Spoilers for the spoiler god, cards for the card throne. Here’s your weekly fix of Scarlet Keys reveal content, shamelessly siphoned from all the other content creators out there.
Existential Riddle was previewed by Until The End Of Time on Youtube
Ectoplasmic Horror was previewed by Miskatonic University Radio on Twitch
String of Curses was previewed on the r/arkhamhorrorlcg subreddit
The Raven Quill was previewed by PlayingBoardGames on Youtube
The Raven Quill
Of the Customizable cards we’ve seen by now, this one i find hardest to wrap my head around. For one, Tomes and Spells are very diverse in effects and their mechanics. Also, the different upgrades on this also pull in very different directions. If you didn’t spend any XP on the card (yet), this basically allows you to get an XP for upgrading the named spell/tome per game (it’s unique, so you can’t end the game with two in play). Paying 3 resources for an XP seems like a decent deal, actually. Use Endless Inkwell to get three named cards on there and you can get a net of 5XP if you play this every game of a campaign (*conditions apply). While that could potentially already justify putting one of these into your deck, the real interesting things happen when you throw more XP at the card itself of course. Spectral Binding makes it so the named asset doesn’t use a handslot. That together with Endless Inkwell would mean that you can buy yourself a reliable extra handslot in tome heavy decks which seems really good. For spells there’s probably enough other ways already to gain more arcane slots, but it’s an option for sure.
Supernatural Record gives the card the potential to act as a tutor for the named card, but it is quite expensive as you need to pay the cost of the tome/spell plus another 3 resources for Raven Quill in one go. I see this mostly worth it for assets you can only run a single copy of, like Necronomicon or Occult Lexicon. Is it worth spending 6XP on getting more virtual copies of Lexicon that also don’t take a hand slot? Probably not, but maybe?
Getting +2 to your tests through Mystic Vane is rather straightforward in comparison and will mostly be useful for spells. How does this work with True Magick? Does it work? It says “as if” on it, so who really knows… if you can name TM for Quill and get the bonus to any card you temporarily copy with it, that’d be quite good, though. I’ll leave this one to the rules gurus to figure out.
Finally, there’s Energy Sap and Interwoven Link, both of which i would put into the “shenanigans” category. There’s probably some powerful interactions here, constantly feeding your spells with charges and/or readying various assets for good value. If Interwoven Link turns out to be good, you might even want to consider using a card with unlimited uses as the named card, like Sixth Sense, Old Book of Lore or even Wither to keep the readying effects going.
I also feel like i need to mention here again that this interacts favorably with both Abyssal Tome and De Vermis Mysteriis… which is sort of becoming a pattern with this expansion.
Everything said, this seems like a potent card but one that needs figuring out. It certainly isn’t as straightforward and easy to understand like Runic Axe, Multitool or Thieves’ Kit. But i do expect to play it in different contexts for sure.
This card is quite efficient at what it does. As a one-shot effect, it’s not going to break anything or be overly flashy, but you get a lot of bang for your 1 resource and XP here. Seekers are usually the most vulnerable party members, so having ways to handle enemies that spawn right on top of them is going to come in handy more often than not. Even in Multiplayer where you can expect a fighter to protect their fragile little clue sniffer, having something like this available to buy time can be clutch. In class, the closest comparison is Mind over Matter, which similarly allows someone like Daisy or Harvey to evade an enemy. Compared to that card, Existential Riddle has some clear upsides. Most importantly, Riddle can neuter the enemy (semi)permanently. Also, it doesn’t actually care about the enemy’s stats. On the other hand, Mind over Matter doesn’t get obsoleted by Riddle either, as MoM does work against non-Elites and can also be useful against certain treacheries or other random agility/strength tests. I feel like this puts Riddle at a good powerlevel, Mind over Matter is a reasonable card that does see play and Riddle is on a roughly equal level for its most common usecase (evading an enemy).
Riddle can also be used a bit more proactively as a techy way to get rid of difficult non-Elites. Recent campaigns have been throwing enemies at us like Glacial Phantasm, Deep One Bull or Moon-Beast, all of which have above average stamina and fight while still being non-Elite. The old Survivor staple Waylay has been great for these, now Seeker has a similar card available. Riddle is not as good a solution as demonstrated by Moon-Beast (which will still contribute the alarm-level increase) and Deep One Bull (which will still move around and can still attack through a Deep One Ambush), but it can solve a good amount of problem creatures.
