Haresh Clay – by Nigel Keates

If you only play one attack during your turn, then your opponent must discard a defense for each defense that he wishes to play. You may have up to 6 Master cards.

Overview.
On first inspection Clay’s ability may not appear that powerful, however it must not be underestimated. As your opponent is losing 2 defenses a turn to block or dodge an attack, his defenses can soon be depleted. Hidden attacks are particularly useful for Clay as his opponent has the potential of losing even more defenses. Play a defense and discard one to defend against a hidden attack – guess wrong and you have to exert and then discard another defense to defend again. Being prone against Clay is also a nightmare, as the number of defenses needed to avoid that attack just keeps on multiplying. Combat tricks are also very useful for Clay. Remember Clay’s ability applies if he plays one attack a turn – it doesn’t mention combat tricks. Therefore if you want to play a defense against a combat trick and a different defense against the attack then it will cost you 4 defenses in total.
Where Clay is particularly strong is once his opponent starts taking damage. It is very difficult for his opponent to recover, as 2 defenses are required to repel an attack.

Persona specific cards
Non reserved Cards
Haresh Clay has a good selection of dodges with Back away, Dodge and duck. The latter card is extremely useful as after playing a duck your next attack is hidden. As stated in the overview hidden attacks are extremely powerful in Clay’s hands.

Clay has the combination, which forces you to play a defense against each attack played. With Clay’s ability however this card is not so useful as it is unlikely that Clay will be playing more than one attack per turn.

Reserved cards
Intimidate can be useful in stopping your opponent attacking which can help to lock his hand but I feel that there are better special cards that Clay can be packing.

Master disarm is similar to the Connor and Nakano variety and even with 6 master slots there are better cards to pack

Kicks on the other hand are much more useful – any unblockable attack should fit nicely into any deck … add Carter Wellan to the mix and that boosts kicks to a 3 point unblockable attack. As you have 4 that will do nicely.

Stalk can be a bit of a surprise card. If your opponent does dare to remove Carter Wellan an unblockable undodgeable headshot could be in the offing.

Sig. cards
Master’s blocks are always good and with the added bonus that it can block power blows with a 0 card exertion. Note Master’s block does not block power blows per se. You have to make a 0 card exertion, which will use up your exertion for the turn.

Carter Wellan is the other sig. card for Clay .. if you are playing lots of special attacks well worth the inclusion – also due to stalk potentially dangerous to remove. Note only one Carter Wellan can be in play so if you are facing another Haresh Clay only one of you can play it.

Pre game cards
Clay’s choice of weapon can be varied. Weapons that increase the number of attacks are probably not that useful. Probably be the most useful WoC for Clay are weapons that increase damage Katar, War axe, or if going down the hidden attack route saber or for versatility Kris broadsword.
If playing a hidden attack strategy then watcher Pallin Wolf would be the best choice
If “Dariusing” in some cards then Ian bancroft would be your watcher of choice.
If playing with Q’s the Kronos Q is especially useful. You will only be making one attack –why let your opponent make more?

Special cards.
As stated in the overview Clay will often want to limit the defenses that can be played. Challenge (SE), Lunge, Master’s advance, Snake bar are all possible choices.
Generic cards that force you to discard defenses are always useful. Kiss your butt goodbye, Caught in the act (ME) Dangerous ground, stumble, watcher discard dodge, Cat and Mouse and Louise Marcus may all find their way into a Haresh Clay deck
If you are Dariusing in cards then Kastagir’s charm, Luther’s malicious grin and Kane’s open mind all have their uses.
Towards the end of the game On your knees can be particularly devastating, as if prone it is particularly difficult to avoid that game ending headshot.
Clay is particularly versatile with respect to locations. If you decide to go down the limit defenses playable route then Dead end Alley, Catwalk, and even the circle have their uses. As duck is so useful Clay will probably want to pack reconn or masters sanctuary if the latter 2 locations are used. Battlefield (ME) is potentially strong if your opponent is running short on defenses. Factory too can be extremely powerful, as the last thing you want is your opponent drawing cards after playing lots of defenses. If hidden attacks are the name of the game mountain cave is your location of choice. If you are worried about opponents playing holy ground or another such card when short of defenses Ring of fire is another good choice.

How to Win
Clay can win in several ways
1. Strip your opponent of defenses. Clay’s opponents are more vulnerable to this strategy than most as 2 defenses are needed to combat each of Clay’s attacks
2. Play as many hidden attacks as possible. Duck is useful here – as stated in the overview a potential of 4 defenses are needed to avoid an incorrectly guessed hidden attack
3. Make your opponent prone – 3 defenses needed to avoid those attacks
4. Limit your opponents card drawing – impressive move, factory may help here.

Once your opponent is discarding cards when taking damage – the end is near.

