Welcome to the 9th CX’s spotlight on keywords! This miniseries is geared toward newer players to go in-depth on the many keyword abilities in Weiss Schwarz.
Encore is a very important ability in WS. It’s so important, in fact, that unless specified, all character cards have it!
So what does Encore do exactly?
Encore is a keyword that only applies to character cards. During the encore step, when a character is placed into the waiting room, the controller may choose to pay the cost (usually 3 stock), and return the character to the center stage, in its previously occupied slot, in the rested state.
Encore does NOT count as a character being played, does NOT count as a character being played from the hand, and does NOT preserve any counters, markers, penalties, or bonuses. Encore CAN be used outside of the Encore Step. Say for instance you use an event to reduce an opponent’s character’s power to 0 or less during the main phase. If your opponent has 3 stock (or whatever else is needed to pay the cost if there is an alternate cost), he or she may pay 3 stock (or the appropriate alternate cost) and return that character to the center stage, in the rested position. When paying for the cost, a player may only use one method of payment. That is, you cannot pay 3 stock AND put a character from the hand into the waiting room if a character has an ability to encore from either cost.
(A potential shortcut or analog for those that may play Magic: the Gathering- Encore is a triggered ability that all characters have that reads: Whenever ~ is put into the waiting room (graveyard) from the center stage (battlefield), you may pay 3. If you do, return ~ to the center stage in the slot it was in previously, tapped.)
How does Encore play out?
In practice, using the encore ability is subject to a lot of shortcuts. Why is this?
Well, if WS is played “by the book”, during the encore step, each player chooses one character at a time to send to the waiting room if it is reversed. It is at that point that each player elects to pay for the trigger that is created by the character hitting the waiting room.
Occasionally, adhering to this structure can be beneficial. The active player must make the first decision on which reversed character of his or hers to send to the waiting room, and then pay for the encore cost if he or she elects to. Then, the inactive player must. Thus, it can be in the active player’s benefit to not shortcut this process. However, if you or your opponent do not have sufficient resources to pay for any encore costs, going through the whole process will usually (and correctly) be seen as stalling. It’s best to be expedient.
Types of Encore
3 stock, while the default method of payment, is not the only way to pay for an encore. In this section, we’ll dive into the different methods of paying for encore that are out there, and also give some tips on how to use them best.
3 Stock Encore
As stated in the rules a player may pay 3 stock to encore a character unless a card effect states that encore may not be used.
Pros: Every character can use this ability, and the steep cost can dig into the stock to free CXs in stock.
Cons: Extremely stock intensive. Remember that a single encore with the 3 stock method wipes out an entire turn’s worth of stock.
Tips: Use very sparingly on your own turn. Try to use it only when you know you have a CX in the top 3 stock. Only when you have 2 or more CXs in the first 6 stock should you use it twice on your own turn.
X Stock Encore
Sometimes, a character will have the ability to encore for 2 or even 1 stock. The premise is the same for the 3 stock encore, but it allows you to keep the character on the board on the cheap, and can even mean more aggressive attacks on your own turn. And, because each character already has the default ability to pay 3, if you lodge too many CXs and have a reversed character, you can pay the 3 instead.
The most common form of encore printed on characters. The cost is paid by sending a character card from your hand to your waiting room.
Pros: Dead draws can be used very effectively to keep board presence.
Cons: Generally, cards that have this ability will have a power slightly lower than the average for a character of the same cost.
Tips: Definitely try not to use this on your own turn, unless you have an overwhelming board presence and hand advantage. This method of paying for encore can be significantly stronger than paying any amount of stock, as it guarantees that you will be able to generate stock for the following turn. This is most commonly seen on level 1 characters, so be careful not to discard your level 2 plan!
Clock encore is rather uncommon. The cost is paid by taking the top card of the deck and putting it into your clock.
Pros: Maintain field presence and hand size, keep up in damage. Cards with clock encore tend to be at or slightly above the stats of a character of the same cost.
Cons: CXs can be clocked at random with this method, and could level the user too quickly.
Tips: Taking extra damage is objectively a “bad” thing. In WS, a clock encore is arguably worth two cards in hand (think of the two cards drawn during the clock phase), but at the same time, preserves the stock. Try not to use this especially on your own turn, especially at later levels. On the opponent’s turn, clock encore can be used to one’s advantage to escape from 2/5 (level 2, 5 in clock) and get to level 3, but make sure you have enough stock and power to justify this!
Field encore is a very rare type of encore. The cost is paid by taking a character from your stage and put it into your clock. This is where taking advantage of timings comes into play. Since you can use a reversed character for this, simply choose to send the card you wish to encore to the waiting room first, then trigger the encore and choose a reversed character to move to clock.
Pros: Salvage the value of a reversed character!
Cons: Ineffective if nothing else on your field is reversed, and a very rare effect
Even more uncommon of an effect. One of the only (possibly the only one) encores of this type can be found in the set Da Capo. That specific card requires you to discard a CX card from your hand to encore and then a marker is placed under the card.
Pros: Gets rid of stranded CX cards in your hand
Cons: Hard to find effect, extremely narrow as it requires you to have CX cards in hand
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