The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup #9

Week 9

This week is all about rogues and survivors. The latter even get their own personal weakness. They’ll probably wish they didn’t, it’s a nasty piece of cardboard.


Underworld Market was previewed by PlayingBoardGames on their YouTube
Friends in Low Places was previewed by Miskatonic University Radio on their Twitch
At a Crossroads and Underprepared were previewed by Mythos Busters on their Twitch
Exploit Weakness was previewed on the r/arkhamhorrorlcg subreddit


Underworld Market

Okay, so i am either becoming more and more biased towards green cards, or rogue is just so much cooler than everything else in Scarlet Keys. This is a really fancy card. The limitation to Illicit is a lot narrower than the one to Tactics (Stick to the Plan) or Skills (Ancestral Knowledge) and in turn, Underworld Market is a lot less universally powerful. But this still has some cool things going for it. So, obviously this card stands and falls with the number and quality of Illicit cards that you can play alongside it. The ones we currently have (limited to level zero here) can mostly be divided into weapons, investigation tools and a few utility cards. The most straightforward use would probably to use this with a stack of weapons, making sure that you get something to shoot with on turn one. Sort of like a rogue version of Prepared for the Worst. Then there’s the investigative angle, making it more likely to get something to leverage your agility into clues. Either can also include Contraband for some extra ammo/supplies on those assets. Fence is an obvious combo and i am pretty sure you want to have it in your Market instead of your deck. Getting to draw a card for free and then also play it for free while Fence reimburses the resource you spent on the market sounds great. The other utility cards like Pickpocketing, Payday or Sour Mash could also go into the Market, but i am less convinced that they belong there. I think i would play those in the deck (if at all). One other way to approach Underworld Market is to have additional cards for committing under it, ready to take when you actually need them for a boost. Someone like Wini could use the extra card to recover from some hand shredding treachery or weakness to get her engine going again? Oh, and shout out to Finn who can put both of his signature cards under the Market. On that note, why o’ why are Tony’s Long Colts not Illicit? This is an outrage.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that Underworld Market is only level 2. That means it’s available for the off-class rogues Leo, Dexter and Wendy. And Charlie. Not sure if any of them is all that interested though.
As usual, trait based cards like this only get better over time. It has a good mechanical basis going for it and an immediate combo with Fence. Depending on what Illicit cards come up in the future (Scarlet Keys or otherwise), this card has real potential to take off. Right now, the pool of Illicit cards is still a bit shallow (especially at level zero), but it still has some neat uses.

Friends in Low Places

This is actually not bad at all already without spending any experience on its upgrades, immediately able to fill a role similar to Prepared For the Worst. Doesn’t dig as deep, but can pull multiple cards and of course can search for other things than weapons. From that baseline, the upgrades do offer a bunch of additional utility. They are quite diverse, allowing the player to take this in different directions. For 3XP, the Experienced upgrade does make Friends in Low Places look at 9 cards, making it completely superior to Prepared for the Worst. Versatile adds another relevant trait to the search, adding to the potential to find even more stuff. An immediate pair of traits that comes to mind is Trick/Tactic in Chuck decks, but there are many, many others to consider. Both Prompt and Swift are upgrades that give bonus actions to the player, for playing Friends in Low Places or to play a card that it finds. Get both and you can just play cards from your deck without spending an action at all. Pretty sweet. Clever allows rearranging the deck, something that is going to be especially useful if you also got the upgrade to look at 9 cards. This can set you up for future turns and if you can couple it with an effect that shuffles the deck after you got what you wanted, add to the value you gain from Friends in Low Places. Bolstering takes the card into a different direction, adding wild icons to the tutored cards to find cards to commit to tests. You’ll probably want to combine that with Prompt so you can find those extra cards when you actually need them. Also, Versatile could allow you to name both Innate and Practiced to hit the vast majority of skills in your deck.
This is a useful card that can tie your deck together neatly.


At a Crossroads

This is solid. Extra actions aren’t that easy to get in Survivor and neither is card draw, for that matter. When you draw At a Crossroads, it will always offer you something useful and the costs (discard one random, lose an action) are worth what you get in exchange. Absolute worst case: You can use the extra action to draw a card, then discard a card for a net zero. As with the other Dilemmas, the crux is going to be getting the timing right.
I could see myself including this card for its card draw ability, spending an action to draw three cards is very solid and 1XP is a good price for it. The timing can randomly be bad (for example mid-fight when you don’t have actions to spare) but in the vast majority of cases, i would be up to spend an action for the draw.
My first impression is that it’s probably not a very groundbreaking card, but worth including in some cases. The Dilemma mechanic is going to need some playtesting before we can evaluate these more closely.

Exploit Weakness

Hm, i am not terribly convinced by this one. My main issue is that there’s not actually all that many cards that can reduce an enemy’s attack to zero to fulfill the conditions of the card. There’s Darrell in the Scarlet Keys box, of course. But aside from that, there’s basically only some janky seeker cards that i don’t really want to play. Maybe we get some other cards that use difficulty reduction for attack in Scarlet Keys? To be honest, even if there is, this still isn’t striking me as particularly great. Survivor already has other tools to discard enemies without having to fight them and they work on high fight enemies just as well as on low fight ones. Having an attack substitution that only works on enemies that are easy to attack strikes me as weird conceptually already and would require some very specific enemies to become worth it. Off the top of my head the Conglomeration of Spheres from Dunwich comes to mind and i will admit that using this card with Improvised Weapon on it would be pretty sweet. But aside from that one, i can’t think of too many great targets.
It can be used with evades as well as fights, so reductions to enemy evade values are also interesting here. Is this finally Stealth’s chance to shine?
Dunno. Maybe this card’s place becomes clear over time, but for now i will be sticking with Waylay and the occasional Close Call. Maybe even Fend Off if i feel particularly spicy.



Yiiiikes. That’s easily the nastiest of the weaknesses we’ve seen from this box and actually one of the nastier ones in the game. Getting rid of this card is an absolute pain that is going to leave you with nothing: No cards, no resources. Survivors have ways to discard cards at will and also to spend resources at will, but that doesn’t mean that they want to be forced to do that to regain their ability to properly commit cards. Some investigators are going to be hit more by this than others, of course. Silas is the one that has it worst for sure while with everyone else it’s going to depend on how their deck is built. Some might even be able to just keep this in hand, but even then it will probably lead to a failed test or two down the road. Investigators that play Cornered have the easiest time of ignoring Underprepared, as they can just gain +2 skill for their tests that way.
If you are a fan of janky combos, you can include Nightmare Bauble in your deck if you happened to draw Underprepared as your random basic weakness. Underprepared will indeed reduce the number of negative wild icons on the Dream Parasite weaknesses that come with the Nightmare Bauble…
On the other hand, this can conditionally become a lot more terrifying than it already is. If your investigator has another weakness that also sticks in the hand (like The Tower or Dark Pact), then this becomes even more difficult to get rid of. The same goes for Hidden treacheries in Carcosa and Dream-Eaters that will make Underprepared stick for a long time. Hell, Patrice has a Hidden personal weakness…
Shenanigans in either direction aside, i think this is a very impactful weakness at face value that will have you shape parts of your deck around it. If you are unable to just keep this in hand, you are going to need ways to discard cards and spend resources at will, using cards like Fire Axe or a talent. Or you just have to include Cornered to try and counteract it.
I hate it already.

Taboo/FAQ 2.0 Roundup


The new ArkhamLCG FAQ just dropped and with it an updated list of taboos. As usual, remember that adhering to this taboo list is strictly optional, don’t bother if you are still new to the game, still feeling out what you can do with your card pool or if you straight up don’t want to adhere to it. It’s all fine. For everyone else, the taboo list is an attempt of shaking up the deckbuilding options by bringing outliers in efficiency in line with the rest of the pool, either by buffing them or nerfing them.
Here’s a list of what changes, with the usual commentary from me.


