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Superior Tactics #10: Uncertainty

I think Edward Averett wrote an article for this week. I think it's about an interesting Open Action.

Uncertainty - Common Action (AmD) - 0G - 1Fo
Open: Target a personality in play. The personality's chi cannot drop under 1 this turn. The personality has -2F/-2C until the turn ends.

I was shocked to see no one in either of the Strike at Midnight tournaments I played in using this card. This card is so good it should have Ninja written on it somewhere. [Or is it so evil that it should have Ninja? -- ed.]

In any other open or battle action in which you have the opportunity to target your opponent's personality as well as your own, Uncertainty is as good or better than Charge, Destiny has no Secrets, Frenzy, Careful Planning, Meditation, Outflank, or any other force bonus which targets one personality.

Why? It is not a force bonus. In Search of the Future doesn't touch it. Other cards (there are a few, really) which limit force bonuses in a battle don't stop it.

It is more versatile in that you can use it when defending, you don't have to show your hand to anyone, it doesn't dishonor you or kill your followers, it has both force and chi effects, you can use it when attacking, you can use it before a duel, you can use it in any action phase. And that's all just by itself.

[Uncertainty isn't better in all ways than these other cards. It won't help you take an undefended province. It won't give a chi boost to your personality who's about to issue a bunch of duels. If you hit someone before the battle, they can always keep them out, etc. But if you use it in Battle, you don't lose as much if your opponent uses the Imperial Favor, for instance. -- ed.]

In combination with other cards, however, Uncertainty really shines:

It multiplies your targets for Kolat Master and Kolat Assassin by many. It makes Face of the Nameless much easier to use and/or gives you a wider range of targets as well.

Not only is it great before most duels, but use it against a target before a duel, drop a Poisoned Weapon afterward, and you almost guarantee you win the duel while Poisoned Weapon won't kill them before you can actually win the duel.

Target your own critical personality with 2 chi before your opponent drops that 2nd Evil Portents.

Use it against Oni no Okura to limit [her] own ability.

Again, for Ninja, it can provide that necessary -2 chi, in addition to those standbies such as Wounded in Battle, in order for you to hold off your opponent once more.

You can always get it out of your hand safely. How many times have you grumbled about trying to drop a card in order to get Ring of the Void into play?

There are very few decks in which a card which can affect force and chi by 2 are not useful. It is useful both for and against military decks, for and against dueling decks, for Kolat and/or Ninja decks, against almost any shadowlands deck, for ranged attack decks, etc.

Note above that it reads both for and against. It is useful not only to achieve your own goals, but to slow and/or stop your opponents' goals. Charge seems so limited by comparison.

Almost nobody plays with the counter to this card. Beware of Shinjo Technique, oh dear. Flee the Darkness can cancel it.

The only negative aspect of the card is its 1 Focus. Ever notice how the designers tend to give low focuses to cards which are extremely versatile and useful and high focuses to cards which are less so (in order to get you to play with them)? And it's really too useful to throw on a Merchant Caravan anyway...

[Additional: Uncertainty has another ability. Your personality's chi can't drop below 1 for the rest of the turn. At the least, you can get a net 1F from a Corrupt Jade Sliver. But think bigger. Suppose you've got some big infinite combo on Isawa Suma, but your Emerald Armor got lost. Make Suma uncertainty and have him go out in a blaze of infinite glory. Or perhaps you have a bunch of Dark Energies to use on a Ninja. Or perhaps Isawa Sze wants to cast a few extra spells before expiring. Does the Experienced Toku want to be as busy as a bee for a day? Unfortunately, it doesn't work with Asahina "lame" Dorai exp, since his chi reduction is a cost.

Another advantage of Uncertainty lies in its status as an Open Action. Swinging the force totals before a battle means you've got fewer things to do before someone plays that Deadly Ground. On the down side, the recipient can calculate Uncertainty's effects and decide not to attack, depriving you from the opportunity to kill an army. -- ed.]

Card text copyright FRPG, 1995-2000.
Article text copyright Edward M. Averett, 2000.

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