Tool’s Gold – A Wilson Richards Primer


Hemlock Vale brings five new investigators with it. Fellow content creator Valentin1331 (known for his extensive library of deck guides on arkhamdb) sent out the call to cover all of these new investigators with entry-level decks and analysis. I picked Wilson Richards as my guy to cover, the others are:

We are of course all following our own formats for this, but the end result should be a comprehensive overview of all the investigators and their basic deckbuilding options. I will follow a similar format to what i did with my Winifred Primer, hopefully coming to a solid baseline deck with options and upgrades laid out.

Disclaimer: Unlike with my Winifred Primer where i talked about a deck i have played through half a dozen campaigns already, today’s deck is 100% theorycraft. I do not play cards before i hold them in my hands physically, so this is technically untested. So take that for what it is. I will however try to add enough commentary to everything so that you can understand where i am coming from with my choices and takes here.

EDIT: Updated deck here!

Hi, BK from the future here. Let me interrupt this article to provide a link to an update to this article where i discuss the deck *after* i actually played it and what i would do differently.

Return To Tool’s Gold – A Wilson Richards Primer

My suggestion is to finish this article first, then head over to the one above.
Alright, back to you, past BK.

Tool to the Flame

Let’s start by going over the investigator himself to see what we are working with.

A statline of 3/3/3/3 is a scary thing as it has in the past been fairly miserable on the characters that were stuck with it. However, Wilson’s +1 to tests with Tool assets does put this into perspective. We are going to stick to using tools, so we can basically treat him as a 3/4/4/3 for the most part. This puts him in a similar range to Joe Diamond who also has 4s in both active stats, but without being quite as vulnerable to the encounter deck as Joe is. The other useful reference is Ashcan, who is a 4/4/4/3, but like Wilson he only gets that statline as long as he uses his “tool”.

A flat statline like this means that we are not going to want to build Wilson into a primary fighter or primary seeker, those jobs are best done by more specialised investigators. To get the most out of Wilson, we’ll want to use as many of his statpoints as possible, so we are flexing again, supporting both the clue effort and the monster handling wherever we are needed the most. The list shown in this article will lean slightly towards fighting, for a roughly 60/40 split between the two roles in the end.

Helping us further with our asset based playstyle is a 1 resource discount on the first tool each round. Nothing too major, but especially in Guardian that is appreciated. We’ll probably not be able to make use of that every turn, but it does help with setup for sure. A small thing to keep in mind is maybe that this ability rewards us for playing our tools over the course of several turns instead of in one go.

Wilson gets to play all Tools from all classes, which is of course desperately necessary considering that Guardian isn’t exactly known for its great tool options. We get some real nice things through this traitbased access and we’ll go over that in a bit. To pay for this access, Wilson gets Guardian 5 clipped off the top end, so he can only take Guardian 0-4. In practice, this prohibits only one relevant card: Michael Leigh, who would otherwise have been excellent in the sort of deck that both investigates and fights. Aside from that, Guardian 5 is a bunch of weapons, Agency Backup and Spiritual Resolve. Nothing we’d be really looking to play anyways. He also gains limited access to the Improvised and Upgrade traits, 5 cards in total with level 0-1. This is a small group of extra cards that he gets, but there are some really nice things in them. Again, we’ll go over this in detail later.

Overall, this is a decent deckbuilding pool. Allows us to build towards our investigator ability. And three different traits to care about means that future expansions to the game will likely yield some cool nuggets for Wilson even if only by coincidence.

His signature, Ad Hoc, can provide an outlet for extra copies of assets you already have in play or play into some combo stuff. Since it’s a single card hidden somewhere in your deck with an investigator that doesn’t really have any great access to card selection, i would advise to not build around this card too much. It’s absolutely something that can be explored deeper, but at least for this baseline first look at Wilson i will just take this signature as something that can show up and get you some value out of dead cards in your hand as opposed to a key part of any strategy. That being said, this is certainly a good card, turning cards into extra actions is very valuable and you will always be happy to find this.

