Signorina Arianna

SITUATION:  While Signorina Arianna is in play, you may make an additional
Exertion each turn if that Exertion is used to search for an attack or
defense.

This card seems fairly straightforward.  No one wants to make extra Exertions.
Even if your deck is specifically designed for making Exertions, there's a
good chance you'll lose a few cards that you really rather wish you might have
kept.  Alex Johnson, Archaic Collection, and Forgery/Kalas can help you get
some of them back.  However, Exerting almost always costs you something
useful.  The question is, is what you're getting in return (Situation removal,
Power Blows, forcing your opponent to Exert as well) worth it?

But if you have to Exert, then Arianna helps to make sure you do it the way
you want.

Game mechanic observations:  exerting for _an_ attack or _a_ defense is very
specific.  Cards that let you Exert for multiple attacks or defenses (Battle
Rage, Toadies, Berserk, Bloodlust) are _not_ considered a legitimate Exertion
for the purposes of Arianna.  This is the same reason Kastagir's power, which
is similarly worded, does not work in conjunction with such cards.

Also, Arianna's effect uses the word "additional."  The second Exertion she
grants _must_ be used for an attack or defense.  The Kurgan, for instance,
can't Exert for a defense or Power Block on his defense phase and then Exert
for a Power Blow on his attack phase.  Since an attack must (currently) be
played before an Exertion is made to make it a Power Blow, he can't Exert for
a Power Blow, and then use Arianna to make a second Exertion for an attack.

The primary question about Signorina Arianna isn't how she functions, but how
the Exertion rules work.  We will touch on this further in our Kern Persona of
the Month feature in December.  However, keep one thing in mind:  you cannot
"extend" an attack or defense Exertion with other Exertions.

You can, however, keep Exerting for an attack or defense as long as you don't
play anything from the first Exertion.

So if Kern has one attack slot available to him, he may only Exert _once_.  He
may not Exert for and play attacks, then Exert again.  He can extend the first
Exertion, using card cards like Bowie Knife, Heather, Tessa, and Collect.  But
he cannot "stack" Exertions.

Kern _can_ make an additional Exertion for attacks _if_ he has additional
attack slots.  So if Kern can make two attacks, he can Exert for five attacks
for the first slot, then Exert again for more attacks for the second slot.
Anything that extends Kern's Exertions will extend _both_ of these Exertions.

Kern can also make an additional Exertion for attacks if he gets attacks in
the first Exertion, but cannot or chooses not to play them.

The same applies for defenses.  You may only Exert to play a single defense.
If the defense you need isn't in your first Exertion, you may keep Exerting
until you find what you want, or you run out of additional Exertions.  Again,
something that extends an Exertion will let you make your defense Exertion
larger.

The above is all based on input from TCG and the FAQ.  It is also a reversal
of the material in Card of the Week #19, which dealt with The Prize/Extra
Exertion.  That material will be updated for archival purposes.

So we begin to see that Arianna isn't quite as powerful as she might first
seem.  She won't let Kern get bigger single Exertions.  Rather, she is a
fairly reliable generic way to Exert twice per turn if you choose, and _if_
one of those Exertions is for an attack or defense.

In the case of defenses, she can help to assure you get what you want.  If
you're unlucky defending against that Head Shot, then you can try Exerting
again for the defense you need.

Signorina Arianna will not help Katana to Exert for a Power Blow and to remove
a Situation:  neither one of those is the type of additional Exertion she
grants.  If you want to do that, use The Prize/Extra Exertion.  Of course,
that benefits both players.

Arianna is also helpful against multi-attack sequences.  While you can only
make one Exertion for a defense against a particular attack, you can make
multiple defense Exertions against multiple attacks, one per attack.  Exert
for a defense against the second attack that you couldn't stop, and then the
fifth in a Bloodlust 15-attack sequence.  You must specify which attack you
are Exerting for a defense against, however.  Once you play a defense from an
Exertion against a particular attack, you can't go back and play a different
defense against that attack from a subsequent Exertion.

So Arianna helps out in an emergency Exertion situation.  If you plan to
deliberately Exert for attacks or defenses, or both, you should use Arianna.
This means that she is still useful tp Kern, Mr. "Attack for Many Attacks"
himself.

Why?  He has several other things he can and most likely will want to Exert
for prior to Exerting for attacks.  The secondary power of his Hogg requires
an Exertion.  He can also Exert to make one of his defenses a Power Block.
This reduces his dependency on Ancestral Blade and Stamina (he lacks the
standard Continuity), while still allowing him to Exert for multiple attacks.
He can then use Flashback to make a _third_ Exertion to make one of those
attacks a Power Blow.  And through the use of Hogg and Rage he can make three
more of his attacks Power Blows.  Mix with Flashing Blade and Carl, and you
have a formidable combination.

What you have to consider when using Kern with Signorina Arianna is whether
Flashback is a better choice.  Kern's Flashback works like Duncan's:  you may
make an additional, 3-card Exertion.  The problems are that you must first
make a normal Exertion, and your second Exertion is only three cards.

