The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup #6

Week 6

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

Sources

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

Seeker

Empirical Hypothesis

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

Rogue

Kymani Jones

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

Calculated Risk

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

Hit and Run

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

Quick Getaway

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

Thieves’ Kit(3)

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

Mystic

Ghastly Possession

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

Survivor

Grizzled

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

Neutral

Toolbelt

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

Scarlet Keys: Customizables #2

Puntroduction

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

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

Pocket Multi Tool

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

Runic Axe

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

Power Word

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

The Raven Quill

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


Scarlet Keys: Customizables #1

Introduction

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

Hunter’s Armor

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

Summoned Servitor

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

Damning Testimony

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

Alchemical Distillation

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

The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup #5

Week 5

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

Sources

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

Seeker

The Raven Quill

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

Existential Riddle

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

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

Mystic

String of Curses

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

Weakness

Ectoplasmic Horror

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

The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup #4

Week 4

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

Sources

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

Guardian

One in the Chamber

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

Seeker

Alchemical Distillation

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

Mystic

Sin-Eater

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

Survivor

Salvage

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

The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup #3

But first, a rant!

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

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

Sources

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

Guardian

Fighting Lessons

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

Rogue

Thieves’ Kit

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

Damning Testimony

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

Mystic

Elle Rubash

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

Survivor

Heed the Dream

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

Predator or Prey

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

Pocket Multi Tool

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

The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup #2

First part here: <2022-07-01>

Disclaimer

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

Sources

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

Investigators

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

Carson Sinclair

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

Vincent Lee

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

Kymani Jones

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

Amina Zidane

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

Darrell Simmons

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

Seeker

Orphic Theory

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

Map the Area

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

Customizable

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

Sounds about right to me!

The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup

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

Sources

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

Investigators

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

Charlie Kane

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

Carson Sinclair

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

Amina Zidane

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

Kymani Jones

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

Guardian

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

Hunter’s Armor

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

Runic Axe

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

Grievious Wound

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

Helping Hand

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

Motivational Speech

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

Field Agent

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

Seeker

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

Captivating Discovery

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

Rogue

“I’ll Take That”

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

Mystic

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

Summoned Servitor

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

Power Word

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

Ceremonial Sickle

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

Dowsing Rod

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

Survivor

Improvised Shield

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

Closing Words

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

A love letter to the best card in the game

The Edge of the Earth investigator box is the second time that one cycle’s worth of player cards got dumped on us in one swoop. Considering the amount of cards and the average attention span of the average card game enjoyer, it is no surprise then that certain cards can go by underappreciated or get buried under flawed first impressions. This article is going to rectify this issue for the best card in the Edge of the Earth box, maybe even in the entire game: Cyclopean Hammer.

Ha ha, just kidding. Who cares about some oversized squeaky mallet when there’s these good girls to talk about instead. Sled Dogs. What an amazing card. Or “cards” actually, as you won’t be playing just one of these.

Now, it’s fair to say that Sled Dogs actually did make an impression. They are just special enough that people look at it and form an opinion. It’s not a card that just exists on the fringes like let’s say Nkosi Mbati with an obvious usecase but narrow application that you forget about while you don’t play that one niche. However, many of those opinions are … let’s call them “flawed”. In the first part of this article i will adress common criticisms of Sled Dog that lead to those bad first impressions before moving on to getting into what makes them as strong as they are, then describing which decks and investigators want the dogs.

Common complaints

Complaint #1: Sled Dogs are just a bad Pathfinder!

Complaint #2: Sled Dogs are just a bad Mauser!

Both of these complaints ignore that Sled Dogs are actually both a “bad Pathfinder” (no such thing, btw) and a “bad Mauser”. And a bad Bulletproof Vest. And a bad Elder Sign Amulet. The main strength of the Sled Dogs is providing a bunch of versatility and serving several roles all at once without taking up a bunch of slots or being limited to certain card pools like Pathfinder and Mauser are. Comparing them to cards that only have a single purpose is flawed reasoning from the beginning. And so is comparing them to specialized cards from certain classes. Complaint #1 and #2 are therefore just invalid.

Complaint #3: They are a four card combo!

Now this is an important one. It’s easy to look at Sled Dogs and only think about the case where you have all four out and things are awesome, then come to the conclusion that it’s too difficult to set up. The truth is however that you really only need two dogs to get good value. When you have two dogs, you have 2/2 soak available (without losing a dog) and the choice of either a bonus move or a 2 damage attack with +2 fight. For reference, this is already similar value to Pathfinder (restrictions apply) and better than a shot from a .45 Auto. Getting two dogs out is near trivial and can be done within the first two or three turns nearly without fail. Once you get your third and fourth dog, things go ridiculous soon, but those are absolutely not required for Sled Dogs to be worth it. The option to go big with a third and fourth dog merely turns a good card into an excellent one.

Complaint #4: They cost 12 resources!

This complaint can really be defused the same way as the previous one because it also assumes you have to get out all four. Playing two dogs in the early turns requires 6 resources. While certainly not cheap, that’s not a huge deal either. People have been playing Leo de Luca and other pricy assets since the Core set days. It’s something to consider when deckbuilding, but nothing that inherently disqualifies the card. Of course it’s true that the dogs aren’t cheap and the resource factor is certainly really a limiting factor for the dogs playability. This will come in later when i talk about which investigators are well suited to run these.

Complaint #5: You need Charisma to play these!

This is true. Rod of Animalism is awful in this context and you absolutely want a copy of Charisma. Possibly two, so you can run other allies and Calling in Favor shenanigans. You can use In the Thick of It to gain the three XP at deck creation to start out with an extra ally slot. This will cost you two trauma, but the dogs soak will offset this rather easily.

Complaint #5a: Rod of Animalism is awful!

True, but that has nothing to do with Sled Dogs. You shouldn’t run Rod with the dogs, because that’s a card too many that you have to draw before getting your dogs truly going. Embrace Charisma, Permanent is one hell of a powerful keyword. Forget the Rod.

Complaint #6: They exhaust!

Again, true. However this only means that they can not be run to replace your main weapon on a fighter. They are excellent as a “sidearm” alongside a two-handed weapon or for investigators that only occasionally fight (like a Seeker that happens to draw a Brood of Yig or something like that). Their exhaustion is a limitation, but not a particularly bad one. It just counterbalances not needing any sort of ammo, charges, etc. Note that this complaint also only really impacts the use of Sled Dogs as a weapon, for all other use cases it doesn’t matter much.

