Christophe Kuyler – by Nigel Keates
If you do not play a Special card, you may choose to make one non-Special, non-Power Blow attack either unblockable or undodgeable. You may include up to 4 Master cards.
Well let’s get this one straight from the start Kuyler’s ability is strong …. no make that very strong. Many attacks in HL are unblockable so using Kuyler’s ability you can make it undodgeable as well. Similarly you can make an undodgeable attack unblockable as well using Kuyler’s ability. It has also been ruled that if Kuyler makes a hidden attack he doesn’t have to declare that it is unblockable or undodgeable until it is revealed. The only downside is that when using his ability Kuyler cannot play a special card and the attack cannot be a power blow – so no headshots can be modified in this way.
Persona specific cards
Non reserved Cards
Kuyler has an impressive array of dodges (but interestingly no dodge) with back away, duck, evade left and right, and jump. All bar back away are single row or column dodges with no restriction as to where you can attack after you have played them. The standard continuity, flashback discard to draw cards, and the hidden attack trip complete the reserved cards mix.
The dodges are definitely worth packing – particularly in conjunction with acrobat (see later) but the special cards have limited uses particularly as this prohibits the use of Kuyler’s power.
The most important reserved card that Kuyler has is Mannequin. I should imagine that this will be included in all Kuyler decks. It allows you to make your first attack hidden. With the ruling on Kuyler’s hidden attacks as explained in the overview this is huge. Play a master’s block against a hidden attack … reveal hidden … oh dear Kuyler states that it is unblockable …. exert for a dodge.
Several cards interact with mannequin – decoy allows you too discard a Mannequin to avoid an attack. As you are avoiding an attack it can save your head. Mannequin’s Cofrad allows you to play a mannequin and it does not count as your special for the turn. Therefore you can play multiple mannequins in one turn if this is in play and still use your persona power.
Henchman assassin is a more powerful card than it seems. Note it is a situation that does damage. Cards that normally do damage are events and cards like greenfield hobby, police, prevent damage from EVENTS. Therefore this is an almost guaranteed 1 damage. Play in conjunction with cards like vampire that retrieve cards from your discard and you can irritate your opponent with it.
Henchman thief is not so useful, misfortune does it better.
In my opinion Kuyler’s best sig card is acrobat. It extends the grid of one of Kuylers dodges by one column or one row. This makes all of Kuyler’s single row/column dodges much more effective. Note however acrobat does not bypass dodge limitations of such cards like the circle so if you are in the circle acrobat cannot be played.
Absinthe allows you to modify special attacks with Kuyler’s ability and Absinthe madness increases damage of non special attacks by one. Absinthe madness is excellent but the downside is you have to have absinthe in play to play it. Is it worth two special slots and the loss of your power for 2 turns … hmmm….
Kuyler has 2 master cards – master assassin which does 3 damage and master dodge, a dodge which can cover one row or one column. Kuyler only has 4 master slots so they be chosen carefully. I certainly wouldn’t include master assassin … master dodge maybe.
Pre game cards
The first choice Kuyler has to make it what WoC to use. In my opinion 2 stand out Gladius or Rapier. Gladius is good because you can make an exertion to make 1 basic attack undodgeable. Combine that with your persona power and “lovely jubbley” an unblockable undodgeable attack. Add twist to the mix and ouch an unblockable undodgeable attack for mucho damage. Stab Gladius is also nasty when hidden as your attacks are undodgeable again with your power another unblockable undodgeable attack
Rapier is good because of Rapier slice – second slice is undodgeable (and unblockable with your power) and flurry strike – second flurry strike is unblockable (and undodgeable with your power.)
An essential pre game is Pallin Wolf. This watcher makes your hidden attacks remain hidden. Even Connor can’t look. Essential with a hidden attack strategy.
Denial is the name of the game here. As you can make your attacks hidden easily with mannequin – ped hidden is excellent. Stops your opponent from attacking nicely. A location to limit your opponent defense capabilities is nice. Locker room is a good one – stops back away and dodge. Dirty tricks can also be useful especially choke unblockable and undodgeable when Kuyler’s power used (Thanks Jeff for that one). If you are making your attacks mainly unblockable then a master’s advance can work well. As you won’t be playing many specials then Honor Bound and /or wargames West may do the job
How to Win
Kuyler has many ways to win. Mannequin is an essential card and this must be put into play as soon as possible. Unblockable/undodgeable attacks are just nasty and Kuyler can keep playing these until the cows come home. Hidden attacks with the ruling on Kuyler are awesome. Denial using Ped hidden, Honor bound etc. can make Kuyler very hard to hit.
How to defeat.
Over the long haul Kuyler is going to win. Eventually some unblockable undodgeable attacks are going to get through. So attacking him quickly and early is the key. Multi attacks with flashing blade will hurt as Kuyler is much more of a dodger than a blocker. The circle is a nice location as he can’t play acrobat. Without acrobat he can be weak in the middle centre position. You must not get locked. Ped hidden will crucify you so ensure you have trenchcoat or are on the rooftop. Alertnesses and prime blocks are essential. A Kuyler nemesis (under Ahriman perhaps) is very useful as the Kuyler nemesis is particularly nasty.
Kuyler is definitely top tier. The ruling that Kuyler can declare whether hidden attacks are unblockable or undodgeable using his power when they are revealed makes him even stronger. I must confess that I am not a lover of this ruling. The reasoning for the ruling is that when you make a hidden attack you only have to declare if it is a power blow. If the card text says it is unblockable or undodgeable it doesn’t have to be declared. Well that’s fair enough if the card text states this but Kuyler’s ability is external to the card being played. This makes a very strong ability even stronger and it also makes it messy when playing face to face as Kuyler has to write down whether the attack is unblockable or undodgeable on a piece of paper. Anyway I would rate Kuyler an 8 but with the ruling on hidden attacks that would push him up to a 9 – the strongest immortal in my opinion that has been reviewed thus far. Are there stronger out there … well yes but we will review them another day.
