TSC Troopers

EVENT:  If there is a Location in play, you may play TSC Troopers.  Make an
Exertion to remove that Location from the game.

Well, this card is simple enough.  No elaborate strategies.  Play TSC
Troopers, Exert, remove the Location from the game.

There's not a lot of game mechanic issues here.  It's not clear if you have to
Exert as soon as you play TSC Troopers.  However, the Location won't go out of
play until you do, so this fact doesn't seem to offer any advantage even if
you can delay the Exertion.

There has to be a Location in play for you to use TSC Troopers.  If your
opponent doesn't use Locations, you can't play this card except possibly on
yourself.  Not a good idea.

A card that is removed from the game can't be recovered with anything that
lets you go into your discard pile.  This includes items such as Sacrifice.

TSC Troopers is one of four existing ways to remove Locations.  Let's look
briefly at the other three methods:

Playing a Location:  This both removes a Location and puts your own into
effect.  This serves two functions, both to your benefit.

Illusory Terrain:  This card removes a Location from play and prevents
subsequent Location play unless dealt with.  You can play multiple Illusory
Terrain cards, making it very difficult for an opponent to play Locations from
their hand.

Get Away From It All:  Basically TSC Trooper's lesser cousin.  It doesn't
require an Exertion, but it only removes the Location from play, not the game. 
Less powerful, but not as severe a penalty.

The last bit raises an interesting question:  _is_ TSC Trooper more powerful?

It does remove a Location from the game.  But in the short term, so what?  The
target Location is out of play - just the same as if you had played Get Away
From It All.  The other cards mentioned above do the same thing.  And each
either provides other immediate benefits (your own Location, Illusory
Terrain), or at the least doesn't require you to pay a price (Get Away From It
All).

So the target Location is out of the game due to TSC Troopers.  What does this
mean?  When the opponent Exhausts, that Location won't be in their Endurance.

Well, if your opponent does Exhaust, that's important.  The question is, are
they going to?

Several of our reviewers below comment that TSC Trooper is the ideal weapon
against the dreaded Verona Location.  But Verona decks are typically designed
to _avoid_ going through their Endurance.  Why?  Because they are one of two
things:  1) Lock decks that don't go through any cards, or 2) Events that do
lots of direct damage.

If you've forced a type 1 deck through their Endurance, they've probably
already lost.  They count on you not doing anything.  If you've done enough to
make them go through their 44-50 cards, they're probably already dead.

Ditto for a type 2 deck that has gone through its Endurance.  By that time
either you're dead or they're dead.

There are ways to force your opponent through his Endurance.  The best is
Avery Hoskins:  make him (and you) Exert every turn.  Heck, since you're
Exerting any way, you can Exert for TSC Troopers.

The problem with this strategy is that unless you're reducing your Exertion
size (Master, Collect), _you_ are going through your Endurance at a pretty
substantial rate.

That may not bother you much if you're Khan.  The problem is, you're going
past a number of cards you'd rather keep.  Including . . . TSC Troopers.

In a large deck this might not be a problem.  However, Exerting to use TSC
Troopers is still going to cost you cards.  It also means it's going to take
longer both to draw the TSC Troopers card itself, and any cards that minimize
your Exertions.

So Problem #1:  TSC Troopers is only of added benefit if your opponent goes
through their Endurance.

Problem #2:  Unlike the other methods of removing Locations mentioned above,
use of TSC Troopers ends your phase.

Now, that may not sound like a problem against Rooftop or Desert.  However, if
your opponent, the Kurgan, has Ruins out and you need to get rid of it so you
can play that Left Guard against his Vertical Slash, you've got problems.

If you play TSC Troopers, and then Exert to remove Ruins . . . well, that's
the end of your defense phase.  You no longer have a chance to play that
Guard.  Bang - two points of damage (thanks to the Kurgan's ability).

A similar problem applies with Dead-End Alley and Catwalk.  Of course, you can
use Reconnaissance to avoid this problem.  But that means you're devoting 12
cards to deal with a potential six Locations that your opponent might use. 
It's also rather wasteful:  you're essentially using two cards to remove a
Location in the timeframe necessary.

