Lunge - by Hank Driskill

EDGE:  Play in conjunction with a basic attack.  Your opponent may block
normally, but may not dodge this attack unless the dodge is from an Exertion.

Lunge is one of the cards in the new expansion set, Watcher's Chronicle.  It's
a card that has made its way into a number of my swordfighting decks, and one
of many recent attempts to help refocus the game toward swinging swords
instead of playing cheese.

Let's look at the game mechanics.  Lunge is an Edge card, which means you can
play it any time during your turn, and it doesn't count as your one Special
card for that turn.  This makes playing the card a simpler thing, and means
it's fairly easy to get out of your hand:  you just need to be playing a basic
attack to use it.

A Lunge-modified attack may not be dodged under certain circumstances.
Nonetheless, playing Alertness/Dodge has no effect because all Alertness/Dodge
lets you do is . . . play a dodge.  You could do that before you used
Alertness/Dodge, so you gain no benefit.

Strategically, Lunge can be compared to other cards which limit an opponent's
ability to dodge . . . Challenge/SE, for example.  What makes Lunge really
interesting is that it doesn't count as your Special, unlike Challenge/SE or
others.  This opens it up to lots of combination possibilities . . .
unfortunately, it can only be used with a basic attack, which means it can't
be used with Stalk, Master's Attack, Shooting Blade, or other non-Special
attacks (i.e., Slash, Dirty Trick, and Flurry Strike) that are either
difficult to block or unblockable.  Those work with cards like Challenge/SE,
where you use Challenge/SE as your Special and follow with an unblockable
attack.  You have to use some other means to make your attack unblockable with
Lunge.

Let's look at some combinations for Lunge.  The first combo is Lunge/Head
Shot.  This is a simple, easy-to-play pair which forces an opponent to either
have a way to Power Block _and_ have an Upper Block/Guard ready, or spend five
cards scrambling for a Dodge.  Many cheese decks rely on Dodges as their main
defense, so this is a simple way to keep them nervous.

Break Weapon:  I never used this card before Lunge came along, but now I can
play Lunge/Break Weapon, make a Power Blow, and my opponent has three choices:
take the Power Blow, Exert for a Dodge, or block and risk losing their weapon.
Fun . . .

Head Hunter:  This plot just became much more interesting.  For three turns,
your opponent can't block, and Lunge means it is hard for them to dodge.
Opportunities for Head Shots and Power Blows and other obnoxious attacks await
you thanks to Lunge.

Other cards that limit blocking include Xavier's Hook, Mishap, Kastagir's
Charm, Run Through, Connor's Master's Block, and more.  These are all usable
with Lunge.  The worst of them is Connor pulling a Master's Block, Lunge/Head
Shot attack:  a Head Shot that's unblockable and dodgeable only with an
Exertion.  Ugh.

Looking at the rest of the Watcher's set, only one new card really begs for
the use of Lunge:  Annie's Extra Shot (second attack is unblockable).  There
are other cards that work well with it, however.  Watcher's Chronicles has
lots of ways to do multiple attacks in a round, so Lunge's ability to limit
Dodges works nicely with Flashing Blade, and the many multiple attack combos
in this set.

Rachel Ellenstein is the only card that currently cancels Edge cards, and it's
not in wide use.  This means putting Lunges in your deck, if you ever plan on
playing a basic attack against your opponent, is probably a reasonable thing.
They're fairly easy to get out of your hand, and they're always useful when
played.

In summary, Hank gives Lunge an _9_.  It's a great addition to the
swordfighting aspect of the game, it opens up new possibilities for fun
combos, and it encourages the parts of the game I like the most.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Steve - This is the card that breaks the back of those irritating dodge-types.
Having trouble pinning down those Amanda types?  Got a non-attacker like
Xavier who prefers to dodge?  Lunge/Power Blow them.  A vital card for Slan
and the Kurgan, helpful for Duncan and Connor as well.  Good for enhancing
Trips, Power Blows, the first attack of a standard Extra Shot and the second
attack of a standard Combination.  More versatile than Flashing Blade, and
duplicates many of FB's functions.  All these factors make Lunge vital in
Renaissance-style.

Jeff - Now _this_ is a sweet little Edge card.  Play Kalas with a Slan Q,
Intimidate, and make it a Power Blow.  Nasty.  Lends itself to an infinite
number of combos, some fun, some nasty.

Rick - Abstain

Alan - One of my favorite new cards, since it makes dodging attacks _really_
expensive, especially with Master's Advance out.  I find its best use,
however, is in a Connor deck with Master's Stance/Advance Warning, Master's
Block, and six Thrust.  Not quite as effective as Master's Block/Lunge, but
effective nonetheless.

Jim - Lunge is a cool card.  It lets you get more mileage out of basic
attacks.  This is an excellent card to use in conjunction with Combination and
Extra Shot.  It's nice to use in conjunction with Hidden attacks, so it works
well with Trip as well as being played following Jumps and Ducks.  Lunge is a
good card to play with the first attack on a Kurgan Follow-Up. This is a card
that should be used in just about any attack deck.

Wayne - Abstain

Prodipto - This is one of the best attack-oriented cards yet.  The usual
defense against a Power Blow or Head Shot is to dodge if possible.  With the
Lunge, played in conjunction with a Head Shot or Power Blow, you can quickly
put your opponent on the defensive.  They'll either have to block and exert,
or exert for a Dodge (unless they're Luther or Slan).  Lunge will also have a
huge impact when you play Hidden basic attacks.  Again, your opponent has to
either block and hope it's the right defense, then Exert if it's not, or Exert
for a dodge.  Note, Lunge doesn't make the attack undodgeable, so even
Alertness doesn't help here.  Of course, it only works with basic attacks, but
I would still put it in just about any deck.

Allen - Lunge is a great friend to attack-heavy decks.  Dodges have long been
the bane of decks stressing multiple and/or hidden attacks.  When played with
power blows, Lunge assures that your opponent cannot escape exerting for a
Power Block merely by dodging.  Used with Extra Shot or Combination, you
prevent your opponent from avoiding your use of three cards by merely playing
a single dodge.  Of course, you'll still need to do something about Holy
Ground.  You'll find your odds of scoring sword damage in one pass through
your deck to be much greater if you include Lunge in your strategy.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                  10
Jeff                    8
Rick                  N/A
Hank                    9
Alan                    8
Jim                     8
Wayne                 N/A
Prodipto                9
Allen                   8

Average:                8.57