Methos - by Steve Crow
You may use Master cards from any Persona, even if
Reserved. At the beginning of your turn you may discard
up to two cards from your hand and replace them from your
Endurance. Only Adam Pierson can be assigned as your
Watcher. You may have up to 8 Master cards.
Well, he's here: probably the most anticipated Persona
to be released since the Highlander CCG came into
existence. Currently, Methos is only available through
purchase of the Methos Collection.
First of all, game mechanics questions. Any card with
the word "Master" in the title is a Master card.
One of Methos' Persona abilities is essentially the same
as Master's Stratagem. As per current TCG rulings, it
does not stack with Master's Stratagem itself. Nor do
multiple Master's Stratagems stack. The discarding of
two cards is a "may do" effect: it can only be done
after any and all "must do" effects. However, it can be
done in any order with other "may do" effects.
First of all, Methos has two Premium cards: the typical
+1 Ability card, and a second one that prevents the
countering or removal from the game of any Master cards.
Given that there are relatively few cards that counter
Masters (currently only Watcher/Watcher Involvement), and
a new ME2 Situation counters game-removing Events such as
Amnesia, the latter may be a waste of space in your pre-
game slots. An opponent can rip a TCG on Master-type
Special and Edge cards, but if Methos sticks primarily to
Master's attacks and defenses, this won't bother him
Adam Pierson is a new pre-game Watcher, and only
available to Methos. It is also the only Watcher that
Methos is permitted. This card is not terribly
effective, in this author's opinion. A heavy-duty
Watcher-using opponent may find it inconvenient.
However, if your opponent just uses Watcher/Treatment, it
can actually help her cycle some otherwise-useless
Specials. Still, a Persona, a Premium, and two TCG cards
only take up four out of your six pre-game slots, so you
have room for it if you wish.
That brings us to Methos' Persona-specific in-game cards.
He has the "standard" Back Away, Dodge, Power Blow, and
Trip. His Flashback is the same as Duncan's SE version.
Rather confusingly, his Combination is identical to the
Kurgan's Follow-Up. The second attack, if a Ranged
Attack, can be made undodgeable.
Methos has a number of Reserved cards, all previously
First of all, let's look at Treachery. Although not a
Reserved card, or even a Methos card, it's availability
(restricted to 3) in the Methos Collection means it will
probably see use mostly in Methos decks, or in the decks
of people who bought Methos. At the very least, it
forces your opponent to Exert three times, if you choose
to make Power Blows (Kurgan users, take note). It's
potentially better than Ancestral Blade, since it lets
you Exert for a Power Block, and "pass" the Exertion on
to your opponent. Amanda shouldn't use it for Power
Blocking, of course.
Methos' first Reserved card, A Master's Focus, besides
being a Master card, is a new-and-improved version of
Focus. It can be difficult to find room for it in a
Methos deck, but well worth the space.
Dawn of Time gives Methos increased access to his
Locations, being similar to Archaic Collection. This
isn't necessarily critical to many Methos decks, but it
can prove useful in large decks, or when you want to lock
in an opponent at a restrictive locale.
Master's Wisdom, the other Methos-specific Master card,
essentially gives him Nakano's Persona ability.
Methos? is useful for countering any number of
strategies. It also works well against Methos himself,
since it doesn't specify _which_ Immortal specific card
you can counter. The same rationale applies to Richie,
Nakano, and Kane.
Superior Tactics works the same as Fasil's Fleche, and
can be equally deadly. With it, Methos has no real need
to use Master's Dodge, leaving him slots for other Master
The Gift is both more and less effective than Richie's
Luck. It can only obtain Master cards, but it can also
go through the discard pile.
This leaves Methos' Signature cards. He currently has
three. They are:
Immortal Research: This essentially borrows both
Nakano's and to a lesser degree Kane's powers. Not only
does it let Methos increase his stock of available Master
cards (by drawing on his opponent's, albeit temporarily),
but it lets him escape a wide variety of other jams.
Also handy for turning the tables on Kalas. Methos can
wait until Kalas plays a Holy Ground, then use IR, take
Kalas' Stalk, and use it and a Head Shot the next turn.
