The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup #5

Week 5

Spoilers for the spoiler god, cards for the card throne. Here’s your weekly fix of Scarlet Keys reveal content, shamelessly siphoned from all the other content creators out there.

Sources

Existential Riddle was previewed by Until The End Of Time on Youtube
Ectoplasmic Horror was previewed by Miskatonic University Radio on Twitch
String of Curses was previewed on the r/arkhamhorrorlcg subreddit
The Raven Quill was previewed by PlayingBoardGames on Youtube

Seeker

The Raven Quill

Of the Customizable cards we’ve seen by now, this one i find hardest to wrap my head around. For one, Tomes and Spells are very diverse in effects and their mechanics. Also, the different upgrades on this also pull in very different directions. If you didn’t spend any XP on the card (yet), this basically allows you to get an XP for upgrading the named spell/tome per game (it’s unique, so you can’t end the game with two in play). Paying 3 resources for an XP seems like a decent deal, actually. Use Endless Inkwell to get three named cards on there and you can get a net of 5XP if you play this every game of a campaign (*conditions apply). While that could potentially already justify putting one of these into your deck, the real interesting things happen when you throw more XP at the card itself of course. Spectral Binding makes it so the named asset doesn’t use a handslot. That together with Endless Inkwell would mean that you can buy yourself a reliable extra handslot in tome heavy decks which seems really good. For spells there’s probably enough other ways already to gain more arcane slots, but it’s an option for sure.
Supernatural Record gives the card the potential to act as a tutor for the named card, but it is quite expensive as you need to pay the cost of the tome/spell plus another 3 resources for Raven Quill in one go. I see this mostly worth it for assets you can only run a single copy of, like Necronomicon or Occult Lexicon. Is it worth spending 6XP on getting more virtual copies of Lexicon that also don’t take a hand slot? Probably not, but maybe?
Getting +2 to your tests through Mystic Vane is rather straightforward in comparison and will mostly be useful for spells. How does this work with True Magick? Does it work? It says “as if” on it, so who really knows… if you can name TM for Quill and get the bonus to any card you temporarily copy with it, that’d be quite good, though. I’ll leave this one to the rules gurus to figure out.
Finally, there’s Energy Sap and Interwoven Link, both of which i would put into the “shenanigans” category. There’s probably some powerful interactions here, constantly feeding your spells with charges and/or readying various assets for good value. If Interwoven Link turns out to be good, you might even want to consider using a card with unlimited uses as the named card, like Sixth Sense, Old Book of Lore or even Wither to keep the readying effects going.
I also feel like i need to mention here again that this interacts favorably with both Abyssal Tome and De Vermis Mysteriis… which is sort of becoming a pattern with this expansion.
Everything said, this seems like a potent card but one that needs figuring out. It certainly isn’t as straightforward and easy to understand like Runic Axe, Multitool or Thieves’ Kit. But i do expect to play it in different contexts for sure.

Existential Riddle

Why o why is this not a rogue card ;_;

This card is quite efficient at what it does. As a one-shot effect, it’s not going to break anything or be overly flashy, but you get a lot of bang for your 1 resource and XP here. Seekers are usually the most vulnerable party members, so having ways to handle enemies that spawn right on top of them is going to come in handy more often than not. Even in Multiplayer where you can expect a fighter to protect their fragile little clue sniffer, having something like this available to buy time can be clutch. In class, the closest comparison is Mind over Matter, which similarly allows someone like Daisy or Harvey to evade an enemy. Compared to that card, Existential Riddle has some clear upsides. Most importantly, Riddle can neuter the enemy (semi)permanently. Also, it doesn’t actually care about the enemy’s stats. On the other hand, Mind over Matter doesn’t get obsoleted by Riddle either, as MoM does work against non-Elites and can also be useful against certain treacheries or other random agility/strength tests. I feel like this puts Riddle at a good powerlevel, Mind over Matter is a reasonable card that does see play and Riddle is on a roughly equal level for its most common usecase (evading an enemy).
Riddle can also be used a bit more proactively as a techy way to get rid of difficult non-Elites. Recent campaigns have been throwing enemies at us like Glacial Phantasm, Deep One Bull or Moon-Beast, all of which have above average stamina and fight while still being non-Elite. The old Survivor staple Waylay has been great for these, now Seeker has a similar card available. Riddle is not as good a solution as demonstrated by Moon-Beast (which will still contribute the alarm-level increase) and Deep One Bull (which will still move around and can still attack through a Deep One Ambush), but it can solve a good amount of problem creatures.
I’ve read some talk in the initial reactions to the card reveal about combos with Power Word or Trish, but that seems a bit more gimmicky to me than i am comfortable with. Similarly, it has been pointed out that Fine Clothes can help with the test on this card but i don’t really think that is going to be necessary all that much. I’d rather make sure that i have a good amount of cards in hand (5+ should do) all the time to make Riddle’s test easy enough to beat that the help isn’t needed. The Fine Clothes interation might be tech for higher difficulties though.
It’s a card that merits playtesting. I am not quite convinced that it will reach similar levels of play as Waylay or Mind over Matter do, but it does have potential. If nothing else, this card is really good in Forgotten Age, as it might just be the best answer to the Boa (or Vengeful Serpents, Pit Vipers, Strangleweed, Basilisk… the list goes on) we have available in the card pool.

