This short article series is intended to take a closer look at some configurations for the new Customizable cards from the upcoming Scarlet Keys expansion. Those things are highly flexible in what you can do with them and i will of course not be able to cover everything. Mostly i want to pick one to three configurations that tickle my fancy and talk about them. I’ll do four cards per article, i expect there to be 12 or 16 customizable cards in the expansion. We don’t know all of them yet, but enough to start digging into the possibilities. I will pick the cards i talk about in no particular order, but for varieties sake i will try to have four different classes in each article. If possible, i want to talk about at least one configuration that can be done with level 0-2 access and one that requires level 0-5 class access.
First up is the most simple one. Let me start by saying that i am convinced that any configuration needs to have at either Durable or Hallowed in it to be worth looking at. A 2/2 armor for 4 resources just doesn’t cut it.
Durable + Hallowed (4XP, level 2): “The Tank”. Super basic. 4 health and 4 sanity is sort of insane and since you get 2 of them for 4XP, this turns Armor of Ardennes into an even bigger laughing stock than it was before. Personally, i would take Protective Gear over this most of the time, though.
Enchanted + Durable/Hallowed (3XP, level 2): “The Over-Prepared”. For when you want your armor to play nice with Backpack. Or if you simply want to equip two of these and be completely impervious to anything.
Armor of Thorns+ Hallowed + Enchanted (6XP, level 3): “Stop Hitting Yourself”. Combine this with a Guard Dog and you’ll deal 2 retaliatory damage to many enemy attacks. Get both armors out at the same time and you can even deal 3 damage back in some cases. Add some ways to repair your armor and heal your dog and you got a solid hook for a deck. I’m thinking Tommy here, who can use Salvage and Chance Encounter with Short Supply to jumpstart this deck and later on make huge bank if the armor ever gets discarded.
Hexdrinker + Protective Runes + Hallowed/Durable (7XP, level 4): “Gain from Pain”. Hexdrinker can be a good source of Guardian card draw, especially when Protective Runes allow you do also draw from treacheries other players at your location suffer from. In a campaign like TFA or TCU this could be huge and might even warrant getting both Hallowed AND Durable which will up the cost to 9XP (level 5)
[Note: Due to me misunderstanding the card on a fundamental level, this part was rewritten] Servitor is certainly costly, demanding two slots (among them the valuable ally slot) and also a sacrifice when it enters play. But it does offer some potential, at least when you are able to boost its base stats with cards from your non-Mystic class access, using static boosts like Beat Cop, Mag Glass or Delilah. If you don’t have such cards, then Servitor can be reduced to an almost-Pathfinder. But honestly even that is still good because Pathfinder is absurd.
Dominance + Wings of Night (3XP, level 2): “I Am The Seeker Now”. Like with Seeker staple and taboo list frequent flyer Pathfinder you get an asset that can move you once per turn, but you do have to give up a slot for it (probably the arcane slot). Add another XP for Armored Carapace or Eyes of Flame to taste for additional utility and to justify sacrificing that slot further.
Dominance + Wings of Night + Claws (4XP, level 2): “Sick Em!” This is in theory a decent way to deal with Cultists or small aloof critters like Whippoorwills. Attacking with a base of 4 alone is not enough to reliably kill enemies though and the Mystic pool doesn’t really have a lot to build on that stat. So this is probably left to Mystics with Guardian access (or Guardians with Mystic access) aka Mary and Diana. Diana has enough going on already, but this seems like an interesting way to leverage Mary’s fighting oriented card pool despite her own middling fight value. In bigger groups, you might consider swapping Wings of Night for Carapace instead but i don’t think it’s all that valuable.
Dominance + Wings of Night + Jaws (4XP, level 2): “Trick em!” As before, just with evasion instead of fight. Something to consider for Mystics with either Rogue or Survivor access, but i think it’s a lot less useful than the fight version.
Dominance + Wings of Night + Eyes (4XP, level 2): “Seek em!” And of course you want Seeker access to make full use of this one. Remember that you can commit Deduction to your servitor’s seek action even if it’s on the other side of the map [because i certainly didn’t!] because it’s still you that is performing the actual test. This can be pretty good to grab clues that are guarded by something because Servitor won’t be attacked. Or just as a free(-ish) action each turn to pick up an extra clue. Of the three bonus action upgrades i think this is the most likely to be worth it without support from out of class and actually end up becoming a strong argument to play St. Hubert’s Key more. Or Arcane Studies(4).
