This is an overview of the player cards in the Dream-Eaters Investigator expansion. I will be looking at the investigators first, then go over the rest grouped by class. For most cards I will try to keep it short and to the point to not stretch this article more than necessary.
For every group of cards I will nominate the three most useful and the three least useful cards. This isn’t necessarily about raw power, but more about how good they are at fueling a lot of your decks.
Finally, I will give my opinion on how well this selection of player cards stands on its own, answering if it’s worthwhile to get as a first expansion next to the core set and if this expansion + Core is enough to support the investigators contained in this expansion.
These articles do ignore the optional list of taboos. This is because they are mostly aimed at new players trying to figure out which investigator expansion to get next and taboo isn’t a thing that I want to weigh them down with. It’d also make things unnecessary complicated.
The ranking I use for cards is Bad < Okay < Good < Excellent < Staple with each of those spanning quite a range. I use something like “Okay to Good” or “Good to Okay” when I want to specify whether it’s on the upper or lower range of that rank. Please don’t take these rankings too seriously and more as a guideline, cards need to be evaluated in context and compressing these contexts down into just one word is really unprecise. I still find it useful for this overview as a shortcut to put the cards into relation quickly.
Three of the investigators in this box follow the 5/2 standard deckbuilding rules established in the Core Set: Tommy is Guardian/Survivor. Luke is Mystic/Seeker. And Patrice is Survivor/Mystic. They are accompanied by Mandy and Tony, both of which have deckbuilding rules similar to each other: In addition to their 0-5 main class, they get to choose a secondary class out of three. From that class, they only get 0-1 events and skills. So they do gain a weaker cardpool to build their decks from, however they make up for that with excellent stat distributions and remarkably powerful investigator abilities.
Tommy gets resources whenever assets of his get defeated, making him comparatively rich and rewarding him for leaning into a tank role where he uses allies and other assets to catch blows. He also notably has a cool signature rifle that is worth building around.
Mandy is a very strong seeker with 5 intellect that specializes in search effects. She can search deeper or find extra targets and she can also lend this ability to other investigators. As a unique twist, she gets to choose to either play 30, 40 or 50 cards and gets 1 to 3 signature events depending on her choice.
Tony Morgan is one of the best fighters in the game, possibly even the best. While limited to Rogue weaponry, his 5 fight allows him to use them to their fullest. His bounty mechanic gives him an innate economy advantage and free actions at the same time. Tony is notorious for being able to take a ludicrous number of actions in one turn.
Luke is the most mobile investigator in the game, his signature asset allows him to straight up teleport around at will. His investigator ability rewards him for using events instead of assets, a welcome break from the usual Mystic mold. Luke is most known for being a rules nightmare, as it turns out being kinda in multiple locations at the same time while playing an event is weird!
Patrice is very unique. She cycles through a new handful of cards every turn, allowing her to find key cards fast, but also forcing her to use them before they go away again. Her interactions with the discard pile are many and she can also make great use of her Mystic subclass to leverage her willpower. She has a decksize of 42 to partially counteract how fast she breezes through her deck.
The Hungering Blade(1): Okay to Good. Pretty good if you can feed it a constant stream of enemies, but that’s not always a given. Fine for 1XP, but most often you’ll just pay 1 or 2XP more and get something better instead.
.35 Winchester: Bad. Blocking both hands for a weapon this inconsistent is a losing play.
Empty Vessel/Wish Eater(4): Good to Excellent. Requires a ramp up time to charge from killing several enemies, but the Wish Eater is very, very powerful.
Safeguard(2): Excellent. Allows your Guardian to save move actions and just follow their teammates around “for free”.
Solemn Vow: Okay to Good. Something for bigger groups with a dedicated tank or an investigator that otherwise benefits from collecting damage. Fills a niche and does it well.
Spiritual Resolve(5): Okay to Good. For when you really need to be able to take some punishment. 5XP is a lot, but this uses only the arcane slot, covers both damage and horror and recharges from extra copies. Worth the price of entry, but mostly a luxury upgrade.
