Top 10 Allies Whom I’d Like As My Best Friend (Pt. 1)

Don’t let the title fool you, this list won’t actually rank the allies based on how good of a friend they’d be. No, this list will just rank allies that I personally love and are, mostly, staples in a lot of decks. The Ally trait is a really important trait, because of the amount of utility one could provide. Allies really come in all shapes and sizes. Some give a static bonus, while others provide a very useful effect. The worst thing about Allies is that you have to, obviously, draw them. Not drawing your core Ally can really hurt your gameplan to the point of your investigator actually become useless without it. So, to honor all the brave souls that join our investigation, I’ve compiled this list of the best of the best.

Now, when I first started ranking all the Allies, I quickly started to struggle because of the sheer number of good Allies out there. With that in mind, I’ve decided to split this list in two parts. One for this week, one for next week. This week we will focus on player cards, so Allies that you can always add to your deck. While next week I will post the list with only story cards, which are the Allies that will join your quest by means of scenario rewards, resolutions or other story-driven effects. 

Before we head on to the actual list, there are two more side notes that I’d like to explain, before people point them out in comment sections. Firstly, I have excluded signature assets from this list. Last week I made a list about the best Spells, but I didn’t exclude signature Spells. I regret that decision, simply for the fact that I’d like to make a list in the future that is about the best signature assets. Which means that this list won’t include Molly, Mitch or the best boy Duke. Let’s also be real, Duke would win this contest. I wanted to give other Allies a fair fighting chance. Talking about other having a fair fighting chance we can segue into the second point: I’ve excluded Mr. Rook and Dr. Milan Christopher from this list, simply because they have been added to the taboo-list and I couldn’t decide which version to add, so I simply choose to not add any of these. Also because you’d expect them there, and probably high. I want these lists to surprise a bit, to invoke emotion and reaction. The main idea behind these lists is to entertain and create wonder. Placing either of these Allies on the top would be too obvious. And hey, if you disagree, that’s cool.. My list, my rules. 😉

Honorable Mention 1: Agency Backup

Agency Backup offers a lot of versatility to a deck. Sure, they cost a lot in both experience and resources, but when they’re in play they will almost always create a good time for you. Mostly, if not exclusively, played by Leo Anderson, the Agency Backup gives you a free triggered ability to either deal 1 damage to an enemy or grant you a clue. If used to its full potential you can deal a total of 3 free damage and gain 3 clues. After that you can opt to either deal a fourth damage or gain a fourth clue. Of course, a card like Inspiring Presence works great here! If that does not convince you, the Agency Backup can also soak damage and horror for your allies! 

Honorable Mention 2: Tetsuo Mori

I feel like Tetsuo Mori is the unevolved stage of Agency Backup. Tetsuo Mori doesn’t costs a considerable amount of to put into play (unlike his evolved stage). But his effect is pretty great. Defeating Tetsuo Mori allows you or a fellow investigator to find a specific Item from either your deck or from your discard pile. The best part is that the search through the discard pile is fixed. Whereas the search through the deck is hoping for the best. Discarding an emptied out Weapon is usually a great play for the investigator who has Tetsuo Mori. But it might also be beneficial to allow your Seeker to recur a Fingerprint Kit or even the Lockpicks for your Rogue. Tetsuo just offers a large number of ways to get some tempo back! If that does not convince you, Tetsuo Mori can also soak damage and horror for your allies!

Number 10: Chuck Fergus

If this was a list of the best beards in the game, Chuck Fergus would hit the number 1, 2 and 3 spots. Man, look at that gorgeous and magnificent beard. What a champ! Actually, that would make a great list! I should write that stuff down.

Anyway, Chuck Fergus is a great Ally to have by your side! His high experience cost is nothing but reasonable, because once he drops to your play area your game becomes nothing but a rollercoaster! For an exhaust, everytime you play a Trick or Tactic event you get an added bonus. Rogues love those traits, so getting more value for them is great. Chuck Fergus allows you to add two bonuses; either make it fast, cheaper or grant better stats. Play an Ambush for free and fast? Sounds amazing! Play Slip Away fast and gain an extra 2 skill value to the entire test to ensure you succeed by 2? Wow! You can never go wrong with Chuck Fergus!

Number 9: Peter Sylvestre

Peter Sylvestre has been a fan-favorite card since his debut in the Dunwich Legacy. Survivors were, to be a bit blunt, undefined and raw. Wendy and Ashcan both worked on discarding cards from your hand, both their highest skills were Willpower and Agility on their own and, besides being “lucky”, their cardpool had a lot of unconventional tools. Now, I love Survivors, my second favorite class, but they were rough around the edges when Arkham Horror: LCG started up. So Peter offered great help. Boosting your highest skill value(s) and giving you some great sanity soak. Not going insane is always great in this horror game, therefore adding Peter Sylvestre to your deck makes most forms of taking horror almost redundant to your personal game.

Number 8: Brother Xavier

Why doesn’t Brother Xavier have the Blessed trait?

Besides that, Brother Xavier is just a bit weird. But that’s exactly the reason why he is so great! Adding the willpower to, for example, Skids or Roland can make the difference between an unpleasant mythos phase and one where you shrug off the encounter cards. Not only that, but if Brother Xavier were to die he has the potential to take an enemy with him. I honestly think that an upgraded Brother Xavier would be great! Let him deal damage to all enemies at his location, lower his resource cost, maybe give him a second static skill boost. Ah, a man can dream. If that does not convince you, Brother Xavier can also soak damage and horror for your allies! … huh, weird.

Number 7: Lola Santiago

Also, really quick: Lola Santiago gives your two favorite skills a boost. It gives you a free triggered ability to gain a clue for resources, which you automatically generate since you’re a rogue. And she is an archaeologist. That doesn’t mean anything, but I think that’s pretty cool.

Number 6: Charles Ross, Esq.

I feel like a lot of people underestimate Charles Ross, Esq. The Seeker class is filled with great Allies, like the aforementioned Mr. Rook and Dr. Milan, but most people like to include the reliable Art Student or Laboratory Assistant. However, for me Charles Ross, Esq. is just superb! He allows you to gain reduction on the cost of your Item-assets, which you probably have a lot of as a Seeker. Furthermore, he can spread the love by giving other investigators said reduction. Everybody loves spending resources for their Item-assets! The fact that his ability can stack is quite amazing. If you’re spending some time at a specific location, playing your (much needed) Grisly Totem for free sounds pretty good to me!

Number 5: Arcane Initiate

When I made this list I wasn’t expecting to include any non-unique Allies here, but lo and behold! The Arcane Initiate is such a great Ally for Mystics, I couldn’t bring myself to exclude them. Sure, they have the potential of adding doom to them, but that’s usually not a problem that can’t be solved. Heck, the upgraded Arcane Initiate can even forego that choice and just enter the game slightly mentally scarred. But the true power is their ability. For a free triggered ability, you can search your top three cards for a Spell. Any Spell. Wow! Most, if not all, Mystics work on these wonderful arcane wonders and some even have Spells as their signature cards. Making the Arcane Initiate even better for them. These Initiates might not be all powerful, but they certainly have the ability to make their investigator just that!

Number 4: The Red-Gloved Man

The Red-Gloved Man is shrouded in mystery, which already makes him one of my favorite cards. But his whole gameplay is just so thematically correct! He basically allows you to be a God for one whole round (or two if your party happens to have the Gold Pocket Watch). The base value of all your skills becomes 6 and not only that, but the Red-Gloved Man gives you some great soak values. So even if you were to take some hits, you could always let him soak them. I just love playing The Red-Gloved Man and keep recurring him with A Chance Encounter in certain survivors.
Also, a quick shout out to the Conspirator trait. I truly wish we saw more of those, it just exudes mystery to me!

Number 3: Granny Orne

A recent addition to the Arkham Horror: Living Card Game, but Granny sure made an entrance. Bundled with Stella Clarke, her primary goal seems pretty obvious. Making sure that you fail by a certain amount to trigger your Fortune cards. Or in the case of the upgraded Granny, you can just choose to pass. Oh wait, you can even choose to let it work on an investigator at your location. That seems insanely strong. Not only that, but Granny Orne gives you always useful static skill boosts and her sanity value is nothing to scoff at. Granny Orne came in hard and she made damn sure we all know she meant it and that she is here to stay!

Number 2: David Renfield

Great boost to your main stat. Quick resource generation. Low sanity so you can quickly kill it off to get rid of the doom. What is not to love about David Renfield. This guy can quickly make your games go insane. Playing him on turn 1 can grant you 8 total resources in 4 rounds. That is insane to me. Now if only gaining resources doesn’t sound great to you, also note his static boost. Sure, David doesn’t do anything fancy, but there is a certain elegance in his simplicity! Also, I just really love resources as a Rogue main. Plus, Mystics are pretty expensive.

Number 1: Leo de Luca

Oh boy, do I love Leo de Luca. He costs a large amount of resources, but an early Leo de Luca can make your game gain so much tempo! Dropping a Leo de Luca on turn 1 is probably one of my favorite things to do in Arkham Horror: LCG. Especially the upgraded version. I love to add this card to all my decks and then grab two copies of Another Day, Another Dollar and then spend the rest of the game just going everywhere and doing everything. Maybe I’m a bit biased towards this card, since I’m a Rogue main. But having 4 actions every turn sounds great to me. Add Quick Thinking and Borrowed Time on someone like Tony or Finn and you could have a total of 9 actions in one round. Now, isn’t that the dream?

So.

Did you not like the position of The Red-Gloved Man? Where is Alice Luxley? 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 Spell 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 Spells. The most recent releases are “Into the Maelstrom” and “Parallel Agnes Baker”.

Top 10 Spells That Would Shame Harry Potter

Let’s start this week by immediately alienating myself towards a lot of players by stating that Mystic is my least favorite class. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy Mystics, because I do (from time to time), but my heart belongs to the Rogues. Willpower is my least favorite stat and I’d rather run away from my problems than face them head on. I love money, people describe me as opportunistic and green is my favorite color. These are all different ways of saying that I mostly dislike Mystics, because their dominant skill is willpower. What I do like are traits. I think traits give a lot of flavor and effect to a card. So, this week I thought it might be fun to combine a thing that I like a lot with a thing that I like less. Mystics and their most common trait: Spell-cards.

Luckily for me, all classes have access to Spells. They come in all different shapes and sizes. But they all have one thing in common: they tap into the cerebral, arcane sight of Lovecraftian Horror. If not anything, they provide flexibility and versatility. Offering a wide range of effects, Spells can do just about anything. Do you want money? There is a Spell for that. Do you want to teleport across the board? There is a Spell for that. Just want to set enemies on fire? Sure. But which of all the available Spells are considered the best? A true magician always has a trick up its sleeve, but a sleeve can hold so many tricks, choosing which ones to take with you is crucial. After going through all 108 currently available Spells, let’s take a closer look at the most amazing magical abilities in this week’s list: Top Ten Spells That Would Shame Harry Potter.

Honorable Mention 1: Banish 

Banish is a pretty nifty card. In true mystic-style, this Spell allows you to choose your willpower instead of a different skill. Evading, as we all know, relies on your agility, but Banish begs to differ. Evading a crucial enemy at the right time can mean the difference between life and death. So, what is even better than just evading said enemy? If you could blink it away. Banish let’s you zap away the enemy as if it was nobody’s business. It could be any location, not just revealed. Also in true mystic-style, drawing specific chaos tokens during the step makes the card better/worse. This makes Banish even better. Not only can you blink away the evaded enemy to any location, it also might not ready in the next upkeep phase, based on the revealed token. Shame it only targets non-Elite enemies.

Honorable Mention 2: Spectral Razor, Read the Signs, Ethereal Form

Ah, the “Add willpower to your skill test”-event suite. It’s a working title. These three cards are just great. Not only do they amplify a basic ability by giving you additional bonuses, but they also let you add your willpower to the matching skill. Normally you’d replace your skill with willpower, but these 3 just don’t work that way. There are a lot of similar things that these cards have going on. They all come from The Dream-Eaters, they all cost 2, they all add willpower, etc. Spectral Razor is great for engaging an enemy from your fellow investigators and dealing 3 damage. Any form of non-1 odd damage cards are always great. Read the Signs lets you gain 2 clues and ignore any harmful effects (i.e.: Haunted effects). And Ethereal Form even turns you “ethereal”, which is such a great and useful effect in solo play! It’s just a shame that I don’t like Spells that let you fight, evade or investigate, but better, or these 3 would’ve surely made the actual list.