Complaint #7: Deck space

This one is also true. Running the dogs and maybe a pair of enablers like Calling in Favors will be 6 cards out of your 30. That’s a significant chunk, but is partially offset by the number of roles they play. But sure, if your deck is already cramped and hurting for deck space, you will not find the room to put the dogs in there. Again, that doesn’t make the card play worse, it only limits who gets to play with them.

Reasons to play Sled Dogs

All i’ve done so far is put dampeners on the complaints about the card, i will now make some arguments as for why the Dogs are actually worth running.

Strength #1: They are multi purpose

As mentioned before, the Sled Dogs are not just soak or a weapon or a movement tool. They are all of these, whatever you need most at the time. This does help to adress the issue of them being spread across multiple cards (or even multiple ally slots) in parts, as it seems fair that you have to play two cards to get something that has three roles.

Strength #2: They are neutral

Now, this is less of an ingame strength (mostly the class of an asset doesn’t matter during gameplay) but it is something to consider when we talk about which investigators can play it and when we evaluate the card. It’s common sense that a neutral card should be weaker than a comparable one in a class. After all, limiting the amount of decks that can run the card should come with an increase of power. The thing to take away here is that their status as a neutral card allows us to consider Sled Dogs for all investigators in the game. And for Lola Hayes in particular being neutral is actually an ingame strength, as it allows them to dodge her weakness.

Strength #3: They are level 0

Similar to the previous point, this means you can throw them into every deck right away. This is relevant because you likely want to run the dogs alongside some other cards and being level 0 means you don’t get into awkward situations about which cards to buy first. As luck would have it, one of the best enablers for Sled Dogs is also neutral and level 0, so you can chuck those in at deck creation as well.

Strength #4: They don’t use charges

There’s a bunch of other assets around that offer powerful abilities for actions. Usually, those are restricted by charges or ammo, like for example Eon Chart, Shrivelling or Lightning Gun. The Sled Dogs don’t have this restriction, instead they have an implied once-per-turn clause through their exhaustion on use. While this does limit their use as a “main weapon”, it’s almost meaningless for the movement part. It also makes sure that those resources you invest into them stay relevant for the rest of the game. They don’t get used up the way a .45 Auto or a Mauser do.

Strength #5: They use the ally slot

Yes, this is actually a strength. Two dogs occupy an ally slot and offer the same amount of soak as a 3/3 ally (without having to discard anything). That is actually already a reasonable use of the ally slot, but there’s the abilities of the dogs to consider as well. Most importantly, these offer a fight ability without costing a hand slot. And extra hand slots are hard to come by. Guardian has Bandolier, but that’s largely it. Quickdraw Holster is a card that exists, i guess. So while ally slots are generally more valuable than hand slots, one has to consider that the number of hand slots is largely static while you can buy more ally slots for XP fairly easily.
This actually affords a decent amount of flexibility while deckbuilding as it takes pressure off of the limited hand slots and makes using two-handed weapons (or a pair of non-combat tools) much more reasonable.

Cards to play with Sled Dogs

Looking at certain cards and evaluating them on their own is all well and good, but usually you want your cards to work with each other. After all, that’s what differentiates a deck from just a random pile of cards. Aside from investigators, there’s a couple of cards you may want to also consider when checking if Sled Dogs are an option for you.

Calling in Favors

Calling in Favors

Favors does a lot of neat things for you. It can heal one of your dogs, but most importantly it’s a tutor that goes on to find more of them. Seekers can gain a lot of value of of this card by coupling it with Miskatonic allies, reusing their enters play effects while tutoring up dogs, for example with…

Jeremiah Kirby

Jeremiah Kirby

You think it’s coincidence there’s a pack of sled dogs in his art? Think again. Play Jeremiah for “uneven” and collect all the Dogs and Calling in Favors from the top of your deck. Play Favors on Jeremiah for yet another dog and do it again!

A Chance Encounter(2)

Sure, you could just use this card to revive a fallen dog, but the real strength of this card comes from combining it with Short Supply, effectively turning these into extra copies of Sled Dog for consistency.

Scrounge for Supplies

Scrounge for Supply

Talking about Short Supply putting dogs in your discard, Scrounge is happy to pick up those for you. It’s a bit slow and might need to leave the deck later, but early on they are perfectly fine stand-ins for Chance Encounter(2).

Flare

Flare

The final card that makes sure that Survivors are the best at picking up dogs. Once you got your dogs online, drawing one of these means you have a disgusting amount of damage at your fingertips. Before you do, it just makes sure you get your dogs.

Lucid Dreaming

Lucid Dreaming

A straight up tutor. I am not a huge fan of this card because it is so slow, but you could use this to increase the consistency of the “combo”. This can act as a slightly better Scrounge for non-Survivors if you are willing to pay 2XP per. Personally i am usually not willing to do that, as being light on XP requirements is one of the things i like about the Sled Dogs.

The Star • XVII

The Star – XVII

If you want to become immortal, try hiding behind an army of dogs, enhanced by The Star. This is a combo that few investigators can/want to use, but damn is it impressive when it works.

In addition to these examples, anything that draws more cards or gives more resources is of course very helpful in an obvious way.

The Top Dogs

Let’s talk about which investigators are best suited to use this phenomenal tool in their decks. To summarize, the first thing that we care about is having the card draw/selection to find our Sled Dogs. Then, we need to pay for them. Finally, to take full advantage of their attack ability, we want a reasonable base fight value. What’s a “reasonable fight value”? Well, some quick napkin math: The average enemy has 3 combat. We want to attack with 2 over, so with 5 combat. A key argument of mine is that having two dogs out is good enough to get value out of the combat, so we land on 3 base strength skill for the investigator. Here’s my Top 5 of Sled Dog users:

Leo Anderson

One of the first investigators everyone thought about immediately when Sled Dogs were first spoiled. He’s got the combat value, he’s got an ability that searches up allies and makes them cheaper. He’s got rogue access for even more econ. He even has a signature that can hold all of the dogs for him. As a Guardian, he can make use of The Star and get good value out of a variety of two-handed guns. Pretty great, but you might want to go double Charisma so you can play some of the other ally shenanigans he’s usually up to as well.

