Hemlock Vale Spoiler Roundup #4

That was the Week of Horror, Halloween is upon us 🙂 Now, this week didn’t yet officially start any sort of extended preview season, but it did give us another round of cards from the upcoming expansion to gawk at, many of which were provided by FFG to several content creators. It even includes the full reveal for the new rogue investigator… so let’s get gawking!

Sources

Wicked Athame was posted by Nick himself to the Mythos Busters discord (i think this link only works if you are a member of that discord).

Accursed was previewed by the r/arkhamhorrorlcg subreddit.

Occult Reliquary was posted by Duke himself to his Instagram.

Grift was previewed by Archivos de Arkham on their Twitch. Their channel history is paywalled so I won’t link it, but they uploaded the video to their YouTube.

Ofuda was previewed by Drawn to the Flame on their podcast. This link leads to a facebook post that has an image of the card, a link to the podcast and the rules for the Elusive keyword.

Ravenous Myconid(4) was (accidentally???) previewed by FFG on the spanish version of the Hemlock Vale announcement article.

The rogue investigator Alessandra Zorzi was fully previewed by the Mythos Busters on their Twitch.

Guardian

Seems fine. Not a card that i would generally leap to playing, but if a campaign heavily features Aloof, then this becomes an option. Not taking an equipment slot is huge here, as that was what killed Riot Whistle’s playability. I don’t suspect i’d run this with the intention to blank Alert or Retaliate, but if i happen to run Ofuda as a bullet against Aloof i would probably get mileage out of the Alert and Retaliate blanking as well. Finally, Elusive looks like it could be a problem as well that would take away actions to deal with. We’ll look at Elusive in a bit.

Seeker

Ravenous Myconid – Sensitive Strain
Level 4, asset, 2 cost
Creature. Science.
Researched. Limit 1 per deck.
Free trigger: Search your bonded cards for Uncanny Growth and add it to your hand. Limit once per round.
Reaction: When an investigator draws a non-weakness treachery card, if their location’s shroud value is less or equal to the number of growth counters on Ravenous Myconid: Cancel the effects of that treachery and discard it. Remove all growth from Ravenous Myconid.
1 health, 1 sanity

A repeatable way to cancel treacheries? Is there anything that Seeker can’t do? 😀
Honestly, after the initial shock wore off, i am not sure how good this really is. One of the biggest strengths of a card like Ward of Protection is that you can just keep it in your hand and be completely reactive. If you want to cancel stuff with this version of the Myconid you will need to prepare an amount of growth counters beforehand which can easily translate into one or two (or even more) actions spent on playing Uncanny Growth. So you will need to frontload your effort in the hopes that it’s going to pay off later. Depending on how often you expect to cancel something (=how often you think you can afford to make that preloaded effort to collect counters), you might just be better off with Forewarned. That being said, any way to repeatably cancel treacheries is going to be breakable in some way. At just 1 copy per deck, it remains to be seen if building too heavily around it is going to be worth it, but someone is going to build something degenerate with it.
(EDIT: I overlooked that Uncanny Growth is actually an Investigate itself. That makes it a lot more efficient as you’d just be able to accumulate counters while finding clues without too much of an extra effort. Hmm, this might be a scary card after all!)
This is of course not going to be the only upgrade for the Myconid. What we can see here already is that the action ability to retrieve Uncanny Growth on the level zero got changed into a free trigger. Presumably that’s going to be the case for the other versions as well, making it significantly easier to use Uncanny Growth to stack counters on the Myconid. Something i find curious is the loss of two traits from level 0 to level 4. This version is only Creature and Science. Level 0 is Flora and Monster as well. Prediction: We are getting three level 4 Myconids, with one being a Creature, one being a Flora and one being a Monster.