His weakness is relatively basic. Shuts off his abilities until you discard it, discarding it simply takes two actions. Again, i am pushed to draw parallels to Ashcan Pete whose Wracked by Nightmares works in much the same way. Notably, this will reduce your basic skill values with all assets, not just tools. So having a backup weapon or something is not going to help you here. On the other hand, if you have a tool that doesn’t require a skill value to use (Old Keyring, Surgical Kit…) you can still use those. Hasty Repairs can be an issue if you draw it while engaged with an enemy that you are now unable to handle. Note that Ad Hoc and Pushed to the Limit both trigger abilities on assets, so despite being events they are zeroed out by Hasty Repairs as well! We might want to consider having some more traditional event-based backup for this case in our deck to hold onto as a “panic button”.

Tool Guys Don’t Look At Explosions

Even if we consider our +1 skill value when using tools, we will want to get more skill bonuses out of that tool. For that reason, those that just give the flat ability to test something (like Chemistry Set or Thieves Kit), are a good deal less desirable to us than those that do (like Fingerprint Kit or Microscope). For weapons, we will also want to turn to tools. Sure, we could go with Shotgun… but without the proper support that just seems worse than Chainsaw unless we really throw our all behind it. The number of tool weapons is still fairly limited. And what’s more, most of them that are worth talking about are two-handed. This circumstance is going to make the use of options that give us more handslots pretty much mandatory.

Since there are only six tool weapons, let’s go over them real quick:
Sledgehammer: That -1 fight on the level 0 is horrendous for us. I would want to avoid this one, unless you are trying to build cute Ad Hoc combos.
Chainsaw: I’m a huge fan of this one. Puts your skill value to 6 and attacks for 3 damage per go. Fuel is limited, but that’s solvable too. The big drawback then is that Chainsaw (and the Fuel) cost a bunch of XP. But we’ll keep our eyes on this one as the weapon to build towards.
Fire Extinguisher: Worse than the shovel at level 1, but super solid at level 3. Notably one-handed which is huge.
Gravedigger’s Shovel: For what it’s worth, the level zero puts your skill value at 6 and that’s not nothing. Attacking for 1 point of damage is a hard sell though.
Hatchet: Skill value 7 and 2 damage. Requires some hoops to jump through to be worth it and doesn’t work as a primary weapon. Pretty nice with Ad Hoc.
Pitchfork: Skill value 5 and 3 damage. For each attack after the first you need to spend an extra action to “reload” though. I think this works very well for a level 0 card and there are solid interactions with both Ad Hoc and Pushed to the Limit.

Ah screw it, let’s do the rest of them as well.

The “No” pile:
Quickdraw Holster: I don’t believe that triggering the second ability makes the fight on the firearm count as a “test on a tool card”, but even if it would count, the holster is pretty bad.
Chemistry Set: No skill bonus, i think we can do better.
Pocket Telescope: Same thing here.
Cryptographic Cypher: Makes the test more difficult. That’s worse than no skill bonus. Hard pass.
Lantern: I like Lantern, but it simply got outclassed by Old Keyring.
Mariner’s Compass: While we are poor, we can’t quite live the Dark Horse life.
Pocket Multitool: Since it’s a reaction ability, we don’t get anything special out of this one.
Thieves Kit: As much as i’d love to have my tool pay back for itself, the lack of a skill bonus on the level 0 (and the uncertainty of an oversuccess for the level 3) make me steer away from this one.