Amanda Sharpe

Amanda is a very flexible investigator and her access to Vicious Blow and Overpower(2) makes her great at actually being a fighting seeker. However, the number of actual weapons available to her is limited and people have been been scraping the barrel so hard they started playing Knife again as if this was 2016. Well, do i have a great alternative for you. With her innate card draw, she tears through her deck so finding the dogs is no issue at all for her. And as a skill based investigator, she doesn’t need to spend a lot on assets either. A Mag Glass and a Lexicon and she is golden. The rest of her resources can go towards Sled Dogs which will give her resilience, movement and a rather fierce weapon to put her skills towards. Sled Dog Amanda plays great and you should play a campaign with her RIGHT NOW.

Winifred Habbamock

Alright, now that you all returned from your Sledding Amanda campaign, let me tell you about Winifred because she’s the same deal as Amanda, but probably even better. She blitzes through her deck and she barely has to spend any money because she just commits skills all day. So she can use the sled dogs to go fast on the board as well and to kill road blocks. Like Amanda, she can fight and clue at the same time and Sled Dogs super charge her in many many ways. Once you have a Lucky Cigarette Case(3) on the board, you basically get to pick up a dog per turn, if you want to. Absolutely delightful to play.

William Yorrick

An excellent fighter that can make good use out of everything on offer here. He doesn’t even need to wait until he gets Chance Encounters to pick dogs out of his discard, so he doesn’t need to run Scrounge as a placeholder until then. This means that he doesn’t have as much deck space pressure, he can realistically get by with just the dogs and Short Supply. It also means he can use the full soak of the dogs, because he can just recur them… as long as he has the resources. Getting those resources is a deck building challenge, but the payoff is worth it.

Lola Hayes

Hey, Lola made a Top 5 list. Woooo. Now, i don’t think that Lola is necessarily one of the best investigators for Sled Dogs… but i do think that Sled Dogs is one of the best ways to play Lola. Makes sense, i hope? Anyways, Sled Dogs give Lola something quite amazing: A set of assets that can soak, fight and move that doesn’t get flushed away by her weakness. This is the one instance where being Neutral is a huge boon for the dogs and allows them to fill a very specific purpose for Lola as a reliable fallback that is safe to invest into. It’s also one of the few cases where Lola can actually make good use of her broad class access, using everything from Short Supply to The Star to make this happen. I genuinely believe that Sled Dogs are the best way to play Lola right now.

The rest of the investigators

Yep, I’ll actually go over every single one of the other investigators now. There’s going to be a summary at the end for the impatient. I understand. If you read this far, you already went through a lot of sled dog related self-indulgence, more than is reasonable in any way.

Guardian

Sled Dogs are attractive for Guardian because they are most interested in getting a non-handslot sidearm. They are also able to play The Star, turning the Guardian into a tank that can engage enemies without fear. On the flip side, Guardian economy is notoriously shaky and paying for the dogs is an issue.

Carolyn: Has good econ and could pay for them. The dogs would also give her a way around the “no weapons” restriction of her deck building, but her low combat value limits the usefulness of the dogs before she gets a third. She would play these primarily as a movement tool. Probably not worth it.
Lily: Like Carolyn, Lily can use Sled Dogs to get around her deckbuilding restriction, as they most certainly do not count as Firearms. She can be built in a lot of ways, so it’s probably possible to do, but the Mystic access isn’t really too helpful with the Sled Dog plan. I think i’d rather not try this.
Mark: Sled Dogs + The Star in Mark is something else, allowing for lots of card draw while the dogs soak up the damage. Meanwhile, he can use his 5 strength with whatever two-handed gun he wants.
Nathaniel: Probably not. While he’d appreciate having a free attack each turn without having to spend an event, he kinda needs his resources for these events in the first place.
Roland: His seeker access could give him the tools to draw the cards needed, but that’s usually not really what Roland is going for with his seeker cards. He’s also fairly poor, so i am leaning towards no.
Mary: I don’t really see anything here that makes me want to put dogs into a Mary deck.
Tommy: On the one hand, he’s ally focused and he is a survivor. So he can run Short Supply and the rest of the enablers around it. On the other hand, we don’t really want to have our dogs actually die on us. There’s probably a deck here, but it’d be unlike how Tommy usually plays.
Zoey: Zoey usually is one of the richer Guardians, so she got that going for her. She could even go and use her Dunwich-Five access to grab Scrounge and Short Supply. If she wants to devote herself to it, she could even go and grab Jeremiah… I think there’s a deck here for sure.

Seeker

Seekers have no problem finding cards in their deck, as they do have the best card draw and card selection available. Resources used to be an issue, but they’ve consistently been getting better tools for that as well. They do however usually not lean much towards fighting, so they mostly have low combat, making it difficult for them to use the combat mode of the dogs, while Pathfinder and Shortcut give them alternatives in the movement department. All together, not a great class for sled dogs.

Daisy: She needs her resources for her tomes, i don’t see her playing dogs.
Harvey: He’s not fighting anyone.
Joe: The other fighty seeker. He could probably be built to use the dogs in a reasonable way, but i’m not sure how useful that really is. Handslots are rarely an issue for him (due to a lack of good two-handed options) and he tends to be somewhat poor as well.
Mandy: The queen of search would be great at finding the pack, but she’s really not set up well to make use of them. I suppose she’d be good at helping other investigators find their dogs, but i don’t see that happening in her own deck.
Monterey: I could see this happen, moving two+ locations in one action is valuable for him and his ability gives him both the draw and the cash to enable the sled dogs. His strength skill is kinda weak, so he’d definitely be more interested in the movement side.
Minh: Anyone with Survivor access can make Sled Dogs happen and as a skill based investigator she isn’t as hard pressed for cash. She’s not really known for fighting stuff though, so while she could make dogs work, i don’t think they are a very attractive option for her.
Rex: Like Zoey, the Dunwich-Five access lends itself to enabling Sled Dogs, but he’s got better things to do with his time.
Ursula: Nope, she needs her money and she’s more interested in movement options that are actual free actions.

