Kane- by Steve Crow

At the beginning of your turn, you may look at the top card of your 
opponent's Endurance.  You may use that card this turn if you discard 
the top card of your Endurance.  You may use up to 5 Master cards.  
(errata'd text)

Overview

Now we come to the Master of Illusion.  Probably no other Persona 
ability sparked such interest prior to the release of the Persona, since 
Kane's power existed as a fairly popular Quickening card.

So exactly how does Kane's Persona ability work?  Although the wording 
is somewhat misleading, "use" essentially means "play."  Kane cannot 
"borrow" a card for any purpose other than to play it.  He can't put it 
in a Dojo, or discard it to pay for something (i.e., Master's Advance, 
Debra, Louise Marcus). or discard it and then draw via Master's 
Stratagem or the Methos Q.  Since he is playing the card, he is still 
subject to limitations on what he can play.  So he can't "borrow" a 
Special and then play it if his opponent played Renee Delaney last turn.

The first part of Kane's power is a beginning of turn "may do" action.  
He must resolve all "must dos" first before using it.

It is not clear if the second part is also a beginning of turn "may do," 
or if Kane can wait until later in the turn to choose to take the card.

If the "stealing" as well as the "peaking" can only be done at the 
beginning of the turn, and Kane takes his opponent's card but later 
decides not to use it, it is returned to his opponent's Endurance at the 
end of the turn.  In fact, it is never really considered to have left 
there.  If Kane plays a card that would affect his opponent's Endurance, 
the top card "peeked" at is still there even if Kane hasn't used it yet.

While Kane plays the card he is borrowing, he is not playing it from his 
hand.  Thus, it can bypass Fast Talk.  This will also let him play a 
card like Alertness/A&T to bypass Fast Talk and play a dodge or block as 
appropriate.


If Kane takes a Situation, Location, or Object, it is played normally 
and remains in play on his side until such time as it is removed from 
play.

Kane can play Reserved cards using his Persona ability.  Signature and 
Weapon of Choice cards require that you have the appropriate card to 
play them, no matter where they come from.  So Kane can only "borrow" 
and play his own Signature cards (if or when such exist), and WoC cards 
for the WoC(s) he is using.

If a card has requirements specified on the card, or requires something 
to occur to trigger its effect, Kane must still meet these requirements.  
For instance, Kane can't play an opponent's Unholy Alliance Part 3 if he 
does not have Parts 1 and 2 in play.

Persona-Specific Cards

Kane has the "generic" Back Away, Power Blow, and Trip/Hidden, 
and...that's about it.  He has no Signature cards, but he has Reserved 
cards in abundance.  What are they?  Let's take a look...

Divination is basically a supra-Memories.  It's obviously more flexible, 
since it allows the retention of a Special, an Edge, or even an attack 
or block.  As an Event, however, it uses up your Special per the turn.  
Still, combined with Memories it might make Kane a bit more inclined to 
Exert.

Ephemeral Wound is an obvious avoidance card.  Unlike Luther's 
Disappear, it does let Kane continue to attack.  Unlike Methos' Live 
Forever, it grants a Hidden attack.  However, unlike either of those 
cards, it only works against a single attack, and it only prevents 
damage, not other attack effects.  Ephemeral Wound provides no 
protection against an undefended Head Shot or Choke.

Fury is, quite frankly, Kane's primary attack-based card.  It is 
basically a variant of Slan's Berserk.  It has the benefit that Kane 
doesn't have to rely on the vagaries of an Exertion.  On the other hand, 
since it's not likely that Kane will have ten Basic Attacks in his hand 
at any given time, he may _want_ to Exert and be able to play multiple 
attacks from that Exertion, something that Berserk would permit but Fury 
does not.

Open Mind is perhaps Kane's strongest card.  It can help him attack.  
Certainly, the fact that it deprives an opponent of all Persona-specific 
cards, including dodges and Master's Blocks, can make it very useful in 
combat.  However, it can momentarily cripple practically any opponent, 
whether they lose Seduces, Forethoughts, Master's Attacks, Fast Talks, 
whatever.  Nefertiri and a Secret Identity-protected Methos may ignore 
it, of course.