Mystic

String of Curses

But wait, Seeker is not the only class to get an emergency evade! String of Curses is a great card with two modes that are both powerful in their own right. Continuing the theme of playing around with doom, this allows automatically evading an enemy for the price of a doom. You also get a clue for your troubles, which seems like a good deal indeed. The enemy is protected from damage for a turn, so you or a fighter in your group will need to get rid of it a turn later. It should be noted that while this card does play around with doom, it doesn’t really synergize with either Amina or Marie because the doom is put on an encounter card. If anything, this is probably most safe to run in any other Mystic but those two.
The second mode allows just outright defeating an enemy with doom on it. That is sooo good, because it allows getting rid of some really awful enemies, from RtTFA’s Stolen Mind over TCU’s Keeper of Secrets to Edge’s Horrifying Shade. The player doesn’t need to be engaged with the enemy, so Aloof like on the Shade, Lodge Neophyte or on Brotherhood Acolytes doesn’t matter. Oh, and you also get a resource or two for your trouble, which is nice i guess!
If you have two of these in your hand, you could use them in tandem to defeat any non-Elite by first giving them a doom (and discovering a clue), then defeating them (and gaining a resource). While this is unlikely to happen often, this does open the door for shenanigans to Sefina, who can use Strings of Curses with Double, Double to get this instant death effect somewhat reliably. And even use her signature events to get even more uses out of this. Sounds like an interesting hook for a deck to me.
All around this is just a great card that will pretty much always be useful and sometimes even be downright spectacular when it manages to just dump a huge threat like any of the variants on Wizard of the Order. Since it’s 0XP as well, i expect that i will use it in plenty of decks going forward. Especially when i am going to play TFA or TCU, this card should be able to pull a lot of weight.
Final thought: This card is going to skyrocket (even more) up in stock as soon as we get a reliable way to move doom from player cards to enemies. Amina can do it with her elder sign, but (Seal of the Elder Sign aside) that’s not exactly reliable.

Weakness

Ectoplasmic Horror

So, it looks like The Scarlet Keys will have a new random basic weakness for each class. From a back of the box card fan we’ve seen that Guardian also gets an enemy weakness, so it might even be a full cycle of enemies?
Extoplasmic Horror doesn’t strike me as a particularly bad weakness. That 2 health makes it a lot easier to deal with than most other enemy weaknesses. It does have that ability to reveal more tokens depending on empty arcane slots and that would apply to any attempts to fight it, so that adds a bit of extra resilience to it. At least it does so during the first turns of the game, usually i would expect to fill my arcane slots rather fast with Mystics. This ability scales a lot with difficulty as well, extra tokens are much scarier in Hard and Expert. On Easy or Standard, i’d fully expect to be able to just Shrivel it, though.
The other thing worth noting here is that other players can kill it fairly easy as well, so it’s basically a much weaker version of Your Worst Nightmare. (EDIT: I misread how this works. Other players attacking it will of course also be subject to the ability. And since they are more likely to have open arcane slots, it’s probably actually more difficult to defeat the Horror for them than it is for the Mystic. That does make it a bit more scary, but doesn’t change my final opinion on the card much.)
My first impression is that this one is rather on the mild side of weaknesses. Will cost you an action to defeat which will usually not be too difficult.
Oh and check out the art and compare it to Bloodthirsty Spirits from RtTCU. This lamppost seems to be attractive for all sorts of spirits.

The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup #4

Week 4

Hi, here’s your weekly spoiler post with the preview cards that were shown to us by various content creators. Enjoy!

Sources

Salvage was previewed by Obscure Studies on their website
One in the Chamber was previewed by Tengo Un Plan on Twitch
Sin-Eater was previewed by Drawn To The Flame on their podcast
Alchemical Distillation was previewed by Optimal Play on Youtube

Guardian

One in the Chamber

There’s just a bit too many restrictions on this one for me to really enjoy it much. So you can only play it when you spend your last ammo and it only makes sense if you still have another action left and only if you actually want to spend that action for another attack. If the last two aren’t true all you get is a single ammo for a resource and a card, which doesn’t strike me as a particularly good deal. That being said, there is one type of card where this could see play and that’s all the weapons that want to oversucceed for effects because then you can start to get some real value out of that +3 skill value. Shotguns (of which we have a few now) come to mind, as do a couple of Rogue weapons like the big Beretta. Rogues who can take Guardian events are therefore who i think would want this the most: Tony and Skids. Maybe Jenny.
I can see myself using One in the Chamber in some level zero decks but would probably look to upgrade it to Extra Ammunition or Swift Reload rather soon. The only exception i see is when trying to get the most out of one of the two 5XP shotguns. I might keep the card in the deck for good then. Overall this one doesn’t excite me much, though.

Seeker

Alchemical Distillation

Ah and here i was afraid that we wouldn’t get a Customizable card this week. Distillation looks a little less exciting than previous offers like the Axe, the Multitool or the Thieves’ Kit. But i actually think that’s a bit deceiving, this card has a lot of potential. However, to get to it, you are going to need to invest a bit. Using it costs an action and a supply, so you will want to make sure that you get the most out of each activation, making either the Empowered or Perfected upgrade a must-have in my opinion. But once you do have that, you start getting some real value. Even without further upgrades besides Perfected, spending an action to gain 2 resources and 2 cards is quite good and any of the additional options can increase the potential even more. I am especially eyeing the “move 2 times” option that would be valuable indeed. A huge part of Distillation’s power comes from being able to be used on other players. As a Seeker, drawing an extra card here or there isn’t a huge problem usually. But being able to take the Empowered upgrade and throwing 3 cards towards your Guardian is looking very good.
It’s a bit of a pity that the card is gated by an intellect test. That test is probably there to provide a way of making sure you can’t easily take both Empowered and Perfected at the same time, but it does end up limiting the card severely. Especially having to spend the supply even when the test fails is going to sting quite a bit.
Still, passing an Intellect(3) test is not going to be a huge hurdle for Seekers, so this will work out more often than not. Since you are sort of locked into putting at least 4 or 5XP into this card, this card is going to have to measure up against the Seeker mini-quest (or “Researched”) cards like Strange Solution or Ancient Stone. Depending on what you are looking for, i do think it is competitive, though. Especially if you want to use your Seeker for more than just finding clues and go for a more support oriented role, Alchemical Distillation can fill that role handily. Since you can add two of these to your deck for your XP, it also isn’t as expensive as most of the Researched cards.

Mystic

Sin-Eater

That is ridiculous. Being able to siphon the doom off of your cards and even get something good in return is one hell of a powerful ability. You are going to need to spend an action here and there to dump the doom from the game, but that’s perfectly fine. Combined with last week’s Elle Rubash who can mask up to two doom from counting towards the agenda threshold, this allows Amina to really use her ability a whole lot while making cards like Abyssal Tome or De Vermis Mysteriis a lot less risky than otherwise. Sin-Eater can even ready those assets for you so you can get even more out of them. And it’s a Permanent, too. So not only do you not find and play it first, but it also can’t be discarded by an untimely treachery.
This is a huge enabler card and 6XP is a small cost to pay for it. It’s a literal gamechanger of a card that gives the Mystic class a whole new angle to explore besides that played-out “Use Willpower to X” thing. Very exciting.