These are the cards that got a modifier to their XP cost, making them more expensive (chained) or cheaper (unchained) to buy when upgrading your decks. Remember this doesn’t alter their card level, so this will not push cards in or out of some investigator’s card pool. I will only go over what changed to the previous version of the taboo.

Machete (+0): Used to be chained at +1, now is completely removed from the list. To be honest, i could’ve lived with this staying at +1. I actually just bought it for 1XP for a Zoey deck i am currently running. But it’s of course not going to make big waves at +0 either, so sure. Why not.
Mr. Rook (+0): Used to be chained at +4, now is down to +0 again. However, this comes at the price of a mutation. We will go into this later.
David Renfield (+3): According to MJ, this happened in anticipation of the Scarlet Keys addition that will put David over the top. Presumably she means cards like Elle or Sin-Eater by this. Personally, i never really cared much about David, actually. I don’t really include him in decks as i find doomplay very offputting. I probably would’ve given him a go with Scarlet Keys, but at +3XP that is a hard sell. Seems like a very heavy handed change to me.
Signum Crucis (-2): Huh, so this level 2 card is now free? Interesting. It’s a card i never played much, not even in bless decks as the restriction in its use is quite limiting. I could see giving this a try now, sure.
Rite of Equilibrium (-2): This is an exciting one. The ability to just throw 20 tokens into the bag in turn 1 is immensely powerful, but at 5XP per copy it wasn’t attractive enough to build around. Bringing this down to 6XP for the set tempts me quite a bit, especially in combination with some of the mutated cards that are coming up later. If you want to go off the deep end, use this with Henry Wan. Yes, you heard that right.
Jeremiah Kirby (+2): Noooo! Awww man. One of my favorite cards from the Edge box, i have been playing this card a whole lot. He’s so very, very, very good. I suppose that means i have to admit that he’s worth 2XP, huh? Fine. Just a bit sad that this means we have to go back to Milan for level zero. This is going to be an early upgrade often. I love this card.
Gene Beauregard (+2): This is more of a bummer. I thought she was fine at 3XP. She’s very good and i wouldn’t have blinked if she was released at 5XP originally, sure. But now she’s going to see very little play for me and just like Michael Leigh she’s going to only be for very specialized decks instead of generally being useful. I am not completely on board with this one, Gene wasn’t hurting anyone.


Mutations are cards that got errata to their card text. These are mostly small changes that can be memorized easily, but a couple are a bit more involved. As with the Chainings and Unchainings, these can be used to either make cards stronger or weaker.

Ritual Candles: Now triggers on any symbol. That makes it a fantastic way to mitigate curse tokens! I like this change a whole lot.
Jewel of Aurelius: Now triggers on any symbol. Dedicated bless or curse decks (or both! looking at you, freshly unchained Rite of Equilibrium!) get a powerful resource/card engine here.
Voice of Ra: Now triggers on any symbol. This had really bad timing when it released in the Jacqueline deck basically at the same time when everyone was playing blesses and curses due to Innsmouth also being fresh on the shelves. Now you can use it without having to fear that other players mess up your chaos bag. In fact, you can now profit from it and even get in on that action yourself. Excellent.
Dark Prophecy: Now triggers on any non-Elder Sign symbol, allowing you to fish for blesses and curses to power your Blessed Blade, Eye of Chaos, etc. Seems useful for sure, especially for use with the curse spell suite.
Counterspell: Now triggers on any non-tentacle token. The final one of the mystic cards that got the bless/curse interaction treatment. But also the weakest by far. Cancelling a curse is rarely all that useful, at least when compared to what cancelling a tablet, cultist or Elder Thing does for you. Still, it’s a net positive and won’t hurt. Note that all five of these symbol related cards now also work on Frost tokens, giving them some extra value in Edge as well.
Acidic Ichor: Now deals 2 damage instead of 3. A couple of years late on this one, aren’t we? That being said, i do approve of this nerf. As printed, Ichor as way better than it has any right to be and even in it’s mutated form it’s still a slotless sidearm that has 3 ammo and uses 6 base fight for 1 resource. That can be reloaded with upgraded Emergency Cache. Ichor is so far above even most Guardian and Rogue weapons, it can take a slap on the wrist and still be fantastic.
Mr. Rook: His ability is now an action instead of a free trigger. No longer chained into oblivion by a 4XP penalty, so we can consider him for our deck again. That alone is a big win. He has good soak for a seeker ally and does come with three uses of a tutoring ability that gets you what you need. Seems pretty strong to me even at normal action speed. Guardians run Prepared for the Worst just to have one shot of this ability and in a much more limited scope. Mr. Rook is going to appear in a lot of decks again.
Flute of the Outer Gods: No longer Exceptional, but still limited to 1 per deck. Sure, it costs 4XP now instead of 8XP, but i still don’t see how this card is anything but a coaster. It costs a ton to play, you need curses to prepare for it and its ability is frankly not that great? Hard pass, but maybe the reduced XP cost convinces someone else to explore this more. Can only get better, right?
Prophesiae Profana: Now only prevents the first attack of opportunity. Seems fair. Personally i think that card is massively overrated in the first place, but if this removes some extreme abuse case, that sounds like a reasonable change.
Black Market: Limited to 1 per turn. Heh, fair enough. I suppose chaining these, possibly with even multiple investigators running a pair of them, was not intended. Makes sense.
Eon Chart: Provides only basic actions now. Was Eon Chart a problem? Meh. This significantly reduces how interesting and interactive the card is and that makes it a dud in my book. I liked Eon Chart as finally an accessory that can stand up to the usual rogue suspects, but that change makes me like it a lot less. It’s still going to be fine, but this is a bit of a bummer.
Cyclopean Hammer: Using the 3 damage super smash now requires exhausting the hammer. Does this change the hammer to the point where it’s no longer better than other options? Doesn’t look like it to me, but i am hardly an expert on this card. I never used it before, it’s just not the type of thing i play. Sorry, i will have to defer to someone else for their take on this change. Chances are, there’s plenty of takes around once this article goes live.
Mandy Thompson: Now always uses the 50 card deck. Mandy is one of two investigators that get mutated in this version of the FAQ and in her case it’s meant to reduce the powerful impact of her ability on a 30 card deck. Now even she has to actually look for a moment to find what she needs. Interestingly, this possibly makes using her on other investigators more attractive. I don’t have a huge opinion on this change in either direction, Mandy was never very high on my list of enjoyable characters to play.
Lola Hayes: Can now switch roles as an action. Her weakness only discards 1 card instead of all matching ones. Defusing Lola’s weakness will do a lot towards making her more attractive to play. Until now, when playing a Lola deck one would be forced to build around that weakness way too much, either by only running non-assets or only assets in classes you don’t return to afterwards. With this pressure lifted partially, we can explore new and exciting deckbuilding options for Lola. Since exploring decks is like half the reason i play this game, this change gets two thumbs up from me!


The Taboo list is only one part of the FAQ, mainly it’s actually a vehicle for rule clarifications and rule adjustments. I will say right now that i am not a rules person at all, so i will leave the deeper analysis of some changes to smarter people, but let me just point out a few things that are immediately sticking out:

Hallowed Mirror, Occult Lexicon and Miss Doyle had their wording updated to set their associated cards aside when they leave play instead of removing them. That means that you are now able to replay a discarded Mirror and will shuffle your Soothing Melodies back into the deck again. Previously this wasn’t possible. Good and intuitive change, i approve.
Geared Up now clarifies that the item cards are played “One at a time”. This enables it to work with Backpack and Shoffner’s Catalogue the way players want it to, a deeply necessary change to make Geared Up playable. Personally i still rate it lowest of the five level zero permanents, but this does help Geared Up catching up quite a bit. I will no longer call it a coaster, at least.
Searching during setup will no longer allow playing triggered abilities like Mandy’s search or Research cards. Notably, this breaks up the often played combo of Stick to the Plan with Astounding Revelation. Sure, whatever. That was way too powerful anyways, i suppose.
Clarification on the word “different” state that cards are only different if their names are different. For example, this means that you can not use Lily’s strength discipline to activate the fight ability on two copies of Machete. You can use it to activate both abilities printed on a Sledgehammer, though. I don’t find this particularly intuitive, to be honest.

