Blood of Kings

Part 1: Foundling

Part 2: First Death - You may not play this card unless Foundling is in play.

Part 3: Immortal - You may not play this card unless Foundling and First Death
are in play.  Discard all three cards.  All damage from your opponents next
three successful attacks is reduced to zero.

What can I say?  I'm a sucker for Plots.  Unholy Alliance is one of the most
powerfully obnoxious things in Highlander, particularly in the hands of
Xavier.  Some people's opinions to the contrary, I can get Counterfeit to work
pretty well.

On the Movie Edition side, Destruction is about the best way to pull off Head
Shots, giving you a chance to play other Specials (like Amanda's Seduce!) on
subsequent turns.  A Head Hunter deck is truly painful when combined with
Master's Advance.  Take both of these Plots and put them in a Kurgan/Disguise
deck, and an opponent has real problems.

Joy Ride is a bit of a lame duck, even with the errata.  However, Cat & Mouse
is almost too powerful for words.  Whether you're a Kurgan deck zapping their
defenses and then Power Blowing, or a Xavier deck making them burn through a
potential 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12 = 78! cards from their Endurance, there's
little doubt this card can hurt.

Also, since the Series Edition, new Plot-enhancing cards (several cards in
Watcher's Chronicles, Simple Mind, Schemer, both Director's Cuts, Measure of a
Man) are far more powerful and common then new anti-Plot stuff like . . .
Moran, and that's it.

So now we have the first new Plot in a while.  What does it do?  Negate all
damage from the next three successful attacks.  This has several game mechanic
issues.  First of all, there are several attacks that do not do damage when
successful.  Those include undefended Head Shots, Improvised Weapon/Attacks,
and Dirty Tricks.  Blood of Kings doesn't prevent any of their effects.

Worse, whether attacks _do_ damage or not is irrelevant.  Thus, if you are hit
by a Dirty Trick, it counts as one of the three attacks that Blood of Kings
aids you against.

However, only successful attacks count against Blood of Kings.  If you
Disappear against an attack, the attack was not successful and thus doesn't
count against the three-attack immunity.

Preventing all damage from an attack (i.e., Dr. Sonny Jackson) does not make
the attack unsuccessful.  So an attack dealt with in that manner still counts
against the three-attack immunity.

Like Continuity, the effect of Blood of Kings doesn't "stack" or accumulate.
If you complete a second Blood of Kings while you still have a previous one in
effect, only the next three successful attacks from that points on are damage-
negated.

You can use the effect of Blood of Kings the turn you complete it.  So if your
Kurgan opponent unleashes a big six point Sedarius/Thrust/Power Blow on his
turn, you can play the third part of BoKs on your defense or attack phase and
ignore the damage.  Even if he has The Gathering out, you can still prevent
the damage in your attack phase.

So that's what Blood of Kings does.  What do you do with it?

Blood of Kings is pretty much useless against non-attack decks, and it's
probably a waste of your time to even bother with it.  Still, if such decks
step in at the end of the game to do a Head Shot, you may wish you had
completed that BoKs plot 20 turns ago.

Blood of Kings isn't a bad counter against Katana's Taunt . . . except that
against Katana, you're pretty unlikely to succeed in completing it.

Blood of Kings will also stop a Stalk.  However, since Xavier can potentially
use Plan Ahead and Police, that's not likely to happen either.

Other than those exceptions, however, Blood of Kings is a pretty good cards.
Many games come down to who inflicts the most damage in the fewest number of
attacks.  Sedarius, Shooting Blade, Power Blows, Connor's Master Block/Lunge
combination, Xavier's Stalk (if Richie is using it):  these are the biggies.

Against decks that rely on lots of smaller hits (Amanda comes to mind, but
Pistol users as well), Blood of Kings is a little less effective.  Preventing
three attacks of three damage may not be as satisfying as ignoring a 5 or 7
point attack, but it will still help.

Also, you don't have to rely on just Blood of Kings for defense.  It will let
you go a little lighter on stuff like Alertness/Block.  And you can probably
afford to drop a couple of Dodges.  Still, Blood of Kings' effect is only used
up if they hit you.  Just keep defending normally and let BoKs work when you
want it to.