The “Maybe” pile:
Riot Whistle: If i do Tool Belt so i can ignore it’s slot… maybe?
Dissection Tools: Possibly decent way to boost up our fight value?
Hawk-Eye Cam: Same thing, different stat. Probably just beat by basic Mag Glass though.
Mag Glass: Doesn’t provide an investigate ability itself, but would boost it on another card.
Ice Pick: The alternative to Mag Glass that looks attractive because we are interesting in both fighting and investigating. Not feeling the L3 upgrade for Wilson, but level one is a definitive maybe.
Surgical Kit: Honestly, two actions to heal 3 damage, 1 horror and draw a card is quite good. And you can do it four times. It’s a bit off our main track, but i wouldn’t want to discard this one just yet. We might even consider the fun combo with Painkillers 😀
Lockpicks: Investigate at 7? Decent! Too likely to break at level zero, but i could see going for the level 1.
Flashlight: Outshone (heh) by Old Keyring. Still a decent card of course.

The “Yes” pile:
Fingerprint Kit: Skill bonus and big action efficiency. I am actually eyeing the upgraded one to use it in a similar capacity as i use Pilfer in Winifred.
Microscope: I like this one quite a bit, especially if we end up fighting a lot and just want to pick up clues every other turn. Three clues for two actions is decent when you consider that it’s only 1 test to go through. Let’s you make efficient use of your Perceptions and Courages.
Matchbox: The combo with Old Keyring is significant.
Old Keyring: How can we not? Regular Keyring is good. We don’t have the means to completely break the upgraded one, but the combo with Matchbox does already put in a lot of work.
Cleaning Kit: The uses on this can be spent to fuel our Chainsaw or Fingerprint Kit. That seems worth it to me as long as we can spare the accessory slot for it. The upgrade even throws in skill bonuses which feeds exactly into what we are doing here.

A Tool For You

To further enhance our tool-based shenanigans, there’s some other cards that specifically help us do exactly that. Now for whatever godforsaken reason, Wilson can not run Crafty, which is an outrage. But what we get instead is:

Hand-Eye Coordination: Trades a card for an action which is fine. Goes on the Maybe pile, but i’m not exactly keen on playing it.
Tinker: Tinker gives us a valuable handslot for little cost. I definitely prefer drawing the Tool Belt over this, but one copy of Tinker is better than the second Tool Belt in the deck so i will probably end up playing one of these.
Finetuning: Allows us to use an asset that exhausts twice per turn. That can be great with Ad Hoc or just general good value. Fingerprint Kit and Lockpicks are the two most relevant targets.
Pushed to the Limit: Plays very well with Ad Hoc and gives more uses out of key tools. Seems awesome!
Tool Belt: I already mentioned it plenty of times. Allows to switch your tool loadout once per round which helps a lot with all these handslot items. There are certainly ways to make Wilson work without going for this thing, but for this deck I’ll just going to assume that we want one. Keeps our options open and lets us test stuff for our maiden flight with Wilson in the new campaign. Since Tool Belt is a level zero, we can always upgrade it into a Bandolier(2) during the campaign and switch gears.

Tool Intentions

Okay, one final thing before we put together a level zero deck. But i want at least to check out what the limited 5 card access to those two minor traits gets us from out of Guardian (in addition to cards previously mentioned):

“I’ll Take That”: Oh, an unexpected economy card rears its head! Oversuccess isn’t really what we are doing reliably, so i am sceptical that we can really use this one well. I could see it become good once we stacked up on skill bonuses but at that point we are already set up.
Hidden Pocket: We can put a Hidden Pocket on our Tool Belt. Aside from Lockpicks there’s not much we’d play in terms of Illicit though.
Impromptu Barrier: At 3 skill value, the -1 difficulty doesn’t move the needle enough to be worth it.
Improvised Weapon: Same.
Winging It: Same.
Improvised Shield: Simply a bad card.
Jury-Rig: Now we are talking! This card is awesome and exactly what we have been looking for to make our Fingerprint Kit or weapon more reliable.
Makeshift Trap: Not particularly good at low levels and we can’t get more than two checkboxes on it.
The Raven Quill: Tome or Spell you say? We don’t do that here.