There’s a lot more red rules text in the FAQ, but nothing i feel like i need to mention it here. Please take your rules takes from someone better at them than me 😉

The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup #8

Week 8

We are about two thirds through spoiler season. Let’s keep going, shall we?


Hidden Pocket was previewed by Obscure Studies on their blog
Quantum Paradox was previewed by Drawn To The Flame on their podcast
Idol of Xanatos was previewed by Optimal Play on their YouTube
Girish Kadakia was previewed by Tengu un Plan on their YouTube


Girish Kadakia

Now, this is clearly a powerful ally. Girish is a very tanky card, with 3 horror and sanity soak and a healing ability. But i don’t think that’s actually what you want to run him for, as Brother Xavier does most of the job for just 1XP and there’s several other less expensive ways to mitigate damage and horror available in the class. That ability to exhaust for +2 to a skill is really good though. Instead of taking a consistent +1 to a single stat like with Grete Wagner or Beat Cop, you take a +2… but to just a single test. As Chuck Fergus has shown, this can be very, very powerful indeed and unlike Chuck this guy is not limited to a specific trait, class, phase or whatever. Actually, you can even use his ability on tests of other investigators at your location. That sort of flexibility is rare on an ability this powerful. There’s also some ways to ready Girish that can make you get additional value out of his ability, like Inspiring Presence (which pulls double duty on making Girish tank for you) or Charlie Kane’s signature ally.
4XP is a big ask, but i feel like the power is definitely here to justify it in some cases. Personally, i rarely run tanky cards like this (unless it’s specifically to help with trauma or to get through something like Dim Carcosa…) but the skill boost ability makes Girish appealing even outside of that niche so i could see him making it into a deck or two of mine, filling a similar role to Chuck in my Guardian decks. Looks like a good card to me, gets the stamp of approval!


Hidden Pocket

Interesting. Getting additional slots at level zero is quite good, especially when we are talking about accessory slots. There are some hoops to jump through here, though. First off, the card you want to use the slot for has to be Illicit. There are (so far) no Illicit traited accessories in the game. In terms of hand items, there is a bunch of weapons, plus Lockpicks and Thieves’ Kit (ArkhamDB Search). The previewed card “I’ll Take That!” can also make things Illicit, so that would be a way to get something like a Lucky Cigarette Case into this bonus slot.
The other hoop to jump through is that you have to attach this to a Clothing or Armor card. Those are mostly items that go into the body slot (insert my usual hangups about Backpack here) and also often items that are used to soak damage, meaning they are sort of meant to go into the discard sooner or later. There are some exceptions though. Looking at the full list of armors and clothings available, the standouts to me are Tool Belt, Hiking Shoes and Track Shoes because they neither take up a slot nor soak. Also, there’s Fine Clothes and Robes of Endless Night in terms of armors that you generally don’t actually want to use for their soak.
This card looks immediately interesting to me as a sort of Bandolier for rogues, allowing someone like Tony or Wini to hold a Beretta while still being able to carry a Colt or a Thieves’ Kit. The requirement for a clothing or armor item is a bit of a hurdle, but could still be worth it. This makes Tool Belt look a lot more enticing to me as well.
The combo with I’ll Take That is likely a bit too optimistic, but if both cards find their way into your deck on their own merit, sure you might randomly end up with two LCC in play or something.
As a final note, since the card leans very hard on certain card traits to be good, this has a lot of potential for the future as well. For example, if an accessory with printed Illicit trait is released (in Scarlet Keys or sometime later), this will be a big boost to Hidden Pocket.
Cool card.


Idol of Xanatos

This is actually pretty decent. 3 resources is a big ask, but the effect is indeed powerful enough to consider. The preview video already mentioned Calvin as someone who might be interested to keep riding that line of barely alive and/or using it with cards like Winging It, Scavenging or Salvage for additional value. Now, i think the 3 resource cost disqualify the Idol of Xanatos for being used primarily as an engine piece… maybe as a level zero stand-in for Cornered. But just using the Idol at face value as a way to stay alive seems really potent to me. Daniella might be interested in this as well as would Patrice. William would be the hottest pick for me to get additional value out of discarding cards. Looking at the other already previewed cards from Scarlet Keys, the combo with Improvised Shield also sticks out, a way to give insane levels of tank at level zero.
An interesting factor here is that it is damage prevention, which is pretty much the best effect you can have (compared to soak and healing, the other two ways of dealing with damage). The final note i have on this card is that the effect doesn’t cost an action, which is a super relevant thing when talking about healing-adjacent effects. The vast majority of healing cards sees little play at all because they are just way too inefficient in terms of actions spent per damage healed. The Idol does sidestep that issue as well.
So yes, i think this is a great card to have. Not everyone will want it, after all that level of tank is often simply not required (or can instead be solved with Jessica Hyde, Peter Sylvestre or judicious application of teddy bears.) But the Idol does fill an important niche and it is quite good at what it does. A level zero card to boot. So this will definitely see play, a neat card for the toolbox.


Quantum Paradox

And here’s the second weakness, an event that only goes into Seeker decks. Similar to Agnes personal weakness you will have to play it at an opportune time and until you do, it will zap you for horror every turn. Now, this one is a lot more nasty than the enemy weakness for Mystics that we’ve seen before. Just at a basic level, Quantum Paradox costs you a draw first (like almost all weaknesses do), then an action when you want to get rid of it and another 4 cards on top. This is quite the severe penalty. While there are certainly some Seekers that can just discard half of their hand without worrying about it too much, there are probably more that will find even having to keep this hand for a turn or two until they even have the required 4 cards in hand to discard alongside playing Quantum Paradox. At that point it becomes a Chronophobia that can’t be discarded easily (and that other investigators can’t discard for you!). At least Quantum Paradox doesn’t deal direct horror…
Yep, i think this is quite the rough weakness and i’ll dread playing it in most of my Seeker decks. Drawing this card from the top of your deck with an empty or near-empty hand is not going to be pleasant at all! This card might actually be reason enough to include some more horror soak in your deck, to enable yourself riding it out for a couple turns.

The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup #7

Week 7

After last week’s avalanche of cards, this week has only two cards for us… but it does include the full reveal for Darrell Simmons, our new Survivor investigator. Let’s check it out!


Hallowed Chalice was previewed by Los Archivos de Arkham on their Youtube
Darrell Simmons was previewed by Miskatonic University Radio on their Twitch


Hallowed Chalice

So, i want to get two things out of the way. First, i am not interested in spending an action just to heal a point of horror or damage. Second, 2 horror/damage per action is a rate that i am interested in, but not at the cost of placing down a doom. I’d not even be interested in those ratios if this card was free. Granted, as far as straight up healing goes, this does compare fine to other level 0 healing options… but that doesn’t say much since those are also quite bad (with notable exception of Mirror, of course). I do think that having some healing in your deck is quite worthwhile, but i’d just go for a leveled up card to fulfill my healing needs, like Earthly Serenity or the level 3 versions of Clarity of Mind and Healing Words.
That being said, this card does have a rather easy condition to remove the doom from it. So if we do end up getting a way to move doom from one asset to another (either in Scarlet Keys or in any other upcoming expansion), then Chalice becomes a lot more interesting. Because spending two or three actions to heal two or three points and remove a doom is a lot more spicy.