Rogue

Rogues of course have the money to do whatever they please. And if it pleases them to gather a herd of floofy followers, then so be it. Their good evade combos well with an attack ability that can be used only once per turn, in fact a couple of their weapons already work that way. That being said, their card draw is often lacking so something would have to be done about that. Personally, i am also a huge fan of Underworld Support and that one really doesn’t work with Sled Dogs…

Skids: Skids already has a way to funnel money into actions, so i don’t think that Sled Dogs are terribly useful here.
Finn: I actually could see this happen. The dogs allow him to make good use of his 3 combat and his limited Seeker access could go towards some card draw. Certainly not my first choice, but i wouldn’t immediately discard this option.
Jenny: Similar to Finn in that she’s happy to get an outlet for her otherwise mediocre combat skill. She’s rich enough to make Sled Dogs happen and as previously mentioned the Dunwich splash can enable them as well. Not bad at all!
Preston: Even with a couple of sled dogs out, Preston isn’t going to take down significant enemies anytime soon. So the only value the dogs would have for him would be in their soak and the movement. Is that enough? I am leaning towards “Probably not”, despite the deep pockets and the survivor access being excellent to make it happen if you wanted to.
Sefina: I mean, you are at least likely to start with two or more dogs right away in your opening hand. But aside from that, i can’t really see anything here that makes me want to run dogs in Sefina. And i say that as a card carrying member of the Sefina fanclub.
Tony: He’s got great econ, but he already isn’t lacking in options to spend it on. You could force this, but i don’t think Tony gains much from sled dogs.
Trish: I don’t see this either. She’s not great at fighting and the movement tools from her seeker access are enough to get her around.

Mystic

Mystic is the class that is the least suited to make use of Sled Dogs. They are poor due to a reliance on expensive spell assets and their fight value is generally deprecated because they just do everything with willpower. They also don’t fight with their hands, so that aspect of Sled Dogs is also kinda wasted on them.

Agnes: Aside from the survivor access, i do not see any synergy with Sled Dogs here.
Akachi: She has that awkward 3 combat that nobody uses, but that’s not enough to make me want to go sledding with her.
Dexter: Now this is more interesting. He’s rich. He has 3 combat. And his ability can give him a discount on the dogs and make them fast. There’s something here, but i don’t see an actual deck yet. Sledding Dexter is a concept that intrigues me, though.
Diana: She’s just so hard pressed for deck slots, otherwise i’d be all over trying to make this work. I’ve been tinkering with Fighting Diana in the past and it’s always been just quite not there.
Mateo: Nah, i don’t see anything here.
Gloria: Another generic willpower user. Next.
Jacqueline: And another one.
Jim: I’m no expert on Jim, his ability never appealed to me much. But between 3 combat and Dunwich deckbuilding, you could probably make Sledding Jim a thing.
Luke: Neither is he looking for fights, nor is he lacking for mobility. He can already move 4+ locations in one action by default.
Marie: As a willpower/intellect hybrid, she’s not interested in anything the dogs have to offer.
Norman: The same goes for Norman.

Survivor

Finally. Survivors are the best when it comes to make use of Sled Dogs. Most of the enabler cards are red, especially the Short Supply/Chance Encounter(2) interaction makes them very efficient at getting most out of them right away. Survivors are of course a diverse bunch, so you can’t really make any generic assumptions about money, fight value etc like i did for the other classes.

Pete: Thematic reasons aside, Pete’s not great for sled dogs. Only two fight and his ready ability doesn’t really do anything too useful for them either.
Bob: I don’t think so. Between his 3 combat and his money you could force it, but his deck space is better used for item assets to pass around the table.
Calvin: He’s certainly interested in having an army of dogs soak damage for him. Especially a fighting Calvin could make good use of the dogs, i think.
Daniela: If you want dogs in Daniela, use Guard Dogs.
Patrice: She finds those puppies like nobody else, but being locked into having to pay for them *right then* makes this too awkward. She’s better off leaning into her Mystic side.
Rita: I don’t like Rita much, but i do like what the dogs have to offer for her. She’s one of those investigators that have a combat 3 value that often gets unused, so the dogs are an outlet for that. They are a great solution for Hoods, for example. I think there’s something here with the dogs taking the role that usually is taken by the bow, thus freeing up her hands.
Silas: I like this as well. A flexible investigator like Silas can make great use out of all the things that Sled Dogs have to offer.
Stella: Stella can do everything well, so why not also this.
Wendy: Combat 1 is a downer here, so i’d pass on Sledding Wendy.

Neutral

Wait, didn’t i already cover Lola? Aha! But there’s another neutral investigator, who just has been spoiled by FFG a few days ago. And he’s ally focused! So let’s check him out: [1] [2] [3] [4]

Charlie: Wait what? 3 additional ally slots? So i can have four dogs and still 2 more allies before even buying Charisma. That’s hot. He’s only got skill 1 through the bank, but he can use the dogs in an interesting way, different from everyone else. Let’s say he’s got two dogs out. He can use them to attack the conventional way for 2 damage at skill 3. Or he can use his ability to exhaust them individually, attacking for 1 damage at skill 5. Or he can just exhaust two dogs to get +2 willpower or something. While the dogs don’t really have great icons and Charlie generally will want good icons in his slots, the fact that one slot can hold two dogs could be of great value to him. I don’t think it’s ultimately that great, but who knows. Another slight downer: Between his elder sign effect and his signature, he’s got some ally readying going on which isn’t going to be doing much for the dogs. He does have the ability to bend his deck building towards enabling doggy shenanigans, though. Time will tell, but i am leaning towards probably not worth trying to put the politician on a sled.

Investigator Summary

So here’s the investigator related wall of text, summarized. To add some value for those who read the previous paragraphs, i made this summary into a Top 10 list “Investigators most suited to play Sled Dogs”

  1. Winifred Habbamock
  2. Amanda Sharpe
  3. Leo Anderson
  4. William Yorrick
  5. Lola Hayes
  6. Silas
  7. Rita
  8. Monterey
  9. Jenny
  10. Dexter

Runner ups: Calvin, Mark, Jim, Stella, Tommy, Finn

That’s 10 solid choices out of 50 investigators, or 20%. The vast majority of cards wishes they were playable in 20% of investigators.

Decklists!

So you probably think that i’ve been talking completely out of my ass for the last 4500 words, but i do actually have some decklists for you. Decks that i actually played and that i went through campaigns with!

Lola’s sledding stack of synergy
Damn, it’s been half a year already? This was my first Lola deck and my first Sled Dog deck. I went with this through Carcosa. I actually have three deck lists for you here. One at 0XP. Another midway through. And one at the end of the campaign. This deck has quite a lot to unpack if you want to get into it, but the relevant take-away here is that i played Sled Dogs in a 50 card Lola deck and it still worked great! This deck was able to fish the dogs out of 50 cards in a few turns, so if you put them into a 30 card deck, this only becomes easier.

Flex Wini at the Edge of the Earth
I got two decklists for that, one at the start of the campaign and another after finishing it. Wini is one of my favorite investigators and this deck is probably the most fun i had with her. She was just blasting around the large maps thanks to the sled dogs and since enemies are few in that campaign, having an attack for 3+ damage on standby was absolutely great. This is the deck that really got me on the sled dog train, because it showed to me how good those really are when you put them into the right shell.