Number 10: Counterspell

Counterspell might not be the most flashy Spell out there, but I’ll be damned if this card doesn’t add a great number of positive effects! Counterspell allows you to cancel specific chaos tokens on any test at your location. Which is amazing. Elder Thing-tokens can really screw over a player with their additional effect. Cultist-tokens usually force you to draw additional tokens. While Skull-tokens can reach insanely high negative modifiers. Counterspell nopes all of these effects. It even allows you to block the negative effects of cards like Shrivelling. If only this card would allow you to cancel Auto Fail-tokens.

For some reason I also really love the Blessed trait here. All the Blessed cards before The Innsmouth Conspiracy feel very distinct, without needing the obvious bless tokens. Just a quick shoutout to one of my favorite traits.

Number 9: Archaic Glyphs: Markings of Isis

I just love how the level 0 version of Archaic Glyphs transforms from a Occult Tome in your hand-slot to this Spell. In my opinion the Markings of Isis-version is the most unique Archaic Glyphs and thus deserves to be here the most. The Markings of Isis allow you to perform an investigation with a great additional effect. If you succeed by a high enough value, you can put an asset into play for free (based on your modified skill value). So, not only are you getting a clue, you are also getting a free play action with a (potentially huge) discount. Seekers can be stingy on resources, while heavily relying on their assets. The Markings of Isis helps you out with all of these things, all while creating huge tempo! Definitely one of the more unique seeker cards in the game!

Number 8: Blood Eclipse (3)

I know that I stated earlier that I don’t like Spells that allow you to just fight better, but darn it, Blood Eclipse (3) is just great! Creating a physical blade out of your own blood is such a great thematic hit! Guardians usually have ways to negate or otherwise deal with damage they receive. They can either heal it away or direct it to their (expendable) allies. Not only that, but Blood Eclipse (3) is also a Spell, so it gives guardians another way to deal with those annoying Geistenemies. Even Carolyn, who usually can’t carry a lot of weapons, gets a strong damage card. Or what about || Agnes? She can take 4 damage to pay for this card’s cost and deal a whopping 5 damage for the cost of 0 resources. Sure, it might kill her in the process, but such is life if you’re a blood witch.

Number 7: Sixth Sense (4)

Oh boy, if Sixth Sense (4) isn’t broken, then I don’t know what is. What can I say about this card that convinces you that this card deserves to be here. In true Mystic-style, you use your willpower for an investigation. Not only that, but Sixth Sense even adds 2 to that value. If you draw one of the specified chaos tokens, this card just goes insane. You can investigate in 2 locations and you can even decide what shroud value to use. Mystics have a lot of ways to force out these tokens or make use of this. It might not be a consistent way of getting 2 clues, but that doesn’t matter. This card makes you a seeker. Most mystics can perform investigative actions with a base value of 6 or even 7 now, and that is without any assets they might have or events that force out tokens. This card is a staple in mystics who focus on discovering clues and the reasons why are obvious!

Number 6: Mystifying Song

I didn’t know if I wanted to add Mystifying Song on this list. It is not a card that any investigator can include in their deck, but instead it is Marie Lambeau’s signature card. But, it is just too powerful to not include. This card is truly powerful for the same reason that we all hate Ancient Evils. Mystifying Song ignores the reaching of the doom threshold for a whole phase. That might not seem like much, but in reality it gives you a whole round extra. Now, I don’t know about you, but most of my games end in nail biting climaxes. Usually an extra gained or lost round can make the difference between a positive or negative resolution of a scenario. It might even make the difference of 2 or 3 victory points (and please don’t take away my victory points)! If that all doesn’t convince you, look at it this way: ignoring doom for a whole round gives you 12 extra actions with 4 players. 12! That is absolutely bonkers! It’s even fast, costless and usable every scenario, unlike other doom-cancelling cards. Truly bonkers!

Number 5: The Eye of Truth

This card is so useful, which makes sense, it being a 5xp skill card. But hot diggity, The Eye of Truth does not mess around. Not only are you helping all your fellow investigators by giving them a bonus of 4 to a skill test value when drawing a specific encounter card, but you are also permanently removing it from the game! Are the Crypt Chills hurting your rogues? No problem, The Eye of Truth will guide them! Entombed locking your guardians up? The Eye of Truth reveals the answer. With all that, one might see it’s quite good, but what even is more spectacular: The Eye of Truth is Practiced-traited, which means that Practice Makes Perfect can pull it out for you, in case it is buried deep!

Number 4: Seal of the Seventh Sign

It seals the Auto-Fail.

Okay, it might not be that useful in 4 player games, but when playing with 2 investigators or even solo play, this card can carry your whole game. Not to mention that this card could never run out of charges if you were to run specific cards. Sure, it might not be all-powerful always, but to me, it’s such an amazing card that it is almost an auto-include in my groups if we have one of us running a mystic.

Number 3: Deny Existence (5)

Let’s be real, Deny Existence (0) is already pretty great. Allowing you to negate almost all the negative effects the game might throw at you. Lose cards that you carefully saved? Nope. Lose actions that you desperately need? Nah. Take horror or damage that could defeat you? How about no. Then there is Deny Existence (5). Worthy of its Paradox-trait, this card lets you not only cancel negative effects, but then also makes you gain the opposite positive effect! In-sane. Imagine being on 3 sanity and then auto-failing a Rotting Remains. Oof. But then here is Deny Existence (5) which not only saves you from going insane, but actually calms your resolve to the point of almost topping off your sanity. And that is just with horror and sanity. Imagine not losing, but drawing 4 cards. It is rare for me to not take 2 Arcane Researches in my deck and then quickly upgrade my Deny Existences from level 0 tot 5. Sure, it might be boring, but it is really, really helpful!

Number 2: Alter Fate (3)

This might be a very biased and subjective inclusion, but then again, it is my top 10 list so that is to be expected. I just love Alter Fate (3). Not only for its Blessed-trait, but for everything this card can do. It’s like an “Undo”-button on failing certain encounter cards. It allows you to discard an encounter card from the game. A rogue might be stuck with its Frozen in Fear. You might be exploring the dreamlands, only to find Wondrous Lands. Or even a Locked Door that just won’t unlock no matter how hard you hit it! Alter Fate (3) quickly gets rid of it. That’s an extra plus: quickly. Alter Fate (3) is fast and only costs 1. Making it so that you can almost always play it. There are almost no scenarios where Alter Fate (3) can’t find a target, thus making it a staple in almost all of my survivor decks.

Number 1: Ward of Protection (2)

Ward of Protection (2) is just amazing. Words can’t describe my love for this card. It’s fast and costs 1 resource, meaning you can always play it. It works on other investigators, so it could save someone from losing a key asset or even death. I just gushed about Alter Fate (3) being the undo-button, but Ward of Protection (2) is that on steroids. What Alter Fate (3) can’t stop, Ward of Protection (2) will. Ancient Evils, Straitjackets or even the highly annoying Deep One Invasion. Everything is possible with Ward of Protection (2). The best part is that it costs 2xp, meaning that a lot of subclass Mystics can also take this card! Every mystic should run this card whenever possible, that is how strong this effect can be!

So.

Did you not like the position of the Alter Fate (3)? Where are the Azure Flames? Are you sad that I didn’t include other specific Spells? Probably yes, that’s cool. Let me know which inclusion I missed and why? Which Spell is your personal favorite? Which Spell 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 Spells. The most recent releases are “A Light In The Fog” and “Parallel Agnes Baker”.

Top 10 Locations With 2 Shroud. Yup. You Read That Right.

(This list will contain more spoilers than usual. It is heavily based on the story and lore of specific scenarios and cycles. Consider this your warning!)

Every now and then I like to shake things up. Normal, predictable lists that anybody can think of are all fair game: Top 10 Weapons, Enemies and even Allies. But, as we will see with today’s list, I also like to explore the more obscure or strange aspects of Arkham Horror: The Card Game. My last (Top 10 Best Elder Signs) list was one that was on my “to-do-list” for a long time. Honestly, I need to admit that I forgot to include Diana Stanley to that list. Her elder sign is insane. Maybe I need to make a Top 10 where I list all my earlier mistakes and correct some lists. Maybe.

So, now that list is over with, I finally have time to do one of my weirder lists again. Today’s list is arguably even weirder than my last weird list: Top 10 Subtitles That Pique My Curiosity. Because, dear reader, today we will be taking a look at locations with a printed shroud of 2! Again, yes, you read that right. (Special thanks to wern212 for suggesting this wonderful and great list!)

Now you might be asking: But how are you going to order all these locations? What is the criteria required to end up on this list? Well, it’s a bit of everything combined. For a Location to be on this list it, of course, has to have a printed shroud value of 2. But after that, it is all open for debate. But most, if not all, of the Locations on this list have an effect that makes them feel unique. Other Locations on this list are memorable for what they mean, either of the story they provide or the general feel they give. After doing a quick search on arkhamdb.com, I ended up with a total of 189 different Locations with a printed value of 2 shroud. Per usual, I removed all the Locations that don’t do a lot, besides just being there and giving you clues. Some Locations were hard cuts, though. Which brings me to our honorable mentions, something that I started last week and that I will be continuing with every week. By now I hope you’re pretty curious, so let’s start with today’s list of: Top 10 Locations With 2 Shroud. Yup. You Read That Right.

Honorable Mention 1: Your House

Your House is a pretty unique location. It provides the player with their first actual choice in the game: will you let Lita Chantler burn it down? I don’t think there is anybody out there who played through the Core Box without taking a moment to think about this when they first encountered it. The first scenario, The Gathering, was pretty straight forward. Get some clues, get an ally, kill some ghouls. Then, all of a sudden, you get the choice to burn Your House down. Excuse me? What? Is this what the game is!? This moment is so monumental to this game: it made the game sell itself for being unique and it made it stand out more. Giving you hard choices when you were relaxed. That is what makes me love Arkham Horror: The Card Game and I’m pretty sure you love it too for what Your House made you think about.

Honorable Mention 2: Dunwich Village

From a very serious entry, we now go to an entry that I personally adore. The Dunwich Village is a card that has 2 versions. One has a printed shroud value of 3, the other has a value of 2. For purposes of this list, we will focus on the Dunwich Village with a printed shroud value of 2. So, why is it on this list? Well, the Dunwich Village is that starting location of Undimensioned and Unseen, one of the most brutal scenarios in the Dunwich Legacy. It tasks you to kill off as many Broods as you can, which is a pretty hard task seeing that you can’t kill them in normal ways. The only impact this scenario has on the story is how many doom the next scenario begins with. With Undimensioned and Unseen having almost no impact on the story and being a very hard and tedious scenario, the inclusion of Dunwich Village as an Honorable Mention is kind of self-explanatory: It has a resign option. You should use it. Right away. Dunwich Village allows you to skip over one of the most tedious and stale scenarios in the game. Which makes it a great Location!

Number 10: Ilek-Vad

Let’s start off with a hot take: My personal favorite campaign is The Dream-Eaters. A lot of people prefer The Path to Carcosa over any campaign, but for me, the Dream-Eaters hits all the right spots. The Search For Kadath is also one of my favorite scenarios. Exploring the vast Dreamlands is a joy to me. Granted, I would’ve liked a full cycle where we only explore the Dreamlands. Each scenario could have represented a different part of that world. But, alas, we ended up with an amazing cycle anyway. So, why is Ilek-Vad here? First of all, it’s in an amazing scenario. One where you need to rush to get the optimal result. An adrenaline-filled journey. Everything else is great about Ilek-Vad as well. It gives a victory point, which we all love. It gives you a discount on Spells, Rituals and Relics. All of these are pretty common traits on assets by now. Not only that, but it only holds 4 clues, which means that Ilek-Vad can be cleared rather fast. Unveiling this location lets each investigator at Ilek-Vad heal 2 horror and draw 2 cards. Amazing!

