Scenario Difficulty Rankings #4: Taking Stock

Intro

Before we head into this week’s batch of scenarios, let’s take stock. Here’s the scenarios in the lower third of the difficulty rankings, covered in the previous three weeks (#1), (#2), (#3):

At this point, we can already crown the easiest scenario per campaign:

Notably, I got some pushback on my placement of House Always Wins from reactions to the first article, but i stand by it. Blood on the Altar would be next in line otherwise. Regrettably, there’s also three campaign finales on this list. And only one of those finales (Weaver) manages to still be a good time in spite of being just a bit too easy. Honestly, most of the rest i also find lacking. Echoes, HotE#2, Death’s Doorstep, Gates of Sleep, I&D#2… those are all scenarios that i ranked rather low by enjoyment as well, which points towards there being a thing like “too easy”. The Gathering is of course a special case, as the game’s tutorial it should be on the easier side. We’ll talk some more about The Gathering later in this article, though! But first, some more stalling insight, as I want to take a short moment to talk about consequences!

On difficulty: Consequences

When I discuss difficulty in this article series and try to rank them, a huge portion of where a scenario is going to end up is going to be subjective, both because it’s colored by my own experiences (which don’t have to be representative) and because sometimes things appear more dangerous than they actually are. One thing that can really make a huge difference in how a scenario is perceived is the threat of consequences for failing. Often, this will only be relevant on repeat plays, as these consequences are usually not immediately obvious on the blind play. They just happen during the resolution of the scenario.
Going into a scenario knowing that failing it will have a big influence on how the rest of the campaign goes can therefore make every obstacle the encounter deck throws your way appear more threatening. This can be a good thing, for example I’d argue that The Unspeakable Oath gains a lot of punch from the knowledge that failing it will mean you are driven insane. Of course it’s not an easy scenario for other reasons as well, but the knowledge that failing it will doom your investigator certainly adds a lot to how we think of Oath. On the other hand, it can be a bad thing as well as there are some scenarios that make “failing forward”, an important part of why Arkham’s campaign structure works, impossible or at least very difficult or frustrating. Two examples would be Essex Express which is not only easy to fail, but will also undo almost all your campaign decisions and progress to that point (ditch the Necronomicon, lose all story allies) and To the Forbidden Peaks where winning it means going out with double digit XP and a handful of powerful story assets while losing it means trauma, losing two all partner allies that you took with you and like 2-3XP. Continuing Edge of the Earth after a failed Forbidden Peaks is, at least to me, an exercise in frustration. Honestly, I prefer a scenario that just ends the campaign to being crippled in three different ways and having to limp through the rest of the proceedings. Playing Dunwich for the first time, i failed Where Doom Awaits. That scenario is of course a campaign ender on fail, so I wasn’t allowed to continue to the finale. This is actually something i remember fondly and back then it made me want to go back with different decks right away.
So that’s todays little nugget of what I think about when putting this list together. Being threatened by campaign altering consequences is certainly a factor in how difficult I perceive a scenario. In some cases, scenarios will allow mitigating parts of the consequences by giving a Resign option… but let’s talk about that next time. For now, let’s get back to the list, #52 to #46.

#52: Extracurricular Activity

I found this one hard to place in the list. It’s a bit of a wild mix of various things and the luck of the draw can either clobber you or leave you completely unimpressed. Yithian Observers are surprisingly tough for a first scenario and they can definitely put on some pressure if you get one early. But most of the time, the rather big encounter deck fails to produce a level of coherent threat that is worrying. The scenario is usually also over pretty quickly, so Beyond the Veil isn’t able to do too much here yet… most of the time. You get multiple ways to end the scenario, so you don’t have to tango with The Experiment either. Rescuing the students is usually a perfectly fine way to end and not terribly difficult. That being said, EA is not without its teeth, the ingredients for a rough time are absolutely in the encounter deck. It’s just that it’s diluted enough at this point that it merely foreshadows what comes later in the campaign. Honestly, for a scenario 1 i think that’s a win.

#51: Sanguine Shadows

So yeah, I am not going to pretend that getting to the Seeing Red part of the scenario and beating the Sanguine Watcher is easy. Beating notCarmen notSantiago to her game three times without dropping a bout is a tight race and requires some luck as well. That being said, what’s the consequence for “only” winning the first part? You still get the Weeping Lady. And in terms of XP you only miss the 2 from the Watcher, but then again you also don’t have to pay the 2 time for playing the second part. I would make the point that not playing the second part is actually preferrable because you can use that 2 time better elsewhere. And if that’s the bar i am measuring the scenario with, then all it requires is getting to three wins before La Chica Roja does. That’s not a huge ask.

#50: Waking Nightmare

We have something similar going on to Extracurricular Activity here. Most of the encounter deck is not that much of a problem, even in scenario 1… but Grey Weavers play the role of the Yithian Observers here. Luckily they aren’t shuffled into the deck until late in the game, but those things are nasty. What Waking Nightmare does excellently though is the sense of urgency throughout. You are constantly racing against the infestation bag, at least until you get the stairwell under control and can contain the horror tokens behind it. A great example that you don’t always need Ancient Evils and a horde of cultists to create timing pressure.

#49: Return to The Gathering

The first instance in the list where a Return To significantly adds to the difficulty of a scenario. Two more big ghouls show up in the house and as a result there is a sizeable amount of chunky enemies to get past before even reaching the Ghoul Priest. The scenario specific The Zealot’s Seal is also quite impactful. As a small mercy, Return to Gathering takes Grasping Hands out of the encounter deck, which does counteract some of the pain the additional ghouls can dish out.
The most relevant that the Return does is add more locations and pad out the scenario a bit. By making it last longer, you get more opportunities to draw into Rotten Remains and friends, as well as the assorted ghouls in the deck. Thanks to Lita’s help and the option to run out of the front door, the scenario is still not horrible, but it does pose a credible challenge now. I like it quite a bit.

#48: A Thousand Shapes of Horror

Thousand Shapes is for the most part rather benign. Moving around the house and doing some tasks isn’t all that difficult, even with the Unnamable being around.
This changes abruptly with the stair section, though. I base this placement in the list pretty much exclusively on the flight down the stairs, without that final part Thousand Shapes would very likely have been a part of the first article. However, with how often I got defeated on the stairs in the past, I will have to show the scenario some respect. And, to get back to my earlier ramblings about consequences, knowing that I need all the headstart I can get for the stairs does inject the first part with some extra urgency as I will want to not lose unnecessary time there. I especially don’t want to start that bit with the Unnamable already on top of me without Aloof.

#47: The Point of No Return

This is to me another case of classic Arkham gameplay, similar in broad concept to last week’s Pallid Mask. What i like in Point of No Return in particular is how it ramps up its difficulty. It’s a rather long scenario and it starts out somewhat unassuming, with some Gugs and Ghouls roaming about. And over time, as more of the map opens up, you get the big spiders and Nightgaunts added to the deck. And that terrifying Dhole thing. Even one of the scenario specific treacheries has scaling, with getting additional effects if the investigator is at certain locations that are further into the map. I’d point to this scenario as difficulty done right. It has a lot of impressive challenges for the players, but introduces them gradually and gives them the chance to meet it on their own terms.

#46: On Thin Ice

A scenario about a interdimensional Chimera that consists of multiple Elite enemies and abducts players to its own location. Yet, the most scary thing in it is a Grizzly bear.
This is a scenario where I found a huge difference in how it feels between the first play and the second/third. If you don’t know what’s going to happen, there are some things here that can give you trouble. The Void Chimera is rather difficult if you don’t put down the tokens on the wilderness locations. But on the repeat play, you are just going to always do that… and what’s left isn’t that spectacular to be honest. On your first play you might get the bright idea of antagonizing Thorne and in turn having to face one mean enemy where you have to wonder why they don’t just bareknuckle the Chimera in the first place. They have the stats for it, it’s not like they need the help of the players 😀 But if you ally with Thorne you won’t be getting any trouble on that front either. I’ve recently read a scenario report by someone that opened up my eyes to something else that ties back into the topic of Consequences as i touched on earlier: After meeting Thorne and striking a deal with them you can just wander over to the Resign location and leave without any ill effects, ignoring the Chimera and well, your part of the deal. Presumably Thorne just goes ahead and does indeed bareknuckle the thing to paste once you are gone. Like with Sanguine Shadows, you miss out on some XP, but also save an equal amount of time… so yeah. On Thin Ice looks a lot worse than it actually is, even if you do play it out.


How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the One-Off, part II: How (+ Example decklists)

Intro

Singletons in decks are often the sign of an unexperienced player trying to cram as much into a deck as possible. Unless they aren’t, because there’s actually several great reasons why just defaulting to full sets of everything can actually be detrimental and why singleton copies of cards can be great additions to your deck. Look, it’s a whole thing, please refer to part I if you need to catch up. There’s even a tl;dr near the end if my ramblings are too much. In any case, now that we all know and agree WHY it can be useful to employ other methods than just doubling up everything to achieve the desired amount of consistency in your deck, we should take a look at HOW we are actually supposed to do that.

What we are looking for

When we are looking for card draw and card selection for this purpose, we want a few things. Most of all, these cards need to not take away resources from our active cards – or at least as few as possible. That means not only in terms the actual resources to play the cards, but also actions and experience. We are fine with spending an action on something that looks through half our deck and plucks from it what we need, but not to just draw a card or two. Spending two resources and an action on Preposterous Sketches isn’t going to help us set up our board with the essentials. We are also not looking to spend 8XP on Cryptic Researches that we could’ve spent on active cards instead (although that could turn out to be more valuable than buying extra copies of highlevel cards in some cases) because we want to build our deck with the infrastructure in place from level 0 on. Spending some XP on this is fine, just as long as we can use reasonable placeholders from the start.

