SITUATION: At the beginning of your turn, you may either place cards from
your hand facedown underneath Dojo or take cards from the Dojo and place them
in your hand. Each Dojo can hold up to five cards. If this card leaves play
for any reason, then the cards underneath are discarded.
Well, for our first Watcher's Chronicles card, we start off with a card that
while somewhat inconsequential, is one of several new WC cards that gives a
_radical_ boost to many combat-oriented strategies.
First, the game mechanics. Moving cards beneath Dojo is a "may do" beginning-
of-turn effect. You can only store _or_ remove cards from a Dojo on any given
turn, not both. You may store or remove from any number of individual Dojos
Focussing a Dojo causes it to leave play, albeit temporarily. However, the
text that would cause the Dojo'd cards to leave play also disappears.
Focussing your own Dojo will prevent you from drawing or storing cards to it
That's what Dojo does. How do you use it? Does it have any use?
Dojo is a subtle yet powerful card. The first use you have to consider for it
is whether you actually _use_ it to store useful cards, or junk.
Do you have five cards you need to get rid of? Did you load up on
Alertness/Block and run into that non-Sedarius Luther deck? Just store them
under Dojo and they'll remain there until the end of game. Even better, your
opponent might make an effort to remove the Dojo. Make sure you show him what
he got rid of.
If nothing else, this strategy can give you a quick burst of cards. Store
five useless cards, play Patience and draw to replace them.
However, let's say you decide to use Dojo for storage of useful cards. If you
use a Dojo to store critical cards, there is a chance you will lose them. So
you probably shouldn't do so. If you only have one Head Shot, Dojo is
probably not a good place to store it. Ditto for Watcher/Treatment, Darius,
This decision may change depending on other Situations that you are using, and
your opponent's Persona. If you are using Nakano or Xavier, you can probably
"hide" Dojo among other, strategy-critical Situations like Forethought, Poison
Gas, Mirror Image, Master's Advance, and Master's Stratagem. Your opponent
will probably not be able to take care of all of your Situations: Dojo will
probably be low on their list of priorities.
Of course, if your opponent is Katana, or Xavier using Plan Ahead to
supplement Police, Dojo's life expectancy will be brief. If you're not using
many Situations, count on losing your Dojos, and use them accordingly.
These are all factors to consider when deciding whether to store useful cards
under Dojo, or use it as a "garbage can." But if you do store important
cards, the question is, which ones?
One useful strategy is to store attacks underneath a Dojo. You can almost
always afford to lose most non-Special attacks in your deck.
In this case, though, you want to _keep_ the attacks for later. Why? This
lets you set up a Battle Rage down the road. One problem with a Battle Rage
strategy is holding on to five attacks while still keeping pressure on your
opponent by attacking each turn. By using Dojo, you can store attacks in the
Dojo until you're ready to unleash them. Combine this with Situations like
Watcher Involvement and Carl, and Battle Rage can actually endanger your
In fact, Dojo is useful for storing any cards that are part of a large
combination. Are you using a Sedarius/Thrust combination? As noted above,
you probably don't want to put Darius or Seduce in the Dojo. However, Dojo
makes a perfect place to tuck away a Thrust or two until you're ready.
Dojo is also nice for storing cards that _might_ be useful. Rather then waste
a turn playing an Extra Weapon, store it in the Dojo until you know if your
opponent is using a Disarm strategy. This even makes Pierre Bouchet useful!
This strategy also applies to defenses. Store a few extra ones in your Dojo.
If your opponent unleashes a Bloodlust or Berserk, those extra defenses could
mean the difference between winning and losing. You'll also have them if your
opponent appears to be building a forced discard strategy (using Cat &
Mouse/Defense, Factory, and/or Charm).
Here's another defense strategy for Dojo. Being reduced to zero Ability is
just no fun. However, if you tucked away an Upper Center Block or a Upper
Guard or a Pierre Bouchet in the Dojo, you can pull one out on your last turn
when you have no cards in your hand, and avoid that unpleasant end-of-game
Another use of Dojo is in conjunction with "discard if you draw a card"
Situations like Poison Gas, Shadow of the Mind, and Garfield. "Drawing" is
defined as taking a card from your Endurance and adding it to your Ability.
Thus, taking cards from the Dojo is _not_ drawing. Spend several turns and a
Dojo or two saving up to 10 extra cards. Then, when you've drawn back up and
have a number of cards to match your Ability score, play the "discard to draw"
Situation on your next turn. The cards in the Dojo(s) give you a nice
resource to call upon.
