Introduction and Summary
This Joe Diamond is a flex investigator that can both fight and gain clues. While most investigators can just play cards from their hand, Joey “Three Decks” Diamond starts with three decks and can actually gain a fourth pile of cards to draw from as the game goes on. There’s a bit of a gimmick factor to this deck (it does have Versatile!), but that doesn’t detract from its ability to do multiple jobs at the same time. It works best paired up with another flexible investigator (like a Mystic with both investigation and combat spells) or as a third or fourth wheel in a larger group where he can help out wherever he’s needed the most. His first and second deck are the regular deck and his hunch deck. The third deck comes from Ancestral Knowledge. And if he puts down a Crystallizer, that’s going to result in yet another pile of cards that he can use. In addition to having all these decks, he gets special access to his regular deck through Guided by the Unseen. Combine all of this with a good chunk of card draw and you can easily see that despite using a total of 50 cards (flashback to last week’s Mandy deck tech!) across all of his decks he goes through his cards very fast. That of course only adds to his flexibility. Joey “Three Decks” has access to a lot of cards at the same time.
I don’t see this deck doing particularly well as a solo deck. For one, this much access to skill icons is especially helpful when spreading it around the party. There’s also some card choices in the list that were specifically made with multiplayer in mind. That’s not to say that a version of the deck couldn’t be made that works in solo, but it’s not something that was on my mind when doing this deck.
Here’s a 29XP decklist. This is mostly designed as a campaign deck, but presented with the 29XP standalone option here nonetheless. I went with 29XP instead of 19XP this time because i wanted to show the deck at the point where it’s already in high gear. A 19XP version that omits some of the upgraded skills and events is possible, but i wouldn’t suggest it as a standalone deck, only as a stepping stone during campaign play.
If you do want to turn this into a 19XP list, my suggetion is to remove a Guided by the Unseen for a second Enchanted Blade, downgrade both Overpowers, downgrade one Extensive Research and replace both Stirring up Trouble with Scene of the Crime.
Alright, let’s get the cringy part out of the way first. Every Joe deck has to suffer from the fact that his limited access to weapons will keep him from being a truly efficient primary killer. When your best weapon is a .45(2), you know you are in for a bit of a rough ride. This deck runs very few weapons (because damn, are his options bad!) but the high amount of card draw, Tetsuo and two copies of Prepared for the Worst will help him get ready in time. In total, there are five weapons: the two pistols, one enchanted blade, his signature Colt and an Occult Lexicon. To bridge the gap, there are also two damage events: Toe to Toe wipes small enemies from the board and Gang Up is very easy to get to three damage. It can potentially even go to four with this deck list once you find the Crystallizer or Enchanted Blade. Or even up to five if you have both!
If you play this deck in a three or four player environment, consider picking up some Extra Ammunition to get more mileage out of your guns. I play two-handed, so i expect to get by with what’s here, but if you have a lot of enemies to handle you might need more ammo or find the XP for Timeworn Brands.
For anyone who is shaking their head because there is 5 weapons in 50 cards, let me remind you that 15 of those cards start in other decks than the main one. 5 in 35 is still not a lot, but when backed by a large amount of draw it is enough.
The Hunch deck
I want to be using my Hunch event every turn. To that end, i only include cards in my hunch deck that are unconditional (well, mostly): card draw and clue pickup.
Card draw: Deep Knowledge, Preposterous Sketches
Clue pickup: Extensive Research, Stirring up Trouble, Working a Hunch
Do not put the Crack the Case into your hunch deck, it firmly belongs in the main deck.
There’s not much else to say here. The clue events are all testless and are the main source of clues for this deck as it doesn’t use any investigation tools or intellect enhancers. The draw events net you three cards without actually costing you one from your hand, keeping you well topped up. This not only helps with finding your important cards in the main deck, but will also keep Extensive Research cheap or even free.
This deck doesn’t focus much on Joe’s signature gun, but if you can find it with Prepared for the Worst (or just being lucky), using it before you drop the Occult Lexicon can be worthwhile to get more out of your hunch deck. For the most part, the 10 extra Insights you will get from there (plus the occasional extra one from an Elder Sign you might get along the way) will last you for most or all of the typical scenario. By the time it runs out, you’ll be able to just skate by on the back of all the extra commits you get from your card draw and Crystallizer.
The deck runs a total of 12 skill cards, five of which are randomly selected each game to go into your Ancestral Knowledge pile. According to current rulings, the cards are attached facedown, but you can look at them and when drawing from them you can indeed choose which one to get. So what you have here is a toolbox that gives you access to Take Initiative, Deduction and/or Vicious Blow when needed. But more importantly it hands you card draw that you can and should use as soon as possible to get yourself set up. Six of the twelve skills draw at least one card and i did upgrade the Overpowers and Perceptions before i upgraded the Deductions and Vicious Blows specifically because they are so great to have under Ancestral Knowledge for those first turns.
Ten of the twelve skills are Practiced, so even when you take five random skills out of the deck there is still enough left to warrant inclusion of Practice makes Perfect here.
Oh, Even More Skills
Guided by the Unseen plucks cards out of your deck to commit them to skill tests. This is just further access to stuff from your deck without having to draw it first, adding to the already insane draw capabilities and skill bonus reserves that Joey “Three Decks” brings to the table.
HOLY COW SO MANY SKILLS
With all the card draw going on, it’s inevitable that the Crystallizer of Dreams makes its way to our hand. Might not be first turn, might not be third, but it will come. And since its cheap, we can just drop it and from now on get even more skill bonuses just for playing our hunches and other events. We mostly get intellect icons here, with a secondary focus on combat and a couple willpower icons. Agility is our dump stat, don’t expect to ever pass an agility test.
