Hemlock Vale Spoiler Roundup #8

Intro

Another week, another round of Hemlock Vale spoilers. We got a whole rush of new cards there over the last couple days, so lets dive right in!

Sources

Ancestral Token and Fine Tuning were previewed by Until The End of Time on their YouTube

Drain Essence, Prismatic Spectacles and Fake Credentials were previewed by Optimal Play on their YouTube

Purified and The Key of Solomon were previewed by Bradley Galbraith on his YouTube.

Well-Dressed, Transmogrify and Kate Winthrop‘s back were previewed by PlayingBoardGames on their YouTube.

Guardian

That’s very solid and reliable. So far, Guardian has been pretty good at using blesses for all sorts of things, but supplying them has been more of a Survivor thing because the existing options (Book of Psalms, Blessed Blade, Rosary(2)) all had pretty big limiters on them. They’d either require actions specifically spent for them or needed timing points that may or may not actually happen. Ancestral Token fixes these issues. It doesn’t require extra actions to use (after playing it of course) and enemies are a lot more plentiful than willpower treacheries… most of the time. It’s level zero as well.
So this looks like a good way to fuel bless synergies, as long as you are able to defeat stuff. Someone like Mary might still be better off with the Rosary (after all, she wants the willpower too) but a Zoey, Tommy, etc will probably prefer the Ancestral Token.
The one exception i could see is Circle Undone, where willpower treacheries are plentiful so the Rosary is doubleplus good there.
In any case, this is sweet. 3 cost is a chunk, but you do get your value from it. Cool card, this will see plenty of play.

More ways for Guardian to throw Blesses in the bag. Purified fills the same niche for Guardian that Keep Faith does for Survivor. No action required, trades a card for a couple blesses. Purified doesn’t cost any resources, but instead requires passing a test. That seems like a big limitation, but since you can add it to any test, it really isn’t. It doesn’t even need to be your own test, so finding an opportunity for 3+ tokens is easy enough.
Obviously this isn’t good as a skill, it doesn’t help a test at all. So look at it as a weirdly templated event with Fast.
I am actually somewhat excited by the idea of doing Blessed Nathaniel. Getting a bunch of blesses from the Ancestral Token and from Purified just for doing what he does best sounds like a great way of fueling payoffs like Blessing of Isis, Nephtys, Radiant Smite or whatever Hemlock Vale brings.
Since the card is Innate, it can also go into Silas. While it won’t interact with his “commit, then pull back” shenanigans, it does work pretty well to supplement Signum Crucis as a bless generator.

Seeker

Oh, an engine card. Dangerous 😀 Allows double exhausting your tool or science asset for an extra use per round. Here’s the current list of assets this works on: <Click>. And this is the same list, but without the things that have uses: <Click>. Looking at those, the obvious candidates are Lockpicks, Microscope and Mariner’s Compass for clue grabbing, but also Dream-Enhancing Serum and Empirical Hypothesis for card draw or on Pocket Multi Tool to secure all your tests. Actually a bit concerning: Fine Tuning can go on Darrel’s Kodak Oo
Basically, this gives you a second copy of one of those assets without taking up another equipment slot. That’s pretty nice. Pretty narrow in its application, so you will know when you want it. But when you do, it’s priced right to see play.
Note that Wilson can play this, thanks to his access to up to 5 Upgrade or Improvised cards. I am not sure he wants it, but it’s a possibility if he uses his Tool access to for example do Lockpick fueled investigations.

We have already seen three Seeker assets in Hemlock Vale that give Investigate actions (Chemistry Set and Microscope are the two others) and in an unusual twist, two of them use the accessory slot. Investigating at +2 skill without any charges at all is certainly worth adding curses to the bag for, the potential to gain additional clues from those curses makes it even more interesting. I would need a good reason to move my investigation tool to the accessory slot though, that slot is a lot more valuable than the more common hand slot. I could see this making the cut in a curse heavy deck. This does have the ability to throw a decent amount into the bag each turn, after all it doesn’t exhaust on use and can even still be used when it’s exhausted from the extra clue trigger. I suppose being both a curse enabler and a payoff card at the same time (and a good one in both roles) makes it worth the 2XP that are asked for it, too. But that XP cost is what’s going to keep it from being used just as a reliable investigation tool in decks that aren’t doing anything special with the curses. Those are probably going to stick to Grim Memoir for their +2 investigates with extra payoff… which is fair enough of course.

