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