The new ArkhamLCG FAQ just dropped and with it an updated list of taboos. As usual, remember that adhering to this taboo list is strictly optional, don’t bother if you are still new to the game, still feeling out what you can do with your card pool or if you straight up don’t want to adhere to it. It’s all fine. For everyone else, the taboo list is an attempt of shaking up the deckbuilding options by bringing outliers in efficiency in line with the rest of the pool, either by buffing them or nerfing them.
Here’s a list of what changes, with the usual commentary from me.
These are the cards that got a modifier to their XP cost, making them more expensive (chained) or cheaper (unchained) to buy when upgrading your decks. Remember this doesn’t alter their card level, so this will not push cards in or out of some investigator’s card pool. I will only go over what changed to the previous version of the taboo.
Machete (+0): Used to be chained at +1, now is completely removed from the list. To be honest, i could’ve lived with this staying at +1. I actually just bought it for 1XP for a Zoey deck i am currently running. But it’s of course not going to make big waves at +0 either, so sure. Why not.
Mr. Rook (+0): Used to be chained at +4, now is down to +0 again. However, this comes at the price of a mutation. We will go into this later.
David Renfield (+3): According to MJ, this happened in anticipation of the Scarlet Keys addition that will put David over the top. Presumably she means cards like Elle or Sin-Eater by this. Personally, i never really cared much about David, actually. I don’t really include him in decks as i find doomplay very offputting. I probably would’ve given him a go with Scarlet Keys, but at +3XP that is a hard sell. Seems like a very heavy handed change to me.
Signum Crucis (-2): Huh, so this level 2 card is now free? Interesting. It’s a card i never played much, not even in bless decks as the restriction in its use is quite limiting. I could see giving this a try now, sure.
Rite of Equilibrium (-2): This is an exciting one. The ability to just throw 20 tokens into the bag in turn 1 is immensely powerful, but at 5XP per copy it wasn’t attractive enough to build around. Bringing this down to 6XP for the set tempts me quite a bit, especially in combination with some of the mutated cards that are coming up later. If you want to go off the deep end, use this with Henry Wan. Yes, you heard that right.
Jeremiah Kirby (+2): Noooo! Awww man. One of my favorite cards from the Edge box, i have been playing this card a whole lot. He’s so very, very, very good. I suppose that means i have to admit that he’s worth 2XP, huh? Fine. Just a bit sad that this means we have to go back to Milan for level zero. This is going to be an early upgrade often. I love this card.
Gene Beauregard (+2): This is more of a bummer. I thought she was fine at 3XP. She’s very good and i wouldn’t have blinked if she was released at 5XP originally, sure. But now she’s going to see very little play for me and just like Michael Leigh she’s going to only be for very specialized decks instead of generally being useful. I am not completely on board with this one, Gene wasn’t hurting anyone.
Mutations are cards that got errata to their card text. These are mostly small changes that can be memorized easily, but a couple are a bit more involved. As with the Chainings and Unchainings, these can be used to either make cards stronger or weaker.
Ritual Candles: Now triggers on any symbol. That makes it a fantastic way to mitigate curse tokens! I like this change a whole lot.
Jewel of Aurelius: Now triggers on any symbol. Dedicated bless or curse decks (or both! looking at you, freshly unchained Rite of Equilibrium!) get a powerful resource/card engine here.
Voice of Ra: Now triggers on any symbol. This had really bad timing when it released in the Jacqueline deck basically at the same time when everyone was playing blesses and curses due to Innsmouth also being fresh on the shelves. Now you can use it without having to fear that other players mess up your chaos bag. In fact, you can now profit from it and even get in on that action yourself. Excellent.
Dark Prophecy: Now triggers on any non-Elder Sign symbol, allowing you to fish for blesses and curses to power your Blessed Blade, Eye of Chaos, etc. Seems useful for sure, especially for use with the curse spell suite.
Counterspell: Now triggers on any non-tentacle token. The final one of the mystic cards that got the bless/curse interaction treatment. But also the weakest by far. Cancelling a curse is rarely all that useful, at least when compared to what cancelling a tablet, cultist or Elder Thing does for you. Still, it’s a net positive and won’t hurt. Note that all five of these symbol related cards now also work on Frost tokens, giving them some extra value in Edge as well.