Survivor

Salvage

I like this one a lot. Not only is it Chance Encounter(2) for Items, but it’s also a really potent economy card. To get the obvious part out of the way first, you will get good value out of it if you have Short Supply in your deck and at least a couple items. And which Survivor doesn’t have Short Supply these days? You’ll probably have more decks that don’t run enough items than deck without Short Supply because it’s just that good. Unlike other survivor cards that reach into the discard, this one isn’t restricted to level 0 or survivor cards, which means it can grab signature cards. The following investigators have Item signatures and can run Salvage: Tommy, Agnes, Daniela, Patrice, Silas, Wendy. Being able to use Short Supply to dig for your signature right at the start of the round can help a lot with making something like a deck centered around Becky, Wendys Amulet or the Heirloom of Hyperborea sing.
Using Salvage for resources is also quite relevant. A deck like Tommy’s would run several weapons, with the goal of drawing maybe one or two of them over the course of the game. Having a spare .45 Auto in your discard at the start of the game means you can play Salvage for 4 resources turn 1 which is quite good. Survivor items tend to be on the cheaper side, so i see that resource mode on Salvage as mostly a thing for offclass Survivors or Survivors that lean harder into their offclass (like Patrice or William do).
In any case this is a very flexible and useful card that i am sure i will play a whole lot.

The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup #3

But first, a rant!

Before i get to this week’s Scarlet Keys spoilers, i would like to take this opportunity to call out something positive about a couple of the new cards we’ve seen already: Captivating Discovery, Motivational Speech, “I’ll Take That!”, one of this week’s previews. These cards have in common that they break an all too present trend of having nondescript dudes in suits and a fedora on the artwork. Instead, these cards embrace the rich background of the Arkham Files and have some of the investigators on them that we know and instantly recognize: Rex, Charlie, Skids, Pete&Duke. My wish is that this becomes the new norm. We have almost 60 investigators now, that’s a huge array of protagonists to use, plaster them all over the player cards. The Improvised Shield could’ve been held up by Stella. Or Preston! The Grievious Wound could show Zoey with a scary blade. Or William with his shovel. That sort of thing. Now to be fair, the Edge of the Earth has had some great art in this regard in it. I am especially happy when i see some of the more “out there” investigators on the cards, like Sefina on Blur, Akachi on Winds of Power or Dexter on Ethereal Slip. So it’s definitely going in the right direction.
I suppose what i want to say is… If anyone from FFG is reading this: please more like this! Let’s get rid of of those placeholder dudes on your artwork and let this world you built really breathe.

Alright. Now to the cards. But first, as usual the sources you can look up the details and give the content creators behind the previews their due clicks, subscribes, follows, button smashes etc.

Sources

Heed the Dream was previewed by Optimal Play on Youtube
Pocket Multi Tool was previewed by Los Archivos de Arkham on Twitch
Predator or Prey was previewed by Miskatonic University Radio on Twitch
Thieves’ Kit and Elle Rubash were previewed by Mythos Busters on Twitch
Damning Testimony was previewed by Drawn To The Flame on their podcast
Fighting Lessons was previewed by Whisperer in Darkness on Youtube

Guardian

Fighting Lessons

That’s a neat little workhorse of a card that has some things going for it. Two icons for either attack or evasion is a good baseline and Practiced is a relevant trait for sure. Unlike the somewhat similar Leadership, this also has its full range of effect if you use it on yourself. The ability to commit to just any test is more useful in bigger groups than in smaller ones, but since it is part of the supporter archetype around Carson Sinclair that is to be expected. I could see this skill make an appearance outside of the full support archetype as well, mostly if the investigator can make good use of the Practiced trait. Otherwise Daring provides steep competition with an extra icon and a card draw attached to it that this card of course doesn’t have.
I think this is fine, but probably mostly reserved for the supporter archetype. I’m probably rarely going to take this “just in case i need to help someone else”. As the Guardian, attacking is kinda your job already most of the time.

Rogue

Thieves’ Kit

This is a very important card for rogue that plugs a couple holes in the deckbuilding of some investigators. Over the last years we have gotten several rogue investigators with 5 agility and also a couple ways to substitute agility for other tests, similar to the way that Mystics go about using their willpower. With Thieves’ Kit, we now get a green Sixth Sense. With a dash of Christopher Milan sprinkled over it. Now, both Sixth Sense and Milan are among the best cards of their respective classes, so this comparison should have you on edge already. Thieves’ Kit does of course have a use limit through supplies on it, so it can’t be used indefinitely but by the time it’s used up you got 6 investigations out of it and probably made a profit in resources along the way. That’s pretty great. While it doesn’t offer a stat bonus by itself, the ability to use agility instead of intellect allows rogues to use a wide array of agility skills (or just spare agility icons on other cards) to enhance their investigation tests. Replacing the test isn’t even mandatory, so you can still use the kit with intellect icons on someone like Trish for example just to get the resource for investigating.
The direct competition for Thieves’ Kit is Lockpicks, of course. And for high intellect investigators it will probably turn out that Lockpicks is better, enabling oversuccess or just being more reliable. But Thieves’ Kit does have a couple advantages. As mentioned, the flexibility to commit either agility icons or intellect icons is great (remember, you can’t commit agility icons to Lockpick tests). Paying itself off over time is very nice as well. But most importantly, the Kit doesn’t exhaust on use like a Lockpick does. So you can use it more often and failing doesn’t leave you without a tool for the rest of the turn. Lockpicks also really need the 1XP upgrade to be reliable. It’s not a huge cost, but it’s not nothing either.
I look forward to playing the Kit alongside Pilfer in my high agility rogues. I’ve been doing the “agility for everything” thing for a while and it’s rather good. The Kit is going to be a huge boon to that archetype, filling in when using Pilfer for a clue or two just isn’t viable while at the same time giving me back resources that i can then throw into more Pilfering at the next location. Sweet card.
Oh, and one more thing. A card fan from the spanish Asmodee store shows that there’s a level 3 upgraded Thieves’ Kit in the set as well. We don’t know anything about it yet, but with this good as a level zero baseline and at 3XP that is probably going to be one hell of a card to look forward to!