So basically it’s Jury-Rig, Fine-Tuning and Pushed to the Limit as relevant additions from here. I mean… fair enough, we only have 5 slots anyways. There’s probably a way to make I’ll Take That work as well, but for this deck i will go with something less risky where i can be reasonably sure that it’s going to work.

The deck on ArkhamDB

Zero XP:
10 XP:
20 XP:
30 XP:
40 XP:

Level Zero

Alright, so I’m not going to sugarcoat it… the level zero is going to be a bit sketchy in some parts. Luckily we upgrade quite well, but at level zero our toolbox isn’t really filled with all that exceptional stuff yet and we’ll need to cobble some stuff together to do our part. But of course, that’s what Wilson does, right? Cobble something together and improvise as best as we can from random stuff that’s lying around 🙂

What we basically need to do is find a tool and a booster and combine the two things to get access to solid actions. Kind of like a Mystic that needs to find their spell assets and then back up their willpower to become capable at using that spell. One the one side we have some weapons, on the other some investigation tools. We’ll tie all of it together with some more general tool/handslot support and ways to get our skill levels up to snuff. Let’s go over this card by card!

Pitchfork: Attacks with skill 5 for 3 damage. Solid way to get most things out of your way when they show up, even if it requires a “reload” action afterwards so you can do it again.
Sledgehammer: Attacks with skill 6 for 3 damage, but the first attack already takes the double action and you are less flexible in how to spend them. Generally, i like Pitchfork better, but this is a solid option to have available anyways and it does work well with Ad Hoc and Pushed to the Limit. I don’t think the one action ability on the hammer is terribly great for us as it will just let us test at 3. If you have an Overpower to burn it might come in handy from time to time though. This is more or less only in the deck as Pitchfork #3 or as fodder for Ad Hoc and Pushed to the Limit.
Gravedigger’s Shovel: Attacks with skill 6 for 1 damage. Can clean up some trash enemies and be cashed in for a clue. I’m usually not happy about this one, but we gotta do what we gotta do to fill up our deck. It’s also notably the only one-handed option in our toolkit for now. Having Ad Hoc and Pushed to the Limit around makes me feel a lot better about Shovel in this deck than anywhere else.
Options: As we’ve seen earlier, that’s literally all level zero tool weapons. I considered Enchanted Blade as it allows attacking for 2 damage at skill level 5 which might very well be better than the shovel… but it always feels like such a flavor sin to me to use in most guardians. And the shovel does have some nice play patterns and when in doubt we can always throw it into Ad Hoc later on to grab a clue.
Other weapon options at level 0 don’t get you over 4 skill and i am not a fan of that. So no Machetes or similar stuff here.

Microscope: If you get it early enough, you can get a lot of value out of this one. Picking up three clues for two actions is solid since it compresses three clues into just one test. This lets you use your Perceptions/Courages/Jury-Rig very efficiently.
Old Keyring: Cheap and simply solid. Let’s you pick up stray clues that your seeker left or that your Microscope/FPK leaves. You don’t want to invest into OKR tests, you just want your guaranteed clues.
Options: I considered the Mag Glass, but our dependence on two-handed weapons leaves us little room to use Mag Glass alongside another clue tool. And Mag Glass alone just tests at 4 to possibly pick up one clue, OKR does that role a lot better. Fingerprint Kit also exists, but i am shying away from anything that is costing a lot, so i’ll be sticking with Microscope and Keyring for now. If Microscope ends up being not as good as i hope (or if you don’t want to take the risk) i could see swapping them out for FPKs (or run one of each) but be aware that this will be awkward to pay for if you want both your FPK and a weapon in the first two turns.

Toolbelt: The two-handed weapon business means we need to sort out our hand slots to enable using them alongside an investigation tool. Tool Belt does that really well and gives us the flexibility that we need.
Tinker: I would really like to run a Bandolier alongside the Toolbelt… but since they both use the body slot and that is the one slot we can’t get extra of yet. Running two tool belts will strand us with a dead card that just provides a willpower icon – not ideal with an investigator with limited card draw. Tinker is a bit limited, but it does at least stack with Tool Belt. You’ll want to put Tinker on one of your tools that don’t have charges: Microscope, Pitchfork or Sledge. Or Shovel, i suppose.
Options: Tool Belt could be Bandolier instead. I feel like with the twohanded options, the tool belt is a bit better but it’s close enough. Tool Belt also allows us a bit of cheese later on that Bandolier doesn’t offer.