Under current rulings and rules, you can play Persona-
Specific Reserved and non-Reserved cards using IR, but
_not_ Signature cards. The newest rules only limit you
from _putting_ Restricted cards in your deck, not playing
them. The most recent judgement also states that you
must play the card "borrowed" immediately after you play
Immortal Research. Thus, if you play IR during your
defense phase, you can only play a borrowed defense or
appropriate Special. You can't hold on to an attack and
use it seconds later during your attack phase.
Live Forever: The ultimate Holy Ground/Disappear. Does
everything Disappear does, and lets Methos continue
attacking as well.
Secret Identity: The exact functions of this card are
still in dispute as of this writing, so it's hard to tell
exactly what it does. At the very least, it is a
combination Greenfield Hobby and Selective Memory (if
Selective Memory were a Situation rather than an Edge, of
course). It can also potentially let Methos avoid the
effects of everything from a Head Shot to a Holy Ground.
It doesn't appear to let him ignore Events that modify an
Other Personas' Cards
Like Richie, Methos can "borrow" other Personas' cards
without the use of Darius. He is a bit more limited than
Richie, but his eight Masters permitted helps him. Let's
run down the list:
Duncan: Methos probably doesn't need Master's Advice.
Master's Attack is useful, particularly if he mixes with
Challenge/SE (see How to Win below). Methos can't attack
through Duncan's Master's Block, making it almost useless
to him. Due to Superior Tactics, Methos essentially has
a two-card version of Master's Dodge: he should use his
Amanda: Master's Attack is inferior to other Personas',
Master Thief requires that Methos Darius in Steal, and
Master's Advice is a relatively poor choice. Not much
here for him to choose from.
Slan, Nefertiri, Luther, Xavier: Currently, no Master
Richie: Provides another version of Master's Block, and
the best one that Methos can currently get. Master's
Advice remains a so-so choice.
Connor: Master's Block is almost useless to Methos as
well. However, it might be powerful enough to consider
using the "Attack to last area you blocked" (i.e.,
Duncan's) Quickening. Do this, and you can Master's
Block/Lunge/Head Shot with the best of them. Master's
Lunge + Master's Block is a fun combo. Master's Advice
is still a so-so choice. Methos doesn't need Master's
Dodge (see Duncan). Master's Disarm is a good
Kastagir: Master's Guard is a so-so choice, either his
original or the new one. His Master's Attack gives
Methos a few more to draw upon.
Katana: Master's Block is a good one for borrowing, as
is Master's Attack.
The Kurgan: Master's Disarm can be expensive, but since
Methos can use The Gift to recover Masters from his
discard pile, the price isn't necessarily as costly as
one might think. Kurgan's new Master Head Shot is not a
bad choice either, although not much of a surprise. It
does provide a "free" Head Shot, and is somewhat harder
to defend against. Master of the Hunt is a good card if
Methos is going with a multiple-attack strategy.
Nakano: Master's Disarm can provide you with protection
against disarming. Master's Maneuver may not see a lot
of use from Methos, since he may typically by making
Special Attacks which he can't make Hidden anyway.
Kalas: Master's Advice is a so-so choice. It looks as
if Kalas will get other Master cards in the next TV
Fitzcairn: Master's Block - see Katana above.
Annie: Master's Attack will probably require that Methos
use Parry, Dodge/Back Away + Superior Tactics, or a
Master's Block he can attack through. Difficult to
avoid: mix with Challenge/SE for best results.
Fasil: Master's Disarm, potentially the most dangerous
of the cards by this title, is very handy if Methos wants
to use a disarm strategy. Since he can use eight Master
cards, Methos can use this, Connor's Master's Lunge, and
Fasil's Master's Lunge to disarm an opponent and then do
some serious harm.
Yung Dol Kim: Master's Attack: see Annie above.
Corda & Reno, Kane: No Masters.
Ramirez: Thanks to the special card released in The
Gathering, Methos and Richie are going to be able to use
Master's Advantage before it's owner does. Master's
Advantage, although Restricted to two, is superior to any
existing Nemesis card (since it negates all of any
opponent's special abilities). Expect to see Master's
Advantage banned in Renaissance. Also expect to see it
pop up in most Richie and Methos decks, and be Darius'd
in to a lot of others. Master's Advantage is by far the
best Master card, so two of these should almost certainly
go in any Methos deck you build.
