WoCotM #2: Nail-Studded Bat – by Glenn Clarke

WoC text:
[2 Hands] You may make any non-special attack a Power Blow without an Exertion. You may not make standard Head Shots with Nail-Studded Bat.

Overview:
Ah, the Nail-Studded Bat, popularised by Cracker Bob in Endgame – simple concept, devastating results. The weapon’s ability speaks for itself; you get to make any red-gridded attack a Power Blow for free (assuming the attack itself doesn’t state that it must not/cannot be a Power Blow), but the price is high if you’re headhunting…

First things first: the drawbacks. There’s no point carrying any of the regular head shot cards in a deck using this weapon; an obvious statement perhaps, but it’s an easy mistake to make, especially when you remember that this also includes all the Master Head Shot cards, and the Arms & Tactics Head Shot pregame.

Also remember that your opponent will be getting a free Hidden attack for each turn you make a Power Blow you make, so be prepared to limit his options.

Now the bonus – the free Power Blows. As per the rules, you can make one per turn, so a single attack strategy seems preferable. Also, make sure you’re not stacking your deck with attacks that cannot be Power Blows, as they’ll cost you your main advantage.


In-game cards:
The Nail-Studded Bat has several specific cards, namely…

Circular Block, Block, 2
(XXX/X-X/XXX)
You may play this defense if you don't play any Edge cards this turn. You may attack normally after this defense.

This can be a great defense to have in your hand, but has a couple of serious drawbacks; it cannot be played with an Alertness to block an unblockable attack, it cannot block any attacks that cover the centre grid, and is restricted to 2. On the plus side, it’ll block the upper, lower, left and right Slashes wonderfully, and allow you to play a similar multi-grid attack in return, something your opponent won’t likely be expecting.

Hooked, Event, 3
Your opponent is hooked to the bat. His first defense next turn may not be a dodge unless the dodge comes from an Exertion.

An excellent card, and one I’d thoroughly recommend. Put to best use when played with a Power Blow, forcing your opponent to make an Exertion for either a Power Block, or a dodge.

Impale, Attack
(---/XX-/---),(---/-XX/---)
This attack does 3 damage.

At first glance, these aren’t overly useful, as they have a higher chance of being blocked. However, remember that you can make one non-Special attack a Power Blow each turn, and the Hooked card above, and you have the makings of a simple yet powerful combo; A Power Blow that cannot be dodged (unless from an Exertion), and does 5 damage if successful.

Knee Crush, Attack, 2
(---/-X-/-X-)
If successful, your opponent has a 1 in 6 chance of becoming Prone. You may not play any block during your next turn.

A card to be careful of. It initially seems to fit in the same bracket as the Impale cards, but has a serious drawback in that you cannot block on your next turn, so even if you’re successful in attacking, and your opponent becomes Prone, there’s still a better than average chance you’ll be made to pay next turn. A card best used in a deck that prevents your opponent attacking, or saved for nearer the end of a match, when your opponent is less likely to have cards in his hand to punish you.

Nail, Edge, 3
Play in conjunction with a Basic attack. If successful, the attack does an additional 1 damage.

Mechanically the same as the Gladius Twist card. Useful to have if you have the space, and good to use if the attack is a moderate certainty. Remember, you can play more than one Nail in conjunction with a single attack, if you want to…

Swing For The Fences!, Special Attack, 3
(-X-/---/---)
If you do not play a Special Card during your turn, and the attack is successful, your opponent loses his head. This is not considered a standard Head Shot.

A couple of things to note here. If you want to be making any head shots, this is (currently) the only card you can use. It’s restricted to 3, so you’re limited as to how many total head shots you can make on one pass through your Endurance too, and is only to the UC grid, making it moderately easy to defend against, highlighting just how restrictive this weapon’s drawback can be. Worth carrying at least one, on the offchance you get an opportunity.


How to use:
To successfully use the Nail-Studded Bat, you’ll need to hit hard and fast, be prepared to defend against Hidden attacks, and accept that you’re unlikely to be taking heads. Concentrate on over-powered attacks that are difficult to defend, such as Hooked + Impale (Power Blow) + Nail x3 (can only be dodged from an Exertion, does 8 damage if successful) and you’ll soon knock your opponent down.