Matchbox: Our booster for the investigation side. Can combine with Keyring, but you can probably get better value (for now) by dropping the shroud for your critical Microscope or Fingerprint Kit tests. Since these don’t take a slot and are near free for us, we play two and can even use both on the same test. Will be much more important later when we pick up the upgraded Keyring.
Wolf Mask: Speaking of things not taking up a slot and being near free, playing one Mask is a no-brainer here and Wolf Mask will give you a very solid boost for your fighting.
Tetsuo Mori: I strongly considered Grete Wagner or Beat Cop here, to further shore up our combat stat (and in Grete’s case also help with the investigative side). Tetsuo Mori is the safe pick though as he is cheap to play (compared to the alternatives) and gives you some more access to your various item assets.
Jury-Rig: Can also boost either the investigation or the fight side. Getting three instances of +2 to your tests is pretty rad and will let you pretend to have 5 skill for a while.
Options: This is our booster package where we find the cards that get our statline in shape (aside from the skills, of course). I am using a lot of deckslots on these because we obviously have a bit to compensate.
As mentioned, Grete and Beat Cop are alternatives to playing Tetsuo. I’ll also mention Medical Student here who can do a similar job of tanking for you for even less of a cost, but the extra item asset you get to pluck from your deck is worth going for Tetsuo instead.

Emergency Cache: We need money. This is money.
Options: Just Stand Together. Usually I’d play Stand Together instead of ECache in my guardians, but i really need every single resource here. That being said, our best way of figuring out our resource situation is going to keep a low curve and using our investigator ability to the fullest.

Cleaning Kit: So, at level zero we can’t actually use these supplies for all that much, this is pretty much only in the deck so we have it for later when the chainsaws and upgraded fingerprint kits show up. You can use this to refill your Matchbox, though! And if you do take the option of running FPK(0), then Cleaning Kit can give those some much needed longevity.

Pushed to the Limit: A very flexible card. The reshuffle isn’t terribly relevant since we have not all that much draw so we might not even go through the deck once. But just having an event that can either act as a fight or an investigate event is really solid and the interaction with the 3 damage weapons is nice.

Toe to Toe: This is my concession to the weakness, allowing you to dish out some damage while your stats are zero’d out.
Options: I am not positive that this is particularly necessary per se, but in terms of being ready for anything this does some good work. It’s also a rock solid card by itself so it’ can’t be terrible’s unlikely to be something you regret. Note that you can put Vicious Blow on a Toe to Toe because while you do automatically succeed, you still technically initiate a test. This is a combo that I come back to quite often and that has saved my bacon plenty of times now in various decks.

Overpower and Vicious Blow: Our fighty skills. Pretty obvious and standard.
Perception: Again, fairly obvious. Between Overpower and Perception we also get some nominal amount of card draw into the deck. It’s not much, but it’s what we have. Every bit counts.
Unexpected Courage: Honestly i don’t run Courage much anymore these days because it doesn’t draw a card. But if we are running a deck that might consider using any of its four skills, then it’s hard to pass up on.
Options: The new skill from Hemlock Vale, Strong-Armed, doesn’t work with Toe to Toe so i am sticking with Vicious Blow. If you don’t plan on using a fight event to supplement your fighting, then Strong-Armed is possibly just straight up better than Vicious Blow for you.
We get a little bit of card draw here, so i will use this spot to tell you that Glory is a card to consider. I couldn’t fit it in, but maybe you can. You could also be super greedy and play either Guts or Daring in stead of Courage. I think that is pushing it though.

