Lighthouse

LOCATION:  While Lighthouse is in play, any player who plays an attack that is
not successful loses all Standing Defenses and may not play a dodge during his
next turn.

Lighthouse is one of only two Locations in Watcher's Chronicles.  The other is
Watcher Regional HQ.  However, Lighthouse is a far more complicated Location
to use, and allows for more varied strategies.

To use Lighthouse successfully, it's nature must be understood.  What does it
do, and how does it work?

The Standing Defense-loss ability is pretty straightforward.  The moment it is
determined that you miss an attack, and Lighthouse is in play, discard all of
your Standing Defenses that you have in play.  This includes not only Guards,
but Continuity, Master's Stance, Higher Ground, Master's Guard, etc.
Lighthouse does _not_ prevent you from playing Standing Defenses, or force you
to discard them from your hand (like Dangerous Ground).

The "undodgeable" quality of Lighthouse is a little trickier.  First of all,
remember this:  Lighthouse does _not_ modify any attack(s) you or your
opponent makes.  Thus, Alertness/Dodge is useless.  Lighthouse's effect is
akin to Challenge/SE (CotW #31), which _prevents_ you from playing dodges.

When do you determine if you can play dodges?  You check during your defense
phase.  If Lighthouse is in play _and_ you missed at least one attack last
turn, you cannot play a dodge.

If Lighthouse was in play last turn and you missed an attack, but Lighthouse
is no longer in play, then you may dodge normally.  No Location has an effect
if it is no longer in play.  If Lighthouse modified your opponent's attack on
his turn, then it would be relevant.  However, it does not do that.

If Lighthouse was _not_ in play last turn and you missed an attack, but you
yourself put Lighthouse into play on your turn, you can't dodge.  Obviously,
you don't want to put Lighthouse into play.  However, you may not have a
chance.  If you need to play Lighthouse to remove a more hindering Location
(say, Ruins or Desert or Battlefield), then you're stuck with it.

So that's how Lighthouse works.  This understanding is key to putting it to
use for you, and prevent it from backfiring.

The first question, as raised by several of our reviewers, is:  does
Lighthouse help non-attack decks?  As far as I can tell, no.  Lighthouse
penalizes someone who attacks you, but _only_ if you are willing to attack
yourself.  Very few non-attack decks want to play even a single attack:  this
gives their opponent a chance to play a non-Guard defense from his hand.  Non-
attack decks typically cycle out attacks without playing them, through the use
of Elizabeth Vaughn, Holy Ground/SE, and Heroic Deed/Save the Day.

So an attack deck using Lighthouse is only going to be hurt if it goes up
against another attack deck.  Non-attack decks might use Lighthouse as a
placeholder, simply to remove Locations while hindering them as little as
possible.  However, Watcher Regional HQ or (in some cases) Rooftop would
probably work better for them.

So, does Lighthouse help attack decks?  Well, yes and no.  Obviously, it's a
hindrance to dodging.  Duncan and Amanda don't get much benefit from it, and
Nakano and Connor are hurt almost as much.  However, they already get big
benefits from another Location, Dead End Alley, so they don't really need the
help.

Lighthouse is also a hindrance to keeping Guards in play.  This means it tends
to substantially reduce the effectiveness of Kastagir and the power of his
Master's Guard.

The Personas that Lighthouse help are those that are relatively light on
dodges.  That includes Kalas, Slan, Kern, and the Kurgan for starters - their
only dodge is Back Away.

The WC Personas Annie and Fitzcairn have Back Away and the relatively weak
Evade.  While Evade has some strengths (you can dodge and still attack), it
doesn't give the 9-grid coverage useful in avoiding Slashes, ranged attacks,
hidden attacks, and Annie's Master's Attack.  Annie does have a de-powered
version of Duck, but as a 6-grid dodge it is not the most effective of cards.

So being unable to dodge isn't going to hurt these six Personas.  The
remaining Dodge/Back Away Personas (Richie, Nefertiri, Luther, Khan, Katana,
Xavier) can be hurt, and may not wish to use Lighthouse.

However, remember that the vitally important Reconnaissance can let you ignore
the effects of Lighthouse long enough to play a dodge.  If preventing your
opponent from dodging and keeping out Standing Defenses helps you more than it
hurts you, you should consider using Lighthouse.

Deck design is of key importance when using Lighthouse.  There is very little
reason to put Guards in if you are going to use Lighthouse, for instance.  If
you typically rely on Guards for extra coverage after Power Blowing, against
the hidden counter-attack, just use extra Alertness/Hidden instead.  If you
dare, use Stamina instead of Continuity to reduce your dependence on Standing
Defenses even further.