Darrell Simmons

And there he is, including the signature and the weakness. With a card pool of Survivor 5/Seeker 2, Darrell was always going to be a powerful clue collector, but that 5 intellect really puts him over the top. Even without knowing more about him than his card access and stats, he’s notable for not only being the one to make Scavenging(2) sing, but also the one who commits Deductions to Winging It, cleaning out locations in one swoop. Yes, Minh exists but both her investigator ability pulling her into a different direction and that awful, awful weakness were somewhat offputting (or is that only me?). So i am happy to see Survivor/Seeker being represented here in a rather general package that can be built into many directions without feeling like ignoring some other direction the investigator would reward you for. That package includes of a signature asset that starts in play and accumulates evidence tokens for discovering clues at the location of enemies or treacheries. Those evidence can then be turned into -2 difficulty on skill tests at your location. This ability is remarkably open-ended and can be used on any test, not just investigations. It can also be used on any player. Since it lowers the base difficulty instead of raising the base skill, it can also do that Survivor thing where you drop a difficulty to zero and pass as long as you don’t pull the tentacle from the bag. That’s a really good ability with very low opportunity cost that can be used in a very flexible manner. It also stacks up with other difficulty reducing cards like Flashlight, Ice Pick or Winging It to trivialize tests.
Now, acquiring the evidence is going to be slow though. The Kodak is rarely going to be discovering more than 1 token per turn and often none at all due to the reliance on the encounter deck. Other assets coming into play with evidence on them is quite rare. The pre-Scarlet Keys card pool only has two cards that do use evidence, one of which (Michael Leigh) can not be used by Darrell. The other one, Hawk-Eye Camera, is near perfect for him though and i would expect it to be a staple card to use with Darrell. The Hawk-Eye can do a great job of finding more evidence to spend on his investigator ability while basically ignoring the actual abilities on the Hawk-Eye. After looking at how difficult it is to build up evidence, that weakness looks quite terrifying though. Losing 4 evidence is very rough and so is getting a chunk of horror. I suspect that you will want to include some very solid horror soak (or healing) in your Darrell decks to deal with this, similar to how you include a Bullet-Proof Vest or two in Harvey to adress Thrice-Damned Curiosity. Now, every expansion does of course also include some new player cards that are meant to support the new investigators and Darrell is no exception. Empirical Hypothesis is going to be amazing for him as a source of evidence to spend on stuff. He can only upgrade it to level 2, but considering that the card is already great at level 0, that’s hardly a problem. It just limits the card to gaining up to 1 evidence per turn (Alternative Hypothesis is fairly difficult to make work on its own). The only other card we’ve seen from Scarlet Keys that uses evidence is a rogue card, but it’s probably a safe bet that there’ll be a few more to be seen in the coming days.
To bring this to a close, i am super happy to see Darrell being a relatively “normal” and “basic” investigator where you can just use your deckbuilding to shape his way of playing and not something too out of the box. The investigators with “5/2” deckbuilding should in my opinion be more like Darrell and less like Preston to let those card pools speak for themselves in their entirety. In any case, I see myself committing quite a few Deductions to my Winging Its (and while doing so, Scavenging stuff!) in the future, so … yeah, great new investigator. Currently my second favorite behind Charlie from the Scarlet Keys.

Bonus round: Taking stock

So, since we didn’t get a lot of new cards this week i figured i take the opportunity to take stock of our current spoilers and see how the classes are looking right now. I will ignore the investigators for this. Please note that this is of course based on only the few cards we’ve seen so far and not intended as an actual commentary on class power levels or anything. It’s just meant to be a convenient tl;dr of the last couple weeks, nothing grander.


Hunter’s Armor, Runic Axe, Motivational Speech, Field Agent, Helping Hands, Grievous Wound, One in the Chamber, Fighting Lesson

Guardian came out of the gate real strong in week 1, with the customizable Axe and Armor both being very promising. Motivational Speech is fantastic and Field Agent certainly fills a needed role as well. Alongside those four cards, we also got to see Helping Hands and Grievous Wound, both of which are rather lacking. Sadly, the cards that followed in the coming weeks (One in the Chamber and Fighting Lesson) also weren’t really able to turn any heads due to their situational nature. We are sort of still waiting for some actual bangers in this class, including something that really enables Carson to do his thing.


Captivating Discovery, Orphic Theory, Map the Area, Alchemical Distillation, Raven’s Quill, Existential Riddle, Empirical Hypothesis

We have three customizables for Seeker so far and all three are varying degrees of good. Distillation is great for support in multiplayer, Quill is a highly flexible upgrade for several assets and Hypothesis is a ludicrous card draw engine that doesn’t even need XP to be good. Seeker doesn’t stop there, with Existential Riddle and Captivating Discovery both also being excellent. The final two cards, Orphic Theory and Map The Area are less universally good, but both have their place in certain circumstances as well.


“I’ll Take That”, Thieves Kit (0 and 3), Damning Testimony, Calculated Risk, Hit and Run, Quick Getaway

We’ve seen only one customizable for rogue so far and i feel like it’s not as good as the ones we’ve seen in other classes. It’s fine, doing an okay impression of Fingerprint Kit, but not really quite as gamechanging as what other classes get. That being said, there’s (probably) still 2 more customizables to go for rogue, so fingers crossed. The most gamechanging card here is certainly Thieves’ Kit, which allows rogues to fully leverage their agility for seeking, similar to how Mystics have been doing it since forever. “I’ll Take That” is not quite Motivational Speech, but it does combine economy and action efficiency in a similar package with enough upsides to be exciting. Hit and Run and Calculated Risk are both situational and will require certain decks to shine. Quick Getaway is mostly a coaster.


Summoned Servitor, Power Word, Ceremonial Sickle, Dowsing Rod, Elle Rubash, Sin-Eater, String of Curses, Ghastly Possession, Hallowed Chalice

The first week had several spoilers that i personally didn’t find too impressive. Sickle and Dowsing Rod are tailored for Amina and i don’t see myself using these outside of her deck. Possibly not even in it, to be honest. I am particularly sceptic of the Sickle. The two customizables are extra fancy, both centered around using actions to have some controlled summon or enemy do stuff for you. Servitor has potential to be quite good, but i don’t really see the point of Power Word. Everything we’ve seen in the weeks after that was fantastic though. Elle Rubash and Sin-Eater are amazing enablers for the doom playstyle. String of Curses and Ghastly Possession fit that same playstyle, but are actually pretty great outside of that specific deck as well. Those last four cards are all excellent and make up for the mediocre first impression i had from the first four Mystic cards. This week’s Chalice is a step back again, but a) it’s still an okay card and b) expecting that level of greatness 5 weeks in a row would’ve been greedy.


Improvised Shield, Heed the Dream, Predator or Prey, Pocket Multi Tool, Salvage, Grizzled

Both customizables are quite efficient in terms of encounter deck protection, offering bonuses to tests aplenty. Improvised Shield doesn’t really have much of a home, but Salvage could turn out to be a near-staple for many, many Survivor decks in the future. The final two Survivor cards we’ve seen so far are Dilemmas, which have revelation effects on player cards. Heed the Dream is quite good, Predator or Prey a bit too situational for my tastes. Bit of a mixed bag what we’ve seen from Survivor for now.


Tool Belt

Just so you don’t think i forgot about this one… i don’t think Tool Belt is all that good. It will probably have its use in some niche interaction, but ultimately sharing the body slot with Backpack is going to kill Tool Belt for the vast majority of use cases i am afraid.

The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup #6

Week 6

It’s Rogue week on this edition of spoiler roundup, so rejoice my fellow burglars and uuuh… people of flexible morality. It’s been quite a chunk of new cards since last weekend, with two more Customizables and a host of rogue stuff, including the full reveal of Kymani Jones.


