Introduction and summary
This is a deck built around the Enchanted Bow, providing the ability to snipe into connecting locations. This is done with Luke Robinson, for synergy with the Dream-Gate and because he can use a couple cards through his Seeker access that pair well with the Bow. Raven’s Quill and Prophetic make up for the lack of an upgraded bow to stay competitive and Twila makes sure that we don’t run out of magic arrows. A suite of events makes the most of Luke’s investigator abilty and supports the sniping across locations.
I built it for Innsmouth which has lots of enemies and many of them Hunters. So you have plenty of targets to make the most of both its sniping ability and its capability to shoot at targets at your location without spending charges. This deck would also work well in other target rich environments like the B-side of Dream-Eaters or in cultist heavy campaigns like The Circle Undone.
Let’s start you off with the 19XP decklist right away, then we can use that as a base to discuss it further.
ArkhamDB link here: https://arkhamdb.com/decklist/view/43767/robinson-hood-arcane-archer-19xp-1.0
The Enchanted Bow
This thing is pretty cool. Since it’s able to shoot into connecting locations, we can use it from the Dream-Gate to shoot at any revealed location to take out enemies from a safe distance. Due to how Lukes ability works, this will even bypass Aloof. So what we have on our hands with the bow is a fantastic way to deal with all sorts of cultists, aloof enemies or just small critters in general.
Shooting into other locations is the flashy part of the Enchanted Bow, but there’s actually something else that it is notable for: It doesn’t use charges if you fire it into your own location. That makes it very valuable in situations where you constantly run into enemies and a Shrivelling wouldn’t last very long.
As another upside, the bow has four traits that are all useful in some contexts. For this deck, we are mostly interested in the Spell trait, though.
There are a few hurdles to overcome with it as well, though. It uses a total of three equipment slots, so after playing the Bow, all you have left is a single arcane slot for additional weapons or investigation tool. It has only three charges, limiting us in how much we can use it for sniping. It exhausts on use, so we need events or a secondary attack spell to take down big enemies engaged with us in one turn. There is no highlevel Bow, so we can’t upgrade it further. So we are stuck with a version that gives +1 skill value and +1 damage only. Finally, the snipe ability can’t be used on Elites.
This decklist adresses most of those issues, but of course will need to keep them in mind to get the most out of the bow.
Building around the Bow
Since the Bow only gives +1 skill value and can’t itself be upgraded further, we need additional help from other assets to reach comfortable skill levels. Luckily that isn’t terribly difficult. Prophetic is incredible and an easy early pickup because it virtually upgrades not only our bows, but also the Shrivels. A singleton Rosary is there simply because it’s just a staple that is hard to beat. I usually run only one of them because i never want to draw a second one of its kind. If i wanted a second one, i’d include the mystic Tarot because that way the two cards can stack. Finally, as Luke we are able to run Raven’s Quill which is a fun option to have in this deck. 2XP buys us the Mystic Vane upgrade for +2 skill value. The deck also runs 6 cards that can be committed for at least 2 willpower, so if we draw a troublesome enemy before being completely set up we can deal with that too.
The number of equipment slots taken by the bow isn’t a huge problem for us, except for a backup Shrivel this deck doesn’t plan on putting much out. However, just putting one extra XP into the Raven’s Quill allows it to negate the bow’s slot requirements. What this means is we can then have two bows in play which is not necessary at all… but when it happens it’s great!
For my ally slot, i use Twila Katherine Price, a card that doesn’t see an exorbitant amount of play because you usually can just replace a spent spell with another one. The bow however is rather unique, so Twila making it last forever is actually nice. Since the bow exhausts it can be used only once per turn anyways, so Twila just straight up makes it no longer spend any charges. Pretty neat.
To deal with that exhaustion issue, the deck simply includes a bunch of other cards that can deal with enemies. Luke can use one spell per turn into a connecting location, so any of the combat events can support the sniping here. Anything directly engaged with us gets shrivelled.