Like Richie (PotM #11), the generic cards Methos takes
depends on the strategy he employs. He has such a wide
variety of strategies that practically anything can help
him under the right circumstances.
Cards like Upper Hand can strip an opponent of a key card
at a critical moment, whether it be the Holy Ground he
needs to escape, or the Hogg he has to play to avoid your
attack. Amnesia can then remove it from the game at a
Misfortune is useful both if Methos pursues a Master's
Disarm strategy (more on this under How to Win), and to
remove attack-nullification cards like Hogg, Armor, and
Flying Machine/Wings. Treachery can allow Methos to
Power Block and avoid the Exertion, so he may even be
able to use it in lieu of Ancestral Blade. This frees
him up to use Thief for major Object-removal power.
Again, just as with Richie, Darius becomes ever more
useful when Methos can augment his eight Masters with six
more "borrowed" cards. A Shooting Blade becomes much
easier to play when Methos can use Dodge/Superior Tactics
with a Catwalk already in play (using Recon or Master's
Sanctuary, of course).
Anti-dodging brings us to...Challenge/SE. Check out CotW
#31 for a full review. Thanks to the various versions of
Master's Attack (Annie's, Kim's, Katana's, Duncan's,
Kastagir's, Connor's), it is easy for Methos to obtain
and play with six. All of these are difficult to stop
without a 9-area dodge. And if the opponent takes
advantages of Methos' own inability to dodge to make a
Power Blow, there's always Live Forever and Treachery for
Methos to use. Challenge/SE is probably the best way to
keep the new-and-improved Duncan from making a Master
Head Shot unblockable as well (since he must play Jump to
If you want to be able to play those powerful Specials
against an anti-Special Renee/Fast Talk deck, you'll
probably want Discipline from ME2. Use Methos' Persona
ability to discard them if they're not useful.
As is obvious, Methos has many strong cards. Stuff that
lets him hold on to as many cards as possible is even
more to his advantage. Dojo (CotW #34) and Master's
Endurance (#52) are helpful here.
The first thing to remember is that thanks to Dawn of
Time, Methos can recycle and put more of the same
Location into play than anyone else, each pass through
his Endurance. This can be critical (if somewhat time-
consuming) when it comes to control of the game.
Thanks to Master's Sanctuary (CotW #60), many Locations
that might harm Methos if he uses them are now a lot less
harmful. However, that uses up valuable Master's slots.
Methos has eight slots, and an inherent Master's
Stratagem ability. Even so, he should possibly save them
for his primary Master-related strategy.
Methos' dodges are split between Back Away and Dodge (no
Evade). Thanks to Superior Tactics, both are about the
same: he can use Superior Tactics + Back Away to avoid
Ranged Attacks, for instance. If Methos wants to use
Ranged Attacks, he may wish to use Catwalk, since the
Superior Tactics/Back Away combo means he can Back Away
and still avoid Pistols, Shooting Blade, and The
As noted above, Methos' strength is his cards. Watcher
Regional HQ lets him draw more of them, faster. He can
then put them into Dojos, keep the extras using Master's
Endurance, or both. Add Watchers and Watcher Field
Agents as necessary. Watcher/Treatment, Watcher/Counter,
Watcher/Involvement, and The Armory are all useful here.
If you take an aggressive Methos deck, you may want
Rooftop so that pesky Pedestrians don't prevent you from
attacking, and the Bystanders don't reduce your inflicted
damage into card loss.
Lighthouse and Laundry Room can further foil an opponent
who dares to attack you, restricting their ability to
defend against your next attack. If you have a Laundry
Room in play, and your opponent attacks and misses, a
Master's Lunge can be extremely painful. Have
Reconnaissance on hand to avoid being caught in the
backlash of your own Location though.
If you go past a Master due to Desert, you can use The
Gift to recover it from your discard pile. Still, this
Location might cost you other non-Master cards you'd
As always, the use of other Locations can vary depending
on specific strategies you choose for your Methos deck.
