Alex Johnson

EVENT - Play Alex Johnson to retrieve an Object from your discard pile and put
it back into play.

Alex Johnson is one of a number of cards that is going to get stronger as
Highlander continues to expand.  Why?  Because as we get more cards, we'll get
more Objects, both generic and Persona-specific.

The game originally started with only two Objects:  Quality Blade and Extra
Weapon.  The Movie Edition added a new version of Quality Blade, as well as
Ancient Blade, Parrying Blade, Improvised Weapon, and Khan's Armor.  Watcher's
Chronicles adds Watcher's Chronicle, Watcher Database, and Kern's Bowie Knife
and Hogg.  Also added along the way are various versions of The Prize, and
Forged Steel.

Game mechanic questions first.  Although the wording suggests otherwise
("...put _back_ into play."), an Object need _not_ have already been _in_ play
for you to use Alex Johnson on it.

Alex Johnson is an Ally.

You cannot play Darius with Alex Johnson to recover a Persona-specific Object
that doesn't belong to your Persona.

Any Object that you "recover" via Alex Johnson is treated exactly as if you
just played it.  It must be legally playable:  you can't use Alex Johnson to
recover an Ancient Blade unless you have a Quality Blade in play.  If the
Object is not a discard-to-use card (such as Extra Weapon), you may take
advantage of it immediately.  Thus, you can play Alex Johnson, recover an
Ancestral Blade, then block a Power Blow without an Exertion.

My current understanding is that you can play Alex Johnson even if you do
_not_ have any Objects in your discard pile.  Such an occurrence could happen
accidentally, and therefore it seems to be allowed deliberately.

So that's how Alex Johnson works.  What do you do with it?  Alex's use is
pretty straightforward.  It belongs with the (currently illegal) Conjure and
Archaic Collection, as cards that let you "recycle" Objects and/or put them
into play more quickly.

While Conjure lets you grab something from your Endurance, Alex Johnson lets
you go through your discard pile.  If you mix AJ with Conjure, you can grab
Objects from practically anywhere you want.

Personally, I consider Alex a superior card to Archaic Collection.  Her
strength is that she lets you put the Object immediately into play.  Archaic
Collection affects more Objects (as many as you want), but they go into your
Endurance.  This means you have to draw them, and spend another turn's play a
Special to get them into play.

The advantage of Alex Johnson over Conjure is that you will probably tend to
get more cards in your discard pile.  This is particularly true if you and/or
your opponent are using forced Exertion or Endurance-burning strategies.

This, plus a look at who has Persona-specific Objects, gives us an idea of
which Personas should use Alex Johnson.

Khan is the big winner with Alex Johnson.  Not only does he have three
important Objects to keep in play, but several of his strategies favor forced
Exerting and/or Endurance burn.  If he uses Desert or Avery Hoskins, more
cards go into his discard pile.  This can actually _increase_ his chances of
getting his Armor into play, if he has loaded up with six Alex Johnsons.  If
you've got an Alex Johnson or two in your hand, Khan can Exert past five cards
a turn while only drawing two to four.

Kern has Hogg - a powerful item.  Like Khan, he may very easily Exert past it
while going for multiple attacks.  Hogg is also a likely target for Misfortune
or Thief.  AJ lets him get a lost Hogg back, effectively raising the
Restriction number on this item.  Of course, this also means an opponent can
remove it from play again and inflict another one Ability loss...

To a slightly lesser degree, Richie gains the same benefits.  Hogg is almost
always his Kern-specific card of choice.

As for the other Personas...there is not a strong need for them to have many
of the remaining Objects.  Anyone can benefit from a Quality Blade, Ancient
Blade, or Extra Weapon.

Since you can only have one of The Prize in play, you may be better off using
one of your particular The Prize and multiple Alex Johnsons.  You can always
play AJ, but you can't always play those second and third The Prizes.

A Parrying Blade (CotW #11) is Restricted to two, so Alex Johnson allows you
to raise that number as well.  While a Parrying Blade can be useful to almost
anyone under the right circumstances, the Personas who will want to use it the
most are those who make multiple attacks.  After all, the more attacks you
use, the more you'll have in your hand to block.

Personas here include practically anyone who uses Extra Shot or Combination.
However, Kern and Annie Devlin typically have the most consistent need for
Parrying Blade.  Amanda also tends to have a lot of attacks, but particularly
with the addition of Acrobat in Watcher's Chronicles, she'll want to dodge
more than block.

That leaves us with Ancestral Blade, which has taken a beating with the recent
Restriction to one.  The advent of Master Swordsman (CotW #35) has also
provided an easy emergency means for anyone to make a Power Block against,
say, a Lunge/Power Blow.  Still, those Personas who lack Continuity/Power
Block (currently Kalas, Kern, Annie, Xavier, Katana, and Fitzcairn) may wish
to use Alex to recycle that Ancestral Blade back into play.  Anybody else who
wants to have the reliability of Ancestral Blade for Power Blocks is well-
advised to add Alex Johnson as well.

And of course, if you plan on using many different Objects, Alex Johnson is a
good addition regardless.  Even the Kurgan or Kalas can be a Objectmaster
under the right circumstances.

So overall, Steve gives Alex Johnson a _6_.  It's a nice card, and as more
Objects are added to the game, more and more powerful.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Alex Johnson is a card that doesn't see much play currently, but should
see an increase as more and more powerful objects (and object-using Personas)
get into the game.  They got rid of your Hogg?  Your Ancestral Blade?  Poof:
Alex gets them back for you.  Personally, I prefer Archaic Collection,
however.  (NOTE: Am I the only one who saw THE GAME and thought of this card?

Rick - Abstain

Hank - More useful now with the limit of 1 on Ancestral Blade, I've used this
card in Object-heavy decks before (Khan decks, mainly).  Kern fans will like

Alan - A must-have card for _any_ deck that relies heavily on Objects.  Khan,
Richie, and Kern tend to get the best use out of this card.

Jim - A wonderful card for anyone who uses Objects heavily.  Kern and Khan are
the primary benefactors of Alex Johnson, but anyone using lots of Objects will
benefit from using Alex Johnson.

Wayne - This card is very useful in healing decks, Richie decks (Hogg), and
Kern decks (same reason).  If your strategy is built around an Object, this
card is the equivalent of having an extra card of that Object in your deck.  I
like the versatility since you get to pick the Object you want.

Prodipto - This is a particularly good card for Kern and Khan, but really
great for anyone with an Object-heavy deck.  With Ancestral Blade restricted
to 1, it's also a terrific way to get that Ancestral Blade in play if it was
removed, or you exerted past it.

Allen - A must-have for any Object-heavy deck.  It lets you get exactly the
card you want, and doesn't even force you to let those Objects waste time in
your hand.  With the new restriction of Ancestal Blade, and the upcoming Kern
and Corda and Reno, you should begin to see a lot more of Alex.  I think she
proves very nasty with Watcher Database.  To maximize her benefit, play her on
turns _after_ your opponent has done something that you need an Object for
(i.e. made a Power Blow.).

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   6
Jeff                    5
Rick                  N/A
Hank                    7
Alan                    7
Jim                     7
Wayne                   7
Prodipto                7
Allen                   9

Average:                6.88