SITUATION: While Brenda Wyatt is in play, if you make an Exertion to make or block a Power Blow, draw a card at
the end of the phase.
Is Brenda useful? She's certainly overlooked. So let's take a closer look at her...
First of all, Brenda is only useful if you are _exerting_ for Power Blows or Blocks. Thus, she doesn't do Slan a
lot of good. She probably isn't particularly useful to Luther, either, unless you use a deck that has him
exerting for Power Blows a lot. If you use either of their Quickenings, then she's not going to help you
How else does she fail to help you? Well, if you play Power Blow, Hammer Blow, Head Shot, Ancestral Blade,
Continuity/Power Block, or Stamina, _those_ don't require exertions either.
However . . . the Kurgan gets three-card exertions to make Power Blows. The TV1 Master reduces exertions if
you wish. And there's a Quickening that lets you do the same thing as that Master. And there are Collect cards.
So it's not hard to do low-volume exertions.
But now we come to the other problem with Brenda. She lets you draw a card, sure. However, exertions end your
So you exert to make that attack a Power Blow. The exertion ends your attack phase and . . . guess what?
It's time to adjust your ability and draw cards anyway! Essentially, you get to draw one of those cards just a
little bit earlier. However, there's not going to be anything you can do with it that turn. At best, you
might have one more card to choose from if you have to discard if your Ability was reduced _and_ you have excess
So drawing a card after making a Power Blow exertion doesn't help you much. That leaves Power Block
The problem here is that you can't force your opponent to make Power Blows. Sure, you may run into Kurgan and Slan
decks that make Power Blows. But you're just as likely to run into Xavier and Katana decks that never do. And
you can't make Power Blocks if your opponent isn't making Power Blows.
If they _do_ make Power Blows, well, then you get to draw a card. It could be that attack you needed, or that Trip
you need to supplement the attack in your hand, or that Dr. Sonny Jackson to avoid a point of damage from their
Street Punk. What it _won't_ be is a card that helps you during your Defense Phase, a card such as Holy Ground,
Alertness, Feint/Edge or Honed Weapon. Why? Because the exertion you made for that Power Block ended your defense
phase. Too late to play any of those cards now.
And of course, the card you draw may not be anything that you needed that turn anyway.
If you like drawing cards during your turn, compare Brenda Wyatt to the Movie Edition Quality Blade. That
card is an Object and therefore a lot less vulnerable to removal. It lets you draw at the beginning of your turn
so the card you get can help you any time.
Quality Blade is also not conditional. You get to draw a card no matter what you do or don't do.
Both cards are mandatory. At least with Brenda Wyatt, you can choose _not_ to make a Power Block. However,
that may result in you taking damage. If you're going to use cards like Poison Gas or Shadows of the Mind, you
probably don't want to use either of these cards.
Also, Brenda Wyatt is an Ally. There are only three cards so far that deal with allies. Brenda is a target
for Fitzcairn's Seduce. However, as we can see, it's pretty unlikely an opponent would waste Seduce to _take_
Watcher/Revealed makes Brenda a Watcher Field Agent. However, most of the cards that affect WFAs are
detrimental. She will help you heal damage using the Watcher Regional HQ . . . but so would more useful cards
like Angus, Heather, or Signorina Arianna. The promotional card Death Before Dishonor will let you keep
Brenda at the cost of one Ability. It hardly seems worth it . . .
So what are we left with? A conditional emergency card, one that only helps you under certain circumstances. Its
benefit, quite frankly, isn't that good.
If your strategy involves making lots of Power Blows, you_might_ want to consider adding this card to your deck.
It certainly doesn't hurt. However, you may very well be taking a turn to play this Special when you could be
playing another one. And what the heck, you might convince an opponent to waste a Police on it. Possibly.
So Steve's rating for Brenda Wyatt. is a big _2_. It isn't a total waste like John MacLeod, but it's really
scraping the bottom of the barrel.
What Our Other Raters Say:
Ben - Although I wrote the card, I have to admit that Brenda is, to most Highlander players, only of marginal
usefulness. She would score lower, in fact, except that I have recently given more thought to building an
Exertion deck. Kurgan and Fitzcairn both are good choices for such a deck, and Brenda Wyatt is an excellent
choice for getting a few more cards into your hand instead of just burning them all away in Exertions.
Jim - Brenda Wyatt is a card with rather limited use. She's useful when dealing with an opponent that Power
Blows a lot, especially when Factory is in play. The ability to draw a card at the end of Attack phase
typically means wasting a card but can be quite useful if your ability is about to drop, Factory is in play, or you
simply need your deck to cycle.
Jeff - Of limited use outside tower decks -- and most of those should have better uses for the slots she'd take
Rick - Since the exertion will end the phase, the card you draw with Brenda won't help that often. It does have
more use in a multiplayer game or when Factory is in play though.
Hank - Quality Blade (ME), Master's Stratagem, Patience, and others are much more generally useful cards for
throughput and non-drawing periods.
Alan - Useful for decks whose main strategy is Exerting for Power Blows (notably Duncan or Connor), but otherwise
a card I wouldn't use, since Ancestral Blade allows me to block w/out an Exertion.