Number 9: Abbey Tower / Chapel of St. Aubert (Forbidden variants)

Both the Abbey Tower (Spires Forbidden) and the Chapel of St. Aubert (Waters Forbidden) are quite similar. They can’t be in play at the same time. Not only that, but one of them will always be in play. Black Stars Rise is a very cool scenario. The main goal here is to open the actual path to Carcosa, either from above or from below. The problem is, you don’t know which of the two is correct. The act deck is replaced by a second agenda, forcing you to either rush one agenda and hope for the best or take it slow and steady. So why is this Location here? Well, again, it appears in a great scenario. But the best part is, obviously, the Victory 2 clause. Besides The Dream-Eaters, other campaigns rarely feature Victory 2 locations. Black Stars Rise throws that idea out of the window. Allowing you to gain a nice boost of 2 Victory Points right before the penultimate scenario. Honestly, these locations are here not only for the Victory 2 on them, but also as general praise towards Black Stars Rise.

Number 8: Abandoned Chapel

Before we dive in, you might be wondering if I mean the normal version of Abandoned Chapel or the Spectral version, to which I see: Yes. It is here for a couple of reasons. The first one being that Abandoned Chapel is one of the rare locations that alters the mythos phase. The Abandoned Chapel makes all investigators have a hard time in the mythos phase. Lowering all your skills is pretty harsh. Sure, mystics could deal with it, but rogues will not dare touch this location. Usually low shroud locations that offer Victory Points, such as the Abandoned Chapel, make it harder to actually investigate said location. But Abandoned Chapel kind of just taunts you. Mocking you. Reason number two why Abandoned Chapel is on this list is simply because of the art differences between the two. The normal version looks serene and tranquil, while the Spectral version confronts you with an undead priest holding a clergy for his fellow undead companions. Very spooky and thematic. Very cool differences!

Number 7: Montmartre

Montmartre is one of those locations which has 2 versions, but for obvious reasons we will be focusing on the version that has a printed shroud value of 2. There isn’t much to say about this location, though. Montmartre’s printed action triggered ability is just nice. Thematically, I see Montmartre a shop. Spending resources to regain ammo or supplies. Sure, it has a limit of one per round, but guardians (or other combat-focused investigators) might want to stay here just for the effect. When there are no enemies in the game, staying here and gaining an ammo per round is pretty great. Imagine having a Flamethrower out early on and spending 2 or even 3 actions here. Enemies don’t stand a chance against you! I’ve been gushing about ammo for a bit now, but supplies are nothing to scoff at either of course! Montmartre offers a very versatile action that almost all non-mystics can use.

Number 6: Southside: Ma’s Boarding House

Another location that has great action triggered ability. Southside: Ma’s Boarding House allows you to look through your deck for a specific Ally. That is amazing! It’s not rare for decks to rely on a specific Ally being out in play and Ma’s Boarding House let’s you tutor it. Obviously, it can only be triggered once per game per investigator. Wait. It doesn’t even have a group limit? Southside: Ma’s Boarding House just got even better. Not only you, but all your comrades can tutor for their Ally! Seekers can fish out their Dr. Milan Christopher, Mystics can find their early David Renfield. Honestly, I just love this action triggered ability. There isn’t much here to add. It’s even a core card, so it might show up in future cycles!

Number 5: Pnakotus

I was going to add Valusia here as well, but right before I finished writing this list I found out that Valusia has a printed shroud of 4. I thought they might’ve been equivalent in all aspects, but alas. But we are here to talk about Pnakotus. The story in The Forgotten Age is quite unique. It makes you choose between siding with Ichtaca and her Eztli warriors or with Alejandro and his research team. Both are being controlled by forces and aim to control the Relic of Ages, both unknown to you. In the penultimate scenario of The Forgotten Age you need to seal specific locations into the Relic to maintain the timeline. You could just clear Pnakotus of all its clues, but if you have been siding with Alejandro from that start something wonderful happens here. Siding with Alejandro continuously can result in 3 tablet tokens being added to the chaos bag, which now rewards you! For an action you can grab all clues for free on Pnakotus and even draw 3 cards! Drawing 3 cards as an action is always great, but the implicated story and lore here is a great touch. Just be wary of who you side with in the end. 

Number 4: Balcony (The Path to Carcosa)

Low shroud with a Victory Point that doesn’t infer with your investigating abilities? Cool. Actually, this location doesn’t do anything to harm you (unwillingly that is). What the Balcony does do is offer a very thematic and (let’s be real) hilarious action triggered ability. Other locations might offer something similar, but they don’t have a printed shroud value of 3. Honestly, this location is just here because I find it very humorous! You can choose to jump down and save 1 action, but you do take 2 damage. Saving the 1 action is quite nice. But it’s mostly hilarious to me that you can choose to just “jump down” a balcony and take some damage caused by the fall. Priceless.

Number 3: Operating Room

This is the most hilarious location (well,atleast with a printed shroud value of 2) in the game. One could actually try performing surgery on a fellow investigator. Passing a test of 4 Intellect seems like an easy accomplishable feat, it might even be worth trying for healing 3 damage. But the funny part is in failing. Perform surgery bad enough and you actually wound an investigator. Can you imagine performing surgery to only accidentally kill someone off? What’s even better is that you could perform surgery on yourself, or even on someone unwillingly! Priceless! 

Number 2: Labyrinthine Halls: Corpse-filled Path / Overgrown Path / Foul-smelling Path

These three Labyrinthe Halls are so unique compared to most Locations. These Locations appear in the Labyrinths of Lunacy. A scenario that is played out over different groups, all simultaneously. That alone is a pretty unique setting. What makes these locations so well-crafted is the ability to directly communicate with other groups that are currently playing. If your playing group is currently ahead, these locations give you the ability to give other groups resources, card draw or even actions. If that doesn’t warrant a spot on this list, then I don’t know what does.

Number 1: Study

Ah, the Study. The Location where this long, strange trip began for us! We have gone full circle. I don’t want to get sentimental here, but the Study symbolizes Arkham Horror: The Card Game to me. It makes me feel nostalgic. It makes me want to forget everything I know about this wonderful game and re-experience everything! The Study is, of course, the first Location you encounter in the Core game. It doesn’t offer anything weird. It draws you into this amazing gaming experience that we all know and love. It is simply here for its simplicity and for everything that it represents! I truly hope this game will continue to grow and that we all keep a special place in our hearts for the Study!

So.

Did you not like the position of the Operation Room? Are you sad that I didn’t include other specific Locations? Probably yes, that’s cool. Let me know which inclusion I missed and why? Which Location with a printed shroud value of 2 is your personal favorite? Which Location are 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 Locations. The most recent releases are “A Light In The Fog” and “Parallel Agnes Baker”.

Top 10 Elder Signs That Need To Chill

A couple of months ago I made a pretty polarizing list about what I think are the worst Elder Signs in the game. Now, I have heard your feedback. I have listened and read very carefully. Most people disagreed hard with the list, so the only logical conclusion I could make was to make a Top 10 List in which I state the 10, in my humble opinion, strongest Elder Signs. Some of the Elder Signs in Arkham Horror: The Card Game are pretty insane. Not even do they provide some very game-breaking combos, but most on this list are just generally good to draw, no matter the circumstance. Contrary to my Worst Elder Signs List, this list will have the 10 Elder Signs that will always make me happy. I don’t care for glorified +1’s, no, I love crazy Elder Signs that give me an extra effect that creates insane tempo.

To make this list, I first ordered all investigators. At this point of writing, there are still 47 investigators in the game. Of which there are 44 normal and 3 are parallel investigators. After making this list, I removed the investigators included on the previous list and then removed some extra investigators that I feel have average Elder Signs or those only useful in very specific situations. I ended up with 20 investigators that I had to rank. Last time a lot of people were sad that some specific investigators weren’t on this list, so today I would also like to include some honorable mentions.

One final mention: A reddit user (r/TheSongofEdain) has offered to proofread all my articles. So hopefully the grammatical errors and spelling mistakes will be reduced to a minimum starting this week. 🙂

Honorable Mention 1: Stella Clark

Stella is an insanely strong investigator. Most of her power comes from her starter investigator deck. A lot of these cards just give her oomph that wasn’t present in a failing-forward-Survivor. Not only that, but Stella has a signature card that cancels all the effects of a failed test. She even has three of these. But we are here to discuss the honorable mention of her Elder Sign. Her Elder Signs allows her to fail, which is something she usually wants to do anyway. She can then opt to heal, which is great, since she usually takes a lot of damage and horror. But failing is just a new word for succeeding in Stella’s book. She is a strong investigator, bolstered by a strong Elder Sign.

Honorable Mention 2: Tony Morgan, Luke Robinson. Akachi Onyele, Marie Lambeau.

While all being very useful Elder Signs, this (mostly) Mystic bunch relies on a very specific card or game mechanism to carry them forward. The problem with this is that these investigators sometimes actually rely on their Elder Signs. That isn’t to say that this makes their Elder Signs just miss the actual Top 10. But other than adding a token to a card, these 4 Elder Signs don’t really do anything. It is nice that they all have a nice bonus, but it’s just not good enough to kick it in the Top 10.
It might also be a biased view of mine, but I generally don’t enjoy playing Mystics. I do like Tony, though.

Okay,
Now that we have our Honorable Mentions out of the way, let us take a look at the actual Top 10. Also, a quick added note: Just because I like an investigator’s Elder Sign, that does not mean that I actually enjoy the specific Investigator. This doesn’t add anything to the list, but I feel like it was worth pointing out. With that out of the way, I present the actual Top 10 Elder Sign That Need To Chill:

Number 10: Patrice Hathaway

Patrice is a pretty nifty lady. She has one of the most unique play styles in the game, while also being very reliant on some very specific cards. She is (probably) also my favorite Survivor, for her uniqueness. I know I stated earlier that I don’t really like Mystics, but let’s be real; Patrice is weird for a Survivor and weird for a Mystic, so I’ll let it slip. But we are here to discuss her Elder Sign, which allows to shuffle her whole discard pile back into her deck. Now you might say: “What’s so special about that? You’re just avoiding 1 horror.” To which I laugh and say: “Surely you jest!”. Patrice’s Elder Sign allows her to basically choose a weakness in her discard pile and then reset her deck completely with 1 less weakness in her deck. Which is great, because The Watcher is a very disturbing card to have in your hand, especially for a prolonged time. Recursion is also a recurring effect in this list. I think it is pretty powerful.

Number 9: Winifred Habbamock

Winifred is amazing. Her innate ability to draw fast, makes her playstyle very high-paced and actually really encapsulates the adrenaline that one would anticipate with playing Winifred. Her Elder Sign is great. Around 9 out of 10 times you are committing 2 cards to skill tests anyway while playing her, because you want to trigger her ability as much as you can. Drawing Winifred’s Elder Sign is always a blessing. Being able to take back cards you committed is great, especially if their effects actually trigger. It is not rare to commit 4 cards to a test, draw an Elder Sign, and take all 4 cards back. Nimble, Quick Thinking, Manual Dexterity or even a Guts are all great hits for her Elder Sign!

Number 8: Mandy Thompson

Do you guys remember pre-Taboo Mandy? That was actively insane. Anyway, Mandy has a great Elder Sign. It basically is an added Eureka to any skill test. Not only that, but she can actively trigger her reaction, making her look through 6 cards or draw 2, which is insane to me! If you draw the Elder Sign on a failed test, you can either prepare for your upcoming actions by drawing some cards into your hand or you can search for skill cards to commit to the test to still make you pass. I’m just relieved to see that she doesn’t draw the skill cards after committing them, because that would actually break Mandy even more.

Number 7: Minh Thi Phan

While feeling very similar to Wini, what makes Minh come out on top is that her Elder Sign can trigger on other investigators as well. Sure, there is an argument to be made that Minh can only retrieve one skill card, whereas Winifred can retrieve multiple. But Minh’s retrieval is guaranteed. It doesn’t rely on succeeding by X. It just allows you to retrieve a skill after it has fully triggered. This basically allows you to have 3 copies of certain skill cards in your deck. Which is great for Minh, considering her ability and her signature card!

Number 6: Father Mateo

Before we break into the Top 5, which are arguably all pretty similar, let us take a look at Father Mateo. He doesn’t have a lot going for him. On release, he was considered weak. He had poor stats, combined with shoddy deckbuilding, a very harmful signature weakness topped off by a below average signature asset. Then all of a sudden, The Innsmouth Conspiracy appeared, and Mateo was overjoyed with all the Blessed cards. Say what you will, but Father Mateo always had a great Elder Sign. It allowed for something that was fresh: a choice. As Mateo you can choose to either gain 1 resource and 1 card or an action. Both are always great to give you that little boost of tempo in the game. Not only that, the test will always automatically succeed, so drawing this will never mean loss of tempo!

