Top 10: Most game-changing cards from the Edge of the Earth Investigator Expansion

Introduction: If we believe arkhamdb (and i don’t see a reason not to), then the Investigator Expansion for Edge of the Earth features 133 unique cards. A truly large number of cards to dump on us all at once, but i’d argue that even if we ignore the timing of them all landing together, the impact of the EotE player cards is more significant than most other cycles. There’s just that much good stuff in it, with barely a coaster in sight. This Top 10 list attempts to figure out the most important additions. Note that in this context “most important” doesn’t necessarily mean “strongest”. I am interested in cards that open up new archetypes or otherwise give us things we didn’t have before. Stuff that actually changes the game. Not just some number tweaks or spins on old cards.
Ah, and i will exclude the actual investigators from this list. Obviously they are the ones that do open whole new angles for deck construction all on their own, but i don’t want to take the first 5 slots of the Top 10 just for them.

#10: Protective Gear. Edge gives us 3 new assets that take the body slot and all of them are interesting in their own way. While the news of getting something other than Bandolier and Backpack for the body slot is already great, the Protective Gear is also notable in that it does offer some great encounter protection to Guardian which didn’t really have much for that before and to Survivor which dabbled in canceling before but never really got there. There’s no test here, as long as the treachery is a hazard, this can blank three encounter cards. And the sizeable soak alone could do a great job of neutralizing two or three encounter cards that deal damage/horror if no Hazard traits are around. It’s expensive to play, but a very nice new tool for the deckbuilding toolbox.

#9: Quickdraw Holster. The other body slot item that made the list. So far, Bandolier stood alone with its effect of giving additional weapon hand slots. Holster is finally some competition and allows Rogues as well as Guardians to keep a sidearm next to their two-handed main weapon. This is huge for investigators with signature firearms that would be interested in going for two-handed weapons but so far didn’t have a way of doing so without it being awkward. Looking at you, Tony. But Finn and Jenny could certainly also use this well. As could any investigator that wants to hold tools and relics in their hands but also keep a weapon on hand. Is it better than Bandolier(2) for Guardian? Probably not. But for Rogue, this is an important new card.

#8: Black Market. In an effort to support Bob’s unique playstyle, the EotE expansion opened up a couple new ways of trading assets between players. The combo potential that is opened by this is immense. This is the sort of card that can only exist in non-competitive games, as i am pretty sure it breaks the game in a hundred different ways. There were some ways to do switcheroos before, but they were very limited (“You owe me one”) and/or restricted to assets (Teamwork). With EotE, these limits are gone. And Black Market is the poster child for this, able to trade any card type from any player to any other player. Meanwhile it’s costed cheap enough that its even a good as just pure card draw in solo. A really fantastic card.

#7: The upgraded Composures. I don’t think i ever put one of the original composures into my deck. Too fragile, too much investment, not enough payoff. Now, these upgrades though… they are pushed to the limit. These are playable even before reading the textbox. They are slotless card with 4 points of soak, costing neither resources nor actions to play. That’s immediately playable. Using Moxie in Sefina could do wonders for her survivability, something i have used Bulletproof Vest for before. Hold Moxie next to the Vest and have a good chuckle. Similar things go for Combat Training, Scientific Theory, Plucky and even Grounded. These cards can do wonders for your next run through TFA, Innsmouth or similar campaigns where a lot of damage and horror rains down on you.
(And yes, we didn’t even look at the text box yet. It’s a really good text box, too!)

#6: Ice Pick. What looks on first glance like it’s just the next little variant on Mag Glasses is actually sort of a powerhouse. When the Council in Exile designed the Flashlight(2), a lot of noise was made around the fact that it can be used in combination with other assets. Arcane Insight has this sort of templating on a 4XP card with 3 charges. And now look at this little 1XP card, giving you that effect an unlimited amount of times and not just for investigations, but also for fights. You can cast Spectral Razor and use this to enhance it. Or while using Archaic Glyphs. With Duke. Or Sled Dogs. Or while using a Lantern. It even works with Monstrous Transformation! This sort of interactivity is exceptional. There’s an upgraded Ice Pick of course and it introduces another layer of shenanigans using Scavenging, but today i am just here for the remarkably open wording of how this helps your tests.