Rogue

Alessandra has some cool things going for her that set her apart from her rogue colleagues. That 3 willpower is quite something on a rogue. Full Parley access is what we expected, happy to see it confirmed. That’s actually a pretty good trait to get access to, with a healthy amount of variety in it. I definitely can see her as both an enemy handler, as a clue getter or anything in between.
Getting three copies of her signature is very promising and it does a good impression of Power Word (R.I.P. 2022-2023). Most importantly it allows Alessandra to convert her free Parley action into a free Investigate or free Evade, both of which are very desirable. And she does have the statline for these things as well – especially once you factor in that Fine Clothes will also apply to those investigates and evades.
That weakness is a bit of a pain that will need to be cared for during deckbuilding. Elusive will really be annoying if you can’t hit for three damage, so after Kymani that’s another Rogue that might want to pack some Backstabs to cleanly deal with their weakness enemy!
I am quite happy with this investigator and think she is potentially very powerful. Definitely a reason to perk up whenever you see the word “Parley” on a card from now on.

The requirement to have an enemy at your location will make this unavailable in a reliant way during the first turns when you try to plop your assets into play. So I don’t expect this to replace Faustian Bargain for example. Spending actions while engaged that don’t deal with that enemy is also a bit of a cost in itself. This card does look pretty great if you can turn it Fast, though. And there are several ways to do that, including Fence and Chuck Fergus. Chuck even gives you a +2 to your test which directly translates to money here. Alessandra Zorzi of course gains an extra action to use Parley cards which is almost like making it Fast. This is a good card that will see play, but i would put it somewhere in the same category as Payday or Cheat the System where you want to make sure your deck supports it. If you do spend an action on it, you will want to make sure that you can end up with a modified skill value of at least 4. Otherwise you might as well have played Emergency Cache. Notably, Dirty Fighting gives you +2 to the test as well. The final thing that Grift is good for is providing you with a difficulty 0 test. This is great setup for any oversuccess shenanigans that you might want to trigger off of it. For example “Watch This!” on a Grift can earn you a tidy bunch of resources!

Mystic

An investigator on the art that can’t take the card? Come on, we have talked about this before. With that out of the way… the card looks good. Niche, but good. There’s basically two modes for it, one to add curses to the bag as fuel for something else. Two, to protect an important test against those curses. You will want to be interested in both of those modes to make Accursed worth playing, but if you are doing something like a Mystic that focuses on the Cursed spells (Eye of Chaos, etc), then this does a lot of good. Of course the trick is turning the addition of curses to the chaos bag into something beneficial first, but there are way to do it already and likely the Hemlock Vale set will have more of them.

This is a very good card. Obviously, you don’t evaluate it as a weapon, because that’s not what you run it for. You run it for the curse and charge generation. That being said, getting up to +6 to your test is a big game, even Amina can kill a cultist with that. The card also works very well with your basic 2 damage fight spells to dispatch 3 health enemies. Use an action to attack for 2 damage with Shrivelling (or better yet, Armageddon), then finish off the enemy with the Athame, recouping your spell charge in the process. It’s cheap, it’s level zero, what’s not to like. The only thing i can think of is that it directly competes with the Candles for the hand slot, but holding a candle and an Athame seems a lot better to me than holding two candles, so that might just be the way to go here.

Neutral

Oh, this is exciting. Neutral permanent equipment slots are very relevant in, no matter how restricted they are. And this one actually does open up some things that weren’t able to be done before by everyone. Accessory slots were of course available before through Relic Hunter, but hand slots and arcane slots were locked behind specific classes before. One thing to note is that the extra slot is not fixed, so you can for example flexibly choose between gaining an extra hand or an extra accessory depending on what you drew during the game. Obviously, the trait restriction to Blessed and Cursed will make this less universally playable than Relic Hunter or Charisma, but Occult Reliquary is still a very good card to get and a real shot in the arm for the archetype. It might even be enough to push a couple of cards over the edge that were on the cusp of being good enough, but held back by their equipment slot (like Book of Psalms or Bangle of Jinxes). It can hold your Hallowed Mirror. It enables you to run around with two candles and a Wicked Athame.

Game rules

“If a ready enemy with the elusive keyword attacks or is attacked, after that attack resolves, that enemy immediately disengages from all investigators, moves to a connection location (with no investigators, if able), and exhausts. This effect occurs whether the enemy was engaged with the attacking investigator or not.”

The above rules text was taken from Drawn to the Flame’s facebook, who were relaying this info they got directly from Duke.