Number 5: Joe Diamond

Admittedly the rest of the list is all pretty similar to each other. But let us not get too hasty and focus on one investigator at a time.
Joe Diamond’s Elder Sign allows him to grab any Insight from his discard pile and add back to his Hunch Deck, which is one of his main playstyles. Recurring a strong Insight can really give you great tempo. Playing a third Working a Hunch can save you some trouble, which is just scratching the surface. Of course, Joe works on Insights so getting to play more is always a nice touch. The only downside is that Joe adds the card to the bottom of the deck. Meaning that you have to shuffle the Hunch Deck before you can find the card again, but it is still some form of recursion.

Number 4: Nathaniel Cho

Nathaniel Cho can basically do what Joe Diamond can, but better. Nathaniel has the choice of any event, not just a specific trait and he can immediately add it to his hand. Which means that you can immediately play it! In a duel with an enemy? Take your Monster Slayer (0) back! Short on resources? Grab that Stand Together (3) back! Nathaniel Cho loves event cards, not only does he deal extra damage with them, but his staple card, Boxing Gloves, allows for an interesting playstyle of Spirit cards. Recurring is just a great effect on Elder Signs.

Number 3: || “Skids” O’Toole

The pattern is becoming pretty obvious by now, I’m assuming. Elder Signs that recur cards to your deck and hand are great! We already saw Joe recurring specific events to his deck, followed by Nathaniel who can recur any event to his hand. The natural follow-up to that is of course || “Skids”, who can recur any card from his discard pile to his hand as long as it’s level 2 or lower. Which is amazing. “Skids” fills his deck with Gambit and Fortune cards and recurring some of these is just lovely. Not only that, but his low willpower makes him vulnerable to the encounter deck and discarding random cards. This Elder Sign (kind of) compensates for that, allowing you to recur some of your accidental card drops.

Number 2: William Yorick

The king of recursion will take the silver medal in this list. While the 3 previous entrees all had a form of restriction to their recurrence, William Yorick just does not care. Skills, Events or Assets, he will recur them all. William Yorick has no problems playing knives unironically. The only (sort of) downside to his Elder Sign is that William Yorick already recurs a lot of his cards due to this innate reaction. Most of the time Yorick will use his Elder Sign for effective Skills or Events, but it’s still a great Elder Sign that offers a lot of versatility and flexibility!

Number 1: Daisy Walker

Ha. Joke. As if.

Number 1: Silas Marsh

How is this allowed? Silas Marsh has no chill when it comes to his Elder Sign. Not only does he get to recur a skill from his discard pile, which is arguably 75% skill cards for what it’s worth, he also gets to commit it right away, allowing for an added bonus effect. Then Silas gets to take back the card to his hand, allowing for another commit of the card! That is double the profit of one card. Do you guys remember pre-taboo Quick Thinking on Silas? Yeah, that was insane. Honestly, I don’t enjoy playing Silas, but his Elder Sign really makes me want to play him more.

So.

Did you not like the position of Father Mateo? Are you sad that I didn’t include the amazing Elder Sign of Diana? Probably yes, that’s cool. Let me know which inclusion I missed and why? Which Elder Sign is your personal favorite? Which Elder Signs are 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 Elder Signs. The most recent releases are “A Light In The Fog” and “Parallel Agnes Baker”.

Top 10 Worst Ways To Stop Existing in Arkham

This list was a long time coming. I announced this list at the end of December, but for some reason I took a 2 month break. I guess it happens. If you were waiting on this list, then I apologize. But I hope I can make it up to you right now. Hopefully I can pick up the pace again.

In this week’s list “Top 10 Worst Ways To Stop Existing in Arkham” we will take a look at the most frustrating ways a game can end. The most rage-inducing events that can happen to player that can lead to defeat, death and insanity. With horrors galore in our favorite game, death and insanity are always only a mere Mythos phase away. That tension is what makes Arkham Horror: The Card Game so exciting. That one turn where you really make a difference is nothing but pure glory. But drawing an auto-fail on a specific test is nothing but excruciating. So, in honor of those who have (permanently) fallen in Arkham Horror, this list is written. The entries in this list are all stories I have gathered through Reddit, Discord and other media. People have shared their worst times in Arkham and I am here to tell the stories to you. One might stay this is the first community-created list. The only thing I did was order them. Hopefully you will find these stories just as painful as wonderful! Let us take a look at how some of our fellow investigators have suffered defeat in The Top Ten Ways To Stop Exisiting In Arkham.

Number 10: Doomed in Harvey Walters

We have already concluded that Doomed might just be the worst Random Basic Weakness there is. Okay, maybe not we, but I certainly did. Drawing this as your Random Basic Weakness is certain death. It might take a while, but Doomed will usually kill you at some point, it might even be in the penultimate scenario. Sure, we all know that one person who had Doomed twice and both times didn’t die to it. To which I say: lies. Now, Doomed is bad on it’s own. But Harvey Walters is the investigator with the most accelerated draw in the class with the most accelerated draw. If you play it right, you might actually get killed in the first or second scenario with Harvey. Drawing 3 cards every round is just not a plan when Doomed is there.
For what it’s worth: Amanda and Mandy would also be pretty bad. But I feel like Harvey already has a headache, let’s leave it that.

Number 9: Taking Too Much Trauma in Calvin Wright

Calvin Wright is a puzzle. A great one at that. Playing him is a constant juggle between your health and sanity values. Sure, you want some trauma on Calvin. You probably want to to draw his Signature Weakness, Voice of the Messenger, every now and then. Maybe die a couple of times so that your starting values are a bit higher than just 0. But one player in particular had a very bad day when he was playing Calvin. The scenario started out with Calvin having 4 mental trauma. It is important to point out that this was the very last scenario of the campaign. After a tough uphill battle and a very impressive balancing act of Calvins health and sanity, the group of players managed to beat the Ancient One and close out the campaign. While reading the resolutions every investigator earned 2 mental trauma. This happened just before winning the campaign. Calvin, bless his poor soul, died to having 6 mental trauma right before winning the campaign. Oof, that is cruel.

Number 8: Forgetting Charon’s Obol

(Lowkey shoutout to my favorite card: Charon’s Obol)
While not really being the game’s fault, this story is so hilarious and unforgettable that I had to include it on this list. The original poster had such a great story, that I will just copy his story here:
“The important thing to note about this scenario is that there is one location, the Library, with Victory 5 on it, however every round if it has less than 1/investigator clues on it, you refill it to that number of clues. Completing the scenario requires all investigators be at a different location on the other side of the map. Note that this isn’t a resign action, so “I’m Outta Here” isn’t going to work. The investigators involved are Sister Mary, Tony Morgan, Harvey Walters, and Stella Clark. Tony, however, is the main focus of this story. He’s using Guardian as his off class, which after picking up Adaptable, lets him swap in exactly the cards needed to get that 5 XP (since I don’t have the set up to just run to the other side of the map). (In hindsight (i.e. right now), I realize that I could have side stepped all of this with Elusive… oops). So it came to be that after playing through the scenario, picking up all of the rest of the XP, playing both of my Delves, and getting all of the other investigators to safety but leaving Tony on a location connected to the Library (and spending copious actions to draw all of the cards I need), that the moment to enact my plan (which is strictly worse than just buying Elusive for 2 XP) had arrived. The round after my setup beings and Tony plays First Watch. I’m looking for any enemy to give to Tony, and as luck would have it, I find one (this was the only element up to chance here). I give Tony the enemy, and deal the rest of the encounters to the relevant Investigators. Now the investigation phase begins, and I have 3 actions to get 4 clues and meet the scenario’s objective. I have Tony lead and take an attack of opportunity to play Intel Report, paying 6 resources to pick up 2 clues from the adjacent Library. The second action is the same as the first, using my second Intel Report to clear off the Library. Then comes the final action, and what all of my careful setup has lead up to, Tony plays “I’ll See You In Hell!”, biting the bullet and killing the engaged enemy but going down himself and taking a physical trauma. This results in Tony dropping his clues on the location he was on, the one adjacent to the library. Tony’s elimination also means that all surviving investigators are at the required location, and thus the scenario can proceed to its resolution, with all of the clues off the Library and thus awarding the party a hard earned 5 Victory. Thus all was right in the world, and I moved on to ArkhamDB to spend my XP. Mary can upgrade her Rite of Seeking, pick up Charisma, get some other nice stuff she wants to have. Tony is especially nice since he gets +2 XP from Charon’s Obol… …. …”
(Credit to u/Renard-Chase)

Number 7: Retaliate into Enemy Phase

Nothing worse than a big enemy with retaliate. Having a designated combatter (or even evade tank) is always a good call in your games. Some enemies can be brutal to deal with, not even only for their damage or horror values. What is worse that some of these monsters then have the accompanying keyword retaliate on them. One of our community members had a very nasty encounter with the Specter of Death, but any enemy with retaliate would suffice.

This specific player tried to finish of the Specter of Death, with 6 health remaining, by shooting 3 well placed shots in its… uh.. fog? Anyway. With Physical Training on the board and plenty of resources, nothing could go wrong. This player aimed to beat all the tokens in the bag, of which the lowest was 4. So first shot hits. Second shot hits. Third shot fails. Autofail rears it’s ugly head again. Not only does the Specter of Death retaliate for 2 damage and horror, but all the other investigators already took their turns. So at the start of the enemy phase the player takes 2 additional damage and horror, defeating the player. Hannibal Smith doesn’t love this.

Number 6: Rotting Remains Fails

While very rare and improbable, it is not impossible: this player made a brand new Zoey deck to explore the game with after buying Dunwich and the Core. The deck wasn’t the problem, it was a good deck. The player survived, accurately tallied, 2 rounds. The first round a Rotting Remains was drawn with an auto-fail. That is 3 horror for our poor Zoey, which is already half of her sanity. The player however, also had an enemy to deal with that her partner drew. So after killing off the Ghoul, the new mythos phase shows up. The player draws a second Rotting Remains and a second auto-fail is drawn. Making Zoey go insane, and probably the player too at this point.

Another anecdote that got sent to me that I wish to entertain you with: “Play Roland You’re brave, play hard. Prepare a deck Setup the Gathering, your adventure is just about to begin. Ok, mulligan. Nice, pretty good stuff there, you can investigate, play emergency cache, play a gun. Upkeep Mythos Phase 1 Draw Rotting Remains, Draw Cultist, Draw Autofail, Die.”
(Credits to Cuherdir)

Number 5: Timeworn Brandishing

Ah, one of our favorite Weapons That Make Muder Look Cool is back! With a powerful one-time use effect, this weapon can deal out some pretty harsh damage, such as in our following ancedote:

“So. Timeworn Brand. You know it, you love it. Maybe you don’t love it, I don’t know. But one member of our party picked it up. First mission with it, he uses the Once Per Game to try to kill an Elite(I don’t remember which) engaged with our clue-gatherer. You guessed it, he drew the auto-fail and defeated our seeker. Because 4 damage hurts.
It’s ok though, he got to try to redeem himself. Later in the campaign, I’m engaged with an Elite monster and hit it enough to get it down to 4 health. So he activates it, then before he pulls the chaos token says the magic phrase: “It’s fine, I only fail on tentacles”. You know it, he pulled the auto-fail and I die.
But wait, the campaign continues. Later in the campaign, he’s engaged with an enemy, so when he uses the once per game, he can’t kill one of us! So he activates it and, you know it, pulls the auto-fail. Oh wait, the enemy has retaliate and he is defeated by that damage/horror.
So yes, the Timeworn Brand killed 3 investigators in a single campaign.”

