Deck Tech: “Greatest Hits” Mandy

Introduction and Summary

When Mandy got hit with the “always has to play 50 cards” taboo, many thought that this would mean that Mandy is now bad or that she wouldn’t be able to compete with other Seekers anymore. What those lost souls failed to take into account though is that Mandy can play both yellow and green cards, making finding 50 great cards an absolutely trivial matter. This deck is called “Greatest Hits” because it uses all the greatest hits from seekers arsenal of allies and item assets, then uses her access to Rogue events to make the most out of them. Her investigator ability enhances some of those cards and is in general used to find what you need in her deck. We aren’t constructing infinite loops here or doing other abusive shenanigans. We barely will make it through our deck once. But what we do is just casually picking up our 4-6 clues per turn while also being able to handle a few enemies when the Guardian is occupied. One of the goals here is to do our job of seeking clues while doing other things on the side, losing minimal tempo.

The decklist

Here’s a 19XP decklist, very similar to what i had at that point when i played this deck through Innsmouth (together with the Arcane Archer list from the last deck tech).

Decklist on ArkhamDB:

Let’s dig in

So, this being a 50 card list means two things. One, there is a lot of wiggle room with adjusting it to your tastes. There’s a certain core to the deck that makes it function, but there’s plenty room beyond that. Two, we are going to be here for a while, going over the card choices.

Let’s start with the most straightforward part, the Ally package. We are doing a Miskatonic Army thing here, backed by Archeology Funding which offers us three ally slots in total. The goal is getting Abigail and Milan into two of those slots and using the third one as a revolving door for ‘enters play’ effects from cheap Seeker allies. On the event side, this is propped up by Hit and Run and Calling in Favors. Hit and Run allows triggering one of those ‘enters play’ effects without using an action. Calling in Favors is absurdly good in Mandy as it allows her to trade in one of her allies for two from the top 9 cards. This deck plays a healthy amount of allies to enable this play as good as it can. Of course, you can combo Hit and Run with Calling in Favors to gain all the value you could ever dream of. When playing Calling in Favors, your priority is finding Abigail. She is by far the most impactful ally you have, supercharging your Grimoir and Old Book of Lore.

On the asset side, we are ensuring that we can do our job properly, using the two most impactful (seeker) investigation tools around at the moment, Grim Memoir and Fingerprint Kit (aka A Box of Perceptions and A Box of Deductions). Old Book of Lore finds whatever we need and is a nice outlet for our investigator ability if we didn’t use it that turn yet. Since the deck has Research Librarians, Occult Lexicon is an obvious inclusion, too. Finally, there’s a singleton Magnifying Glass. Usually you’ll want something with more oomph in your hands, though.
As with the allies, there’s a support package for those assets to make sure we both find them and that we can use them to their fullest potential. Backpacks can go 15 cards deep for Mandy, turning them into an amazing source of card draw and filtering. From Rogue, we use Sleight of Hand to enable Grim Memoir specifically. It can do a Deduction impression with Fingerprint Kit in a pinch as well, though. In an emergency situation it can even flash an Occult Lexicon into play so you can Blood-Rite something off your back. Also from Rogue, “I’ll take That!” is incredible in Mandy. Oversucceeding on investigations is something she does all the time and being able to drop a Fingerprint Kit into play without an action and for reduced costs is very satisfying to do. Grim Memoir and Breaking and Entering are especially great at enabling a chunky oversuccess.
Worth mentioning in this context is Library Docent, one of the Miskatonic allies. Docent can help you get your tomes into play cheaper, but her primary use is recharging an empty Grimoir by returning it to your hand. The other interesting thing to do with her is returning Occult Lexicon to your hand. This is useful if you already have one or two Blood-Rites in your discard because when the Lexicon returns to your hand, those Blood-Rites return to their out of play zone where they are ready to return from after you replay the Lexicon. In scenarios that are heavy on small enemies (Deep One Lurkers, Ghouls, whatever) this can be a great way to have Mandy deal significant damage when necessary.

