Yung Dol Kim - by Alan Murrell

You may play attacks as blocks.  While you have an Extra
Weapon in play, you may discard the top two cards from
your Endurance play an additional attack or block a Power
Blow each turn.  You may have up to five Master cards.

Overview

Here we have a Persona who was never seen in any of the
movies, but who only appeared in a single scene, which
ended up on the cutting room floor.  Yung Dol Kim was a
Japanese Immortal (editor's note:  apparently Mongolian
according to his Persona card) in the first Highlander
film, who wielded two swords, and ended up being killed
by the Kurgan.  In the Highlander CCG, Yung Dol Kim has
found new life.

Yung Dol Kim is, in this reviewer's opinion, the best
multi-attack persona available:  he doesn't require an
Exertion to play his attacks, nor does he have to take
damage to take advantage of his multi-attack ability. 
All he has to do is get a few key cards out, and keep
them out. In addition, he has two _very_ useful Persona
powers.

First, let's take care of those pesky game mechanics. 
Both of his abilities are designed to simulate his use of
two swords.  His ability to use non-Ranged attacks as
blocks is pretty straightforward.  If he has an attack in
his hand which is to the same area(s) that his opponent's
attack is to, then he may use that attack to block his
opponent's attack.

It is important to note here that when Kim is Exerting
for a defense, he cannot pull a Special Attack from the
Exertion and use it as a defense.  The attack only
becomes a defense when it is played, and until then, is
still considered to be an attack.

Kim can play Alertness/Block on an attack that he plays
as a block, to block an unblockable attack.  His first
attack is still restricted by the last "block" he played,
even if it was an attack-as-block.

His second ability is also pretty straightforward.  If he
has an Extra Weapon out, then Yung Dol Kim may make an
additional attack by discarding two cards.  Note,
however, that as per his Persona text, which may seem a
little confusing, Kim can only play _one_ additional
attack, regardless of the number of Extra Weapons he has
in play (i.e., he does _not_ get an additional attack for
_each_ Extra Weapon he has in play). We shall see the
benefits of this further on.

Kim can also Power Block, and does so more cheaply than
the Kurgan.  He only loses two cards, and they are
discarded rather than Exerted past.  This does mean he
can't use cards like Collect and Master/Swordmaster to
reduce the card loss.  On the other hand, he can't be
targeted by Zocchi Distributors, either.

Kim can only use _one_ of his two discard-two-card
options per turn, no matter how many Extra Weapons he
has.

Persona-Specific Cards

The only dodge that Kim has is Back Away, which makes him
fairly vulnerable to such cards as Dead End Alley, Extra
Shot, Hidden attacks, and Combination.  With only
six Back Aways available to him, he doesn't seem to be
very agile, does he?  He has the "standard" Back Away,
Continuity, and Power Blow.  His Trip, however, is the
version which makes his next attack undodgeable, which
definitely has some uses. See How To Win for more
details.

Kim also has Power Blow and the "standard" Continuity. 
The former is so-so useful, although mixing in a Power
Blow/Lunge during a multi-attack sequence has its uses. 
It's unlikely that Kim will lose an Ancestral Blade to
Misfortune, since his opponent will probably be busy
removing Extra Weapons.  Still, in Ren-style play,
Continuity can prove a life-saver, since Kim doesn't want
to devote Master slots to Master Swordsman when he can
use his Master's Attack instead.

Going down the list of Reserved cards, the first one we
come to is Cutting Room Floor.  The title is obviously an
inside joke, as, explained above, the sequence involving
Yung Dol Kim ended up on the cutting room floor. 
However, this card is quite powerful, since your opponent
has to discard his entire hand at the end of his Defense
Phase if the attack it is played in conjunction with is
successful.  When used with the right combination of
cards, this can be rather annoying to your opponent, if
not deadly.

Frenzy is perhaps one of Kim's best cards.  With four of
these out (five, with pre-game Darius), he can quickly
run his opponent out of defenses.  Currently, Security
Guard/Situation lets you keep them in play.

Kim's Master's Attack is the same one as Annies (covers
all areas), and is the only one Restricted to 4.  At
first one wonders why, since if it's exactly the same as
Annie's, hers is Restricted to two, and Kim gets four. 
Then one realizes that it also doubles as a Master's
Block.  This makes his Master's Attack an extremely
versatile card; he can have either four Master's Attacks,
four Master's Blocks, or any combination thereof.

And finally, we come to Run Away.  It is weaker than
Luther's Disappear.  First, it is a Situation, and thus
must be in play for a turn (and therefore prone to the
numerous way to remove a Situation), and only prevents
damage, as opposed to avoiding an attack, and only from
one card (be it an attack, or some sort of direct
damage).  It is no good against those Battle Rages,
Bloodlusts, etc., and definitely does no good against a
Head Shot (again, it only prevents damage, it doesn't
avoid an attack).  However, it's still a useful card to
have, just in case Kim gets caught without an appropriate
defense in his hand.

