Nick Wolfe - by Dave Syas
You must begin the game unarmed, and cannot be rearmed against
your will. Nick may start the game with a Weapon Of Choice in
a Pre Game slot. However, it must be played face down to indicate
being disarmed. You may once per turn designate a basic Attack in
your hand to be a one point damage Ranged Attack. When played, it
is played as a Ranged Attack with all conditions of a Ranged Attack.
You must discard a Special Card from your hand in order to play this
Ranged Attack. You may play this attack even if you are disarmed.
You cannot become armed unless Learn Fast is in play.
You may have up to 4 Master cards.
Nick Wolfe, the Warrior, isn't the typical Warrior you would expect
from this series or card game, but is a formidable opponent none the
less. Obviously Nick starts with the disadvantage of being disarmed.
Any Nick Wolfe deck will require a fair amount of planning to be
effective, and even more so to keep it's head.
Let's break down Nick's ability. "You may discard a special card
to play a basic attack as a 1 point ranged attack." This attack is
considered ranged, so Back Away will not assist, nor can it be
blocked, and is considered a Special Attack. It should be noted
that these attacks cannot normally be a Power Blow, Hidden, or
played from an Exertion. Also note that any Edge cards played in
conjunction with them are nullified.
Nick's second "ability" is that he must start disarmed. While a major
disadvantage for most, Nick is far from defenseless. He can only
become armed through the "Learn Fast" card.
Nick Wolfe gets 1 "standard" card, Back Away. He also recieves
Left Side Step and Right Side Step which mimic Amanda's. Nick's final
non-reserved card is Roll, which reads "You are now considered Prone.
If this defense is successful you have a 4 in 6 chance of regaining your
feet." and covers the same grid as Duck minus the MC Square. What makes
Roll unique is the inherent gamble associated with the card.
Our First Reserved Card for Nick is Brute Force, and is a might decieving
at first. Brute Force allows you to make an additional attack you play
this turn a Power Blow without an exertion. Though it does allow you to
make more than one power blow for that turn, it does not allow you to play
an extra attack. If you cannot make more than 1 attack that turn, this
card has no effect.
Holster works as a bank allowing you to, during your sweep phase, place
Basic Attacks under it instead of discarding them. Exerting and removing
the card from the game will allow you to shuffle the attacks held by
Holster back into your endurance.
Learn Fast, a slightly misleading card, states "You may now become armed."
Note that it does not arm you, only allows you to become armed by normal
means (roll, Recover Weapon, Extra Weapon, Watcher: Fair Fight, etc.). It
should also be noted that if this card is not in play, Nick Wolfe cannot
become armed for any reason.
Noble Sacrafice is basically a toned-down Live Forever that is removed from
the game after use. It will only avoid damage from attacks. Definately worth
inclusion in any deck, very useful for those undodgable attacks.
Off The Force is easily one of the best cards Nick has, and in this author's
opinion, one of the best cards in the game. It is essentially an
anti-Generic / Richie super version of Disguise. First, where Disguise was a
Situation: Plot, Off the Force is a Situation, and therefore is much harder
to remove. Remeber also, that if you do remove it, it has no restriction
number, so you could see up to 6 come out of a single deck. On top of that,
where Disguise simply prevents the playing of any Police card, Off The Force
only prevents Nick's opponent from playing them. Finally, the card states
"While Off The Force is in play, no Police cards that affect Wolfe or his
cards may be played.", meaning that is would be useless in any non Nick Wolfe
deck, which begs the question, why not just make it Signature?
Police Contacts allow Nick to search through his opponent's endurance for
any Police card and put it into play as if it was his own. This could
potentially allow nick to play 12 Police in one game (6 from his deck, 6
from yours). Quite a bit of stopping power.
Reload allows you to search through your endurance and retrieve 2
non-special attacks to put into your hand. Not that great, probably not worth
putting more than one or two in your deck considering it counts as your special
for the turn. Has a bit more use if you make a Melee deck for Wolfe, but he is
not well-suited to do so.
Signature Cards Time, first up is Expert Marksman. A well deserved and thought
out card, for every ranged attack you play that your opponent dodges, they must
discard the top card of their endurance. Add Off The Force to keep your opponent
from removing it.