What we are not looking for

Following reactions to the first article, i feel like i should be clarifying some things that I possibly didn’t communicate very well. What we don’t want to do is just playing a dozen one-ofs in our deck. We also don’t want to give up synergies or skimp on the cornerstones of our deck. A deck is usually built with a specific task in mind, Arkham’s teeny weeny 30 card decklets aren’t really able to turn into those “Good stuff piles” that you can bring to your 100 card Magic Highlander games or the like. There’s just not the room for it. So don’t try to dilute the message of the deck, only dilute the way of communicating it. Built your deck around a combo of two cards? Obviously you play both of those cards with the maximum amount of copies. But if it’s just some generically good card that has a job that can be replaced like giving a statboost or some resources, then by all means explore your options. I made the point that if you want to fill two slots for a certain role, you take the best card and put it in the first slot – but then may find that this “best card” ends up being worse for the second slot due to the redundancy kicking in. However, if the distance between the best card and the second best card is wide enough, that can still mean that this best card ends up beating out the second best one for slot #2. I believe this is the case with Machete, which I alluded to near the end by saying that i actually end up playing two Machetes in my decks most of the time despite using it as an example to illustrate my points. I probably should have made that clearer. And to be perfectly clear now, my points still stand. Machete #2 is absolutely worse than Machete #1. It just turns out that Machete #2 is still better than Enchanted Blade #1 or 45 Auto #1. And if that’s the case, then that’s perfectly fine. Note that this doesn’t have to be true for every deck either. When there is one thing i would want to encourage you to do, it’s frequently re-evaluating your picks. Pretty much with every deck, actually. That way you don’t fall in the trap of endlessly repeating tired nonsense that was coined during the age of Dunwich and you actually make your own evaluations instead of just leeching a deck from ArkhamDB and then just playing that over and over and wondering why the game feels stale and why there’s not more content for it coming out…
Before I go completely off-script with my tangent here, let’s check out some cards that i think enable us to keep our deck consistency high without having to resort to only effectively playing the same 15 cards over and over again. After that, we’ll check out some decklists from my ArkhamDB archives, some of them more representative, some a bit more … uuuh … eccentric 😀

Guardian

Guardians are bad at card draw.” is something that gets trotted out all the time. Yeah, no. They were bad at it when Dunwich and Carcosa were all that was available for the game, but that sentence hasn’t been true at least since the release of the Investigator Starter Decks. The addition of Overpower(2) and Glory has done wonders for how a Guardian deck plays even at low levels. Granted, they have less card draw available than most other classes, but they have enough to make a deck tick and ultimately that’s all that matters. When it comes to finding weapons, they do have Prepared for the Worst to supplement the neutral Backpack. Tetsuo also exists to help with singleton cards that you want to draw eventually, but for setup purposes he’s too slow.
As a rather unique thing, Guardians can also start with a smaller decksize thanks to Stick To The Plan. Stick To The Plan not only makes it easier to find other cards in your deck, it also enables you to play three one-offs without any form of negative consequence.

Seeker

Ah, Seekers. The faction of card draw and card selection itself. Obviously there’s a bunch of great options here again, but honestly Perception(2) ranks among the best. At level zero we also have Eureka!, a card that makes it into pretty much all my Seeker decks as searching three cards deep without spending an action is just excellent. Usually i don’t want to spend an action on drawing cards without filtering deep, but the interaction between Library Assistant and Calling In Favors is just too good to leave out here. On a similar note, don’t let people tell you that you need to completely revamp your deck for Jeremiah Kirby to be great. Even if your deck is not lopsided towards even/uneven, with a completely equal split, Kirby is going to draw 2-3 cards on average. And that’s before you consider you can use him to just fish 5 cards deep for a specific card that you want. Research Librarian is the final ally to mention here, as it doesn’t get much better than being allowed to search your whole deck for a card. It’s restricted to Tomes, but there are some great tomes around, so that can work out. One such tome is Grim Memoir, which does a fantastic job of feeding you cards while you do what you want to be doing anyways. If Perception is good, then a box of Perceptions can’t be bad. There are a couple of events that draw cards, but honestly having to spend an action and resources on them makes them somewhat unattractive. I like neither No Stone Unturned nor Preposterous Sketches because having to pay 2 for them cuts too much into the setup budget, but Deep Knowledge is actually pretty good for pure consistency purposes.
There is a bunch of various assets that Seekers can play to draw more, but playing them, paying them, spending another action to activate them… that’s all a bit too much for our purpose here. Old Book of Lore and Mr. Rook are good cards, but won’t necessarily help us in the first few turns. Fantastic for the mid- and lategame of course. There’s one tome that does help, but this section is already pretty long, so we’ll save that for the Mystics.
Seeker’s counterpart to Stick To The Plan is Ancestral Knowledge. While it doesn’t reduce the overall decksize, it does allow easier access to skills. Skill access is something that Seeker actually excels in, thanks to Practice Makes Perfect. You’ll be unlikely to use either of these skill related cards to facilitate singleton skills, but you can combine them with card drawing skills (like Eureka and the upgraded Core skills, especially if you can play those from your off-class as well) to churn through your deck very fast.

Rogue

The Nathaniel Cho starter deck “fixed” card draw for Guardian, as a result Rogue might now be the class that has the fewest ways to draw and select cards. They do of course have their Lucky Cigarette Case, but while that one will make sure that we eventually draw into our Exceptionals, Pilfer or other powerful one-offs, it usually won’t help with the first few turns. Again, the best card to turn to is the upgraded Core skill, Manual Dexterity(2), every bit as fantastic as it is for the other classes. Possibly more. Another fantastic card they have available that acts as glue for the deck is Easy Mark, which for just one XP introduces a triplet of cards that just replace themselves. Don’t be afraid to just use them on their own and between core skills and Easy Mark you can see an extra handful of cards in just the first few turns. Scarlet Keys gave us one very powerful new option, Friends in Low Places, which gives Rogue their own spin on Prepared for the Worst. It starts out weaker than PftW (but more flexible), but just 2XP upgrades both copies to be Fast which is huge. Another 2XP and both copies dig just as deep as PftW. Fantastic card for our purposes, digging 9 cards deep without an action is insanely good for finding what we need. With Black Market, rogues can dig 5 cards deep at Fast speed, which is also very, very good.
The green Stick to the Plan equivalent is the Underworld Market. It doesn’t give perfect access to certain cards like the Guardian card, but you can absolutely use it to get better access to singleton cards, as long as they are Illicit. Notably that includes many green weapons and investigation tools, but also a bunch of other desirable cards. Underworld Market guarantees you see cards you put in there in the first five turns, even if you play only one, so that can enable us pretty well. The only strike against it is that it doesn’t synergize with other card draw options, as you can’t for example use your Friends in Low Places to search the Underworld Market deck.
The final green card that needs a mention in the context of singletons is Underworld Support which straight up limits you to only playing singletons in exchange for reducing the deck size. This can be worth it if you already are playing a lot of singletons as it will increase your chances to draw any of them. So if you plan on getting multiple Exceptionals, want to draw your signature more and can work out the rest, this card is better than it gets credit for. It’s certainly a big step though and probably one that goes further than I want to push you here!

Mystic

Mystics are the losers in the comparison across the classes, with the fewest ways to cheaply smooth out their draws. Sacrifice and Eldritch Initiation both exist, but do cost an action and are not without their other costs either. It should come to no surprise then that their upgraded Core skill, Guts(2), is once more the best piece of non-demanding card draw in their repertoire. Mystics do however have one card that specifically helps them draw their spells and it’s a pretty amazing one. Getting Arcane Initiate down on turn 1 does wonders for many mystic’s needs of finding the right spell asset at the right time. They can also play Scroll of Secrets, another low cost asset that gives you selection from your deck multiple times without having to spend actions over and over (at least if you play with taboo).
Other than that, there’s not really a whole lot though, meaning that mystics will usually have to lean on their subclasses (if any) rather heavily if they want to dig through their deck.

Survivor

Well, their upgraded Core skill is hot flaming garbage, so for once we can’t put that towards our goal of finding the cards we need. Not to be outdone, Survivors do indeed have something better though: Take Heart. It draws cards even more consistently and even pays for the cards you draw. Pretty nuts. Speaking of searching for things and even paying for it, Flare is really good as well and can pretty much enable an ally toolbox all by itself. With At A Crossroads, Survivor even has a Draw3 available that rivals the gold standard set by Seeker’s Deep Knowledge.
Survivor also has a permanent that sets aside cards for you at the start of the game, but unlike Guardian, Rogue or Seeker they don’t have to pay XP for some powerful exceptional card… they can just take Short Supply at deck creation for free. Sure, the cards go into the discard instead of some set aside zone, but that’s hardly a problem as there is no shortage of cheap events that access your things from there. For most practical purposes, a Survivor can more easily access cards in their discard than a Rogue can access their Underworld Market. The cards spilled into the discard are random, but just think of it as drawing an extra 10 cards towards what you want and you get close to how good Short Supply really is.