Generic Cards

The single most useful generic card for Kim is Flashing
Blade.  It ensures that his opponent can't avoid all of
his attacks with just a single dodge, and thus forces his
opponent to use more defenses, thereby running his
opponent lower and lower on defenses with each turn he
makes multiple attacks.

Anti-dodge cards are some of Kim's best friends. 
Master's Advance, Challenge/SE, Watcher/Hunter, Lunge,
and Stumble will make sure your opponent will stand and
fight.  Kiss Your Butt Goodbye may also be a good card to
play the turn before unleashing a string of multiple
attacks.  Along the same vein, the Cat and Mouse/Defense
plot may be good to use, so you can be sure that the turn
you make your multiple attacks, your opponent will have
very few defenses in his hand to play.  See How To Win,
below.

Since your opponent will frequently have multiple attacks
coming at them, which will generally be hard to defense
against, Carl is useful in a Kim deck.

Ancestral Blade should also find it's way into a Kim
deck.  With Back Away as his only dodge, and with his
Persona ability, Kim will be blocking attacks quite
frequently.  Add a couple of Conjures and Alex Johnsons
to get that Ancestral Blade out faster, and make it
harder for your opponent to keep it out of play.  Alex
Johnson is better, since Kim might be going past Objects
more often when he uses his discard-two-card ability.

The best Plots for Kim are the Cat and Mouse/Defense and
Head Hunter (original version).  Use Cat and
Mouse/Defense to get rid of those pesky defenses, and/or
use the Head Hunter plot to limit their defensive (and
attacking) options.  Don't forget to use some anti-
dodging cards with it, though, then have fun!

Since Kim has no other way to avoid Ranged Attacks,
Narrow Escape (original version) is highly recommended.

And because Kim is so heavily attack-reliant, Trenchcoat
is a must as well.

While there are many more generic cards that can be
useful to Yung Dol Kim, the above seem to work quite well
with him, and his Persona abilities.  They are not,
by any means, the _only_ cards that work with him, just
the most useful.  See below, under How to Win for a few
more generic cards to use with Kim.

Locations

The natural Location for Kim, considering his lack of
dodges other than Back Away is Catwalk.  It restricts his
opponent's dodging ability, especially when using Lunge
with his attacks.  Don't forget to pack a Pistol or
three, and mix with Trip as appropriate.

Another excellent Location for Kim is Lighthouse.  It is
quite likely that Kim will have a defense (most likely a
"block") for his opponent's attack, which increases the
likelihood of making at least one of his opponent's
attack unsuccessful, thus preventing his opponent from
being able to play a dodge against the onslaught of
attacks which will surely follow.  Kim's lack of dodges
makes it a much less riskier Location for him than for
many other Personas, since Kim will probably be blocking
90% or more of the time (editor's note:  and probably
won't have a dodge to play anyway, given the low number
he has).

The Laundry Room is another good choice, since anything
which restricts an opponent's defensive options rate
highly in this author's book.  Not as good as Lighthouse,
but still not a bad choice.

The rest of the Locations are not as beneficial to Kim as
the three mentioned, but that doesn't mean they can't be
used without success by him.  Just be careful when using
other Locations, and don't forget to do a little
Reconnaissance before-hand. Feel free to experiment.

How to Win

This author has found several strategies which lend
themselves well to Kim's unique capabilities.

Perhaps one of the best ones this author has found is a
fairly slim deck, composed of 50% attacks, an Extra
Weapon or two, Frenzy's, Carls, Greenfields, Watcher/
Treatments, and Bassett and Hotchkiss.  The only defenses
are the six basic Blocks, plus one of each Guard.  His
four Master's Attacks are also essential.  If your
opponent is preventing you from attacking, you should
have a lot of attacks in your hand.  Just dump them to
Bassett and Hotchkiss, and heal up with Watchers, then do
it again with a second Bassett and Hotchkiss.  On the
other hand, if your opponent is allowing you to attack,
set up the Extra Weapon and his Frenzy's, then unleash
turn after turn of multiple attacks.  It's a very
versatile deck, capable of handling several different
strategies.  Adjust the deck to taste.

Unfortunately, at this point in time, Kim does not do
well with large decks, since his multiple-attack
capabilities rely on setting up Specials, which are
fairly vulnerable to removal.  The trick to a successful
Kim multi-attack deck is to make it fairly small to allow
him to set up his multi-attack cards quicker, and thus
start the onslaught as soon as possible.  Honor Bound and
Focus should help him somewhat here.  Make sure there is
at least a 50% ration of attacks.

How to Defeat

Unfortunately, since Kim's Persona abilities and most of
his cards are attack-oriented, he is quite vulnerable to
non-attack strategies, and direct damage.  The only
Persona-based way he has to avoid this is Run Away, but
it is only good against damage coming from one card. 
Make sure to pack Greenfields.

Simple Mind is probably the bane of Kim's existence, due
to his reliance on Situations to get his multiple
attacks, as opposed to the ways other "inherent" multi-
attackers (such as Kern and Annie) have.  Misfortune
and/or Thief is also good against Kim.

Other than that, make sure you have Locations of your
own, to remove his, or failing that, a lot of
Reconnaissance to get past his Locations.

