The Prize/Extra Exertion
OBJECT: While this card is in play, all players may play an additional
exertion during their turn. There may be only one Prize in play by all
players. The winner of the duel may claim The Prize if it is in play when the
game ends. (Restricted to 3)
This card has been going out in tournament packages, but it doesn't seem to be
seeing a lot of use. Part of this may be due to the delayed release of
Watcher's Chronicles (see below).
Another reason may be that people just aren't that fond of using "You may lose
this card"-type cards. Some people are willing to risk Quickenings. However,
many are not. The Prize is even more vulnerable to loss, since you merely
need to lose the duel, not your head. Holy Ground/Forfeit won't let you keep
The Prize either.
One game mechanics note: you can _not_ Exert for an attack or defense and
then, by making an extra Exertion, _continue_ that Exertion. The one
exception to this is if you don't play any cards from the first Exertion.
Thus, if Duncan Exerts for a defense against a URA, and the best he gets is a
Dodge, he can't play it and use Flashback to get a Upper Guard.
A few general observations: The Prize remains the most reliable way to gain
an extra Exertion each turn. Flashback and Inspiration are the other two ways
to currently obtain extra Exertions. Inspiration is pretty much useless in
this circumstance: if you play Inspiration you have no way to play an
additional Special the same turn to take advantage of your extra Exertion.
Flashback can be used to set up a sequence such as Battle Rage/Scotland the
Brave. However, this is a rather elaborate combination, requiring three turns
to set up (1 - Flashback; 2 - Scotland the Brave; 3 = Battle Rage and two
Exertions). Here's hoping your opponent lets you keep those two Situations
out that long.
The Prize is an Object, which means it is more difficult to remove/counter
than an Event or a Situation.
Due to the "one in play" restriction, The Prize is also a good preemptive
card. Jeff Barnes notes below that The Prize/Extra Exertion is not as useful
as The Prize/Extra Attack. Perhaps. However, if you play The Prize/EE first,
your opponent has to remove it before they can get _their_ The Prize down.
This could prove restrictive, for example, to an Amanda deck trying to get
three attacks per turn.
The Prize/EE doesn't require you to make _any_ Exertion. It merely lets you
make a second one if necessary. Because of this, The Prize is not a bad
The Prize is also handy in several emergency scenarios. If your opponent
played Toadies and launched a Power Blow, you can Exert both to prevent the
Toadies damage and to make a Power Block. If you need to use Angus, you can
Turn of Events was featured several issues ago (see CotW #17). The Prize
allows you to meet the Exertion requirement for playing two Events in one
turn. It is the only "generic" card that currently does so.
Cards that affect Exertions, such as Master/Swordmaster and Collect, are
excellent cards to supplement The Prize.
So the question is, should _you_ use The Prize/Extra Exertion?
The primary issue is: do you need to (or think you may need to) make more
than one Exertion per turn? In many cases, the answer is no. Xavier and
Amanda, for instance, probably could care less since they don't want to make
Exertions at all, and are rarely required or forced to do so.
Of the existing Series and Movie Edition Personas, Katana gains the most from
The Prize. Using it, he can Exert to remove two Situations, or Exert to
remove a Situation and then Exert for something else. This card even lets him
partially bypass the effects of Psychosis. With The Prize, he can Exert to
remove a Situation as required by Psychosis, and still Exert for that Power
Blow, or for an attack to play with his Taunt.
The Prize can also be useful for Duncan, adding to his arsenal of extra
Exertion cards like Flashback and Inspiration. These cards were initially not
particularly useful. However, with the emergence of promotional cards like
Scotland the Brave, the ability to make multiple Exertions becomes much more
Slan's Berserk becomes more powerful in conjunction with Scotland the Brave.
A barrage of ten Power Blows, supplemented with two or three Carls, is enough
to give any opponent pause even if they have an Ancestral Blade out.
Connor lacks his clansman's Flashback/extra Exertion talent. However, he is
also fond of Power Blow/Exerting for the same reason as Duncan: he suffers no
penalty from a counter-Hidden attack. The Prize lets him Power Blow/Exert and
still have an Exertion to spare. He also has Battle Rage, and can pull the
same stunt of making five attacks Power Blows via Scotland the Brave.
Khan, Nefertiri and Richie have Battle Rage. An opponent with an Ancestral
Blade can probably handle five Power Blows more easily then Slan's ten. They
may or may not wish to use Scotland the Brave.
This pretty much covers the Series and Movie Edition Personas. As we noted
above, however, one long-awaited Persona from Watcher's Chronicle, the one who
may benefit the most from The Prize, is Kern.
While we can't go into a lot of detail at this time, Kern's Persona ability
has been revealed (in Castle News) as the ability to play any number of
attacks from an Exertion. As noted above, this means Kern can Exert for five
cards when attacking. This leaves him with an Exertion available for Hogg, or
to make one of his attacks a Power Blow, or if he needed to Exert for a
defense or against Toadies. He can't extend his initial attack Exertion with
the second Exertion, but he can extend his Exertions using other cards like
Bowie Knife and Collect.
Hugh Fitzcairn also gets a boost. As noted in Castle News, Fitzcairn can
Exert to prevent an unspecified amount of damage. Like Katana's ability, the
only limit on how many times per turn he may use this ability is how many
Exertions he can make per turn. The Prize lets him get around the "one
Exertion per turn" rule.
So overall, Steve gives The Prize/Extra Exertion a _6_. It is a powerful
supplement to several Personas (Duncan, Katana, Slan, Kern, and Fitzcairn).
It is of limited use to the others, but can prove handy in an emergency. An
opponent is very unlikely to have a deck that takes advantage of it like your
deck does, or that can take advantage of it once the game begins. And The
Prize/EE stops the use of The Prize/Extra Attack. Not a bad trade-off for
the potential loss of the card.
What Our Other Raters Say:
Ben - [Abstain]
Jeff - Not as useful as its multi-attack cousin. In fact, I can't think of a
whole lot of reasons to use it, unless you want to stick somebody else with
Rick - What would a Katana deck be able to do with this one? Since Exertions
are currently "under-utilized," Katana is the biggest winner with this one.
Hank - Making an extra Exertion might be useful in particular decks (Katana,
maybe, or Turn of Events) but it's not generally useful: there's never been a
huge run on Duncan Flashbacks. It's useful for things like Scotland the Brave
with Berserk, I suppose. I also don't like giving up cards if I lose a match.
Alan - This card should be a must-have in any deck which needs to use
Exertions (Katana, Battle Rage, Bloodlust, Scotland the Brave, Kern, etc.),
since it is always useful to be able to do more than one Exertion in your
turn. I have only recently begun to see the true value of it in my L&M Connor
Battle Rage/Scotland the Brave deck.
Jim - This is an extremely useful card for Katana and anyone who needs to make
more than one Exertion each turn. It is pretty much a prerequisite for a deck
that uses Scotland the Brave if you aren't playing Duncan. Kern should also
consider using this card.
Chip - [Abstain]