Hopefuly I am not alone in saying that I truly enjoy receiving story rewards. They are truly a staple in each campaign and side-scenario. Some story rewards are treasures on their own, highly praised for what they bring to the table. Other rewards are more so-so, while being thematic they often don’t bring the oomph some others do. But among all these reward the ones that I always love are the Ally rewards. From the early days on, Allies were always present to help us on our journey. Our first step in the world of Arkham Horror: Living Card Game gave us a very adamant zealot that wanted to burn all our childhood memories and that set the tone for the rest of the game. A couple of years (and great cycles) later and the game brought us a plethora of great Allies.
Ofcourse, some of the Allies we already covered in our last installment of 3 Aces (and 7 other things) in the Top 10 Allies. But that list focused solely on player cards. Allies that you could include by your own choice in all the scenarios. But what about the story rewards? So, after a small break I have returned to bring you, yes you the person who really hopes their favorite hits number one, the top 10 best story rewards allies! For this list I simply looked at all the rewards one might get that have the Ally trait. This means a couple of things: Firstly, a reward doesn’t have to take up the Ally slot for it to be considered for this list, it only needs to have the corresponding trait. Secondly, it needs to be a reward: which means that the card needs to have the option to be added to your deck at the end of the scenario. This means that, although I do love them, Joe Sargent isn’t on this list.
Okay, with the rules cleared up and my fingers ready to get back into writing controversial lists that nobody agrees me, while I laugh at my laptop, enjoying my hot takes! So, strap in, hold on, as we take a new adventure in this Top 10 of Story Allies Who Simply Break The Game!
Honorable Mention: Pet Oozeling
Pet Oozeling is nothing short of probably the best Ally in the game. Imagine this cute flubber-lookalike sitting on your shoulder while you cross the threshold of time and space. The problem is that the Pet Oozeling’s effect just is almost never worth it. Sure, there is a certain combination of cards that really make Pet Oozeling a true devourer. But for most investigators actually using the Pet Oozeling is too big of a risk. It’s cute to include in your deck, but that’s about it. I also really enjoy playing The Blob That Ate Everything and I wanted to include an homage to that and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be Lt. Wilson.
Number 10: John & Jessie Burke
Often overlooked in discussions about story rewards, but there really is no reason why. John & Jessie Burke offer a few high tempo turns, especially in the right decks. If your deck runs Trusted or The Star, they can be quite the powerhouse! For the cost of one action, you get to move, engage and deal 1 damge. This action can be used three times, before they eventually perish. Although the amount of uses can be boosted with healing abilities or previously mentioned cards. Not only does this dynamic duo offer great tempo, but they can also be acquired from a stand-alone scenario. Which means that, basically, all decks have a chance to include John & Jessie Burke. In other words: they are not cycle specific. Yig, Hastur, Yog-Sothoth, this pair does not care! They will slay them all!
Number 9: Ichtaca
Ichtaca is a very nicely packed enemy-management boost. For starters she gives the investigators two static boosts. Both are great for any investigators whose main focus is to deal with those pesky snakes. The fun does not stop there, the actual boost can be increased from 1 to 2 if certain conditions are met. Luckily for us, most enemies in The Forgotten Age either have a Victory or Vengeace value. Therefor most of the time you will actually be increasing your skills by 2. If that is not enough for you, if you do decide to kill those Vengeance enemies (or the Victory ones for that matter), you can heal 2 horror total! 1 from Ichtaca and 1 from yourself. Which is great! Not amazing, but great. To bundle the package together, her stats are nothing to laugh at and you get her pretty early on. I’d prefer Ichtaca in most of my decks over that silly historian.
Number 8: The Dunwich Bunch
I couldn’t decide on a favorite. Then again, there really isn’t a favorite. All four of these potential Dunwich story rewards do quite the same. Dr. Francis Morgan, Professor Warren Rice, Zebulon Whateley and Earl Sawyer all are very similar. They all cost 3 resources. They all have combined health and sanity total of 5. They all provide a static boost. When commited they provide a wild icon and an icon matching their static boost. Lastly, when you pass a certain condition that triggers with their static boost, they give you a card draw. So, why are these four here?
Purely for their ease. They aren’t exciting or dashing. But every investigator can use one of these. Everybody likes a certain boost to their main skill. Not to mention that you might draw a card on using that skill! Those things are all amazing. I like more cards! One might argue that giving only 1 stat is a bit of a waste in the current age of story rewards, that might be true. But if you play through Dunwich, there is always one that would not harm your deck.
Number 7: (Both) Randolph Carter(s)
This sort of feels like a deja-vu. Randolph Carter looks sort of, but not really, similar to the Dunwich story rewards. However Randolph Carter just provides efficiency that the Dunwich Allies didn’t. For carters: Randolph gives you two static boost. Sure, he doesn’t reward you for using those stats, but he does have a satisfying reaction. Randolph allows you to draw 2 cards if a certain tokens is revealed at your location. These tokens are bad. They could really do some damage, so having Randolph out while they show up is amazing. You might fail a skill test, which is never good. But to compensate for that, you draw 2 cards! A potential of 2 extra cards in each round, sounds truly wonderful to me. Fear not, even if Randolph’s reaction does not trigger, he still provides two static boosts. Great!