Hit and Run was previewed by WingingIt on their Youtube
Toolbelt was previewed by Drawn To The Flame on their podcast
Empirical Hypothesis was previewed by the r/arkhamhorrorlcg subreddit
Ghastly Possession was previewed by Optimal Play on their Youtube
Calculated Risk was previewed by Whisperer in Darkness on their Youtube
Kymani Jones was previewed by Maxine Newman on the FFG In-Flight at Gencon
Grizzled and Quick Getaway were previewed by Mythos Busters on their podcast
Thieves’ Kit(3) was previewed by PlayingBoardGames on their Youtube


Empirical Hypothesis

Oh my. This is by far the best level 0 customizable. How good is it? I think it’s good enough to versatile it into Stella and Wini. This is a Lucky Cigarette Case and/or Rabbit Foot that doesn’t use a slot as a baseline. Pretty great. Of course you can in addition throw more XP at the card to make it even better. Or, in case of this card i would say make it more flexible because at least in my first reaction i feel like the best triggers (fail/pass) and the best payoff (draw) are printed on the level 0 already. More options and payoffs can just give you more opportunities to get and spend evidence tokens. Trial and Error and Field Research look very appealing to me as additional criteria. Irrefutable Proof and Research Grant give additional options to spend the evidence, but i have to say that drawing cards is probably going to be the best option most of the time. So i am not sure i’d really want to spend XP on that. Alternative Hypothesis needs some playtesting if it can be reliably triggered. But if it can, then adding two or three evidence per turn could bury you in evidence and cards…


Kymani Jones

We’ve seen bits and pieces of Kymani already, with their front being on the back of the Scarlet Keys box and parts of their back being leaked early on. But now we have the full picture including the signature asset and weakness enemy, thanks to an official preview by MJ herself on the FFG stream from GenCon. And i have to say, Kymani looks spectacular. 5 agility is massive of course and so is starting with 5XP. On a rogue, that XP is worth a whole lot, those decks can get very XP hungry. More so than other classes in my experience. Their access to Tool traited cards isn’t immediately exciting to me, most available tools are either investigative ones or weapons and those key off of intellect or combat, both of which Kymani only has a 2 in. But between Kymani and the Toolbelt (keep reading!) there is probably going to be some interesting tools planted in Scarlet Keys specifically for use with Kymani. We’ll see. In any case, i can accept a more narrow deck building in tandem with the 5XP, just like on Father Mateo. Over time, the card pool will provide more tools.
The Grappling Hook is very good, basically offering a bonus action as long as you can take three different basic actions in succession. This reminds me a lot of Axolotl’s Isabel La Fratta, a custom investigator that i had some good fun with. The Grappling Hook offers even more upsides, turning all actions taken into ones that don’t trigger AoOs and letting Kymani investigate with their agility. Beautiful.
For Agent Fletcher i have only one word: Backstab.

Calculated Risk

That’s actually not bad at all. You’ll only want to use it on your final action, but then it’s going to be 3 (or more) wild icons which for a level 0 skill is stellar. Investigators that take many actions per turn, like Tony, Bob or anyone with Leo De Luca etc., can push this even further but i don’t think that’s actually necessary to make this card playable. I could see this being a thing in Kymani decks, making sure that the investigator ability oversucceeds by enough. Thanks to their Grappling Hook, Kymani’s even capable to take more than 3 actions without any further help.
Yep, this is solid. Will see play for sure, at least in initial level 0 decks before they make room for the likes of Momentum or Savant.

Hit and Run

YES! Oh god yes. I love this style of card. Doesn’t matter if it’s called Momentary Blink, Sneak Attack or whatever, abusing the comes-into-play effects of cards is so very dear to my deck-builder heart, no matter the game. So clearly this was put into the rogue class for thematic reasons, to hang out with its buddy Sleight of Hand. But mechanically it would fit much better into almost any other class, since Rogue doesn’t have all that many good targets for it (yet?). Luckily it’s a level 0 card, so we can throw it into a lot of decks. We could even Versatile for it if we really want. The obvious class to pair it with is Seeker, since the Miskatonic line of allies is all about coming into play for an effect, then being disposable. Hit and Run can double up on those sweet, sweet triggers. Hit and Run for Jeremiah Kirby and draw up to 5 cards, end of turn pick him up again. Next turn, play Jeremiah for another bunch of cards, then Calling in Favors him back to your hand for another ally with an effect. Then replay Jeremiah again and draw even more cards. Like, i am writing this stuff and suddenly feel the desire to versatile two copies of Hit and Run into my Sled Dog Amanda deck because it sounds absolutely delightful to play. It’s already 50 cards, what’s 10 more, right?
The Rogue class itself does have a few interesting targets, which pretty much all have been covered in the reveal video. Of those i especially like the idea of double dipping on Priest of Two Faiths to fill up the chaos bag with blesses real quick.
The other thing that needs mentioning is the combo with Calling in Favors. Flash your Leo de Luca into play, then immediately return him with Calling in Favors for a 6 resource rebate on whatever ally you find in your top 9 cards. Pretty spicy.
I could drone on about this card for longer, but let’s call it a day here. Fantastic card and will only get better over time.

Quick Getaway

Decent at the very least. As a level 0 with double icons it can afford to be a bit more narrow, since you can always use it as a pseudo-skill. The effect for playing the card isn’t bad, it’s similar to Dodge in that it negates an enemy attack. This does include attacks of opportunity. In comparison to Dodge, this does cost 2 resources instead of 1 which certainly hurts a reactive card such as this one. You do get a free evade action out of it, though. I see this card mostly useful in campaigns that have a lot of Hunter enemies. When they move into your location during the enemy phase, you can use this to negate their attack and exhaust them to make a quick getaway on the next turn. That’s not bad at all, it will just have to be seen if this competes with existing evasion tech like Cheap Shot or Slip Away. [Edit: Duh, obviously the enemy readies in the upkeep step directly following the enemy phase. So you don’t really get anything out of the evade. Since the Hunter thing doesn’t work, i don’t see myself picking this card over Cheap Shot and Slip Away.] Like those other two evade Tricks, Quick Getaway goes straight into the list of cards that can be used with Chuck Fergus and get quite a lot out of it.

Thieves’ Kit(3)

A couple weeks ago we’ve seen the level 0 Thieves’ Kit, a card i was quite excited about. Now we get the level 3 upgrade and it’s a solid one. 3XP buys us an extra +1 skill value here and the chance to gain an additional resource on use when oversucceeding. Not the sort of upgrade we usually expect for 3XP, but since it comes at a very strong level 0 baseline, i don’t really feel like complaining about it either. I don’t see this being a high priority to upgrade, but especially when you can reliably oversucceed (Wini and Kymani both are good candidates for that) the extra income in resources could prove to be significant enough that you do want to go the extra mile on this card. Aside from that, i think i said everything i wanted to say about Thieves’ Kit on the level 0 preview.


Ghastly Possession

I like this. Now, i am not really much into doomplay and i don’t really see the payoff for the first option. I suppose you can use it to accelerate your Abyssal Tome into doing more damage faster. Aside from a use like that, putting doom out for just two skill pips isn’t great, especially in a world where Promise of Power exists. However, the second option on this card is quite enticing. Removing doom is obviously powerful, that doesn’t really need further explanation. But you also get the option to use this card without any doom context at all, to recharge uses on an asset. And that’s also very useful. The amount of uses you get is half the original value, rounded down. So that means it’s not terribly useful on assets that have 3 default uses because you only get one charge back. This includes the majority of spell assets, but notably Shrivelling and Azure Flame both have 4 charges on them. Refilling 2 of them with a skill card can certainly be worth it. A huge upside here is that you can replenish any uses, no matter how obscure. While secrets, supplies, ammo and charges are already able to be recharged in several ways, this does offer a way to get more leylines on your Archive of Conduits, for example. As a skill card, you can use this on other peoples tests to refill their assets as well, of course. So this is a way to help your Guardian to put more ammo on their BAR or whatever.
This card is quite flexible and will likely be worth the 1XP cost often enough. For investigators that play around with doom, it’s even going to be a staple.