Neutral

Backpack and Calling in Favors. Both are incredible cards that can do a lot for your deck. They aren’t without their costs, though. Backpack you really want the level 2 version because it’s just that much better than the level 0. The level 0 is a bit too close to No Stone Unturned for my tastes, although i still have used it before – the ability to pick up to 3 cards gives it a lot more room to shine than NSU has in my opinion. Calling in Favors requires a certain ally count in your deck which in turn pushes you into Charisma or Archeology Funding, at least down the line. It’s not a card you can just throw into any deck, but there are many that can benefit greatly from it.
Then there’s the core skills: Guts, Perception, Overpower, Manual Dexterity. Their class specific upgraded versions have all been mentioned, but the level 0 ones are also quite good. Since they “only” draw 1 card, they don’t really enable anything, but they can be a part of a larger strategy that lets your deck appear smaller than it actually is.

And then there’s Versatile. I’m just going to send you over to my Versatile Deep Dive or we are going to be here for another 7000 words.

Investigators

Some investigators already come with card draw or card selection built in, either through their ability or through their signature. Obviously those are predestined to take advantage of a better toolbox.
Investigators with innate card selection:
Mark, Amanda, Harvey, Mandy, Norman, Patrice, William, Monty, Sefina, Winifred, Diana, Suzi
Investigators with repeatable card selection through their signature (or quasi-signature):
Nathan(Gloves), Daisy(OBoL), Minh, Agnes, Carolyn, Lola, Ursula, Dexter(Molly)

Other notable investigators:
Wendy and Ashcan: These two actually aren’t negatively impacted by redundancy because their ability allows them to ditch any spare copies of assets or whatever useless chaff they draw into their investigator abilities. They still benefit from having options, of course. But they can ignore much of the negative impact that those extra cards have by turning dead cards into token do-overs or doggy treats.
As a sidenote, Seekers can get in on that survivor action through Forced Learning. With 15 extra deck slots, they can play all the extra copies they want and FL’s built in card selection will make it okay. Seekers can also use Dream-Enhancing Serum to sidestep the issue.

Examples

Alright then, let’s check out some decks. I didn’t put anything on ArkhamDB specifically for this article, I think it’s more genuine if i point at decks that i played before and where i can be confident in them working as advertised. Let it not be said that i am not practicing what i preach.
Here are two decks that were recently featured in my Deck Tech series on this site.

Crystal Bestoey is from the most recent deck tech and a good example for a more subtle touch. Since its built around several key cards, all those are of course played in full sets of two, but this is a deck that gets fantastic consistency through SttP, Backpack, Overpower and Glory (and Eureka). This enables her to get away with just one ally and she plays a singleton Gang Up as a high impact card that she only needs later. She’ll also have no trouble at all to dig up that Lexicon and Mirror. On upgrading further, i could easily imagine cutting a Crystallizer and an Emergency Cache, especially if I find the XP to upgrade the Stand Togethers beforehand. Doing so would allow me to use late campaign XP to further raise the power ceiling of the deck through something impactful like a copy of Enchant Weapon, Physical Training(4) or even a Fang of Tyr’thrha that i could expect to find thanks to how the deck already works. I also want to point out the two Machetes here. I specifically decided against diversifying here because since they are my only weapons so I didn’t feel comfortable with charges or ammo.

Another one of my deck techs, Three Decks Joey does use Ancestral Knowledge and Practice Makes Perfect to get easy access to his card drawing skills right from turn one to propel him through his deck. He runs Eureka, Perception(2) and Overpower(2) for this purpose and backs those up with Tetsuo, Glory and Prepared for the Worst. This sort of draw power allows him to do unconventional stuff like playing Motivational Speech with only three allies and of course getting away with a minimum of weapons. Note that this deck actually has an extra 5 cards from Versatile and it was still able to rapidly find its essentials.

Alright then. Trigger Warning: Here’s a deck that goes off the deep end. This is the sort of stuff that I won’t recommend, but this is what I get up to. Check out 21-card Zoey. This is a deck built specifically around one card (Blessed Blade). And it’s completely Highlander, using Underworld Support. Not efficient at all, I built it because i wanted to do Underworld Support + Stick to the Plan for a mini-deck. Note that Astounding Revelation doesn’t combo with SttP anymore due to rules changes, so it’d be 22 card Zoey today. In any case, with a deck this small it turns out that drawing your one copy of the Blessed Blade is super easy, barely an inconvenience. Mulligans and Prepared for the Worst were so good at giving me the Blade that i didn’t even see it necessary to upgrade the Backpack during all of the campaign. And with the deck being this small, every bit of XP that i spent on an upgrade felt incredibly impactful. I don’t want to act like this is the most efficient way to do the Blessed Blade deck, but i want to present it as food for thought about how consistency is not just a factor of playing everything with spares.

To give you a more sane version of the Underworld Support deck, here’s Underworld Monterey. This deck runs a large amount of high-XP cards that i would probably have played as singletons anyways. Montys extra card draw from his investigator ability together with the 25 card deck means that you actually end up drawing all those high-XP cards. This is one of the decks with the highest amount of power per card. It’s just high impact card after high impact card. There’s barely anything in it that’s not upgraded and when it is, then it’s something like Pilfer, Intel Report or Kirby. Cards that pack a punch. Super fun deck. While i won’t recommend the 21-card Zoey to just anyone, i will definitely recommend this 25-card Monty. Obviously this is best played in TFA so you can just bury those 25 cards in 50+XP 😀 But the engine that enables the deck works from scenario 1 and it’s quite efficient even without shenanigans. Admittedly, this is mostly on the back of Monty being kinda really good.

But enough of Underworld Support. I have more Highlander decks, but i think i made my point on that front. Here’s something normal again: Farsight Mandy. Looks pretty standard, but there are a few reasons i picked it for the showcase here: First off, it’s level zero, so this showcases the amount of draw you can already use at that level. Then, it’s Mandy. And Mandy is kind of a weird case. On the one hand, she searches like no other, so she should have an easy time finding what she needs. On the other hand, she has 50 cards (at least if you use the taboo) so you might as well play those extra copies to fill those up. In this case i went with double (and triple) copies, but used the Dream-Enhancing Serum so the redundancy wouldn’t matter. And finally, despite this being a DES Mandy, i still split up the Milan into a Milan/Kirby/Whitton trifecta. Because that’s just how good Kirby and Whitton are. Also, double unique allies with Calling in Favors is awkward (this deck planned on Archeology Funding early).
Truth be told, the deck ended up being garbage and died on the Forbidden Peaks 😀 But that was not the fault of the deck architecture. The Research gimmick i was going for was simply not suitable for EotE.

This was garbage, don’t do this: WTF Tony Morgan. Like, it plays good cards and it made it through Carcosa to a win, which just illustrates how overblown the whole “omg what if i don’t draw my X” is. But why this deck isn’t running some better enablers, i don’t really understand when i look at this 2 year old list today. At least i could’ve done a second LCC(3) instead of the skull. And since this is a deck built around Chuck Fergus with Improvised Weapon and Flare, having Calling in Favors to actually find Chuck would make sense. There’s also only 8 Survivor cards in the deck, where are the Take Hearts?
Oh well, it worked out somehow i guess. And we now have an example on how NOT to do one-ofs, so that’s also a win. Kinda. A little bit. Moving on.

Okay, let’s end this on a more positive note. Here’s a 3 year old Winifred: Wini shoots a gun. From the description, here’s what i had to say about Wini three years ago:
“The deck is running a bunch of singletons, but due to drawing so many cards, this is not an issue at all and only leads to having more options while playing.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is tonight’s word.

Signing off

I’ll step on the brakes here and call this the end of this article. I was considering doing a third one, focusing on the types of cards that you might want to diversify into and which one you wouldn’t… but i realized that wouldn’t make for a great article honestly. And for the most part it would be rehashing the Versatile Deep Dive as well. So instead i threw in an extra deck example or two and put in that clarification section in the beginning. That should be enough to give you an idea of what I am going for here.
I also want to take this opportunity to say that i very much enjoyed reading all the responses to the first article. Really, my goal here is not to convert anyone to playing Highlander all the time. As long as i can make some of you stop and consider some extra options next time you build decks instead of just grabbing the same 15 cards you play every time, i am happy. Have fun, everyone. Cheers o/

How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the One-Off, part I: Why

Intro

Let’s talk about a common piece of advice that most people that play games involving decks and deckbuilding are familiar with. That advice being “Always play as many of a given card as you can, for consistency” and also very related to that one “Keep your deck as small as possible, for consistency“. Now, this is good advice, especially when given to players that might be struggling with building their own decks. Try to cram too much into your deck, dilute your deck’s core and in the end what you have is not a deck, but just a pile of random cards. In short, new players tend to play too many one-offs and giving them an easy to remember rule to improve their decks consistency and focus is very helpful. I am in no way doubting that.

However, this call for consistency through redundancy does have counterpoints and exceptions to it and i would argue that many intermediate Arkham players actually end up playing too many two-offs when they could use their very, very limited deck space better. Instead of using the advice as a useful guideline, it is often instead portrayed more dogmatic. Using singletons of certain cards is actually perfectly fine, as long as it’s done for the right reason and a strict adherence to a rule like “Never play one-offs” is preventing you (Yes, you!) from becoming a better deckbuilder. This dogma has its origin in Magic: The Gathering, where you indeed want to play playsets of almost everything. However, not only is M:TG using much larger decks than Arkham does, it’s also a competitive game. Failing to draw your key cards in Magic means dying to Goblin Aggro or some cheesy combo nonsense on turn 2 or 3. The consequences for doing so in Arkham are much less dire. And they are even less dire if you don’t play true solo. So let’s shake up some preconceived notions, and explore why you would want to take a look at that decklist you made and at least consider breaking up some of those playsets.