The rest of the list
The other deck slots are filled with typical Luke Robinson fare. While this one is primarily a fighter, his investigator ability really rewards you for having a couple investigation spells as well. Being able to project them across the board allows for some neat tricks or picking clean victory locations without having to go out of your way for them. I use Stirring up Trouble and Read the Signs for that. If you don’t like Stirring up Trouble, then Drawn to the Flame is a perfectly fine alternative. Wards of Protection are just nice to have and can save our fragile little butt from an untimely Grasping Hands. Uncage the Soul and Emergency Cache provide some economy so we can drop our assets on the board during the first few turns without having to wait for money or worse… use actions for money *shudder*. The nice part is that once we are set up, we don’t really need much money anymore. With Twila around, neither the bow nor the Shrivelling should realistically run out so they only need to be played once. The events are fairly cheap and most can be payed for with Prophetic in a pinch. I could actually imagine dropping the Caches for upgraded cards later on.
So, this list does a pretty good job of negating the drawbacks that the bow has, but there is one thing that remains: This Luke deck sucks at fighting Elites. It’s not just that we can’t snipe them from afar, but String of Curses and Existential Riddle also don’t work on them. And Razor is at least not that great against them. What that means is to kill Elites, we need to actually engage them head on and deal 2 damage per action to them like some Guardian clutching their puny little .45 Auto. It’s not pretty and it’s definitely a big strike against my list but ultimately Luke can manage it.
There are some ways to adress this issue. One of them is evasion. Either to buy time or to just disable the enemy so the team can run away from it, having something like Mists of R’lyeh available would help a lot to make Elites more comfortable. I opted against it because my thinking was the Luke can just always flee into the Gate anyways, but playing the deck i actually miss the option a lot. Actually, this might even finally be Ethereal Form’s time to shine as i’d probably would not want to give up the Shrivelling so i don’t have an arcane slot for Mist.
The other way to deal with enemies is upgrading your Shrivelling to level 5. Once you have a spell that deals 3 damage per action you can melt most enemies away fairly well. And Twila would give you good mileage out of the investment, too. This is the route that i am going in my current campaign, but both the evasion and the firepower option are equally valid.
Options and further upgrades
Aside from those two ways to deal with Elites there are some other interesting options that warrant inclusion or at least consideration for the list. If you are playing campaign, then you will hopefully have more than 19XP to spend, so let’s look at what to do with that.
Arcane Studies(4): I like this one a lot. Since it is slotless, it stacks with everything we already have in our deck and it is an outlet for any excess resource that will start to stack up once we have everything on the table that we need.
Four of Cups: Fine. Not great. I like it because it’s (pretty much) slotless and can stack up with a Rosary, so it’s at least better than running a second one of those. But tbh just run Arcane Studies, it’s so much better.
Knowledge is Power: This is a neat one in Luke because it allows projecting a spell asset into a connecting location. Since we are already doing that with the bow, that’s not that special in this particular list so i kept it out. But it’s a decent option if you want to have more actual damage spells instead of String of Curses and/or Existential Riddle.
Existential Riddle: Speaking of Riddle, that card is pretty fantastic and actually a lot better than String of Curses. I had only room for one of them in the 19XP version, so i am mentioning it here again as a reminder to get a second one rather soon. Cut a String for it.
Banish: Throw something to the arse end of the map where it can’t hurt you… but you can still hurt it! Again, sadly limited to non-Elites but quite possibly also better than String of Curses, depending on how many cultists style enemies you expect to see.
Blinding Light, Ethereal Form: Hey, evade spells that can hit Elites. As discussed earlier, that’s valuable. Blinding Light is probably the better one of the two. Its upgrade can even serve as a kill spell. The potential downside on drawing a symbol token is a bit scary though, especially when you want it for Elite handling. So Ethereal Form might be the safer pick.