And finally, Dojo gives you a way to cycle out useless cards from your Ability
_and_ your Dojo(s). How? Place them in your Dojo on your first turn. On
your second turn, bring them back into your Ability. You now will probably
have _more_ cards in your hand than your Ability score. Discard the useless
If you use the Dojo as a "garbage can" and can afford to wait, another
strategy is to put your useless cards into your Dojo(s) and let them sit.
Wait for an Endurance burn. At the beginning of the turn that you will
discard to your new Ability, retrieve all of the Dojo cards back to your hand.
You'll now be able to discard all of them, and you won't see them this time
through your Endurance.
So who should use Dojo? Personas who have Battle Rage (Duncan, Nefertiri,
Khan, Connor, Richie) can get some use out of it. The Kurgan, with Bloodlust,
can also benefit by storing a few extra attacks.
Annie Devlin's power is similar to Battle Rage. She not only wants to attack
her opponent, but set aside a few attacks for when she is hit. Dojo assists
her in this.
Nefertiri can pull off the tactic of storing and immediately drawing without
the need for Patience.
As noted above, Xavier and Nakano have a number of critical Situations: Dojo
could very well get lost among them. These two Personas also benefit from
using Dojo in conjunction with "discard if you draw" Situations like Poison
Gas and Shadow of the Mind. Shadow of the Mind in particular becomes far more
powerful with Dojo: store five attacks per Dojo, play SotM, and when you run
out of attacks from your Ability, take some more out of the Dojo(s). Mix with
Focus and Patience, and you can keep SotM out for any number of turns.
There are a number of Personas that gain no specific benefit from Dojo.
However, most of the strategies above benefit any Persona.
So overall, Steve gives Dojo a _7_. There are several strategies and/or
Personas that gain a substantial benefit from Dojo, and the rest gain a small
advantage. Dojo may not be a card for every deck, but it's a card you should
try to squeeze in if at all possible.
What Our Other Raters Say:
Jeff - Dojo is a great card. You can use it to cycle cards you don't need, or
to store cards for later combos (just watch out for Katana!). Flexibility
plus an increase in hand size equals a card worth playing with in some decks.
Rick - The card effectively increases the size of your Ability giving you a
way to "store" cards that might be clogging your hand otherwise. Be sure to
have a Patience to play at the start of your next turn since you will have
fewer cards in your hand than your Ability.
Hank - Dojo is a cool card concept, and I could certainly see a use for it
(there are many times where I draw a card that I know I'll want later, but I
don't need now). I'm wary of placing useful cards under a Situation,
though... Situations are so prone to removal. Still, cool idea.
Alan - Dojo is a card that, while I haven't found much room for it in my decks
before, I am starting to think more and more about. The advantage it gives
you is _really_ good, since it essentially adds 5 cards to your hand without
actually having them become a part of your hand. Now you can safely store
that Master's Block (or Disappear) where the Kurgan's Upper Hand can't get to
Jim - Dojo is a great card for avoiding card jam. You can use Dojo to get rid
of cards you don't need when you can't discard down. It's great for stashing
away excess cards when you have too many of a particular card like Head Shot
early in the game when you are using six of them in a head hunting deck. You
can set aside Guards when Ruins is in play and retrieve them later. Leave
some attacks for later use while your opponent is hiding out in a Safe Haven
in Verona. The main drawback with Dojo is that it is a Situation so it is
vulnerable to Katana, Police, and Simple Mind.
Wayne - Abstain
Prodipto - Dojo is a mixed blessing kind of card. It's great for card
cycling, which has always been a problem in Highlander. This lets you get rid
of "closing" cards (like Head Shot or Ped-5), and free room in your hand for
other cards. Of course, being a Situation, it is highly susceptible to
removal (Police, Simple Mind, Katana, etc.) This is a drawback that requires
serious consideration before you use Dojo.
Allen - Originally unimpressed with Dojo, I've grown to give it respect.
While it seems the place to store strategic cards, this tactic is dangerous as
a single Police can rob you of several valuable cards. Dojo is better used
for contingency cards (Misfortune when not facing objects), or to empty your
hand when short on key resources (defenses on the Battlefield) or suffering an
opponent's lock strategy. Elizabeth Vaughn works faster and with no risk of
being Policed before use. Dojo can be used more slowly over time, and you can
get cards back should they suddenly prove useful. A non-glamorous workhorse
card for larger or toolbox decks.