How to defeat.
Cycling cards is the way to defeat Clay. Holy ground (SE) and (ME) are particularly annoying as Clay’s opponent avoids an attack – doesn’t use up any valuable defenses and cycles cards at the same time. Multi attack decks also give Clay a hard time. As Clay is only playing one attack per turn it is very easy for him to be outgunned early. Also by playing several attacks more cards are drawn replenishing used defenses. Obviously decks that contain a lot of defenses will also give Clay a hard time as the only way he can win is if his opponent is running short on defenses. Nef gives Clay the hardest time, as his ability is basically useless against her. Any discarded defenses go onto her endurance only to be redrawn later. Sophie Baines is the only card to save you here. The Messenger may be useful as it allows you to have more defenses at your disposal and a Dojo might help you if Clay is playing a discard strategy.

Overall I would rate Clay as 6.5. He is not a top tier immortal but nor is he at the bottom either. His immortal specific cards are OK – nothing spectacular but OK. His ability is good once it gets going but it does need time to “kick in” . Once it does “kick in” however it is very difficult for your opponent to recover. Once short of defenses – a swift headshot can end things remarkably quickly.

What our reviewers say…

Glenn – To me, Haresh Clay can be surprisingly deadly. While it may not immediately come to mind, consider Clay for L&M: Your opponent is already limited on the number of defenses in his deck (especially if he intends to have a semi-decent deck!), so you're more likely to hit earlier. Also, I'd point out that Clay doesn't have many Special cards of his own to really rely on, so again a Wargames West can be a sound choice. If looking at a L&M deck, try Clay's Master's Disarm, combined with Forged Steel, Discard Weapon and Sheathe Weapon. You can hit him twice per deck pass, and it's a reasonable certainty of being successful (and breaking his weapon too if you got Forged Steel in play). Besides, if you get unlucky, you can fall back to your Kicks, as they can be played whilst disarmed (and benefit from Carter Wellan). Finally, don't overlook Slashes; with your opponent's limited ability to defend, they're more likely to succeed.

TMO – I would rate Clay at a 6.5 out of 10 rating. A well-balanced design, with good offense and good defense.

Offensive Tactics:
- Obviously, only make one attack per turn. Note that Combat Tricks are NOT attacks. A CT and an attack each turn adds up to 3 defenses being burned per turn if properly coordinated. Combine this with Master's Advance/Battlefield for additional burn.
- Carter Wellan + Sword of Babylon + Master's Thrusts for 5pt damage attacks. Not to mention keeping Stalk handy for when they remove Carter from play you can play an unblockable/undodgable Head Shot. Carter also works for Clay's Kicks as well as any Pistols you happen to have. A Kurgan Q can add to the pain.
- He has the same Master's Disarm as Connor/Nakano, with the same tactic being available to him.

Defensive Tactics:
- His Master's Block can be a Power Block with a 0 card Exertion. Very Nice.
- Intimidate can keep your opponent from attacking, but I think there are better ways to do that than playing a Special every turn.
- Trenchcoat (No Witnesses) to keep Ped (Hidden) away; Clay has a lot of Special Attacks if you choose to use them.

Jeff – Abstain

Adam – As a bit of trivia before I start, Haresh Clay was the first "outside" design that MLE took in.

Haresh Clay is a persona that does one thing and does it very well - he forces you to burn through your defenses. The most basic strategy for Clay is to load up on attacks that target 1 area of the grid and just keep throwing them there. Eventually your opponent will run out of defenses (either through playing them or discarding) and he is doing to have to take damage.

Because you will want to limit Clay to 1 attack per turn, you will want to look for ways to pump up that damage. Load up on either special cards to do so or pack a Weapon of Choice to do your dirty work. On the flip side, don't miss the chance of a deny game plan. Use Rene Delany, Wargames West or Simple Mind to clog your opponent's hands with special cards they can't use as they watch their defenses drain way. You may also want to look for ways for Clay to inflict damage through other means. Kirk Matunas and the like will wear your opponent down.

Clay is the ideal persona for the play who wants to hold back and wait for his chance.

Erick – At first glance you Clay’s power isn’t that great, but once you really look at him more closely it’s very nice. Add Cat & Mouse to make your opponent lose even more defenses or strip him of attack to play against you. Add a Kronos Q and make him discard attacks and only play 1 attack per turn. Use Honor Bound to keep your opponent from playing any specials and you can easily lock his hand with a bunch of useless cards especially if your opponent is playing a multi-attack deck. I’d say overall Clay’s above average, but in the right hands he’s very dangerous.

Nick – It's no secret that I have no love of Haresh. He's powerful with the right person at the driver's wheel, but that can be said of almost any persona. He's got a good selection of cards, but lacks the "TWO" to any ONE-TWO-PUNCH which would help him to be a bit more elevated in the ratings. In a friendly game, Clay is fun and can strip defenses in a hurry. In a no hold's barred tournament match, Haresh must find secondary and tertiary goals other than relying on his persona ability.

Not the worst, but not the best either.


Ratings Overall:

Glenn 6.5
TMO 6.5
Adam 7
Jeff -
Erick 7.5
Nigel 6.5
Nick 6

Average: 6.67


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 and Steve Crow for permission to use the PoTM title/format.

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 property (c) Missing Link Edition team. All rights reserved.