Shapeshift is certainly an easy way to borrow something from an opponent 
if Kane missed drawing it from the top of their Endurance and it is a 
Situation in play.  It almost certainly requires that Kane use either 
useless Situations, or Situations that affect both players equally once 
in play (Monkey, Cat & Mouse, Greenfield Hobby, Avery Hoskins, Louise 
Marcus).  Taking a Situation via Shapeshift does not remove it from 
play, so if you steal a Security Guarded Situation, you get the Security 
Guard as well!  If you take Dojo or Duende, you get the card underneath 
them as well.

Taunt seems almost as useless as Luther's version.  Since it's an Event, 
it requires that Kane find a way to make multiple attacks without 
playing a Special.  Rapier, Berkeley Game Distributors, Master's Race, 
and The Prize/Extra Attack can all prove useful.

The last Kane Reserved card is Teleport.  Basically this helps the 
Master of Illusion maintain Location control.  An opponent can Focus 
past it to play a Location, of course,

Generic Cards

As noted above, if Kane pursues a multi-attack strategy, Berkeley, 
Master's Race, and The Prize/Extra Attack can give him some decent 
firepower.  Parrying Blade/Object also lets him use those extra attacks 
as blocks if the need arises.

Also as mentioned above, Situations such as Greenfield Hobby are useful 
to Kane since they make handy Shapeshift fodder for him.  Whether he 
owns it or his opponent does, it provides Kane with exactly the same 
benefit.

For reasons we'll touch upon below, Chessex and The Gathering/Promo can 
prove useful for a particular Kane strategy.

Since Kane is vulnerable to Ranged Attacks, and Ephemeral Wound is 
rarely worth wasting on a mere Pistol, Rules of the Game/Ranged Attack 
might prove useful to you.  Most people using Ranged Attacks will 
probably do 2+ damage to you (thanks to the Kurgan Q), but at least you 
can share some of your pain with them.

Kane can borrow many "toolbox" cards from his opponent.  However, 
there's no guarantee he'll draw them at all, or at the moment he needs 
them.  Alertness, Police/Remove Sit, Focus, Concentration, 
Watcher/Treatment, etc., are all cards that should be included in his 
decks.

Location Cards

Kane is vague enough in specific strengths that there are not many 
Locations that give him a clear overall advantage.  There are two.  and 
they both play to his weaknesses.  The first is Catwalk: if you can't 
dodge very well, why should your opponent get to?  The second is new as 
of 4H: Submarine Base.  Kane, of course, has no Signature cards as of 
this time.

Laundry Room can prove useful in conjunction with Open Mind, since the 
opponent then not only has no dodges in hand, but can't play a block 
from their hand either if they failed an attack.

If Kane pursues a multi-attack strategy, Dueling Grounds can give him an 
extra attack, while Ring of Fire can prevent an opponent from fleeing 
his righteous Fury.

Some Locations, like Desert, are just silly for Kane to use.  Take a 
look at his opponent's top card, and if you don't take it, watch it go 
to the discard pile.  Whoo.

Other Locations are dependent on non-Kane specific strategies (Parking 
Garage), or are of general usefulness depending on your personal 
circumstances (Spiritual Sanctuary).

Weapons of Choice

Broad Bladed Spear is a obvious choice for Kane, since he is a Back 
Away-only Persona.  As mentioned above, use Catwalk as your Location of 
choice.  Toss in some Pistols, and Advance Warning to recycle those Back 
Aways as necessary.

Rapier can provide a handy extra attack.  However, it reduces the damage 
of Basic Attacks by one, making Fury even more useless.  Still, used in 
conjunction with Taunt, and emphasizing non-Basic Attacks, it can be 
dangerous.  A Rapier/Flurry Strike/Slice/Flashing Blade deck accompanied 
by Taunt, perhaps using Dueling Ground or the Prize/Extra Attack, and 
with an Open Mind or two, could quickly run an opponent out of defenses.

Parrying Blade can buy Kane some time because of its attack restriction 
on an opponent.  Open Mind lets Kane take further advantage of Duel 
Attack, while using Ephemeral Wound against the unblockable 
counter-attack as necessary.