Number 6: Sergeant Monroe
Sergeant Monroe benefits from a lot of things that John & Jessie Burke benefit from. Cards like Trusted and The Star give Sergeant Monroe more uses from his ability. He is also acquired from a (truly great) stand-alone scenario so he can be included in all the cycles.
But why is Sergeant Monroe so great? First of, his stats are quite high. He can soak up to three damage and horror. This goes for any investigator at his location. Step aside, Tetsuo Mori! Not only that, when Sergeant Monroe does end up taking damage and/or horror, he cant deal the damage back! There is the clause of non-Innocent, but those are only present in his debut scenario. Which means there is nothing stopping him in all the cycles. Sergent Monroe can soak up great amounts of damage and horror and he can deal upto 6 damage back to enemies without triggering an action. That is brutal!
Number 5: Abbess Allegria Di Biase
Everybody remembers the taboo on Pathfinder right? Well, Abbess Allegria Di Biase solves that problem for you. Allegria provides a team-wide Pathfinder! Not only that, but she is acquired in yet another stand-alone scenario, therefor the Abbess is also playable in all the cycles. Carnevale of Horrors is on the harder side of the scenarios, but the rewards (let us not forget the masks) are actually quite good. But the perks don’t stop there. A team-wide Pathfinder alone would be good, but miss Di Biase also provides the ability to be triggered from connecting locations and you can even trigger this while being engaged with an enemy! This card alone would make me play Carnevale of Horros in all my cycles.
She also provides soak, but come on, at this point we don’t care.
Number 4: Naomi O’Bannion
The biggest downside on Naomi is the fact that she is acquired oh so late in the actual cycle. She is hard to actually acquire, adding to that is that she is only playable in two scenarios. But once she is out on the field, she is quite the formidable powerhouse. That’s probably the reason why she is only available so limited. Naomi shows up in Dunwich: back in the day willpower and agility weren’t as popular as they are now, which means that her two static boosts alone are quite good. The soak is great. But her true power shines in her reaction. Naomi O’Bannion allows you to cancel any token during a test. To make her even stronger: there is no cost. You don’t have to discard a card or pay resources to cancel the token. You just exhaust her.
Wait? There’s more? Naomi cancels that specific token for the remainder of that test!? That is insane. Nothing sucks more than playing as Wendy while canceling an auto-fail only to redraw it. No more! Noami O’Bannion solves that problem.
Hm. A Wendy deck with Lucky Dice (2) and Naomi O’Bannion would be quite intriguing.
Number 3: Erynn MacAoidh
The most recent addition to the suite of story reward Allies, Erynn makes a strong debut.
Probably one of the most punishing aspects of The Circle Undone cycle is its strong array of treacheries. High willpower or agility tests that punish you brutally if you fail them. Some might even linger in your threat area for the largest part of a scenario. Enter Erynn. Her ability is basically three Ward of Protections against specific treachier. Granted, these Power and Curse treacheries are the most prominent ones, which makes Erynn only the better.
Being able to cancel treachery cards is a very powerfull effect and I am grateful for Erynn’s inclusion in the new Return box.
I didn’t even mention her static boost. So, yeah, her static boost is also nice.
Number 2: Jerome Davids
Continuing the trend of Circle Undone rewards that can cancel treacheries: Jerome Davids is here! Jerome shows up late in Circle Undone, but he such a powerful ability, it is quite amazing how he is actually allowed to exist. Jerome has the ability to cancel any drawn treachery at his location. Ok, he needs to discard cards with 2 intellect icons. I get that price is steep. But he also provides a static boost to intellect. The logical conclusion would thus be to include him in a Seeker deck, who usually have insane draw anyway! The price to pay might be a single card, but the power to cancel Ancient Evils for any investigator or a Frozen in Fear for your Rogue at your location is quite powerful.
Number 1: Veda Whitsley
As a community I hope that we can all agree that The Forgotten Age is the most unforgiving cycle out there (as of time of writing). One of these reason is the Explore mechanic from said cycle. Veda Whitsly hears your problems and scoffs at them. Veda has the amazing ability to, freely (FREELY!) look at the top card of the exploration deck and, if it is a terrible treachery or enemy, then cancel it. No more exploring into a terryfing Boa Constrictor or discovering a window to another time. Veda Whitsley has the sole power to make scenarios such as Boundary Beyond go from terryfing frustration to a nice walk in the Chapultepec Park.
Did you not like the position of John & Jessie Burke? Where is Dr. Henry Armitage? Are you sad that I didn’t include other specific Allies? Probably yes, that’s cool. Let me know which inclusion I missed and why? Which story reward Ally is your personal favorite? Which Ally is here that shouldn’t be here?
Hopefully we will all be back for next week’s list!
PS: This list is based on the current releases and will not be updated to include future story reward Allies. The most recent releases are “Return to the Circle Undone” and “Parallel Roland Banks”.