How to Win
There are so many ways to win with Methos that it's hard
to be very specific. Methos' main strength are his easy-
to-use defensive cards, which leave him free to concoct
hard-hitting strategies. Live Forever, Methos?, Immortal
Research, Secret Identity, Master's Wisdom, and his anti-
Master/counter Premium mean that whatever he's going to
do, he's probably going to do it unhindered by anything
you throw at him.
One constant is the use of Master's Advantage/Ramirez.
As soon as this comes out, get two and put them in every
Methos decks you make. This card is so far superior to
any single Nemesis (or any given six that you might put
in your deck, given the odds you'll have the right
one(s)) that to leave it out is criminal. What chance an
opponent might have against you is further reduced by the
stripping of his Persona ability.
Another constant is speed. You can make large decks.
However, they probably won't become truly viable until
The Armory/TV3 is released. Thanks to his inherent
ability, Methos can cycle and get what he needs faster
than anyone else. Six Patience, six Lean and Mean, and
six Flashing Blades mean that Methos can start with what
is essentially a 28-card deck. Since he draws 15 of
these cards, he can cycle through the remaining 13 cards
in a mere seven turns even if he did nothing. In
actuality, he'll go through his deck faster, since he'll
be playing and drawing cards, hitting all of his useful
cards (13 out of those 28 cards, since 15 are taken up by
basic attacks and blocks) that much quicker.
The first, fairly obvious strategy is Challenge/SE +
Master's Attack. Methos can use six (we'll assume he
uses two Master's Advantage for his remaining Master
slots from here on). Methos can't dodge, but with Live
Forever he doesn't need to. Twist of Fate, Carl, and
Rachel Ellenstein can stop the inevitable Alertness/Block
or Holy Ground response.
A Disarm strategy also becomes a lot more viable. He can
use two of Fasil's Master's Disarms and a few of the
regular variety, relieve an opponent of his weapon (using
Forged Steel and/or Parking Garage), and then launch four
consecutive Master's Lunges.
The various Master's Blocks, Ancestral Blade, and Head
Shot means that Methos can Power Blow with relative
impunity. After all, the MB will block any Hidden attack
provided to an opponent by the Head Shot. Mix with
Feint/Edge and respond with another Head Shot when they
foolishly attack you.
Want to play a healing game? Five Master's Advices
(Kalas, Duncan, Amanda, Richie, Connor), the +1 Premium,
and a Master/Play the Game should assure that, when used
with Quality Blade/SE, your ability should stay at around
19-20 for most of the game. Lock down your opponent
attack-wise and sit the 30 minutes out.
Don't overlook the generic Masters. Obviously, you don't
need Master's Stratagem. There's no real way for them to
bypass Challenge/SE if you go with an anti-dodge/Master's
Attack strategy, so Master's Advance probably isn't
necessary. Master Swordsman and Master/Swordmaster are
good for Power Blocking...but you've got Ancestral Blade,
Continuity, and Treachery for that. Master's Endurance,
when used in conjunction with Dojo, Patience, Measure of
a Man, and Cat and Mouse/Draw, can let you build your
hand-size up considerably, though.
Master Swordsman, of course, is good for "free" Power
Blowing (see the Master's Block/Head Shot/Feint strategy
If you want to play a waiting game, use Discard Weapon.
Your opponent will no doubt expect a Master's
Disarm/Nakano or Connor when they attack. Keep an Extra
Weapon, or a Sheathed weapon, close at hand. But
otherwise you can use Methos' ability to cycle and get
cards other then those attacks and Guards he can't play,
whether his opponent attacks or not.
An anti-Special Renee deck is just as good, if not
better, for Methos as for anyone else. He can cycle
through cards to get to them that much faster. Mix well
with the appropriate Quickenings (typically Slan and
Nefertiri/re-draw) and go to town.
Other strategies are limited only by one's imagination.
It's not my intent to list them all here. Just keep in
mind that as the number of cards grow, so will Methos'
How to Defeat
Methos _is_ powerful: make no mistake about it. He has
inherent cycling ability, powerful cards in his own
right, and access to other Personas' Master cards
(particularly Master's Advantage).
The reliance on powerful Specials leaves him vulnerable
to anti-Special Renee Delaney strategies. All the card
cycling in the world won't help him if he can't play the
cards he's cycling to. Honor Bound and Wargames West
won't slow him too much (i.e., A Master's Focus). Mix
with Power Blowing (Renee will keep Methos from using
Treachery to Power Block for "free"), and go to it.