What our reviewers say…
Glenn – I'd say Nigel has got this dead on. Kuyler has a number of options available to him, and each has it's own unique flavour. I'd add one location to Kuyler's multi-stringed bow: Laundry Room. Since you've got a high chance of a hit, you're extremely unlikely to take the penalty, and even if you do, you're dodge heavy, so the penalty affects you far less. I'd also suggest looking at alternative WoC. Strangely, Nail Studded Bat or Katar have some benefit, and can put your opponent off balance. For example, a Hidden, unblockable Impale, or a Katar Punch with a Twist can wear your opponent down that much quicker. I'd give Kuyler an 8; He's beatable, and most of his strategies centre around unblockable or undodgeable attacks, so with some planning a suitable counter can work wonders.
TMO – The original Kuyler was designed by me, and while he changed a lot during the R&D sessions, a large portion remains intact. First off, the Persona power - originally written that you could make one attack Hidden each turn, this was quickly deemed abusive with cards like Ped Hidden. In an attempt to keep some semblance of sneaky surprise attacks, we came up with the unblockable/undodgable combo (Kuyler the assassin taking his opponent by surprise, not giving him time to react). This has actually turned out to be more powerful than I first thought.
His next core concept was that of an Acrobat. Thus, the full suite of dodge cards. He ranks just below Amanda and Consone as a dodger. His Acrobat card brings him up to their level. Consone is still the master of The Circle, but Kuyler runs a close second. Kuyler's dodge weakness is in that he only has 1 full-grid dodge to play with. Mannequins come next, giving him a mix of offensive and defensive capabilities. They are quite flexible, but can chew up a large portion of your deck if you're not careful. Then come his Specials: Absynthe, Absynthe Madness, his Henchmen and Inspector Sole. They all give nice benefits, but at the cost of not being able to use his power for a turn. None of these are required cards, but may prove useful filler cards and enhancements (especially Absynthe with Special Attacks like Kuyler's Master Assassin, or by using Methos' Master Q to bring in Kern's Master Swordsman or Annie/YDK's Master's Attack).
Suggested Attack tactics:
Using Kuyler's power in conjunction with attacks that are already unblockable or undodgable, such as the various Dirty Tricks (Chokes are especially nasty), Gladius' Stab, etc. If you have time to do enough setup, you can use Mannequins in conjunction with Ped Hidden (and your Persona power once the specials are all played) to cut your opponent to pieces. The Circle isn't a bad place for Kuyler to be. Most personas have a hard time playing any dodges there. Use Kuyler's power to make your attacks unblockable.
Being choked? Does your opponent have Honor Bound in play? Or is Diane Terrin giving you fits? Want to remove Dr. Anne from play before your opponent can use her? Use your Henchman (Assassin) to clear that right up. This card has a multiplicity of uses. What do you do if Kern or Slan or Kurgan comes after you with multiple power blows? Decoy is an Edge, so if you have several Mannequins in play, you can toss multiple Decoys out to avoid the worst attacks.
Undodgable attacks, full grid attacks or diagonal slashes are the key to defeating him in a straight fight. Make sure to have plenty of Alertnesses handy, or some other way to avoid damage (a proper Luther deck would laugh at Kuyler). Master's Advance will hurt him, but since he's liable to be packing quite a few dodges, it will take a while to wear him down. If you can force him to use his Back Aways, or some other method of forcing him to only play at Ranged distances (Sword Pommel Punch CT), he'll be in some serious trouble too.
I would rate Kuyler as about an 8 out of 10. He turned out more powerful than his original character in show was, unfortunately. He has an very powerful offensive array, and very good defenses, combined with some decent specials. A tough opponent.
Jeff – Abstain
Adam – Maybe it is just me, but Kuyler reminds me a lot of Fasil. Everyone I knew who played against Fasil said how much of a nightmare he was, how they were so afraid of him, all those unblockable/undodgeable attacks that kept coming. My response? I have never lost to a Fasil deck in all of the time I have played. Ever.
Kuyler to me looks great on paper, but with so many different Edge cards that take care of if something can be blocked or dodged, I just don't see the big ta-do. Yes, he can throw one every turn - if he doesn't play a special, and if the attack is a non-power blow, AND if the attack isn't special. Whoopie.
I can do the same thing in a Duncan or Connor deck with a lot less work.
Granted, I will say that Kuyler could be annoying in the hands of the right player. But he is also a deck for a more advanced player.
Erick – The only persona who can make either an unblockable or undodgeable attack every turn. It’s very important to get Mannequin’s Cofrad in play quickly. Once in play you can get your Mannequin’s in play and still be able to use your person power. Rachel Ellenstein, Bonny Portmore, End of Time (Edge) and Twist of Fate are all cards that should be considered for Kuyler decks. Once out of edge cards your opponent can be in big trouble, but getting those cards into play takes away from using your persona power. Overall I’d say that he is an above average persona.
Nick – Hands down the most dangerous persona from BIA and possibly the heaviest hitter from MLE next to Dark Duncan. Unlike DD though, Kuyler is pretty straightforward which is both a blessing and a curse. Kuyler is really all about his persona power. The question isn't "If" he's going to use it, but "When". This is important because you'll find Kuyler decks alternating between using it as their primary focus and others that use it as an endgame. I can't give Kuyler a full 10 because there is a ruling about his power regarding hidden attacks which is just plain wrong in my opinion. I think that this goes beyond the bounds of fun gameplay and makes the game (when using Kuyler) irritating and dysfunctional.
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:
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.