Martin Hyde - by Steve Crow

During your Draw/Discard Phase, you may draw up to or
must discard down to a number of cards equal to your
current Ability plus the number of Master cards allowed
by your opponent.  You may include up to 5 Master cards.

Overview

Martin Hyde seems to be viewed as one of the powerhouses
of A&T.  Certainly, he seems better than Kanwulf, and on
a par with Kinman.  Is the Master Hunter on a par with
the heavy A&T hitters like Ceirdwyn and Kanis, much less
Methos and the revised Duncan?  Let's take a look.

Game mechanic questions first.  Hyde's ability is not
optional - he cannot discard to _less_ than his Ability +
opponent's # of Master cards.

Hyde can only draw up to the extra cards during his
Draw/Discard phase.  During the rest of his turn, due to
cards such as Patience and the use of Nefertiri's
Quickening, he can only draw up to his Ability.  If he
has more cards than his Ability or an equal number, then
he draws nothing.

Hyde's ability gives him extra cards equal to the
limitation on Master slots that his opponent has.  If
that text is eliminated by Master's Advantage/Ramirez,
than Hyde gains no additional cards.

If the number of Master cards is modified by the chase
pre-game Darius, Hyde's ability takes that into account,
letting him have an additional card.

Persona-Specific Cards

Among his Uncommon cards, Hyde has the "standard" Back
Away, Continuity, Evades, and Extra Shot.  His
Combination is of the Annie variety, that requires his
opponent to play a separate defense against each attack
he makes, as well as providing an additional attack.  It
can prove particularly deadly in conjunction with cards
that provides multiple attacks, and is debatably Hyde's
best card.

Martin Hyde has an impressive array of Rare cards.  They
include:

Hunter (Event): As a Special card, the use of that slot
can prove expensive.  However, since it works against
Edge cards as well, it can be extremely dangerous. 
Having trouble with an opponent using Under Cover and a
Shield to avoid those Ranged Attacks?  Use Hunter. 
Hunter is also harder to avoid than similar Situations
like The Gathering/Promo.

Intimidate (Event): A mildly weaker version of Kalas'. 
Useful with a Lunge/Basic Attack that you've made a Power
Blow (particularly with the Kurgan Q), or a Master
Swordsman if you've otherwise impeded their ability to
play dodges (Master's Advance and similar Quickening,
Kiss Your Butts Goodbye).

Master's Block (Block): The same as Katana's and
Fitzcairn's.  A necessity in the ever-growing environment
of multi-attacking.

Master's Trick (Event): An annoying card that can even
weaken Methos (if he isn't using Secret Identity). 
Ironically, it's not as much use against Generics, Khan,
and Corda & Reno, but that's why Hyde goes after the big
game, right?  It packs the double-punch of forced
discarding _and_ direct damage: it will even work against
Nefertiri.

Stalk (Special Attack): Perhaps the most dangerous of
Hyde's cards as well as Stalks in general.  Ability gain
is probably more common than Holy Grounds these days. 
Hyde's Stalk also has the advantage over Kalas' that the
former does _not_ require the play of a Head Shot Event
to make it Head Shot: you may use cards such as
Destruction/ME1.

Weapon Bind (Event): Useless against Nefertiri, but a
good emergency card against some of the more annoying
Dirty Tricks.  Mix with Lunge for best effect.

Generic Cards

Hyde is so "standard" that in many ways there are no
particular generic cards he needs.

Flashing Blade can help his Extra Shot.  Cards that give
him multiple attacks (The Prize/Extra Exertion, Master
Race) can help his Combination.  Lunge can force an
opponent to stand and block if Hyde launches a Power Blow
and plays Intimidate, or help with Hyde's Weapon Bind.

Head Shot, or Destruction/ME1 in a pinch, is vitally
necessary if Hyde plans to make best use of Stalk. 
Granted, the Stalk attack is unblockable and undodgeable
whether Hyde plays a Head Shot or not.  Still, if you can
end the game more quickly, all the better.

Advance Warning is useful for Hyde as it is for any
Persona with Master's Block.  Instead of being Restricted
to 2, it is essentially limited to 5 thanks to AW.

There is one card that lends itself to Hyde's Persona
ability, and that is Bassett & Hotchkiss.  Since Hyde
will typically be 4+ cards, and thus 4+ Ability ahead for
many purposes, lowering both himself and his opponent
down an equal amount means he's still ahead.  If Hyde
intends to use Spiritual Center, Desecration can serve a
similar but lesser function, and give him protection from
Event damage until he is ready to make his move.

