There are a number of new disciplineless combat cards from “Lords of the Night” (LotN). With the new expansion also the new term/mechanism “Aim” was introduced, which allows to modify pending strikes in a new way, but the cards need to be played when choosing a strike. I’d like to discuss the usefulness of these new cards, with some extra attention to allies like the “Imbued” and the traditional allies, “War Ghouls“, “Shambling Hordes” or “Nephandus Mage“.
The new combat cards from “LotN” without any requirements are:
“If any damage from this strike is successfully inflicted on the opposing minion, he or she takes an additional 2 damage from this strike, and he or she cannot press this round. The opposing minion may discard two combat cards to cancel this card. A minion may play only one aim each strike.”
This is quite a good card, it gives 2 additional damage when this strike is successfully inflicts damage. e.g. you can easily enhance the aggravated damage of a “Crusader Sword” or an “Ivory Bow” by two. It makes not the 2 additional damage aggravated as well, but it has now the potential to burn a vampire instead of sending him just to torpor only.
It also works quite well with decks which use “Traps” to beat opposing minions down, since it prevents the opposing minion to press this round against the “Trap’s” press, helping to seal your opponents fate. In fact it is also very good with decks which deal want to deal damage in the second round, e.g. “Thaumaturgy” decks with “Blood to Water” or “Walk of Flame“.
It is also a very interesting addition to use with “Catatonic Fear“, where you effectively use a “Strike: Combat Ends” to avoid any sort of hitback, while dealing 3 damage to the opposing minion.
“The strike does +2 damage. The opposing minion may discard a combat card to cancel this card. If any damage from this strike is successfully inflicted on the opposing minion, he or she cannot use any additional strikes or presses this round, and you may set the range for the next round. A minion may play only one aim each strike.”
Somewhat similar to “Target Vitals” this is generally not a bad card for all kinds of Ally decks, since it provides a generic +2 damage (not only to hand strikes) and the additional benefits for the card (no presses, no additional strike, setting the range for the next round) are also quite good. It is a little better than “Target Vitals” in the damage dealing department, since it is added to the damage immediately, not only to if the initial damage is inflicted. E.g. if you use a handstrike against a “War Ghoul“, “Target Vitals” deals no damage, whereas “Target Head” deals effectively two damage.
The only real and significant drawback is the easy way of canceling the card which only requires one card instead of the two. So it would be a good addition against decks which feature “Cel Gun” decks or those which use additional strikes on a regular basis, but these decks usually feature a lot of combat cards, and ditching just one of them, is too easy to comply to.
“The opposing minion may discard two combat cards to cancel this card. If any damage from this strike is successfully inflicted on the opposing minion, he or she gets -1 strength this action, and you may destroy a weapon he or she has. A minion may play only one aim each strike.”
Generally good against equipment based combat, also it is a fair addition to “Animalism” decks or other decks that can deliver damage at long range. With regards to Ally decks, it’s good for “Nephandus” decks, since they have built-in 1R damage. They can kill a minion with Gun without the use of “Memories of Mortality“, since they can (usually) survive the initial strike with the “.44 Magnum” or a “Desert Eagle“, but would die against the “Blur” or “Psyche“. If the Gun does more than two damage, it’s still good since the offending and usually expensive Gun is gone as well. Discarding two combat cards from your adversary’s hand when they cancel “Target Hands” is not good, but it deprives your opponent from combat resources in future combat, possibily leading to a hand jam.
“The opposing minion may discard two combat cards to cancel this card. If any damage from this strike is successfully inflicted on the opposing minion, he or she may use maneuvers or presses only if they require Obfuscate, Thaumaturgy or Flight this action. A minion may play only one aim each strike.”
One of the weaker “Target” cards, since it does no additional damage and only prevents the use of maneuvers or presses (with the expection of certain disciplines), albeit for the rest of the action, not just the current round.
“Strike: prevent 2 damage from the opposing minion’s next hand strike this round (including any currently-resolving hand strike). If another round of combat occurs, this minion gets first strike on his or her initial strike that round.”
Hmm, I am wondering if this is useful at all. It offers additional way of preventing damage, so it is an alternative to “Glancing Blow“. It could be useful in a deck where an ally has no damage other than this card, but has a “Ghoul Retainer” recruited and some sort of weapon equipped. The ally could then prevent more damage than with “Glancing Blow” (or maybe in addition with it), which the “Ghoul Retainer” strikes with the equipped weapon. It also might be used with minions (like “Vagabond Mystic” or “Repro Man“) how have 0 strength, where nothing is lost when they do not use their handstrikes, and using “Forearm Block” makes them harder to kill.
The problem with the card is that it neither offers a press to easily use the first strike ability in the next round, nor offers it protection against all kind of damage dealing strikes, only against hand strikes. The card would be good for first preventing damage, then pressing into the next round and hitting with first strike, but then why not use “Quick Jab” in the first place?
“Strike: hand strike (at strength damage) with first strike. If more than 1 damage is inflicted with this strike, ignore the excess.”
The second really good card beside “Target Vitals“, it helps all kind of combat decks which can send an opposing vampire into torpor, but have problems with hitback. So it’s good for aggro poke (i.e. decks that hit exactly for one aggravated hand damage), which lack (or want to neglect) damage prevention. Examples for this are “Gangrel” with “Wolf Claws” or “Claws of the Dead” or “Tzimisce” with “Chiropteran Marauder“.
Useful with “Succubus“, “Harzomatuili” or any other ally with aggravated hand damage. It’s not very helpful with most other allies due to the reduction to just one damage.
When ranking these cards, this would be my list and explanation for the ranking:
- Target Vitals — great extra damage, great for decks using “Traps” or “Weenie Animalism”.
- Quick Jab — very good for aggro poke.
- Target Hand — good against weapon decks, also useful in “Trap” decks, or Weenie Animalism.
- Target Head — great advantages, but too easy to cancel.
- Target Leg — effect is just to weak compared to other “Target” combat cards.
- Forearm Block — to restricted in the prevention part, “only” gives first strike for the next round two and no press is included.
Basically I like these new cards, they can incorporated into a lot of combat decks, rounding up the combat. The only disadvantage I see to them is that they are disciplineless, maybe they should require a discipline like “Celerity” (“Quick Jab“), “Auspex” or “Fortitude” (“Forearm Block“).