Damning Testimony

What a weird card this is. On the podcast, they compared Damning Testimony to Fingerprint Kit and as a baseline in terms of power that seems accurate enough. I don’t think i would ever play this at level zero, but once you got the 2XP for Blackmail added into the mix, the card starts looking a lot more reasonable. Investigating three times with a +2 bonus, discovering two clues each time? Sure, i could see that happening even in spite of the requirement for an enemy and the weird split between locations regarding the clues you discover. To be really something to get majorly interested in, i would want to get either Surveil or Expose on top, though. And that already puts us at 5 or 6XP. 7 or 8XP, if we also want Fabricated Evidence, which we probably do. What we get for this is an asset that lets us remote investigate locations that can potentially be quite far away (Surveil) or a very neat little piece of tech to kill Acolytes, Whipoorwills and similar low health enemies that spawn on remote locations (Expose).
As an investigation tool, it ends up in a similar spot as Fingerprint Kit. It’s a fine card, but i rarely end up actually putting it in a deck. While rogue is better suited to cough up the 4 resources to play this thing than seeker is, there’s a considerable barrier of XP that needs to be spent before this card becomes good. I am not sure i have that sort of XP in rogue.
So i suspect that i will probably only use this for its Expose mode. Paying 8Xp to get two copies of a card that just murders Acolytes all over the map can be a great deal for Circle Undone and Forgotten Age in particular, but most other campaigns have other enemies this would be good against as well. Not just the Whipoorwills, but also for example Deep One Hatchlings in Innsmouth or Web-Spinners in Dream-Eaters.
Something notable here is that while Expose does have the “non-Elite” clause, the rest of the card does not. So you can use it to slowly steal clues from under an Elite enemy’s guard without having to engage them. You can also use the Extort mode to exhaust Elites. Both of those could potentially be useful as well.
As with the other customizable cards, this one is hard to evaluate in full just from looking at it for a bit. I don’t think i will use this much just to discover clues (Thieves’ Kit kinda stole its thunder for that), but there are some uses for the enemy handling parts for sure. It just needs to be seen if the relatively high XP investment is something you’ll want to do in practice.

Mystic

Elle Rubash

Woah, now there’s some power. Hiding away up to two doom on your player cards away from the agenda threshold basically puts both Amina and Marie into a whole new context. Marie only needs one doom in play for her to enable her investigator ability, with Elle she can do that rather safely. Since Elle can mask a second doom, she can then also help dealing with Baron Samedi, Marie’s weakness. Amina doesn’t really want doom in play, but when she uses her ability she’ll end up with some until she can get rid of it. Elle will give her more time to deal with those permanents. That is incredibly powerful for those two investigators.
But even outside of Marie and Amina, Elle has some good uses. Arcane Initiate isn’t that much of an issue, but some other doom centric cards like Abyssal Tome, David Renfield or De Vermis Mysteriis look a lot more appealing to keep in play with Elle helping to soften the considerable downsides of those cards.
This is a very good card for its purpose and of a much higher power level than i anticipated we would get. At this point i didn’t even mention the +1 skill value for attached cards yet, which will help Amina in particular who has to overcome her awful statline of all 3s. With Elle, she uses the Sickle and Dowsing Rod that were previewed by FFG earlier at a skill of 5, which is where it starts becoming good enough to lean on it.

Survivor

Heed the Dream

I pretty much love everything about this card. Considering the rant i posted at the top of the page, the artwork of Ashcan Pete with his good boy Duke is just something that makes me happy. As for the card itself, i like it both on a mechanical level and for its actual effect. Starting with the mechanics, having Revelation on a player card is a bit of a novelty. We had this on weaknesses before of course, but now it’s extended to card we put into our decks voluntarily. So what does Revelation mean? It’s a double edged sword, because on the one hand it costs neither resources nor actions to play, but on the other hand we have no choice in the matter with regards to timing or whether we want to play it at all. When we draw this, we have to. And we have to do it now, not later. We’ll get back to that in a bit, let’s look at the effect. Taken at face value, this card straight up draws X cards, where X is the number of players. It’s actually a bit better than that even, as we get a choice in which cards to draw. A free Draw X? That’s spectacular and would be worth it even in 2 player. However, this comes with the cost of removing 2X cards from the game. This isn’t all that bad when you play this for the first time, after all you probably have more than 2 good cards in your deck and so are the other players. Decks (unless particularly degenerate) usually don’t fold in on themselves when removing a card or two. If you have two of them and start looping your deck (remember your deck is getting smaller) this could become an issue however. And this is where we return to the whole thing about having to play it when we draw it. There’s no way of holding it back, so given enough time, this will eat up all decks. While that might be only relevant in particularly long scenarios like Kadath or Secret Name, it’s still something to at least keep in mind. For that reason i think this might be a card you will want to run only a single copy of. Or i don’t know, play Forced Learning or something.
But i do think you want one copy almost always. Getting free cards for everyone at no immediate cost is pretty crazy, especially for Survivors who usually don’t get value cards like this. And Survivors usually have spare XP to spend after getting their core upgrades. Unless they are juggling chainsaws, i suppose.
Finally, i actually look forward to resolving this card. Seems like a fun minigame. In the preview video, it is compared to Magic’s iconic “Fact or Fiction” and i think that is a very apt reference. Fact or Fiction is a card with a very high skill ceiling that i enjoyed playing immensely back when i was still into Magic, Heed the Dream could capture some of that feeling.
Really cool card and quite powerful. Next i want to see “Peril.” printed on a player card. :)

