HIGHLANDER Card of The Week #7
                           Week of 18 December 1995
       Copyright 1995, Alan Murrell (alanm@freenet.vancouver.bc.ca)

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DISARM

Event

"Play in place of an attack.  You have a one in six chance of disarming your
opponent."
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	The Kurgan took a swing, and Connor tried to block with his sword.
But it wasn't enough.  The force of the blow drove him down to his knees,
and he lost his grip on the sword.  The Kurgan kicked him in the gut, then
kicked his sword well out of reach. 

	As he raised his sword to strike, he smiled--that evil smile
of his. Connor had to think fast.  Still on the ground, he dodged the
first two strikes, but he was tiring.  As the mighty Kurgan raised his
sword for a third time, Connor made his move. 

	With amazing agility, he grabbed the Kurgan's arms, trying to
prevent him from swinging, but the Kurgan just laughed.  "You are weaker
than me, Highlander. You will always be weaker than I."  Then he kicked
Connor in the groin, sending him back to the ground. 

	All Connor could do was stare at his mortal enemy.  >>If only I
could get to my sword<< he thought to himself.  >>Some sort of
distraction...<< But the Kurgan stood between him and the object of his
desire--an impassable wall.  And there was nobody else around...that he
knew of. 

	Again, the Kurgan laughed.  He raised his sword.  "So, now it
ends," he said in that metallic voice of his.  Then he prepared to deliver
the blow that would separate the Highlander's head from his neck...

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	Disarm is a very maligned card.  Nobody seems to like it.  This
general feeling seems to have something to do with the 1 in 6 chance of
success--if you roll a 1, your opponent is disarmed.  If not, then the
attempt is unsuccessful.  As such, in order to beat the odds, you *should*
carry all six in your deck In addition, you lose an attack for that turn. 
But, in my opinion, and experience--to some degree (and I definitely
appear to be in the minority here), the benefits of the card outweigh the
costs. 

	Look at it this way.  Once your opponent is disarmed, he can't
*block* any of your attacks, and he can't *make* any attacks.  And, unless
he plays one of the three cards that can rearm him, he only has a 1 in 6
chance of recovering his weapon. Head hunting season is open! 

	But what about those three cards that can rearm your opponent? 
And what about those Dodges/Back aways?  Well, they can be countered with
other cards. Misfortune can remove the Extra Weapon; Xavier's Plan Ahead,
Police: Remove Situation, and Watcher: Counter can remove the Watcher:
Fair Fight; and Xavier's Forethought can cancel the Recover Weapon card. 
True, unless you are playing Xavier, you will have to carry a couple of
Darius cards (Darii?), but the payoff is quite good.  Of course, you could
always play Xavier with Disarms... As for the Dodge/Back away cards, there
are two cards you can play: Challenge (this is *really* fun), or the
Watcher: Discard Dodge.  The Challenge card is preferable, but with the
Watcher: Discard Dodge card, the very worst that happens is your opponent
has one less dodge in his hand, although he *may* still have a one or two
left.  That's why the Challenge card is preferable. 

	Now for some strategy with Disarm.  One strategy I have found
particularly useful is to have a deck filled Upper Attacks, Head Shots,
Challenges, Feints, Watcher: Discards, and the cards that are able to
counter those recover weapon cards (depending on how likely you think your
opponent is to have those cards), in addition to any Persona cards you may
carry.  A Connor deck I am toying with consists of about 100 cards.  Of
course, a loaded die or two wouldn't hurt ;-) (just kidding!) As an
alternative, you might do like I suggested and play only Xavier with
Disarms (Think Xavier can do then.  It just might make an Xavier deck
with a couple of Head Shots viable!  I haven't done this yet, but now that
I mention it...) Don't play *any* Head Shots until your opponent is
disarmed; *do* play a couple of Watcher: Discard Dodges, a Challenge or
two to get your opponent's Ability down a little (and thus, hopefully
reducing the number of Dodges he has), and/or any cards to counter the
weapon recovery cards, if you can.  Then go crazy on the Head Shots.  I
have won a few games using this sort of deck.  I use the fact that my
opponent isn't expecting a Disarm to pop up, and so hopefully hasn't put
in too many of the weapon recovery cards into his deck.  When they catch
on, then you can switch to a more conventional deck, and they have wasted
up to three spots.  Of course, cards like these wouldn't Mr. St. Cloud. 
Of course, there is nothing you can do about them rolling a 1 to recover
their weapon (unless, like I suggested above, you use a loaded die ),
but like the man said, "You pays your money, and your takes yer chances." 

	So, while I admit that Disarm on its own is not very is not very
powerful, it does become so when used in conjunction with a few
well-planned cards, and perhaps the right Immortal.  At the very worst,
you have given yourself a bit of a break from your opponent's attacks
while getting in few freebies, and if they had a bad shuffle, you may even
be able to take a head or two. 

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Highlander is a protected trademark of Gaumont Television, used under
license by Thunder Castle Games.  The card text is copyright 1995 by
Thunder Castle Games. All rights reserved.
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Alan Murrell 
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"Hey, it's a kind of magic."
                   -Connor MacLeod, "Highlander"-