How to play the deck

So, this level zero deck has all the necessary tools (heh) to get the job done, but it lacks consistency. Due to an almost complete lack of card draw, your mulligan is going to be super important for your early turns because if both attempts at a start hand go wrong, you are pretty much hoping to draw from the top of your deck unassisted. Things that you want to keep when looking at the first hand are: Either Tool Belt or Tinker and also a weapon. Everything else can fall into play afterwards. Without Tool Belt or Tinker, you might get into a situation where you are locking yourself into a fighter role with the weapon taking up both hands and no room to play the crucial investigation tool that allows you to pick up clues. That is why Shovel even made it into the deck twice, it can bridge the gap in that situation for you and let you clue while at least able to defend yourself. Then, when you finally find your missing piece (either a proper weapon or the extra slot) you can cash in the shovel for a clue and set up your hand slots properly. Alternatively, if you get an early shovel and Ad Hoc, you can put those together and make it your plan to throw Pitchforks and Sledges at anything scary. Especially if the rest of your team is able to fight enemies as well, this approach can make a lot of sense as it allows you to focus more on the clue side while contributing to particularly dicey situations (multiple enemies drawn during mythos, big Elite shows up) with some chunky hits.
One thing that i didn’t mention at all so far is Wilson’s Elder Sign effect. It’s not something to plan around, after all we aren’t forcing the issue in any way or manipulating our token draws so it might not turn up at all over the course of a scenario. When it does, it will allow you to swap a tool from your hand with one in play and that will usually be most useful to gain more ammo/supplies for your tools with limited uses. Cleaning Kit(3) is particularly nice to return to your hand later on.
One thing that is a bit unusual is that many of our attacks or investigates are actually double actions. Pitchfork, Sledge and Microscope are all using two of your actions to do a stronger version of the regular action. Use this to your advantage by using your skills and boosts on these more valuable tests to get more out of those skills and boosts. But in the long run we are going to shed this behavior from our weapons at least.
Aside from that, your plan is fairly straight forward. Get a clue tool, get a damage tool. Get support for both. And you just play a relatively fair game of Arkham Horror: The Card Game. No extravagant nonsense, no fancy rules loopholes or creative interpretations of designer intent. Just good old intellect vs shroud and fight vs fight. We’ll improve on this over time by adding more action compression and higher stat values, but that should easily be good enough to get you through a scenario or two and gain the necessary experience for the first round of upgrades.

Scenario 1&2: The deck at 10XP

-1 Shovel, -1 Toe to Toe, -1 Sledgehammer, -1 Keyring(0)
+1 Chainsaw(4), +1 Backpack(2), +1 Keyring(3), +1 Ever Vigilant(1)

In the interest of keeping this list somewhat balanced between seeking and fighting and only slowly tilting over to one side, i put the first points here into one of the great weapons and one of the great investigation tools.
And then add a Backpack(2) to help us actually find these upgrades. We won’t be able to play a second one because it clashes with Tool Belt (or Bandolier) on the body slot, but the one copy of Backpack(2) is going to be good and something to keep in our hand during mulligan for sure. With the Chainsaw we are now testing at 6 (with insurance) and through the Cleaning Kit we also have a refill in our deck to make it last a bit longer.
Since i upgraded a weapon, i also want to give some love to the investigation side. So we get the first copy of the incredible Old Keyring(3). While we can’t abuse the crap out of it like actual survivors can, we do have the Matchboxes and are thus decently likely to get our six clues out of this thing. No recursion or looping means we are likely just going to do it once (unless we get lucky on the Pushed to the Limit reshuffle) but that’s easily good enough. Note that Cleaning Kit can’t extend the lifespan of the Keyring. It can be used for more matches, but that seems like a shame when the supplies could be used for chainsaw instead…
The final XP in this bout goes to Ever Vigilant(1). Our resource situation is highly dependent on spreading out our assets to make the most out of our investigator ability. EV allows us to bypass this requirement and with a Backpack now in the deck, it becomes something that can help us set up a lot faster without completely depleting our resource pool.
Options: If your deck starts with In the Thick of It (which is of course perfectly viable) then you can start working towards this 10XP breakpoint from the start and possibly even already reach it after the first scenario. From the 3XP, i would buy Backpack and Ever Vigilant while ditching a Shovel and a Toe to Toe. The OKR(3) is another option, but i don’t think it’s quite as pressing for the first scenario to have.