Amanda, 7 allies and a huge deck
I only have one decklist for this, the campaign is actually still ongoing on my table right now! The reason i posted it is because it managed (together with an Underworld Support Bob) to get all 6 paths in TFA’s Boundary Beyond, something that i consider to be quite an accomplishment even with today’s deep card pool. This is another huge chunky deck with Forced Learning, but between that and Amanda i get to see three cards per turn here so finding what i need is not a problem. The deck goes all in on allies, running both double Charisma and Archaeologic Funding, making Calling in Favors an insane card. Returning Miskatonic allies to put sled dogs into play never gets old. Pretty sweet deck. Not quite as good as the Wini one, but absolutely a blast to play.

I don’t have decklists for Leo or William, but they do play the whole Sled Dog thing pretty straight, so i am sure you can figure it out. Personally, i think i am most interested in Dexter next if i want to go for another Sled Dog deck in the future.

Closing thoughts

That’s it. That’s what i had to say. Sorry for wasting so much of your time.
If you take something away from this, let it be this: Cards don’t exist in a vacuum and it is wrong to evaluate them as such. Also, a card’s power isn’t necessarily immediately obvious. First looks can be deceiving. Sometimes you just have to go and actually play the damn thing before you discard something right away, especially if it’s not just your next version of Shrivelling or some other slightly modified staple.

Cheers o/

Best-Laid Plans: Edge of the Earth

Spoilers

This page doesn’t hold back anything. There are detailed spoilers for the Edge of the Earth campaign ahead. I highly suggest that you stop reading now if you have not played this campaign once or twice before. You should always give a campaign a few blind plays first, otherwise you might just miss out on that crucial experience of seeing a whole team of explorers being killed off one by one in a heartbreaking manner.

Introduction

Following the experiences of William Dyer and Danforth at the Mountains of Madness, the two academics get roped into another expedition to the Antarctica to confirm their tales. Part of this expedition are an array of other people from various ways of life and with different abilities. And the investigators join the team as well, of course. They set out to the Antarctica on the ice breaker to document anything unusual, but soon find more than they bargained for.

This article takes a close look at each of this campaign and its scenarios, the mechanics tied to them and the choices that the players will have to make facing all of these challenges. As in previous installments of this article series, i will also give some suggestions for investigators and player cards that are particularly well suited for making it back from the Edge of the Earth.

This article is not going to look at each encounter set and each scenario in detail, this site already has pages for those. Please refer to those for more zoomed in views on the single cards that make up the encounter sets and encounter decks.

Persistence

The main difference between the Edge of the Earth campaign and the preceding ones is how much several mechanics persist through the campaign. There’s always been minor aspects that build up over time, like Wrath of Yig in Forgotten Age or adding chaos tokens to the bag as a result of certain choices. But Edge takes this concept to new heights, with several mechanics having effects over the course of the whole campaign instead of being limited to a scenario: The expedition members don’t heal between scenarios and will gain damage/horror over time. Over time, Frost tokens are added to the chaos bag and will pile up, unless counteracted. There are temporary weaknesses that are added to player decks until they are drawn, but since they aren’t removed between scenarios this can happen in a later scenario. There are scenario layouts that can not be fully explored in one scenario and might require up to three scenarios that all use that layout but with the exploration persisting from one scenario to the next.

Let’s start by looking at the two biggest of these persisting aspects in more detail:

Frost tokens

The Edge of the Earth campaign comes with a set of eight new chaos tokens. These Frost tokens are added to the chaos bag over time, triggered by certain ingame events or just as part of scenario setup. A single Frost isn’t all that dangerous, it only counts as a -1 and forces another token pull. So it can lead to failing a test that otherwise would have just barely passed, but the real issue is drawing multiple Frosts. Two Frost tokens count as an autofail, just as if you drew the tentacle token.

As a result, tests become more and more difficult to pass as the number of Frost tokens creeps up. Here’s where you (involuntarily) gain Frost tokens:

  • Initial campaign setup: Depending on your difficulty, your chaos bag starts with 0-3 Frost tokens in it.
  • Ice and Death, #1-3: Picking up the mineral specimen adds a Frost token. There’s also a location and a treachery that can add Frost tokens.
  • Ice and Death #2, setup: Opting into this scenario adds a Frost token.
  • Ice and Death #3, setup: Opting into this scenario adds a Frost token.
  • Ice and Death #3: Advancing the first agenda adds a Frost.
  • Forbidden Peaks, setup: Up to three Frost tokens are added during setup. The first can be avoided by having Eliyah and the Wooden Sledge. The second one can be avoided by having Claypool or accepting a physical trauma per player instead. The third one can be avoided by having Takada or accepting a mental trauma per player instead.
  • Forbidden Peaks: Revealing the Summit adds a Frost. One of the treacheries can potentially add Frost tokens.
  • Fatal Mirage, setup: Opting into this scenario for the second and third time adds a token each. The first time is “free”.
  • City of Elder Things, setup: A Frost token is added to the bag during setup. This can be avoided by having Cookie alive and the Dynamite supply in your campaign log.
  • City of Elder Things: In version 2, advancing the first act adds a Frost.
  • Heart of Madness, setup: A Frost token is added before deciding whether to do Heart of Madness #1 or not. This can be avoided if the Miasmic Crystal was recovered.

In addition to this there are a few locations where you can choose to gain a Frost token for a bonus. These should pretty much never be taken, with the only exception being the Mineral Specimen pickup in Ice and Death which is generally worth it.
Considering the effect the growing amount of Frost tokens has on your skill tests, you will want to seek out any chance to remove some of these from your chaos bag. Here are your options for that:

  • Interludes: At each of the interludes, players can visit Avery Claypool to remove a Frost (up to three times in total over the course of the campaign).
  • Ice and Death #1-3: Successfully parleying at the Icebreaker Landing can remove a Frost. However, taking this option means permanently forfeiting the Small Radio asset.
  • Ice and Death #2: Two of the eight facedown story cards remove a Frost. Depending on how many crew members are missing, these of course might not all be in play.
  • City of Elder Things: Spending both “-2” keys at the appropriate location will remove 2 Frost.
  • Heart of Madness: Activating the correct seal at the Geothermal vent will remove one Frost.