Seekers are getting really good at enemy handling without defeating them. Persuasion shuffles something back into the deck, Existential Riddle makes it Aloof. And this negates Hunter while providing a way to Evade with intellect. Since it removes all forms of movement, it will also blank Evasive and Patrol, which can come up. Once it readies on the next turn, it does pose a bit more of a problem than before thanks to Massive, but a) you might not want to backtrack so a stranded enemy is an enemy dealt with and b) you get a clue for evading it again. If my understanding is correct, you actually get a clue on the initial evade on the card already – which gives it a similar base value to Breaking and Entering, a certified GoodCard™. Hell, since this only costs 1, there will be plenty of times this is even better than B&E.

Check out the rest of her kit in the first spoiler roundup, which you can find here: <Click>

Full Seeker access, can’t argue with that. The Science access is what we expected, but it doesn’t really do a whole lot. Most Science cards are already Seeker cards, so for the most part this is flavor – basically like the Illicit access on Finn, but without having the main class access gutted. Kate also gets access to Insight 0-1 which has some really good cards in it. That is pretty much already worth it for At the Crossroads, but it’s also a trait that is just consistently getting new cards every expansion so that’s only going to grow in value over time.

Yeah, i can definitely work with this. One thing to note is that her front side rewards her for playing Tools as well as Science cards, but her deckbuilding isn’t giving her access to out-of-class tools. Fair enough.

Rogue

Woah, we got some serious options when it comes to investigation tools in Rogue now. So how does this compare to Lockpicks and Thieves Kit? The most important surface difference to me is that while the existing options use agility to support or replace intellect, Fake Credentials doesn’t use agility at all. Depending on your rogue’s agility and intellect scores, that’s either good or bad. The other big thing with Fake Credentials is that it completely ignores the shroud value on the location. That can be a huge deal. The test doesn’t even scale with the stats of the enemy, just by how often its been used, starting with difficulty 1. While this doesn’t have uses, it’s similarly restricted in how often you can use it, but unlike with uses this only ticks up when you succeed.
The final important part of Fake Credentials is then of course the Parley ability. That is important for Allessandra, but it also means that this investigation tool can be used while engaged with an enemy without provoking an attack of opportunity. That is really good for Trish who can tack auto-evades onto these investigates. On the other hand, it limits the use to situations where you actually have an enemy around. That is of course a serious limitation and keeps the card from being used for your primary clue getter. You will want to use this in a flex investigator that primarily handles enemies but also wants to pick up some clues on the side.
It then has a bunch of similarities with Lockpicks and Thieves Kit as well. Three cost, Illicit Item. Handslot. Exhausts on use like Lockpicks. Doesn’t have uses per se, but the suspicion counters work similar.
This seems quite good to me and able to stand next to Lockpicks and Thieves Kit. That’s good company for sure and which one of the cards you want is going to depend on your investigator’s stats. Lockpicks beats it in consistency, but especially if you aren’t blessed with high agility and intellect, this can end up being situationally better. Pretty great card for level 0, i’d be happy to see an upgraded version too!
Fun interaction: Like Damning Testimony, Fake Creds can be used through Trigger Man for a fast trigger investigation that doesn’t use your own stats each turn. That’s been good for me in the two decks i used it in with Testimony but of course quite XP costly. Being able to do this with a level 0 card is something I’ll probably have to try.