Pane of Glass is an extremely potent card, but before you start drooling, a bit
of clarification. If you discard it from play, Pane of Glass allows an Upper
Pistol Ranged Attack to be a Headshot. Although Nick's ability allows him to make
any basic Upper Attack a Upper Ranged Attack, Pane of Glass will not work with it.
Currently, the only card that Pane of Glass works with is Pistol (UC), which means
you must Back Away on the same turn. Considering Pistol (UC) is Resticted to 3,
and Pane of Glass is a Signature that is Restricted to 1, it may be difficult to
pull off the combo, even moreso considering that your opponent must be Prone for
Pane of Glass to take effect.
Semi-Automatic allows you to make a 2 Point Ranged attack to any area on the grid
after you Back Away. This is probably the best Signature Card Nick carries,
although less powerful than Pane of Glass, and less annoying than Expert Marksman,
it is extremely versatile.
Since Wolfe's Persona Ability fuels itself on Special Cards, we should include
at least as many Specials as we do Attacks, plus any Specials we want to use.
Also, since most Nick decks will not rearm, or rearm late, we can forego the
non-basic Attacks like Flurry Strike and Riposte.
Just because you can use your opponent's Police Cards via Police Contacts does
not mean you should have a lack of them in your deck, if your opponent doesn't
have any left in his endurance, you may be out of luck. Any Police you don't
need can be discarded for your Persona Ability.
Extra Weapon or Recover Weapon should be included in the event that you should
need to rearm yourself for the winning Headshot (or to block the winning
Headshot). If you don't need them or want them, have them play battery for your
Master's Advance. Nick is allowed 4 Master Cards and I honestly see no other
Master Card that would benefit Nick as much as this does. Once Master's Advance
and Off The Force are out, discard the other Master's Advances to fuel your
Rules of the Game (Events/Allies) As reliant as Nick is on Ranged Attacks, if
an opponent managed to get Rules of the Game (Ranged) on the board, you will be
taking 1 damage everytime you make a Ranged Attack (successful or not). These
might be worth inclusion if for nothing more than to clear a card worse than your
Challenge (SE), a huge benefit to Nick, this allows his Ranged Attacks to be
undodgable, meaning the only defense for most Personas is Holy Ground or
Narrow Escape. Just keep in mind this card is a double-edged sword.
Alertness: Dodge should be in every Nick deck. while an avid dodger, a couple
undodgable attacks and you are in trouble, so throw these in to cover your bases.
Catwalk, Catwalk, Catwalk and Catwalk. This is a no-brainer, Back Away will
not dodge ranged attacks, and ranged attacks cannot be blocked under any
circumstances. Keep them on the Catwalk and you should have no problem
destroying them quickly.
Other Locations that may help Nick include Lighthouse, The Circle, and Ring
of Fire. Obviously, the less dodges/special defenses they can play, the better.
If you plan on using any of these locations, you probably want a Master's
Sanctuary or two.
How to Win
The key to winning with Nick Wolfe is firstly, knowing where your opponents
can dodge, and where they can't. While any Center Ranged Attack will put
Kanwulf in a world of pain, it won't help so much against Amanda. The second,
and perhaps most important strategy to winning with Wolfe is to make as many of
your Ranged Attacks undodgable as possible. Catwalk, the Circle, and Challenge
(SE) can help you out here.
Lower Center and Upper Center attacks are typically the hardest to dodge. Both
get past Evades, and Duck or Jump respectively so make sure you have a few extra
and things should go a bit smoother.
Martial Arts (Akido) Pregame Card will allow you to block while disarmed,
though you will still take 1 damage for blocking a Power Blow, most Persona
cannot keep up a barrage of Power Blows for long.
Since Nick doesn't require many Special Cards, putting out Off The Force
and then Wargames West would make for a great special-denial deck, Darius
in 'The Cat' and your opponent will be hurting.