Oooh, a customizable skill. This is quite good in terms of encounter protection. Naming common treachery traits such Terror or Hazard is going to turn this into a great insurance against some of the most impactful things coming from the encounter deck. Hex is a good choice for Circle Undone, obviously.
You can also name enemies with it and this is likely to pay off as well, since most campaigns have some sort of enemy type they focus on. If nothing else then Monster, Humanoid and Elite are great picks.
The card allows picking up to four traits, allowing this card to come close to Stella’s signature with very little investment.
There’s some bigger upgrades on here as well. Nemesis is particularly useful if Elite is one of the chosen traits as it spreads some of the help to the whole team. The survivor could use Grizzled to evade the Elite and afterwards one or more teammates get to kill it more easily. That’s a neat trick. Mythos-Hardened allows taking treacheries out of the encounter deck forever which makes a mockery out of the “collect 3” treacheries in Circle Undone, but is also just generally useful in higher playercounts where the encounter deck cycles multiple times. There does need to be a skill test on the treachery though, so no removing Ancient Evils. Feel free to bin Frozen in Fear though, nobody needs that sort of negativity in their lives 😀 Next up, Always Prepared returns Grizzled to your hand from your discard pile whenever you draw an appropriate encounter card, ready to use it immediately. That’s just sort of insane and is likely to trigger multiple times per scenario. Everyone who played Stella knows how great it is to have skills with 3 wild icons readily available. Grizzled can, if you chose the traits well, make a nice impression of Stella’s signature skills. Patrice gets a lot of value out of Always Prepared as well, of course. Oh, and you get to recur the card even if the treachery doesn’t have a test on it. You can just keep it for later.
Seems like a real nice piece of encounter protection. Does it compare favorably to Dig Deep(4) in that role? I’m actually not sure. Remains to be seen.
Final note: Grizzled can be used against weaknesses. Most weakness treacheries don’t have tests on them (with Carcosa’s Lost Soul being a notable exception) but if you have a particularly nasty weakness enemy, then this card could help with that. Especially since most of those weaknesses have common traits like Humanoid anyways.



A card search for Tool finds 26 cards (which is not including the Multitool and the Thieves Kit which are also coming with Scarlet Keys). Of those, there are a couple that are situational enough that you might not want to have them lying around all the time and take up a slot, like Riot Whistle, Pocket Telescope or even Silas’ Net. The list of tools also includes Sledgehammer and Chainsaw, both notable for being weapons and for taking up both handslots. One could imagine a Survivor that uses Tool Belt to switch between “attack mode” and “search mode” by swapping their Chainsaw or Sledge with their Keyring or Lantern as needed. I also quite like the idea that was suggested on the reveal podcast of using this with Thieves Kit and Lockpicks, so you can do the once per turn strong investigate with Lockpicks and the rest with the Kit while still having a free hand for a gun or something like that.
So i definitely see some potential here for the card to be worthwhile, i do have two hangups about it though. One, the number of tools isn’t terribly large and also both spread across classes and often redundant in their use (most are investigation tools). A given investigator can probably use like 10 different tools, so that limits who even has enough cards available to make this sing. Survivors are the only ones who get tool weapons, so they are the only ones who can do the “attack/search mode switch” i talked about (well, i suppose they share the Sledge with Guardian, but Guardian doesn’t have anything else in terms of tools to switch with Sledge, so that point is moot).
The other issue i have here is that it competes with Backpack(2) for the body slot. And Backpack is fantastic. My initial thought is that Backpack probably does more for your tool deck than Tool Belt does as it makes you find those gadgets in the first place.
Now, to be fair the first problem can easily be solved. There might be a bunch more tools coming that make this more attractive, either directly in Scarlet Keys or just over time as more expansions get released. The second problem… i will leave that up to playtesting, i suppose. I kinda want to like this effect, but after being burned by Quickdraw Holster before, i am going to be a bit more pessimistic now.
I suppose you can use it in Kymani to store away your Grappling Hook for when you need it?
Altogether a card that i am not all that excited about, but it is fine. It has a unique effect and might turn out to be a piece in a puzzle i am not seeing right now. Might also become more interesting as further previews might show up with more Tools that can work with the Belt in an interesting way.

Scarlet Keys: Customizables #2


First part here: Click me.
Today i’ll continue with the other four cards we have gotten from previews already. The next article might take a while longer… depending on how the previews go, it could be until we get the eventual full reveal. It’ll come when we got another set of 4 customizable cards to talk about.

Oh, also i kinda got lost in puns here. It … uuuh… just kinda happened and when i realized what i was doing it was too late, at least for the first two cards. I apologize in advance for any headaxe this might cause, it was mostly an axeydent. Most of these puns aren’t very cleaver at all and shouldn’t have made the cut. I just couldn’t for the knife of me get a handle on them. I suppose it’s a bit of an axeperience.

Pocket Multi Tool

I don’t think you include this card as something you primarily want to investigate or fight with. If that’s what you are looking for, then Ice Pick does a similar job for cheaper and with an upgrade that is pretty great. Multi Tool’s biggest strength lies in being useful for any sort of test and in being actually really good encounter protection. I don’t really see much use for the Lucky Charm upgrade, unless you are playing Stella of course.
Springloaded (4XP, level 2): “A Difference Like Knife and Day”. Not much of a combo, since it’s only the one upgrade, but this is worth talking about. Just Springloaded on its own virtually increases all your stats by 1, at least until you actually needed that extra point once. I think this compares favorably to Dark Horse, actually. It would also stack quite well with Dark Horse.
Signal Mirror + Magnifying Lens (4XP, level 2): “We Blade Them For Fools”. Having the option to help with evades is a solid reason to prefer Multi Tool over Ice Pick, since that plays into the hands of a couple of Survivor investigators who often have higher evade than fight values.
Springloaded + Pry Bar (5XP, level 3): “Yeah, this will do knifely.” This is what i personally consider the core for this card and i will likely always get these upgrades when i play it. You can always branch out into getting the bonuses for other tests, but having full blown Lucky!s on standby for treachery tests is just fantastic. Stella can add Lucky Charm (8XP, level 4) and use her first action to deliberately fail a test (as she does) and ready the Tool after using it in Mythos. Everyone else should just get whatever bonus they need most. Detachable will spread the love in multiplayer.
Springloaded + Pry Bar + Detachable + Lens + Mirror/Knife (10XP, level 5): “A Capitool Investment”. That’s how it looks when you take the previous combination and crank it up to the maximum. Basically, it’s a better Jake Morrison. And Jake is already extremely powerful, just limited in application due to being tied to blesses. This isn’t.

Runic Axe

Like with the other customizable cards that are gated by uses, the upgrade that makes those uses last longer seems almost mandatory. The Axe is different in that it doesn’t have an upgrade that increases the number of charges it starts with, but has one that makes those charges replenish (faster). I think that Saga is really, really good and i would need serious convincing to play Axe without it.
Saga (3XP, level 2): “Little Chop of Horrors” So let’s talk about Saga on it’s own. Once per turn, it allows you to swing your axe at +3 attack for 2 damage. That’s quite good for a level 2 weapon, although dampened a bit by being a two-hander. That being said, you do have a spare checkbox you can use without going into level 3 and that can make all the difference. The Inscriptions of Glory and Hunt look the best to me, allowing to channel spare charges into card draw or movement.
Ancient Power + Inscription of the Elders (4XP, level 2): “You have to get a handle on axing the right questions”. Spend as many charges on +2 fight bonus as you need to oversucceed reliably, then dump the rest for bonus clues. I don’t think this is quite viable on its own, but it is sort of a unique thing to do for Guardian.
Ancient Power + Saga (6XP, level 3): “Axetracurricular Activities”. If you don’t plan on using your weapon every turn, this can give you tremendous burst power. Spending all your charges at once can give you an attack with +3 fight for 4 damage thanks to Ancient Power. And with Saga you can do that every other turn. That’s almost half as good as a full pack of Sled Dogs! Add Scriptweaver for the full 10XP package and you can spend three of your charges for a +7 attack with 4 damage, which starts to actually rival the pack of dogs.
Ancient Power + Inscription of Elders + Saga (7XP, level 4): “It was fine before, but then i runed it.” The problem with the level 2 clue-axe is that you dump all your charges then have to wait 4 turns to recharge. Saga cuts that in half, making it a more feasible option.
Ancient Power + Inscription of Elders + Scriptweaver (8XP, level 4): “Axepensive, but does the job”. Alternatively you can use Scriptweaver to make the combo only take 3 charges which allows you to get your 3 clues at +7 attack. Takes 3 turns to fully recharge, but that does look like a spicy thing to do, especially if you can back it up with some charge generation from mystic and seeker card pools.
Scriptweaver + Saga + Inscriptions of Glory, Elders and Hunt (10XP, level 5): “Admiring the Cleavage”. You can imbue your attacks with 4 different inscriptions on every turn and still keep 2 charges in your backpocket at all times. This approach lacks the raw punch of something using the Ancient Power upgrade, but it does make for a good value card. Probably not what i am looking for when spending 10XP, though.