Acidic Ichor: Now deals 2 damage instead of 3. A couple of years late on this one, aren’t we? That being said, i do approve of this nerf. As printed, Ichor as way better than it has any right to be and even in it’s mutated form it’s still a slotless sidearm that has 3 ammo and uses 6 base fight for 1 resource. That can be reloaded with upgraded Emergency Cache. Ichor is so far above even most Guardian and Rogue weapons, it can take a slap on the wrist and still be fantastic.
Mr. Rook: His ability is now an action instead of a free trigger. No longer chained into oblivion by a 4XP penalty, so we can consider him for our deck again. That alone is a big win. He has good soak for a seeker ally and does come with three uses of a tutoring ability that gets you what you need. Seems pretty strong to me even at normal action speed. Guardians run Prepared for the Worst just to have one shot of this ability and in a much more limited scope. Mr. Rook is going to appear in a lot of decks again.
Flute of the Outer Gods: No longer Exceptional, but still limited to 1 per deck. Sure, it costs 4XP now instead of 8XP, but i still don’t see how this card is anything but a coaster. It costs a ton to play, you need curses to prepare for it and its ability is frankly not that great? Hard pass, but maybe the reduced XP cost convinces someone else to explore this more. Can only get better, right?
Prophesiae Profana: Now only prevents the first attack of opportunity. Seems fair. Personally i think that card is massively overrated in the first place, but if this removes some extreme abuse case, that sounds like a reasonable change.
Black Market: Limited to 1 per turn. Heh, fair enough. I suppose chaining these, possibly with even multiple investigators running a pair of them, was not intended. Makes sense.
Eon Chart: Provides only basic actions now. Was Eon Chart a problem? Meh. This significantly reduces how interesting and interactive the card is and that makes it a dud in my book. I liked Eon Chart as finally an accessory that can stand up to the usual rogue suspects, but that change makes me like it a lot less. It’s still going to be fine, but this is a bit of a bummer.
Cyclopean Hammer: Using the 3 damage super smash now requires exhausting the hammer. Does this change the hammer to the point where it’s no longer better than other options? Doesn’t look like it to me, but i am hardly an expert on this card. I never used it before, it’s just not the type of thing i play. Sorry, i will have to defer to someone else for their take on this change. Chances are, there’s plenty of takes around once this article goes live.
Mandy Thompson: Now always uses the 50 card deck. Mandy is one of two investigators that get mutated in this version of the FAQ and in her case it’s meant to reduce the powerful impact of her ability on a 30 card deck. Now even she has to actually look for a moment to find what she needs. Interestingly, this possibly makes using her on other investigators more attractive. I don’t have a huge opinion on this change in either direction, Mandy was never very high on my list of enjoyable characters to play.
Lola Hayes: Can now switch roles as an action. Her weakness only discards 1 card instead of all matching ones. Defusing Lola’s weakness will do a lot towards making her more attractive to play. Until now, when playing a Lola deck one would be forced to build around that weakness way too much, either by only running non-assets or only assets in classes you don’t return to afterwards. With this pressure lifted partially, we can explore new and exciting deckbuilding options for Lola. Since exploring decks is like half the reason i play this game, this change gets two thumbs up from me!
The Taboo list is only one part of the FAQ, mainly it’s actually a vehicle for rule clarifications and rule adjustments. I will say right now that i am not a rules person at all, so i will leave the deeper analysis of some changes to smarter people, but let me just point out a few things that are immediately sticking out:
Hallowed Mirror, Occult Lexicon and Miss Doyle had their wording updated to set their associated cards aside when they leave play instead of removing them. That means that you are now able to replay a discarded Mirror and will shuffle your Soothing Melodies back into the deck again. Previously this wasn’t possible. Good and intuitive change, i approve.
Geared Up now clarifies that the item cards are played “One at a time”. This enables it to work with Backpack and Shoffner’s Catalogue the way players want it to, a deeply necessary change to make Geared Up playable. Personally i still rate it lowest of the five level zero permanents, but this does help Geared Up catching up quite a bit. I will no longer call it a coaster, at least.
Searching during setup will no longer allow playing triggered abilities like Mandy’s search or Research cards. Notably, this breaks up the often played combo of Stick to the Plan with Astounding Revelation. Sure, whatever. That was way too powerful anyways, i suppose.
Clarification on the word “different” state that cards are only different if their names are different. For example, this means that you can not use Lily’s strength discipline to activate the fight ability on two copies of Machete. You can use it to activate both abilities printed on a Sledgehammer, though. I don’t find this particularly intuitive, to be honest.
There’s a lot more red rules text in the FAQ, but nothing i feel like i need to mention it here. Please take your rules takes from someone better at them than me 😉