Another useful card, Dojo, becomes even more useful with
Hyde.  It essentially means he has five _more_ cards
available to him each turn.  That's a total of 15 + 8 + 5
= 28 versus Methos.  Either generic Quality Blade (+1 or
draw one card) essentially adds one more to that as well. 
Factor in a Premium/+1, and Hyde essentially has 30 cards
available to play from each turn.

Location Cards

The Spiritual Center/Desecration strategy was mentioned
above.  Spiritual Center provides adequate protection
against Event damage.  However, it also makes Hyde's
Master's Trick unplayable, so it should be considered
carefully.

Hyde's Combination, particularly in combination with
Rapier (see Weapons of Choice below) can add up to a
formidable amount of damage.  If Hyde intends to pursue a
multi-attack strategy, he may wish to use Ring of Fire. 
This will also keep them from fleeing if Hyde uses
Intimidate, and can nicely supplement Hunter.

If Hyde pursues a multi-attack strategy using his
Combination, Dueling Grounds both gives him an additional
attack, and lets him ignore annoying Situations that
might prevent him from attacking.

The Circle won't stop Hyde's Stalk/Head Shots, and,
however weakly, plays to his strength with Evades.

Alternately, Hyde can forego the use of his Evades and
use Back Away + Catwalk instead.

Laundry Room can be a dangerous tool in Hyde's hands.  An
opponent misses one attack, and Hyde can unleash a
barrage of attacks that can't be blocked from the
opponent's hand.  Add Combination or Hunter, and the
subsequent results can be most unpleasant.

With a larger hand size, Hyde can potentially handle
Battlefield better than other Personas.  Battle Priest
can then be played on top of that, in conjunction with
Events like Bassett & Hotchkiss, to further reduce an
opponent's Ability.

Factory can prove useful for the same reasons, since you
start out ahead of your opponent as far as hand-size. 
However, remember that Patience will only let you draw up
to your Ability, not the extra cards granted by Hyde's
Persona ability.

Other Locations can be used, dependent on your specific
choices for Hyde.

Weapons of Choice

Rapier is the primary choice, giving Hyde a second attack
each turn.  If he uses Combinations, that's three
attacks, each one requiring a separate defense.  Dueling
Grounds can give him a fourth attack, and Master Race and
The Prize/Extra Attack can give him even more. 
Swashbuckler, if used with his Evades, can give him one
more.  The Rapier's Slices work even better.  Use
Crystals to eliminate weak Basic Attacks, or Bright
Blades or the Kurgan Q to raise their damage back up one.

Parrying Blade follows immediately after Rapier.  The
Dual Attacks are dangerous, and easy to play if you can
make multiple attacks.  Surprise Strike provides yet
_another_ attack, and Trap can make it dangerous for your
opponent to play any dodge whatsoever.

Spear is so-so.  Hyde can use Hunter to prevent his
opponent from fleeing those unblockable Slashes through
means of a Special, but this requires careful timing. 
The Spear's ability is handy:  Hyde can Back Away, then
play multiple Basic Attacks using the tactics mentioned
above.

If you don't mind the penalties and limits of Gladius,
the ability to Exert to make an undodgeable attack, if
used carefully with Weapon Bind/Hyde, can prove extremely
useful.  Twist can boost the damage of any of your
multiple attacks, while Deflect gives Hyde yet another
way to make multiple attacks.

Katana's Lightning Strikes can prove useful with Hunter,
forcing your opponent to have to rely on defenses rather
than Specials to avoid your attacks.  Play Master's
Block, then play Lightning Strikes and Slashes as you
wish, using Patience as you wish to draw up and
play...well, more Lightning Strikes and Slashes.  Or play
Combination to force them to play a separate defense
against each of those Slashes, as well as the last attack
you make.

Shield can provide Hyde with valuable protection against
Ranged Attacks, but otherwise isn't of a great deal of
help.

War Axe is, as always good if you plan on making Power
Blows and don't plan on using Standing Defenses.  Quality
Blade gives better coverage, and Attack Weapon and Throw
remain dangerous threats - more so if you have Hunter.

Claymore and Saber, don't yield Hyde any specific
benefits.

How to Win

As you may have gathered from the above, Hyde has a lot
of gimmicks (Master's Trick, Intimidate, Stalk). 
However, his real strength is in the relatively innocuous
Combination.  This card turns him (and Annie, who has the
same thing) into dangerous slice-n-dicers in the post-A&T
environment.

There are so many ways to now get multiple attacks that
it's not even funny.  Essentially Hyde has two options. 
Burn them out of defenses with Combination, or use Hunter
to stop them from escaping the attacks.  He can also use
Master's Trick to rid them of Master's Block.  Even if
they avoid the damage, they'll probably have to discard
it.