Consistency

So let’s talk about consistency, the big reason for playing multiple copies of a card. It is indeed a very important thing to consider when building your deck. Your deck is likely trying to *do something* and the card choices you make work towards your deck being able to *do something* as best it can. There’s likely cards in your deck that you want to draw early on, that you depend on. A weapon for your fighter. A willpower booster for your mystic. An investigation tool for your seeker. So of course you start building your deck and put in two Machetes. Two Holy Rosaries. Two Mag Glasses. Playing multiple copies of a card (roughly) doubles our chances at drawing it. Pretty basic stuff. We can improve on it and we will do so in a bit, but for now that seems quite reasonable!
If consistency is measured by the chance to draw a card in your deck, then the other side of the equation is your deck size. There aren’t many ways to change it, but the few ways there are are commonly advised against for similar reasons. Add more cards to your deck and it will decrease the chance of drawing every other card you have. Again, this is something that is easily agreeable: Increasing your deck size decreases consistency. Consistency is good.

Redundancy

Redundancy means you put several cards into your deck that do the same thing. So if you don’t draw copy A, you hopefully get copy B instead. Here’s the rub though… Redundancy is not actually a good thing. It’s a means to an end, but you don’t actually want redundancy for it’s own sake in many cases.

You aren’t planning on playing that second Machete, right? Are you going to play that second Rosary? Do you want two Mag Glasses? As you can see from these examples, the answer to these questions is going to vary a lot depending on the actual card you are talking about. A second Machete is pretty much useless, it doesn’t exhaust and it doesn’t stack. It’s also rather expensive to play and Machetes don’t run out of ammo either. Two Rosaries? I suppose if you use one for soaking horror, you have a spare. That could be useful, but most Mystics are probably not hurting for sanity. The Mag Glasses? Sure, why not. They stack, they are cheap, they don’t even cost an action. Might as well pay a resource to get an extra intellect until you draw something more relevant for your second hand slot.

So depending on which card we talk about the redundancy can be more or less of a drawback. For the Mag Glass we could even make a case of the redundancy being desirable, but that’s going to be the exception. But as long as you have a Machete on the board, that second Machete is a really bad card. It’s not quite a wasted draw as you can at least commit it to a test but let’s not act like having this card in your deck is in any shape or form desirable:

This piece of junk is virtually added to your deck the moment you play your first Machete while still having a second one in your deck. Ever kept your Machete in your starting hand, then mulliganed the other four cards, drawing into your second copy? Feels pretty bad, right? The harsh truth is that it’s always that bad no matter when you draw the second one. It’s just more obvious when having them next to each other in hand how much better the first copy is than the second.

The designers of the game are clearly aware of this and looking over your player cards you will notice that, as a general rule of thumb, assets have way worse icons than events or skills, at least at level 0. So there is a cost to running duplicate assets, even when that cost isn’t measured in XP.

Putting these two together

And there you have it, the principle behind why you are generally told to play two of each card. Consistency through Redundancy. It works perfectly well as long as the benefits of the former outweigh the negative effects of the latter. Which is going to be almost every time, which is why this advice is so entrenched. It’s objectively correct.

But what if we increase consistency … without also introducing redundancy? Wouldn’t that be pretty great? Possibly even better than the baseline put down by the above? Well, yes dear imaginary voice in my head, I suppose it would. Consistency doesn’t just live on two axes, deck size and copies of a card, it has at least one more: number of cards seen.

Consistency through card selection

Again, the idea is super basic. If I get to draw more cards, my chances to draw a specific card goes up. Actually, to be slightly nitpicky here, you actually don’t need to draw more cards, you only need to look at more of them and be able to select from them. For the purpose of finding a specific card, Eureka does almost the same job as Cryptic Research. They both dig down 3 cards to look for your thing.

And this is where the relatively small decksize in Arkham comes into play big time. Of course other games (like M:tG, or if you want a more close relative, LotR LCG) also have card draw in them, but those games typically don’t run on 30 cards, but on 50 or more. So, it follows that card draw has a higher impact for consistency in Arkham than it has in other games.

And guess what? We can look at a lot more than 3 cards with many of our player cards. Those are mostly trait based, but as luck(?) would have it, they are the right traits for our asset redundancy issue.

These cards look at a third or even half of your deck in one go. That is tremendously powerful and we’d be fools not to use this for all that it’s worth. If our plan is gaining whatever benefit there is to gain (and we’ll get to that) from running one-off cards, then the hit to consistency can absolutely be recouped through card selection. Stack some regular card draw on top and finding a card within 30 becomes almost trivial.

Consistency through Alternatives

When building your deck, you will usually try to find cards that fills a specific role, then decide between those cards to see which one makes it into your deck. For example, you might decide that you want a weapon. A resource card. A source of movement. An ally. Or possibly something more specific like “an asset that spends secrets” because that’s what your current deck is interested in. Likely you will find different options, even at level 0, to fill your needs. So you compare them and after you finally decide for one reason or another on running Machete over Enchanted Blade, .45 Auto, Survival Knife and whatever else you considered, you add that card to your deck. And then add the second copy to the deck, filling two weapon slots.

But what if I told you that the best card for your first slot and the best card for your second slot isn’t necessarily the same thing? What if there are advantages to running two different assets that do the same job instead of two copies of the same card. Let’s say you have Milan Christopher in play and you draw your second one.

Not great. Drawing your second Milan is pretty much like drawing Astounding Revelation. It’s just sad. I suppose the second Milan can be used to soak 2 horror if you want to pay an action and 4 resources for it… But now imagine that instead of drawing a second Milan you drew Jeremiah Kirby. Woah, you suddenly have an option. You could decide that after running Milan for eight turns already and having set yourself up mostly, you don’t need those resources anymore. You could now play Kirby and draw into more cards instead, advancing your game much more than that single intellect icon would. This is not always going to be the right play of course and many times drawing Kirby instead of Milan is not going to make a difference. But it will come up and it will be nice. Hey, just for doing the split during deckbuilding you even opened yourself up for the option to spend some extra XP down the road for a Charisma that would pay off beautifully as it would allow your two cards to stack, something that double Milan never will be able to do!
As another example from my own deckbuilding, I pretty much never play double Rosary in my decks anymore. For one, I usually find that having just one is enough. But if I do want another one, I simply spend my first XP on Four of Cups, the +1 willpower tarot card. Sure, it costs a resource more and it doesn’t soak, but it stacks with Rosary. That’s a lot more oomph than just a single willpower icon for a single test, wouldn’t you agree?

Diversifying your deck in this way also makes you resilient to a couple treachery and weakness effects, but that’s not a huge factor (unless you play Return to TFA). The more important effect here is that with just a minor hit to your initial starting hand, you raise the ceiling of your deck. Drawing the second copy of your card no longer feels like drawing a very bad skill card, it suddenly becomes a new line of play that opens up for you. This is not only relevant if drawing the cards sequentially. Potentially even more interesting is drawing them at the same time. Remember my earlier point about mulliganing into the second copy of a card and how bad that feels? Imagine your start hand with two Milan in them. Now consider the same start hand, but with a Milan and a Kirby. The second one is vastly superior. The same of course goes for a Calling in Favors turning up two Milans vs it turning up a Milan and a Kirby. Diversity directly increases the total power of your deck, while redundancy decreases it.

Reason #1: Raising the plateau/ceiling

Finally, after two thousands words of droning on and rambling, I just now got to an actual reason to include one-offs. Because up to here, you were probably wondering why one would be choosing consistency through card selection over consistency through redundancy when you can just do both and get the most consistent deck ever. Play two of everything, add card draw, off you go. And the reality is that you do of course not pick one of the two, you live on a sliding scale somewhere in between where you have some card draw, some selection and some redundancy. But there is also some diminishing returns involved here. Unless you are playing some cheesy combo deck, there isn’t much of a point to going through your deck more than twice. At some point, adding more consistency only makes you reach your plateau faster. This is when you can finetune your card choices through one-offs and diversification to raise this plateau instead, which will have a much more noticable effect on your gameplay.

Reason #2: Avoiding dead cards

While i am at it and talking about reasons to run singleton, let me also spell out this one that I somewhat covered earlier: The second copy of a card we only ever want to play one of is rather bad. Isn’t it pretty weird to add dead cards to our deck in the name of consistency? That’s pretty backwards thinking in my book, so whenever possible I would like to make it so that every non-weakness card I draw is helpful. Otherwise my card draw is doing little more than just canceling out the effect these dud cards have on my deck composition. We aren’t necessarily raising the ceiling on our deck here, but we are raising the floor.

Reason #3: Choices

Having multiple different cards for the same job instead of them all being the same has many subtle advantages as it allows you to adjust your board with the scenario or even the current gamestate. Whatever job you do in your group, you will likely face many different situations over the course of a campaign. Unless you are dealing with a situation where one blatantly overpowered card overshadows every other option (Cyclopean Hammer…), the chances are that a single asset is not going to be the best for every situation.

Events and Skills

I’ve mostly been talking about Assets so far, and there’s two good reasons for that: One, most of the trait based enablers check for asset traits, like Item or Ally. Two, they stay in play which makes the second copy less desirable (at least until all uses are spent, if any). What about events, though? And skills? Both are one-shot effects, so having multiples of those surely is usually more useful than it is for assets. That being said, there might be reasons to include only singletons of those as well, like…

Reason #4: Power

Cards usually come with a cost, most notably in resources, and offer some sort of effect in exchange for that cost. Events in particular range all the way from 0 cost to not even being playable on the first turn unless you gain some resources first. For most investigators, building up their board with assets is important, limiting further the amount of resources available on events. Some powerful events offer huge impact effects for high costs and those are worth running in many decks… but you often won’t be able to play two of them. Or if you do, only while sacrificing other aspects of your deck. Running singletons of such cards can allow you access to these power spikes after being set up. Often, these are cards you don’t even want to draw early because they’d only clog your hand for the first bunch of turns. Examples would be something like Dynamite Blast, Pilfer or Cunning Distraction.
Having these available in your deck once more raises the power ceiling of your deck and if backed up by card selection it does so in a way that doesn’t negatively impact your early game through draws that aren’t relevant until later.

