Sheathe Weapon

EDGE
Play in conjunction with Discard Weapon.  Discard Weapon remains in play as an
Object.  You are still considered disarmed, but you may remove Discard Weapon
from play at any time to regain your weapon.  (Restricted to 5)

Well, this is interesting.  I'll have to admit, this is not a Gathering card I
playtested.  As such, to some degree this is my first in-depth look at the
card.

But game mechanics questions first.  Here's the most important thing.  FAQ
entry 11.7, at the web page and as of this writing, states that you cannot
play Master's Disarm/Connor-Nakano if you have a weapon in play.  The entry
mentions Improvised Weapon and Extra Weapon.  A "sheathed" Discard Weapon
would also meet this criteria.  So you couldn't play Master's Disarm if you
had a sheathed Discard Weapon.  Literally and conceptually, you _do_ have a
weapon.

I have been informed by TCG that this ruling will be reversed.  We are
reviewing Sheathe Weapon under the assumption that it is.  Otherwise, Sheathe
Weapon would probably warrant a 1 (if not a 0) rating by all concerned, as you
could not play Master's Disarm if you had a sheathed weapon.

So, you play Discard Weapon.  You play Sheathe Weapon.  The first is an Event,
the second is an Edge.  Neither is an Object, although the combination becomes
an Object when it hits this table.  Does this make a difference?  Well, yes,
as we'll see in a bit.

Once a sheathed Discard Weapon is on the table as an Object, it is no longer
an Event and is immune to stuff that affects Events.

As far as one can tell, the Sheathe Weapon does _not_ remain in play.  The
Discard Weapon card remains on the table to signify you have a sheathed weapon
and are disarmed.  The Sheathe Weapon Edge is "swept" normally.

If Sheathe Weapon is countered as it is played (TCG rips, Rachel Ellenstein),
the Discard Weapon is still successful.  If Discard Weapon is countered (TCG
rip, Forethought, Lt. John Stenn), the Sheathe Weapon has no effect.

As is always the case, there is no "timing" issue.  If your opponent plays
Misfortune or Thief, you cannot then choose to immediately discard Discard
Weapon to rearm.  You can discard a "sheathed" Discard Weapon on your
opponent's turn.

Why is this card restricted to five?  No idea.

Whoosh.  Well, that's more complicated than many cards.  Is all this
complication worth the effort?

As far as I can tell, there is only one reason to use Sheathe Weapon.  It's
the same reason you would use Discard Weapon:  to deliberately disarm
yourself.  Sheathe Weapon just gives you an option to recover your weapon, and
to do so faster.

Why would you want to disarm yourself?  Well, we've never covered Discard
Weapon in a Card of the Week feature, so now's a good time to take a look.

The most obvious strategy is using Master's Disarm/Connor or Nakano.  This
card requires that you be disarmed to use it.

Now, this card is okay as a defensive measure against a disarm-type opponent.
However, unlike re-arm methods like Watcher/Fair Fight and Extra Weapon,
Master's Disarm is unplayable if you _are_ armed.  Thus, Discard Weapon
provided a way to deliberately disarm yourself so you can use Master's Disarm.

The problem with that strategy is that your opponent can then avoid attacking.
If they don't attack, you can't play Master's Disarm.  You also cannot play
attacks, or Guards, or other blocks, or dodges.  You can only play Specials.
Meanwhile, your opponent could play Specials _and_ Guards.  Given the typical
non-attack decks that are often seen in competitive play, guess who'll run out
of cards to play first, and start Exerting?  Yep, that's right:  you, the
Disarmed Immortal.

Sheathe Weapon lets you reverse your disarmament.  With a mere "Whoops,
changed my mind!" you may discard Discard Weapon, rearm yourself, and go on
the offensive again.

Also, if your opponent unleashes a Head Shot/Lunge, it won't do much good to
play Master's Disarm and end your defense phase, since you've got no way to
play a block.  You can Exert for a dodge, which is somewhat iffy, and you
can't play Master's Disarm after you do.  So you unsheathe your weapon and
block.

This isn't going to help your Master's Disarm strategy, but at least you keep
your head.  You can always Discard Weapon/Sheathe Weapon later.  Heck, rearm
yourself, block, and then play Discard Weapon/Sheathe Weapon and start the
cycle all over again.

The other current reason to disarm yourself is Improvised Weapon/Object (CotW
#27).  As I noted at the time, this Object seemed remarkably useless.
However, when we reviewed it before, FAQ entry 11.7 was in effect, preventing
you from using Master's Disarm when you have a "weapon" card in play.  So, you
can disarm yourself, use an Improvised Weapon to block and attack as
necessary, and when your opponent attacks, subsequently Master's Disarm them.

It seems that you can only use an Improvised Weapon when you are disarmed, and
while you are using it you cannot make Head Shots.  If you do wish to later
make a Head Shot, you'll want to rearm (using your sheathed Discard Weapon)
and proceed to make a Head Shot.  If you so desire, or course.

Improvised Weapon/Object also has the benefit of letting you make 0-card
Exertion Power Blocks.  This is a little more appealing now that Ancestral
Blade has been Restricted to one.  However, the introduction of Conjure in The
Gathering, plus the existence of Alex Johnson, means you can recycle that
Ancestral Blade pretty easily.

So Improvised Weapon's main use still seems to be to block while disarmed,
then use Master's Disarm to relieve them of their weapon.  Then you can
discard your sheathed weapon to rearm and go for those Lunge/Head Shots.

