Cost: 1.

Hero Action: Give an ally you control a tough status card.

"Try that again. I dare you." — Jessica Drew
The Rise of Red Skull #17.
Ready for Action

There's so much competition in leadership decks that this card rarely makes it in, but whenever I have run I've been pretty impressed.

I think it gets particularly valuable once you make the jump to standard 2. The abundance of overkill makes chump blocking a less obvious alternative, and in general on the harder scenarios it is much harder to reach the critical mass of allies that many leadership archetypes need to be successful. It's hard to precisely evaluate, but generally I'd value a tough over a stun, and a 2 ER tough that exhausts your worst ally is pretty good value.

I think this is a great card that pretty much nobody ever plays.

As of Red Skull's release, I think this was a top-3 non-ally Leadership card, alongside Make the Call and Rapid Response.

"Would you play a 1-cost ally that had no abilities, and could simply block once then go away?" "Would you play Invulnerability if it cost 1?" In Heroic? Yes, and yes.

Blackhaven · 12

I’ve tried using this card in a number of decks, and while I think it is decently playable, it really isn’t as great as it may seem at first, as it has a number of disadvantages:

  • May not be reliable early in the game when you don’t always have an ally around – and when you have no allies is probably when you most need the toughness to defend yourself
  • Conversely, by the time you have tons of allies and can easily play this card, you may be pretty good at chump blocking anyway and happy to cycle through your ally slots to play a new ally
  • Using this card on an ally to suck up an attack exhausts that ally so it can’t be used next turn. Often you need your allies to deal with heavy pressure from the villain and don’t want to delay their use by an extra turn.
  • If you don’t need the defense quite yet, the ally you put it on still can’t do anything without “wasting” the Tough card blocking consequential damage.
  • Ready for Action looks amazing compared to Invulnerability, costing 3 instead of 1. But Invulnerability is way overpriced so this comparison is meaningless.
  • Most notably, the main alternative to this card is that for only a single extra mana you can already get a cheap ally who can also absorb an attack, while also being more flexible and doing something else useful, like a 2 damage attack, and without suffering the disadvantages listed above.

Ready for Action does have some advantages compared to a chump blocker, works better against Overkill (which is more common than Pierce) and doesn’t hit the ally limit, and Ready for Action has the alternate use of playing it to cancel the consequential damage of a powerful ally’s action, and of course it is easier to afford while playing other cards, so it is OK, it was just surprising how often I drew it and didn’t want to play it.

cnalexander · 125
That last bullet is it for me. A price of 2 resources is already to built into allies for the ability to block, so I'd always prefer to play an ally, which is more flexible overall — Stretch22 · 557
"Using this card on an ally to suck up an attack exhausts that ally so it can’t be used next turn". When you block with a non-Tough ally they're usually dying, so you're not using them on the next player turn anyway, whether you play this card or not. What the card does let you do is use them on the next Villain turn, to do arguably the most powerful thing allies can do, which is block. — Blackhaven · 12