My final suggestion would be to use a PG Darius to increase the Restriction
Number on Pistol (UC), allowing you 4 Pistol (UC), this will make that Pane
of Glass strategy come through a bit easier. For additional help, throw in
Sulphur Plant to help with making your opponent Prone, or Rail Yard to keep
him that way. A couple Martial Art Attacks combined with the Roundhouse Edge
Card should help you knock him on his backside.
How to Defeat
Nick's ability relies on Ranged Attacks. An easy way to defeat him is to
have The Game Pre-Game loaded with Rules of the Game (Ranged), with that out,
Nick will take 1 damage for every Ranged Attack he plays (whether or not it is
Ranged Attacks are considered Special Attacks, so if you can get
Verona, Italy 1637 out, Nick can make no attacks unless armed.
Chances are, Nick is going to rely on Pane of Glass to sever his heads for him,
with that in mind, a Misfortune or two may be very handy against Nick Wolfe.
Undodgable attacks are a big problem for Nick, a Gladius WoC, Lunge, or normally
undodgable attacks are worth their weight in gold against the Warrior.
Nick is almost certainly going to have cards out limiting your defensive options,
so holding a few Focus (ME) or Reconnaissance will prove well worth their
inclusion in your deck.
Limiting Nick's dodging, via The Circle, Dead End Alley, Challenge/SE, Lighthouse,
hurts him as much as you. (with the exception of Dead End Alley).
Pedestrian (Hidden Attacks Only) can spell defeat for Nick since Ranged Attacks
cannot be hidden. If you can get Mountain Cave out on top of it, you will have
a quick game.
Finally, Hidden Attacks may prove useful against Nick. Since he only has one
9 Grid Defense, a few well placed Hidden Power Blows can really even the odds.
Overall, Dave gives Nick Wolfe a 7. He is an extremely powerful and exteremly
limited persona at the same time. While his Ranged Attacks are annoying, he
has no Persona cards that allow him extra attacks, and 1 damage every round
should be managable. In my opinion, the introduction of Martial Arts Pre-Game
Cards in the MacLeod Chronicles supremely overbalanced Nick Wolfe. Where before
he had the severe penalty of not being able to block attacks, Martial Arts - Akido
has removed that issue. So by adding one Pre-Game card, Nick is able to severely
reduce his only flaw.
What Our Other Raters Say:
Glenn - What can I say about the (non-)Immortal Nick Wolfe? Actually, quite a lot.
He's an oddity on the Highlander world - a pre-Immortal, who we never got to see
play at the Knights Of The Round Table thing. And, as an oddity, he has a rather
unique ability - but it comes at a price. He really has only one strategy out of
the box - Ranged attacking. He can back this up with a few support cards for
flavour, but that's about it. The question is - is it enough? In my opinion,
yes - but dont be expecting to take many heads with him.
You only have two methods of achieving a head shot; Rearm using Learn Fast and
an Extra Weapon, then a Head Shot or A&T Head Shot card; or find a way to force
your opponent to become Prone, play Pane Of Glass, then Back Away, then a
Pistol (UC).. as you can see, it gets less and less likely...
However, if you just want to win, then Nick is your guy. Load up on attacks,
dodges (especially Back Away), and plenty of discardable Specials. Each turn,
play a basic Attack, discard a Special and FIRE! They need to be dodged, so
limit those too for your opponent by playing Catwalk and Master's Advance
(remember, Nick has no Master cards, so you can load up on these). Also,
for an evil finishing touch, a Kurgan Quickening increases the Ranged damage
by one too! And, since you can use any Special, even if it's no good to put
into play, you may as well go to town during deck construction.
However, there is one flaw with Nick, that can make him overpowered - cards
such as Martial Arts Pregames, or Dragon Con. It eliminates the risk in using
Nick, as he can then attack and block as normal. I'll allow you to come to
your own conclusions as to just how abusive you can make that...
Adam - Nick Wolfe is by and large a "love 'em or hate 'em" Persona. There
seems to be no middle ground with Nick. He was an obvious inclusion in MLE1,
as he was one of two major characters from "The Raven." Also, his ability
from day one screamed ranged attacks. He also needed something that indicated
he wouldn't be the best swordsman out there. Thus his forced disarmed status.