Predator or Prey

We also got Predator or Prey, another Dilemma and Survivor card, giving some credence to the theory that Dilemma might be a thing we’ll only see on red cards. The jury is still out on that particular theory, of course.
Sadly, I like Predator or Prey a lot less than Heed the Dream. The ability to manipulate enemies is potentially powerful, but very dependent on the right timing. However by putting it on a card with the Dilemma mechanics, you take away the ability to time it right. In turn, getting something good out of it is sort of left to chance. In the end, this might on average save an action here or there, but mostly this doesn’t really feel like it’s worth a deck slot to me. It’s just too unreliable for me to be comfortable with it. I’ll pass on this one and let someone else figure out how to use it. It is able to move Elite enemies, so surely there’s a way to do some silly stuff with that in standalone scenarios. But i can’t think of a campaign where this would be consistently useful. Maaaaybe Forgotten Age…

Pocket Multi Tool

Like with the other customizable cards we’ve seen, there’s quite a lot to unpack here. The most important thing to note right away: the Multi Tool can give you the bonus for any skill test, it’s not limited to investigation or combat like Ice Pick. This can even be used during the Mythos phase when trying to resist an encounter card. The other important thing is that it uses the same templating as Ice Pick, meaning it can be combined with an action ability on any of your cards. This can help you use Sixth Sense, it can help you attack with Sled Dogs, it can even be used to increase your chances with something wild like Parallel Skids’ weird gamble ability or a Money Talks test. Basically, if you could use Lucky! on the test, the Multi Tool is also valid. That sort of flexibility is certainly powerful. It also means that including it as a mere investigation tool or as a weapon feels kinda wasted, might as well use Ice Pick at that point (or the upgraded Flashlight which i still hope is going to be in this set). Personally, the thing that interests me most here is the encounter protection it offers. I have played Tooth of Eztli many times before just for the +1 will and agility. This offers +1 to any such test as a baseline and just a single XP turns it up to +2. That’s stellar. The hand slot is a big ask, but there’s absolutely enough raw power here that this deserves consideration. Spring-Loaded is also looking really spicy, turning the Multi Tool into a sort of Jake Morrison that does in fact ready each turn and takes a hand slot instead of an ally slot. Jake Morrison is quite powerful, this new card has the potential to be even better.
No matter what else you do with the Multi Tool, if you are playing in a group, throwing out the 1XP for Detachable won’t hurt either. I’m not quite sure on how Spring-Loaded and Detachable are supposed to interact, but i suppose that’s going to get cleared up soon enough. Until it is, i will be holding Maxine to her “It Works The Way You Want It To (TM)” and declare that this will just mean that other investigators get to trigger that reaction as well. Because that’s how i want it to work :)
So in conclusion, this also looks like a very cool card to me.

The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup #2

First part here: <2022-07-01>

Disclaimer

Some of the cards in today’s spoiler roundup have been posted as leaks in Discord and on the subreddit. So keep in mind that while they look to be legit, they have not been confirmed by FFG yet and therefore there is at least a little bit of doubt about them still.

Sources

Any leaks referenced on this page are from the leaks and spoilers channel of the Mythos Busters Discord. To be clear, the source is not one of the Mythos Busters themselves, but another user on that Discord.
The rules for Customizable were shown off by lead designer MJ Newman on her Twitter. She also answered some detail questions about the mechanic on the MB Discord.
Orphic Theory was officially previewed by the arkhamhorrorlcg subreddit.
Map the Area is an official preview from PlayingBoardGames.

Investigators

We got leaks for everyone but Charlie Kane (who we already know everything about).

Carson Sinclair

The one thing missing from him after the announcement article on FFG.com was his backside, particularly his deckbuilding. According to the leaker, it’s Guardian 0-5, Neutral 0-5 and up to 10 level 0-1 events from either Seeker, Mystic or Survivor. So he’s the Guardian in the line started by Tony, Gloria and Mandy. Seems fine to me? That sort of deckbuilding has proven to provide different angles on how the build the investigator in the past, i don’t see why it would be different here. For his supporter role that means he could help with seeking clues, he could throw around some counterspells or do some survivor flavored seeking while handing out Take Hearts. At first glance, the survivor option appeals most to me, but that’s without having thought about it too much.

Vincent Lee

The parallels to Carolyn Fern are obvious, so i apologize in advance for holding his card next to Carolyn’s the whole time now. Let’s get the most glaring parallels out of the way first. Level 0-3 in their class, neutral cards, cards that heal up to 5, up to 15 level 0 or 1 cards from two other classes. The statline is very similar, the elder sign is mechanically identical and the stamina/sanity are simply flipped. Vincent does not come with an additional deckbuilding restriction because a limitation in terms of weapons is basically already built into his card access. The payoff for healing is also a different one. Where Carolyn hands out resources, Vincent hands out copies of a special set aside signature skill. How this card looks exactly is unknown, but it is said to have double wild icons, acting as an Unexpected Courage at the very least. At first glance, i think i prefer Carolyn’s more broadly useful ability which is also able to stack up much better. Vincent is limited by the number of set aside cards he has. That being said, this is certainly a powerful ability, handing out skill bonuses like that can be very impactful. Vincent also has the better statline. While very similar to Carolyn’s, upping the combat from 2 to 3 can be the base for some competent fighting, putting him in a camp with the other two fighty seekers, Amanda and Joe. Where Carolyn always has to struggle a bit with a statline that runs counter to what their main classes card pool offers, Vincent doesn’t have this problem. The 3/4/2/2 statline always felt more befitting to a Seeker and Vincent will be able to make great use of his card pool with it. One last thing about the card pool: Carolyn has Guardian, Seeker, Mystic. Vincent has Seeker, Guardian, Survivor. Mystic as a subclass has always been quite shallow, except for the occasional counterspell. Survivor 0-1 however is like half of the survivor cards. This is a vastly better pool than Carolyn has.
In conclusion, i like Vincent. While i am not terribly invested in the idea of a healer as such, the card access and stat spread alone make sure that there’s plenty of great ways to build his decks and to take them into various directions. That’s the sort of thing i can really get behind.

