Well Prepared is an article series that takes a look at “problem solvers”: player cards used by the investigators to solve specific challenges the encounter deck throws at them. Each of the articles will pick a couple of cards from that class and look at their application and where they are most useful. There’s an article for each of the classes and another one for the neutral cards, this is the third one.
Rogues are the most proactive class of the five. Their cards are mostly driven towards executing combos or big turns, leaving little room for reactive cards. This coupled with their notoriously low willpower makes them the class that is on average most vulnerable to the encounter deck’s mischief. Many rogue investigators will have to use their access to offclass cards to balance out the weaknesses of their in-class card pool.
Rogues have been getting some better guns lately, but their top end is still a good amount away from what the Guardians get. So evasion is still the “expected” way for most rogues to deal with enemies.
Level 0 cards are notable for being available right from the start. They can be used by a wide array of investigators natively and if really needed they are even unlockable through Versatile. Investigators with access to Adaptable gain further benefits from knowing their way around the relevant level zero cards.
“You handle this one!”: Allows the rogue to pass the buck to someone else better equipped to deal with whatever came from the encounter deck. It’s not really much of a solution to the problem, but on the plus side, this can be used on anything non-Peril, so it is at least able to hit a wide array of targets. Possible usecases are deflecting Beyond the Veil to someone else who is better equipped to deal with it (or already has one, so the second one just fizzles) or giving treacheries with willpower tests to people who actually have some willpower to speak of.
Backstab: An often ridiculed card, but at the end of the day it is a card that allows you to deal 3 damage with one action and it does so in its class without really having any competition. And that is contextually really, really powerful. This is a staple in Forgotten Age for me, but it’s been doing a lot of work in many other campaigns as well. It’s a very useful card, even if it doesn’t reach the ridiculous bar set by Spectral Razor. It has an upgrade that … exists. It’s not particularly great outside of the Chuck Fergus extravaganza. Cards like Backstab get a lot worse once you have to pay 3XP for it.
Liquid Courage: One of the few sources of healing outside of Guardian and Mystic. And it’s pretty good, as long as you can expect to pass the willpower test at least sometimes. The fact that it has four charges goes a long way and can make it a key card to get through a scenario like Unspeakable Oath or really Carcosa in general. There’s an upgrade for it that is also pretty good, but read it carefully. Since its not a straight upgrade, but more of a functional change, this can be either good or bad for you, depending on the context.
Slip Away: There’s a bunch of cards that can help with evasion, but this one deserves a special mention for being excellent when you have a lot of non-Elite Hunters around. Evasion is usually weak against Hunters and Slip Away can take the edge of them by keeping them down for two turns. This is especially useful in the Forgotten Age, but also in Innsmouth. There’s an upgrade for this card that can make it return to your hand, enabling it as a deck centerpiece.
Tenessee Sour Mash: Technically a multiclass card, but not all that useful outside of rogues. Can act as a Guts twice, then be discarded as a one-shot weapon. I don’t think it’s particularly great, but can shore up some questionable willpower in a campaign that doesn’t have too much of it going around. The rogue-only upgrade gives it an extra willpower on use and and extra damage when discarded, making it a whole lot more useful. 3XP is a big ask, but at least the upgrade is actually doing a reliable job at making rogues pass the occasional willpower test.
Level 1 and 2
While these cards can not be Versatile’d into just any deck, they are still available to a good amount of investigators. Up to level 2 is classic “side class” material, and some investigators gain access to level 1 skills and events. This is also where the XP cost is low enough that spending some on specific answers can be worth it even if the card is maybe not useful in all situations.
Adaptable(1): This is the card that solves every problem at once. Whatever it is you need, you can just throw it into your deck for a scenario just as long as it is level zero. This gives main- and offclass Rogues an unmatched ability to bring the right tool for the right job. They might just have to dig into their non-Rogue access often because there’s just not a whole lot of such utility to be found in the green cards.
Manual Dexterity (2): While rogues usually do not struggle with passing agility tests, the upgraded Manual Dexterity is particularly interesting for off-class rogues looking to dodge cards like Snake Bite or Entombed. Agility is the second most tested skill on treachery cards, so having Manual Dexterity sitting in your hand can give you a certain protection against many dangerous cards. This is especially true during Forgotten Age, Dream-Eaters and Innsmouth Conspiracy.
Level 3 to 5
Anything above level 2 is only available to characters of that class (and Lola!), so the number of investigators able to pick these options is limited. These are also a bigger investment in XP, these need to have utility throughout the campaign to be worth it.
Sorry, there’s really not much to talk about here. Some big guns, some big money and great allies. But that’s all “good stuff” with broad appeal, nothing you pack specifically to combat certain encounter cards. Except maybe for the …
Beretta M1918(4): The nice thing about the Beretta is that it enables fighting options for investigators that usually wouldn’t have one. That +4 combat could turn even Sefina into a sniper if you found a reason to do so. Because of this, it can be used in a similar way to the Ornate Bow, to give Rogues more damage options for campaigns that can use them.