Scenario 3&4: The deck at 20XP

-1 Toe to Toe, -1 Shovel
+1 Fire Extinguisher(3), +1 Stick to the Plan(3Ex), +1 Sweeping Kick

The next 10XP go mostly towards one high XP investment that is just super helpful. Stick to the Plan helps us with our lack of consistency a lot by bringing down the deck size while giving us access to economy. We also upgrade the last Shovel into the super solid Fire Extinguisher. Extinguisher is not as exciting and flashy as Chainsaw, but it does make for a particularly great option to put Ad Hoc on.
Sweeping Kick is a neat little upgrade for Toe to Toe that allows us to use our panic button against high health enemies as well. Since it fits on SttP, we have a very reliable backup plan now that will pretty much always be useful in some way.
Options: Stick to the Plan is going to take an Emergency Cache and an Ever Vigilant to make sure we can set up our board without any trouble. This is going to be huge for how comfortable we can be in the first turns. For the third card on SttP we use Sweeping Kick which now replaces our Toe to Toes as the panic button that we can hold back juuuust in case we need it. Another option is Pushed to the Limit. However, it’s not really a card you need early on, so that’s likely not the way to go. Sadly Ad Hoc is not a Tactic 🙁 On second thought, that’s probably intentional.

Scenario 5&6: The deck at 30XP

-1 Cleaning Kit, -1 Old Keyring, -1 ECache(0)
+1 Cleaning Kit(3), +1 Fingerprint Kit(4), +1 ECache(3)

With the Chainsaw now in our deck, i want an Emergency Cache(3) in the deck to have another way of refueling the thing. I considered a second Cleaning Kit , but i do still want the option of taking the money instead. Remember, you can just stash the empty saw in your tool belt after it runs out, so you can refill it later whenever that ECache(3) shows up. For your Stick to the Plan use the level 0 ECache however! The reason is that i expect that I will want to play my first Cache for money pretty much all the time, so i don’t want to waste ECache(3) there.
The Cleaning Kit gets its upgrade now, for another supply on it and to turn it into a battery for skill boosts at the same time. If you really want to go to town with the Chainsaw, remember that you can use the ECache(3) on the Cleaning Kit and that way get skill bonuses on top of all those supplies as well! Hot stuff.
With such power potential stored in our accessory slot now, i want the seeker side to be able to make use of that as well. And Fingerprint Kit does exactly that. When backed by Cleaning Kit(3), you investigate at skill 8 which gives you a very solid chance at just grabbing 3 clues for an action every turn until your Cleaning Kit runs dry.
Options: I suppose you could cut a Microscope here instead of the Old Keyring. I opted to keep the double Microscope here because it’s a card that i really want to see early-ish so i can start building evidence on it straight away. But either cut is perfectly fine.

Scenario 7&8: The deck at 40XP

-2 Overpower, -1 Pitchfork, -1 Emergency Cache
+2 Overpower(2), +1 Chainsaw, +1 Emergency Cache(2)

And that’s the final bit, where we get our last upgrades. I would have really liked to get the Overpower upgrades in earlier, but couldn’t quite fit them in. If you know that you are taking a more fighty role, consider frontloading the Overpowers at the cost of the upgrades to Keyring or Fingerprint Kit as the added card draw will do some good for your consistency for sure. The same goes for the ECache(2) which when put on Stick to the Plan will give us an extra card during the early turns which is actually quite significant.

