Immortal Wound

SITUATION:  Play in your Attack Phase.  If none of your attacks this turn are
successful, discard Immortal Wound immediately.  For each Immortal Wound you
have in play, your opponent must discard a card at the end of his Draw Phase.

Well, after several weeks of reviewing WC attack cards, we're back to
Specials.  Like the last few cards we've looked at, this card modifies an
attack in a new and different way.

First, the game mechanic questions.  The sequence described on Immortal Wound
seems to be unclear to some people, so let's review it here.

The attacker plays Immortal Wound during his Attack Phase.  It is not required
that he play multiple attacks, or even any attacks.  Immortal Wound counts as
his one Special for the turn, as per normal.  Currently, there is no way for
anyone to play a second Special while still attacking.

The attack(s) are dealt with normally on the defender's Defense Phase.  At the
end of the Defense Phase, if none of the attacks were successful, Immortal
Wound is immediately discarded.

If at least one attack was success, Immortal Wound remains in play.  Beginning
with that turn, the defender must discard one card at the end of his
draw/discard phase, after he has drawn or discarded normally.  This is similar
to how Kalas' power works.

Immortal Wound, despite its name, is anything but.  As a Situation, it is as
vulnerable to removal as any other Situation.  Thus, the Police can "heal"
your wound, and the attacker may remove it from play due to Simple Mind.  An
Immortal Wound can be the target of Focus, and thus does not cause discarding
the turn it is Focussed.

As specifically described on the card, the effects of multiple Immortal Wounds
_are_ cumulative.  Like Collect, Immortal Wound is an exception to the normal
Situation "stacking" rules due to card wording (i.e., Ability-modifying
Situations stack, no others do).

So that's how Immortal Wound works.  What can you do with it?

The main limitation on Immortal Wound is that it is the only Special you can
play in a turn.  Thus, you are deprived of the ability to pay an attack-
enhancing Special.  You can still play an attack-enhancing Edge(s) such as
Lunge or Flashing Blade.

So what we have to look at is which attacks have a good chance of hitting
without the play of other Specials.

The obvious one is Stalk/Xavier.  With a few Forethoughts backing it, only
Alertness will stop this attack.

Not quite as obvious a choice is Kalas' Stalk.  One thing that is occasionally
overlooked is that this card is unblockable and undodgeable after your
opponent plays a Holy Ground, even if you do _not_ make it a Head Shot.  It s
still a 2-point upper center attack that cannot be blocked or dodged.  If you
don't have or draw a Head Shot due to Holy Ground/SE, or don't get a Head Shot
when you take a new hand due to Holy Ground/ME, you can still play Kalas'
Stalk.

While you cannot play another Special the turn you play Immortal Wound plus an
attack, you can rely on Specials already in play.  Master's Advance is useful
here.  If you've forced your opponent to use a number of dodges, a Master's
Attack at the right time might force them to take a 2-point hit and suffer the
effects of an IW.

Against heavy dodge-reliant opponents like Amanda or Duncan, a normal
attack/Lunge (CotW #36) plus an Immortal Wound might actually hit if they
don't have the right block at the right moment.  At the least you might force
them to Exert for a dodge.

The use of Battlefield (CotW #3) and Factory (CotW #23) can help to deprive
your opponent of defenses by depriving them of the ability to redraw, or force
them to lose more then average.  This gives you a better chance of playing
Immortal Wound plus an attack and hitting successfully.

Situations and Persona abilities that let you make multiple attacks (Berkeley
Distributors, The Prize/Extra Attack, Amanda, Kern, and Annie) have a better
chance of giving you at least one successful hit.  Use of Flashing Blade is a
must in this case.

Connor and Duncan's cross-corner diagonal Slashes have a better-than-average
chance of hitting, particularly in conjunction with anti-dodge
Situation/Locations or against the WC Immortals who lack the extra 9-grid
coverage of Dodge.