Tetsuo Mori: Excellent. It’s morbid, but having this guy die for your cause and leave you a nice item is just efficient. Great card if you want to fish for a specific one-off card in your deck like Tommy’s signature rifle or a Wish Eater.
Fool me Once(1): Good. Encounter cancellation in Guardian, that’s a rare thing. There are some hoops to jump through but that can be worth it. Note that triggering the response is optional, so you can use this to take something out of the encounter deck permanently.
First Watch: Okay. Reassigning a Mythos phase’s worth of encounter cards is good if you have high agility and high willpower investigators in your group that can then defuse their card. Also makes sure that enemies land where they can be dealt with the best. Can be worth it in larger groups.
Heroic Rescue(2): Okay. Again a card for the dedicated tank guardian. Does a good job for its niche.
Daring: Staple. Any three icon card is worth considering and this is flexible enough to go for either attacks or evades. And then it also draws a card which is so very valuable for the card draw starved Guardian class. Worth the drawback which will only matter rarely.
Leadership(2): Good to Excellent. Save a teammates treachery test and gives bot yourself and them a handful resources.
Self-Sacrifice: Okay. Kinda sorta almost fine on paper, but looks very silly next to Leadership(2).
Most useful: Daring, Tetsuo Mori, Safeguard(2)
Least useful: Self-Sacrifice, .35 Winchester, Heroic Rescue(2)
Verdict: Fine, but nothing special. Looking over these cards from the perspective of someone who has everything, there’s fewer cards here that i play regularly than in other sets. Basically the three i mentioned above as Most Useful, and of those i basically replaced Safeguard(2) with its level zero version as well. That being said, Tetsuo and Daring are both really good. Guardian decks without Daring basically don’t exist unless i am doing something funky like a support Mary or something. But that is not to say that this pool of cards is bad as such, cards like Wish Eater, the Hungering Blade or Fool Me Once certainly do play an important part, just not on a regular basis.
This pool does provide Guardian with a solid base for doing a tanky build that is able to take damage and horror for other teammates. This of course extends to the investigator in this box. Tommy is simple and powerful and breaks the mold insofar as he doesn’t have to struggle with resources as much as other guardians. He can even get downright rich. The Core Set has some pretty great cards for him as well, like the Guard Dog or just Leather Coat. Tommy works perfectly fine on a base of just TDE+Core, as a resilient Guardian that can use some extra fail tech and soak options out of the Survivor pool.
In total this is a respectable offer, but propped up largely by a great investigator.
Dream Diary: Excellent. Having a steady supply of Unexpected Courages at your disposal is great for passing all sorts of tests and of course super flexible. The bonus that makes the difference between the versions of the upgrade is not really all that important in the big picture. It can randomly matter, but they are all about equal in value (with maybe the enemy handling one a bit ahead)
Segment of Onyx/Pendant of the Queen(1): Staple. The amount of value you get out of this one for just 1XP is phenomenal. Any Seeker that has some card selection available has no issues assembling the Pendant. After using it up the Segments get shuffled back into a now partially depleted deck, making further assembly more and more easy. All three modes of the Pendant are fantastic: Teleporting or snatching clues saves tons of actions and evading without an action or test, even against Elites, is incredibly powerful.
Abigail Foreman(4): Excellent. More fuel for the tome deck, she copies the effect of tomes. Over the turns this quickly stacks up to massive value. Good enough to be played outside of Daisy, too.
Dream-Enhancing Serum: Excellent to Staple. Takes up a rather uncontested slot and offers a great card draw engine. Allows seekers to keep a huge number of cards in their hand and cycle through the rest of the deck over and over and replay their best cards ad nauseam.
Old Book of Lore(3): Excellent. Reducing the cost on OBoL by one and adding two more instances of action compression to it elevate an already great card even further. Once you start adding more secrets to it, it becomes even sillier.
Otherworld Codex(2): Good. Can’t be counted on to hit what you want it to, but becomes decent when you get into situations where multiple possible targets are in play and you don’t care which of those you discard.