Kim's Nemesis, Surrender, will only impair his ability to
block.  If you'd rather he lost his discard-two-card
ability...well, tough.  If you're an aggressive attacker,
Surrender can help you if Kim packed the minimum in
actual blocks.

Overall

Kim is probably one of the best multi-attacking Personas
in the game.  His Persona abilities and cards are very
well geared towards this, and he is able to utilize
them to great advantage.  If he can get down all four
Frenzy's, plus a Carl or two, you are usually in a heap
of trouble.  He benefits greatly from combat-oriented
generic cards, particularly the ones which restrict
defensive options.

Overall, Alan gives Yung Dol Kim a _7_.  He's a great
multi-attack Persona, but his multi-attack strategies are
still quite vulnerable.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Steve - The double-threat of Frenzy and Extra Weapon
means you'll be spending a lot of your turns playing
Specials to deal with these cards, rather than advance
your own strategy.  Good luck dealing with any other
Objects Kim might use.  Special-shutdown will hurt Kim
just like it hurts most Immortals, of course.  A bit too
Situation-reliant, but Security Guard/Situation
(appropriately enough, given Kim's profession) will help
here.  Flashing Blade and even a well-timed Lunge are
very useful to him.  Despite his Persona ability, don't
skimp on the blocks, particularly Guards.  And finally,
make sure he uses Trenchcoat so he doesn't get stuck
against non-attack types.  Overall, Kim is probably the
most versatile of the Gathering Personas, mixing a strong
potential offense with some defensive cards.

Hank - Frenzy and his Special Ability gives Kim a
definite slant toward multiple-attack strategies.  Run
Away is a good card, as is Master's Attack.  I consider
Kim a reasonable swordfighting Immortal, I've built
successful decks with him, but at the same time he
doesn't stand out when compared to Fasil, Methos, or the
newer Duncan.  

Jeff - Not a bad Persona by any stretch of the
imagination, but one that requires too much set-up to
make the top tier of Personas.  A few nice cards (Frenzy,
Run Away), a few lame cards (Cutting Room Floor -
bleah!).  A neat but not great ability.  I'd say he's the
most average of Personas I've seen.

Prodipto - Yung Dol Kim is an attack-oriented Persona. 
His natural ability, in addition to Frenzy and Cutting
Room Floor encourage you to put a lot of attacks in your
Kim deck.  Strategies based around him tend to be pretty
limited, however.  Attack like crazy or attack like
crazy.  His Master's Attacks double as Master's Blocks
for all intents and purposes.  While he's not a versatile
Persona, his attacks definitely are.

Allen - Yung Dol Kim ranks slightly behind Fasil as my
favorite Immortal in the Gathering set.  Kim attacks,
attacks, and then keeps right on attacking.  Kim, Kim,
Kim; fun, fun, fun.  This is how Swordmaster was meant to
be played.  Take all the standard steps needed to build a
dodgeless deck, and Kim's ability will allow you to pack
even fewer blocks.  Replace your "missing" blocks with
more attacks!  Kim is the multi-attack Persona least
likely to run out of offensive steam or get caught short
on defenses.  Flashing Blade is almost mandatory for Kim;
Extra Weapon _is_ mandatory.  Pack six Extra Weapons and
you won't need many Conjure/Alex Johnsons, though they
are useful.  Don't overlook Kim's possession of the
"good" Trip.  Combine Trips with Slashes and then use
basic attacks to get in a few more pokes each turn. 
Kim's Frenzy is a very nice card, but don't get tempted
into putting too many down at one time.  Bedsoe and
Precinct can rob you of all of them at once.  I find one
Frenzy in play at a time is usually sufficient. Use other
important Situations (Louise) to ensure your Frenzies
aren't lonely Police-bait and enjoy!

Bruce - If you are not going to use any Quickenings, Yung
Dol Kim is probably your best choice for a multiple
attack deck.  His built-in ability to use attacks as
blocks works very well with Frenzies and an Extra Weapon. 
He can be a fairly effective Persona, but he doesn't have
a lot else to back it up.

Stealth Dave - Yung Dol Kim is a surprisingly versatile
persona, though not extremely powerful.  His ability to
play attacks as blocks makes him good at both offense and
defense (at least attack-based offense and defense).  If
you're not careful, Cutting Room Floor can catch you off-
guard and ruin your day (unless you're Nefertiri).  He
also sports the superior Trip (undodgeable attack).  His
Persona power relies upon having a specific Object in
play.  While it is a common Object and Thief has now been
reigned it, Object defense has become mandatory with the
advent of Hogg and Flying Machine/Wings.  YDK may be
spending too much time keeping an Extra Weapon in play to
get his own strategy working.  Still, overall a well-
balanced and fun to play persona.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   7
Hank                    7
Alan                    7
Jeff                    5
Prodipto                6
Allen                   7
Bruce                   6
SDave                   5

Average:                6.25

Highlander is a protected trademark of Gaumont
Television, used under license by Thunder Castle Games. 
The card text is copyright 1998 by Thunder Castle Games. 
All rights reserved.