
only. Even Dr. Sonny Jackson and Dr. Anne Lindsey won't
work against Scorn, though.
By the same token, Kalas gains no benefit from his
Persona ability when using Scorn.
Ability loss caused by either version of Scorn occurs
during the target's first Ability Adjustment phase after
it is played.
Ability regained when Scorn leaves play is regained
during the target player's next Ability Adjustment phase
as well (the last sentence of Scorn/ME is somewhat
misleading). So if Player A plays Scorn/SE on Player B
on turn 2A, it will reduce his Ability by two at the end
of 2B, during the target's next Ability Adjustment phase.
It will be removed at the end of turn 3B, but Player B
will not regain two Ability until the Ability Adjustment
phase of 4B.
When your lost Ability returns when Scorns leave play,
you _are_ considered to "gain" Ability. Thus, you are now
a legal target for cards such as Incense of Pain and
Kate. Regaining Ability due to a discarded Scorn will
_not_ make you a target for an "enhanced" Stalk/Martin
Hyde, since you didn't play a card that let you gain
If you Focus Scorn/ME, you do not lose Ability that turn.
However, Scorn/ME is still "in play" and so you don't
recover your lost Ability that turn. Scorn/ME will still
know when the target's fourth turn is, and remove itself.
You can heal your Ability up during the turns when you
are under the effect of Scorn. However, Ability regained
when Scorn leaves play will not raise you above your
So that's how the Scorns work. When are they useful?
The first thing to consider is the difference between the
two. Scorn/SE has a somewhat lesser impact (-2 Ability
instead of -3), but it occurs right away, rather than
spread out over three turns.
Scorn/SE's most immediate function will probably be to
keep an opponent from drawing at the end of their next
turn. Typically, they'll play roughly two cards. They
lose 2 Ability, and thus draw nothing.
After that, they'll be at two less Ability for the next
two turns. This is probably not a substantial advantage
to the Scorn-user unless it is late in the game, Scorn
can still force the target player out of the game if it
reduces his Ability such that he is at 0 at the beginning
of an attack phase.
Scorn/ME does much the same thing, but its effect is
cumulative. This means you won't be able to restrict the
drawing of his cards quite as much, since he'll still be
able to draw at least one card each turn that his Ability
drops by one. However, it also means at the end of three
turns he'll be, however, briefly, -3 Ability.
This also means that when its effect fades, your opponent
regains 3 Ability. Why is that more important than
regaining 2 Ability from Scorn/SE's removal? Incense of
Pain. Which brings us to who should use Scorn?
Because of Incense of Pain, Luther is an obvious choice.
It is Reserved, so Richie can use it a little more
easily, but not much better than anyone else using
So what do you with Incense of Pain? Very simple. Play
Scorn/SE on turn 1A, and on turns 2A and 3A play Incenses
of Pain. Your opponent will lose 2 Ability on 1B, regain
it at the end of 2B, and it will actually increase by two
during his Ability Adjustment phase on 3B. He loses a
big _12_ cards from the top of his Endurance. How many
Cat & Mouse cards would Xavier have to play, in how many
turns, to accomplish the same effect?
And those two Incense of Pains are out there for you to
play another Scorn/SE and make them lose another 12
cards. Get down three more for a total of five (the
fifth from a pg Darius), and your opponent will be losing
_18_ cards from his Endurance each time he "recovers" from
your Scorn. Anybody have a problem with that? Play six
Scorns, and that's a potential 126 cards each pass
through Luther's Endurance. Even Khan is going to feel a
bit weak in the knees after that.
All your opponent can really do is Police the Scorn as
soon as it hit the table, before his first Ability
Adjustment phase. This costs him the use of a Special
that turn, and makes him waste the Police on something
other than your other Situations.
