HIGHLANDER Card of The Week #22
                             Week of 25 March 1996
                Copyright 1996, Hank Driskill (driskill@d2.com)

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ANCESTRAL BLADE
Object

"While Ancestral Blade is in play, you may block Power Blows without 
 an Exertion."
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London, 1957.

Father's words come back to me once more, as the blows rain down and I 
scramble back along the cobblestones.  The sound of steel on steel rings
out through the night...

"Make this sword a part of you.  Your Name lives in this sword."

I remember the stories my father told me of his sword, the sword of our
Sept.  My father was a good man, proud of his Sept and of his heritage.
He outfought and outdrank every man in the village, and he told great
stories to entertain us, stories of our family history.  The sword, 
especially, figured into many of his tales... tales of Finn Mac Cool, of 
the age of legends, stories of the first of the Neffs.  They were drunken 
fireside tales, never the same twice, and even today I feel I could recount 
them all...

I remember when I was young, and my father first let me lift the sword.
It was heavy, far too heavy, and I wondered how I'd ever be large enough
to swing a sword like that.  My father, a big bear of a man, simply laughed
at my awkwardness... but he began to teach me later that year...

My father died of pneumonia in the winter of my twentieth year.  He handed me
his sword as one of his final acts... and it was then, for the first time,
that the blade felt light in my hands.  It was then that I truly felt the 
honor and the power of my name.

I never had the chance to thank my father, for all he taught me, for how well
he prepared me for the Game.  I "died" the following winter at the hands of
the Daltons, and awoke to the Game...  

Our family ended with me, I never passed this blade on to an heir, and yet I 
still feel that my father would be proud of the man I've become, 374 years 
later.  I live by the honor of our name.

Eventually, my opponent tires, as they always do.  With a clean blow, I take
his head, and with it, his power.  The Game goes on.

They do not understand the legends, these opponents of mine.

They do not understand that my father fights through my swordarm, and his
father, and the whole of my Sept.

They do not understand that, while I hold this blade, I will not lose.

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Ancestral Blade is one of the promotional cards released in February-March
1996, in anticipation of the upcoming Movie Edition of the Highlander CCG.
It's also one of the most useful of these promotional cards, and one which
will see a great deal of use in the future.

There are several ways to block a Power Blow in the Highlander CCG.  Making
an Exertion to turn a block into a Power Block works, but wastes cards (and, 
in the case of Amanda, some damage still gets through).  Stamina is an Event 
played in place of an Exertion, but behaves the same way (Amanda still takes 
damage).  The other class of blocking includes Luther's and Slan's Special 
Ability, the Continuity card, and now Ancestral Blade.  These say "you may 
block Power Blows without an Exertion".  This is better for Amanda (she takes
no damage using these cards) and it's as effective as Stamina or an Exertion 
for everyone else.

So let's compare Ancestral Blade to these cards.

Most people play with Continuity instead of Stamina, because Continuity
lasts for three defense cards, whereas Stamina (as an Event) only lasts for
one.  Also, Stamina can only be played in place of an Exertion when blocking
a Power Blow; if you're playing an opponent who doesn't do Power Blows, the
Stamina card is stuck in your hand (unless you discard it when damaged).
Continuity, as a Situation, can be played at any time.

Most personas can make use of Continuity, and it's a card that's found
in most decks.  Only Xavier (and, it seems, Katana) are lacking the 
functionality of Continuity: Slan doesn't have Continuity, but blocks Power
Blows without Exertions as his ability, and Luther both has this ability 
*and* has Continuity (a last-minute mistake at TCGames).

Ancestral Blade outperforms Continuity in a number of ways, and we'll most
likely see it replacing Continuity in many decks.  Like Continuity and 
Stamina, it goes into effect when it's played.  Stamina works for one 
defense, Continuity the next three, but Ancestral Blade works for *all*
of your future blocks.  Also, Continuity is a Situation (which is removed 
by the commonly used Police: Remove Situation or Plan Ahead cards), whereas 
Ancestral Blade is an Object (removed only by the less commonly used 
Misfortune).  Like Continuity, Ancestral Blade (as an Object) can be put
into play at any time, so having more than one in your deck isn't a
problem.

It's unlikely that people will put six Misfortunes in their decks anytime 
soon, but it's quite likely that Ancestral Blade will find its way into more
and more decks as time goes on.  This is a promotional card worth searching
for.

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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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