How to counter:
There are a few ways to counter the effects of the Nail-Studded Bat. A dodge-heavy deck allows you to avoid those free Power Blows, and strike back with Hidden attacks. A good old-fashioned Continuity or The Game can help, or throw in an Ancestral Blade, to give you those free Power Blocks, or simply go with a tower deck, and accept the Exertion burn. Or, turn the tables with Honed Weapon (& Iron Will), Treachery, or even Sulphur Plant.


Who should use this weapon:
Ideally you’re looking for a persona who can hit hard, and isn’t restricted in making Power Blows, such as Amanda (Power Blows only do 2 damage if successful), or Kenny (cannot make Power Blows without Partner In Revenge in play). Try:
Connor MacLeod (see Hidden attacks)
Duncan MacLeod (opponent doesn’t get a free Hidden if you Power Blow)
Haresh Clay (if only one attack played, opponent must discard a defense to play a defense)
Kalas (opponent to discard card from hand at end of draw/discard phase for each 1 damage)
Kanis (if you get the Hounds into play)
Kanwulf (discard a defense to make one non-Special attack +1 damage)
Kronos (opponent cannot play more attacks than you if you played at least one)
Lachlan (successful non-Special attack does +1 damage)
Mako (discard Special to stop opponent playing damage preventing Edges or Specials)
Manny (Exert to prevent opponent attacking)
The Kurgan (+1 damage if successful)
It’s also worth mentioning Cracker Bob here. Yes, I know, his persona ability is very similar to the Nail-Studded Bat, so this initially seems a waste. However, the weapon doesn’t require you to no play a Special card (unlike Cracker Bob), and when combined with Cracker Bob, if you play a Special card, your opponent will have to burn yet another card from his Endurance for each block he plays.


Summary:
I personally rate the Nail-Studded Bat a 7.5. Great to use to pummel your opponent, but just don’t go looking for easy Quickenings.


What our Reviewers said:

Nick – My very least favorite WoC and not because it isn't useful. I've met my demise at the hands of too many General Katana decks with this piece of work. It's like the Slan Quickening with a very very very slight drawback. Since most decks I've faced in tournament play aren't concerned with taking a head, the Nail Studded Bat is just brutal. I'd consider this sucker to be just this side of broken but I think I'd be the only one. It's the Kuyler of WoC's.

TMO – Nail-Studded Bat (NSB) is not a weapon I’ve used too often yet. One fairly obvious tactic is to use basic attacks + Lunge if you want to spend your special card during a turn on something other than Hooked. Another possibly useful card is Critical Hit, which gives you a chance to knock your opponent Prone if you do a lot of damage. Given that anytime you hit you will be doing a lot of damage, that’s not a bad chance to take. If your opponent is a block heavy deck (especially Luther or Ancestral Blade), a few Appel cards thrown in can cause him some problems if you can find a way to keep him from attacking for one turn. Speaking of Ancestral Blade, you might want to make sure to have a Misfortune handy just in case… And the final card to keep in mind is the Open Area unexpected card. It eliminates full-grid dodges from being played. Of course, your persona shouldn’t rely on them either.

Erick – The Nail-Studded Bat can easily be an under appreciated weapon. The only draw back is that you can not play any standard Head Shots with it. On the other hand you get a free power blow each turn. Some personas that like to power blow like Duncan should look at using this weapon. Connor should also be considered since playing a hidden power blow can be very dangerous. While Circular Block is nice in an emergency it keeps you playing an Edge which can be even more important. Impale is good to use since the attack covers 2 grids does 3 damage and can also be hidden and a power blow. Impale also helps against those personas that like to dodge a lot. 1 card to make sure you have is Swing For The Fences! especially since you have no other way of playing a head shot. Overall this weapon is useful with only 1 minor draw back and there's even a way around that.

Adam – Abstain

Nigel – I really like the NSB and think that used correctly it can cause your opponent problems. A free power blow per turn has got to be good hey Slan has been living off it for years. The NSB has some excellent in game cards Circular block, Nail and Impale are IMHO the best and should find their way into most NSB decks. I don’t think that the downsides to NSB are that bad. Swing to the fences allows you to take heads … you are allowed 3 … how many headshots do you normally put in a deck? Not often more than that. Hidden attacks can be countered with alertness, Connor Q etc.






Scores:

Nick 9
TMO 7
Erick 7
Adam -
Nigel 8
Glenn 7.5

Average 7.7



WoCotM is a variation on the PotM articles, content © the MLE team.