(Credit to u/hascow)

Number 4: Failing Crumbling Precipice

I don’t think this one needs any explaining, but a reddit user had a nice anecdote that I still wish to share with you:

Once upon a time, in Depths of Yoth, Ursula Downs started at the Crumbling Precipice in Depth 1. She failed the willpower 4 test, drew a tentacle on the agility 3 test (the one token that would fail), and was unable to pull the clutch +1 on the combat 2 test. Killed on turn one. Luckily it was standalone, so it didn’t really matter.
(Credit to u/Zinjanthr0pus)

Number 3: Bad Sequence of Encounter Cards

This specific player was playing Black Stars Rise, the 7th scenario in The Path to Carcosa. For reference, this is the scenario with 2 Agenda decks and you have to figure out which agenda you need to advance and which one to ignore. This of course can be lead to a puzzling situation that can quickly get out of hand. This player posted his story with just the following image. They were playing with 3 players and they were about halfway through the game with both agendas advanced enough and now halfway filled with doom. This was their upcoming Mythos Phase:

Two Spires of Carcosa and one Ancient Evils. This caused both Agendas to advance, ending their game immediately, because the wrong agenda was advanced.

Number 2: Forgetting Your Hiking Boots

Disclaimer: This problem was fixed in the Return to Dunwich-box.
Where Doom Awaits is infamous for this location. A lot of investigators don’t always require a high Intellect to investigate. Rogues might discover clues by spending resources, Survivors might want to fail forward and Mystics flat out replace Intellect with Willpower. This scenario removed all that. You needed to do a basic investigate-action to place a location into play. Not only did you need to do this once or twice, no, it had to be done thrice! If your deck wasn’t prepared for a Intellect 3-test, let alone three, you were forced to Resign here. Players might think that resigning wouldn’t end the campaign, because this is rarely the case. But Where Doom Awaits had a nice surprise up its sleeve. Resigning here meant defeat. Long story short: if you had no Intellect in your party or deck, you just couldn’t get up the hill and your story would end here.

Number 1: Essex County Express

The most infamous scenario out there, every player has their own story of why Essex County Express is a scenario that can easily knock you out real fast or at least abruptly end. By now I’m assuming every player is knowledged enough to know why this scenario is here. But a quick explanation: In Essex you start at the rear end of a train and you need to get to the Engine Car of the train. This might take around 6-7 rounds, usually. The problem is that enemies can spawn that bring Doom into play, which makes the Agenda advance. Once the agenda advances, the rear cars of the train will be sucked in to a vortex of misery and death, defeating everybody it touches. If you’re not fast (or lucky) enough, this might happen very fast and you might get sucked into the vortex in the first couple of rounds. I will end with this anecdote:

“Losing on Turn 2 in Essex, due to bad pulls in Encounter Phase and both investigator drew their Personal Weakness in Upkeep Phase; Smite the Wicked hurts. Drawing a Dark Memory which we also played might not have been smart.”
(Credits to user who wished to remain anonymous)

So.
Did you not like the position of Essex County Express? Are you sad that I didn’t include Shrivelling yourself into insanity? Probably yes, that’s cool. Let me know which you inclusion I missed and why? Which way to die/go insane do you really hate? Which ways are here that shoudn’t be here?
Hopefully we will all be back for next week’s list!

PS: This is list is based on the current releases and will not be updated to include future ways to die/get defeated/go insane. The most recent release is “A Light In The Fog” and “Parallel Agnes Baker”.

Top 10 Investigator Signature Weaknesses That Make Me Question Balance

Before we begin, I would like to quickly take the time to talk about next week’s list. Next week I will be covering the 10 most harshest and iconic ways to die/go insane/get defeated in Arkham Horror. But I can’t do that alone. Last week I already posted a request asking for community input. By now I already have quite some cruel stories, but I would like more. So if you enjoy my lists, please take the time to approach me on any platform of your choice and share your favorite or most hated death in the game with me. Hopefuly I can make a truly exciting list with your input! But now on to the main event;

I have already covered the worst Random Basic Weaknesses in the game. Those pesky cards that just wrack a player. A weakness that just doesn’t take anything in to account and has such an impactfull effect that you just want to curse when you draw it randomly. However, there needs to balance; for every random weakness there has to be a ordered weakness. A weakness designed to hinder you! A weakness that is carefully designed to harm the investigator it belongs to. Some work great, while giving you a small challenge to overcome and are also rich with theme, others… well others just destroy the balance. There already is enough in Arkham Horror that is working against us, do our problems and past lifes really have to haunt us this dreadful? Let’s find out what the worst weaknesses are in the game that make me not want to play those investigators, let’s find out the Top 10 Investigator Signature Weaknesses That Make Me Question Balance!

…Also a quick note: Just because I think the weakness is harsh, doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy playing the specific investigator or consider the investigator below average. So try to maintain your composure if I verbally assail your favorite investigator’s weakness. 😉

Number 10: The King in Yellow (Minh Thi Phan)

I am well aware that Minh can function without committing cards seeing she is a Seeker with an intellect of 4. However, you really want to commit cards as Minh. This weakness hits very hard. At best the King in Yellow will not replace any handslots and combining her reaction with some strong skill cards will clear it in 1 round. However, most of the time, Minh commits like crazy. Most people hard mulligan for Analytical Mind and then start committing and drawing like crazy. So at worst the King in Yellow comes in to play while your hand is almost empty, while also making you discard an asset in your hand slot. Sure, you might be able to quickly deal with this weakness, but most players will lose an entire round or two. The most common reaction I’ve seen to this weakness is that people start drawing cards like crazy, just to deal with this weakness. Losing a complete round is devastating as a clue-gatherer.
Imagine the horror of committing a deduction, eureka and perception to a test to clear the King in Yellow to only draw an auto-fail.. That’s some real life horror for you.

Number 9: Voice of the Messenger (Calvin Wright)

Playing Calvin Wright on its own seems like a huge undertaking to many a player. He might be one of the harder investigators to grasp and to fully utilize. Maintaining the balance between your health/horror values and your stats is a hard enough task on its own. You can get greedy, sure, but this card will always be looming on the horizon. Drawing this card once might not be a problem. Heck, you might even argue that it’s beneficial to draw it early on. But those traumas stack up pretty fast. Drawing the Voice of the Messenger right before an ugly encounter card rears its head is quite excruciating. Playing Calvin can be a real treat, but drawing an untimely (or consistent) Voice of the Messenger can end a campaign pretty early for Calvin, forcing you to either pick a new investigator or start from scratch.

Number 8: Sacrificial Beast (Replacement Jenny Barnes)

If you’re like me you probably play Replacement Jenny in a very specific way, which is to hoard all the resources. In my opinion the Green Man Medallion is such a great card, being able to buy some Exceptional cards for 1 experience point. But to do that, and to make Jenny work in general, you need resources. Stacking your deck with cards like Lone Wolf, “Watch This” or even a Hot Streak might sounds amazing. Which it is! Please do!
But when the Sacrificial Beast shows up, it’s nothing but tears. The Sacrificial Beast always spawns the location the farthest away from you, which is a hassle. To be able to deal with this, you need to actively hunt it down. You need firepower or beg your local guardian to deal with it. The worst thing is, is that the Sacrificial Beast shuts Jenny completely down. All those great resource cards just don’t do anything anymore. Even Jenny’s own reaction doesn’t trigger anymore. You’re just a boring investigator now, gaining 1 resource each upkeep. Having all that versatility is nothing for a rogue if not powered by resources. Also, if we don’t get resources, what use is the Green Man Medallion!? My precious experience points…

Number 7: Shocking Discovery (Mandy Thompson)

Drawing this card already sucks. It doesn’t do anything, but only reminds you that at some point this is something you need to deal with. Even if you draw it as the last card in your deck Shocking Discovery triggers. There is no way to make this card “whiff”, you have to deal with it. Best case scenario; you draw Shocking Discovery enough times to waste draw actions or upkeep phases on, only to replace it with an encounter card. This feels like a worse mechanic than explore. An action in to a weakness is never fun, a draw in to a weakness that can be drawn again is just, pardon my french, rude! Worst case scenario; You played Eureka to find a key card, only for Shocking Discovery to pop up. Now your search is canceled and the game treats you to a nice surprise from the encounter deck. And between you and me, I really hate the encounter deck.

Number 6: Abandoned and Alone (Wendy Adams)

Taking two direct horror might be a very punishing weakness on its own merits. But what truly scares me about this card is the second part. Removing all your cards in your discard pile is extremely punishing. It’s even insulting that there is no test involved. It just happens. The worst part is that this trims your deck down, which makes it more likely to draw Abandoned and Alone again. Drawing it a second time makes your deck even smaller, only for you to draw it sooner again. Not even that, but losing cards for the rest of a scenario is very punishing. Survivors have enough tools to recur cards from their discard pile, but if your discard pile is non-existent, all those tools are just hammers when you want to paint a room. And nobody thinks “Holes” are a nice color for a baby room.

Number 5: Thrice-Damned Curiosity (Harvey Walters)

Hey, do you like Card Games? Do you like drawing cards? Do you like to have a hand full of 15 cards? Me too, Jimmy! Psych. Now die.
That’s just what this card says. Die. Unless you aren’t playing Harvey to his fullest potential or have some spare soak you are willing (forced?) to discard, this card hits like a train. I have nothing to say about it further.

Number 4: Crisis of Identity (Lola Hayes)

It’s very popular to hate on Lola Hayes. Let’s be real; it’s also (mostly) because of this card. You’re playing Lola (which you already shouldn’t). You have your game setup. Every now and then you bounce between roles. Sometimes a guardian to kill enemies, sometimes a rogue to get resources, then a seeker to get those clues. Here comes Crisis of Identity. You just lost a third of your cards and all of your versatility.
Playing Lola is a puzzle, a brainteaser. But playing Lola while drawing Crisis of Identity is if you were playing Sudoku, but then blindfolded while a scorpion is stinging your leg and your little sister is shouting random numbers in your ear. “Okay, Clara, I get! YOU LIKE THE NUMBER SEVEN!!”

What I’m trying to say is that recovering from a hard-hitting Crisis of Identity can take severtal turns to recuperate. If you are able, that is. Minh can recover from an early weakness, even though it takes a couple of turns. Lola is just done when drawing her weakness.

Number 3: Baron Samedi (Marie Lambeau)

This guy takes up an Ally slot? That alone is silly. That means that I can’t play my actual allies consistently without spending 3 of my precious experience points.
Then the actual effect. Whenever an investigator places damage on herself, while at Baron Samedi’s location, she takes another damage. Which means this actual also hurts other players!
Now to clear it.. Baron Samedi needs to have three doom on him. Which can only be placed one per round. Which means that Baron Samedi sticks around for at least three full rounds! If you’re lucky, that is. Because doom on Baron Samedi gets t tallied towards the overall doomthreshold. Meaning that if you’re in an agenda with 4 or 5 doom, it might not even be possible to clear Baron Samedi. A misdrawn Ancient Evils or other doom-placing encounter card (or player card in Marie’s case) might just advance the agenda, which resets your Baron Samedi, not to mention that you just lose rounds and actions! Torture.
Baron Samedi might show up in your first turn, only for you to be unable to ever clear it. All while damaging you and your investigator allies. Very hard to deal with.

Number 2: Dark Memory (Agnes Baker)

Ancient Evils that costs money. If you don’t pay, it’s an Ancient Evils that gives you horror and still costs money. At least you can decide to hold on to Dark Memory for a round or two, if that’s the more tactical option. That doesn’t change the fact that this card is just an Ancient Evils in disguise.
I think we can all agree that Ancient Evils is one of the, if not the most, harshest encounter card in the game. Adding a doom to the agenda is very punishing. Most of the time, when placing doom on a location or an enemy there is a way to deal with it. Doom on the agenda is just that. It takes away actions from the players. Which is the most important resource in the game. It takes away an upkeep-phase. When you’re new to the game, Ancient Evils doesn’t seem that bad, after all nothing really happened. You just drew a card and that’s it. It’s not until later that you start hating Ancient Evils!
I know that this a list about investigator weaknesses, but Ancient Evils is just Agnes’ weakness that costs money. Disgusting.

Number 1: To Fight the Black Wind (Replacement Carolyn Fern)

Oh, I get horror. That’s okay, I’ll just heal it.
Oh, it attaches to the agenda. Cool. Then what does it do?
WHAT? POSSIBILITY OF MULTIPLE DOOM? THIS IS AN ANCIENT EVILS ON STEROIDS!
This card. Man. Drawing it in the upkeep phase gives you an immediate direct horror, which then becomes a doom. The end of the round immediately follows the upkeep phase. This card is 9 out of 10 times an Ancient Evils, the other 1 out of 10 times it’s a worse Ancient Evils.
This made me not play Carolyn Fern for so long. I’m so relieved that her actual signatures are not this bad.