Kymani Jones

Compared to the other investigators from the Scarlet Keys, Kymani Jones is a relatively straightforward one. They get to use the full rogue pool and also anything with the Tool trait, up to level 4. Standard decksize and they get a weakness and a signature card as usual. The bonus experience of 5 is a welcome surprise, mirroring Pater Mateo who had a similar card pool (in size) at point of his release. Getting extra XP for a rogue is huge, as they are generally hungry for those expensive upgrades, exceptional and otherwise. It also means they can take Charon’s Obol at deck creation (without having to use In the Thick of It), which squeezes an extra 2XP out of the Obol. In terms of Tools, only very few cards stick out as worthwhile from the current card pool. Most of them are investigative tools or weapons, and Kymani’s intellect and combat aren’t really up to the task. Fire Extinguisher(3) might be a thing, but aside from that, Lockpicks is really the only interesting tool in the list. And that one is rogue already. But at least we now know to look out for the trait in any further player card spoilers for the set!

Amina Zidane

Her front and signatures were officially previewed last week, but the back is still a mystery. From what we’ve been told through leaks, Amina is able to use Cherished Keepsake in her deck, though. If we assume this is true, this points towards either having Survivor as a subclass or a trait based deckbuilding similar to Kymani’s, but around the Charm trait. She is not supposed to have any bonus XP, though. I figured i’d mention this here for completeness sake, but personally i don’t think this is substantial enough to really discuss yet. Here’s the list of Charms, if you are interested in this angle.

Darrell Simmons

The Survivor of the bunch is the one we know the least about. Like with Amina, the leaks had some info, spoiling that he has 5 intellect and 2 combat. If true, this is quite spectacular and gives us finally someone better than Minh to play around with fan-favorite Scavenging. Furthermore, his ability is supposed to lower shroud in some fashion. His deck building is what many have been expecting it to be, Survivor 5/Seeker 2/Neutral 5. That card access with 5 intellect alone make Darrell one hell of a powerful character before we even consider his full ability.

Seeker

Orphic Theory

Oh hey, it’s Edge of the Earth’s Roald Ellsworth as a full player card. Roald was arguably the strongest of the explorers in his campaign (at least for the first half), i have no doubt that this will translate easily to Orphic Theory. Obviously the value of the card is going to fluctuate with the campaign, but having this in the toolbox is powerful indeed. It’s cheap, both in resources and XP. It uses a relatively uncontested equipment slot. It has a relevant trait. Using it is fast and can be done multiple times per turn. There’s synergies with secrets to consider, a theme that has recently been growing within the Seeker card pool. There’s not really much you can fault this card for, so if you want this effect the card will do the job remarkably well. Note that revelation treacheries don’t have a window allowing you to blank the text box, so this is not going to work on something like Rotten Remains.

Map the Area

Solid card, but probably nothing that will see a wide amount of play. There are some situations where this card would be really great, like on locations with lots of clues on them (Edge has a lot of those) or special locations like Silas Bishop’s room in Blood on the Altar. To be worth including in a deck, the campaign would need to have several such occasions though. I feel like this would’ve been a good candidate for double icons, so that the card would be worth it even if you don’t plan on playing it. Then again who knows, maybe someone finally can do their dreams of a Barricade-Minh that never leaves her starting location come true with this.

Customizable

Maxine Newman herself posted the rules for Customizable on her twitter feed. The rules clarify the things we have been wondering about after last week’s reveal of Hunter’s Armor and the other three cards with the keyword. Find the link to the tweet(s) above in the sources if you want to read them in detail, but here’s a recap, also including some further info that Maxine gave on the Mythos Busters Discord:
– As expected, each checkbox costs 1 XP.
– Any checkboxes ticked are active for all copies of the customizable card for this investigator, making this a relatively efficient way of spending XP.
– Spending XP on checkboxes counts as “upgrading” this card, so cards like Down the Rabbit Hole and Arcane Research apply.
– A customizable card’s level is half the number of ticked boxes, rounded up. This means that someone who can take Guardian cards 0-2 is able to spend up to 4XP on upgrading their Runic Axe or Hunter’s Armor.
– Related to the above, a hard maximum of 10XP can be spend on a customizable card, in line with the usual maximum card level of 5.
– An investigator can buy a new customizable card including upgrades by paying the upgrade cost in one swoop. So if you don’t have Power Word in your deck yet, you can pay 4XP and add one or both copies to your deck with 4 checkboxes ticked.
– Related to the above, trait based investigators would be able to buy an upgradable card even if it only gains that trait via checkbox. Of course they’d have to actually pay for that textbox. (Examples are Relic for Ursula or “cards that heal horror” for Carolyn). This also means that Lily Chen could get Runic Axe without ever having to spend one of her 5 Guardian 0 slots for it.
– Purchased checkboxes can not be refunded.
– You can add further copies of a customizable card to your deck without any costs (except for having to cut another card, of course), for example if you decide that you want 2 copies of Servitor after all or if you take the “you can take 3 copies of this” upgrade on Power Word.
This all looks quite generous and erring on the side of the players. I expected some sort of limitation on how much you can upgrade these things, but throwing up to 10XP at them sounds like it’s got some great potential. It’s not even as expensive as it sounds at first, because you do actually get 2 level 5 cards for your investment. To use Maxine’s own words:

Sounds about right to me!

The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup

Now that the official announcement for the upcoming Scarlet Keys investigator and campaign boxes are out on ffg.com, i want to take a moment to look at what stuff we’ve seen so far and share my own opinions and comments. This will be limited to player cards. While we’ve seen glimpses of some campaign stuff, it’s too early to really get into that too much. All in time, i suppose.

Sources

The Fantasy Flight Games website isn’t the only place where cards for The Scarlet Keys have been announced, several content creators also got to share something in advance. The info on the cards is taken from the following sources:
The Scarlet Keys announcement (FFG)
Mythos Busters podcast
Miskatonic University Radio podcast
Drawn To The Flame podcast
PlayingBoardGames Youtube
arkhamhorrorlcg subreddit
Back of the box “leak” from Asmodee Store

Investigators

There’s six investigators in the box, one for each class and a neutral one. Only one of them, Charlie Kane, is fully known. Two more, Amina Zidane and Carson Sinclair have been mostly revealed. From another one, Kymani Jones, we’ve only seen the front of their investigator card. The last two are known to be Darrell Simmons and Vincent Lee, but with no further info. Let’s take a closer look at what them.

