Immortal Wound

SITUATION - Play in your Attack Phase.  If none of your attacks this turn are
successful, discard Immortal Wound immediately.  For each Immortal Wound you
have in play, your opponent must discard a card at the end of his Draw Phase.

This seems to be one of the most misunderstood cards from Watcher's
Chronicles.  It's also often overlooked.  What this seems to mean is that
everyone I talk to either has no idea it even existed, or thinks it does
something different than how it actually works.

So game mechanic questions first.  Here's the sequence of play.  The person
using Immortal Wound plays it on their turn.  They don't have to play an
attack as well.  However, as we'll see below, it's pointless not to.

Being the only Special you can play and still attack, you do not play any
other Specials that turn.  You may play Edges such as Flashing Blade and Lunge
as normal.

Now we go to your opponent's next turn, and his Defense Phase.  He defends
against your attack(s) normally.  If none of your attacks succeed, the
Immortal Wound you just played is _immediately_ discarded.  Other Immortal
Wounds you or your opponent already _have_ in play are not affected.

If even one attack you made succeeds, the Immortal Wound you just played
remains in play.  Its effect occurs starting with your opponent's current
turn.  At the end of his Draw Phase, after he has drawn or discarded normally,
your opponent checks the number of IWs you have in play, and must discard that
many cards (of his choice).  His turn then ends.

Immortal Wound doesn't care what kind of attack(s) you played the turn you
play it.  Dirty Tricks, Pistols, Flurry Strikes, etc., all count as a
successful attack for the purposes of whether IW stays in play or not.

An attack doesn't have to do damage to be "successful."  Thus, healing and
damage-prevention cards used against the damage of your attacks will not
prevent the attack from being successful, and Immortal Wound will remain in
play.

Immortal Wound specifies "each" Immortal Wound, and thus "stacks," having a
cumulative effect.

Despite the implications of its name, Immortal Wound is a Situation and can be
removed via normal methods.  Yep, the Police are more than glad to fix that
nasty scar on Kalas' neck.

So that's what Immortal Wound does.  How do you use it effectively?

The main obstacle to playing Immortal Wound is that, as the only Special you
play during your turn, you have no other Special-based way to augment the
attacks you make.  No Seduce-Amanda/Immortal Wound attacks for you.  So what
you need are other ways to augment your attacks.

These can include Lunge and (if you are somehow making multiple attacks)
Flashing Blade, and inherently limited-defense attacks such as Riposte, Flurry
Strike, and Pistol.  Situations and Locations that you already have in play
that limit or restrict defense play (Master's Advance, Catwalk, Dead End
Alley, Factory, Battlefield) are also useful.

The other downside of Immortal Wound is that, like Kalas' Persona ability
(Persona of the Month #9), your opponent can actually _benefit_ from its
effects.  Your opponent can choose to discard useless cards at the end of his
Draw Phase.

However, if you're using Immortal Wound, you're probably using unblockable or
undodgeable attacks, so he won't want to discard those Alertness cards.
Certainly, forced discarding can help some type of decks (non-attack decks
discarding attacks, for instance).  But it can also hurt other, tighter decks.
It is pretty much useless against anyone using Nefertiri or her Quickenings,
of course - another downside.

So who should use Immortal Wound?  Those Immortals who can make multiple
attacks (only one attack needs to succeed, remember), and those who can best
hit with a single attack unaugmented by Specials.

Slan and, to a lesser degree, the Kurgan are good at making Power Blows and
then using Lunge to make them virtually undodgeable.  If you've deprived an
opponent of Ancestral Blade and Continuity, you can gain some additional
benefit if your opponent cannot or does not wish to Exert for a Power Block.
Or you can extra reason to Exert for that Power Block.  If he takes two damage
and uses Dr. Sonny to prevent, the attack is still successful, and Immortal
Wound remains in play.

Personas who can make multiple attacks without playing a Special (Amanda,
Kern, and Annie Devlin, and Yung Dol Kim and Nakano after The Gathering
release) have a better chance of getting a single attack through, using
Flashing Blade as necessary.  If two or more of those attacks are Flurry
Strikes, the chances of success with at least one attack are greatly improved.

Connor, Nakano, Amanda, Duncan, and Fasil are fairly versatile at tossing off
Hidden attacks without playing a Special (due to Duck, Jump, or Persona
ability).  A Hidden Lunge attack made in conjunction with Immortal Wound,
backed up by anti-dodge Situations and Watcher/Involvement, has a good chance
of hitting.

