Break Weapon

EVENT - Play in conjunction with an attack that is considered a Power Blow.
If your opponent blocks this attack, there is a 1 in 6 chance his weapon
breaks.  He is Disarmed and does not roll to regain his weapon each turn.
(Restricted to 3)

This card seems at first glance almost useless.  Your opponent can see it
coming, and they can dodge or play Holy Ground.  It's placement as a Rare in
the Movie Edition is somewhat puzzling.  It is consistent with other ME
methods to break a weapon such as Honed Weapon and Parking Garage.

However, with the release of Watcher's Chronicles, Break Weapon deserves a
second look.

Game-mechanics questions first.  The die roll for breakage is made on your
opponent's turn.  Therefore, cards you play on your turn (Iron Will, Practice
Practice), to modify a die roll made on your turn, are useless.

It makes no difference whether your opponent Power Blocks or not.  If she
blocks but doesn't Power Block your attack, she takes damage (typically two
points) before her weapon has a chance of breaking.  If she Power Blocks, she
takes no damage but her weapon still may break.

So that's how Break Weapon works.  What can you do with it?

The first thing to look at the ways that you can break a weapon.  The most
common, thanks to the widespread distribution of certain promos, is Forged
Steel.  A normal Disarm, if you have a Forged Steel in play, is a far more
reliable way to snap an opponent's sword.  An opponent can't dodge or play
Holy Ground against your Disarm Event.

Honed Weapon, which requires that your opponent _make_ a Power Blow, is far
more of a crap shoot than Break Weapon ever has been.

Parking Garage's effect is very close to that of a broken weapon.  The only
substantial difference is that while in the Parking Garage, if you are
disarmed normally, you can still play Recover Weapon (yeah, right :) ).  If
you have a broken weapon, you can't.  But that's rarely an issue.

Hidden Shrine (or Collapse if you have Forged Steel out) requires you have the
appropriate rare Location out, and that you probably play some of the cards
mentioned for Disarm so you don't break your own weapon.

And...that's it.  Currently, these are the only four other ways to "break" a
weapon (i.e., make it unrecoverable by a die roll).  There are a few other odd
circumstances where it might happen (Master's Disarm/Nakano and Connor if you
break your own weapon), but you're not going to see that happen very often.

Of these four methods, Disarm/Forged Steel is undeniably the most effective.
But...you have to get that Forged Steel down and keep it down.  Thanks to
Hogg, the use of Misfortune has become a _lot_ more prevalent.  If you don't
use Misfortune, you can't take Kern's head.  And if you use Thief, you aren't
going to be helping your own cause much if you want to use Objects.

Granted, if you're bound and determined to keep that Forged Steel out (due
primarily to Alex Johnson, see CotW #49), you can do it despite its
restriction number of one.  Still, you're going to have to sit around waiting
for those Iron Wills and Circular Parries or Practice Practices.  And you'll
want a Misfortune or two yourself if your opponent uses Extra Weapon.  That's
a lot of cards when you add it all up.  Dojo helps here, saving the necessary
cards until the time is right.  Of course, you have to spend more turns' worth
of Special play to get those Dojos down and store stuff.

Honed Weapon is a joke - don't even bother.

Parking Garage isn't bad, and we'll be reviewing that in a few issues (CotW
#53).  Still, you've got to play it and keep it down, then play several of the
cards (Disarm, Iron Will, Circular Parry, Practice Practice, Dojo) mentioned
above.

Hidden Shrine and Collapse/Forged Steel have a tendency to backfire on you,
and require a fair amount of set-up.  Hidden Shrine, like Break Weapon,
requires that your opponent roll on his turn, making him immune to Iron Will
and Practice Practice.

That leaves us with Break Weapon.  Compared to the items mentioned above, BW
is simplicity itself.  That may be bad:  all of our reviewers comment on your
inability to modify your opponent's die roll.  But it can be good.  By the
time you dump all the stuff to make Disarm/Forged Steel work 60-70%+ of the
time and replace with Break Weapon stuff, you can reduce your deck size
considerably.

As always, an Event can't be ignored or removed from play.  Your opponent can
Misfortune that Forged Steel, or move the battle from the Parking Garage or
Ruins to the Catwalk.  But once you play Break Weapon, there's absolutely
nothing your opponent can do to stop its effect.

There is one card that helps with Break Weapon:  Cursed.  This often-
overlooked card helps to "modify" your opponent's die roll by forcing them to
roll over.

So if you decide to use Break Weapon, add Cursed to your deck.  Your next step
is making that Power Blow.

Due to Watcher's Chronicles there's a new "cheap" way to make Power Blows
without playing a Special:  Master Swordsman (CotW #35).  However, Slan and to
a lesser degree the Kurgan can make "cheap" Power Blows as well.

Master Swordsman also has the advantage that once you _have_ broken their
weapon, you can proceed to make more "cheap" Power Blows once you've taken
care of their dodging and Holy Ground capability.

How do you do that?  The old "card in play" methods are still the best:  Carl,
Catwalk, and Master's Advance.  Lunge (CotW #36) can't be used with a Master
Swordsman/Power Blow (it's not a basic attack).  However, if you're Slan,
making basic attacks a Power Blow won't be much of a problem.  Play Lunge and
you've still got a slot available to play Break Weapon.

