Jin Ke - by Nigel Keates

Instead of playing a Special card, you may discard a Special Card to make an extra attack this turn.  You may discard an Edge card to play an additional Combat Trick this turn, up to two extra Combat Tricks.  You may have up to 5 Master Cards.



Jin Ke is a speed merchant. He has the potential of playing 3 combat tricks and 2 attacks a turn just from his ability. Adding to the mix special cards that increase the number of attacks and you have quite an attacking monster at your disposal. Jin is the only persona in the game that can consistently play more than one combat trick a turn. The downside is that you have to discard cards in order to use his ability but this can be advantageous as you can empty your hand of cards that are not useful at the time. On an average turn, Jin can cycle a defense, play 3 combat tricks, discard 2 edges, play 2 attacks, discard a special, making a total of 9 cards. If Jin plays more than 1 defense and plays some edges and has special cards in play that allow him to play more attacks this can be considerably more. In fact it is theoretically possible for Jin to empty his whole hand in a turn!


Persona specific cards

Non reserved Cards

Jin has a large number of dodges at his disposal (interestingly no dodge though) He has Back away, left side step, right side step, and jump The side steps have the advantage that the first attack Jin plays is hidden but the disadvantage that the attack can only be to the opposing side of the side step. Jump also makes the first attack hidden but again there is a restriction as to where Jin’s first attack may go, in this case not to the lower part of the grid.


Reserved cards

A decision that has to be made early when constructing a Jin deck is whether you are going to include any Martial Arts cards. Jin has several -. Forearm block and Shin block are both MA blocks which can be used against MA attacks and Dirty tricks. MA attacks consist of 3 Snap kicks and a whirling kick. Should Jin play MA cards? On balance I think probably not. You have to use a valuable PG slot to include them in your deck. The two blocks have limited uses. – Yes you have to discard a block to play a block against an MA attack but the MA attacks on the whole are not that powerful and probably can be dodged anyway. Shin block will block a lower gridded dirty trick but if you are really concerned about blocking Dirty tricks then play prime block lower. Forearm block is slightly more useful as it will block a choke but again including it just in case your opponent plays choke seems a little excessive. The 4 martial art attacks  are OK but as they cause no damage and just limit your opponents options you are better served by combat tricks as they do it much better, do not take up an attacking slot, and as Jin is the master of the combat trick use them.

High kick is a special attack which covers 2 grids .. OK but nothing special.

Lightning fast, has been clarified to state that all non special attacks can be hidden. This downgrades it quite considerably from it’s original form as previously it stated that offensive cards played could be hidden if this is played in conjunction with a dodge. In its original form that meant combat tricks could be hidden but alas “tis no more.”

Both Supreme fighter and Man of honor are anti disarm cards. The former allows you to play attacks and blocks when disarmed- however if you are going to go down the MA route – MAs do it better. The latter is just like amory it stops you from being disarmed but will not re-arm you. If you are bothered about being disarmed play watcher fair fight it is much better.


Sig. cards

Master’s attack is another special attack. It covers 4 grids and does 3 damage. With Jin’s ability he can play special attacks as his second attack and so is not limited as to when he can play it making it more useful… however Jin only has 5 master slots …is it worth including .. well you pays your money you takes your choice. Defensively Jin has a master dodge which makes the next attack undodgeable. As Jin has many ways to make attacks hidden this can be very powerful indeed. Hidden dragon is quite nice allowing Jin to play another attack if it is hidden which can be done if Jin does not play any special cards. The only downside is that it is a martial arts special again posing the question do I play a MA pre game card?


Pre game cards

As already stated one of the first choices you have to make is whether to include any MA cards? If you do then this opens up to Jin several MA cards.

WoC:- Jin is well suited to playing multi attacks. Rapier is a good choice for Jin and a parrying blade can add even more to the mix. Gothic sword also increases your attacks. Clamshell rapier may be useful if you do decide to go down the MA route as Jin has several MA persona specific MA cards. Garcia de parades could also be useful as you draw cards for each attack after the first you make.


Generic  cards.