Power Word

So let me be upfront about something here. I don’t really get this card. At level zero it’s an actually decent emergency evade that you can just drop on a non-Elite and use to auto-evade them. But most of the upgrades are just way too weird for me and also quite inconsistent because they depend so much on stats of the enemy you grab. Which is something you can’t quite plan for in most cases. Except for Greater Control, the upgrades also don’t really build on the ability of the level 0 card.
Greater Control (2XP, level 1): “Assuming direct control”. If a reliable emergency evade is exactly what you are looking for, then Greater Control lets you lean into it. The ability to get it back at will means you will always be able to dodge whatever enemies come down on you, as long as you have 3 resources at hand. Since it’s only 2XP and Power Word is an event, this is an option that is even open to Mandy and Carolyn.
Betray + Mercy + Confess + Distract (4XP, level 2): “The Kitchen Sink”. So what do you do when you can’t plan for one thing in particular but still want more than just an evade out of your power word? Answer: Plan for everything then see what you can use when you’re on the field. Your dominated enemy should have stats that fit at least something on the list, so you can get some value out of it.
B+M+C+D+Bonded (7XP, level 8): “Remote Control”. The Kitchen Sink approach has the issue that it leaves you with a ready enemy still at your location, waiting to smack you when you move or otherwise take actions. Bonded can solve this issue. Order your pawn to move away, and in the next turn let it do … whatever. Pick up clues, hit the cultist, … do stuff.
B+M+C+D+Tonguetwister (7XP, level 8): “Mr. Manager”. The other way to solve that issue is the ability to give two commands. Use one to do something productive and the other to make the enemy exhaust or move so it doesn’t bother you or anyone else afterwards. Note that both the Remote and the Manager approach still leave enough room on the upgrade sheet for Thrice Spoken in case you want to get really gimmicky about it.

The Raven Quill

This card is even more flexible than the rest of the bunch, as you don’t just have to consider the upgrades for the card itself, but also the wide variety of spells and tomes it can attach to. I think it’s very, very powerful for that reason and my candidate for “Most Likely To Break” as more cards get released over time.
Endless Inkwell (2XP, level 1): “A Discount To Experience”. The idea here is that if you have 3 different tomes or spells in your deck that you want to upgrade, you can use Raven Quill strictly as an option to buy an extra point of XP for 3 resources during each scenario. You get 7 opportunities for this for a theoretical net plus of 5XP over the course of the campaign. Of course, 3 cards with 2 copies each are only 6 upgrades, so one of them would need to be upgradable twice (like Shrivelling, for example) to be able to get the full 7XP.
Spectral Binding + Endless Inkwell (3XP, level 2): “A Helping Hand”. This gives you an extra handslot to hold all those tomes or an extra arcane slot for all those spells. There’s even some extreme cases where you save even more slots (like Enchanted Bow, which conveniently counts as a spell) but those are kinda rare. I do think that paying 3 for an extra hand slot is often absolutely worth it and unlike with Bandolier or Arcane Enlightenment you don’t have to give up another slot for it here.
Interwoven Ink + Living Quill (4XP, level 2): “Shenanigans”. This is what i think will be the abuse case for Raven Quill. Being able to ready *any* asset has lots of potential, the exhaust clause is often used on assets to prevent those assets from going super charged. This bypasses that security barrier. Put this on something that you can use every turn, so nothing that uses charges or secrets itself. I suggest Old Book of Lore. Find an asset that exhausts as a free trigger and you can start each turn by doing whatever that asset does, then drawing cards with OBoL and then exhausting the asset again. Do whatever you like with the 2 remaining actions. Let me throw out Quickdraw Holster, Pathfinder, Eon Chart and/or Ariadne’s Twine as assets to get funky with. Farsight, if you want to get reeeeaaally spicy. I also kinda want to see someone combine this with Sign Magick(3) and do all sorts of stuff after activating their spell.
Supernatural Record + Spectral Binding (5XP, level 3): “The Occult Lexicon Care Package”. The Occult Lexicon is an amazing card and i play it in almost all my Seeker decks. It has two major problems though: You can only include one of them in your deck. And after playing it, it just sits there passively in your hand, without doing much but stopping you from playing other hand assets. Raven Quill can fix both of these issues while also giving you a 1XP discount on the eventual upgrade to Lexicon level 3. By that point you threw 7XP at your Occult Lexicon, but … that still seems worth it. That Lexicon is quite the card. Note that your “extra copies” of Lexicon cost 5 resources, so you do need to have somewhat good economy for this to work. Especially since the Blood-Rites also tend to eat up a lot of money afterwards.
Supernatural Record + Endless Inkwell (6XP, level 3): “The Toolbox”. The plan here is to run 3 different spells and/or tomes, include only 1 copy of each and then pick whatever you need most at the time when you draw your Raven’s Quill. That way you need one fewer deck space than if you had 2 copies of each of the cards while still increasing the chance to draw the one you want most early. You also don’t run into the issue of drawing a tome that you already have in play which is mostly a dead draw. Use this with three spells/tomes that you are looking to upgrade to get some extra value out of it, otherwise the 6XP cost is a bit steep for what’s on offer here.
Energy Sap + Mystic Vane + Endless Inkwell (6XP, level 3): “The Generic Spell Package”. If you pack a couple of different spells and want to just generally enhance them, this gives you a way to get more charges and a +2 boost to any associated tests. Pretty good, but there’s a problem here: It’s level 3. So unless you are Lola this means you are a Seeker main that only gets access to offclass Mystic. This does help Daisy to get more juice out of her level 0 Shrivels, basically getting the level 3 upgrade through a loophole. That seems fine? Mainclass Mystics will need to drop parts of this configuration to run Quill in such a manner. Luke can combine Inkwell with either Vane or Sap which might be okay. Gloria has to also drop Inkwell, leaving her just with Vane or Sap which seems more questionable. I would refer Gloria to the XP saving recipe of just using Inkwell as detailed before.
(Just to throw this out there, i am aware that there’s spells in other classes than Mystic and tomes in other classes than Seeker. But those mostly are either not great (Obfuscation), not an asset (Blood Eclipse) or don’t benefit from Vane or Sap (Grimm’s Fairy Tales). Exceptions like Blur, Abyssal Tome and Guiding Stones do exist, of course.)

Scarlet Keys: Customizables #1


This short article series is intended to take a closer look at some configurations for the new Customizable cards from the upcoming Scarlet Keys expansion. Those things are highly flexible in what you can do with them and i will of course not be able to cover everything. Mostly i want to pick one to three configurations that tickle my fancy and talk about them. I’ll do four cards per article, i expect there to be 12 or 16 customizable cards in the expansion. We don’t know all of them yet, but enough to start digging into the possibilities. I will pick the cards i talk about in no particular order, but for varieties sake i will try to have four different classes in each article. If possible, i want to talk about at least one configuration that can be done with level 0-2 access and one that requires level 0-5 class access.