In fact, Lunge is the new key to using Break Weapon.  Make a Power Blow out of
a basic attack, play Break Weapon, and Lunge it.  They _can't_ dodge, unless
they want to rely on the vagaries of an Exertion.  Take out their Holy Ground
capability via Carl, and you're set.  They block, you force rerolls with
Cursed as necessary until their weapon snaps.  If you're lucky, you'll gain
the additional bonus that they'll have to Exert for a Power Block (losing five
cards) or take the two damage.

A weakness with this strategy of using Cursed is that if they're using Iron
Will or Practice Practice themselves, you're not going to force them to roll
that 1.

Finally, when analyzing Break Weapon or any other weapon-breaking strategy, we
have to look at what your opponent can do to rearm.  Misfortune will help you
under other circumstances (Kern's Hogg) as well as dealing with Extra Weapon.
The real threat is Watcher/Fair Fight, which can only be countered by a TCG.
Fortunately, the new Watcher's Oath card (CotW #46) can counter this Watcher.

So which Personas should use Break Weapon?  The ones who make most effective
use of the cards mentioned above.

Slan can make "cheap" Power Blows to his heart's content, use Lunge to enhance
them, and still be playing one Special per turn, whether it be Break Weapon
itself, or a Carl to stop those Holy Grounds for the turns after he has
successfully used Break Weapon.

Kalas can slap down some anti-dodge Situations and Locations (Catwalk works
best for him and Slan, of course), then Master Swordsman/Break Weapon.  After
that, he can Trip/Master Swordsman against his disarmed opponent and Power
Blow away, or make an Exertion Power Blow on a basic attack and play Lunge.
If his opponent tries to escape to Holy Ground, unleash the standard Kalas
Stalk/Head Shot combo and finish the game.

The Kurgan and Fitzcairn are also potential Break Weapon users because of
their ability to make "cheap" Power Blows and anti-dodge Trip against a
disarmed opponent, respectively.  Fitzcairn can Master Swordsman/Break Weapon
just as well as Kalas.  However, both of these Personas need to rely on Carl
for anti-Holy Ground usage, rather than Stalk.

Who else should use Break Weapon?  Currently, not a lot of other Personas.  If
you're pursuing a heavy-duty Power Blow strategy anyway, Break Weapon _might_
make a good addition to your deck.  Personas like this are typically Connor
and Duncan.  Kern can also do well:  he can Exert for multiple attacks, play
Flashing Blade, then make one of the attacks a Power Blow via Hogg and use it
with Break Weapon.

In sealed deck, Break Weapon will, if nothing else, give you something to do
with those common Cursed cards.  Your opponent has far fewer of the "escapes"
mentioned above:  cards like Extra Weapon or Holy Ground are not going to be
seen as often either.  A broken weapon in sealed deck is even more of a "game
over" indicator.

So overall, Steve gives Break Weapon a _2_.  There are a few powerful combos.
The main problem with Break Weapon is still its "accuracy":  Cursed isn't a
good bet even if you have six.  However, it (and Lunge) are the only real way
to make Break Weapon useful.  An opponent with a broken weapon is typically a
dead opponent.  It's well worth your time, and less prone to negation, if you
can set a weapon break up.  BW's placement as a rare would be well-deserved
since other weapon-breaking cards are also Rares . . . except for Forged
Steel.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Might have some use... except that Disarm + Forged Steel/Parking Garage
is actually easier to do successfully.  Why?  Because you can't use Practice
Practice or Iron Will on this (it's rolled on your opponent's turn).  Might
see a little use with Lunge, but I personally would have better cards to play
with.  Does tend to be a bit of a heart-stopper in sealed deck, though.

Rick - Abstain

Hank - Useful for Slan disarm decks.  I've used it before, but there are other
cards (Forged Steel, Parking Garage) which stay in play and work well with
Disarm strategies.

Alan - A _much_ more useful card with the availability of Lunge and
Lighthouse, both of which do a good job of restricting the play of dodges
(Editor's note:  if your opponent is Disarmed, they can't attack and therefore
don't trigger the effects of Lighthouse against themselves.  This only works
if they attack you, fail, you Break Weapon/Power Blow, and they can't "escape"
the Lighthouse on their turn).  Slan and Kurgan find this card's best use.
Unfortunately, there is a certain powerful promo that does a better job...

Jim - A good card for Disarm decks.  Unfortunately the die roll is made on
your opponent's turn so Iron Will doesn't help.

Wayne - I'm not a big fan of this cards only because you have to wait for your
opponent to not only attack - but your attack also has to be a Power Blow.  I
would simply play Disarm if I was going to try and disarm somebody.

Prodipto - This is useful in a Disarm deck, particularly if you have anti-
dodge cards or effects (such as Master's Advance, or an attack that restricts
dodging).  The only problem is that the 1 in 6 chance isn't very high, and
can't be modified, since it's your opponent who causes the die roll, and
therefore Iron Will or Practice, Practice is of no use.

Allen - A question I've often heard from beginners is "how can I effectively
use Break Weapon?"  I've never been able to come up with an adequate response.
Your opponent can always see it coming, and you can't improve your die-roll.
Basically, Break Weapon is a very low odds crap-shoot.  You might get lucky,
but it's not worth counting on.  I'd skip this one.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   2
Jeff                    3
Rick                  N/A
Hank                    6
Alan                    5
Jim                     5
Wayne                   3
Prodipto                4
Allen                   1

Average:                3.63

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