#5: Counterespionage. Any sort of cancel mechanic is immensely powerful, as it can directly translate to a whole lot of saved actions, resources, health and/or sanity. Canceling also allows for better planning, so surely FFG have to be careful about giving us too much of it. With that in mind, i would’ve called you crazy if you told me a few months ago that we are going to have Dismiss in Arkham. Dismiss is crazy good! Or that it would be modular and thus even better than Dismiss. I would’ve called you even crazier if you would’ve told me that it would be a Rogue card. Doing what another class does, but fast and while drawing a card? “Obviously this would be a Seeker card!”, i would’ve told you.
Well, but here we are and the green Dismiss is real. What a card. Solves so many problems in a world where people have been running “You handle this one” just so they wouldn’t be stuck with Frozen in Fear. I’ll play the hell out of this one.

#4: Sled Dogs. The reddit and the Discord are abuzz with people trying to tell you that Sled Dogs are bad, that they are overcosted or, and i quote, “a worse Mauser”. Those people are fools. It’s easy to look at the card and come up with a lot of others that fight better. And then many others that are better movement. And others that offer better soak for the resources. But that fails to realize that Sled Dogs is all of this at once. It’s a bad Mauser that is also a bad Pathfinder, a bad Bulletproof Vest and a bad Elder Sign Amulet. Well, turns out that the sum of all that is actually a pretty great card. And you really only need two of the dogs to get your value. This will give you once per turn either a bonus move action or a non-hand slot attack for 2 damage. While also giving you a 4/4 soak. So the argument that it takes too long for these to pay off also doesn’t hold. Of course, find more dogs and stuff gets out of hand fast. Inconsistent you say? Well, you aren’t doing it right then.
Now, the one argument against the dogs is how much space in the deck they take up. 4 dogs, 2 Calling Favors and maybe even 2 Lucid Dreaming aren’t available in every deck. But everything else is absolutely worth it, considering they are doing 3 jobs at once. On a neutral level zero card!
PS: Rod of Animalism is a bad support card for them, though. I’m pretty sure you want Charisma.

#3: The Tri-Class Talents. All five of these are fantastic pieces of economy, use the 2 resource discount twice and you are already making profit. Their trait requirements are very broad and most decks will at least eye one of these at some point. Paying 3XP for them is a bit rough, but especially non-Rogue decks or such with lots of events of a relevant trait can get a lot of mileage here.
Their capability of handing out cash to pay for your cards is what i would call their primary function, but they are at least noteworthy for enabling Synergy and for their ability to boost skill tests on cards of the correct traits.
I appreciate these a lot as sort of guiding stones that you can build decks around.

#2: The Injuries. I really like that these exist. One of the things that i learned early on in Arkham is that healing is not worth it. Soak is more efficient and spending actions just to undo damage or horror is a fool’s game. Now, that never sat right with me thematically, but it is what it is, right? I am very much in favor of EotE trying to skew the balance towards healing a bit more. It does so with some actually playable healing cards like Bandages and Words of Healing(2), but also with this set of 4 weaknesses. Each imposes a penalty that can be quite severe and the only way to get rid of it is healing it as if it was a damage or horror. A real nice double whammy of nailing a theme and shaking up a bit of gameplay. Anyone who finds themselves with one of these in their deck will want to include some sort of healing for it. Or ask someone in the group to do so. Much, much more interactive and interesting than the old “2 actions: Discard this.” we have seen way too much of.

#1: In the Thick of It. Any other card on #1 would’ve been a sham. This card on its own opens up deckbuilding by a lot. We can now buy crucial pieces for our deck right at the start of the game and no longer have to play the first scenario with our hands tied behind our back because we weren’t able to pick up that essential Charisma, Relic Hunter or Covenant. Combining it with Versatile opens up even more doors. Mateo players can now start the first scenario with 8XP!
This boost in XP is excellent in general, but gets even more important for campaigns like Dunwich or Innsmouth that are either notoriously stingy with XP throughout or at least through the first half of the campaign. You can also bank the XP instead of spending it immediately, making sure that you can get something like a Stick to the Plan after your first scenario for sure.
This is maybe the most important card since Charisma for deckbuilding.

Final words: After the yuckfest that was yesterdays Top10 list i decided to switch it up today and go in a completely different direction. I am sure there is plenty to disagree with here, but that’s fine. Opinions, right?

Which player cards from Edge of the Earth have been keeping your attention? What decks can you suddenly build that weren’t able before? Let me know, so i can leech your deck ideas so we can discuss them!

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