Lighthouse can also set up ranged attacks, particularly Shooting Blade.  For
Pistols, you want to have your opponent attack so that you can use Back Away.
However, you don't want your previous attack(s) to miss so that you can still
use Back Away with Lighthouse out.  Take a break from attacking them from a
turn, or use Reconnaissance.

So which Personas should use Lighthouse?  Thanks to several recent changes
like the addition of Lunge and the restricting of Ancestral Blade to 1, Power
Blow strategies get a boost.  Lighthouse make them even more powerful.  If the
opponent misses an attack, they can't dodge your Power Blow, and they lose any
Continuity/Power Blocks they might have.  Plus, the heavy-duty Power Blowers--
Kern, Slan, and the Kurgan--are three of the Personas mentioned above who have
very little to lose by being unable to dodge.

Kalas has little to lose due to Lighthouse.  Additionally, if an undodging
opponent uses Holy Ground to weasel out of an attack, Kalas can Stalk/Head
Shot them next turn.

Personas who have other means to avoid damage can avoid the penalties of
Lighthouse when they miss an attack.  Luther has Endure Pain and Disappear,
while Fitzcairn can Exert to prevent damage.  Nefertiri, if she relies on the
six maximum Holy Ground/SE for protection and to force her opponent to card
cycle, can also benefit.

One oddball strategy is for an aggressive Katana deck to use Lighthouse.  The
two things that typically thwart Taunt are either a Guard already in play, or
a 9-grid dodge drawn from an Exertion.  Katana waits until his opponent
attacks and misses, then launches a Taunt-assisted attack.  The opponent loses
any Guard they had in play, and can't play dodges from the Exertion.  Katana
also has Master's Attack, which benefits from Lighthouse.

Another odd but occasionally effective strategy is for Kastagir to use this
Location.  Yes, his Master's Guards take a beating.  However, if an opponent
misses an attack, Kastagir can play Charm and launch a Power Blow via Master
Swordsman.  They can't dodge, and they don't have any blocks.  Whoops.  Again,
Kastagir's Master's Attack benefits from the anti-dodge property of
Lighthouse.

So overall, Steve gives Lighthouse a _7_.  It's not an absolute preventative,
but with certain Personas and strategies it can give you a powerful boost.
With stuff like Master's Attack (either version), it gets downright obnoxious.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Abstain

Rick - It's putting the emphasis back on the swordfight.  But be careful, this
card could end up backfiring on you.  I would generally recommend playing this
card on a turn when you don't attack.

Hank - Lighthouse is one of only two new Locations in Watcher's Chronicles,
and is definitely a Location designed for swordplay.  A missed attack results
in a loss of both Guards and Dodges, so it seems pretty dangerous for _both_
players.  Still, a swordplay Location is a plus in my book.

Alan - Lighthouse is an excellent Location for those decks that are adequately
equipped to defend against oncoming attacks, since a successful defense will
result in being able to get an undodgeable attack.  Mix well with Power Blows,
Extra Shot/Combination, and watch the fun!  One of my favorite swordfighting
locales.

Jim - This is a Location I'd avoid when using an attack deck as _any_ failed
attack will cause you to lose all Standing Defenses and keep you from dodging
during your next turn.  This is a good Location when using a balanced deck
that relies equally on direct damage and swordfighting.  If your opponent
attacks and any attack fails you can go on the offensive and attack.  If your
opponent succeeds with all attacks or does not attack, use direct damage cards
(or ability loss cards).  This is a good Location for Katana, Kastagir, and
Xavier.  Amanda should usually avoid this Location.

Wayne - Abstain

Prodipto - This is a terrible location for any attack-based deck.  It is most
appropriate for direct damage type decks, particularly as an end-game tactic.
It can also be useful for mixed attack/direct damage decks.  This is a bad
location for Connor, Nakano, and Duncan, but Amanda suffers the most from it.
Any Amanda deck needs to have location defense against this card.  IMHO, this
card takes a lot of the Sword out of Swordmaster.

Allen - Lighthouse tries to be a Catwalk on Steroids, since it prevents the
play of all dodges, but what it really ends up doing is discouraging attacks
altogether.  Best used in decks that're heavy on cheese or play without any
dodges of their own.  Unfortunately, decks without dodges tend to emphasize
standing defenses, and decks heavy on cheese won't be able to maximise their
opponent's inability to play dodges.  I'd avoid this one.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   7
Jeff                  N/A
Rick                    6
Hank                    7
Alan                    7
Jim                     6
Wayne                 N/A
Prodipto                4
Allen                   2

Average:                5.57

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