Improvised Weapon (Object)

If you are Disarmed you may use this Improvised Weapon.  This weapon allows
you to block Power Blows with a zero-card Exertion.  You may not make Head
Shots.

Here we have an Object that combines two different functions:  you can avoid
being Disarmed, and you can make 0-Exertion Power Blocks while using it.

But first those bothersome game mechanics issues.  The text of Master's
Disarm/Connor and Nakano states, "Play in your Defense Phase if you have no
weapon. . ."  For the purposes of Master's Disarm _only_, Improvised Weapon
_is_ considered a Weapon.  Thus, you cannot use MD when using it.

Improvised Weapon is _not_ considered a weapon for the purpose of cards such
as Break Weapon, Collapse, Honed Weapon.

The ruling on Improvised Weapon indicates that you can't use Master's Disarm
if you use Extra Weapon either.

So, what good is Improvised Weapon?

Let's look at its lesser effect first.  It lets you make a 0-card Exertion for
a Power Block.  Unfortunately, this is not much of an advantage.  There is
already an Object, Ancestral Blade, that lets you make a Power Block without
making _any_ Exertion.  It doesn't require that you Disarm yourself (via
Discard Weapon), or use up your one Exertion for the turn to make a Power
Block.

In fact, even if you're Disarmed, Ancestral Blade will _still_ let you Power
Block without an Exertion.  Assuming of course that you have some way to block
attacks (i.e., the Dragon promotional card).

So it doesn't seem worth the effort to use Improvised Weapon simply to make
"free" Power Blocks.  Ancestral Blade, a relatively easy-to-obtain promotional
card, renders this aspect of Improvised Weapon obsolete.  If you somehow can't
obtain Ancestral Blade, then a deliberate Disarm-to-Power-Block strategy using
IW could work for you.  However, the regular Continuity will probably work
better for you (unless you're using Katana or Xavier, who lack this card).

Why?  Because you don't have to disarm yourself to use Continuity.  And this
brings us to the primary aspect of Improvised Weapon:  as a way to defend
yourself if you are Disarmed.

Unlike Dragon, Improvised Weapon allows you to attack.  And unlike Recover
Weapon, IW lets you attack and block even if your weapon is broken.  Recover
Weapon also _requires_ that you be Disarmed before using it.  None of the
other re-arm methods have this handicap.

Two other methods to rearm involve using the two re-arm Situations.  These are
the Armory promotional card and Watcher/Rearm from the Series Edition.

Both of these are difficult to counter.  If Disarmed, you can play them
immediately and have a weapon.  Only a TCG rip will stop them:  Plan Ahead
does not "counter" them, and so they take effect before they can be removed.
However, Watcher/Counter _will_ counter the play of Watcher/Rearm.  These
Situations can also be played at any time.

There are a few minor disadvantages to Watcher/Rearm.  As a Watcher card, it
counts against the six you are allowed.  And being a Watcher, it has
disadvantages in Watcher's Chronicles (as well as an advantage or two as an
in-play Watcher).

The Armory is a Watcher Field Agent:  again, this has certain vulnerabilities
due to cards in Watcher's Chronicles.

A minor disadvantage of both these cards is that you can't use a disarm
strategy against your opponent if you choose to use these.  Generally,
however, The Armory is probably superior to Improvised Weapon, particularly if
you are using Ancestral Blade.

This leaves a _fifth_ way to rearm yourself:  Extra Weapon.  Extra Weapon and
Improvised Weapon are both Objects, making them easy to keep in play.  The
other methods are subject to countering or removal by various means such as
Forethought, Plan Ahead, and Police - Objects are not.  There are only two
cards that adversely affect Object:  Thief and Misfortune.

You can play both of these Objects regardless of whether you are Disarmed or
not.  Both can be put into play prematurely with the (currently illegal)
Conjure, or recovered from your discard pile with Archaic Collection or Alex
Johnson.

Both cards are useful as long as you have them in play.  However, Extra Weapon
only needs to remain in play long enough for you to discard it and regain your
weapon.  Improvised Weapon must remain in play as long as you want to continue
blocking and attacking while Disarmed.

Once you discard an Extra Weapon you may attack normally.  Improvised Weapon
prevents you from making Head Shots.  However, this may or may not be a
handicap for you, depending on your deck design.

Looking carefully at the above, it appears that Extra Weapon is the superior
of the two Objects.  You use Extra Weapon, it's gone, and there's nothing
further your opponent can do about it except Disarm you again.

With Improvised Weapon, if your opponent Disarms you and then deprives you of
the Improvised Weapon, you have nothing.  You can't attack, you can't block.