Events and Skills, continued

For skills, there are only few examples that might apply here. They are mostly run for their icons and those stay relevant pretty much troughout the game. In fact, if lowlevel assets and events would commit for a decent amount of icons (and to be fair, a few events do), then the whole problem with redundancy would be far less of an issue in the first place. Examples of skills that you wouldn’t want multiples of are more niche ones, most of which can be found in the higher XP ranges, like Copycat or Eye of Truth. An example from level 0 would be Nimble, which is mostly run for its effect, not for the single agility icon. It’s a bit niche, but very powerful when you do find the right use. Perfect one-off.

Reason #5: Experience

Resource cost is not the only cost attached to cards. Spending experience on second copies of high-level cards can often be avoided as those points are then better spent on other cards. If you set up your deck to favor consistency through card selection instead of redundancy, you are able to make each upgrade count for more than someone who depends on multiple copies to draw what they need. If your Guardian deck is playing the good card draw and selection available to it, that one copy of Girish Kadakia is going to be enough and you can spend the 4XP for the second copy on something else. Hell, you will be more likely to draw it than the person that spent 8XP on two copies, but still believes in the whole “Guardians are bad at card draw” myth that might have been true during Dunwich times, but hasn’t been so for a long while now.

Reason #6: Card specific restrictions

Well, the game straight up doesn’t allow some cards to be taken twice. And some of those are real bangers of a card, from level 0 cards like Occult Lexicon to 8XP cards like Double, Double. These are the sort of cards that pay off greatly for including an infrastructure in your deck that allows fetching them up. Some of those cards (like the Lexicon) have very specific silver bullets that find them (Research Librarian, Raven’s Quill), but others (like Double, Double which annoyingly is a Ritual) need a bit more work.
Once that work is done, this can usually be extended towards other cards with little extra effort on top, which brings me to the final reason for today:

Reason #7: Redundancy is specific, Card selection is universal

If you include a second copy of Machete into your deck, you increase the chance of drawing Machete. If you include Backpack into your deck, you increase the chance of drawing Machete or any other Item asset. The net gain for Machete specifically is higher with the redundant copy, but once you factor in that it’s likely not going to be your only asset in the deck, the Backpack starts looking overwhelmingly better. Unless you don’t have other items, of course.

Too long; didn’t read

Okay, so that got a bit rambly there at times. My apologies, but that’s just how these sort of articles work on this site! So let’s collect ourselves and put together a nice little tl;dr to sum up all of this.

I am advocating for using more one-off cards in decks. I think that most people don’t use enough of them because they think they need redundant copies of everything for consistency. However, there is another way to achieve a similar (or even better) amount of consistency through card draw and card selection that allows us to break away from old dogmas that originated in other games. We can also gain value from diversifying our card choices into multiple different cards that shine in different situations. Doing this allows us to raise both the power floor and the power ceiling of our deck. It gives us access to powerful capstone cards, supported by better deck infrastructure. It allows us to save experience on upgrades. It helps us avoid dead draws from insignificant cards and opens up new lines of play stemming from the additional options that are now available to us.

I am not advocating for just playing one-offs and screw consistency. I say we can have both, playing powerful one-offs while still raising our consistency to a point where adding more would only yield diminishing returns.

To be continued

This got a lot longer than I anticipated, so I am going to put a stop in here and break it up into two parts. Todays part covered the WHY, the reasons for why you even might want to rethink how you achieve consistency in your deck. The next part is going to cover the HOW, going over the tools at our disposal.
Possibly i am going to also throw in a WHAT, covering which cards i think make great one-offs (and which ones don’t! Funny story, i would actually play two Machetes most of the time :D). Not sure yet if that’s it’s own part or if I will put that in one article together with the HOW. We’ll see how rambly I get, I suppose.

Cheers o/



Scenario difficulty rankings #3: Not to be underestimated

Intro

As I mentioned last week, Arkham is by and large a fairly difficult game. And what that means is that todays installment of the difficulty rankings does actually already have scenarios in it that do pack a certain punch. They are still not really where I expect to lose to them because I am able to prepare for them well and/or because they are at the tail end of a campaign where i already have a well-upgraded deck. But underestimating would certainly be a mistake, too.

Like the previous two weeks, let’s have a short excursion talking about difficulty before moving on to the next batch of scenarios in the list, ranking from #60 to #53.

On difficulty: Urgency

When looking at the difficulty of a scenario, a big part of it comes from the urgency that it creates, most prominently through its doom clock. A scenario could have a really terrifying encounter deck, but if the doom clock is very forgiving, it will afford players the necessary time to react to it. On the other hand, if you are already under tight pressure and have to care about your efficiency simply because there isn’t a whole lot of time, then a lowly Ghoul can create a problem for you. A good example for a scenario with a impactful cards, but a lenient doom clock would be Horror in High Gear. You aren’t going to doom out in that one unless you park your car for several turns and also run into a “Long Way Around”. But it will pelt you with treacheries until you are either dead or made it through the gauntlet. On the other end of the spectrum, the superficially very similar Essex County Express has you under threat of dooming out constantly with very short agendas and a large amount of doom accelerants in the encounter deck. As a result, even a somewhat unspectacular enemy like Grappling Horror can become very threatening. (That being said, Essex County also has a rather nasty encounter deck on top of the doom, which is why we are going to see it rather late in this list!)
The point is, I often find that the agenda deck and the doom clock it dictates have a higher influence on how difficult a scenario feels than even the contents of the encounter deck.
The other thing aside from the doom clock that can drive the feeling of urgency in a scenario is the threat of consequences. But let’s table that subtopic for next week and get back to today’s part of the list!

#60: Return to Doom of Eztli

This is the first entry in the list that is specific to the Return version of a scenario. The original Doom of Eztli is a bit of a nightmare (I always thought that it’s a bigger problem than Untamed Wilds, even though Wilds is the one that usually gets all the crap when people complain about TFA), but we are going to talk about that later in the list. Much later. The Return to TFA completely changed this scenario, it tossed out most of the doom mechanics and switched out most of the locations and many encounter sets. It’s honestly completely different. And in the process, it become much more forgiving in total. That is not to say it’s a pushover or that the Return only made things easier. The Snake Pit can cause a lot of headaches (especially if you need to move through it on the way out of the temple) and the Vengeful Serpents are a high profile enemy that demands a solution. But you do have a lot more time for everything now and the scenario feels very much appropriate for a second scenario in a campaign.

#59: A Phantom of Truth

Are you able to kill a Byakhee by scenario 5? If not, you really should be. If you are, then this scenario is not likely to give you any grief in either of its versions. Staying ahead/on top of the Organist isn’t terribly difficult, especially considering today’s cardpool and the movement options we have available. This placement in the list is a bit of an average between the two versions, the one where you run away from the Organist and have to have the doom clock run out is a good deal easier because the doom effects in the scenario have very little punch there.

#58: Dancing Mad

Let me quote the scenario page here because I think it does a good job of benchmarking where we are in terms of difficulty with this list:
This is one of the better scenarios from The Scarlet Keys that keeps being challenging but not overbearing. […] There’s also a good balance between the usual challenges, with willpower tests and agility tests around, some necessary clueing, a good amount of fighting. Just good old Arkham that incorporates the new mechanics instead of being overshadowed by them.
Diversifying the threats we face makes for a good and interesting scenario, but of course not necessarily for a particularly threatening one. One of the versions of the scenario starts with the investigators in one location with a bunch of enemies right on top of them and that is probably the tightest spot that Dancing Mad has for you.
“Good old Arkham”… nothing wrong with that!

#57: Midnight Masks

Speaking of Good Old Arkham. Midnight Masks has quite the focused deck, being all about stopping the players in their tracks and halting their progress towards collecting the unique cultists. And that deserves some respect. The thing about Midnight Masks, though… it doesn’t really care about defeating the players much. It stalls you and accelerates the doom clock, but unless you get eaten by a Nightgaunt or a really untimely Hunting Shadow there isn’t much of a chance of failing here. Which of course begs the question … how do I rate this?
Failing to get all cultists will lead to those appearing in the already difficult Devourer Below, so the scenario is not completely without urgency. But I feel like it belongs into the lower third at least.

#56: Ice and Death #2

This is a very similar case to Midnight Masks. Go into the scenario, there’s a doom clock, do as many things as you can. The encounter deck tries to slow you down and/or make the time run out. Compared to Masks, there isn’t even a Nightgaunt sized enemy in this. The doom clock is much tighter though and resigning in time actually requires some planning ahead. One in three cards in the encounter deck adds doom, so getting defeated from the agenda running out unexpectedly can happen if you take too many risks.
But then again, you can literally skip this scenario if you don’t feel like it.

#55: The Pallid Mask

At the risk of repeating myself: Good Old Arkham. Pallid Mask has a bit of everything i like in this game, which is why it’s my favorite scenario overall right now. For a scenario #6, it’s not particularly difficult however. The amount of enemies in the encounter deck is way above average, but includes mostly small fry that is not all that threatening on its own. There are some chunky Hunter enemies about in the catacombs to pick up the slack, though. Options for movement are often limited and the encounter deck has some cards in it that limit it further.
By scenario 6, you shouldn’t really struggle with the challenges in this one (except for the big Elite enemy, but engaging that one is optional) but getting caught in a bad spot between several Hunters is absolutely something that can happen, especially if a Corpse Dweller made it through.