Hunter’s Armor

First up is the most simple one. Let me start by saying that i am convinced that any configuration needs to have at either Durable or Hallowed in it to be worth looking at. A 2/2 armor for 4 resources just doesn’t cut it.
Durable + Hallowed (4XP, level 2): “The Tank”. Super basic. 4 health and 4 sanity is sort of insane and since you get 2 of them for 4XP, this turns Armor of Ardennes into an even bigger laughing stock than it was before. Personally, i would take Protective Gear over this most of the time, though.
Enchanted + Durable/Hallowed (3XP, level 2): “The Over-Prepared”. For when you want your armor to play nice with Backpack. Or if you simply want to equip two of these and be completely impervious to anything.
Armor of Thorns+ Hallowed + Enchanted (6XP, level 3): “Stop Hitting Yourself”. Combine this with a Guard Dog and you’ll deal 2 retaliatory damage to many enemy attacks. Get both armors out at the same time and you can even deal 3 damage back in some cases. Add some ways to repair your armor and heal your dog and you got a solid hook for a deck. I’m thinking Tommy here, who can use Salvage and Chance Encounter with Short Supply to jumpstart this deck and later on make huge bank if the armor ever gets discarded.
Hexdrinker + Protective Runes + Hallowed/Durable (7XP, level 4): “Gain from Pain”. Hexdrinker can be a good source of Guardian card draw, especially when Protective Runes allow you do also draw from treacheries other players at your location suffer from. In a campaign like TFA or TCU this could be huge and might even warrant getting both Hallowed AND Durable which will up the cost to 9XP (level 5)

Summoned Servitor

[Note: Due to me misunderstanding the card on a fundamental level, this part was rewritten] Servitor is certainly costly, demanding two slots (among them the valuable ally slot) and also a sacrifice when it enters play. But it does offer some potential, at least when you are able to boost its base stats with cards from your non-Mystic class access, using static boosts like Beat Cop, Mag Glass or Delilah. If you don’t have such cards, then Servitor can be reduced to an almost-Pathfinder. But honestly even that is still good because Pathfinder is absurd.
Dominance + Wings of Night (3XP, level 2): “I Am The Seeker Now”. Like with Seeker staple and taboo list frequent flyer Pathfinder you get an asset that can move you once per turn, but you do have to give up a slot for it (probably the arcane slot). Add another XP for Armored Carapace or Eyes of Flame to taste for additional utility and to justify sacrificing that slot further.
Dominance + Wings of Night + Claws (4XP, level 2): “Sick Em!” This is in theory a decent way to deal with Cultists or small aloof critters like Whippoorwills. Attacking with a base of 4 alone is not enough to reliably kill enemies though and the Mystic pool doesn’t really have a lot to build on that stat. So this is probably left to Mystics with Guardian access (or Guardians with Mystic access) aka Mary and Diana. Diana has enough going on already, but this seems like an interesting way to leverage Mary’s fighting oriented card pool despite her own middling fight value. In bigger groups, you might consider swapping Wings of Night for Carapace instead but i don’t think it’s all that valuable.
Dominance + Wings of Night + Jaws (4XP, level 2): “Trick em!” As before, just with evasion instead of fight. Something to consider for Mystics with either Rogue or Survivor access, but i think it’s a lot less useful than the fight version.
Dominance + Wings of Night + Eyes (4XP, level 2): “Seek em!” And of course you want Seeker access to make full use of this one. Remember that you can commit Deduction to your servitor’s seek action even if it’s on the other side of the map [because i certainly didn’t!] because it’s still you that is performing the actual test. This can be pretty good to grab clues that are guarded by something because Servitor won’t be attacked. Or just as a free(-ish) action each turn to pick up an extra clue. Of the three bonus action upgrades i think this is the most likely to be worth it without support from out of class and actually end up becoming a strong argument to play St. Hubert’s Key more. Or Arcane Studies(4).
Daemonic Influence + Claws/Jaws/Eyes + Dominance (8XP, level 4): “Make haste!” Because i think that the previous three option all profit greatly from access to cards from other classes, i kept them level 2. Sadly that means that those are all a bit slow since you will often need to just spend your extra action for the turn on moving. Daemonic Influence is the way around that, allowing you to move and fight/evade/seek with the Servitor in the same turn, but it pushes the Servitor into level 3, so it’s just for mainclass Mystics. At that point, you might as well spend another 2XP and free up the ally slot as well. I think that Daemonic Influence is good enough of an upgrade to warrant the 5XP investment for those that can do it.
Daemonic Influence + Claws + Jaws + Eyes (8XP, level 4): “Jabberwocky”. The hyperflexible one. Both moving and fighting/evading/investigating once per turn is probably enough options that you should find something useful to do with this thing every turn which can make up for not being able to properly support each of the different options. You can either add Dominance to free up a slot or Wings of Night for the Pathfinder option.

Damning Testimony

Similar to the Durable/Hallowed thing on the Armor i do consider Blackmail to be mandatory for this one. When you have limited uses to work with, you need to actually pass your tests and Blackmail is a big part of that with Damning Testimony. (EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that you only remove evidence from Testimony when you succeed, so that reasoning doesn’t hold up. While this is true, i still think that you pretty much always want Blackmail.) And to be honest, for a 4 resource asset that has a use type that can’t be refilled (like charges, secrets or supplies can) you really want the two extra uses from Fabricated Evidence as well. What’s more, i find Surveil and Extort rather impractical due to their targeting limitations. This limits my options on what configurations to talk about something fierce.
Fabricated Evidence + Blackmail (4XP, level 2): “The Fingerprint Testimony”. The most basic use case. This simply tries to emulate Fingerprint Kit as a an investigation tool. This is super solid and i could see myself playing this in a couple decks.
Search Warrant + Blackmail (3XP, level 2): “The Witch Trial”. The only other combination with Blackmail that can be used by offclass rogues. Basically a TCU only option that lets you bypass Haunted.
Expose + Fabricated Evidence + Blackmail (8XP, level 4): “Bake him away, toys.” The cultist killer. Ditching Acolytes, Wizards of the Order and all other manner of nerds that spawn on the other side of the map while waving their doom around can be worth a lot. It’s a pricey piece of tech, but it could in theory solve a lot of problems especially in scenarios like Before the Black Throne or Shattered Aeons.

Alchemical Distillation

Okay, so my hot take here is that this is a perfectly fine card already at 0XP, more than i can say of most other customizables. It’s six cards drawn for four actions and two resources which is a net positive, but the real key here is being able to use it on other investigators. After all, a card drawn is worth more to a Guardian than it is to a Seeker. Similar to how it is with Testimony, the upgrade for extra uses is very appealing, but since Distillation only costs 2 to play it’s not quite as mandatory. Let’s call it “heavily recommended” instead.
Refined + Quickening (3XP, level 2): “Gives You Wings.” Of the four 1XP options, Quickening seems like the best to me because it basically represents 2 actions. I’d still mostly use this to send cards to other players, but having the option to make someone go fast is worthwhile and cheap enough to get. You can add one other option to stay within the level 2 limit which i suppose will mostly depend on the campaign you are playing. TFA? Mending. Carcosa? Calming. You get the idea. Enlightening i don’t find that attractive, i think we have better options for secret and charge shenanigans by now.
Empowered + Refined (6XP, level 3): “Nurse, 3cc of card draw, stat!” This allows you to distribute 15 cards over the course of 6 actions. Not too shabby!
Perfected + Refined + Quickened (8XP, level 4): “You wanna buy some death sticks?” So what’s better? Getting 3 cards or getting 2 cards and 2 resources? The answer to this one is going to depend on the circumstances of course. Which is why i pulled Quickened into this one as well, as 2 cards and 2 moves sounds pretty fantastic to me and in most cases better than 3 cards. Of course, it’s also 2XP more, so you get what you pay for i suppose.
Perfected + Empowered + Quickened (10XP, level 5): “This card is sponsored by Monster. Monster Energy! Game Like A Beast!” Okay, this one is more of a joke option. For one, you are basically testing against a difficulty of 5 now which is terrible. Especially since you don’t have the space on the card for Refined as well, so failing the test becomes even worse. But sure, if you pass you get to move three times and draw three cards for an action. Seekers, huh?