The first place to start is combat tricks – Jin can potentially play 3 a turn. Jin can reap benefits from many of the CTs. What you choose to include is down to what you want your deck to achieve. Just ensure that the CTs go to different parts of the grid. As Jin will be playing several attacks then choose attacks that are hard to defend – Flurry strikes, Slices and slashes etc are the order of the day. As you can discard edges and specials then Jin can include more toolbox cards (Watcher fair fight, alertness, greenfield hobby etc) – if they are not needed just discard them. Cycling is very much required so cards that allow you to do that are essential.


How to Win

Cycling really is the name of the game. You need to play as many CTs and attacks every turn. Use CTs to limit your opponents options – hurt him with multi attacks and keep the pressure on. Do not be afraid to discard specials and edges. You don’t want your opponents to dodge- one dodge potentially can avoid all your CTs  and attacks so include cards to limit dodges.


How to defeat.

Jin needs a big hand and needs to cycle. If you can reduce Jin’s hand size and stop him from cycling the Jin’s options will be severely reduced. You will need to survive the initial onslaught by dodging, and master blocking etc. and eventually Jin will run out of steam. The key though is reducing Jin’s hand size. Remember he has to discard cards to use his ability. By not being able to do this his hand will clog and then he is ready for the taking.



Overall I would rate Jin at 4.5. Jin is definitely not top tier but he is not bottom tier either. I would place him at the bottom of the middle tier. His strength is also his weakness. He cycles very well but this means he exhausts quicker and he needs a big hand size. Jin has the capacity to win quickly but if he fails to do this it could be a long day.


What our reviewers say…

Glenn – Apart from recovering what Nigel has already stated about Jin Ke, there's not really a great deal to add. I think with his offensive skillset, Jin Ke is one of the personas I'd consider the risk of using a Prize (extra attack) well worth it, as you'll more than likely not meet another multi-attack deck you can't pummel quicker. Old favourites come into play with Jin Ke: Master's Dodge, Lightning Fast and the old favourite Appel. Also, you can go the way of the standard dodge deck: max out on dodges, carry a couple of Master's Advance, and stock up on Alertness (dodge); I'd strongly advise carrying the Laundry Room Location as well. Alternatively, if in a Quickening environment, consider combining Jin Ke with the Dark Duncan and Nefertiri (draw) Quickenings; cycle your entire hand, use the Dark Duncan Quickening to take a good number of cards from your discard pile into your Endurance, and then use the Nefertiri (draw) Quickening to draw back up at the beginning of your next turn [shudder]. Makes Jin Ke formidable for even L&M formats! Finally, don't forget the Scimitar WoC, since you're not playing Special cards on average anyway.

TMO – Jin Ke has cards covering several categories:
- Martial Arts: Forearm Block, Hidden Dragon, Shin Block, Snap Kick x3, Whirling Kick.
- Extra Attacks: Hidden Dragon, Persona Power
- Hidden Attacks: Hidden Dragon, Lightning Fast, Jump, Side Step x2

Gladius isn't a bad WoC for Jin Ke with his ability to make Stabs hidden. Master's Dodge+Lightning Fast is a nice combo. With Hidden Dragon in play, you get the extra attack without having to sacrifice your Special for the turn.

Deck idea:
Gladius+Parrying Blade WoCs. Get Hidden Dragon in play, then use Lightning Fast and throw out hidden Stabs and Surprise Attacks, with a couple Twists thrown in for fun. If you have a couple Edges extra in your hand, you could add in up to 3 CTs for a massive whirlwind of offense. If it's allowed, the Nefertiri Dagger makes an excellent addition to this by making them discard a card from their Endurance for each defense they play. As a man of many dodges, Jin Ke has the same problem with Catwalk and The Circle that Amanda does. Like Amanda, the Dead End Alley is a nice place to play. His Master's Attack is Nice. A 4 grid Special Attack that does 3 damage if successful. Could combine with the Sword of Babylon quite nicely. Too bad you only get 2 of them.