#54: Search for Kadath

So, we are doing the Masks thing again, with a nonbinary goal, a doom clock and doom mechanics. Unlike the other two that I talked about today, Kadath has some scary monsters skulking about and not all of them are avoidable. This can be a problem in the blind play, when you suddenly run into the Manticore and aren’t yet prepared for that sort of thing, but on replays you control which islands you visit first so that becomes a lot more easy to handle. Like in Ice and Death, you can’t just resign at will, but seeking out the nearest port is much easier to do than moving back to your camp in the icy wastes. The doom cards in the deck pack quite a punch and the frequent reshuffling of the deck keep them in circulation. What makes me put Kadath down here is the lack of a real consequence for failing to discover a certain amount of Signs of the Gods. You can’t completely punt the scenario or else the Onyx Gates in Where The Gods Dwell will be a major issue, but the difference between getting 5 or 7 Sign of the Gods here is not all that relevant.

#53: The Witching Hour

Let’s get one thing out of the way: The Witching Hour is an absolute menace if you go into it blind. Splitting up the team is incredibly nasty if you don’t know it’s coming. For this list, i do assume knowledge of the scenarios though. And i feel like it’s reasonable to expect any investigator to have *something* that is able to defeat a Goat Spawn or at least evade it for a turn or two when they know about it in advance. The other major part of the scenario is Willpower based treacheries, which is just the TCU special – you should have a plan for that as well. So what does that leave us with? Not a whole lot, to be honest. The doom clock gets rather tight near the end due to the extra doom from witches at the circle and that’s the largest remaining threat on replays. Annette is no pushover, but the alternative wincondition through discovering the clues at the circle allows a way around her if she poses too much of an issue in scenario 1.
One thing to note about Witching Hour is that it gets a nasty surprise in four player groups: A random player will be stuck with a Relentless Dark Young instead of a Goat Spawn. And that thing is terrifying, even more so in a campaign opener. Full groups also actually have a chance to assemble the Daemonic Pipings which is barely a concern in small groups. So if you play in a full group, this scenario’s ranking goes up for you by a good chunk.


Scenario difficulty rankings #2: You don’t scare me

Intro

Following last week’s kickoff article that had the eight easiest scenarios in Arkham (conditions apply, please refer to last weeks post for an extensive disclaimer…), we are continuing today with the next seven scenarios. These are still what i consider to be fairly easy, but they are certainly a step up from the Gates of Sleep or Gathering!

On difficulty

Something that putting together this list has shown to me is that there is really only a handful of scenarios that i would call “too easy”. Arkham is generally a rather tense game where even the sort of scenario we are talking about today can blindside you and just leave you defeated.
The most dangerous thing by far can be a string of encounter cards that hit you in the same spot over and over again. Like drawing a bunch of horror treacheries back to back to back which can easily have you defeated. A solid amount of new players tackling The Gathering with Roland and just being nuked by triple Rotten Remains (or Daisy with Grasping Hands) know what i am talking about. Similarly, debilitating treacheries like Frozen in Fear are bad enough on their own… stack multiples that do something similar and you find yourself running out of options fast. This applies to enemies as well, of course. A single enemy is usually easy enough to handle, even if it might take you a full turn due to a failed attack here and there. But if you draw enemy after enemy after enemy in consecutive mythos phases (you are getting “bodied”), you might suddenly find yourself out of ammo, spell charges, fight events or similar resources.
This sort of peaks can’t really be the base on how I evaluate these scenarios, but it’s good to keep in mind that even scenarios down at the bottom of the list are not complete handouts just thanks to how the game works at its core.

That being said, when i go into the batch of scenarios we are looking at today, I am not scared and it would surprise me to get defeated in any of them. It definitely happened before, though!

#67: Dogs of War

I am lumping all versions of the scenario together here. The defense version is certainly a bit easier than the offensive one, but just in general, this scenario is a rather run-of-the-mill affair. What makes me put it so early in the list compared to other scenarios of its ilk is that one version of it can be almost completely defused just by having an investigator that can evade the Beast around. And the other version just has a bunch of health to chew through which can put some strain on ammo or charges, but it doesn’t put a whole lot of pressure on the investigators. That does make it a fine scenario to run early in Scarlet Keys, but it doesn’t make for a particularly memorable or interesting experience.

#66: Weaver of the Cosmos

Look, i like Weaver. It’s super fun, one of the best gimmicks the game has pulled over its lifespan. But I’ve not once had it be even close. With some awful luck, Atlach-Nachas final form can drop a lot of doom on the board, but in my experience that just barely ever happens. And the doom clock is quite generous from the start because it needs to accomodate bursts of doom or the possibility of having doom on locations early on. When that doesn’t happen, there’s not much too it though and you can take your time. I don’t know if it’s just me, but the random element behind Atlach-Nacha’s movement also means that i often had her just not move for several turns after another which also makes it easy to go after her legs.
So yeah. It’s a fun scenario, but variance is on the player’s side this time around.

#65: Blood on the Altar

This scenario is of course mostly known for its Kidnapped! card. Kidnapped! is the reason that the doom clock in this one feels much more urgent than it actually is. You have quite a lot of time to find the key to Silas’ Chamber and deal with him afterwards. At its core, the scenario is just good basic Arkham: Here’s some locations, enemies are afoot, grab the clues, go! Sadly those enemies can’t really stand up to the players much, as it’s just a hodgepodge of human enemies. And some whippoorwills. The treacheries also don’t really apply consistent pressure to one thing, they are kind of all over the place, making it easy to just take them on the chin for the most part.
I was considering to rank this one as even easier, possibly even include it in the first article, but Kidnapped! does apply at least some pressure to go about it efficiently and the threat of losing a card from your deck permanently is not completely without teeth.

#64: For the Greater Good

For the Greater Good is pretty much just cultist handling, similar to Echoes of the Past… but with an actual doom clock and treacheries that do things. If you are playing on the Lodge’s side, this one can be very tricky if you aren’t able to parley with the Silver Twilight cultists, but for these rankings i do assume that you are generally aware of what’s coming and don’t get blindsided like that. If you didn’t align with the lodge, the scenario becomes easier because you can just murder your way through the cultists.
The encounter deck has two very nasty treacheries in it, Call to Order and Expulsion, that can put a lot of pressure out of nowhere on the table. But they are hiding in a rather large deck and aside from those the encounter deck is somewhat tame. I never had any problems with this one, but i can certainly see cases where the scenario acts up on the players through random key placements and bad strings of encounter pulls.

#63: Heart of the Elders #1

Part two of HotE was already covered last week, now here’s the first one. And you know what, i respect this one. It does one thing and it does it very well. It puts you into a small set of locations and throws a bunch of big Hunters in there to harass you. Meanwhile the encounter deck uses treacheries to make some locations less than ideal to stay in or walk through because there’s Poisonous Spores, Apex Strangleweeds or even just Pit Vipers around. This makes the scenario very focused and coherent, injecting it with a decent amount of danger. It would rank a lot higher on this list, if it weren’t for the fact that you can just resign at any point and go again. That mechanic is not just one of the most annoying ones in the game, it also robs the scenario of its bite. A shame, really.

#62: Miskatonic Museum

And with that, we are already getting to the scenarios where i feel like defeat becomes a real possibility. The Hunting Horror from Museum can grow to epic proportions and become quite the terror. Having a respawning creature that can easily grow to 5+ fight/evade and 6+ health is something to be afraid of. Even Tony respects that. This is only the third scenario of the campaign as well. Now there are ways to cheese the scenario by keeping the Horror evaded (which will limit its opportunities to grow) and that ultimately pushes Museum down on the list towards the lower third. But yeah, i respect this one, especially in its Return To version i do actually go into it somewhat sceptical of my chances.

#61: At Death’s Doorstep

Haunted: The Scenario. There is one tight bit in the scenario that can be a bit worrying sometimes. During the first agenda, any monster cards drawn are set aside and a doom is put on the agenda. Once it flips, all the set aside enemies enter play at the same time which can create a hectic moment, especially when that flip happens from the regular doom during Mythos because it is then immediately also followed by a round of encounter cards for everyone. This can lead to a lot of problems that require solving at the same time. Aside from that, i find the scenario to not be terribly difficult though. Haunted is annoying, but the enemies are mostly small fry and not terribly hard to deal with. I have little respect for the Watcher, either.

Deck Tech: Zoey Bestows Crystals

Intro and Summary

A huge reason why Zoey is one of my favorite investigators is the sheer range of builds she is good for. So despite the previous Deck Tech already being a Zoey deck, here’s another one. But no worries, this is rather different from the Counter-Encounterdeck-Deck we looked at a few weeks ago. This is built around a core of a deck that uses Bestow Resolve to help out teammates with all sorts of tests. Bestow Resolve converts all icons into wild icons, making cards with three single icons (which are usually not great as commits) really great at boosting tests. You know how to get a bunch of such cards into your deck while playing good cards? Occult Lexicon and Hallowed Mirror. Both Blood-Rites and Soothing Melody have the sort of icon spread we are looking for. But wouldn’t it be great if we could also play those cards instead of just committing them? Crystallizer of Dreams has you covered. Yes, we can Bestow cards from under the Crystallizer. Welcome to value town, where we play Blood-Rites to draw cards, kill an enemy, and then commit it afterwards for +3 skill.

