HIGHLANDER Card of The Week #9
                           Week of 10 January 1996
             Copyright 1996, Jeff Barnes (barnejd@wkuvx1.wku.edu)


Center Grid Attack

"A thrust does an addition point of damage."


Seattle, 1985

	Our hate was born when our master died, sealed forever when I took
his lover's head.  It will not end until one of us is dead.

	After all, there can be only one.

	Looking at Taylor is like staring into the web of a fractured
mirror.  So much alike, and yet so twisted.  Shattered.  Flawed.  And I
know now that he is behind it all.  Erickson.  Cassandra.  The Watchers who
came after me.  All the others.  And now he stands revealed, proud of what he 
has done, gladto have caused so much pain.

	Happy to have destroyed my life here.

	And I will take his in return.  Such is our way.

	Steel upon steel again -- how many times have I heard that sound?
There are no words.  Taylor and I are long past words.  We hate.  That is
enough.  I knock aside his clumsy attack and return a blow of my own.

	He parries with a grim smile.  A deft flick of his wrist as he
tries to disarm me.

	His mistake.

	Dodging his attempt to take away my blade, I spin, exposing my back
to him for but a split second.  The move takes him by surprise.  I twirl my
blade so that it is pointed backwards...

	...and slam it into his chest.

	As I feel the blade grate against his ribs, I dig in with grim
satisfaction.  At last, it will be conluded.  With disdain that would do
even Hassan proud, I pull my sword from him.  With his usal
shortsightedness, he never thought something as obvious as a thrust could
finish him.

	Taylor slumps to his knees in stunned amazement, his hand finding
the hole in his chest.  The blow was not as perfect as I'd hoped, I see
now.  Low and to the right of his heart.  No matter.  He is at my mercy
now.  I ready the killing blow.

	His eyes meet mine, and he smiles.  "Very good," he croaks. 
"Better than expected."

	I do not reply.  As I said, my hate has gone beyond words.

	And then, in the twinkling of an eye, he moves, flinging something
at the ground in front of me.  My world errupts in a blaze of light, and I
am blinded.

	When my sight returns moments later, Taylor is nowhere to be found.

	No matter.  He cannot run forever.


	Thrust seems like a nearly useless card at first glance.  To be
certain, it does an extra point of damage, but it has to get through to do
that point.  Of the six blocks, four catch the thrust; in addition, all the
dodges and both guards stop it.  What good is an extra point of damage if
nearly everything stops it?

	In order to make maximum use of a thrust, then, you have to 
neutralize its disadvantage.  The best way to do this is with Amanda's
Seduce.  Unfortunately, due to Amanda's disadvantage of less damage per
blow, this only does two points of damage -- three if made into a power
blow.  Not exactly the most optimal strategy.

	Enter Richie.  He can use one reserved card from each immortal,
and there is little question that Seduce should always be his choice with
regard to Amanda.  Exerting to make the Seduce/Thrust combination a power
blow does five points of unblockable damage.  Playing a Carl or Xavier:
Forethought the turn before will then neutralize the chance of your foe
escaping via a Holy Ground (and Forethought will also ensure that Luther's
Disappear can be cancelled as well).  Alternatively, other immortals can
use Darius to play with Seduce, though this is a three card combination
and thus risky -- especially without Carl and/or Forethought.

	What else can be done with the lowly Thrust?  Keeping in mind
that it does an additional point if it does any damage, power blow thrusts
can be dangerous to face.  If only partially blocked, the blow does three
points of damage -- the same as it would if it were an unblocked non-power

	Slan can be particularly ugly with Thrust, provided you can strip
your opponent of dodges (always a good Slan strategy).  The best use of
his Run Through card is in conjunction with Thrust.  Take a hit from your
oppponent, play Run Through, then Thrust and make it a power blow.  While
risky, it carries with it the possibility of dealing five points damage
for taking two and only using two cards.  Coupled with a dodge-draining
deck (Watcher: Discard Dodge, Challenge, and so on).  Slan can also get
considerable use out of a Thrust when using it under Challenge; the Thrust
becomes undodgeable, meaning that the target will have to have some way
to power block or take three damage.

	Another strategy to use with Thrust is to use it to work defenses
out of your opponent's hand.  This is especially nasty when used to deplete
upper defenses, thus setting your opponent up for a head shot later.  
Conversely, you can use Thrust late in the game, after your opponent's
defenses are depleted.

	Many times the greatest use can be found in the most worthless-
seeming cards.  Thrust is no exception to this principle, presenting a
nasty few surprises to the unwary novice who underestimates its value.

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.