Mists of R’lyeh: It does need an arcane slot, so that kinda sucks. It would be playable alongside the bow and a shrivel as long as Raven Quill is on the bow and maybe that’s good enough? Mists not only evades, it also lets you move in sniping distance which is really attractive. So that might make it worth over the evade events.
Occult Lexicon: Usually a very strong card for Luke, who can of course project those Blood-Rites all over the map too. Simultanously, it provides card draw and a useful outlet for our resources. The hand slots are spoken for though. It’s not an unsolvable problem, especially since Lexicon is a tome… but i opted against it this time.
Robes of Endless Night: This seems like a good upgrade for the Emergency Caches if there’s some spare XP unaccounted for. Not necessary at all though, the resource economy works as it is.
True Magick: Most decks i have seen with Enchanted Bow use it with True Magick to circumvent the issues with the slots and the charges. And that is a perfectly fine thing to do, but seems like a bit more assembly required than i am comfortable with. True Magick is good when you are doing something more toolboxy, for this deck i want to lean hard into the bow so i skip it. Simply put, i think the True Magick version is a really different deck.
Arcane Initiate: I could see a version of this deck that either runs Initiate instead of Twila or in addition to her with Charisma.
Dayana Esperence: A bit of a Luke staple for me, Dayana gets you more Spectral Razors to throw into connecting locations. She’s very good and like Initiate i could see a version of the deck that involves her.
Recharge: If one were to substitute Twilas with Initiates, Recharge could pick up the slack in terms of providing extra uses. I would only consider this if paired up with someone that feeds curses and/or blesses into the chaos bag because in that situation, Recharge actually becomes pretty reliable.
Uncage the Soul(3): Uncage(3) can kinda work like a Recharge as well, if you squint enough.
Word of Command: Usually not a great card, but to its credit, it can find the bow. And it can act as extra copies of a level 5 Shrivel. This deck doesn’t draw a whole lot of cards, so using some sort of tutor like this to make up for the lack of Arcane Initiate isn’t unthinkable. If only it had skill icons -.-
Versatile: Look, i am a huge fan of using Versatile for fun and profit whenever reasonable but since this is a deck with very little card draw/filtering and built around getting a very specific card, this really isn’t a great time to increase your deck size. Please don’t. Not even for Dynamite Blasts, no matter how fun those are in Luke.
My personal plan for the decklist is getting the Arcane Studies and another Existential Riddle, in place of the two Strings of Curses. Upgrade both Guts and both Wards to level 2. Upgrade both Shrivels to level 5 (alternatively: do that with one of them and replace the other with Mists of R’lyeh level 4). That’s another 23XP, for a total of 19+23=42XP. So the deck isn’t going to significantly change anymore, it’s just improving some numbers on the cards, nothing actually new. If i have a lot of XP left near the end, i might get into something fancy like Charisma and Initiate. Or Charisma and Dayana. Or two Charisma and both!
My own ongoing campaign with this deck
I am currently playing The (Unofficial) Return to The Innsmouth Conspiracy two-handed, using this deck and a taboo-compliant Mandy (so she’s 50 cards). It’s going extremely well and the duo actually managed to pick up all 7 keys during In Too Deep which is in my opinion one of the more notable accomplishments in the game right now. They also crushed Vanishing together, narrowing the suspect and location down to one each. First time i got the accusation completely right :>
As mentioned, Elites are a pain (i didn’t even try to kill the kraken in Devil Reef this time, usually i do) but everything else falls rather quickly. Next up is Horror in High Gear, looking forward to sniping at the pursuing cars already!
I am very happy with the deck. Well, obviously. Otherwise I wouldn’t have shared it. But what makes this one stick out for me is that it’s built around a rather unpopular and kinda clunky card and despite that it really works exceptionally well. Not only that, but the enablers for it are even some other cards that see little play like Twila and the Raven’s Quill, which definitely is a plus in my book. Add a strong interaction with a specific investigator’s special ability and you get all the hallmarks of what i consider to be an interesting deck that is fun to build and play.