One comment:  if your opponent is using less than six of a particular
Location, TSC Troopers becomes a bit more useful.  Except in the most lean and
mean of decks, however, I must admit I don't see that much.  "Lock" type decks
certainly use six of Verona.  And Locations are always playable.  Heck, you
can waste a turn if you have nothing better to do, simply by playing a
Mountain Cave to remove your own Mountain Cave.  There's no real downside to
playing with the full six of a Location allowed.

Is there any Persona that really benefits from TSC Troopers?  The Kurgan,
Kern, Katana, Kastagir, Connor, and Duncan are probably going to want to Exert
for other things.  None of them want to tie up their Exertions at a critical
moment by using TSC Troopers.

Anyone who relies on key cards is probably not going to want to Exert either. 
This includes Personas with particularly powerful cards like Amanda, Richie,
Xavier, and Fitzcairn.

That leaves a few other Personas.  None seem to really _want_ to Exert much. 
Luther? Nakano? Nefertiri?  And at least the latter two have Locations they'd
probably rather play (Ruins and Factory, respectively).

So what are we left with?  Overall, TSC Troopers is an inferior Location-
remover.  If I'm that worried about Locations like Verona, I'll remove it from
play using any of the other methods, then use the more versatile Amnesia to
remove it later at my leisure.  Amnesia is restricted to two, but I'll settle
for removing two of my opponent's Locations each time I go through my
Endurance.

Overall, Steve gives it a _2_.  If I'm worried about stuff like Verona, I'll
load up on Reconnaissance and/or Illusory Terrain, or use my own Locations. 
For the cost of Exerting, TSC Troopers' additional benefit is just too delayed
for me to make the effort.  I'm wasting a turn's Special and an Exertion when
I could be slapping down a Catwalk or a Mountain Cave and hurting them big
time.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Ben - Quit bitching about Verona and play this card. You will absolutely break
the back of any Location-based deck.  I'm planning a Kurgan "worthless
Exertion" deck around this baby.

Jeff - I originally felt TSC Troopers is more useless than John Macleod --
and, in the current game setting, it's true.  However, after playtesting a few
cards from future expansions, I do have to admit it's going to be more useful,
though unfortunately still not a good card.

Rick - I'd use it if I really had a problem with a particular Location
(Verona, anyone?).

Hank - Removes Locations from the game instead of just from play, but I still
prefer Illusory Terrain or my own Locations for shutting out an opponent's
annoying Locations.

Alan - A card I never have, nor will I ever consider using, for several
reasons:  I avoid Exertions as much as possible; people tend to play with more
than one card of a particular Location -- what good is removing only one of
those cards from the game?; and finally, I would rather just remove my
opponent's Location from *play* by playing my own Location.

Jim - I've only recently begun using this card.  There is only one reason --
Verona.  Verona is simply an abusive Location which is getting great use in
lock decks.  I use a combination of location removers and Amnesia to remove
Verona from the game.  I now have added TSC Troopers to the arsenal.  I
typically only use TSC Troopers in decks where I have Exertion reduction cards
like Master and Collect.  My Katana deck, for instance, can usually make
Exertions which are 3 cards or less.  If I get things just right I can make
0-card Exertions.  In this case TSC is fairly useful.  I get to use my
Locations to full advantage and escape the dreaded Verona.  Most non-lock
decks don't use 6 of the same location in addition to anti-special cards like
Honor Bound so usually using your own Locations or Illusory Terrain are better
then TSC Troopers.

Chip - If you are playing a deck that you know will have troubles if you are
nailed to a certain Location this card will help.  But you have to be willing
to make the Exertion and burn some cards to get the benefit.  In many cases
the burning of five cards could mean the difference between losing and
winning.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   2
Ben                     7
Jeff                    4
Rick                    5
Hank                    4
Alan                    0
Jim                     5
Chip                    5

Average:                4