So.
Did you not like the position of the Thrice-Damned Curiosity? Are you sad that I didn’t include Hoods or Cover Up? Probably yes, that’s cool. Let me know which you inclusion I missed and why? Which Investigator Specific Weakness do you really hate? Which Weaknesses are here that shoudn’t be here?
I hope to see you soon for the next Top 10 List! Remember to send me your stories about dying and defeat in Arkham Horror. I can’t wait to make this list with input from the community! ❤

PS: This is list is based on the current releases and will not be updated to include future weaknesses. The most recent release is “Devil Reef” and “Parallel Agnes Baker”.

Top 10 Subtitles That Pique My Curiosity

Apparantly the Greek Pantheon Exists in the Lovecraft Universe

As I posted in my last list, this idea has been on my mind for a while now. For the uninitiated among us, Subtitles on cards are the little “names” beneath the actual name of the card. So, if we look at the above Charon’s Obol we can see that the subtitle is “The Ferryman’s Pay”. Most of these subtitles are quite self-explanatory and have no intention of being enigmatic. For instance, “Wolf-Man” Drew has the subtitle “The Cannibal”. That seems crystal clear to me. Drew is a ghoul that eats humans. But some of these subtitles tell a story, some of these subtitles are shrouded in mystery. They wear an enigmatic cloak, waiting to give away their secrets. So, for this week we will take on a lighter (probably less polarizing) subject and hold a magnifying glass over these puzzling subtitles.

The process for this list was quite expensive on time. Go through all the cards. After spending about 2 hours in arkhamdb and my own collection, I compiled a shortlist of 23 cards. These cards ranged from player cards to scenario rewards and from locations to enemies. The amount of cards with a subtitle exceeds well over 200 cards, but most of these are basic. They make sure you know what this enemy is or only give a name to a specific area. However, the 23 chosen cards are all quite unique. But they all have one thing in common; Their subtitle hides something. That’s why we are here this week. Let’s take a look at the 10 most diverse subtitles in the game and ponder on what they mean, where they come from and if they’re hiding exciting backstories! Let’s drop the rankings of power and frustration for this week and let us all take a gander at The Top 10 Subtitles That Pique My Curiousity:

Number 10: Pendant of the Queen
Of Nothing at All

Now I know that this subtitle clearly states that this pendant belonged to a queen who was the ruler of nothing at all. But I’m still quite intrigued by this card. Not only is it a very potent card, but the mystery surrounding this monarch is quite appealing to me. The queen had to be a real person. But if she was the queen of nothing at all, was she really a queen? Wasn’t she just a person who owned nothing, except for this single pendant and thus refered to herself as the sole queen of the pendant and only of the pendant.
Maybe she was ruler once, but her country got invaded. As the sole ruler of her country, the invaders imprisoned her. All her belonging were raided, her subjects murdered and she was incarcerated. Alone in her cell, she hold her amulet in her hand close to her heart. At least she was still a queen, nobody could take that from her, even if it was of nothing at all.

Number 9: The Black Cat
A Liar, or a Prophet, or Both

Disclaimer: The Dream-Eaters is my favorite cycle. Knowing me, that shouldn’t be shocking, since I have weird opinions. However, the Dream-Eaters sparks a certain enthusiasm in me that I rarely feel. Not to mention that the story is well written and the dialogue in it is not only engaging, but also comedical at times. The Black Cat plays a major part in this entertainment-value. How excited I was to find out that it became a player card.
But as far as subtitles this one is quite clear. We have all encountered The Black Cat. Resembling the Chesire Cat in it’s puzzling explanations, The Black Cat has deceived and guided us at the same time. The subtitle “A Liar, or a Prophet, or Both” doesn’t invoke questions having played The Dream-Eaters. No, this subtitle is only here for making me want to read more of The Black Cat. A novella fully focused on Ulthar and its cats and their adventures would be something I truly love. I could’ve put any of the cats from Ulthar here, but the Black Cat’s subtitle makes me the most curious to its backstory and its (mis)adventures.

Number 8: Olive McBride
Will Try Anything Once

Anything? This makes me wonder what she hasn’t tried yet.
Did she try to make a deal with a devil? Has she tried to summon a byakhee? Did she perform a ritual to wake a dormant Ancient One? A blood sacrifice to seal a geist?
Or is this more leisurely than I imagine?
Has she tried making a 9 course dinner for 80 people alone? Did she bungeejump while blindfolded? Running a marathon barefoot and backwards? Eating a bar of KitKat with whipcream, coffeebeans and sprinkles on top?
Olive, I hear you, you want to see the world, but “Anything” can mean “Everything” and that is a lot to do once.

Number 7: The Council’s Offer
What’s in the Box?

Number 6: The Experiment
Something Went Terribly Wrong

What the heck are these Miskatonic students up to? What happened here? Clearly, something went terribly wrong, but what? Was Harvey Walters involved? Was Dr. Milan Christopher involved? Is this an alien? Is this a student who transformed (it looks quite humanoid)? Is this a student who got fused with an extradimensional creature?
I know that, at some point, in the Dunwich Legacy some of these questions get answered. But at this point, The Experiment could be your first encounter in the Arkham Horror Universe. You thought you were just looking for a missing professor and all of a sudden this monstrosity shows up. Now you’re panicking. Save the students? Warn them? Ignore the chaos and get your professor? For all the criticisms The Dunwich Legacy gets, I do think that Extracurricular Activity invokes a strong sense of sensation and player agency. The Experiment is a great addition to this (very strong opening) scenario and it makes quite clear what Arkham is about. I would love a short story about The Experiment and, more importantly, I’d like to find out what went terribly wrong.

Number 5: Jewel of Aureolus
Gift of the Homunculi

This card is weird to me. I can’t find any connection between Aureolus and the Homunculi. For those unfamiliar, I will eloborate. Homunculi, plural of Homunculus, are a group of artificially created humans. In most cases they are created through alchemy. I am no history-expery, but I like to think that Aureolus refers to a Roman militarian general. These two don’t go well together, for me. On it’s most basic view; this would mean that a group of artificially created humans made a trinket or a necklace and then gave this to a Roman general to, just, have.
I’m not fluent in Lovecraftian lore, but if someone would be so kind as to point out what I’m missing, that would be very much appreciated. I feel like the Homunculi or some person named Aureolus should be present in one the lovecraftian stories, I’m just unfamiliar with it. Until then, this boggles my mind.

Number 4: Court of the Great Old Ones
A Not-Too-Distant Future

Is this the gathering spot for Cthulhu and friends? Does this resemble a meeting room, but then build for interstellar and extradimensional deities? Do I need to picture Nyarlathothep, Hypnos and Atlach-Nacha here with their laptops and documents out trying to figure out how to destroy the human and dream world simultaneously?
We haven’t even discussed the subtitle yet! How distant is “Not-Too-Distant”? Listen, you guys, I don’t know about you.. But 2020 has been a really crappy year. We had killer bees, forest fires, whirlwinds, a pandemic.. I really don’t want these Great Old Ones to hold a 3’o-clock meeting in their court on a Monday near Chicago. Nu-uh.

Number 3: Tetsuo Mori
Too Noble for His Own Good

Testuo Mori is the card that inspired me to make this list. Which might seem weird, seeing that he is only on number 3. Believe it or not, there are two more cards that make me curious to their lore or just feel very enigmatic to me.
Apparantly Tetsuo Mori is too noble for his own good. Which begs the question: What does that mean? What did he do? Is he the kind of person who will sacrifice himself to help others? Is he the kind of person to stand up in a crowd and say that he is Spartacus? Did something bad happen at his district and did he, willing, take the fall for it?
I hope there will be follow-up to the book “Investigators of Arkham” in which they will focus on non-investigator characters from Arkham. I can’t wait to read Tetsuo’s shortstory and find out what he did and what he lost!

Number 2: Royal Emissary
Messenger from Aldebaran

I did not know what or where Aldebaran is. All I know is that it houses a creature called Beast of Aldebaran and apparently they have a messenger who is an emissary.
These two combined tickle my curiousity.
After googling Aldebaran, I found out that apparently Aldebaran is a star. About 65 lightyears removed from our sun. Aldebaran is a star in the consellation of Taurus. Now, here is where it got really interesting to me. The actual constellation of Hyades (also referenced in the Arkham-universe) is within the constellation of Taurus. According to the lovecraftian universe, Carcosa is located in this constellation. Highly likely very closely to Aldebaran.
With all this information, my curiousity became knowledge so it might not fit on this list anymore. But it did make me google actual scientific studies, which is what “piqued curiousity” actually is.

Number 1: Dr. William T. Maleson
Working on Something Big

This card has become a bit of a meme, even though a lot people play it unironically. Which is the same for this list. From all the cards in the game, this one makes me really curious. What is Maleson working on? Apparently he has such an effect that he can “mulligan” an encounter card for the price of knowledge (a clue).
What is he researching? What scientific field is Dr. Maleson a doctor in? Is he the reason why The Experiment came to be? Norman Withers apparently found some strange stars and he became an investigator. Why isn’t Dr. Maleson one?
Remember the follow-up book I mentioned for Tetsuo Mori? That counts double for Dr. William T. Maleson. I would even love it if Dr. Maleson would become an investigator at some point!

There we go.
Thank you so much for reading the whole article. I know a lot of people skim over the article, just so they know the placements; but you who read everything, you are my target audience.
Now, I know that making highly subjective lists can invoke strong opinions within others. Which is totally fine. Everybody has an opinion, a favorite investigator or whatnot.
BUT: Just to clarify; The primary goal of these lists is to entertain. My writing style is informal, I try to include jokes and not talk as if I was writing a scientific thesis. All these things don’t mean that these lists are satirical. I stand by my lists a 100%. These are 100% my opinions. Just because you don’t agree with me, doesn’t mean that you can call me names, get rude or downright offensive.
If you don’t agree with my list or opinions, please, engage in a polite discussion.
If you, however, don’t like my lists for whatever reasons, please, refrain from commenting in a rude way. Thank you again.

PS: This is list is based on the current releases and will not be updated to include future Subtitles. The most recent release is “Devil Reef” and “Parallel Agnes Baker”.

Top 10 Elder Signs That Basically Say “+1”

Special Thanks to Cuherdir for this design!

My first idea for this weeks list was to make a list about subtitles on cards. After looking at Tetsuo Mori and noticing his subtitle “Too noble for his own good”, I got inspired to make a list about these enigmaticsubtitles that make me want to know more about their backstory. But I got delayed with making the list on Sunday, so I hadn’t started on my list yet. Then Monday I played our favorite game again, with a group consisting of Zoey Samaras and Trish Scarborough. We drew, well counted, 12 Elder Signs. They didn’t do anything. Nothing. Nada. It triggered me to a point that I decided to make a new list. A list containing just the worst Elder Signs. But I like funny names and Cuherdir had a nice design for a logo, so we dubbed the list “Top 10 Elder Signs That Basically Say +1”. But for all intents and purposes this list might as well be called “The Ten Worst Elder Signs While I Rant About Them”. With all that out of the way; I hope you enjoy this very salty list and I will promise, probably falsely, that next week I will dip in to the subtitles.

Ordering this list was no easy task, but the amount of Elder Signs to go through wasn’t that bad. At this point of writing there are 47 different Elder Signs: 44 Investigators and 3 parallel investigators. Out of these 47 Elder Signs, I made a shortlist of effects that I deem bad to poor. This shortlist gave me a total of 19 Elder Sign effects. After very careful consideration I was able to cut these 19 effects down to 10, but to be fair; I do think they all deserve to be here. I also like to point out; I used a single Elder Sign as comparison. Out of all the Elder Signs, there is one I consider to be average in every aspect. It would be on number 23 or 24 by default for how average it is. In this list I will probably compare to it a lot, becuase (in my eyes) it is a very solid Elder Sign. I am talking about Harvey Walters; “+1. Draw 1 card.” So, with knowing all of this, let’s get on to my actual ranting:

Number 10: Rita Young

“+2: Until the end of the round, ignore the limit on the above reaction ability.”
I love to hate on Rita. Now I know that this list isn’t about investigators in general, but it’s my list so I’ll do what I want. Everything Rita does, Wendy can do better. Wendy basically has better deckbuilding. Her ability has way more uses. Her stats make more sense. Rita doesn’t even feel like a Survivor to me. Then there is her signatures and her Elder Sign. Rita’s reaction is okay on it’s own, but the limit rarely needs to be triggered multiple times per round. It is basically a glorified +2. You could change the text to “+2. If you have cookies, eat well!” and nothing would change.
I guess her having a +2 would already make her better than some of the +1’s or even
+0’s, but most of time (not always, remember we are only at number 10) they have an added effect. Her Elder Sign just doesn’t do it for me. Rita just doesn’t do it for me.
Bonus thought; Someone in the Mythos Buster discord proposed a nice change to Rita which I loved. Basically it boils down to Rita’s reaction changing to be Survival Instinct. Letting you either move after an evade OR evade a second enemy. Long story short: ||Rita when?

