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
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.
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.