One thing you should consider when using Immortal Wound is that, in the first
half of the game, one or two IWs may actually _help_ your opponent.  Like
Kalas' power, IW lets your opponent discard whatever cards he wishes.  This
means that they can get rid of "useless" and/or unplayable cards .  This can
cause more rapid deck-cycling, but that's typically a good tradeoff for the
ability to dump trash.

Three or more Immortal Wounds, or Immortal Wounds used in conjunction with
Kalas, can cause card loss/redraw to such a degree that it becomes a major
problem.  Typically, however, IW's full effects don't become painful until
later in the game when an opponent has a small Ability.  At that point, they
actually have an ability greater than 0 and still have no cards in their hand.
This is a good time for those Head Shots.

So who should use Immortal Wound?  As indicated above, Xavier and Kalas
probably have the best chance of hitting, thanks to their ability to play
inherent unblockable/undodgeable attacks.

Xavier further benefits because he relies heavily on Situations anyway.  An
opponent might be too busy dealing with his Plots and Forethoughts to remove
an Immortal Wound.  Early in the game this may not be a bother.  However,
later this could prove a fatal mistake.

Kalas benefits because Immortal Wound augments his own power.  The cumulative
affects of several Immortal Wounds in play, plus a successful attack of his
own, can force an opponent to lose 4+ cards at the end of a turn.  This will
hurt even a defender who wants to get rid of cards, and force them to cycle
through their deck more quickly.

Kern, Amanda, and Annie all have the ability to make multiple attacks without
the additional play of a Special the same turn.  Although Kern and Amanda
require Flashing Blade, this is a small price to play.  With Kern's potential
to make 5+ attacks in a single turn, one of them is bound to hit if skillfully
managed.  Amanda's 1-pt. attacks might seem trivial, but the Immortal Wound
that it can inflict is just as potent as one accompanying a 4-pt. Slan/Power
Blow.

Slash users have a better chance of scoring an Immortal Wound.  This suggests
Connor and Duncan.  However, under the right circumstances, even Personas like
the Kurgan and Nakano have reason to use the regular Slash.  Nakano, like
Xavier, relies heavily on Situations, and can use camouflage Immortal Wound
among his other Situations.

So overall, Steve gives Immortal Wound a _3_.  There are a few Personas and
strategies that IW helps.  However, it has three major drawbacks.  The first
is that it is relatively easy to remove:  Katana will never be seriously
bothered by it.  The second is that in the early-to-mid stages of a game, it
can help the target.  And third, it is difficult to use because it is somewhat
hard to successfully make an otherwise unaugmented attack.  It can be done,
but you might better devote space in your deck to cards that make sure you do
hit, rather than cards that enhance your attack once it does hit.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Abstain

Rick - This is a good card if you can be assured to do some damage.  An
excellent "finisher" card since they will have fewer and fewer cards in their
hands to defend with.  Too bad they get the choice of which cards to discard.

Hank - Immortal Wound is interesting, but I must confess that I haven't used
it in a deck yet.  I could see a Master's Block/Master's Lunge Connor deck
using it, or any other deck that has a non-Event way to make an attack
unstoppable... and once a few Immortal Wounds are in play, it's going to
severely frustrate an opponent to toss cards at the end of a turn.

Alan - Abstain

Jim - Immortal Wound will give a boost to most attack decks. It works well
when used in  conjunction with Factory.  This is definitely not a card to use
if you are using a denial deck and are trying to force your opponent into a
hand jam situation.  Since many occasions result in no attacks succeeding
early in a game, Immortal Wound is best used early and often.

Wayne - Abstain

Prodipto - Useless against Nefertiri, this card is well suited for unstoppable
attack type decks (a good example is Catwalk-Ranged Attacks).  Once Immortal
Wounds start falling (particularly in the early game), then burn type
strategies work particularly well (Nefertiri-Battlefield or Khan-Desert decks
will have a lot of success with Immortal Wound).  This is not a card that
should be in a lock deck, as it allows your opponent to start cycling cards.

Allen - Abstain

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   3
Jeff                  N/A
Rick                    5
Hank                    7
Alan                  N/A
Jim                     7
Wayne                 N/A
Prodipto                6
Allen                 N/A

Average:                5.60