Extensive Research(1): Okay to Good. I’d put the max amount of resources i am willing to pay for 2 testless clues in seeker at 4. So as long as i have 6+ cards in hand, this fulfills my criteria. Nothing earthshaking, but decent enough. Obviously great for “Big Hand” decks or just Dream-Enhancing Serum decks in general.
Practice Makes Perfect: Staple. Unless you are a survivor, this hits most of the best skills in your card pool. Not only lets you tutor for your Deductions, Vicious Blows, etc but also lets you double up on them. An incredibly important card for the Seeker class.
The Eye of Truth(5): Good. Expensive but impactful, this can not only save you from a treachery but also defuse any further ones you (or your teammates!) draw. But of a shame that removing Eye is mandatory on success, sometimes it’d be preferable to keep this in your deck.
Astounding Revelation: Excellent. Getting paid for searching your deck is great. Placing secrets on asset is also really good, especially when it’s the asset that let you search in the first place like OBoL(3) or Circle Undone’s Mr. Rook. A very important engine card.
Surprising Find(1): Good. Rewards you for searching with card draw and a bonus to your next test. It’s a decent card but outside of Mandy you’ll rarely be compelled to spend 3 of your deck slots on this.
Most useful: Practice Makes Perfect, Astounding Revelation, Pendant of the Queen
Least useful: Uuuh… Surprising Find? Maybe Extensive Research and … i don’t know, Eye of Truth?
Verdict: Insanity. Even the cards on the low end of this Seeker pool are good and it only goes up from there. There’s more tomes for Daisy plus a potent enabler in Abigail who can either make Daisy completely insane or enable tome shenanigans for other seekers. There’s Practice Makes Perfect, a card so good that most seekers and offclass seekers shape the skills they use around it. There’s Pendant of the Queen which lets players just teleport around or lock down bosses (indefinitely with just a bit of support). All of that held together with card draw, card search and Dream-Enhancing Serum, the card that lets seekers be the best at looping their deck over and over. And in the middle of it all? Mandy, the Queen of Search. The two Research cards are of course tailored to her. OBoL, either from the Core or the upgraded one from this set, give her consistent means of looking at her deck. Practice makes Perfect fits right in. As does Codex. From the Core, there is Research Librarian which just searches the whole deck for her for two tomes. So she does hit the ground running even with just TDE+Core, with plenty potential for growth.
Conclusion: Amazing from back to front.
Crystallizer of Dreams: Staple. Getting more value out of every event you play stacks up fast. The Guardian can be an issue for some investigators when it comes out at an inopportune time, but is mostly an acceptable drawback for what the Crystallizer offers from level zero on.
Burglary(2): Okay to Good. A good card that is looking for a home. The ability to spend an action for up to 5 resources is really, really good. You do need an intellect capable of oversucceeding however. Tony and Skids are both at 3, so they would need to build on that and find a shroud 1 or 2 location for this become reliable enough.
Delilah O’Rourke(3): Staple. Two boosts to relevant stats on a 3 resouce ally with decent soak would be good enough to make her go into plenty decks, but that ability puts her further over the top. Translating money into damage is something that Rogue is very interested in. The most common reason to not play her is because one went for Forgotten Age’s Lola Santiago instead.
Garrote Wire(2): Excellent. Allows finishing off enemies, which is not only great for cultists and similar small fry, but also to deal the final point to enemies with 3 or 5 life. If this was a hand item it would probably be a staple.
Gregory Gry: Good to Excellent. As long as the rogue is very good at a specific thing (and most are), you can get a decent amount of resources out of Gregory before letting him soak some horror for you. Super solid and I include him in my initial decks often although i usually plan on upgrading him into something else later.
Haste(2): Good to Excellent. A source of free actions. Great for fighters in particular, but even just things like spending two actions on drawing three cards is reasonable.
Joey the Rat(3): Good to Excellent. There’s a bunch of somewhat gimmicky things that Joey can do in the wider card pool, but even just as a 2 cost ally with good soak that pays you back his cost by discarding some spent asset he’s perfectly reasonable. Also offers the opportunity to buy actions for a resource when you want to play something, a very good rate. Of course 3XP is a bit much if you don’t use him for shenanigans, but he’s certainly powerful.