Hyde's other main strength is cards.  Lots and lots of
cards.  Four to eight more than any other Persona at any
given time.  This has several repercussions.  As noted
above, you can use "mutual destruction" cards such as
Bassett & Hotchkiss, and still come out ahead.  If you've
reached 0 Ability, your odds of losing your head are much
greater since you will still have a pool of cards to draw
upon.

And most importantly, having that many more cards gives
you a better chance of having the various components of
whatever combos you are using.

Certainly, Methos is stronger against "stronger"
opponents, i.e., ones with more Master cards.  However,
Master's Trick is the only card that specifically targets
them otherwise.  It is a two-edged sword, and an opponent
may be able to avoid the damage caused, but still have to
discard the Masters in his hand.  Given the prevalence of
anti-damage measures, you may have to settle for merely
depriving them of Master cards.  Don't forget that
Methos' Secret ID will protect against both effects of
Master's Trick.

How to Defeat

Well, the obvious way is to play with a low Master #
Persona.  Generics, Khan, Corda & Reno currently fall
into that category.  However, Hyde will _still_ have 3-4
more cards in his hand, and having fewer Masters can make
you more vulnerable to Master's Trick.

Since Hyde's primary strength is multi-attacking, more
defenses, Advance Warning to recover critical defenses,
and a slightly heavier reliance on all the typical
"toolbox" cards is probably your best bet.  Playing
Watcher/Treatment will at least almost guarantee that you
will then have a chance to play Alertness/Block or Dodge
next turn when Hyde plays a Stalk/Head Shot.

In the current heavily multi-attack arena, simply take
the same measures against Hyde that you would against
Ceirdwyn, Amanda, Duncan or Connor (using Bagpipes),
anyone with Katana or Rapier WoCs, etc.  He's not
particularly better at multi-attacking, and is often
worse, than any of those.

Unfortunately, most of the anti-attack measures out there
capable of stopping so many multiple attacks are either
cheese (Wings) or Signature (Skull Helmet).  Still, Hyde
will have to prepare appropriately to defeat these. 
Trenchcoat and Misfortune are, if anything, more
important to him than to many other Immortals.

Hyde's Nemesis, Hunted, basically cripples him.  If you
can get him down to (for example) six Ability if you're
playing Duncan or the Kurgan, you can beat on him to your
heart's content, since he has more than 0 Ability, but no
card in his hand!  Hyde's only defense against this is
standard Situation removal.

Overall

Overall, Steve gives Martin Hyde a _7_. His Persona
ability only yields a few specific strategies, such as
Bassett & Hotchkiss usage.  But he's a fun Persona to
play, and he is custom-made for taking down some of the
more powerful Personas.  The larger hand-size may prove
overwhelming to beginning players, but it's a good base
on which a more experienced player can build any number
of strategies.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Hank - I like Martin's special ability (among other
things, he's certainly helped Bassett & Hotchkiss make a
comeback), he has some interesting cards without having
anything _too_ disgusting.  I think he's a nice, strong
Persona, and if he hadn't been released alongside
powerhouses like Ceirdwyn and Kanis I think he'd get more
of a showing.

Jeff - Hyde (AKA "The Methos Killer") sports a great
Persona ability and a couple of good cards. 
Unfortunately, he lacks cohesiveness, unless you play
standard multi-attack using his Combination, packing the
Stalks and Master's Tricks for support.  In retrospect,
it would have been better to Signature his Master's Trick
(which is evil with Methos' Immortal Research) and not
Signature his Stalk.  Still a strong Persona, just not as
unique as he appears at first.

Prodipto - Hyde is a formidable Persona, and he gets more
so as the game goes on.  His ability to hold as many as
eight cards beyond his Ability is extremely potent. He's
a shoo-in for the Bassett and Hotchkiss cheese strategy. 
He can throw away 10-12 attacks and still be holding
double-digits in cards, leaving his opponent at a
tremendous disadvantage.  And Heaven help them if they
try to heal, because you _know_ he's just waiting around
with a Stalk to throw at them.  If you use a Berkeley
Games, in conjunction with his Combination, you can throw
off up to 7 (more with the new Iron Will) attacks, that a
single defense won't avoid.  Hunters and Weapon Binds can
limit your opponent's options, while Master's Trick can
put a real damper on most of the popular (Connor, Duncan,
Kurgan, Methos) Personae, who tend to use high numbers of
Master Cards.  All in all, Martin Hyde is well-suited for
what he does: taking out experienced Immortals.