Scorn/ME take a bit longer, but has a few minor
advantages and one big one. The minor ones include the
somewhat slower, but psychologically more grinding effect
of having your Ability tick down. Never underestimate
psychology in a game of Highlander. Another advantage is
since you only have to play one Scorn/ME every three
turns (although you _can_ play them quicker), you have
more time to play other Specials like Disappear and
Continuity (w/Endure Pain), and slow down those newly-
minted multi-attacker types with Taunt.
The really big advantage is that when they regain that
Ability, they'll lose 9 cards, rather than the six from
Scorn/SE. That ads up to a potential 24 cards lost per
Scorn/ME, or a potential _144_ per pass through your
The other Ability-gaining related card is Kate. Since
anti-Event damage is still a common phenomena, sight,
this Ally isn't nearly as effective as Incense of Pain.
But if you can use those extra turns granted by Scorn to
Police those Greenfield Hobbies, you might be able to
come out ahead. If Luther tries this stunt in
conjunction with Incense of Pain, Disappear will give him
some added protection if the opponent uses Do It
Yourself/General Katana or Unexpected Assistance to
"bounce" the damage back.
So overall, Steve gives Scorn/SE a _3_ and Scorn/ME a 4.
At best, they're a minor annoyance under most
circumstances. However, their use with Incense of Pain
is so painful if successful that I've got to bump it a
point or two.
What Our Other Raters Say:
Jeff - Scorn/SE is by and large a waste of time unless
you just happen to need an extra 2 points to take your
opponent to zero. The ME Scorn is, perhaps, a bit better
with its longer duration, but is really not that useful.
The presence of Police, Focus, and Katana along with
their transient nature suggests to me that the slots used
for these cards could be better used.
Hank - I've used these cards before, it's sometimes
useful and sometimes forcing an opponent to gain Ability
(when the Scorn leaves play) is also a good thing, sets
up combos (Kate, Incense of Pain, etc). Neither card is
all that powerful, though. I'd give a slight edge to the
SE Scorn: it's over with more quickly and you can
combine it more often because of that.
Prodipto - Scorn is a fairly decent way to temporarily
put your opponent at a disadvantage. The key is to take
advantage of the 2-3 turns that Scorn is out to further
your own strategy. Kane, Fitzcairn and Kastagir all come
to mind as Personae who have support cards that further
force your opponent to discard, putting them at a severe
disadvantage. Kalas can also wreak havoc with the Scorn
cards by damaging his opponent and leaving them holding
few cards. Most importantly, Police/Counter Damage and
Rules of the Game don't affect Scorn, although Focus
does. So, in the end, for a narrow strategy, Scorn is
decent, but generally of limited use.
Allen - Neither Scorn seems very impressive on its own,
but are beginning to have some effect in conjunction with
other cards; but not a lot. They do guarantee you a use
for Kate if your opponent doesn't heal otherwise, but
that's two widely space Specials to do less than a
Careful Mob or Careful Watcher+Watcher/Hunter+Horton.
Several of Luther's Incense of Pain, however, can rob
your opponent of _many_ cards after a good Scorn. Use in
conjunction with Diane Terrin etc. and you're on to
something. Scorn isn't much except for this one combo,
however, and thus doesn't rate high in my book.
Bruce - There is not a lot to say here. Temporarily
reducing your opponent's ability can certainly be useful.
If your opponent is not drawing cards, it can severely
hamper their strategy. I have even seen some marginal
strategies that use these cards as their core components.
But, a permanent effect is usually what is called for if
you want to win.
Stealth Dave - Abstain
Jonathan - Ability loss from a Situation is a nice idea,
but the loss of these cards after a few turns makes them
less than phenomenal. They (particularly ME version) are
nice sealed deck cards, but very often do not find their
way into competitive decks. They are helpful most
specifically in the end game, but tend to work poorly
early on in a game. For their Sealed Deck value, they
have some value, but I'd never put them into a
Charles - Temporary effects do not appeal to me. I much
prefer to use Poison Gas because, even though it is
temporary, I control when the effect will end, and if I
am patient, and play the Gas at the right time, the
effect can be permanent.
Ratings Overall (SE/ME)
Average: 3.25 / 3.63