Sawed-Off Shotgun(5): Okay. Doesn’t take up both handslot like the Guardian shotgun from the Core, but also doesn’t offer a skill bonus. And considering it works on oversucceeding that missing skill bonus is a huge deal. Tony can make this weapon work, but it’s a bit of a pain and not really worth the effort.
Let God Sort Them Out: Okay. Bonus XP are incredible and Rogue has plenty cards to spend them on. But this isn’t all that easy to trigger, so don’t count on it every scenario. You might just end up using this for its fight icon more often than you’d like.
Easy Mark: Staple. Almost solves Rogue resources on its own. Even without chaining them into each other, they are worth playing on their own as each of them is arguably better than Emergency Cache (a card is usually valued more than a resource). Once you do get a chain off, you are gaining a lot of value for little effort. This is very often the first XP i spend with Rogue.
Followed: Bad. Too many riders on this card to make it worth the effort.
Swift Reload(2): Excellent to Staple. The best way to reload your guns in Rogue. It’s expensive but it also doesn’t cost an action and you can be certain to get a full gun’s worth of bullets from it.
Daredevil(2): Good. Particular good at finding the third Ace for Three Aces, but has other applications as well. The 2XP sting a bit here if you are just playing it to add another icon to your tests.
Momentum(1): Good to Excellent. Sometimes a bit weird to use, but efficient. Can let you gain double value out of other skills, turning oversuccess on the first test into a near guarantee for the second one.
Three Aces(1): Good to Excellent. That’s one hell of a payoff for assembling the three skills and it isn’t even all that hard to do as long as you have at least a bit of card draw/selection in your deck. With Practice Makes Perfect and Daredevil(2) there’s even the two best support cards for this right in the box.
Most useful: Delilah O’Rourke, Easy Mark, Crystallizer of Dreams
Least useful: Followed, Sawed-Off Shotgun, Let God Sort Them Out
Verdict: This is a very good pool. Not as unhinged as the Seeker thing, but certainly better than Guardian. Crystallizer is one of the two accessories that are commonly accepted as the gold standard for Rogue accessory (the other being the Cigarette Case) and that all other accessories have to measure up to. Garrote Wire actually does a reasonable job at that and especially Tony can get a lot of mileage out of it, virtually upgrading his 2 damage attacks to 3 damage or just swatting aside small pests with only 1 health. There’s three good allies in this set, with Delilah being a standout for fighty rogues, Gregory being a great source of money for level zero decks and Joey as a specialized card that does a lot of neat things all at once for little investment. The skill package in this set is also remarkable, usually Rogue isn’t the class to get three good skills at once. If you have the Winifred Habbamock pack, these three cards will make Wini very, very happy. They are all Practiced and of course this means that Mandy can use them with Practice Makes Perfect to show how easy it is to have Three Aces. Haste and Burglary are both engine cards. While Haste sees immediate use in Tony and many other rogues, Burglary is less universally used. It does have the necessary power level to break out, though. Swift Reload is a great card, just not in the context of this set. There’s not a whole lot of firearms around for Rogue just yet, so unless you have Wini and her guns, you will mostly be reloading Tony’s Colts with this. Or some .45 in Skids, i guess. Let God Sort Them Out has its fan because of course it does. It gives XP. That will always have fans. Personally I find it lacking but don’t let that stop you. Easy Mark is in my opinion one of the most important economy cards in Rogue even with the full card pool. There is some competition of course, but the combination of being money when you need it and replacing itself when you are already rich is just very special.
Tony is great right out of the box. He doesn’t actually have a lot of available weapons with just TDE+Core, only the .41 Derringer(0 and 2) from the Core, Garrote Wire and the Sawed-Off. Well, and the Switchblade. But before i go for that I’d rather play Knife, actually. He comes with his own two guns though and that is enough to make him work well enough. His choice of Guardian, Seeker or Survivor events lets him assume different roles. Guardian of course mostly adds to his excellent fighting capabilities with more ammo events, fight skills and the like. Seeker lets him build on his 3 intellect and channel some of his wealth into clues and cards. Survivor lets him be even better at seeking actually thanks to hits like Look What i Found and Sharp Vision. So even at Core+TDE, there’s plenty of depth here and Tony is well supported.