Options, Notable omissions and upgrades beyond 40XP

The deck has one glaring weakness that i am not fully comfortable with, considering the trend the recent campaigns have been showing with regards to damage and horror from the encounter deck. We have no healing or prevention in the deck at all right now (aside from that one Tetsuo) and that could very well be a problem.
Possible solutions to this problem would be Surgical Kit (which is a tool and offers rather potent healing on tap while also drawing some cards) and Hallowed Mirror (which would require a Relic Hunter to run it alongside Cleaning Kit). I could see either of these two cards working out similarly well but either option does require yet another 3XP.

We are also only running a single ally, so maybe the more prudent option over the 3XP healing card would be to just fit in two copies of Medical Student… somehow. Not that deck slots are all that easy to come by either, though.

Speaking of the ally slot, I never actually spent any XP on it because i really wanted to focus on the tool-based gameplay for this deck. If you have more XP (or simply want to prioritize differently) there are some great options available as Guardian has really good allies. They have a tendency to strain the resource budget a bit though. That being said, either Grete Wagner(3) or Girish Kadakia(4) would be great additions to the team and would help bolster our fight and investigate tests even more.

Closing thoughts

And that’s the first look at Wilson Richards. I believe he’s not going to run in the top tiers of investigators, but he’s capable enough and comes with enough of his own style and niche to be interesting. We are starting out a bit sketchy, but what i like here is how well the upgrades we are getting for our XP do improve him significantly. Not bad for a 3/3/3/3. Not bad at all. I will be using this deck myself in the first play of the Hemlock Vale campaign (alongside Kouhaku) and i expect great things! Have fun tooling around with this guy.

EDIT: Suddenly, Taboo update for Hemlock Vale

Ha, so literally a few hours after this article went up FFG posted the new taboo list update. Doesn’t really change anything fundamental about this deck, but i figure i should mention that OKR(3) is now 4XP instead of 3XP when following taboo. Fair enough!

5 Replies to “Tool’s Gold – A Wilson Richards Primer”

  1. Nice decklist
    Girish indeed seems to be a nice fix for the soak issue and brings stat boosts on the side.

    On other option if you don’t want to throw 4 XP in is to use 2xVenturers. It’s particularly nice once you get cleaning kit 3 as it feeds in the supplies for an extra +2 a pop. However at level 0 not much of your deck uses supplies, so they would feel a bit akward there. Plus economy might be sketchy, so the deck would end up a bit different.

    Also, wouldn’t 2x tinker be appropriate? I’am guessing having One fighting + one investigating tool + one extra slot is something you want quite early.

    Let us know how the deck plays-out 🙂

    1. Ah, i should have mentioned Venturer. I considered it, but did indeed shy away from the cost. Everything in that level 0 deck costs 3 or less resources and i didn’t want to break that for Venturer. Seems fine if you do start with Fingerprint Kits instead of Microscopes? Although that is yet again more resources, so … eh. Wilson really has a bit of a resource issue!

      I could see running a second Tinker. The one i play I have in the deck mostly as a backup for Tool Belt which would be my primary plan. So between Tool Belt, Tinker and Backpack/Tetsuo to find Tool Belt i figure i should have my hand slots mostly sorted out.

      But especially if you replace Tetsuo with Venturer, adding in a second Tinker would make a lot of sense. The question becomes then what to cut because i have been agonizing about deck slots quite a bit (at least once you get a few XP). Even if i start with 2 Tinker in the deck i am not sure how long it’d take for me to cut one to make space for an XP card. But yeah, definitely a possibility to explore.

    1. Maybe if you go more fighty than i am doing here and are also playing in a bigger group, i could see putting in a Riot Whistle. But i don’t really think it’s that great with the flexible approach that i am going for. That being said, Tinker can go on accessories as you say and that means it could go on Cleaning Kit which would open up some interesting non-Tool options (like Mirror or even Ancestral Token) for the slot that i find more attractive than the Whistle.

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