Number 9: Trish Scarborough

“+2. If this is an investigation, you may choose any revealed location, you are now investigating as if you were at that location instead.”
Two words that will always haunt my nightmares: As if. Not to mention, this Elder Sign rarely triggers. As a clue-gatherer, you will almost always get all the clues on location before you leave it permanently. Maybe you will circle back later to it. But even then, this Elder Sign is so situational, the text basically comes down to +2. A +2 is still better than a +1, that’s why Trish is on number 9. A “+2” without any effect as arguably worse than a “+1.” with effects.
However, after drawing 7 Elder Signs with Trish in a single game and it not doing anything, I wholeheartedly welcome Trish to her rightful number 9 spot.

Number 8: Finn Edwards

“+1 for each exhausted enemy in play. If you succeed by 2 or more, you may discover 1 clue at your location.”
So before everybody gets angry with me. Finn doesn’t have an Elder Sign that just gives you a high number (like Jenny Barnes). It actually has a nice benefit. It has the potential to give you a clue. It is very rare to have multiple exhausted enemies in play though. I do like this Elder Sign, on paper. It really is well crafted for Finn. It works on everything Finn wants to and even has the beloved (by me) “Up By 2”-mechanic. But in reality, this Elder Sign comes down to a “+0. This might give you a clue, it might not. I hope you’re holding onto a Daring Maneuver.”
I must admit I’m a bit sad about it, though. Finn Edwards is easily in my Top 3 Investigators, but his Elder Sign always lets me down a bit.

Number 7: Ursula Downs

“+1. After this test ends, you may move to a connecting location.”
I would like to refer back to Harvey Walter’s Elder Sign. It may seem very similar to Ursula’s. They both boil down to a “+1. Take a specific action.” However, Harvey always benefits from Elder Sign. A card is always good, even when it’s not. Then there is Ursula Downs. I guess that she wants to move, but other than being a fangirl of N.E.R.D., there is not much she actually benefits from her Elder Sign. She struggles from the same downside as Trish. You want to stick to a location to clear it from clues. Ursula probably already has a lot of mobility in her deck that her Elder Sign most of the time goes to waste. Drawing a card is always a great action, moving can be very situational, suboptimal or even bad.

Number 6: Amanda Sharpe

“+0. For this test, you may double the number of skill icons on the card beneath Amanda Sharpe.”
This Elder Sign sounds very promising in theory. Having a Promise of Power beneath Amanda, for example, will give you a whopping +8 to your stat. But with that, everything has been said. Her Elder Sign just gives you more stats. At what point does a +5 actually matter more than a +2? A Deduction would be nice to trigger, but if you’re in the Mythos Phase and you to do a Willpower test, drawing the Elder Sign just doesn’t do much. At best Amanda can grant you something exciting, but at worst (and most common) her Elder Sign will just give you a +0.

Number 5: Jim Culver

“+1.”
Eh?
Okay, to be fair, Jim offers more than just a +1. He can choose to treat his Elder Sign as a Skull token (which is a 0). Jim can definitely benefit from the Skull, even though you might argue that a “+1” is better than a “+0”. His trumpet and several Mystic cards prefer the Skull over other tokens and then there are cards that don’t want to see a Elder Sign. But then here comes Harvey again, or even Ursula. A “+1 with any effect” will mostly always be better than just a “+1”.
The reason Jim is not as low as others on this list is because at least he can actually benefit from the Skull. But darn, wouldn’t I wish there was more to this.

Number 4: Agnes Baker, Jenny Barnes, Mark Harrigan, Ronald Banks

“+1 for each horron/damage/resource/clue on your location/on investigator X”
These are as vanilla as the Elder Sign effects come. I truly like Elder Sign effects that do wacky stuff. These don’t do anything except for becoming a very high number. As I mentioned in Finn Edwards, there is little to no difference in a “+3” or a “+10”. At least Finn’s effect can net a clue. But these four investigators really have nothing going on for them. There is an argument to be made for Agnes, Jenny and Mark, who all have Elder Signs who work well within their respective classes and roles. Roland is probably the worst offender in this category.
Also; I know.. “But, hey! Shouldn’t every Number on a Top 10-list only consist of 1 Item? Now it’s just a Top 14!”. To which I say “It’s my list. My rules.” They are all to similar to take up 4 different slots.

Also, I really wanted to include Rita on this list. So there.

Number 3: Jacqueline Fine

“+1. If this is canceled or ignored, draw 1 card.”
I despise this Elder Sign. Not only is a “+1” that doesn’t do anything on it’s own. You have to actively cancel or ignore this for it to have an effect. Just to add insult to injury, if you cancel it you draw 1 card. Let’s take a look at Harvey again; “+1. Draw a card.”. Jacqueline doesn’t work like that. Jacqueline is a rebel, she makes you choose. You either get the bland +1 or you cancel the effect and draw 1 card.
I hear you, though. Using her reaction, or cards like Dark Prophecy, can then give you a token of your choosing and then also the “draw 1 card”-effect. But that says more about Jacqueline’s actual ability (or the cards that are used). You can disagree with me, you can call me crazy, but I’d rather have a “+1. Draw 1 Card.” then a “Draw 1 card. Choose a lower modifier”.
Theme: 10/10
Usefulness: 1 out of 3 tokens

Number 2: Zoey Samaras

“+1. If this skill test is succesful during an attack, that attack deals +1 damage.”
We all saw this one coming from a mile away, right? There was a slight spoiler in the introduction. I was going to rant about Trish and Zoey. Now, here we are: Zoey.
Zoey’s Elder Sign is not only useless, but it actually just is a Glorified +1. It feels like it will do something, but it never does. Drawing this during a non-attack, just gives you +1. Drawing this during a attack, most of the time doesn’t add anything. It just gives you hope. And hope we don’t need in Arkham! You will draw it, when you don’t need it. The one time you gamble on drawing it, you won’t draw it. This token is drawn on your Flamethrower attack to which a Vicious Blow is already committed. Redundant.
Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I just really have awful taste.
Maybe.
Probably not.

Number 1: Daisy Walker

“+0. If you succeed, draw 1 card for each Tome you control.”
Oh boy.
Before everybody starts disagreeing with me, allow me try and rationalize this choice as short as possible.
When comparing to Harvey it becomes obvious very fast, but I will try to do it without.
Daisy’s Elder Sign has a modifier of 0. There are only 7 of these in the game. She is obviously the worst;
1. Wendy has the potential to auto-succeed.
2. Silas can commit a card to this test and then recur it. (That is a commit extra and you draw a card of your choice from your dicard).
3. Amanda is also pretty bad, but she can atleast double the icons, so she might even pass on a hard test by accident. She is also on this list for a reason.
4. Calvin can heal damage or horror if he is in the danger zone. On the other hand he can take damage or horror, which is great for his stats.
5. Mandy can look through 3 cards for a guaranteed draw or commit. She could even look through 6 or get 2 draws. Guaranteed draws!
6. Preston has the potential to auto-succeed.
Then here comes Daisy. Daisy who not only does not have a guaranteed draw, because she needs to succeed. She also needs to have Tomes in play.
It’s not even a +1.
It’s not even a guaranteed draw.
I know she plays on Tomes, but I really despise this Elder Sign. It’s a “Draw 1/2 card(s).” at the occasional best and a “+0” at worst.

So
Did you not like the position of the Daisy Walker? Are you sad that I didn’t include your most hated Elder Sign? Probably yes, that’s cool. Let me know which you inclusion I missed and why? Which Elder Sign do you really hate? Which Elder Sgnis here that shoudn’t be here?
Just to reiterate; I love to make entertaining lists and spark conversation. But please remember, this is all my opinion. Disagreeing is totally fine, but please be nice and respectful when providing feedback or in arguments about this topic. I hope to see you soon for the next Top 10 List!

PS: This is list is based on the current releases and will not be updated to include future Elder Signs. The most recent release is “Devil Reef” and “Parallel Agnes Baker”.

Top 10 Weapons That Make Murder Look Cool

If It Walks Like A Gun And It Talks Like A Gun..

Today is a very special day for 3 Aces (and 7 other things), because for the first time we are looking at player cards! After our endeavours with enemies and random basic weaknesses, this week we are taking a look at Weapons. The best of the best, that is. Some weapons are gimmicky, some weapons are silly, some weapons make you go “I’d like to try that” only to fail in your initial playthrough with them, but not these weapons. Today we are going through the Top 10 Weapons That Make Murder Look Cool. The 10 weapons that not only look great, but also help you get rid of those pesky ghouls.. with style! Every class has their own theme to weapons, but that doesn’t mean that one class has a monopoly on weapons. While this certainly may have been the case in the beginning of the game, at this point of the game every class has solid combat options. So let’s celebrate our favorite mechanations of murder today!

Just so that we are all on the same page; for this list we’re only looking at cards that have the actual trait “Weapon”. So that means there is no Dynamite Blast or Coup de Grace. Other, non-weapon, damage dealing cards are all excluded. A quick hit on arkhamdb will give us 68 Weapons. I want these weapons to be able to fit in most decks by natural progression. Which means that we will remove all signature weapons and rewards from stand-alone scenarios. Even though I personally love the Mi-Go Weapon, it won’t show up here. Also to avoid duplicate cards, by title, in this list we will also remove all cards that have a higher level version. Removing all of this will net us a total of 44 cards. 44 unique weapons. Murder. Cool.

Number 10: Sword Cane

Even though the Sword Cane is quite new, there are a lot of things that make it a great weapon. For starters, it has the great Relic trait, which makes it helpful for certain enemy types. We’ve already seen me rant about Poltergeists, which could contribute to why I like this card. Furthermore, Mystics don’t have a lot consistent tools to deal with enemies. The Sword Cane provides that just. It allows for an option to either Fight or Evade an enemy. I personally prefer evading enemies with the Sword Cane. Most Mystics will have a willpower stat of 5 or 6, making it rather easy to pull the evade off. While not having a Fast-keyword, the Sword Cane doesn’t trigger attacks of opportunity, which means you can safely play it without risking loss of health or sanity. To make matter even better, the reaction on Sword Cane allows you to immediately evade (or fight) the enemy. So it might as well just say Fast!
Maybe it’s the cult of the new speaking, but I greatly appreciate this card. Granted, it might be tailored to Dexter, it’s still a great weapon to me.

Number 9: Chainsaw

No Paul Bunyans were hurt in the making of this video.

You’re welcome.

Number 8: Meat Cleaver

The Meat Cleaver just oozes with theme. I love taking this card in Zoey or Agnes. I take great pleasure in envisioning Zoey running down a jungle, hunting for Vipers, while dual-wielding the Survival Knife and the Meat Cleaver screaming praises and ramblings about her God. If only real life were that simple.
But let’s get real. The Meat Cleaver does a lot of things and if you’re able to find the perfect balance in sanity and combat, it feels amazing. The static boost it gives to combat is nothing to complain about. While being low on sanity it can give you a static 2 boost, which is already insane for a level 0 card. The perfect balance, however, lies in the fact that you can take 1 horror to deal +1 damage. Thus, being on 3 remaining sanity gives the weapon the boost it needs. This will yield in a +2 combat boost and +1 damage. Also, if this kills the enemy, you will heal 1 horror. Putting you back on 3 sanity, instead of the dangerous 2. This card is a test of skill, but worth it if you truly have it.
I know I mentioned Zoey and Agnes earlier, but this weapon is also pretty good in Silas.