Approved, excellent card pool!
Summoned Hound(1): Okay to Good. Taking up the ally slot is the biggest issue here, but free investigate actions are of course something that is worth sacrificing for. Note that the weakness is only added to the deck when playing the card, not when putting it into play with other means and of course there are decks possible around exploiting that concept.
Healing Words: Bad. Four actions for 3 points of healing is a really bad rate.
Stargazing/The Stars Are Right(1): Okay. Just too weird and unreliable. It’s a really cool card and i enjoy playing it. But i don’t think it’s actually all that good.
Mind’s Eye(2): Good. At time of writing, this is still the only card that takes up two arcane slots. When things align, this allows Mystics what they always dream of: Do everything with willpower. Undoubtedly a powerful effect, but sacrificing both arcanes for it is a tough pill to swallow.
Empower Self: Okay. The issue with these is that you only have one of each, making it almost impossible to depend on them even if you wanted to do some cool Mystic with a weapon thing and use your fight value more or whatever. Paying 3 resources for each of them is also excessive. I have on occasion played a single one of these to build on an existing fight or intellect value, but I can’t say that it ever was better than just using Shrivelling or Rite of Seeking.
Scroll of Prophecies: Excellent. More or less the Mystic version of Seeker’s Old Book of Lore, allowing you to dig through your deck while drawing tons of cards. Limited by charges (unlike OBoL), but this is nonetheless a great card. I have actually put this into Daisy instead of OBoL before.
Shining Trapezohedron(4): Good. Playing out your typical Mystic spell suite is rather expensive and this can help with that a lot. If this wouldn’t take up an equipment slot usually reserved for something with +1 willpower, this would be played a lot more often.
Twila Katherine Price(3): Good to Excellent. Enables you to fire off your spell once per turn without charges going down. To be worth playing Twila over just another copy of a spell, she needs to enter play early, but she’ll usually be worth it. She costs 3XP, but since she can help you get more out of your 3-5XP upgraded spells, that is not a huge issue.
Spectral Razor: Staple. The best combat event the game has right now across all classes. Razor does everything: Give you high effective skill value, deals 3 damage, it even engages the enemy beforehand and thus bypasses Aloof or helps in multiplayer. The only drawback here is that it only deals the otherwise usual 2 damage against Elites, but that’s hardly a drawback on a level zero card. If my deck can take purple cards and has willpower, i likely have this in there.
Read the Signs: Staple. Read the Sign has more competition in its role of picking up two clues, so it’s not quite as high as Razor, but that’s effectively irrelevant because this is still one of the best ways for Mystic to pick up clues without putting out a spell asset.
Ethereal Form: Okay to Good. A straight up one-shot evade is useful, but the additional effects on this don’t really measure up. For one, you need to be engaged by multiple enemies in the first place for them to matter, but then you also are unable to damage the enemies after evading them which is actually a drawback.
Open Gate: Okay to Good. There’s people who swear by this for some campaigns, but personally I have never gotten these to do anything close to good enough to justify taking up three deck slots. In any case, these require knowledge of the scenarios and will change in how useful they are with what you are playing.
Word of Command: Okay. The most important resource you have in this game are actions and spending an action to set up another play is just too slow. Having to pay resources and XP for the card doesn’t help. That being said, it does its job of finding what you need and can even save you some XP by being a second copy of a 5XP card.
Most useful: Spectral Razor, Read the Signs, Scroll of Prophecies.
Least useful: Healing Words, Stargazing, Word of Command
Verdict: Less impressive than the others. Similar to the Guardian cards in that these are decent enough on a small collection, but most of these cards get outpaced in the bigger card pool. A lot of it is also just a bit too gimmicky and not generally useful. The Dream-Eaters Mystic pool is of course notable for giving us Spectral Razor and Read the Signs, two of the best events in the game. These two are absolutely fantastic and might just be the two Mystic cards i play the most, even more than classic class staples like Ward of Protection. Aside from those, Scroll of Prophecies and Twila stand out as particularly good. Trapezohedron and Mind’s Eye are also relevant in the larger pool for some uses.