Katana, and its ability to multi-attack Slashes, can be potentially 
dangerous particularly if Kane uses Open Mind.  Deprive them of their 
dodges, keep them from blocking several of your Slashes.

If Kane can perform a successful Attack Weapon using the War Axe, Open 
Mind lets him follow up by depriving an opponent of dodges.

The Gladius, Claymore, and Saber don't offer Kane any particular combat 
strategies that play to his strengths.

How to Win

As you may have noticed from above, Open Mind is a vital part of most 
Kane strategies.  Using a pre-game Darius to add a third one is almost 
always worth the pre-game slot.

More importantly, you have to realize that if you want to win with Kane, 
you're going to have to use his Persona-specific cards, and whatever 
other cards you can combine with them.  You don't win games based on 
Kane's Persona ability.  You could spend an entire game peeking at 
unusable cards on the top of your opponent's Endurance.

His Persona ability is also a double-edged sword: you may be throwing 
away valuable cards to take your opponent's top cards.

The only way you _might_ win using Kane's Persona ability primarily is 
simply to concentrate on defenses and Specials, and hope to draw the 
attacks you need from your opponent.

Don't forget, though, that some cards you can play even if they're not 
useful.  Why?  Because then they're discarded and your opponent doesn't 
get them.  Watcher/Treatment comes to mind...

Basically, consider his Persona ability as a pleasant surprise and 
proceed on from there.

A number of Open Mind-based strategies were detailed above.  Other 
strategies include playing it with Pistols, a Darius'd Shooting Blade, 
the "borrow other Masters" Quickening plus some Master's Attacks, etc.  
Basically, Open Mind is a reliable non-backfiring version of Kiss Your 
Butts Goodbye.

While I typically try to avoid discussing Quickenings when analyzing the 
strengths and weaknesses of a Persona, the "borrow Masters" Quickening 
is a recommended one for Kane given his total lack of Master cards.  The 
Kurgan's Master's Head Shot can also prove useful to him, either on its 
own or played in conjunction with Open Mind.

A different strategy, albeit one that can be tricky to implement 
successfully, is to use Shapeshift to switch a Chessex over to your 
opponent.  This deprives them of their Attack Phase.  From there, you 
can either play The Gathering/Promo to keep them from playing a Special 
in their Defense Phase, or put out Slaughterhouse so since they can't 
attack, they can't play Specials.  Or play both.

This strategy relies on your opponent's lack of Focus/This Turn and/or 
Recon, however.  Twist of Fate might give you an edge (while taking away 
theirs :) ) in this regard.  It also requires that you use Focus/TT as a 
precaution.  Still, when this strategy does work, it can be devastating.

Shapeshift is nice if you can pull it off.  One other purpose it has is 
that one way to take away an opponent's means of holding on to his 
Persona-specific cards if you play Open Mind:  Dojo.  If he tries to 
store them in there until he's ready to use them, Shapeshift it away 
from him and use the cards yourself.

Other than those, there's not a lot of strategies for Kane to pursue 
based on his other cards.  Divination is nice for Power Blowing...but 
Memories would probably be a better choice, and doesn't cost you the 
play of a Special.

Fury requires stuff like Dojo and Master's Endurance to really pull off 
successfully and get those 10 Basic Attacks.

Ephemeral Wound is a good way to avoid most attacks, and both it and 
Trip give Kane Hidden attack capability.  But a game is rarely won on 
Hidden attacks except in devastating numbers.

Teleport will let Kane protect his Location from removal by an opponent 
playing another Location.  However, with a Restriction of two, you 
really need both Teleports down to thwart an opponent's Foci.

How to Defeat

There probably isn't any real specific strategy you _need_ to pursue to 
defeat Kane.  Whatever you're using will probably be good enough.

His Persona ability can be annoying, but you can't build a deck in 
anticipation of running up against him.  What are you going to do: build 
a lousy deck so he only gets lousy cards from you?  I didn't think so.

The best precaution against running up Kane is what you would put in 
your deck anyway if you anticipated running up against someone playing a 
similar version of your deck.  If you're playing Amanda and are using 
Seduces, your deck should be just as prepared to play another Amanda 
deck using Seduce as it is a Kane deck borrowing Seduces from you.