The decklist

Despite many of the core pieces being only level 0, the decklist I came up with ended up being 29XP in the end, mostly thanks to a couple high-XP inclusions. This does however work very well as something to build towards during campaign play, exactly because so many core parts are low XP so you can get this rolling very early.

Deck on ArkhamDB: Zoey Bestows Crystals (19XP, 29XP)

If you want to turn this into a 19XP standalone deck, cut Stick to the Plan, cut Ever Vigilant (for a second 1-2-Punch) and downgrade the Mirror to level 0.

The Core

I believe that any good combo is built from pieces that are already good on their own. You don’t want to end up with a worthless pile because you don’t draw a particular card or because you had to discard it or even had it removed/hollowed.
Luckily, the engine pieces to this deck are all great on their own and will do just fine without their counterparts.

Bestow Resolve: Supercharges how you can boost skill tests. Not only does it convert icons, but it also allows committing more than one skill to a teammate’s test and even into connecting locations. Its big drawback is the limited amount of charges, but with two of them in the deck that means we can still considerably boost up to eight skill tests in a scenario. Good enough and well worth playing!
Occult Lexicon/Blood-Rite: One of the more absurdly powerful cards in the game, combining testless damage with card draw. Works really well with Zoey’s Cross to testlessly take out most enemies, although that will heavily eat into your resources.
Hallowed Mirror/Soothing Melody: Great healing that has none of the usual restrictions, meaning we can use it to heal allies as well as investigators, damage as well as horror and we can even split up the healing between any combination of those. Zoey can upgrade the Mirror, making Melody ludicrously effective.
Crystallizer of Dreams: Our goal is being able to commit cards to skill tests left and right, and Crystallizer provides the ammo to do so. Where Bestow secures the important tests, Crystallizer basically acts as a blanket +1/+2 skill increase for most bread and butter tests. The deck includes a lot of events so we can keep Crystallizer active almost constantly.

These good cards all get additional value when put together with the ultimate goal of being able to squeeze incredible value out of every Blood Rite and Melody in the deck. The one annoying thing here is that Mirror and Crystallizer are both accessories, so Relic Hunter is once again a must. You could even argue for a second Relic Hunter so you can also play Zoey’s Cross in addition.

Fighting

This deck is focused on a support role, but that shouldn’t stop us from contributing directly to the scenario as well. With only two Machetes (and two Backpacks to find them), we aren’t carrying a whole lot of weapons around, but our fighting events can do a lot of harm to the enemies if the Machete is still in the deck.

Machete: It’s a bit basic, but does the job perfectly fine. We can use this to cut down most enemies, with the events picking up the slack when the Machete isn’t good enough or we have multiple enemies engaged.
Blood-Rite: Card is good. Occult Lexicon sort of acts like a weapon for us and is great for pushing small fry out of the way.
Zoey’s Cross: If you run a second Relic Hunter or simply didn’t find the Hallowed Mirror yet, Zoey’s Cross is a great complement to the Blood-Rites and can even take out cultists on its own.
Gang Up: As long as one of the off-class assets is on the table, Gang Up deals three damage which is very nice to have. It can even go up to 4 damage in this deck. It’s a bit expensive though and only playing it for 2 damage is bad, so a single copy is enough.
One-Two Punch: Taking the spot of the second Gang Up is 1-2-Punch which also deals three damage, although it does require two tests to do so. Having one copy of it on Stick to the Plan gives us a nice immediate problem solver that we can fall back on if we are facing something big in the early turns.
Toe to Toe: One of the best ways to deal two damage to an enemy. Between Cross, Rites and Toe, we have a good amount of testless damage available.

Card Draw/Card Selection

If we want to string together specific assets to get synergies, we first need to draw those. Now, Guardian isn’t exactly the class that’s known for its card draw, but we can make this work.

Blood-Rite: Yes, it draws cards. Two of them, so unlike Melody which just offsets itself, Blood-Rite actually helps us dig through the deck. Card is good!
Backpack: Lexicon, Mirror and Crystallizer are all Item traited, so Backpack helps us with three quarters of what we are trying to do. As a nice bonus, it helps finding a Machete. Plays great with Ever Vigilant, too.
Glory: A bit more shaky than usual in this deck, but we should still find plenty opportunities to play Glory. We probably won’t be able to use it to help with setup, but it will help finding the last missing piece.
Eureka!: I’d want to avoid playing this before i can use it with Bestow Resolve, but the option is there to use Eureka to get your deck off the ground. Selecting out of the top 3 cards with a skill is pretty good as far as card selection goes.
Overpower(2): Throw this into a skill test that you are sure to beat and you can cash in on an easy two cards. An obvious inclusion.
Stick to The Plan: We use Stick to the Plan to tuck away an Emergency Cache, Ever Vigilant and 1-2-Punch. Having three fewer cards in the deck makes our mulligans stronger and improves our chances of finding key assets. I don’t think I need to convince anyone that SttP is insanely good, right?

Resources

We are mostly using cheap events and assets, but some extra resources are needed for setting up nonetheless. Luckily, Stick to the Plan has us covered for the most part.

Blood-Rite: Oh yes, Blood Rites does this as well if you need it. You can just play it, filter two cards and get two resources. Not what I’d usually want to do with Rites, but I’ve used that plenty of times. Note that in this mode, Rites still doesn’t provoke AoOs, which is relevant, too. Card is good.
Emergency Cache: The reliable option. Doesn’t have any icons which is a bit of a bummer. We’d want to run at least one though, to put it on SttP.
Ever Vigilant: We are mulliganing for assets and thus EV should be able to provide great value in turn 1 most of the times. And if it doesn’t you can use it as soon as you pull a Backpack to discount the Backpack itself and up to two things you find with it.
Stand Together: Just a couple extra resources while also helping out a teammate. This is just always good.

Don’t forget that Zoey generates a resource whenever she engages something either. That alone should pretty much pay for the event side of things.

Skills

Since we plan on using Crystallizer, we can turn (almost) all our events into skill bonuses. Despite that, some skills found their way into the list:

Eureka!: Great combo with Bestow Resolve and also helps finding it in the first place.
Overpower(2): We want to use it mostly for card draw in this deck, but of course feel free to secure an important fight test with it as well.
Defensive Stance: Gives us a way to pass agility tests. Also, gives six wild icons with Bestow Resolve.
Steadfast: Boosts our two most important skills by up to 3. Also, gives six wild icons with Bestow Resolve.

So basically, the skills need to either put in double-duty as card draw or work exceptionally well with Bestow to make it into the deck.

Girish Kadakia

Girish is the only card not mentioned so far and he’s the only ally in the deck. Girish simply brings a lot to the table that works very well with the rest of the deck. This Zoey is a team player and having Girish around just makes her so much better at it.

His ability to give +2 to any investigator’s skill value for a test stacks up extremely well with all the other skill boosts that we are handing out. As a result, we should routinely be able to nuke all sorts of tests through brute force and high numbers alone which in turn will allow Girish to heal himself and tank for the team. At 3/3 health and sanity, he’s very durable and the goal is definitely to play him once and never have him leave the table. Together with the healing from Soothing Melody, Girish makes you and everyone at your location super tanky. This takes a lot of the edge off of the encounter deck.

Upgrades/Variants

While the list above is already at 29XP, there are certainly some further upgrades that could be done if you find yourself with lots of points to spend.

Stand Together -> Stand Together(3): This is the one upgrade that would help you the most, i think. Getting the extra card draw would do wonders when it comes to moving through your deck. I could even see a variant of the deck that ditches Stick to the Plan and goes for two Stand Together(3) instead, but I decided against it because Ever Vigilant is just that good for us to have on turn 1.
Brand of Cthuga: Due to using the Crystallizer, i leaned into using events for fighting, but you could certainly decide to lean heavier into being a fighter by including another weapon besides Machete. Since we want to be able to use the Lexicon, it should not use both handslots, so our options are limited. Brand of Cthuga sticks out among them. Not only is it a competent weapon, but it can even work to your advantage that it occupies an Arcane slot because you can use it to kick a spent Bestow Resolve from your play area into the discard and possibly draw it again on the next go through the deck. It’s a slight advantage, but we probably don’t quite draw enough cards for it to matter outside of very long scenarios.
Relic Hunter: Getting a second Relic Hunter allows us to play Zoey’s Cross in addition to Mirror and Crystallizer. That’s certainly powerful, but can be a strain on the available resources. That being said, Cross is really good and I wouldn’t fault anyone for taking the second Relic Hunter instead of the Mirror upgrade in the 29XP list above.
Vicious Blow: It felt a bit weird leaving this staple card out of the deck. I especially like using it with Toe to Toe, so trying to squeeze it back in is something to look into. Maybe instead of Gang Up and a Defensive Stance, that would even give you the 2XP to upgrade one of the Vicious Blows within the 29XP budget.
Emergency Cache(2)/Ever Vigilant(4)/One-Two-Punch(5): Anything that goes on SttP is worth upgrading because you know you are going to have it available. You do need EV for yourself, so i wouldn’t prioritize that particular upgrade. But 1-2-Punch(5) is a fantastic nuke to have in your backpocket. And upgrading Cache to level 2 is another cheap bit of card draw that can dig towards your key assets.