Luke Robinson, the purple investigator from this set, is represented here by the spell events which he can cast into connected locations. TDE+Core offers enough such events to Luke to do his thing and not suffer too much from not having many options for spell assets. His seeker access pushes him firmly into the direction of being a clue hound, but between Blinding Light from the Core and Spectral Razor from this set he can at least defend himself somewhat.
All together this is comparable to Guardian, it’s an okay card pool with a few exceptional cards in it, but mostly unremarkable offerings otherwise. Luke is a little less well supported than Tommy, but is absolutely still playable even with TDE+Core without having to fear a negative experience just from limited card access.
Miss Doyle and the Cat Army(1): Excellent to Staple. Cycling through the cats can give you a lot of automatic successes and sticking to one makes up for a low stat on your investigator. This is quite powerful. The only issue is that the first cat you get is random, the others are shuffled into the deck. If you are after a specific one, you might have to dig for it.
Nightmare Bauble(3): Good to Excellent. Cancelling the tentacle token is something very special and you don’t have many options for it. This can give you three charges to cancel the tentacle at will, as long as you can take having these weaknesses in your deck afterwards. Undeniably a powerful card, but a bit of an acquired taste because those weaknesses are quite bad.
Jessica Hyde(1): Staple. The slightly more balanced counterpart to Peter Sylvestre is good for all the reasons Peter is and a great way to make your survivor better at fighting.
Moonstone: Good to Excellent. A bit awkward to play, but discarding cards is usually no problem for Survivor (i mean, just look at Wendy’s and Patrice’s investigator abilities…). As an asset that bumps two good stats for cheap, this is worthwhile unless the accessory slot is already spoken for.
Scavenging(2): Excellent to Staple. One of the central cards of the whole Survivor recursion archetype. A very good upgrade of the Core Set card that saves up actions. Actually not that meaningful with just TDE+Core, but gains in value tremendously with a growing collection.
A Glimmer of Hope: Okay. If you can discard cards for value, these allow you to always have cards for that. That’s decent to fuel something like Wendy’s ability but usually not necessary and the three deck slots can go towards more impactful things.
Fortuitous Discovery: Good to Excellent. You need a decent intellect to use this, but if you have that, this is rock solid. The first copy you’ll usually not want to play and instead discard it somehow, but the second and third copy are great.
Nothing Left To Lose(3): Excellent. You’ll very rarely get to use this for full value, but just drawing like 2 cards and getting 2 bucks for a zero cost event is very strong. And it can do quite a bit more than that.
Scrounge for Supplies: Excellent. Has a similar issue as Word of Command in that it’s slow to just pick up a card for an action. However, this costs no resources and no XP and usually has a more diverse range of cards to choose from. It also has more synergy with what the class does, to the point where Word of Command is mediocre and this is almost a staple.
Brute Force(1): Excellent. Getting three fight icons is great and so is dealing 3 damage in one blow. However you are going to need an already high fight value because oversucceeding on a basic fight action is going to be hard otherwise. Or just throw more skills at the test, a +2 damage is even worth committing an additional Overpower.
Sharp Vision(1): Staple. Survivor is usually much better at intellect than they are at fight, making Sharp Vision more universally useful. In the right decks, this is basically a red Deduction. What makes the difference to Brute Force here is that succeeding, but not oversucceeding isn’t as much of an issue with Sharp Vision. A clue for an action is still fine, unlike a damage for an action.
Expeditious Retreat(1): Good to Excellent. Agility is many survivor’s best attribute and the bonus on this is actually relevant often enough. Evasion is also something that is usually done as a basic action anyways, so using this doesn’t come at much of an opportunity cost. There are of course several other evasion skills in Survivor (including Survival Instinct from the Core), so this slot is more contested than the ones of Brute Force and Sharp Vision.
Most useful: Jessica Hyde(1), Scavenging(2), Sharp Vision(1)
Least useful: Glimmer of Hope, Nightmare Bauble(3)? uuuh… Expeditious Retreat?
