Louise Marcus

SITUATION:  While Louise Marcus is in play, if a player does not play an
attack in his turn, he must discard a defense.

At first glance, Louise Marcus appears like a fairly powerful card.  If you
use an attack deck, then you think, "If they don't attack, they're going to
lose defenses.  I should be able to hit them eventually."

This is indeed Louise's main strength.  And to some degree it is true.  But
perhaps not as much as one might think.

For one thing, Louise affects _both_ players.  This might not seem like a
problem if you have an attack-oriented deck.  However, all but the most
attack-heavy of such decks can't keep up a constant barrage of attacks.
Against a non-attack deck, for instance, you have no way to get rid of most of
your defenses.  Eventually they pile up to a point where it is hard to come by
attacks.  You will also have occasions when you have to play a Holy Ground, or
use a Back Away or Dodge and find yourself unable to attack that turn.

In all of these cases, you will find yourself discarding defenses to your own
Louise.  This may or may not hurt you.  In fact, it may benefit you.  Against
a non-attack deck, if you can't play those defenses, this gives you a chance
to get rid of them.

However, that point is another weakness of Louise Marcus.  If you are playing
against a non-attack deck, they probably have ways to keep you from attacking.
These methods include Pedestrian/Delay-2, Safe Haven/Situation, and Verona

If they've stopped you from attacking, then _they_ have defenses that are
taking up space in their hand.  So every turn they don't attack, they get to
discard a useless card and draw a new one.

Ironically, players who use non-attack decks may actually wish to add Louise
Marcus to their decks.  You take the risk of losing a defense you may need if
your opponent manages to make an attack.  However, Louise will let you cycle
cards to get to the cheese-type stuff that you want more quickly.  And you can
still play another card cycling Event, such as Holy Ground/TV, the same turn
you discard due to Louise Marcus.

Okay.  So Louise isn't as powerful as she first seems.  So what _is_ she good

First of all, we noted that Louise Marcus is of little use if your opponent is
using a "cheese" deck that keeps you from attacking.  But if they are using a
cheese deck that _doesn't_ keep you from attacking, she is of much greater
use.  This may seem unlikely, but it could happen.  And if you are faced with
a "lock" deck, Louise allows you to discard a defense and draw a new card
every turn . . . hopefully getting that card you need to break the lock.

If you have an attack-heavy deck and are playing an combative opponent, Louise
can be quite useful.  If you are fighting an opponent that uses Dodge and Back
Away, they typically must discard a defense to Louise Marcus every time they
dodge.  Why?  Because generally after playing these two dodges, they can't
counter-attack.  Back Away only allows Ranged Attacks, while Dodge can only be
followed with an attack if a card like Combination, Extra Shot, Hook, or
Follow-Up is used.

So who will be using strategies that make an opponent Dodge and Back Away a
lot?  Amanda, for starters.  An opponent may play a single dodge rather than
two blocks to avoid her two attacks.  This becomes more likely if Amanda gets
Hidden attacks through the use of Jump, Mountain Cave, or Acrobat.  Since
Amanda can also make two attacks per turn, it is unlikely that she will be
hurt by Louise Marcus.  If she is running low on attacks and wants to avoid
losing defenses, Amanda can simply make one attack per turn and stretch out
her attacks in this manner.

Speculating on Yung Dol Kim based on his two Quickenings ("You may play
attacks as blocks." and "If you have an Extra Weapon in play, you may make an
Exertion to play an additional attack."), we see that anyone using these
Quickenings, and hopefully Kim himself, may want to use Louise.  Not only does
he have the ability to make multiple attacks, just like Amanda, but even if he
has to discard defenses, he will still have attacks to use as defenses.  These
two Quickenings are not considered the most powerful:  however, combine them
with Louise Marcus and they become more useful.

Dont' want to risk even relatively less powerful Quickenings?  Use Parrying
Blade and the Prize/Extra Attack to do the same thing.

Any Persona that makes Hidden attacks can expect an opponent to Dodge or Back
Away a great deal.  This makes Louise Marcus an ideal card for Connor/Mountain
Cave decks.  It's also nice in conjunction with Trip.  Louise combined with
Master's Advance in this circumstance can be _very_ painful.  They must
discard a dodge to play a dodge, and since they probably can't attack, they
must discard _another_ defense.

The common defense used against the standard Combination and Extra Shot cards,
as well as Hook, is a single Dodge or Back Away.  Louise Marcus makes this an
expensive choice.

Some Personas _want_ their opponents to attack them.  Annie Devlin is the best
example.  Her power only kicks in if her opponent succeeds with an attack.
Louise Marcus provides an incentive for them to do so.  Beware, however:
Annie often wishes to delay attacking so that she can accumulate three attacks
for when she can use her Persona ability.  She can easily fall afoul of her
own Louise Marcus.

Annie is the best example, but anyone who wants to use Riposte and make it
Hidden will want an opponent to attack them.  This includes anyone using Iman
Fasil's Quickening ("If you successfully block an attack, your next attack
that turn may be Hidden.").  By the same reasoning, when Fasil is released in
a future expansion, he will want to use Louise Marcus as well.

If you are up against a combat deck, keeping your opponent from attacking
while making them discard defenses is a valid strategy.  Slan decks often use
Intimidate, Distraction, and Pedestrian/Delay-2 to immobilize an opponent
offensively.  Luther can do this as well, then make them expend their
accumulated attacks rapidly by using Taunt.  And Fitzcairn can keep an
opponent from attacking by using Charm and Fast Talk.  So Louise Marcus works
well with these Personas as well.

And finally, Louise Marcus is a discard-type card.  Which means Nefertiri is
immune to her, both when she is using it and when her opponent is.  Combine
this with her new Watcher's Chronicle card, Cunning, and you can hit an
opponent with a double penalty for not attacking.

Louise Marcus is _not_ quite as effective as Master's Advance, since that card
forces you to specifically discard a dodge.  On the other hand, Louise doesn't
take up a Master slot, either.  And you can more easily play with multiples of
her for the same reason.

Louise Marcus is an Ally.  However, she affects both players equally, so there
is no real reason for an opponent to take her.  She is a bit more vulnerable
to cards that remove Allies, however.  On the other hand, if you have a
strategy that requires Allies, she is a good one to include.  Unlike cards
like Carl or Rachel Ellenstein, she is not a "discard to use" card.

So, overall, we see that Louise can backfire on you.  However, she is
remarkably versatile.  She can be used with almost any Persona.  She can be
used in attack decks and non-attack decks.  Due to the backfire possibility
she should be considered carefully, but she _should_ be considered for
practically any deck you build.

So Steve gives this card a _6_.  She is not overwhelmingly powerful, but she
can chip away at an opponent's defenses, and lends herself to many strategies.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - A card that might be a nice counter to cheese decks... if TCG hadn't
printed Safe Haven and Verona -- and if they'd allow it to stack.
Unfortunately, with the "metagame" scene as it is, there are plenty of other
cards I'd rather use the slots for.

Hank - Great card with attack decks (Slan, Kurgan, et al).  A staple for many
of my decks.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   6
Ben             [Abstain]
Jeff                    4
Rick            [Abstain]
Hank                    8
Alan            [Abstain]
Jim             [Abstain]
Chip            [Abstain]

Average:                6