Open Mind is his most dangerous weapon.  Selective Memory might actually 
be a useful tool if that's your concern.  As noted above, Dojo isn't a 
safe place to store them away, since Kane can Shapeshift it away from 
you.

Of course, you can use Kane's Nemesis, Disillusioned, if you're really 
worried.  Not only does it negate his power, but penalizes him further 
as well.

Typically, however, a solid deck shouldn't have much trouble beating 
Kane as is.

Overall

Overall, Steve gives Kane a _3_. His Persona ability is actually more 
useful as a Quickening than as the only power of a Persona.  His Persona 
ability involves very little skill to use; using the card he gets is one 
thing, but counting on his power to win a game is not recommended.

That leaves his card selection, which is a mixed batch at best.  There 
are certainly some good cards in there, and Open Mind and Shapeshift can 
be downright annoying.  However, their Restriction numbers mean that you 
won't have to worry about them a lot.

Basically, Kane is an "annoyance" Persona.  He has a lot of tactics, but 
not much in the way of strategy.  Other then a foreshortened "borrowing" 
theme (his Persona ability plus Shapeshift), there is really no unifying 
concept to this Persona.  Hopefully he'll pick up some strengths in the 
next Movie expansion.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Hank - A truly annoying Persona ability (provided you play with his 
ability and not Yung Dol Kim's ), coupled with some useful cards such 
as Open Mind and Ephemeral Wound.  I wasn't a big fan of the character 
on film, and I haven't played the Persona all that often in the game... 
he's annoying but not a powerhouse.  Still, I've seen people build good 
decks with him, so he's not hopeless by any stretch.

Jeff - What a forgettable persona.  A pity, since he could have been 
really cool, but he lacks cards with a cohesive focus and is really 
unable to generate any offense of his own, despite a nifty Persona 
ability.  Had Divination been an Edge, it might be cool; as an Event, it 
is lame.  Ephemeral Wound is perhaps somewhat useful, but only 
preventing damage from one attack is already obsolete in the age of 
multi-attack.  Fury is likewise obsolete.  Open Mind is Kane's trump 
card, but he lacks any real offense unique to him to follow up on it. 
Shapeshift has been eclipsed in power by Fitz's Seduce with Sources 
Revealed -- unless you want to be evil and give your opponent a Chessex 
or something.  Taunt rivals Luther's for sheer ineffectiveness, while 
Teleport is great... except no Location seems terribly well-suited to 
Kane.  In all, if his cards were up to the level of his ability, he'd be 
spectacular; as he is, he's a waste of time.

Prodipto - Kane is an incredibly annoying Persona to play against.  Not 
only can he look at your next card every turn but, if it's good, he can 
use it against you.  The power aside, Kane's cards are well worth 
mentioning.  Fury isn't particularly exciting, just a 
Berserk/Bloodlust/Battle Rage type card that doesn't start with B.  
However, some of his other cards are very potent. Open Mind can get all 
his opponent's Persona-specific cards out of their hand.  The most 
salient point here is that it will get rid of all your opponent's 
Dodges.  Being able to counter a Location with Teleport is far better 
than being able to get rid of one in already in play.  Shapeshift is 
another very useful card.  With it, he can take a useless Situation of 
his own and trade it for one of your own.  Ephemeral Wound not only 
avoids all damage, but gives you a Hidden attack as well.  Kane is 
particularly potent with Claymore or a two-weapon WoC combo including 
Parrying Blade.  Overall, there are a lot of strategies Kane can use.  
The trick is to find the right one.

Allen - Kane's most effective ability seems to be annoying  his 
opponent.  His power itself is a mixed bag.  He can grab great things 
from your deck, or he may grab lots of stuff that he really can't use.  
In either case, he can normally deprive you of it.  His cards add to his 
annoyance.  Open Mind is a killer card, and fantastic dodge deprivation.  
Ephemeral Wound makes great escapes and boosts your offense.  Combined 
with Trip, Kane has an annoying number of hidden attacks.  Fury is 
Kane's real power card.  With L&M and Patience, Kane can Fury out an 
impressive number of attacks.  Divination and Shapeshift are less 
useful.  There's an Edge, or even a Darius+Ally, (editor's note: 
apparently Ceirdwyn's, but she needs three Allies to keep most stuff, 
and she still can't hold on to Specials) that will already let you keep 
anything you want from an Exertion without your Special play.  Better to 
decide what you can't afford to lose and use the proper tool. I face way 
too many Situation-less decks to want to make Shapeshift a regular 
inclusion.  I'm never fond of randomly-effective cards or powers, so 
Kane has never really appealed to me.  Kane decks that I've used or seen 
also seem either to destroy their opponent quickly, or fall quickly.  
Down-to-the-wire games and consistent tactics are more my style.  Still, 
I've seen Kane decks, especially using Fury, that are nothing to sneeze 
at.  I'd have to rate Kane in the upper third of Immortals.  Better than 
the average, but not a true contender.