I’ve read some talk in the initial reactions to the card reveal about combos with Power Word or Trish, but that seems a bit more gimmicky to me than i am comfortable with. Similarly, it has been pointed out that Fine Clothes can help with the test on this card but i don’t really think that is going to be necessary all that much. I’d rather make sure that i have a good amount of cards in hand (5+ should do) all the time to make Riddle’s test easy enough to beat that the help isn’t needed. The Fine Clothes interation might be tech for higher difficulties though.
It’s a card that merits playtesting. I am not quite convinced that it will reach similar levels of play as Waylay or Mind over Matter do, but it does have potential. If nothing else, this card is really good in Forgotten Age, as it might just be the best answer to the Boa (or Vengeful Serpents, Pit Vipers, Strangleweed, Basilisk… the list goes on) we have available in the card pool.
String of Curses
But wait, Seeker is not the only class to get an emergency evade! String of Curses is a great card with two modes that are both powerful in their own right. Continuing the theme of playing around with doom, this allows automatically evading an enemy for the price of a doom. You also get a clue for your troubles, which seems like a good deal indeed. The enemy is protected from damage for a turn, so you or a fighter in your group will need to get rid of it a turn later. It should be noted that while this card does play around with doom, it doesn’t really synergize with either Amina or Marie because the doom is put on an encounter card. If anything, this is probably most safe to run in any other Mystic but those two.
The second mode allows just outright defeating an enemy with doom on it. That is sooo good, because it allows getting rid of some really awful enemies, from RtTFA’s Stolen Mind over TCU’s Keeper of Secrets to Edge’s Horrifying Shade. The player doesn’t need to be engaged with the enemy, so Aloof like on the Shade, Lodge Neophyte or on Brotherhood Acolytes doesn’t matter. Oh, and you also get a resource or two for your trouble, which is nice i guess!
If you have two of these in your hand, you could use them in tandem to defeat any non-Elite by first giving them a doom (and discovering a clue), then defeating them (and gaining a resource). While this is unlikely to happen often, this does open the door for shenanigans to Sefina, who can use Strings of Curses with Double, Double to get this instant death effect somewhat reliably. And even use her signature events to get even more uses out of this. Sounds like an interesting hook for a deck to me.
All around this is just a great card that will pretty much always be useful and sometimes even be downright spectacular when it manages to just dump a huge threat like any of the variants on Wizard of the Order. Since it’s 0XP as well, i expect that i will use it in plenty of decks going forward. Especially when i am going to play TFA or TCU, this card should be able to pull a lot of weight.
Final thought: This card is going to skyrocket (even more) up in stock as soon as we get a reliable way to move doom from player cards to enemies. Amina can do it with her elder sign, but (Seal of the Elder Sign aside) that’s not exactly reliable.
So, it looks like The Scarlet Keys will have a new random basic weakness for each class. From a back of the box card fan we’ve seen that Guardian also gets an enemy weakness, so it might even be a full cycle of enemies?
Extoplasmic Horror doesn’t strike me as a particularly bad weakness. That 2 health makes it a lot easier to deal with than most other enemy weaknesses. It does have that ability to reveal more tokens depending on empty arcane slots and that would apply to any attempts to fight it, so that adds a bit of extra resilience to it. At least it does so during the first turns of the game, usually i would expect to fill my arcane slots rather fast with Mystics. This ability scales a lot with difficulty as well, extra tokens are much scarier in Hard and Expert. On Easy or Standard, i’d fully expect to be able to just Shrivel it, though.
The other thing worth noting here is that other players can kill it fairly easy as well, so it’s basically a much weaker version of Your Worst Nightmare. (EDIT: I misread how this works. Other players attacking it will of course also be subject to the ability. And since they are more likely to have open arcane slots, it’s probably actually more difficult to defeat the Horror for them than it is for the Mystic. That does make it a bit more scary, but doesn’t change my final opinion on the card much.)
My first impression is that this one is rather on the mild side of weaknesses. Will cost you an action to defeat which will usually not be too difficult.
Oh and check out the art and compare it to Bloodthirsty Spirits from RtTCU. This lamppost seems to be attractive for all sorts of spirits.