As you can see, there are much fewer opportunities to remove tokens than there are to add new ones, so this is definitely an uphill battle for the players. If Claypool dies early, Frost will be a much bigger problem than otherwise, his interlude ability is that powerful. Ultimately, the best way to work around Frost is minimizing any pickups of Frost tokens in the first place, but it often can not be avoided. It should also be noted that starting with 2 or even 3 tokens already in the bag on higher difficulties means that these are a huge issue right away. Remember that Avery Claypool can also come on scenarios with you as a partner asset, where he can cancel Frost tokens for you and thus help you push through the increasingly bad odds.

Tekeli-li

The Tekeli-li deck is made out of a set of 16 cards, all of them weaknesses with a player card back. For every scenario in Edge of the Earth, the Tekeli-li deck is assembled and put into play. There are many effects that can instruct players to shuffle one (or many) of these cards into their player decks without looking at it. Once drawn, they resolve just like a regular weakness, then they are put at the bottom of the Tekeli-li deck again. What makes these remarkable is that they aren’t removed from the player deck between scenarios. So you have effects that use these Tekeli-li cards to create delayed consequences for the player, possibly even one or more scenarios later.

For the player, gaining a Tekeli-li weakness means two things: For one, they are going to suffer some sort of penalty when they draw the card in the future. For most Tekeli-li the actual effect is rather mild, but there are some heavy hitters as well. More importantly most of the time is that drawing the weakness means you didn’t draw a useful card, since the weakness replaced your draw. This can be a huge issue for investigators that have no ways of drawing extra cards, as random streaks of back to back weakness draws can leave them without anything useful in their hands.

These are the 16 cards in the Tekeli-li deck, roughly ordered from lowest impact to highest:

  • 3x “Take 1 horror”
  • 3x “Take 1 damage”
  • 2x “Lose 2 resources”
  • 2x “Discard a random card from your hand”
  • 2x “Drop one of your clues on your location”
  • 2x “Lose your next action”
  • 2x “Discard an asset from play”

Half of them aren’t that bad as you will usually be able to take a horror, damage or lose 2 resources. The other half can be more painful. Having to discard from hand means drawing the weakness basically denied you two cards. Having to drop a clue usually costs an action. So does straight up losing an action, of course. Having to discard an asset from play can potentially cause the biggest problems and ruin your setup turns while wasting resources, cards and actions that were spent on that asset.

Tekeli-li effects are able to “fizzle”, resolving without further effect if you can fulfill them. There’s no conditional surge or anything on them like there usually is on encounter cards. So if you have to lose 2 resources, but don’t have any or have to drop a clue but don’t have one, you get lucky. Well, you still lost your draw. But at least the weakness is out of your deck.

Note that Tekeli-li cards enter your deck without allowing you to look at them, so you initially don’t know what’s waiting for you. Nothing is stopping you from looking at them when searching your deck because of a card like No Stone Unturned, though. You can also freely look at your deck between scenarios and should absolutely do so.

Two crew members can help you with Tekeli-li. William Dyer allows purging up to 5 of these weaknesses from your deck if you spend one of your three visits on him during interludes. And Danforth has an ability that draws extra cards when revealing a Tekeli-li, which can offset both the lost draw and the negative effect. Aside from those two, the best defense against Tekeli-li is to have card draw. Someone like Patrice or Amanda who naturally draw lots and lots of cards can shrug off the “missed draw” part of the weaknesses. They do draw into them faster, but that shouldn’t matter in the long run, you will eventually draw them anyways.

Which leads me to my final note on Tekeli-li weaknesses. The final scenario, Heart of Madness #2 will, once the agenda advances the first time, trigger all Tekeli-li cards in all player decks. So any weakness you pick up during the campaign is almost guaranteed to resolve eventually unless you purge them with William Dyer or another scenario effect. Should you follow the path to Amy Kensler’s special resolution you will not suffer this Tekeli-li trigger.

The Crew of the Theodosia

The nine expedition members that make the trip with the investigators into the antarctic are a very central piece of this campaign. I wrote about these in their own article, long enough that i don’t want to repeat it here: The Crew of the Theodosia

Other story assets

In addition to the many cards devoted to the expedition crew and their mementos, there is a set of special assets that can be earned in the first half of the campaign. These assets are very powerful and well worth picking up.
To earn one of these, players need to recover them from one of the locations in Ice and Death and then carry them all the way up to the summit in the Forbidden Peaks. Once all of that is done, they get to add the cards to their decks (and gain an XP in the process). In total, there are seven expedition assets that can be earned this way:

Spare Parts: Can immediately be acquired on the starting location of Ice and Death by passing a skill test. Allows adding a supply or a resource up to three times, which can be excellent to give more uses to powerful cards such as Dynamite, Sinha’s Medkit or Acidic Ichor. Always worth picking up.

Small Radio: Is acquired at the Icebreaker Landing, however there’s some opportunity cost as you can choose to remove a Frost token from the bag instead. It allows using the ability of team members that were not chosen as partner assets. I mostly find this useful to use Dyer’s or Mala’s heal in an emergency, but especially in higher difficulties where you have multiple Frosts in the bag from the start the Frost removal is often more worthwhile.

Dynamite: Acquired at the Barrier Camp. Gives two uses that work exactly like the Guardian card Dynamite Blast. This item is fantastic value, two uses of a 5 cost high impact event is great and you can get even more out of this card by recharging it with Spare Parts or Emergency Cache(3). The Barrier Camp is arguably already the best shelter location, getting access to Dynamite makes it even better. Grab this and Albino Penguins become a draw to look forward to.

Mineral Specimen: Acquired at the Ice Cave. Three uses of a high Intellect investigate that also find an additional clue are excellent. Since it uses charges, it’s a bit more difficult to recharge, but it’s already quite worth it. Picking it up at the Ice Cave requires players to add a Frost to the chaos bag, which is a significant cost though. At higher difficulties you could argue for skipping this one if you don’t want to risk getting overwhelmed by Frost this early in the campaign.

Miasmatic Crystal: Acquired at the Crystalline Cavern. This is the most difficult asset to acquire, with the location being expensive to reveal and an agility(5) test being in the way. The Crystal allows cancelling the effect of up to 3 Tekeli-li cards and drawing a replacement card. Certainly a good effect, but not essential.

Green Soapstone: Acquired at the Snow Graves. An excellent item that essentially gives you 4 uses of Vicious Blow. Unlike Vicious Blow, you only decide on using the charge after doing the test, so there’s no waste here. This card helps a lot with getting regular attacks to the 3 damage threshold and you should absolutely pick this up. Doing so requires grabbing all 2i clues from the location and adding three Tekeli-li to your deck, but that’s a fair price for this valuable asset.

