Frenzy is, unsurprisngly, one of the most popular combat strategies. Draw a whole bunch of extra cards and fight past the point where you’d normally die? Fabulous!
This means there’s also lots of ways to counter the strategy. There’s three main ways of dealing frenzy; preventing it, canceling it, and punishing the frenzied creature.
Preventing it is generally the route most people take since it generally uses fewer cards. However, none of the prevention routes totally shut down Frenzy across the board. The most popular prevention is New Moon (and Event) since it can often stay in play for multiple turns and can shut down, potentially, all frenzies. However, it has a fatal flaw. New Moon only works against Garou and Fera. Many Wyrm characters won’t be at all deterred by a New Moon. In fact, many Wyrm decks that rely on frenzy pack New Moon to ensure their opponents can’t frenzy while they can.
There’s three other easy to use cards that prevent Frenzies and stay in play for a long time. Caern of the Weeping Daughter and Summer Country (realm) not only prevent your attackers from frenzying, they also make them lose Rage. However, they have a built in limitation, they only work if another player attacks you. They won’t do a darn thing if you attack someone else and they frenzy on you.
Memory Ribbon (equipment) prevents both the user and any opponents he’s facing from frenzying. Unfortunately, this requires getting in combat with the frenzy monster to use it. It won’t work if he attacks your pack mate that has no Memory Ribbon or if your opponent is only attacking creatures in the Hunting Grounds. The upside with Memory Ribbon is you may still be able to make use of it in pack attacks. The user and your opponents in combat can’t frenzy… but the user’s pack mates CAN frenzy.
There are two great gifts that will prevent frenzies and have a secondary benefit as well. However, the problem is that they will only target a single character. Chant of Morpheus removes a character from play for a phase and prevents him from frenzying until the end of turn. It’s usable by Children of Gaia, Galliards, and Nuwisha. Heart of Fury, a Child of Gaia and Ahroun Gift, will not only cancel a frenzy in progress, but prevent the target from frenzying until the Gift is cancelled.
The second major way to deal with it is canceling frenzy. These are generally used on a one shot basis, thus often seem to be the less effective option. However, the bonus with canceling a frenzy is that it forces the character to randomly discard as many combat cards as he drew. This means that all the careful tailoring the player did to try and draw the perfect combat hand just went to hell.
The masters of frenzy canceling are the Children of Gaia, as they have two gifts that will do the trick. Serenity is very low Gnosis and usable by virtually all the Children of Gaia and Philodox characters. The slightly more potent Heart of Fury has the added bonus of preventing further frenzy. It’s also usable by Ahrouns.
There’s three slightly more potent items that will be easier to reuse. The major problem with canceling frenzy is that because it’s most frequently started using a combat event, it recycles through the deck over and over. Thus combat cards are the best method of canceling it. Stunning Strike specifically cancels frenzies if it does damage AND prevents the character from frenzying again in that combat. It’s relatively easy to use even with small character, though they may need a Firearm (like the 9MM) to reliably deliver it. The trick is in not having the frenzy monster dodge the Stunning Strike.
Mangle will also cancel a frenzy as it prevents the damaged character from playing combat actions for two rounds, which is one of the conditions that will end a frenzy. The downside with Mangle is that it’s only usable by Rage 8 (or higher) creatures in Crinos. It pretty well guarantees whatever you hit with Mangle will die, but delivering it is very difficult.
There is also one sept card that can reliably cancel frenzies over and over. The Spirit Drum of Calm Thunder will let you cancel one frenzy per turn. It will also end the combat the frenzied character was in. However, it gets to attack the character with the Spirit Drum, and they may well have drawn another frenzy. The Drum also requires 7 Gnosis, so isn’t usable by most small characters. Because of that attack clause, it’s best to pair the Spirit Drum with Memory Ribbon to prevent the character from being frenzied on again. It’s also a handy combat ender.
The third and final option is to punish the frenzied character. The best of these is Renown Admonishment (action) which will prevent the frenzied creature from receiving renown for anything it killed while frenzied. Unfortunately, Renown Admonishment only works if they make a kill and if the frenzied creature made the kill. If a pack mate delivers the actual killing blow, you can’t Admonish them. And if you Admonish them for killing your ten renown character, you’re still out the ten renown character!
The other good punishment card is Webbing, but only works if you were attacked. It’s an Illiad Fomori and Ananasi gift, so you may occasionally be able to play it for Enemies. The combat immediately ends and the frenzied creature is removed from play until the beginning of the next Moot phase. Owch.
The final set of punishment cards fit will together. Savage Beatdown is a combat card, so will reshuffle. If it hits, the frenzied creatures controller must randomly discard half his combat hand. Trick Shot, a Glass Walker and Ahroun Gift, does exactly the same thing but you don’t even have to be in combat to use it.
There’s a few other rare cards that will work for these three strategies, but are almost impossibly difficult to use. Death Rattle will cycle through your combat deck but requires the frenzied critter to already be virtually dead anyway. Lost Calling will stop Wendigo from frenzying… but does nothing against the other 16+ factions. Multiple stymies can also drop a creature out of frenzy, but its rare to get more than one out at a time. One round of “can’t play combat actions” won’t drop a creature out of frenzy, two rounds will. But the odds of having two stymies on hand is unlikely. Besides, you’re already beating the heck out of him with stymies. You probably don’t need to get them out of frenzy at that point, you’re busy hacking them apart!