Xavier, Fasil, and Connor are good at making unblockable, undodgeable attacks
without playing a Special.

Although Immortal Wound to some degree mirrors Kalas' Persona ability, it is
probably not a good choice for him.  He can use Dirty Tricks with the best of
them, but otherwise lacks a good way to successfully make an attack without
playing another Special.

The main factor to consider when using Immortal Wound is whether it is worth
your time to use your one Special per turn playing Immortal Wound.  The
penalty early in the game is not particularly severe, unless you can
successfully keep in play several Immortal Wounds.  Xavier is useful here
(thanks to Forethought protection).

Later in the game, against an opponent with a lowered Ability, the cumulative
effects of Immortal Wound can be painful.  If you have five Immortal Wounds
down, and they have an Ability of six, they'll start to feel the pain.

However, typically this author is of the opinion that you are better off
putting in cards that are useful throughout the game, rather than cards that
are _only_ good in the end-game.  If you're wasting space in your deck using
end-game only cards, you'll be less likely to get to the end-game with an
Ability advantage in the first place.

So overall, Steve gives Immortal Wound a _2_.  It's a so-so card, really only
useful in the end-game when your opponent is low in ability and low on cards
that can effectively deal with multiple Immortal Wounds.  If you are using a
Situation-heavy deck _and_ have the ability to successfully make attacks, it
might be worth a look.  Still, there are probably better cards to choose from.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Immortal Wound is a card that had such promise... but wound up being
very lame.  It _should_ be a Kalas-specific card limited to three that doesn't
require a successful attack.  What will it work in?  A multi-attack deck,
maybe -- except that they're going to be busy playing better cards.  An
unblockable/undodgeable deck (Fasil springs to mind), which likewise will have
better things to do.  And even if you manage to keep the Wound in play, it's
useless against Nefertiri and her discard Q.  My recommendation: let your kids
put them in their bicycle spokes.

Hank - Immortal Wound is a mostly useless card.  It can only be played with an
attack, but it relies on the attack being successful to even stay in play, let
alone have any effect on the game.  I'd much rather be spending my time
playing cards to _help_ my attacks be successful, or other cards to further a
particular strategy.  Immortal Wound is too easily vanquished to further
anything.

Alan - A good card back-up card to have in case you make unsuccessful attacks.
Particularly complements Kalas' Persona power, as he will be able to cause his
"power" to kick in whether he makes successful attacks or not.  Not a card I
would generally include, however.

Jim - A fairly useful card for aggressive attack decks.  Vulnerable to anti-
attack strategies and not overly powerful.  A good card for Kalas and also
anyone capable of routinely making multiple attacks.

Wayne - I feel that any card which lets your opponent choose which cards to
discard from his hand is pretty much worthless.

Prodipto - Immortal Wound is a chancy card.  If you play it and can't get an
attack through, then it will have no effect whatsoever.  However, if you can
get it out and keep it out, you have an ongoing drain on your opponent's
resources.  This card should definitely _not_ be used for lock decks, since it
gives your opponent a chance to cycle cards out.  Kalas can make excellent use
of this card since it complements his ability well.  Others who can benefit
really include anyone who can make multiple attacks in a turn without having
to play a Special, since the more attacks you play, the more likely you are to
get things through.  The uncertain nature of Immortal Wound would lead me to a
certain amount of trepidation in playing with it, but if my strategy is to
keep my opponent's hand size down, I'd use it in a pinch.

Allen - This is a neat card, but very difficult to use.  It takes up your
Special slot for the turn, and then goes away if none of your attacks is
successful.  Unfortunately, most of the best ways to make a successful attack
is to play them in conjunction with a some sort of Special.  You can't do that
and use Immortal Wound.  You must keep this in mind and build your deck around
Immortal Wound.  If you can keep a Lighthouse in play and make two Slashes
with a Flashing Blade after you block an opponent's attack then you are in a
good position to use an Immortal Wound.  Similar concepts can be utilized.
Once you get it into play, Immortal Wound can be nasty to your opponent.

Bruce - Immortal Wound is difficult to play successfully. Once you have, your
opponent gets free card cycling.  It seems only useful as part of the endgame,
particularly when hunting heads. There are generally better Specials
available.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   2
Jeff                    2
Hank                    3
Alan                    6
Jim                     4
Wayne                   2
Prodipto                4
Allen                   4
Bruce                   3

Average:                3.33

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