Okay, so this isn’t quite the reversed Hunter we speculated about after seeing the keyword on Hank Samson’s weakness card. Instead it’s a triggered ability that can do its thing at any time, even in the middle of the investigator turn. Actually, the current read is that it will trigger even in the middle of resolving a card like One-Two-Punch, making the enemy run away from the second punch.
Crucially, this movement triggers on both being attacked and after the enemy itself makes an attack. That means that Elusive enemies that also have Hunter are going to be a royal pain in the butt as they dip into combat only to hit someone, then immediately bail again. For even more !fun!, Elusive also pairs incredibly well with Aloof…

In terms of game effect this will have for the players, this means that the enemy handler will need to plan for some extra movement to get to those enemies. That can potentially be a big action drain, which is of course especially relevant during combat. If Elusive plays a major part during Hemlock Vale, then a silver bullet against it (like this week’s previewed Ofuda) might translate to a lot of saved actions.

What works in our favor though: The enemy exhausts after doing its Elusive move. That means we can remove an enemy from the enemy phase by attacking it, without defeating it. Actually, we don’t even need to succeed. Mandy or Wendy can just take an action to appear threatening and shoo the enemy away. That’s something to keep in mind!

We’ll probably not see a whole lot from the campaign side for a good while, so that discussion will have to be tabled for a month or three. But i am looking forward what new designs the team came up with. I am always super interested in enemy designs and this is a great start.

6 Replies to “Hemlock Vale Spoiler Roundup #4”

  1. “Full Parley access is what we expected”

    Well, actually, I was kind of surprised, that we get full Parley AND full Rogue access with her. Was more expecting something like Parley 0-4 or Rogue 0-3. Having 0-5 twice (not counting neutral) is a first, and looks quite huge to me! Also, it looks, that any 0-5 player card, that has the word “parley” on it, not necessarily cards with parley actions are accessible. Say, if they print a card like “Fine Clothes” or “Eldritch Tongue” that is not neutral, that’s also more, than I suspected.

    On a side-note: Your link on the main page to this Spoiler Roundup is broken. It leads to page 4.

    1. Not sure i agree with that interpretation of her parley access. I have seen this discussed before and there are some that argue she can run Grizzled, for example. Eh, i would want to get a clarification on that. There has been some fuzziness with card access in rulings around TSK (like Hallowed Mirror (3) and Gray’s Anatomy for Vincent) but those rulings have been reverted. My take is that if Alessandra wasn’t a rogue, she wouldn’t be able to take Dirty Fighting. But yeah, it’s up in the air and either interpretation has arguments for it.

      Fixed the links, thanks. There were actually multiple broken ones 😐 Not sure what happened there. Oh well.

      1. But if it’s the way, you take it, why didn’t they say so? They could have bolded the “parley”. to make it clear, that they mean the action designator. (They make traits bold and italic in deckbuilding options as well.) Or at the very least wrote “cards, that parley”. “With” indicates very much, that all it asks for is the word is somewhere written in the text box. (They might even get a little cheeky, and use it somewhere in the flavour text, but I think, they will rather avoid doing that.) We have already statements, that similar cases ask for the word literally be printed on the card, may it be with Carolyn and Vincent, but also on Diana’s ability to trigger on cancels or ignores. (I think, the later came to notion, when somebody was arguing something like Diana killing an enemy with a “Survival Knife” (2) in the enemy phase can be seen as cancelling the attack.) I’m not saying, I might not be wrong, but I would be surprised. I was thinking of “Dirty Fighting” as well, but totally missed “Grizzled”. You are right, that there already is a case, where the interpretation of her deckbuilding option actually matters.

      2. We have now official clarification, that “with ‘parley'” literally just means with the word printed on the card. Quoted from the FAQ for “Eldritch Tongue” on ArkhamDB:

        Q: Can you use Eldritch Tongue to play Snitch from your discard pile? A: Yes, you can play Snitch from your discard pile with Eldritch Tongue. (January 2024)

        “Eldritch Toungue” lets you play events with “parley” from your discard pile as if they were in your hand, “Snitch” can only be played after succeeding at a skill test while parleying, so does not have a parley action, but just the word parley spelled out on the card.So the same should apply to Alessandras deckbuilding options.

Leave a Reply