Charlie Kane

“You have three additional ally slots.” Now there’s a sentence i can get excited about. I really like Charlie Kane. His deckbuilding opens up a ton of interesting things and his way of using allies to support him in tests is unique and quite engaging. Great concept. Bonnie Walsh is going to be a very key signature worth digging for, as she will boost a relevant stat from 1 to 4 on her own for one test while also readying another ally for further assistance. Meanwhile the weakness isn’t all that bad. Very much looking forward to trying him.

Carson Sinclair

Carson is very focused on a very specific gameplay niche and as such will probably be hit or miss for most players. Personally, i don’t think i really would enjoy the Butler’s playstyle a whole lot, where you are supposed to lend your actions to other players because your own stats are just too bad to do your own things. While i do enjoy a support Guardian that throws around their Stand Togethers, Soothing Melodies and such, my first impression here is that i’d probably stay with Sister Mary for that. That being said, if this is the playstyle you like, you do get a free action for someone else here which is quite powerful. The signature is also really good, securing a test while serving up a card. The treachery is something that you should be easily able to outheal or outsoak and probably not too much of an issue. We don’t have his deckbuilding yet, so he might even get access to other neat support cards.

Amina Zidane

I am a bit sorry to say this, but just with Carson i am a bit lukewarm about Amina. That 3/3/3/3 statline is probably the worst an investigator can have, making her kinda not good enough at everything. And doom play just isn’t my thing, or more accurately it hasn’t been so far. So there’s little here that immediately makes me want to play Amina. Much more so than with Carson, the card access could easily salvage this, though. If she’s got some interesting deck building options that can leverage her ability to play out assets for cheap, i could easily be convinced. Or if there’s a great enabler in the player cards.

Kymani Jones

That’s more like it. While the only thing we’ve seen from Kymani here is the front of their investigator card, there’s plenty to like here already. 5 Agility is spectacular of course and 3 willpower for a rogue is quite a lot as well. Of course that leaves them with little intellect and combat, but thanks to the ability there are ways around that. This ability is quite potent. While it means you usually take 2 actions to discard an enemy, this can be beneficial if the enemy has high combat or enough life that you’d not be able to take them down in one go anyways. An interesting wrinkle is that Kymani doesn’t defeat enemies with that ability, but discards them. This means it will not put Vengeance enemies into the victory display. It won’t put victory enemies there either, but most of those are Elite anyways. I could see Kymani as a very nice investigator that leverages their high agility through cards like Lockpicks, Pilfer, Backstab, etc. I am eager to see more about this investigator.

Guardian

The lion’s share of the previewed cards are from Guardian. Among other things, we get a first look at the new “Customizable” mechanic here.

Hunter’s Armor

So we don’t know all the specifics of this mechanic quite yet. What we do know is that we can include Hunter’s Armor into our level zero decks and along the way spend XP to tick checkboxes on the upgrade list to enhance it. The box comes with a set of “Upgrade Sheets” for this purpose, so you can track your choices along the campaign. What we don’t know are if there are limits to upgrading. Can we just tick everything, providing we have the XP? Are you limited to 2 checkmarks if you can only take Guardian up to level 2? Is the upgrade going to be shared among all copies of the Hunter’s Armor? Are there even multiple copies? Keeping in mind that we are operating on incomplete info here, my first thought is that 4 resources is quite steep and that i wouldn’t consider using this card without either the Durable or Hallowed upgrade. It also has direct competition from Edge of the Earth’s Protective Gear which offers similar protection at that price with a good ability.

Runic Axe

I like this a lot more than the armor. Mostly because the different upgrades seem to be a bit more “daring” to me, more impactful and able to change the behavior of the card in more drastic ways. As an example, the Ancient Power could allow you to swing for 4 damage every couple turns and the Inscription of the Hunt can give you free movements with your attacks which is neat. The baseline is also reasonable. I just wish it was a one-handed weapon. Guardian has so very many two-handers by now and is really due a good one-hand weapon in the 0-2XP range. I am a huge fan of the self-replenishing charge mechanic, though. Already liked it a lot with the level 4 talents and with the tri-class assets in Edge, happy to see it extend to weapons and other assets now. Depending on how much we are allowed to invest into these, I could see someone going big with spending XP on buffing this axe, then supplying it with charges from Mystic and/or Seeker cards for spectacular results.

Grievious Wound

My first reaction was thinking this isn’t all that great, but after thinking about it a bit, this does have some things going for it. So the obvious comparison is something like Vicious Blow and that would leave you with realizing that this card takes until after the enemy phase before it deals its first damage while also asking you to spend a resource and not giving you icons during the test. However, it should be noted that Grievous Wound does have very good timing and you only need to play it after the test, when you already know that your attack connected. So you won’t ever run into the situations where you count on it, but get foiled by the tentacle token. It’s also worth pointing out that this is a level zero Guardian card with two combat icons, a trait it shares with only one other card, the much less universally playable “I’ll see you in hell!”. Finally, let’s just remember that Vicious Blow is one of the best cards in the level zero card pool and that the comparison was never fair to begin with ;) So where does that leave us? I think the card is fine. Not great, there too many riders on how to use it to be valuable in a whole lot of decks, but perfectly okay to include if you want more combat icons that can also turn into testless damage in specific circumstances.

Helping Hand

Eh, this one doesn’t really grip me, though. A skill that isn’t able to do much without other cards also committed to the test will either only add an icon or two or add icons to tests that are already secured by a big commitment. The moments where i would need this to double up on a Promise of Power or Inquiring Mind are fairly rare and not worth including a card specifically for. I’ll pass on this one.

Motivational Speech

This card however is awesome. Just like Uncage the Soul in Mystic, Motivational Speech offers 3 resources when playing a specific type of asset. Guardian is known for being the class where resources are tightest and this has proven to be a huge challenge when trying to fit expensive allies, weapons, upgrades and so on into blue decks. Motivational Speech is going to make playing Allies like Grete Wagner and Field Agent much more feasible without having to rely on out-of-class cards like Faustian Bargain or Crack the Case. This is a fantastic enabler card that opens up a bunch of options for decks. I’m super happy to see this and i am going to play the hell out of it.