This may not sound like much of a disadvantage.  However, any Disarm deck
worth its salt is going to have Misfortune and/or Thief in it.  The same
things that remove Extra Weapon impact Improvised Weapon as well.

You only need to get Extra Weapon down for one round, possibly using
Forethought or a TCG to protect it from removal.  Then you can discard it and
be rearmed.

You must protect Improvised Weapon _continually_ or risk being Disarmed again.

So Extra Weapon appears like the clear choice for use.  And as mentioned
above, The Armory seems to be a better choice as well.

As some reviewers note below, Improvised Weapon _does_ let you use it the turn
you play it.  This can be important in the short-term.  However, this assumes
you don't _already_ have an Extra Weapon in play.  If you do have Extra Weapon
in play, you can discard it the moment you are Disarmed.  Otherwise your
opponent must deal with it before Disarming you.  If your opponent begins
removing your Extra Weapon(s), you have valuable warning of his game strategy:
act accordingly to keep him from attacking, or keep him too busy playing other
Specials.

In the long-term, Improvised Weapon might give you a one-turn block and
attack.  Once it's removed, it's gone for good.

Who should use Improvised Weapon?  A better question is who should _not_ use
it.  Amanda still takes the extra damage if she Power Blocks with a 0-card
Exertion.  Connor and Duncan tend to favor Head Shots.  The Kurgan, if he is
using a heavy Power Blow-strategy, may possibly use lots of Head Shots
himself.

Anyone using the Destruction plot will not want to use Improvised Weapon.
This potentially includes Amanda (due to Seduce), Xavier and Kalas
(Plotmeisters), and the Kurgan and Annie (due to anti-Situation removers).

Since the use of Master's Disarm/Nakano & Connor is disallowed with Improvised
Weapon, those two Personas gain no overwhelming benefit from this combination.

Kern, Katana, and Fitzcairn have better things to do with their Exertions:
Power Blocking with a 0-card Exertion uses up their normal one Exertion per
turn.

This leaves only a handful of Personas that are not handicapped by Improvised
Weapon.  And thanks to the Master's Disarm ruling, there is no real strategy
to use with it.

So overall, Steve gives Improvised Weapon an all-time low rating of _1_.
There seems to be no real reason to use it rather than Extra Weapon.  Both
cards are vulnerable to the same things, but Extra Weapon only has to remain
out long enough to discard and re-arm.  The 0-card Exertion Power Block is an
inferior version of Ancestral Blade.  And as long as you use IW, you are
always at risk of having it taken and left with no weapon whatsoever.

This rating _is_ subject to two potential future changes.  The Master's Disarm
ruling is somewhat confusing, since it establishes there is a time when an
Improvised Weapon is a weapon, and other times when it isn't.  If this ruling
is reversed, I would rate IW much higher.

If the current discussion concerning the limit on promotional cards becomes
official, Ancestral Blade is limited, and Improvised Weapon + Discard Weapon
may be a better alternative method to Power Block.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - My second-favorite anti-Disarm card.  Its usefulness was tarnished when
it was ruled that you can't use a Master's Disarm with this card in play, but
I still like the 0-card exertion for Power Blocks.

Hank - Improvised Weapon is unique.  It can be played without provocation,
like Watcher: Rearm or Extra Weapon, but unlike those it can be used
immediately (like the lesser used Recover Weapon).  I've started using it more
and more in my decks for that reason.  (Ed. Note:  Watcher: Rearm _can_ be
used immediately.)

Alan - This is really an great card.  It's a great anti-Disarm card, plus it
allows 0-card Exertion Power Blocks.  If you don't have access to Ancestral
Blade, Discard Weapon + Improvised Weapon makes an adequate substitute.

Jim - Improvised Weapon is a great card.  This card combines the features of
Ancestral Blade and Extra Weapon in a somewhat weakened form. You can block
Power Blows with a 0-card Exertion and can make attacks normally except for
Head Shots.  A great insurance card against disarm strategies.  It is
immediately available to use the turn you play it, unlike Extra Weapon which
requires a turn to "ready",

Wayne - This is a good toolbox card against Disarm decks.  The advantage of
this card over Extra Weapon is the built-in Ancestral Blade, but I normally
play Extra Weapon since the weapon is recovered upon discarding.  The downside
of Improvised Weapon is that it gives your opponent time to come up with a
Thief or Misfortune which would Disarm you again.

Ben - No comment

Rick - No comment

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   1
Ben                   N/A
Jeff                    4
Rick                  N/A
Hank                    7
Alan                    7
Jim                     8
Wayne                   5


Average:                5.33

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