Deck Tech: Zoey Bestows Crystals

Intro and Summary

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

The decklist

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

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

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

The Core

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

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

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

Fighting

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

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

Card Draw/Card Selection

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

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

Resources

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

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

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

Skills

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

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

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

Girish Kadakia

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

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

Upgrades/Variants

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

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

Other investigators

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



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