Skills are free and actually so are many events, but some resources are required to get set up. To that end, the deck includes Emergency Cache, Stand Together, Crack the Case and Motivational Speech.
Emergency Cache is boring, but practical. E Cache has the disadvantage of not having any icons for use on the Crystallizer, but that’s just something to live with for now.
Stand Together is a card that i use whenever i can. It’s simply a great card to have in two-handed.
Crack the Case is a resource staple for Seeker, gaining a bunch of econ for you without even costing an action. Keep this one in the main deck so you can hold it until you clear a location with 4+ shroud for best results.
Motivational Speech seems unintuitive at first glance because there’s only 3 allies in the deck. But the biggest expense this deck has is Grete Wagner, pretty much everything else we can pay out of pocket after playing one of the previous two resource cards. Like Stand Together, Speech can also stays useful after we are set up ourselves as we can use it to support other players. Once again, we are relying on our card draw to get Speech and Grete into our hand at the same time.
Grete is pretty much perfect for us. She supports the fighting role with a combat bonus while also adding to the testless clue pickup from the hunches. Just an excellent card. Her only drawback is her resource cost, but since the rest of the deck is mostly cheap events and cheaper skills, that is easily handled.
One copy of Tetsuo adds a bit more redundancy to the weapon setup. Once we have a weapon, Tetsuo can also go and find the Crystallizer or Lexicon for us.
As mentioned plenty of times now, this deck draws cards like a fiend. We got the two hunches that just straight up give us +3 cards and the two upgraded core skills that can net +2 cards. The main deck itself also adds Glory to the pile, which digs another 2 cards deep. Together with the card filtering from Guided by the Unseen, Practice makes Perfect, Tetsuo Mori, Prepared for the Worst and Eureka we have little problem finding our relevant one-offs while keeping a hand full of options at all times.
Don’t underestimate the impact that Ancestral Knowledge has in this context. Giving you (likely) immediate access to your draw 2 skills and/or Eureka means that you can draw a fist full of cards just for doing your regular tests during the first turns without any real cost to you in terms of resources or actions. Usually AK will not just hand you 5 extra cards, more often than not it will actually be around 8-10. It’s an extraordinary card.
Upgrading the deck
Since the deck provided above already has 29XP put into it, it’s pretty much done at that point. The only thing left to do is upgrade the Deductions and Vicious Blows for another 8XP, making 37XP the final total. Or 40XP, if you can’t or don’t want to use In the Thick of It.
If you still have more XP to plan for, then Timeworn Brand can be a good way to get at least some halfway decent weapons into the deck.
Evidence(1) is also a much better card than it gets credit for and works quite well in this framework.
Sadly there is a bunch of Guardian upgrades that I would very much like to get, but that are out of reach for Joe’s Guardian 2 access. Having upgraded Grete and Enchanted Blade would’ve been sweet but oh well.
The big achilles heel of Joe is his weapon selection. Most guns that Guardian(2) can get you either are mediocre or require stacking combat from various sources because they themselves only bring a +1 to the table. If you are playing without taboo, then Acidic Ichor is a way to get three damage shots into your deck which will massively improve your combat capability. With taboo, the Ichor is not bringing anything new to the deck, so it’s probably not worth going for. If you are playing a campaign that heavily features 3 health enemies, consider using One-Two Punch as another way to dispatch those in one action.
As mentioned earlier, all the weapons in this decklist use ammo in some way, so if you are concerned about that, you might want to either prioritize melee options like Timeworn Brand or get a pair of Extra Ammunition to make your .45s and Colt last longer.
One other intriguing option that one could go for with this deck is Bestow Resolve. While it doesn’t give you additional access to cards in your decks, it does allow you to use all those commits in a more efficient way and on other investigators, too. Your hand is going to be chock full of icons, might as well spread the joy. Note that Bestow can also commit events that are currently under the Crystallizer, so that’s a nice bit of synergy too. It would also fix our glaring weakness against agility tests.
I couldn’t fit this one into the decklist, but i could see using them instead of the Guided by the Unseen perhaps? Or one of each? For my own deck, i am probably going with one of each, but i felt that presenting the cleaner decklist was the right call for a deck tech article.
There’s a decent amount of deck searching going on, so Astounding Revelation could be an option for extra money and Guided by Unseen uses, but since this deck also draws a whole lot and is rather tight despite running 50 cards, i opted against it. They also can not go on a Crystallizer, so that’s another strike against them.
One notable option for the Hunch deck is Shortcut. That’s another card that is somewhat unconditional (most turns you do want to move) and as free as it gets. I could see a world where this deck has too much card draw in it currently and would get more out of Shortcut than Deep Knowledge. Alternatively, you might find that you have more than enough resources and can cut Emergency Caches for Shortcuts.
My own campaign with the deck
Unlike the decks in the previous deck techs, this one didn’t actually go through a campaign yet. I have the level 0 deck sitting assembled on my desk, though. Next to a similarly flexible Bob Jenkins list. I am going to use them for playtesting a modified A-campaign of Dream-Eaters over the next week. So i do have some expectations for the two decks to be able to walk through scenarios like Search for Kadath and Dark Side of the Moon somewhat efficiently.
Final Verdict (and bonus deck list from the archives)
To be determined, but i am optimistic. I played a Joe with Ancestral Knowledge before, so i know that specific part of the deck to be working very well. Well enough to prop up a somewhat failed curse gimmick i had in that deck 😉 Adding Guided by the Unseen, Crystallizer and Grete on top instead of stuff like Cryptic Grimoire can only be good.