Now we can of course not cheat everything into play, so our asset heavy deck does need a good economy, too. Well, it doesn’t get much better than Faustian Bargain. Astounding Revelation is a Mandy staple for good reason and has a double purpose once you do have enough money. To go with the “always be investigating” thing i picked Burning the Midnight Oil for a final resource card. This could easily be boring old Emergency Cache or Crack the Case as well, though.

The skill suite is admittedly super boring. Deduction and Perception are in every seeker list. Eureka is at least in every of *my* seeker lists (and particularly great in Mandy). Manual Dexterity allows leveraging Mandy’s surprisingly high base agility stat.

All my seeker decks need to be at least able to somewhat defend themselves if the other deck (i play two-handed solo) is occupied right now. To that end, there’s Occult Lexicon (which you can find with Librarian), there’s Breaking and Entering (which also doubles as an enabler for “I’ll Take That”), “I’ve Got a Plan”(for when you need to do 3 or 4 damage) and Manual Dexterity (for evasion or encounter protection). As long as one of those cards is in play or in hand, Mandy should be able to get out of the worst, at least temporarily. The goal is not to kill everything that engages her, but to avoid getting pinned for a whole turn.

That leaves only one card i didn’t mention yet. Stirring Up Trouble is simply really good. A way to pick up two testless clues is just a nice thing to have as it does bypass things like Locked Door treacheries as well as being a way to close out a scenario. Between Faustian and Trouble this deck can actually produce a decent amount of curse tokens, but that is largely fine. It will occasionally backfire, but the upsides are outweighing that for sure.

Adjusting the deck

There is a good amount of flexibility in this list to adjust it to your own tastes or the requirements of the campaign you are going into. The following cards are all flexible slots that are not part of the “core deck” and that you could swap around to other things:

Assets: The Magnifying Glass and the second Old Book of Lore. I went with two upgraded OBoL once i had more XP further down the campaign, but relying on the Librarian here and only running one copy is viable too. The Mag Glass is just filler and by far the weakest slot in the deck.

Allies: Medical Student and Library Docent. Especially if you plan on upgrading the Lexicon, the Docents might not have enough targets to be relevant every time. Student is good, but if you have a healer on your team they might not be necessary. If you are cutting either of them, i encourage you to run a different ally instead, to keep a critical mass of allies in your deck that lets Calling in Favors reliably pull two targets.

Events: I’ve Got A Plan, Burning the Midnight Oil, Stirring Up Trouble. I like my seekers to be able to nuke the occasional enemy with IGAP, but if you are fine relying on other players then it’s not necessary. Burning the Midnight Oil can easily be another resource card like Crack the Case or even E Cache. The extra resources might not even be necessary at all, especially if you cut IGAP. I really like Stirring Up Trouble but it’s not core to the deck so feel free to replace it with something else.

Skills: Manual Dexterity. Man Dex is nice since it doubles as enemy handling and treachery protection while also drawing a card. But again, if you think you don’t need the enemy handling, it’s something you might be able to do without.

Those are also the cards to look at to throw out for room if you upgrade into new cards with further XP investment. For example, you might want to kick out that Mag Glass for a Hyperawareness(4) that doesn’t use a hand slot or replace one of the Medical Students with a second copy of Abigail.

Upgrading the deck

A 50 card deck list can obviously swallow a ton of XP if you want to. When prioritizing, i find it more useful to spread the XP around instead of buying one big thing. The exception to that is of course Permanent assets (like Archeology Funding). And i made an exception for Abigail because she is just THAT damn good. With Abigail, your Memoirs can get you up to 2 clues and 2 cards per action at which point you should have no trouble at all just finding the next tome to use once the other got emptied out. Including her second copy is something to look into early on. Looking at the list above, it might be worth dropping the two level 2 Backpacks to level 0 to do that even already at 19XP.

I don’t think the Rogue cards have anything better to offer at level 1 than we have in the level 0 deck already, so the green part of the deck can stay the way it is for the whole campaign.