The only downside to this strategy is the new ME2
Discipline, which will bypass both Fast Talk/Fitzcairn
and Renee Delaney. Be prepared to rip TCGs on this one.
Otherwise, solid constant-hitting strategy is still good
at wearing him down. A single Bloodlust or two won't
stop him (thanks to Live Forever - don't forget you can
TCG rip and/or Forethought on it). Methos still has to
Exert for the second attack against a Extra Shot/Flashing
Blade combo, though. Taunt/Katana and Exertion-forcing
strategies are also useful, making Methos burn through
Cheese/event damage can still work: Methos only has two
Secret Identity Situations. Katana/Exertion will stop
Methos? and Secret ID: the only two Methos Situations
worth removing (but remember Master's Advantage).
Defensively, Alertness/Block is more necessary than ever,
as is Dojo to store them when unneeded. It will stop
both a Challenged Master's Attack and Master's Lunge.
Holy Ground will probably help Methos as much as
yourself, but it's still better than taking damage.
Dariusing in Luther's Disappear is also a good idea.
Although there's no real assurance and it's not much
consolation, it's quite possible you won't need to bother
overly much with anti-direct damage cards: Methos has
too many other ways to hurt you.
The errata'd Verona may be seen more once Methos enters
common usage. it slows down his ability to play those
dangerous Master's Attacks and Lunges (not to mention
Pistols via his Combination). Dawn of Time may give you
trouble, though. You may want six of a second Location
(Spiritual Center is a safe bet) to cover yourself.
Steve gives Methos a _9_. Is Methos balanced? Nope.
But more and more, that just isn't a concern. As long as
a Persona isn't blatantly "unbeatable," it seems to be
that anything goes. And of course, if all Personas were
equal, we'd have just a bunch of Immortals all with
ratings of 5.00. :)
The only real way to "balance" other Personas with Methos
(or Connor, or the "new" Duncan) would be to do major
overhauls on them (giving them their own Collection, or
major release of new cards in an expansion). This
doesn't look likely in any case, and would be years down
the road at the very least. However, as long as the
Highlander CCG is a game where the balancing of the
primary elements (them there Immortals) is skewed due to
the equivalent of a popularity contest, there's little
likelihood of that happening. The fact that Methos tops
out the pre-errata Katana _and_ Connor, rating-wise,
speaks for itself.
What Our Other Raters Say:
Jim - Methos is a dream come true for any power gamer
willing to spend big bucks on the Highlander CCG. For
the rest of us, he represents a poorly playtested and in
some cases poorly edited nightmare. Methos is allowed an
unprecedented 8 Master cards. He also gets numerous
cards which _should_ be Master cards based on their power
level. Methos is the most powerful Persona released to
date. Methos gets not one but two Premium cards and the
second one is rather abusive. Not only can your Master
cards not be removed from the game, they can not even be
countered. Forget about using TCGs or having Xavier
counter any Master's Events that Methos plays. Cards
like Secret Identity and Treachery should have been
Master cards, but they are not: thus Methos is even more
powerful as he need not use as many Masters slots to use
his own cards. His card set also steps on the
capabilities of other Immortals that have non-Master
cards that his normal capability does not allow him to
borrow. Secret Identity is also in need of errata as
TCG's ruling on the card has been inconsistent with the
way the text reads. Overall, I find Methos not only
extremely powerful, but abusively so. The unerrataed
General Katana was masterfully designed compared to the
abomination Methos represents. Poor design like this
makes me question why I should continue spending money on
Highlander. I hope Thunder Castle Games will do a better
job in the future, but I'm afraid the company rarely
learns from past mistakes.
Hank - Methos is the most broken Persona since Katana.
Not only does he have two very powerful abilities and a
mildly broken pre-game card, but he's also chock-full of
abusive cards. While I'd like to give him a low rating
just because of my opinion of how broken he is, I have to
give him a high rating because he's absolutely the
Persona to play now... I wish my rating could be a 2.