Wooden Sledge: Acquired at Lake’s Camp. Depending on how many Item cards your decks play, the Sledge can be very powerful as it acts like a repeatable Backpack with the additional wrinkle that any player can play the cards attached to it. This will usually be worth picking up, but some investigator combos might make it a lower priority.

Something that should be noted about these assets is that they all cost zero resources, so they aren’t a drain on your economy at all. Everyone can add these to their deck without much regret. All of them also have three icons, a pair of one skill and a wild. This makes them highly useful as commits to tests as well, giving something like the Wooden Sledge or Spare Parts value even if their activated abilities don’t seem enticing to you. In particular, investigators with recursion can gain some great value out of these assets. Commit to a skill test, then play them from the discard with Scavenging(2) or William Yorrick. Or use Scavenging(0) and commit them over and over. There’s some neat stuff you can do with them. Sadly they are very hard to get rid off from play, though. So, similar to Acidic Ichor, you won’t be able to sacrifice them to something and easily recur them. That means you have (again, like Ichor) use other player cards to recharge their uses.

Agility

Similar to Innsmouth and The Forgotten Age, the treacheries in Edge of the Earth are fairly evenly spread between testing agility and willpower. So this is definitely not a campaign where agility can be mostly ignored (like it was arguably the case in Dunwich and Carcosa). There are also a couple of points where agility can be extremely helpful. For example there’s an enemy that comes into play with a doom token. Defeating it will just spill the doom to the location, to get rid of the doom players have to evade the enemy. Many of the enemies also hit fairly hard and put up a long fight, but have low evasion values that can be exploited by investigators with good agility values.

Enemies

The enemies in Edge of the Earth are comparatively not very numerous, but the ones that exist mostly are rather impactful. With only very few exceptions, there are no “filler” enemies here like Ghouls, Rats and the like in other campaigns. Instead, the first scenario immediately sets the baseline with the Eidolon enemies that don’t go down in just one hit with any weapon.

Like in The Forgotten Age, the ability to deal three damage in one action is extremely valuable, as there are a lot of enemies with 3 or 5 stamina around.

Almost all enemies are Hunters, but thanks to the large location layouts in this campaign evading enemies can still be a viable option as there is usually enough room to keep your distance from them afterwards.

There are several boss-like Elite monsters that players encounter throughout the campaign. Most noteworthy among them is the recurring Terror from the Stars which appears at fixed points of time triggered by the act or agenda. Also, the Shoggoths encounter set adds multiple big enemies straight to the encounter deck, making the encounter deck for the relevant scenarios very scary.

The final thing worth noting about the enemies is that they often do more than just dealing damage in combat, most of them are tied to Tekeli-li cards in some way. Especially the Eidolon enemies are a major vector for acquiring more of those weaknesses.

Locations

Most of the scenarios all take place on very large maps, with 13 to 19 locations in them. Two of those maps are meant to be explored over the course of up to three scenarios, with progress persisting from one play to the next. These big maps are also very interconnected.

This has two immediate consequences. For one, having extra movement options available is very valuable. It’s no coincidence that the EotE player card box comes with many such options, cards like Hiking Boots, Scout Ahead or even Sled Dogs will pay off here. Of course your classic Pathfinder, Safeguard and Shortcut are just as great as always.

The other consequence is that you do get enough room that evasion is a much more feasible way of dealing with enemies than usual. You do need to worry about backtracking a fair bit when there’s a couple of hunters around, but you usually do have different ways to take so you can minimize your exposure to the enemies.

The exception to this is To the Forbidden Peaks which has only 6 locations. In addition to being cramped like that, the layout is also completely linear and there are limitations to when you can progress from one location to the next. In many ways, this scenario is therefore the polar opposite to the rest of the campaign. While movement abilities still do have some value here, evading enemies is a much less viable thing here.

Alternate Ending

With exception of Dunwich Legacy, the campaigns usually sport some sort of alternate or twist ending that can be unlocked by doing specific things during the campaign. This is true for Edge of the Earth as well, however it happens almost completely outside of the scenarios and is otherwise limited to the story text. The only gameplay change is that you get to skip the mandatory triggering of all Tekeli-li weaknesses in all decks during Heart of Madness #2.
Unlocking it is also very straightforward. To do so, players have to spend one of their limited visits with Amy Kensler during all three interludes. Amy Kensler also has to survive until the end. So if you decide to go for this, you should prioritize turning Amy resolute to protect her from randomly dying along the way.
There’s not much more to say about this. You give up three visits that could’ve been some other bonus and in return you get to read a different resolution and gain some more lore bits.

Experience

Here’s the experience that is on offer throughout the campaign. The amount is similar to previous campaigns, but the distribution is quite unusual. As a result of some scenarios being optional, the XP is heavily concentrated in the four non-skippable ones. This means that failing one of them will be a huge blow to your progression and leave you starved for upgrades. To the Forbidden Peaks is one you especially will want to succeed at because too much is on the line… not only XP, but also the supply items.

Ice and Death, part 1: 8 (shelter) + 1 (Terror in the Stars) = 9XP
Ice and Death, part 2: up to 8, but only if they are missing from part 1
Ice and Death, part 3: 5XP (flat value, for defeating all enemies)
To the Forbidden Peaks: 6 (locations) + 1 (Terror in the Stars) + 7 (supplies) = 14XP
City of the Elder Things: 8 (spent keys) +3 (locations) + 1 (Terror of the Stars) + 1 (Rampaging Shoggoth)= 13XP (only possible in version 1. Version 2 has 11XP, version 3 has 12XP)
Fatal Mirage: 2XP for visiting each location of a dead team member (up to 9 times) = 18XP
Heart of Madness, part 1: 5 (Seals) + 1 (Rampaging Shoggoth) = 6XP
Heart of Madness, part 2: 2 (Unsealed Phantasms) + 10 (Resolution) = 12XP

If you total up the numbers above, you get a theoretical maximum of moving into Heart of Madness #2 with 65XP. For reference, the max number for most campaigns here is around 50-55. Forgotten Age is the outlier with 77XP. Now, before you plan the wildest decks imaginable, it is important to remember that these are theoretical numbers and you will likely end up with a lot less. Chances are, you will have fewer XP than you’d have in Carcosa, Innsmouth or Circle Undone. Let’s take a closer look at the circumstances behind those numbers:

Ice and Death I is going to be a nice shot in the arm right away, as long as you end up with either 7 or 8 shelter. Defeating the Terror is going to be tough and might well be out of reach. I&D II and III are optional and there are good reasons to skip them, so maybe don’t plan with those XP too closely.
Forbidden Peaks has a high total maximum, but the 7XP from the supplies aren’t given to all players. They are distributed with the expedition assets recovered, so players will have to share the 7XP among them. Still, the location XP is all but guaranteed and the Terror will usually have to be fought as well, so there’s a good amount there. City of Elder Things is very hard to complete fully, the map is gargantuan and the clues numerous. You’ll get some good XP here but will soon have to exert a lot of effort for them.
Heart of Madness I is technically optional, but there’s very little reason not to do it. Getting all 5 seals is again tough, but more doable than getting every key in City of Elder Things.
The biggest number is the 18XP on Fatal Mirage, but it’s also the most misleading. For one, these XP are of course spread across 3 plays and chances are you are not going to do all of those. Also, you only get the 2XP for locations that belong to team members that are already dead. Usually you will want to go to locations of alive crew instead, turning them resolute. This will only earn 1XP, but the extra power on the partner asset is worth it. Instead of 18XP, it’s probably more realistic to plan with around 5-8XP. Maybe even only 2-4 if you only go into Fatal Mirage once.
In total, i’d expect to go with about 35XP into Heart of Madness #2 instead of the theoretical 65XP. That is fine for most builds, but will have you struggle for some of the extra comfort cards that are fun to put into decks besides the bare necessities.

Investigator Choices

Moving and investigating is the name of the game in Edge of the Earth. There are some chunky enemies to fight as well, but there are often moments without any combat for several turns. So while you want some good firepower, single focused combat investigators might find themselves with turns of having little to do. You are also looking for a good spread of skill values, otherwise you risk being brutalized by bad streaks of encounter cards. Allrounders are excellent here.

Carolyn Fern: Being able to heal partner allies allows using them very liberally to catch horror treacheries not only for you but also for your teammates. This swings both ways, of course: Once the partner allies have a point of trauma or two, you can use them to generate resources right from the start.
Mark Harrigan: Sophie gives him the capability to enhance his excellent statline to dance circles around treachery tests. He also has the firepower required to take down the big nasties.
Ursula Downs: If moving and investigating is the name of the game, then Ursula Downs is the … manual? A cheatcode? I am not sure where i was going with this, but Ursula is amazing here.
Minh Ti Phan: If you are interested in getting the most out of the expedition assets, commit them to skill tests with Minh for 4 icons, then get them back to hand or play with Scavenging.
Trish Scarborough: One of the more mobile rogues thanks to Seeker access and the evasion gimmick is also extremely valuable here and can defuse all sorts of situations.
Winifred Habbamock: Playing a rogue always means having to deal with the willpower, but in exchange you gain a fantastic statline for the other 3 skills. Winifred is able to take advantage of all of those other 3 skills to the fullest.
Dexter Drake: The campaign can potentially give Dexter a ridiculous amount of zero cost assets to use for sleight of hand tricks. As one of the few that can even discard them from play, he’s also set up perfectly to get a fresh copy on each go through his deck.
Luke “Penguin Hunter” Robinson: He’s the most mobile character in the game and in these wide maps he can use his special abilities to the fullest. Being able to cast Spectral Razors and the like into connecting locations is also excellent in this campaign.
Stella Clark: Look, she has three cards named “Neither Rain Nor Snow”. What more do you need for a trip to the antarctic? Seriously though, she’s the best generalist in the game and thus extremely qualified. Probably the only one who’s looking forward to more Frost tokens.
Bob Jenkins
: All of the expedition assets are Item traited. So are some of the mementos. There’s going to be no shortage of opportunities to use Bobs free action in this campaign.

I am going to stress here (as i always do) that these are merely suggestions. I don’t even claim that these are necessarily the most powerful picks for the campaign. They are the ones where i think that the campaign does play into their strengths, though. In any case, gameplay power is not a metric you should go by anyways, play whatever seems fun to you. If you want to send Preston to the ice wastes, by all means go ahead and do so. Todays card pool can make almost anything work.

Notable Player Cards

To round out the suggestions for the player decks, here are two cards from each class that are better than usual for this campaign. I won’t be mentioning Edge of the Earth cards here, more than before the pool of Edge player cards seems really tailored to the campaign in a somewhat obvious fashion.

Well Prepared: Whenever we get a lot of story assets, those tend to have a lot of icons. This is definitely also true for Edge, and Well Prepared is a fantastic card to get extra mileage out of this.
Marksmanship: Being able to attack into adjacent locations is a huge advantage against penguins and hunters. It can also immensely help with tackling certain situations in Ice and Death #3 and Forbidden Peaks especially.
Truth from Fiction: Some of the story assets use secrets for their uses and the ability to refill those can be worthwhile. Seeker has a couple of ways to do it, but Truth from Fiction is the one that requires the least setup and commitment.
Esoteric Atlas: There are a variety of movement options in Seeker, but the Atlas is special in that it allows skipping locations completely, thus bypassing hunters and persistent treacheries.
Decoy: All the evasion tech from rogue is strong here, but i’ll mention Decoy specifically because it can evade into connecting locations, which i think is a big deal.
Pilfer: There are lots of locations in this campaign that have 2i, 3i or even 4i clues and many of them have low shroud. Pilfer is the perfect card to capitalize on this and will get its full value even in low player counts.
Words of Healing/Clarity of Mind: Healing has a bit of a bad reputation, but the last two campaigns did make it a lot more valuable. As long as you can get 2 points of healing for an action, you should consider running a card like this to help you push through the assault from the encounter deck.
Dark Prophecy: So, there are some token manipulation cards in Mystic and their interaction with Frost tokens is a bit weird. On the one hand, these cards are worse than usual because of the extra bad tokens. On the other hand, these cards are at least a way to help your chances against the Frost tokens.
Waylay: This is a great campaign for Waylay, as it features many chunky enemies that take long to defeat but can be evaded reasonably well.
Alter Fate: One of the best cards in the survivor pool by default, but it does get even better in a campaign that features persistent treacheries as one of its main mechanics.
Backpack: We are getting a ton of item assets from the campaign, enough to make Backpack worth it without even looking what is already in your deck.
Emergency Cache(3): The ability to put supplies on assets comes up as a neat thing time and again with Emergency Cache, but in this campaign it can refuel things like Dynamite, turning one play of Cache into four free charges of Dynamite Blast. That’s some value!

Surge

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