Allen - Martin Hyde has locally been proving to be one of
the more deadly Immortals from the A&T set.  His
increased hand size grants him an edge in stringing card
combinations together.  Hand size is also effectiveness
in Highlander, and Hyde's ability allows him to absorb a
hit or two without falling below his opponent's level of
effectiveness.  Hyde also has several very strong cards.
Combination may be the most powerful.  Use it with the
Rapier and Parrying Blade and you can throw 5 or more
attacks a turn (using Surprise Attack) that each require
a separate defense.  This is a slicing machine few decks
can stand up to, and if they miss once they're on a fast
downhill slide.  Lots of attacks to one spot help here. 
Master's Trick is a great softening-up card and relieves
your opponent of those dangerous Master Head Shots,
Blocks, etc.  Once you've begun hurting your opponent,
Stalk discourages him from healing himself.  Hunter is
very effective with unblockable or undodgeable attacks. 
Extra Shot pales in comparison to Combination.  Hyde's
biggest obstacles are cards which prevent him from
playing attacks, and especially "payment" cards like
Skull Helmet and Wings.  Prepare accordingly. In the
meantime, play Combination and render your opponent into
a Picasso portrait.

Bruce - Hyde is an average persona with the limited
versatility that results from having an unpredictable,
run-of-the-mill power and fairly unfocused, unremarkable
cards (including no dodge that avoids center Ranged
Attacks). That doesn't mean that it isn't possible to
make a competitive deck that could only work using Hyde.
Highlander is a faster game than it was in the past. A
quick kill is far easier to pull off if you start the
game with twenty cards in your hand. There are combos
that simply cannot work without a large number cards at
the ready. While Hunter is probably the closest thing he
has to a killer card, many of his cards are at least
interesting even if of limited potential. Intimidate can
help a Power Blow's ability to nick with Lunge, getting
rid of an opponent's blocks or Masters is usually a good
thing. Stalk should at least slow down healing and, while
certainly not a cure-all, Master's Block is a great
defense in a multiple attack environment. Hyde isn't
great, but at least he's playable.

Stealth Dave - Here is another Persona whose Ability
rests entirely on your opponent. While your deck may kick
ass against Methos, you can easily bottom out against Bob
with no Master slots.  With the new Richie-Bob (which I
play fairly often), this is not an uncommon occurrence. 
Even having Khan or C&R as your opponent can be
detrimental.  While he does have some interesting cards,
such as Hunter and Combination, he also has cards that
are extremely specialized to the point of not being
useful in 90% of your games, such as Intimidate, Master's
Trick and Weapon Bind.  All in all, I can't see Martin
Hyde being much more than an interesting diversion for
most players.

Jonathan - Hyde, on the surface, appears to be very
formidable indeed. I don't disagree that he has a
phenomenal ability, that makes him difficult to defeat in
the end game. However, his cards do not lend themselves
particularly well to any type of focused strategy. His
defense is average, as he has the less than useful
Evades, but very nice Master's Block. His Stalk, Master's
Trick, and Weapon Bind are quite conditional on what your
opponent is playing. Run into the wrong opponent, and
these cards become wasted space. Intimidate has some
uses, but overall, offers no powerful techniques. Hunter
is too limited to be of much value. Hyde's Combination is
excellent, and would be the only Persona-Specific card I
would build a Hyde deck around. Thus, Hyde must look
elsewhere for his potent strategies. He has a very
reasonable chance of putting together complex
combinations, as he will certainly have a great number of
cards in his hand at once. This makes him very versatile
in terms of deck-building. You can pretty much assemble
any type of deck you'd like, and have the implements of
that strategy in your hand when you need them. However,
Hyde might prove difficult for beginners and
intermediates of deck-building, as they attempt to
maintain deck focus. He is a potentially deadly tool for
the seasoned player, as mouths tend to water when they
say "I can have how many cards in my hand?!"  When you run
up against Hyde, you probably have your hands full, but
he s not much of a powerhouse.

Charles - Martin Hyde is one of the more enjoyable
Personas to play. He gets to increase his hand size by a
number of cards equal to his opponent's Master card
limit; this provides him with a distinct advantage. The
one aspect of any card game that will make or break a
match is being able to get to the cards that form the
basis of your chosen strategy. He also has a few nice
cards to keep his opponent on his toes--mainly Stalk and
Hunter.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   7
Hank                    7
Jeff                    7
Prodipto                8
Allen                   8
Bruce                   5
Sdave                   3
Jonathan                6
Charles                 7

Average:                6.44

Highlander is a protected trademark of Gaumont
Television, used under license by Thunder Castle Games. 
The card text is copyright 1998 by Thunder Castle Games. 
All rights reserved.