Other investigators

As a final piece of food for thought i will leave you with the information that Akachi can Versatile for Crystallizer and play the core of the deck as well… despite them being yellow, green and blue cards. She even has her Spirit-Speaker signature to reload the charges on Bestow. That’d end up looking very different to this Zoey deck and i am sceptical about only having one copy of Crystallizer while increasing the deck size by 5. But it would be doable. Might even be good! But I’ll leave figuring out the details of that to you. Cheers o/



Scenario difficulty rankings #1: The eight easiest ones

Intro

We got some time to kill until Hemlock Vale releases, so let’s start a new article series! This was inspired by a recent conversation I overheard on Discord about how LotRLCG has these difficulty ratings for all of its scenarios and Arkham doesn’t. They were wondering if there was a source to get a rough estimate about how difficult Arkham scenarios are.
I thought that fits right in with what I am doing on Ancient Evils, so let’s give this a whirl. Now i won’t be attaching numerical difficulty values (there’s just a host of issues with that) but i will put them in order, starting with the easy ones and go up from there and discuss about each scenario why i think it’s particularly difficult (or not) and what its key challenges are.

Some disclaimers before we start!

Most of the general difficulty ranking doesn’t change between a base scenario and its Return To version. But where it does, i will make a seperate entry for that one.
I also want to note that this is not only a highly subjective list, but that it also is going to change a lot depending on whether you play solo, in a full group or with something inbetween.
This list is also from the perspective of someone who played every scenario at least half a dozen times. Some scenarios are challenging on the blind play but once you know its gimmick it becomes a lot easier. So those are scenarios that will trend towards the easy side from my point of view.
I will also generally assume that you play the scenario with investigators capable of meeting its challenges.
Finally, there’s just a big wishy-washy feely part to the ranking too. That’s the primary reason i don’t want to attach a number for the ranking, that would make it look way more scientific than it is. Instead i will try to make my perspective on all scenarios clear in the text.
There are also some scenarios where it’s not quite clear how to rank them. Do we care about all bonus goals? How many keys in In Too Deep? How many paths in Boundary? How many signs in Kadath? Do we need to save Clover? I’ll just go with my gut in those cases, don’t hold me to any sort of consistency there. Again, I’ll try to make clear in the comments for the scenario how I feel about the bonus goals and their effect on the difficulty. Some are just more mandatory than others.
I also want to make clear that being difficult or easy doesn’t necessarily mean that i like or dislike the scenario. There is certainly a correlation there, as too easy can become boring and too hard can become frustrating, but there are certainly great easy scenarios and great hard scenarios in the game.

This is going to be a long series with about 10 entries (there is 75 scenarios in total due to some scenarios taking a second spot with their Return and i will tackle 7 or 8 per article) so let’s get cracking already, with what i consider to be the easiest scenario in the ArkhamLCG:

#75: Echoes of the Past

Echoes is often trotted out as one of the more boring scenarios in the game. It’s not really bad and its mechanics are actually an interesting way to represent a race between the cultists and your group. But what it means in effect is that you basically don’t have a doom clock for most parts of the scenario. Aside from one treachery that can move doom directly to the agenda, a good fighter can just whack-a-mole any cultists that comes up and stop this scenario from applying any pressure. The Return To adds a new cultist that is actually a bit more challenging, but not enough to heave it up more than a couple slots on the list so i won’t be ranking that one seperately.

#74: Beyond the Gates of Sleep

This is my nominee for most boring in the game. There’s two halves to this scenario. The first half doesn’t even have an encounter deck, it just makes you move down a few locations. And the second half has you investigate a couple locations around a central one in what is maybe the most basic layout you can have for your board. Unless you somehow really struggle with those difficulty 2 tests to move past the two Guardians at the start, you will arrive in the second half with a massive doom clock to get the rest of the scenario done. At almost no time there is any threat to your investigators, even the one big enemy that hides in one of the woods can’t move into the central location. So you find some clues, kill a Zoog or two and that’s basically it. The whole scenario is carried by its narrative. And while it’s a good narrative, that just stops being important once you played the scenario a few times.

#73: The House Always Wins

This is another one that to me lost a lot of its impact after a couple plays. Fantastic introduction to the sort of story-telling card mechanics that the AHLCG does so well. But once you know where to go and what to expect, there’s not much to it in terms of challenge. Now of course there are the three Abominations that rampage through the place, but engaging with them is largely optional. And the rest of the encounter deck is just some mafia dorks and some of the tamest treacheries in the game. If there was a better payoff for rescuing Clover (or a bigger penalty for not doing so), this would rank higher on this list because then you’d actually want/need to tackle those big chunky enemies, but as is, this is usually rather unspectacular.

#72: The Gathering

Hey, it’s the tutorial! A very well crafted scenario that is certainly a challenge when you start – especially if you only have the investigators and cards from the Core Set! That being said, this list is from the perspective of revisiting the scenario with the experience of a couple dozens campaigns under the belt and most of The Gathering just isn’t that impactful anymore. It’s not a complete walk in the park, the big ghouls (and of course, the Ghoul Priest!) are something you can’t just sweep aside and we do have both Creeping Cold and Striking Fear in the encounter deck to care about. But you do have Lita as an incredibly powerful asset and you do get the option of just running out of the front door if things get too dicey with the Priest.
The Return To significantly upgrades this scenario, with more fat ghouls, more difficult locations and some terrifying treacheries. We will talk about the Return later, further up the list.

#71: Congress of the Keys

Yo, if a campaign finale shows up in the most easy scenarios, something’s wrong. Taken at face value, the scenario doesn’t even look that easy. Some chunky locations, an encounter deck with some dangerous stuff in it and a large final boss. But the thing is, unless you faceplanted half the campaign that came before it, you are so loaded up on story allies and assets that the scenario almost plays itself. Some of the keys and allies trivialize whole parts of the scenario and leave little that you actually have to care about yourself. Sadly this does include the final boss.
I feel like this finale fell victim to a bit of overengineering in the campaign mechanics. To be fair, if you have to face the final boss head on, it’s a rather good fight that offers a fun final spin on the Concealment mechanic that defines TSK. But it’s unlikely you will have to do that once you know what you are doing in the campaign.

#70: Heart of the Elders #2

The Forgotten Age is a campaign i adore, but splitting down a Mythos pack into two scenarios was not a great idea. It left us with two scenarios that are pretty much just literally half a scenario. While part1 does at least have a coherent thing going on that sets it apart (small area, Hunters, run!), HotE#2 is just a rehash of things we’ve already been doing all campaign and that we are about to do again (much, much better) two scenarios later. HotE#2 is kinda just there and there is little reason for it both in terms of gameplay and narrative. All the challenges in this scenario are things you already went through, making this one easy to handle.

#69: Into the Maelstrom

Welp, another campaign finale. And honestly, after going through Light in the Fog to get here, there’s nothing in Into the Maelstrom that can even come close. You have plenty of time to do your thing, even if you failed to pick up any of the special keys during the campaign and have to start at zero. If you *do* start with any of them, that just makes the doom clock even more lax.
The scenario wants you to be afraid of fish daddy and fish mommy waking up, but then all that actually does is giving you another win condition because you can now spend damage on them to advance your goals.

#68: Riddles and Rain

This scenario reminds me a lot of The Gathering and follows much of the same beats. Only one location at first, opens up its board over time, introduces its mechanics and finally leads to a boss fight. You are not getting a Lita here, so you have to find and defeat The Red-Gloved Man all by yourself. You do however at least get a location ability that does help with the high difficulty values that would become a bit of a TSK signature thing.
I like this one a lot and i’d say that while it’s not all that difficult it doesn’t need to be. It’s a campaign starter after all and meant to get you on your way and give you your first couple XP to start developing your deck. And it does a fine job of that.

Signing off

And that’s all i have for today. I’ll post the rest of this series over the next two to three months until you have a complete list of all campaign scenarios so far, ranked by difficulty. Until next time. Cheers o/

Hemlock Vale Spoiler Roundup #3

First we saw some german cards, then some spanish ones. This week we got some polish ones. Fun! And educational, too! Now i know the word for devil in polish, I am sure this will come in handy at some point of my life.

Sources

Control Variable and Devil were spoiled at “Dzień Fanatyka”, an event organized by the polish distributor of AHLCG.

Seeker

Control Variable
event, 1 cost, level 0
Insight. Science. Cursed.
Fast. Play after an investigator reveals a curse token during a test at your location.
Discover 1 clue at your location.

Honestly, nothing too famous. It’s an okay card, the trade of an card for a clue at fast speed is fairly typical Seeker stuff. Is this better than Working a Hunch? Does Working a Hunch even see play? Is this better than True Understanding? I suppose this could become relevant if you care about the traits. Insight, Science and Cursed are all relevant traits. If you get some sort of synergy going from there, that’d elevate it above being just a card for a clue and possibly become better than it looks at first glance.

Survivor

“Devil”
asset, 1 cost, level 2, takes the Ally slot
3 health, no sanity
Ally. Creature. Cursed.
Forced – At the beginning of your turn: Move 1 damage from your investigator to “Devil”.
Forced – When “Devil” is defeated, deal 2 damage to each enemy and investigator at your location.

Oh, this is fun. Soaks for a lot and can nuke a location, pinging all enemies and investigators there. It’s going to be hard to time this well and due to the first Forced effect it’s at least going to be a challenge to overwrite this in time with another ally if you don’t want to explode the goat. (You heard me. “Explode the goat”. You heard it here first. Tell your friends.)
This has potentially a lot of upside if you can catch an enemy or two with it. It’s also a really unique effect for Survivor. The shenanigans you can do with William Yorick are also hilarious to imagine. For a more boring approach use Calling in Favors to use the goat to heal yourself and return it so you can heal yourself more later on so you can continue to live deliciously.
So clearly, this is a fun card that i am happy to see in the card pool. Is it a good card? I am tending towards yes. Might be that it’s too difficult to time it right to do its thing and might be that you become too much of a danger for your teammates, i guess. But overall i am pretty sure this guy is going to find a home.