Field Agent

Looking for something to use your Motivational Speech on? Look no further. Field Agent is an important card for the Guardian card pool, letting them lean into grabbing some clues much easier than previously. Alice Luxley never really got there, but Field Agent couples the intellect increase with an opportunity to grab testless clues. If you have Horror healing available (or if you are playing Carolyn) then you can turn that healing into more “free” clues, which has all sorts of potential. Guardians (and off-class Guardians) with 3+ intellect will also become able to investigate a good range of locations without having to expect to fail over and over. While Field Agent does step on the toes of Alice Luxley quite a bit, it should at least be pointed out that her fast speed clue discovery can combo with Alice’s damage ability which could be good in some campaigns like Dunwich or TCU where 1 health enemies are somewhat frequent. Combining two 4 cost allies in Guardian was very awkward before, but with Motivational Speech now being a thing, it’s not nearly as bad anymore.

Seeker

We only have one card for Seeker, Rogue and Survivor each so far, but each one of them is quite worthwhile to talk about.

Captivating Discovery

Dropping clues back on your location can be a bit of a daunting concept, but doing so can be worth it if the payoff is good. Digging through the top six cards of your deck and getting to draw the best two cards out of them is a huge effect and certainly worth having to pick up a clue again in many circumstances. The second and third clue are a much bigger ask, but having the option can’t possibly hurt. If nothing else, this means that Captivating Discovery can be used to enable big hand decks, allowing you to play assets freely for the first few turns to get your essentials (Milan, Dream-Enhancing Serum, Mag Glass, etc) online. Then, on turn 3 or 4 you can use Discovery to go from 3 cards in hand straight back to 8. Depending on your big hand payoffs, this can be quite good and actually save a ton of actions down the road.
But i do see this mostly as a tool to tutor up a specific card while also creating some card advantage along the way, kind of like a No Stone Unturned that doesn’t grind your tempo to a full stop.

Rogue

“I’ll Take That”

I like this one a lot. I don’t expect to trigger this on the Humanoid clause too often, but since it also can be used on a successful investigation this is a great followup to playing Pilfer or using Lockpicks. I am not even terribly interested in its discount, it’s not like rogue is lacking (better) economy cards. But getting to play assets as a free action is absolutely something i want… i certainly don’t mind the discount either, of course. I suspect that this card will make it into many of my level zero decks for a while. I am less certain about how long it’s going to stay in there, 30 cards is more and more becoming a very cramped space and value cards like this are often prime material to leave the deck in favor of XP cards. Still, it’s a card that has its uses and who knows, some investigators (Wini? Kymani!) might even find that they can trigger a 2+ discount often enough that they want to keep the card in their deck until the end.

Mystic

Mystic is the other class that had a bunch of cards spoiled alongside the investigator. There’s two customizable cards and two that are tailored towards use with Amina Zidane.

Summoned Servitor

Woah, this is very unique. An asset that doesn’t go into your play area but instead moves on the board where you can order it to attack, evade, investigate for you or take on other characteristics that help the mystic. It’s reminiscent of Summoned Hound, but without the risk of it turning against you. On the flip side, this summon does very little for you while you didn’t spend XP on extra abilities. I find this really hard to evaluate without having had the opportunity to actually play it. There’s lots of potential here for sure.

Power Word

If Servitor was already a wild concept to think about, here’s a card that turns a non-Elite enemy into your pawn, to be directed around and help the investigator. This seems to be quite a bit more involved, asking the mystic to spend actions on issuing their commands. The enemy also still stays hostile and will keep engaging and attack players at its location and once it dies, the Power Word is also discarded. Looking at the possible upgrades, there’s some ridiculous stuff possible here, but the card does make you jump through some hoops to get there first. Like with Servitor, i think this has to be seen on the table before speculating on whether the effort is worth it.

Ceremonial Sickle

To be honest, i don’t see it. I am all for having Mystics not use their spell suite for once, but the Sickle just doesn’t do enough for me. +2 attack and +1 damage is great on a level zero asset, but not if it exhausts on attack and also adds a doom on every use. It does have an ability to remove doom from it, but that requires finishing off an enemy with with base will or +1 fight and no extra damage. Maybe it’s fine with Amina who can play this for 0 resources with a doom already on it when you have an opportunity to remove that doom immediately by punching a cultist or something. But then again, Amina has 3s in all skills, so you are attacking with 4 fight… I am not convinced on this one.

Dowsing Rod

The investigative counterpart to Ceremonial Sickle. I like this one quite a bit more, if nothing else you can just use this as an overpriced Mag Glass that also allows using will for investigating and let’s you trade a doom for a saved action when it’s favorable to do so. Opportunities to discover the last clue from a location come around much more often than those where you can defeat enemies with one damage and low stats. Also, Mystics in general have better intellect than combat. Marie in particular might make good use of the Dowsing Rod. I also see this much more viable as a card to play with Amina’s doom discount than Sickle.

Survivor

Improvised Shield

It’s … fine? Unlike the Improvised Events (Winging It, Improvised Weapon, Improvised Barrier), the Improvised Shield doesn’t come with a built-in way to discard them, so you’ll probably only want to consider this card if you do have another way to do it available. Throwing a copy into Wendy, Ashcan and Patrice is likely going to be a good idea to help them with their naturally low stamina. Other investigators that already use Cornered might also get in on this. There are some other ways of discarding the Shield (like Act of Desperation) but running them specifically for the Shield is not going to be worth it. In the end, this is just 3 points of soak for a resource. Leather Coat is available without any hoops, so you will want to make sure that you gain some value out of discarding in the first place, with playing the Shield often just being a neat bonus. Tbh, that hand slot also stings. I predict that I’ll mostly stick to Coat.

Closing Words

The release of The Scarlet Keys is still a couple months away. Plenty of time during which we’ll surely get spoon-fed more and more of what we can look forward to. I plan on throwing out a few more roundups like this, at least until i got encounter cards to talk about again.