Mystic

There’s a lot going on with this card. A 2 damage event for 2 resources is somewhat unspectacular, but there is of course some other things to consider here. You do get the healing portion of the card (except it’s technically not healing, i guess) where you move damage tokens from you to an enemy instead of dealing damage the usual way. While this can certainly be a huge upside, it’s at the same time a limitation because you do need to be already damaged to use this. This is a Parley instead of a Fight, which means that it bypasses a bunch of enemy keywords that impact Fight actions. You can use this past Aloof on any non-engaged enemies, you don’t have to fear Retaliate and you won’t be triggering the new Evasive keyword either. With a Parley focused investigator and support cards in the set, the Parley designator has other implications as well, of course.
This doesn’t have any skill bonus. Since it does cost a non-trivial amount of resources that means you will want to have 5 willpower to use it and/or make use of Fine Clothes or similar to get your skill value up to the task.
So… i think this is a good card to have in the card pool, but probably not one that most or even many mystics will want to run. It has some clear limitations that will dictate which investigators/decks want this card, but that’s actually a good thing. Not every card needs to be a braindead auto-include like Spectral Razor. This seems well balanced and while there will be times where it sits in your hand because you either can’t afford it or because you actually don’t have damage on you, the times where it’s good, it’s very very good.
There is one investigator that this is even perfect for: Parallel Agnes. She pays life to reduce the cost of her events and shuffle them back, so in one swoop she not only makes sure that she’ll always have damage tokens to move onto enemies, but she also takes care of the cost. At 5 base will, she also isn’t too bothered about the test. Seems like a very strong addition to her kit alongside Razor and Blood-Rite as her ways of dishing out lots of event based damage.
As a final note, since this moves damage tokens around which is a very specialized effect and one that Hank Samson is built on, chances are good that Hank is able to use this card. At 3 to 4 base willpower i don’t really see that happening in practice, though. It’s just too unreliable before he gets his 4 willpower resolute form, and even then it requires more support to get to comfortable skill values (or support from your usual Survivor cheatery). Probably more effort than its worth. He’s better off attacking enemies directly with pitchforks, hatchets, hammers and similar farming implements (does a chainsaw count as a farming implement?) I do take this as a hint at Hank’s deckbuilding rules though, maybe something like “cards that move damage 0-5” in addition to Survivor 0-5?

I find this sort of card very difficult to assess. The abilties are sure powerful enough, trading a token in for a heal or 2 resources is a good rate and doing it over and over again is sure to rack up lots of value over time. The opportunity cost of 4XP means that i want more than just value for it, so it’d need to fit closer to what i am trying to do with my deck specifically. The ability to heal your allies on demand is particularly interesting to me, not really something for mystic allies though. Great combo with guardian allies, though.
What i like about this card is that on the surface it looks like it does the same thing that Kouhaku does where it interacts with both blesses and curses at the same time… but then it actually doesn’t require both tokens to function. You can play this in a pure Bless or a pure Curse deck and then know exactly what you get from the card. Getting an alternative payoff for token hoarding is neat… i just wish it was actually accessible to a wider range of investigators.
I don’t know, i can’t really fit this card into anything yet. It sort of lives in the same range as last expansion’s Gray’s Anatomy for me where I can see that it’s powerful, but i probably won’t put it into a deck often unless i am specifically trying to build around it. Which is fair enough, and as both an Item and a Tome there are good ways to reliably tutor it up if you have access to either red or yellow cards.

Neutral

That cheeky flavor text. Well played.
This is great support for the Parley archetype of course. Between Fine Clothes and Well-Dressed we can really nuke some tests now. As the preview video points out, that also makes it a great tech card for certain scenarios. No matter if it’s Jazz, Ichtaca or one of the shades in Shades of Suffering… being dressed to impress can work wonders.
Aside from that, this is a pretty clear cut card: you’ll know when you want it and it will be great. Four wild icons is a big game and makes it predestined to serve up some nice oversuccesses as well.
It’s Practiced, so it can go into that shell. Not sure you want it just to crank up the numbers of available targets on Practice Makes Perfect, but honestly… if people put Plan of Action into their decks unironically just to pad out PMP, then they might as well put this in instead.

Next up!

The next scheduled card reveal is actually going to happen right here, on this site. You’ll notice a distinct lack of Survivor cards in this week’s offerings. So please join me next Monday for a double helping of Survivor cards to fix that! Until then 🙂

One Reply to “Hemlock Vale Spoiler Roundup #8”

  1. Congratulations for getting your own spoiler cards. To be honest, I found it a bit of a missed opportunity on FFG’s side, that they didn’t provide you with a couple of encounter cards from TSK campaign expansion during last spoiler season. But now, that you cover player cards as well, there was no way for them, to skip your amazing site. Well deserved!

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