His ability does have a lot of caveates to it. He has to discards a special,
it can only be a basic, etc. However, remember it is still a ranged attack -
not the easiest thing in the world to avoid. It also can be modified through
any number of means. Use Expert Marksman, and they really are going to have to
start jumping to avoid your shots. Reload and you can go looking for two
attacks to throw. Throw in Holster and get all of those basic attacks back
and shoot again. Nick also is somewhat set up for control as well. Off The Force
and Police Contacts both allow him to control how and when Police cards are used,
thus protecting his own cards and picking off your opponents. Nick's old primary
drawback is that he has to count on Dodges early in the game due to being
Disarmed. Consone would own him in MLE alone. With the creation of Martial Arts
cards, this has kind of fallen away. Nick can now load up on MA's as his PG's of
choice and lay an unarmed whoppin' on people. As far as generics, Nick will want
to load up on Ability Recovery, as he may take some hits early in the game. He
also should look towards Dirty Tricks and Combat Tricks, as they can be played
while unarmed. Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't comment on one of my favorite
cards in the game - Pane of Glass. Yes, it is one of the most difficult cards in
the game to pull off. It does duplicate an event from the series perfectly and it
does allow for a non-sword bearing Nick to take a head. So, it is worth it for the
TMO - Martial Arts definitely take some of the sting out of playing Nick Wolfe
and being disarmed. He cannot play Hidden Ranged Attacks unless he can steal a
card that allows Special Attacks to be played hidden, and I don't know of any
that do that are publicly available. Rebecca has a Signature card that does, but
that's it that I'm aware of. Before I go any further, I will admit that I haven't
ever made or fought a Nick Wolfe deck, so take all of my comments with a grain
Off The Force appears to be a powerful card that would probably make an appearance
in every NW deck I built. In order to Police away one of my situations or block
some Direct Damage from me, my opponent would have to Focus every single
Off The Force in play, and THEN play the Police. Powerful stuff. The only possible
drawbacks I see are that you're no longer able to Police your own cards either if
you need to (for whatever reasons).
Probably the stereotypical Nick Wolfe deck is a Catwalk/Ranged attack deck. Load up
on the Back Aways for your defense, and also to play Semi-Automatic (remember that
you don't have to Back Away to play the Ranged Attacks from your persona power),
perhaps some Kirk Matunas for the Direct Damage. Kiss Your Butts Goodbye is an
excellent offensive card if you can't keep Catwalk in play, but remember you lose
your own Dodges at the same time, and being disarmed, you can't block (unless you
use Martial Arts or Improvised Weapon).
jdtimi - Abstain
Erick - At first look Nick Wolfe has some big disadvantages. First he is unarmed
and needs to rely on his dodges which makes him very susceptible to Master's Advance.
Secoond he needs to get Learn Fast into play so that he may become armed which is
restricted to 3 and is a special. Looking to the bright side he does have 4 dodges
and can play basic attacks as ranged attacks which works very well against personas
that don't have a normal dodge. He also has Off the Force which keeps Police cards
from being played which help Nick to being able to play cheese. He also is the only
persona that can play an upper ranged attack as a head shot. While he may not be the
most powerful of immortals Nick can be very annoying with all of the ranged attacks
he can play and surprise some decks.
Persona of the Month was originally written by a group of people including
Steve Crow, Hank Driskill, James Duncan, Alan Murrell, and Jeff Barnes. This
Persona of the Month article is merely a continuation of a wonderful idea by
these gentlemen. The author encourages you to read previous PoTM articles at
Denis Parslow's site: http://world.std.com/~dgp/PotM.html
The author would like to thank the readers of this article for keeping this
game alive, Justin Yanta for his suggestions/ideas, and Steve Crow for permission
to use the PoTM title/format. Last, but not least, I would like to thank Glenn Clarke
for totally slaughtering me with a Nick Wolfe deck, showing me the strategies at the
wrong end of his 9mm.
Highlander is a protected trademark of Gaumont Television, used under license
by Thunder Castle Games. Thunder Castle Games card text is copyright 1997 by
Thunder Castle Games. Images used for MLE Cards (c) Rysher. Card design and
intellectual (c) Missing Link Edition team. All rights reserved.