Daemonic Influence + Claws/Jaws/Eyes + Dominance (8XP, level 4): “Make haste!” Because i think that the previous three option all profit greatly from access to cards from other classes, i kept them level 2. Sadly that means that those are all a bit slow since you will often need to just spend your extra action for the turn on moving. Daemonic Influence is the way around that, allowing you to move and fight/evade/seek with the Servitor in the same turn, but it pushes the Servitor into level 3, so it’s just for mainclass Mystics. At that point, you might as well spend another 2XP and free up the ally slot as well. I think that Daemonic Influence is good enough of an upgrade to warrant the 5XP investment for those that can do it.
Daemonic Influence + Claws + Jaws + Eyes (8XP, level 4): “Jabberwocky”. The hyperflexible one. Both moving and fighting/evading/investigating once per turn is probably enough options that you should find something useful to do with this thing every turn which can make up for not being able to properly support each of the different options. You can either add Dominance to free up a slot or Wings of Night for the Pathfinder option.
Similar to the Durable/Hallowed thing on the Armor i do consider Blackmail to be mandatory for this one. When you have limited uses to work with, you need to actually pass your tests and Blackmail is a big part of that with Damning Testimony. (EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that you only remove evidence from Testimony when you succeed, so that reasoning doesn’t hold up. While this is true, i still think that you pretty much always want Blackmail.) And to be honest, for a 4 resource asset that has a use type that can’t be refilled (like charges, secrets or supplies can) you really want the two extra uses from Fabricated Evidence as well. What’s more, i find Surveil and Extort rather impractical due to their targeting limitations. This limits my options on what configurations to talk about something fierce.
Fabricated Evidence + Blackmail (4XP, level 2): “The Fingerprint Testimony”. The most basic use case. This simply tries to emulate Fingerprint Kit as a an investigation tool. This is super solid and i could see myself playing this in a couple decks.
Search Warrant + Blackmail (3XP, level 2): “The Witch Trial”. The only other combination with Blackmail that can be used by offclass rogues. Basically a TCU only option that lets you bypass Haunted.
Expose + Fabricated Evidence + Blackmail (8XP, level 4): “Bake him away, toys.” The cultist killer. Ditching Acolytes, Wizards of the Order and all other manner of nerds that spawn on the other side of the map while waving their doom around can be worth a lot. It’s a pricey piece of tech, but it could in theory solve a lot of problems especially in scenarios like Before the Black Throne or Shattered Aeons.
Okay, so my hot take here is that this is a perfectly fine card already at 0XP, more than i can say of most other customizables. It’s six cards drawn for four actions and two resources which is a net positive, but the real key here is being able to use it on other investigators. After all, a card drawn is worth more to a Guardian than it is to a Seeker. Similar to how it is with Testimony, the upgrade for extra uses is very appealing, but since Distillation only costs 2 to play it’s not quite as mandatory. Let’s call it “heavily recommended” instead.
Refined + Quickening (3XP, level 2): “Gives You Wings.” Of the four 1XP options, Quickening seems like the best to me because it basically represents 2 actions. I’d still mostly use this to send cards to other players, but having the option to make someone go fast is worthwhile and cheap enough to get. You can add one other option to stay within the level 2 limit which i suppose will mostly depend on the campaign you are playing. TFA? Mending. Carcosa? Calming. You get the idea. Enlightening i don’t find that attractive, i think we have better options for secret and charge shenanigans by now.
Empowered + Refined (6XP, level 3): “Nurse, 3cc of card draw, stat!” This allows you to distribute 15 cards over the course of 6 actions. Not too shabby!
Perfected + Refined + Quickened (8XP, level 4): “You wanna buy some death sticks?” So what’s better? Getting 3 cards or getting 2 cards and 2 resources? The answer to this one is going to depend on the circumstances of course. Which is why i pulled Quickened into this one as well, as 2 cards and 2 moves sounds pretty fantastic to me and in most cases better than 3 cards. Of course, it’s also 2XP more, so you get what you pay for i suppose.
Perfected + Empowered + Quickened (10XP, level 5): “This card is sponsored by Monster. Monster Energy! Game Like A Beast!” Okay, this one is more of a joke option. For one, you are basically testing against a difficulty of 5 now which is terrible. Especially since you don’t have the space on the card for Refined as well, so failing the test becomes even worse. But sure, if you pass you get to move three times and draw three cards for an action. Seekers, huh?