So who should use Blood of Kings?  Well, when it comes to Plots, always look
first to Xavier St. Cloud.  Twelve of these and twelve of Unholy Alliance
provide a painful combination of defense and (non-swordfighting) offense.
Blood of Kings is the best defensive plot (with 12 Cat & Mouse/Attack the only
other qualifier).  It's not as good as Verona, but there are ways to counter
Verona (see CotW #20).  You might be better off using Illusory Terrain in
conjunction with these two plots, keep them from playing of Locations.  This
option also lets you toss out a Stalk or two.

Kalas is a secondary plotter, and might wish to consider this Plot as well.
He isn't nearly as strong in the Plot department as Xavier.  However, he's
also less agile, having only Back Away.  If Kalas doesn't want to sit there
and hope for a Holy Ground when his opponent fires that Shooting Blade, he
should consider Blood of Kings.

The Kurgan, thanks to Disguise, ranks with Kalas as a plotter (see PotM #1).
Like Kalas, he currently lacks any dodge except Back Away.  Still, Blood of
Kings is a defensive Plot and the Kurgan is more of a heavy-hitter on offense.
Destruction and Head Hunter are probably better choices.  But if you want to
add a third plot, you could do worse than BoKs.

Other Personas?  Everyone can use the benefits.  However, Plots are difficult
to complete.  Unless you're using a lot of other Situations to use up your
opponent's Situation-removers, Blood of Kings (or any other Plot) probably
isn't a good choice.

The exception?  Director's Cut/Situation.  This card can give any Persona
Xavier-like abilities to play and complete multiple Plots.  And in the hands
of Xavier himself, DC is a weapon of earth-shattering dimensions.

So how do you cope with an opponent using Blood of Kings?  Simple:  wear them
down with minor attacks.  Slashes, Pistols, Dirty Tricks, Improvised Weapons.
Save your heavy-hitter stuff for after BoKs' effects have dissipated.

So overall, Steve gives Blood of Kings a _6_.  There are other ways to handle
defense, but BoKs takes all the guesswork out of it and ignores The Gathering
as well.  Once BoKs effects have kicked in, only Underworld Contacts can stop
it.  You don't need to worry about your opponent ripping a TCG against your
Alertness cards when he performs a Seduce/Shooting Blade later in the game.
BoKs is really the only good defense Plot, and the problems with Plot usage
are becoming smaller and smaller as time goes on.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Ben - Abstain

Jeff - Moderately useful for a 3-part plot, particularly if you have multiples
and fear Sedarius.  I'd personally rather have three defenses and/or Holy
Grounds, myself.  A bit over-rated by most, IMHO.

Rick - Your opponent's next three _successful_ attacks do zero damage.  It
still lets you defend normally and only if an attack gets through does it
count against the three.

Hank - A cool plot.  Not too powerful, but nice, useful for decks that want to
go toe-to-toe with someone.

Alan - Before the release of ME (and Schemer), and Director's Cut/Situation, I
would have loved this Plot (even though it could be considered
anti-swordfighting).  It has a nice effect but was still a Plot (and therefore
harder to pull off).  But now, since it is possible to complete a plot in one
turn (thanks to the use of Chessex + Dr. Sonny Jackson/Desperation), it is now
even more useful to anti-swordfighting strategies.  In the hands of Xavier it
becomes even more powerful (and Cheesey).

Jim - Another promo card:  well, actually, a set of cards.  Although this plot
sequence seems to be quite powerful, it simply is not very efficient in light
of other cards that are available.  You fare better by adding more general
cards such as Master's Block, Feint/Edge, Dr. Sonny Jackson,
Watcher/Treatment, and such.  For cheesers, Verona and Safe Haven are much
better.  Blood of Kings when completed can allow you to take punishment from
three successful attacks.  However, often the successful attacks will be ones
that do less damage (like Slash).  Since only damage is reduced to zero you
are still vulnerable to a Head Shot.

Chip - Abstain

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   6
Ben                   N/A
Jeff                    4
Rick                    4

Hank                    7
Alan                    5
Jim                     3
Chip                  N/A

Average:                4.83

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