Alan - Finally, the most anticipated Persona, and boy,
does he not disappoint! Probably the most powerful
Persona available to date, and definitely my favorite to
play. Without question, Methos is the best Persona to
play against "lock" decks, due to his inherent ability to
cycle cards. This is a Persona I love to play with, but
hate to play against.
Jeff - Saying Methos is broken is like saying water is
wet: in either case, the proper response is, "Well,
duh." As if his card-cycling and Master-using abilities
weren't powerful enough, he also has broken cards. A
Premium that prevents his Masters from being removed or
countered. An Edge that allows him to ignore any and all
Situations in play. A Location-regaining Event with no
penalty. A (poorly-worded) Event which allows you to
play cards from your opponent's hand. A Disappear that
you can have three of that doesn't end your turn. An
Event that makes him Nakano. A Situation that allows him
to counter any Persona-specific card. A SITUATION THAT
ALLOWS HIM TO IGNORE EVENTS! Fasil's Fleche with another
name. A discard-to-use Luck for Master cards. Ugh.
People have focussed so much on Secret Identity that
they've ignored the other equally-broken cards. A pity
TCG decided to waste so many powerful cards (that are
broken only by belonging to the same persona) on one
Persona. Remember 1997 being the Year of Katana? Expect
Methos to be 1998's Persona of choice, unless TCG plans
on rolling out banning/errata. Just call me Adam Pierson
Wayne - Abstain
Prodipto - Abstain
Allen - Ah, Methos. The ultimate schemer and survivor.
Want to play him? Too bad. Instead you can play Power
Boy, the Combat Monster. Methos has eight Master Cards,
another built into his Persona, another he can get from
UR Darius, another 3 cards that _should_ be Masters, and
a lot of others that he can steal from players' hands via
Immortal Research. All these Master cards make him one
very fine swordsman. Want to stop him from doing any of
this? His Premium says you can't. Missed one? Use The
Gift to go get it. He gets Luther's Disappear, except
that he gets three of them and can still attack.
Superior Tactics makes him more nimble than Amanda or
Duncan, and Dawn of Time controls the locale enough to
make this work for him. With his immortal ability he
makes a mean Renee/Fast Talk L&M deck. Can I beat him?
Yes. Usually when I know what I'm facing and build a deck
_specifically_ for the task at hand. Not a lot of fun.
A glance at the Duncan Collection makes it look seem much
better designed. Hopefully, Duncan will outsell Methos
and TCG will realize it doesn't have to make unbalanced
cards to generate funds.
Bruce - If you have a deck concept that you like to play
that uses a couple of Qs, you might want to try tweaking
it to work with Methos. Until the release of Duncan's
Collection, I see Methos dominating the competitive scene
in a fashion similar to that of the pre-Movie Xavier or
pre-errata Katana. Methos' limit of eight Master cards
is certainly enough to allow him to fully utilize Master
cards from any Persona, especially if you examine how
many of his good cards are not Masters and enhancements
afforded by his new Premium, The Gift, and Premium
Darius. With Ramirez's Master's Advantage being released
almost simultaneously, you can certainly see how
effective his power can be. Having Master's Stratagem as
a second Persona ability allows him to tighten his decks,
include extensive toolbox cards, or both. It also makes
it pretty much impossible to hand-lock Methos. He has a
versatile set of Persona-Specific cards, many of which
are not available to other Personas even through
borrowing because they are Signature cards. Secret
Identity, A Master's Focus, Immortal Research, Master's
Wisdom, and Methos? work well together to minimize the
effect of your opponent's strategy. Live Forever is
superior to both Disappear and It's a Kind of Magic.
Superior Tactics and his own Promo card, Inner Strength
(editor's note: hmmm? Bruce apparently knows something
I don't... :) ), will assure that he can be a potent
fighter even if he chooses not to borrow combat Master
cards. His non-Reserved cards are mostly the standard
ones from the limited sets, giving him greater defensive
potential than he would have with the newer WC stuff.
While his inability to use Pre-Game Watchers besides Adam
Pierson is limiting, it is certainly not crippling.
Overall, I would say that Methos just has a versatility
that makes him very potent and difficult to defeat. I can
certainly see how he has stayed in the Game so long.
Methos is the one Persona that I would be tempted to
include a Nemesis for in my decks in the near future, if
he was not the only Persona without one.
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.