Well Prepared: Survivors

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 fifth one.


Survivors are generally blessed with high willpower and agility. Their cards reinforce this further, giving more bonuses to those two stats, which gives them an impressive amount of resilience against anything that comes with a test.
Among their tools are two cards that do not need to fear the comparison to Mystic cards, as Test of Will and Alter Fate do a similarly good job at blanking encounter threats as Ward of Protection and Deny Existence do.

Level 0

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.

A Test of Will: Much of what has been said about Ward of Protection also goes for this card. As long as the survivor is able to pass a willpower test, they can stop any treachery at their location from happening. While the level 0 card is a bit flakey in that the test isn’t guaranteed to pass at all, the upgrade can get rid of that issue at the cost of 1XP. Per test.

Dig Deep: The thing seperating Dig Deep from the other talents is that it buffs both willpower and agility, thetwo most important skills for resisting the encounter deck. As such, this card can shore up weaknesses in that area for a wide range of investigators … as long as they can afford it. The upgrade trades XP for resources, giving the card more appeal to investigators that can not afford to throw money at every treachery they draw. It also makes it viable as a Guts/Manual Dexterity split card. We didn’t get a level 4 version yet, but once we do, it’s going to be a ridiculous card for passing treacheries.

Leather Coat and Cherished Keepsake: Survivors get access to scaled down versions of Bulletproof Vest and Elder Sign Amulet. At 0XP and 0 resources, gaining 2 soak is obviously good value if the campaign is especially hard on your stamina (Forgotten Age), sanity (Carcosa) or both (Innsmouth). An upgrade exists that gives them more staying power in exchange for exiling them on defeat. However, if you want to include these to give you an edge in certain scenarios like Unspeakable Oath, then that may be fully acceptable.

Moonstone: Survivor’s version of Tooth of Eztli is a bit more generic (once its in play), but again it provides the exact stats we are looking for to beat the encounter deck.

Peter Sylvestre: The Big Man might just be the best horror soak in the game. And if that wasn’t enough, he also gives a bonus to agility which is used to resist many treacheries that deal damage. So the level zero version already pulls double duty. Add the upgrade and you get even better soak and a point of willpower, making Pete one of the best cards to get a leg up on most everything the encounter deck throws at you.

Waylay: Not a card that can be just thrown into any deck in any campaign, but there are some excellent targets for this. Famously, this card defeats Broods of Yog-Sothoth, but there are many other targets for this around. Ideally you are looking for enemies that are non-Elite, have high health and low agility. Other standout examples are the Dholes and the Moon-Beast in Dream-Eaters, Apex Strangleweed and Eater of the Depths in Forgotten Age and Deep One Bull and Winged One in Innsmouth.

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.

Alter Fate(1): This is a big one. Its upgrade is particularly good because just like Ward of Protection it can just neutralize something for a resource without spending an action. That Alter Fate(1) is still a servicable card just goes to show how good the level 3 version really is. Alter Fate tears through the treacheries in Circle Undone and Carcosa of course, but there is no shortage of good targets for this in any of the campaigns.

Devil’s Luck(1): A hard counter to Beyond the Veil. It’s not particularly relevant for anything else, but it’s so good against one of the most campaign-defining cards it has to be at least acknowledged for that.

Flare(1): This is mostly used as a tool to put allies into play, but it is quite powerful as a damage event as well. It costs an XP every time you use it that way, but in turn you get a red Spectral Razor. There’s application for that in many campaigns.

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.

Not a whole lot comes to mind. Survivor doesn’t have many level 3+ cards in the first place and many of them are upgrades of cards at lower levels. Alter Fate(3) is a card that stands out here, of course.

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