The Scarlet Keys Spoiler Roundup #10

Week 10

We got the full reveal for Vincent Lee, the seeker of the Scarlet Keys box, today. Also, a dilemma double feature and a card draw event for mystics. Let’s goooo.


Eldritch Initiation was previewed by Miskatonic University Radio on their Twitch
Making Preparations was previewed by Strength in Numbers on their blog
Nature of the Beast was previewed by Optimal Play on their YouTube
Vincent Lee was previewed by Drawn to the Flame on their Twitch


Vincent Lee

Parts of Vincent Lee have been leaked early on, but we were unclear how reliable that leak was and even if it was, it was lacking the bigger picture of Vincent’s associated cards. The parallels to Carolyn Fern are obvious, of course with the deck building and statline being similar and the stamina/sanity merely flipped. Where Carolyn always has been an outlier in her class, thanks to a statline that can’t make good use of many in-class cards and having to lean on her off-class access, this is much less true for Vincent. With 4 intellect he can still be a “proper” seeker, so he can decide more freely on how much of his deck and time he wants to devote towards being a doctor and how much towards being a seeker. It also means that he has much better capabilities of filling his time in a useful manner if nobody needs healing right now. Carolyn usually leans pretty hard into her seeker access for that anyways. But enough about Carolyn already, let’s check out the signatures and the weakness. Bonesaw allows him to attack at a respectable 5 base skill and to take damage to deal damage. This at the very least makes him a reasonable fighter as well, broadening his options even further. Sadly it’s not Weapon traited, so no Prepared for the Worst to get this more consistently. On the Mend is a card he hands to anyone he heals, as an extra payoff. Each one is basically Unexpected Courage that you’ll want to throw into a test rather soon, both so you can get a new one later (they are limited to 1 at a time) and so you don’t have to look at that gruesome artwork for a bit. This is a good payoff for healing that benefits everyone.
Vincent’s weakness is the Wounded Bystander who will require some attention by healing effects because if he ends up being defeated, that will be a mental trauma. This is a cool weakness in terms of mechanisms and design, way off the beaten path. I do have a feeling that it’s going to be a bit of a pain, though. Healing three damage is going to take at least two actions plus some other resources in the forms of cards, tokens and the like. I suppose you could keep him around and (ab)use him for soak and only heal him up a little bit from time to time? Oh wow, that went dark real quick.
To sum up my thoughts on Vincent Lee, i like him a lot better than Carolyn. He is very open-ended and can be built in a lot of different ways. He can be a pure seeker, he can even be built to be a fighter. Healing has constantly become more and more important over the last couple campaigns and i am excited to see an investigator that can do it in a more efficient way. That On the Mend skill card goes a long way towards making those healing cards that often require spending quite a few actions to get anywhere more appealing.


Eldritch Initiation

Well, i guess not all Mystic cards in this box can be flashy and immediately anchor new archetypes. This is some solid utility in a class that doesn’t get a whole lot of raw card draw. You could include this to dig for your mystic assets on turn 1. Paying a resource, an action and a card to draw two new cards isn’t fantastic but also not unplayable. It’s at least better than level zero Preposterous Sketches, but that’s a very low bar to clear. Sketches is kinda awful with its 2 resource cost which this card avoids at least. In the Mystic class, Initiation has competition from Scroll of Secrets mostly (at least if you are playing with taboo), and Arcane Initiate. At 1XP, there’s also Sacrifice if you need more draw than that. So i am not sure if Eldritch Initiation really has a place against those. For me to feel good about playing it, i would probably want to dig at least 3 cards deep and/or get value out of discarding the cards. Once you start digging 4 or even the full 5 cards deep, i might even be willing to accept some card disadvantage (like playing this, drawing 4, discarding 4 for a net -1 card in hand) because that sort of reach into the deck can be worth some sacrifices.
Those are all rather narrow scenarios though and not exactly easy to set up. It’s certainly not worth setting them up just for Eldritch Initiation, but if you plan on doing something wild with a lot of arcane slots anyways, then Initiation could have a place. There has been some support for an “arcane slots matter” archetype in Edge of the Earth and if it continues to be fleshed out, this might be a card to revisit at a later point. Currently i don’t see a place for it. Maybe there’s more for this archetype in Scarlet Keys? You know, aside from a weakness that actually punishes you for empty arcane slots. As for the discard synergy, the two Survivors that can run this are Patrice and Pete… and both don’t really need help getting cards into their discard.


Making Preparations

Let’s start the Survivor Dilemma Double Feature with Making Preparations, a card that is available right at deck creation and offers a flexible shifting around of skills when drawn. There are some investigators that could probably make good use of this, for example Patrice could use this to get to 5 will and 3 intellect while dropping her usually unused strength and agility to 1 for a turn. Silas could do it the other way around to prepare for a good fighting turn. Considering that it doesn’t cost an action to do, this is a worthwhile effect. It gets really awkward once you start considering that there might be other players in the game as well though. And those might very well not appreciate being subject to the same shifting of stats as the player who included this card. That makes me wary of the card even in two player, i would expect it to be even sketchier in bigger groups. This plus the usual timing restrictions of Dilemmas where you can’t play it when you actually need it make this card a bit of a crapshoot. Also, unless you draw this during the investigation phase you will likely get this in upkeep. So there will be a mythos phase between drawing this card and your next investigation phase, which makes planning out which skills to pick here potentially quite risky. While the effect taken by itself is fine, i don’t think i could justify making room for this card in my deck of 30. There’s just too many variables to it that i can’t plan around. And ultimately +1 skill isn’t that much of a bonus in the first place, i might as well just run another skill with a wild icon or two and be better off in the vast majority of times. Maybe in a solo game when you don’t have to consider the interaction with other players this card could fit better but for at least for me this is pretty much a hard pass.

Nature of the Beast

The other Dilemma for today is Nature of the Beast and i do like this one quite a bit. Considering this doesn’t cost an action and just gives you a clue, this plays in the same ballpark as Deduction and Sharp Vision, both fantastic cards. Nature of the Beast even allows you to pick up a clue from anywhere which can be useful for sure.
Of course there is the issue of having to draw an additional encounter card, but i have to be honest, this doesn’t seem bad at all. You get to reveal from the top 3 and pick one and then also pick who draws it, so chances are that you can assign a treachery with a test to someone who is capable of passing that test. Or you could pass an enemy to a fighter. You could even use this to dig for enemies with Victory points… So sure, drawing an extra encounter card is a drawback, but there are two mitigating factors (card choice and investigator choice) here that will likely make this very tolerable.
The Dilemma timing isn’t as impactful here as usual either. There are rarely any moments where you don’t want to pick up a clue. And having to draw an additional encounter card is sort of not tied to specific timing either. So it’s not much of a drawback that you can’t hold this card for a more opportune time.
There is a risk of running into a worst case scenario here, though. If you draw this while there currently aren’t any clues at all on the board, you won’t get anything for it… but still have to assign an additional encounter card.
I like this one. I have been playing Survivor clue seekers a lot recently and this card fits right into that toolbox with Sharp Vision, Keyring, Winging It, etc.

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