Bruce - Kane is quite fun to play, but I find myself more likely to use 
the Q than the Persona despite the broad ranged of impressively powered 
cards at his disposal and the versatility that affords. Divination is 
not worth the Special slot required for its use, Ephemeral Wound doesn't 
bring Kane to the level of the avoidance monster Personas, Fury is weak 
in today's mega-multi-attack environment, there are better options than 
Teleport, and Shapeshift works best in gimmick decks.  This leaves Open 
Mind as Kane's big hitter. I am not going to claim that Kane is a second 
tier or lower Persona because he is not. I like his cards and Persona 
ability. He would not have received such a good rating if I thought he 
did not stack up. But I find myself wondering why I feel that way when I 
would not take him into battle for the fights that really count.

Stealth Dave - Abstain

Jonathan - Before Kane premiered in the Gathering, many thought he would 
be a powerhouse. This presupposition was based primarily on the fact 
that scads of players were using the Kane Q at the time. I'm the first 
to admit that Kane has a sweet ability, but it's tough to count on. 
Checking out your opponent's top card, and maybe using it is fun, but 
not always useful. In fact, there are many more cards present in the 
game today that Kane can't use. He suffers from a lack of focus in his 
Persona power versus his cards. Ephemeral Wound is a nice sealed deck 
card, to be sure, but it doesn't get the job done in the tournament 
environment. Fury is okay, but doesn't allow you the nice Flurry Strike 
capability of normal Battle Rages. Shapeshift is a fun card, but the 
novelty wears off if your opponent isn't playing with any decent 
Situations. Taunt has improved of late with WoCs that allow multiple 
attacks more easily. Divination is also fun, but so few players like to 
Exert. Teleport helps Kane keep Location control. Finally, Open Mind, 
his strongest card, is often Dariused into other decks, but it does 
provide him a slight edge. Nefertiri is the Queen of forced discard, 
however. So, overall, I think Kane is one of the top Immortals in terms 
of fun. He may not be a powerhouse, but I ve seen a number of clever 
Kane decks (a few of which even won tournaments). If you're looking for 
a "different" Immortal to play, try Kane. His inherent ability can 
misdirect your opponent (just don‘t let it misdirect you) and his 
trickery may keep your opponent guessing.

John - Kane's ability is often misused by those without a lot of 
experience. The secret is this: don't play every good card on the 
opponent's deck just because you can.  Use only the cards that you don't 
want the opponent to have, or that you really need to use.  When playing 
a
non-attack Kane deck, using up the opponent's defenses doesn't make a 
lot of sense. Kane's cards are not that impressive, either.  Notably, he 
has no dodge card to avoid ranged attacks.  Most of Kane's Immortal 
Specific cards are "gimmick" cards with limited usefulness.  For 
example, Ephemeral Wound only avoids one attack (not all attacks) and 
Divination should be an Edge card.  Open Mind is the one 
Immortal-Specific card that Kane has that is powerful. With the latest 
version of the Sudden Death rules, Kane may become more of a contender.  
His ability gives him a large advantage in sudden death when neither 
player can draw cards.

Ratings Overall:

Steve	        3
Hank	        6
Jeff	        3
Prodipto	7
Allen	        6
Bruce	        8
Sdave	      N/A
Jonathan	6
John	        6.5

Average:	5.69

Highlander is a protected trademark of Gaumont Television, used under 
license by Thunder Castle Games.  The card text is copyright 1998 by 
Thunder Castle Games.  All rights reserved.