Jin Ke has 3 persona-specific situations. 2 of them don't work together at all. Man of Honor and Supreme Fighter. Man of Honor says no one can be disarmed. Supreme Fighter says that if you are disarmed, you can still play attacks and blocks. "Make up your mind!" I says. His High Kick says that if this is the only attack you play this turn, your opponent cannot Exert for a defense on his turn. This clashes horribly with the multiple attack capability of his other cards. "Make up your mind!" I says. On the plus side though, it does specify 'attack', so you can play as many CTs on your turn as you want without affecting it. (Note: High Kick was errata'd from the original version and is no longer a red grid attack, but a gold grid Special Attack.)

Against Jin Ke:
Unless you can lock him on the Catwalk, Ranged attacks won't do you much good. He has some impressive defenses, and if you try to disarm him, odds are that he'll either be packing Martial Arts and not care, or Man of Honor, preventing you from disarming him at all. If you have them, put as many full grid Master Blocks in your deck as you can. If he launches a full-out assault on you, odds are that one Master Block will handle them all. Master's Advance will hurt him just as bad as it will Amanda.

Overall Rating: 6.5. Good defenses, but his offense is difficult/expensive to really get going.

Postscript: I just noticed an interesting card that's missing... Jin Ke has no Duck. This makes him vulnerable to Upper Row attacks, especially those like Kurgan's and Duncan MHS cards.

Jeff – Abstain

Adam – Jin Ke was among the first Personas we designed in MLE and his ability pretty much wrote itself.  Take a look at the film (if you can stand to again) and you will see that Jin Ke is QUICK and throws a lot of attacks that don't neccessarily make a killing strike.  That was what we duplicated here.

Jin Ke can throw a lot of offensive moves at you on a single turn.  By using the CT's, you force opponent to have to defend against them or face the downside effects they can bring.  Add in the sheer number of attacks he can hand out, and Jin Ke will burn an opponent out of cards fairly quickly.

I disagree that Jin Ke should avoid the Martial Arts cards.  Slipping these in the middle of a string of other moves will frustrate your opponent, as they need to defend against them even though they do no number damage.  The more defenses they have to play, the better the chance of them blocking off areas where they can attack back at you.

Overall, I say Jin Ke can be the ideal deck for the player who likes to play fast and play offense.

Erick – Want to be able to cycle cards then Jin Ke is your persona. If your opponent play Honor Bound no problem as you can discard a special each turn for an extra attack. Opponent not attacking and trying to clog your hands with Edge cards no problem here either. Just discard a couple and play some extra combat tricks. The best Q you could give Jin Ke is the Nef Discard Q. In his hands that can make him very dangerous.

Nick – Gawd, the single most disappointing persona since Kane. Jin doesn't really have allot going for him. His persona power is expensive at the best, useless at the worst. In the film, he could match Duncan nearly blow for blow in both swordsmanship AND hand-to-hand. But his actual power is so limited and his in-game cards so ineffective that he's more of a joke. Sad sad sad...


Ratings Overall:

Glenn               6
TMO               6.5
Adam               6.5
Jeff                   -
Erick                7
Nigel                4.5
Nick                 4

Average:           5.75


Demo deck

People who know me well know I  hate  tower decks but I think Jin is one of the few personas who work a tower deck well.  To this end I have built a Jin Big and bad deck as the demo deck. Big and bad is an excellent card for Jin as it helps him to build up his hand size and cycle at the same time.  Enjoy


Persona of the Month was originally written by a group of people including Steve Crow, Hank Driskill, James Duncan, Alan Murrell, and Jeff Barnes.  This Persona of the Month article is merely a continuation of a wonderful idea by these gentlemen.  The author encourages you to read previous PoTM articles at Denis Parslow's site:  http://world.std.com/~dgp/PotM.html

The author would like to thank the readers of this article for keeping this game alive and Steve Crow for permission to use the PoTM title/format.

Highlander is a protected trademark of Gaumont Television, used under license by Thunder Castle Games.  Thunder Castle Games card text is copyright 1997 by Thunder Castle Games. Images used for MLE Cards (c) Rysher. Card design and intellectual property (c) Missing Link Edition team. All rights reserved.