Hemlock Vale Spoiler Roundup #5

And with that, the actual Hemlock Vale spoiler season has begun. Over the next weeks, nay months, we are going to get a trickle of new cards to talk about until the thing finally releases in January. As with the Scarlet Keys previews, these are going to happen all over the landscape of content creators which i personally found to be great fun last year.
As last year, i will be bringing you weekly roundups of everything we saw so even if you missed one or two of the reveals, you will always be able to catch up here.
Also remember there’s a Visual Spoiler on this site that compiles all card images for easier reference!
Alright, let’s dive in. Lots of Parley stuff this week Oo

Sources

False Surrender and Eldritch Tongue were previewed by ElseWhere on their blog, Strength in Numbers.

Speak to the Dead and Blackmail File were previewed by the Card Game Cooperative on their podcast.

The upgraded Olive McBride was previewed by Arkham Chronicle on their YouTube.

Rogue

First “I’ll Take That”, then False Surrender. Seems like we really aren’t supposed to spend actions on playing our assets in Rogue anymore. Almost makes me forget about how Sleight of Hand got mistreated by the taboo list to pay for Seeker’s sins. Almost!
False Surrender has some interesting things going for it. Playing a weapon only when your really need it without it taking an action and without provoking an attack of opportunity is quite valuable. Unlike with Sleight of Hand, you even get to keep the weapon afterwards and False Surrender’s discount on the weapon asset is enough to pay for the event itself. You do pay for this with an action, though. False Surrender isn’t Fast like the other two green cards i compared it to.
The thing about this card that feels a bit iffy to me is the stat replacement of fight to agility. While generally a positive for Rogues, it also means that you won’t get any of the +X fight bonuses that fight actions usually have. This introduces a bit of a tension into deckbuilding because if you were planning on fighting you probably planned on running the likes of Overpower in your deck which won’t help you here.
Then again, this attack happens during a Parley effect. That means your Fine Clothes will apply. And so will Dirty Fighting. As a Tactic and Trick, there’s cards like Chuck Fergus and Crafty that can boost you for the action. So there’s way to make this work.
Obviously, this is pretty swell for Alessandra who can make it Fast, but other investigators will have to find a way to make the traits work for them (or find another way to make it Fast) to get enough value out of it, i think. Chuck is really the obvious one here, allowing you to make it Fast and giving you that crucial +2 to the test.

A green tome? Is that even legal? Ah wait, it has the Illicit trait. We are good then. This one is a bit bizarre, isn’t it. This is a weird form of evasion that doesn’t exhaust the enemy which makes it a bit worse against Hunters (but still will stop them from attacking that turn). Testing willpower instead of agility is not something I expected to see on a green card anytime soon. Unless you are Sefina or Alessandra (or Tony lol), that’s not a great trade and even then, it’s an even one.
While I am starting on a bit of an uneven note here, there are some neat things to the card. It doesn’t take a slot, which combined with its level 0 gives it a low opportunity cost to just throw into your level 0 deck and see how it plays. The really interesting part is being repeatable without any charges. Putting this down as Alessandra guarantees that you have an outlet for your bonus action available without having to spend an event like you have to do on most Parley opportunities. Testing against the enemy’s health can be both good and bad. While it means that you can use this to bizarro-evade some enemies with high evasion values more easily, it also gives it only limited utility against big enemies which are usually the ones you want to evade in the first place. Against Elites it even doesn’t work at all. But unless you are playing TFA, do you really want to evade low health enemies? I usually just defeat them.
Maybe the saving grace aside from the unlimited uses is that you don’t need to be engaged with the enemy? So unlike with regular evade, you can use this to handle an enemy engaged to another investigator at your location without having to spend an Engage action. This is somewhat canceled out by the need to play the asset beforehand, however…
Yeah, i don’t know. There are some good bits to this one, but I don’t see this fixing any existing problems. I could see it as a one-off in Alessandra, just so i can trigger it with my free Parley action, but aside from that it doesn’t really do what i want from a rogue card.
It’s another slotless tome for Parallel Daisy, though. So however else this card shakes out, it at least has a home in her. She might even use the action on it, she has the willpower for it…

Mystic

Combine it with Favor of the Moon and recur Spectral Razor six times? That sounds good to me and isn’t even all that hard to assemble. You can even recur Ward of Protection and laugh in the encounter deck’s face while doing it. That being said, if you aren’t cheating at it through the Favor or at least Olive McBride, then Speak to the Dead falls off sharply. Spending an action on it and failing is going to feel miserable and even if you do throw 3 offerings, planning on activating twice, chances are uncomfortably high that one is going to whiff.
So, i don’t think I’d ever play this one straight, I’d always want to be able to cheat. Favor, Olive, Premonition, Jacqueline… even Nkosi if you want to fish for skulls instead of curses. There’s a decent amount of bag manipulation available for Mystic and this can be a fine payoff. Pretty sure you want to build your deck in a way that means that the correct amount of offerings to spend on an activation is 1. After all, if all you are looking for is one or two recurs instead of five or six, then Dayana already gives you a similar payoff for less work (but at the cost of an ally slot and some XP, of course). Thanks to Razor, Read the Signs and Ward of Protection every mystic has impactful spells available right from the start, so you don’t need to wait for high-XP cards to enable Speak to the Dead either. Although… Mary throwing around Fangs of Tyr’thra? Eh? Eh? Anyone?
This is a card with good potential, the sort of card that I can see myself picking up just to build a deck around it. Is it necessarily a better payoff for curse than Armageddon and Eye of Chaos are? No, but at level 0, it doesn’t need to be. I like this one.

I did not expect to ever see an upgraded Olive. Her level 0 is already incredibly pushed, so an upgrade would really need to bring something to the table to be worth upgrading. Is this the case here? I think so. Revealing an extra token is of course super relevant for her primary task, which is fishing for tokens. That makes her upgraded version just much more consistent no matter what you are looking for, be it curses, blesses, skulls or even the Elder Sign. The other important consequence of the extra reveal is that you are no longer getting hosed by the tentacle. With base Olive, drawing the tentacle in the three tokens pretty much forces you to take the other two tokens which can often be not what you want. If you draw the tentacle on Olive(2) you still have a full Olive(0) reveal left to use. That is actually really huge.
She doesn’t get a cost reduction or extra soak, which is sort of expected to be honest. As I said, her level 0 is already pushed a lot and not pushing it further seems fair enough. We do get a second willpower icon on the commits which is something that Mystics can always use, so at least that’s something.
I think Olive(2) is a very strong ally and one that i look forward to playing. But since her level 0 is already so good, the upgrade is going to be low priority as you can hold out on the base version for quite some time.

Neutral

Ooooh, i like this! This is a huge enabler that makes sure that all the Parley business is not only contained to Alessandra, but can be relevant for other investigators as well. Joe Diamond that starts out Interrogate and Persuasion in his Hunch deck, then uses Eldritch Tongue to double-tap on those? That has potential. Charlie Kane being really fond of his Motivational Speeches? Sure. Play String of Curses to put a doom on something, then play it again from the discard to discard that enemy? Now we are cooking.
Since it costs 2 and an action upfront, this is well balanced i think. But as a level 0 neutral card that does a solid impression of De Vermis Mysteriis this is the type of card where it’s just a matter of time before it becomes incredible. Sure, you won’t be recurring any Spectral Razors and Read the Signs with Eldritch Tongue, but you also don’t have to pay XP and play around with doom for it. Also, you never know what sort of Parleys will see print in the Future, Hemlock Vale or otherwise. We might just get a Read the Signs with Parley down the road and once we do that will make Eldritch Tongue deliver a lot of value.

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