Deduction and Perception are of course always worth upgrading.

There are two cards in this decklist where upgrading it has some unexpected consequences and you will have to decide for yourself if its worth it to you:
Upgrading to Fingerprint Kit(4) is amazing. Picking up 3 clues with one action is just super and hard to argue with. That being said, at level 4 it can no longer be flashed into play with Sleight of Hand if you are using the taboo. So that’s definitely something to consider. I did the upgrade and was happy with it, Sleight of Hand was also still useful enough afterwards. But Sleight for FPK(0) is one of the more fun plays this deck has early on and upgrading the Kit prohibits it. If you aren’t playing with Taboo, then this is no concern of course. I could see doing a split of having an upgraded and a level 0 one as a viable compromise.
The other card is Occult Lexicon. If you upgrade it to level 3, it will no longer remove the Blood-Rites from play when it itself leaves play. Usually that is a good thing, but we aren’t cycling our deck to recoup those spells and it does mean that the trick with the Library Docent to “reload” the Lexicon no longer works. I decided against this upgrade on my playthrough and instead upgraded my “I’ve Got a Plan”s.

Two other cards worth considering:

Unearth the Ancients(2): The level 0 is pretty bad, but the level 2 does play right into our theme of investigating while dropping assets. This is a great card and again a thing to consider squeezing into the 19XP list even. But definitely upgrade into it eventually.

Hyperawareness(4): Once you are somewhat set up, you start piling up resources pretty fast without having to spend a whole lot of them. Hyperawareness gives you a productive outlet for those resources without taking up a slot in your decklist. I am a huge fan of the level 4 version of these talents, and this one has the exact right skills on it you want to see. Intellect to do your job, Agility to stop enemies from keeping you from doing your job.

Notably absent

A word on a couple of cards that i do not play in this deck and why i decided against them:

This is the rare Mandy list without Practice makes Perfect, a circumstance owed to how asset heavy it is. I simply don’t have enough room to also fit in a skill package. This is perfectly fine, Mandy starts at 5 intellect already and her assets and allies will increase it further without having to throw skills into every test.

Mr. Rook is a great inclusion if you don’t use taboo. I do though and i feel like Old Book Of Lore does his job a lot better in that case. I don’t need both Rook and OBoL, so Rook didn’t make the cut.

I also chose to not play any Researched cards in this list. This is owed to the fact that i realized the need to spend a good amount of XP early on for expensive cards such as Abigail, FPK(4) and Archeology Funding and i wasn’t comfortable with also having the pressure of spending 8ish more experience on a Researched item that you need to dig out of 50 cards both to research it and then to get its benefit. The one i could see running is Dream Diary, as it can be picked up by Research Librarian. The Diary can then be used to enable oversuccess or help with enemy handling. It does use a handslot though and i’d rather have an OBoL or Lexicon in it.

My own campaign with this deck

Luke and Mandy finished their Return to Innsmouth run. They crushed it, except for Light in the Fog where the encounter deck just decided to bury them both in horror and they had to flee on turn 5 because they were about to be defeated if they stuck around. Sometimes the game just says No. But aside from that, both decks were doing their thing extremely well and Mandy in particular did just hoover up clues without stopping. Even though i had to go into the finale without any of the keys already in possession i finished it before Hydra awakes.

Final Verdict

I didn’t play Mandy in a very long time. While concerned about the 50 card deck thing at first, that barely mattered in the end. Turns out that if all your cards are good, you don’t mind what you draw. There are enough interactions in this decklist between various cards that it also never felt like just a “good stuff” pile, but like an actual deck, constructed with purpose. So, no complaints on my end. The one thing that is missing from the deck list is that it’s not really playing anything too special. This is a “Greatest Hits” list after all and pretty much all of these cards(except maybe Hit and Run and Library Docent) see plenty play in other of my decks. So it’s missing that exotic extra mile that the Luke Arcane Archer deck had going on, but for a Seeker list this is fairly interactive and fun.

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