But here's the catch:  you could _already_ do this.  How?  By playing Extra
Weapon, and then using Discard Weapon next turn to disarm yourself.  You could
then discard Extra Weapon later to rearm yourself (whether you were using
Improvised Weapon or not).  You could do so either to make an "emergency"
block against a Head Shot/Lunge, or to rearm yourself after using Improvised
Weapon so you could perform Head Shots yourself.

So what are the only two advantages the Sheathe Weapon/Discard Weapon combo
has over the Extra Weapon/Discard Weapon combo?

First of all, a new card in The Gathering, Mental Ward, prevents both
combatants from playing Objects.  However, it does nothing about Objects on
the table.  Remember what we said above in game mechanics?  When you play
Sheathe Weapon/Discard Weapon, you're _not_ playing an Object, although
Discard Weapon becomes an Object when it gets on the table.  Voila - you've
bypassed Mental Ward.  Of course, using Reconnaissance or playing your own
Location would let you do this anyway.

The other advantage is speed.  Sheathe Weapon/Discard Weapon takes one turn.
Extra Weapon/Discard Weapon takes two turns.

And . . . that's it.  On the downside, Sheathe Weapon/Discard Weapon will do
you no good if you're _already_ disarmed.  Extra Weapon lets you regain your
weapon no matter who disarmed you.

This makes little difference with Master's Disarm, since you're counting on
that to re-arm yourself anyway.  You won't be able to rearm yourself if an
opponent fails to attack, though.

However, for Improvised Weapon it's a definite downside.  I disarm you, you
can't play Sheathe Weapon/Discard Weapon and these two cards jam your hand.
You could play Improvised Weapon, but then I'll Misfortune it (as most Disarm-
types do, although typically against Extra Weapon).

Now, you can pull off a fairly elaborate combo that lets you rearm with a
sheathed weapon, even if your opponent disarms you.  How?  Sheathe your weapon
before they disarm you.  Then rearm through other means (Recover Weapon,
rolling a die).  Apparently this means you've picked up _another_ weapon,
leaving your original one sheathed.  Now if you're disarmed, you can discard
the Discard Weapon and presto - you have a weapon.

Of course, you could have done the same thing by playing Extra Weapon or
Watcher/Fair Fight in the first place...

So, who should use Sheathe Weapon.  Only Immortals who plan on using
Improvised Weapon or Master's Disarm.  Given that the latter only belongs to
Nakano and Connor, it's not too hard to figure they should be using Sheathe
Weapon if they want the slightly faster combo.

Methos and Richie can also use Master's Disarm.  Using an adequate number of
Master's Disarms take up a substantial percentage of Master slots, which mean
Richie and Nakano (with five each) are probably using up slots for Masters
that could be better used otherwise.  Nakano has You Have Already Lost, which
makes a successful use of the combo lethal.  But he still has to pull it off.

Connor (with seven Master slots) and Methos (with eight) can do better with
Master's Disarm.  However, you pretty much have to build your deck around it,
and it's easy to beat (Watcher/Fair Fight, anyone?).

As for who should use Improvised Weapon/Object . . . even with the
introduction of Sheathe Weapon, Ancestral Blade (particularly with Conjure
becoming a legal card) still is a better way to deal with Power Blows.  It
doesn't require that you be disarmed, it doesn't use up your one Exertion per
turn, it doesn't count _as_ Exerting (for Amanda, very important), it doesn't
prevent you from making Head Shots.

So overall, Steve gives Sheathe Weapon a _2_.  For the purposes of Master's
Disarm, it's one turn faster then the existing Extra Weapon or Improvised
Weapon plus Discard Weapon combo.  You're trading off speed for security,
essentially, and it doesn't make a substantial difference in strengthening
that card.  It only really augments two Immortals, making it extremely limited
in scope.  Since Sheathe Weapon is apparently a Common, a lot of people are
going to have these sitting around with very little use for them.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - The oddest card in The Gathering, given that it's one part Watcher:
Revealed, one part Master's Stance.  And what's with that restriction of five,
anyway?  Will Discard Weapon/Master's Disarm decks become the wave of the
future?  Yeah, right.  My candidate for Generic card most likely to pose the
most FAQ entries.

Hank - Makes the Connor/Nakano Master's Disarm a little more interesting, I
suppose, but not a card that excites or thrills me.

Alan - This card just simply begs the question of why you would use a two-card
combo to duplicate exactly what you can do with one (i.e., Extra Weapon).  Not
a card that will see a lot of use in my decks.

Jim - Abstain

Wayne - Abstain

Prodipto - Sheathe Weapon has strong potential for Connor or Nakano disarm
decks.  It allows you to Discard your weapon and, if your opponent holds off
from attacking, to recover it and begin an attack sequence.  Of course if your
opponent foolishly attacks after you Sheathe your weapon, then you may
Master's Disarm him at will.  Overall, it's a nice way to disarm yourself
without having to use Extra Weapon as a failsafe.  Not a tremendously powerful
card, but still useful.

Allen - Generally speaking, why bother?  Extra Weapon mostly accomplishes the
same thing in one card and works with Conjure and Alex.  However, you'll most
likely use it along with Connor's or Nakano's Master Disarm.  In this case,
Sheathe Weapon allows you to throw your weapon away and get a spare at the
same time.  This can help you defend yourself the first turn after you Discard
Weapon if your opponent throws an undodgeable or lunged attack.  You might try
it with Improvised Weapon.  It has a place, but unless you are running a
dedicated Master Disarm deck I'd skip it.

Bruce - Sheathe Weapon is very limited in its uses, but it serves those
purposes very well.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   2
Jeff                    4
Hank                    5
Alan                    1
Jim                   N/A

Wayne                 N/A
Prodipto                5
Allen                   5
Bruce                   5

Average:                3.86