HIGHLANDER Card of The Week #20
                             Week of 17 March 1996
              Copyright 1996, Jeff Barnes (barnejd@wkuvx1.wku.edu)

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PEDESTRIAN

Situation

"If Pedestrian is still in play after your opponent's 5th turn, the game is 
 over. The player with the highest Ability is the winner."
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	Richie knew instantly he was in over his head.

	As he ducked under the slicing blade, he fumbled with his own sword.
Even after months of life as an immortal, he still hadn't mastered the art
of concealing his sword and yet being able to draw it quickly.  And speed
was what he needed here.

	Slan Quince towered over him like a mountain.  A mountain wearing 
an almost comical mask, but a mountain none the less.  The giant immortal 
raised his sword for another blow.

	"Quit jumping around, kid.  You're just making this harder on 
yourself."

	Richie threw up his sword just in time to parry the blow, but he 
felt the force of it ring through his bones.  How many months had it been
since Slan had escaped Macleod on the bridge?  Over the last few days, 
Richie had sensed another of his kind repeatedly, but they were always 
fleeting contacts.  It wasn't until the third or fourth time that Richie
began to realize he was being hunted.

	He'd encountered Slan before, back when he didn't know he was an 
immortal.  He had wondered if Slan -- or any of the others he'd met in
his time with Macleod -- had sensed his potential.  He'd never asked Mac
that question.  And now he might never het the chance.

	Richie threw himself backward as Slan's next blow came at him.
He'd wounded his foe early with a shot that had gotten through Slan's
defenses, but as the battle raged on, the giant's wounds began to heal.
His foe was clearly the better swordman, and Richie knew he stood little
chance against a fully-healed Slan.

	He had to end this battle quickly, or Slan would have his head.

	Salvation came as he heard footsteps resounding off the 
cobblestones of the alley.  Someone was coming.

	Quick as the cat he was nicknamed for, Slan whipped off his mask
and hid both it and his sword in the recesses of his coat.  Richie slid his 
sword into the secret sheath under his duffel bag just as a group of college-
age people emerged from the fog.  Richie hefted his bag and waded into their 
number, but not without a parting verbal shot to Slan. "Looks like my ride's 
here.  Sorry to leave you like this."

	Slan smiled evilly.  "Don't worry, kid.  We'll meet again.  And next 
time you won't be so lucky..."

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	Pedestrian: 5 Turns is one of the most useful and used cards in the 
Limited Edition, particularly in most Richie and Xavier decks.  Your opponent 
has five turns to get rid of the Pedestrian or to do enough damage to reduce 
you to his level.

	Obviously, Pedestrian tends to work better in decks that can do 
damage quickly or that might not last long against a swordfighting deck.  
The standard Richie deck, replete with Amanda's Seduce/Darius/Carl, Xavier's
Allaince or Stalk, Street Punks, Slan's Shooting Blade, Duncan's Master's
Attack, and so on, fits this description perfectly.  While Richie may be 
able to do quick damage, most of the time he'll run out of dodges against a
heavy power blow deck -- or, even worse, have his opponent play a Challenge
followed by a power blow.  This is why Richie decks tend to be the primary
users of Pedestrian (especially if combined with the Kurgan's In Disguise 
from the Movie Edition, which prevents Police from being played, thus 
preserving your Pedestrian).

	Xavier decks can also employ this strategy, particularly if the 
player using Xavier doesn't have six Forethoughts (and six Plan Aheads).
This type of Xavier deck will then be much like the above Richie deck, save
that Xavier will not have access to other immortals' cards without Darius.
Thus, he will use Street Punk, Stalk, Alliance, Unholy Alliance, and Poison
Gas (as well as Watcher: Sniper) to knock his opponent down, while using 
whatever "counter" cards he may possess to prevent him from taking too much
damage and/or keep the Pedestrian from being removed from play with Police or
any other card.

	Other immortals can use this strategy as well, but most seem to 
benefit less from this than from a more straightforward swordfighting deck 
type.  Amanda brings with her some interesting possibilities for this 
strategy, but she tends to take damage too easily from Challenge/power blow
combinations to ever be too comfortable with the Pedestrian.  Nefertiri decks
tend to be more long-run discard decks and thus unsuited for the Pedestrian's
short-term nature.  Slan, Duncan, and Connor also are swordfighting decks,
while nothing in the Limited Edition seems to help poor Luther much.

	One of the more common questions associated with this Pedestrian is
"What happens if the Pedestrian expires while my opponent and myself are at
the same ability?"  The answer is that this forces a duel until first blood
is drawn, i.e. someone lands an attack.  Damage and ability loss are still
registered, but as soon as an attack does damage to one or the other player,
the game ends.

	So, how can the Pedestrian: 5 Turns strategy be defeated?  The 
easiest, and most obvious, way is to simply eliminate the Pedestrian, a
feat accomplished by Police: Remove Situation, Xavier's Plan Ahead, Katana's
ability to exert to remove Situations, or Katana's Runaway Train.  A more
risky but potentially more rewarding strategy is to reduce your opponent to
the same or lower life than you.  Watcher: Heal and Watcher: Hunter both can
serve to even the gap in ability.  Simply evening the ability and thus 
forcing "sudden death" will usually be sufficient to win, since most decks
employing this card cannot stand up to one-on-one sword battles.

	There is a great deal of talk about Pedestrian: 5 Turns being a 
"broken" card.  The simple fact is that, while a powerful card, a deck built
around it can be beaten just like any other -- especially with the advent of
the Movie Edition.  While there can be only one, sometimes it's better to 
run and hide, and live to fight another day.

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Highlander is a protected trademark of Gaumont Television, used under license
by Thunder Castle Games.  The card text is copyright 1996 by Thunder Castle
Games.  All rights reserved.
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