Verdict: Hold the presses, these are all useful. Glimmer of Hope is the only one that is only okay, but it still absolutely has a niche for feeding Wendy’s ability or similar. This is a great pool of Survivor cards obviously. Not as nutty as what Seeker has, but still heads and shoulders above what a class usually gets in a set. I am a huge fan of the three “basic action” skills in particular, those are all over my decks. Miss Doyle and Jessica are both great allies, albeit for very different decks. The rest is some useful trinkets, another good investigation event to go alongside Sharp Vision, a good econ card and some recursion for the pile.
In a bit of a twist ending, the red investigator of this expansion doesn’t gel with this set of cards very well. Her statline is pretty much the opposite from what you need to use those skill cards. She’s not interested in Jessica or Scavenging either. She has an easy time of getting the Fortuitous Discoveries into her discard, but with 2 intellect using them well is another topic. Even Nothing Left to Lose which has her on the artwork is not that great for her because she draws 5 cards every turn anyways. That leaves Doyle, Moonstone and Scrounge for her which she can do some things with. She’ll have to rely on her Mystic part for cards from this set then, and she does at least make good use of Razor and Read the Signs. Mind’s Eye is also an obvious support plant just for her. The Core Set doesn’t really offer Patrice much in terms of Survivor cards either, making her very shaky if one were to try and build her on just TDE+Core. This is made worse by having a deck size of 42 instead of 30, so she’ll have to lower her standards quite a bit to fill those last couple slots. She is a very fun investigator when she has the full cardpool behind her, but for a limited pool i sadly will have to call her barely functioning.
The Black Cat(5): Excellent. As long as you are willing to pay the XP cost, this cat can do a lot of good for you, tanking a lot of damage and horror and/or lowering the impact of the two worst symbol tokens in the chaos bag (aside from the tentacle, of course).
Versatile(2): Excellent. While increasing the number of cards in your deck leads to a decrease in consistency, this effect is often overstated. On a small collection, this is quite bad of course but once you got enough to fill 40 or even more cards with just good cards, this allows you to do some really cool things. This is an amazing deckbuilding enabler.
Lucid Dreaming(2): Bad. Another tutor-style card that trades one of your actions for access to a specific card. Sadly this is more on the side of Word of Command instead of Scrounge for Supplies, costing resources and XP. It’s even more limited in its targets than Word of Command and as a result there are very few use cases for this card even in a full card pool.
This is a really weird set when it comes to whether you should consider it as a first purchase. The presence of the Myriad and Bonded keywords lead to there being a large amount fewer unique cards in this box than usual. Regular sets like Carcosa have around 17 cards per class. For Dream-Eaters, the numbers are: 15 for Rogue, 13 for Guardian and Mystic, 12 for Survivor and finally only 11 for Seeker (Mystic has 15 if you count all the Empower Selfs as unique). That’s an average of 13, four fewer cards than usual (or 23% less).
So if your goal is getting a bigger number of cards to build your decks with, Dream-Eaters is definitely not the way to go. On the other hand, this box has undeniably a higher average card quality than the ones before it. There might be fewer cards by total count, but considering there are barely any bad cards in this box, you might just end up with more useful cards after all. I find this very hard to gauge in a direct comparison. The card pool is rather specialized in the most cases, so i think my suggestion here leans towards going for a more generally applicable set of cards.
Of the investigators, four out of five see good to great support in this box and can easily be played with just Dream-Eaters and the Core. Patrice won’t really work however. She’s just in general quite difficult to build for, so this doesn’t surprise me that much. She’s very rewarding to play once you got something good, but that requires more support than what’s on display here.
So ultimately, does this work as a first buy after the Core? Yes.
Do i recommend buying this first? No.
It’s chock full of staple cards that are incredibly valuable for many decks, but as a first step a broader array of cards is more immediately useful. If you are after instant power, the investigator starter decks are also comparable options that do a better job of giving you specific archetypes to build around. One or two investigator expansions in, Dream-Eaters becomes a priority pickup though. There’s so much good stuff in this box that you will not want to miss for long!
That’s it for the Dream-Eaters player card overview.
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