So if Kern must Exert for a defense or a Power Block, Flashback is a poor
choice.  Why?  His first Exertion will be for five cards (good for defenses,
excessive for a Power Block).  However, his second Exertion for an attack will
only be for three cards (bad).  If he was using Arianna, he could exert for a
defense or Power Block for five cards, then Exert for five rather than three
attacks.

However, if Kern were trying to Exert to use the secondary effect of Hogg, he
would rather have Flashback.  He could Exert for five attacks, then make a
mere three-card Exertion to pay for Hogg (which can be used during the defense
or attack phase, any time before damage resolution).

Flashback is a discard-to-use Situation, while Arianna remains in play no
matter how many times you use it.  But Flashback doesn't require you to use at
least one of your Exertions on an attack/defense.  So it's a toss-up which (if
not both) Kern should use.  The Prize/Extra Exertion should also be
considered.  But remember that it gives your opponent an extra Exertion as
well.

Also, Arianna is an Ally, making her vulnerable to cards like Seduce/Fitzcairn
and Watcher/Watcher Revealed.  Arianna is one of relatively few Situations,
IMO, that is worth Fitzcairn trying to Seduce.

Why?  That brings us to who else should use Signorina Arianna.  Fitzcairn has
the ability to Exert to prevent damage.  This allows him two Exertions as
well, as long as one is for an attack/defense.  If he wants to prevent damage
and Exert for an attack, he can do so.

Katana is the third Persona with an Exertion-related Persona ability.  He may
not wish to Exert for attacks very often, and should hopefully not have to
Exert for defenses.  Still, if he must, he can do so while still removing a
Situation.  Arianna also lets him bypass Psychosis to some degree under these
circumstances.

As noted above, you can _not_ use Arianna to play Battle Rage (which is not
Exerting for _an_ attack) and then Exert again for a Power Blow.  As such, she
is not of much use to those Personas with the "standard" Battle Rage:  Duncan,
Connor, Khan, Richie, and Nefertiri.  Annie, with a different version of
Battle Rage, can make all of her attacks Power Blows, and then use Arianna to
Exert for an extra attack, giving her up to the three she can play after
successfully attacked.

Duncan and Connor gain some benefit when making Power Blows, although the
Power Blow and Head Shot Events are still better since they don't lose cards
to Exertions.  In addition, Flashback/Situation is probably a better bet for
Duncan.  During his attack phase, Duncan has probably already Exerted, for a
defense, Power Block, or attack.  If he uses Flashback, the subsequent Power
Blow will only use three cards instead of the five allowed by Signorina
Arianna.

So overall, Steve gives Signorina Arianna a _5_.  She is useful in tower
decks, which typically rely on a large number of redundant cards and Exertions
anyway.  She definitely helps Kern, being in some way superior to his
Flashback.  She also helps Fitzcairn, Katana, Duncan, and Connor.  In general,
she is a good emergency card, but other precautions can be taken to avoid
those emergencies (Holy Ground, Darius'd Disappear, etc.).

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Abstain

Rick - It's a more specific version of The Prize: Exertions but is also an
Ally and a Situation.  I'd just use The Prize instead since it would be more
versatile and less prone to removal.

Hank - I don't like decks that waste a lot of cards on Exertions, and I don't
ever _plan_ on making Exertions to search for attacks or defenses, I hope to
have them in my hand.  As such, I've never found much use for Arianna.

Alan - A particularly useful card to have if you have an Ability that relies
upon making Exertions which takes the place of playing a Special (Katana,
Fitz).  You can still make your Exertion for your Ability (or if you're forced
to, due to a Nemesis) and still defend against that oncoming attack/Power
Blow.  For other Personas, it becomes useful when you have to make an Exertion
for a defense/Power Block, and still want to make an attack/Power Blow.

Jim - Signorina Arianna is a potent Ally for Kastagir, Kern, and Duncan.  She
is of limited use for other immortals, but is useful in emergency situations.
She is good to team with Avery Hoskins when using an Endurance burn deck where
you want to force lots of Exertions.  Ariann is great for the end game when
you need to Exert to avoid Head Shots or Exert to find attacks.  If you chose
to use SA, I'd suggest including Courage to pull cards from your Exertions,
especially Courage/attack to avoid losing your Special Attacks during the
Exertions.

Wayne - Abstain

Prodipto - This is a great card for Kastagir and, in fact, most attack-
oriented decks.  Kern, Duncan, and to a lesser extent Connor will benefit from
this card as well.  Otherwise, Signorina Arianna is fairly limited, and
valuable to only a narrow strategy.

Allen - A very powerful card in the right hands, or under the right
circumstances.  Defensively, this card can save your life against Katana:
Taunts, hidden attacks, and even those random, lucky Head Shot.  Offensively,
Kern and Battle Rage/Bloodlust players can avoid being hampered when forced to
power block.  A definite must-have card in these classes of decks.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   5
Jeff                  N/A
Rick                    4
Hank                    3
Alan                    6
Jim                     5
Wayne                 N/A
Prodipto                4
Allen                   7

Average:                4.86

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