Number 7: Sawed-Off Shotgun

Let’s get to know each other. My favorite class is, hands down, rogue. My favorite card is a rogue-card. My favorite investigator is a rogue. My non-rogue favorite investigator has alot of splash in rogue. My favorite mechanism is (mostly) in rogue. While we will all cover this in future lists, for now we will stick to my favorite mechanism. I love the “Succeed by X”-mechanic. I know other classes also have this, but rogue really have this. The Sawed-Off Shotgun takes the quintessential form of this. Giving you a perfect opportunity for some great risk-reward-bargaining. Imagine dealing a whopping 6 damage to an enemy in 1 hit. Now imagine drawing the auto-fail; your buddy now has 6 damage. Thanks, Skids.
What I absolutely love about this weapon is its slots. Usually higher level weapons force you to use both hand slots. The Sawed-Off Shotgun allows you to only use the 1 hand. Which is great, so you can still equip a lower level weapon in your other hand for the smaller enemies, or lockpicks if you want to be fancy. The downside, naturally, is that the Sawed-Off Shotgun only has 2 shots and doesn’t give you static boost. But nothing says “Cool” like dealing 12 damage with 2 shots. This is even without a Vicious Blow or Double or Nothing!

Number 6: Beretta M1918

Another “Succeed By X”-weapon; The Beretta M1918 has some pretty heavy kick to it. Not only gives this weapon you a great boost of 4 combat, but it has a potential of dealing 3 damage in 1 hit. Having 4 shots makes this weapon deal a consist 12 damage. Whereas our Sawed-Off Shotgun in Number 7 doesn’t give a boost to your combat stat, the Beretta ensures you either hit and trigger all the “Succeed By X”-effects or you miss completely. This weapon is the most rogue weapon out there, in my eyes, while still being very efficient! A lot of rogue weapons have silly gimmicks or tricks to them. Not the Beretta M1918. Just aim and shoot, ready the weapon, do it again!

Number 5: .45 Thomspon (3) (Guardian)

I know, I know, I just said that I love rogues. So why isn’t the rogue .45 Thompson here? Even though the rogue .45 Thompson has the “Succeed by X”-effect? Well, I’m glad you asked. See, there is one thing I love more than succeeding, and that is resources. The .45 Thompson(3)(Guardian) not only gives a great static boost or provides a lot of ammo; the ammo you spent become resources! This weapon basically costs 1 resource! 1 resource for a consistent 2 damage shot! I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but this card being in the poorest class, gives it some great potential. It’s even better in Tommy, who already swims in money!

Number 4: Enchanted Blade (3) (Mystic)

At first glance this card seems okay, at best. It occupies an arcane slot, so why would you take this? But this card could easily replace one of your arcane slots that you love to run. Who needs an upgraded Shriveling or Azure Flame, when you can sport this great weapon? Let’s look at some of the great things about the Enchanted Blade (3)(Mystic). It has 4 charges. It gives a static 2 combat boost. If allows you to empower once or twice. Meaning you can choose to either get the boost of 2, take a boost of 3 with 2 damage, or go to a boost of 4 with 3 damage. The Enchanted Blade is just versatile and provides flexibility. It only takes up 1 hand slot, which arguably doesn’t matter that much in mystics, but still. To top it all of; It has the Relic trait. You guys know what that means, right!? Pesky geists are pesky no more!

Number 3: Machete

There is a very logical reason why the Machete got taboo’d the way it did. The Machete was a long time staplecard in most decks. Guardians consistently ran this card. Making a combat-focused guardian deck without the Machete used to be considered “wonky”. Why would you not run this card? Equip it in one had, while wielding a gun in the other, in case you got overwhelmed by enemies. The machete has the great advantage of not having ammo or charges! As far as initiating an attack goes, the Machete provides a consistent answer to enemies for a level 0 card. You could play this turn 1 and be considered “combat-ready” for the rest of the scenario. Over time people have grown to love the Enchanted Blade (0) as a worthy replacement, but the Machete still sits at the top of the level 0 weapons.

Number 2: Timeworn Brand

1-Hand slot.
Relic-trait.
Consistent combat boost.
Consistent damage boost.
Strong one-time effect that let’s you deal 4 damage and draw cards.
Sure, it costs 5xp to include in your deck and 5 resources to play, but once this card hits the table.. Enemies actually have to make a willpower test to not take horror from your awe-inspiring presence!

FLAMETHROWER 1: FLAMETHROWER

No, that was not a typo. The Flamethrower is such an amazing weapon that it can represent itself as a number. It got taboo’d, like the Machete, for a good reason. It doesn’t even matter that it costs 5xp (originally), we don’t even care about the body-slot it occupies. We just want to set the world ablaze and chew bubble gum, and honey, we are all out of bubblegum!

So
Did you not like the position of the Timeworn Brand? Are you hating me for not including the Baseball Bat? Probably yes, that’s cool. Let me know why. I mean, I know why, but let me know anyway! Which weapon do you really love? Which weapon is here that shoudn’t be here?
Just to reiterate; I love to make entertaining lists and spark conversation. But please remember, this is all my opinion. Disagreeing is totally fine, but please be nice and respectful when providing feedback or in arguments about this topic. I hope to see you soon for the next Top 10 List!

P.S.: This is list is based on the current releases and will not be updated to include future weapons. The most recent release is “In Too Deep” and “Dark Revelations”.

Top 10 Random Basic Weaknesses That Just Suck

Me Whever I Draw My RBW.

I truly apologize if you read last week’s blog. Maybe you were hoping for a Top 10-Lidy focusing on light-hearted subject or a list that actually focuses on the best of the best. Instead here we are again, a Top 10 focusing on something we’ve all developed a very special relationship with: Random basic weaknesses.

For this list, I’ve tried to look at all the random basic weaknesses in the game. The list wasn’t that daunting, luckily. There are a total of 36 different random basic weaknesses in Arkham Horror: LCG right now. The goal is to make a list where all the weaknesses on it hit hard. A list where every weakness makes you groan when you draw it. Nothing sucks more than constructing a solid deck, covering most of the game (from enemies to clues, from treacheries to enemies) to only then draw such a detrimental weakness that you might as well just rebuild your whole deck and start over.

What this means is that a card like Unspeakable Oath (Bloodthirst) isn’t on this list. Any combat focused investigator would love to have this weakness. It doesn’t hurt their deckbuilding in anyway and at worst they draw a card that has no impact. But also Indebted isn’t on this list. A rogue can alter it’s deckbuilding easily to circumvent this, or just take Another Day, Another Dollar. No, this list focuses only random basic weaknesses That Just Suck!

Number 10: Stubborn Detective

How ironic is it that we start this list of with an enemy? Well, at least Stubborn Detective has the great clause of “Bearer Only” next to Prey. But that doesn’t mean the Detective isn’t annoying. Most investigators have a fast way of dealing with this guy; He is easily killed or evaded. But losing your whole ability can be really frustrating if that is what you built deck around, which most people do. Per usual for enemy weaknesses; the Stubborn Detective hunts. Meaning that if you evade him, you’re best bet is to run far away or find an alternative way of dealing with him permanently. Also; How this guy managed to follow me all the way to Mexico and then to the centre of the Earth is still baffling to me, but then again: He is really stubborn.

Number 9: The Tower XVI

“IF THE TOWER XVI IS DRAWN IN YOUR OPENING HAND DURING SETUP, YOU CANNOT REPLACE IT. IT MUST STAY IN YOUR OPENING HAND.” Oh, come on! I get it, game, it’s a Tarot-asset, so where the other Tarot cards start in play for free, the Tower has to stay in your opening hand.. Just to mess with the general rules of weaknesses. But this sucks. I have to pay 4 resources, which is already worse than Indebted, to play this card. That all means that I; 1: Lose an action; 2. Lose a card; 3. Lose 4 resources; 4. Or be forced to not commit cards. Not being able to discard this card for free is just adding insult to injury. Other weaknesses at least give you a head start by giving you a relaxed first turn. Play some starting assets, prepare for the worst to come. Not the Tower.
They could replace art on this card with a giant middle finger and nobody would notice the change.

Number 8: Kleptomania

I’m going to level with you real quick: I love this card. I like the design and the idea. As a “Rogue-main”, Kleptomania is something I really can get behind. All of this doesn’t mean it’s really impactful and can seriously hurt your game. Losing an action only for an investigator to lose something that they probably need is so hurtful. I wish it would just end there, if only this card ended there. But it gets shuffled back in to your deck. I hate weaknesses that get shuffled back in to your deck. Imagine losing an action to Kleptomania, only to redraw it in your next upkeep phase!
It might seem unlikely, but then again; drawing 3 autofails in a row is unlikely, and yet we have all been there.

Number 7: Silver Twilight Acolyte

At first glance, I never thought this card was that bad. But the more I encounter it, the more I hate it. This card has 2 positives; It has the “Bearer Only” clause and it doesn’t have retaliate. But then here is a whole list of sucky-suck things about the Acolyte. He hunts. He has 3-Health, which is always annoying (I already ranted about this in my Top 10-List from last week, which you should definitely read if you haven’t). It has 3 Evade, which is a little too high to just (consistently) evade. Oh, right, and it adds Doom! Remember how you hated Ancient Evils? Say hello to recurring Ancient Evils which deals damage and costs actions to deal with. Ugh, makes me sick.

Number 6: Overzealous

Draw 2 encounter cards? No. Just no.

Number 5: Obsessive

Hey, do you like Card Games? Do you like drawing cards? Do you like to have a hand full of 8 cards? Me too, Jimmy! Psych. Now discard 1 card every turn. That Automatic you have been saving for? Discarded. That Crack the Case you can finally play now that you’re going to discover the last clue? Discarded. That Delve Too Deep you’ve been holding for 8 rounds just to play when everybody resigned. Discarded. Game, stop, I want to hold my cards!

Number 4: Amnesia

Hey, do you like Card Games? Do you like drawing cards? Do you like to have a hand full of 8 cards? Me too, Jimmy! Psych. Now discard all your cards (except 1)! That Automatic you have been saving for? Discarded. That Crack the Case you can finally play now that you’re going to discover the last clue? Discarded. That Delve Too Deep you’ve been holding for 8 rounds just to play when everybody resigned. Discarded. Game, stop, I want to hold my cards!

Number 3: Dendromorphosis

This card is so infuriating. Handslots are the most commonly used slots, par Mystics. It’s a weakness you have no control over. You can’t play any hand slots properly when this card is in your deck. While they are likely part of your “core gameplan”. The card itself can be dealt with quite easily; a free triggered ability that deals 1 direct damage isn’t that scary. But not being able to fully operate in the game, because this card could always be the next card in your deck is extremely harmful. Other cards don’t target you this hard. Discarding cards? Okay, I still have my assets. Doom? Okay, but I still have assets to make up tempo. Dendromorphosis? Oh, %$!$#.

Number 2 – Offer You Cannot Refuse

Don’t let this card fool you. You do not want these 2 experience points. This card has the potentiatal to permanently eliminate you. You can try and stop it. You can try and back resources, but you need those as well to play your powerful events and impactful assets. The worst part is, most decks rely on drawing cards. You want your strong cards out and replay them. Offer You Cannot Refuse puts Fine Print in your discard pile, which only prolongs your ineviable draw of this card. Didn’t have the resources? That’s a big problem. This card makes it possible for you to get eliminated in the middle of the campaign. Sure, you can defend against it. I guess it’s not as bad as…

Number 1 – Doomed

An Offer You Cannot Refuse on steroids. There is no stopping this card. At best; you could be permanently removed from the game around the 3rd or 4th scenario. At worst; you could get killed on the first upkeep phase of the last scenario. Everything about this card is utterly insane. Doom, discarding cards, taking damage; this is all losing tempo. Tempo is very important in Arkham Horror: LCG, so losing it will give negative results. But removing a whole, probably filled with experienced, investigator is not only tempo-slowing, but demoralizing to the core and, dare I say it, bad design.

So
Did you disagree? Probably yes, that’s cool. Let me know why you disagree. Which random basic weakness didn’t make the list you thought should definitely be here. Just to reiterate; I love to make entertaining lists and spark conversation. But please remember, this is all my opinion. Disagreeing is totally fine, but please be nice and respectful when providing feedback or in arguments about this topic. I hope to see you soon for the next Top 10 List!

P.S.: This is list is based on the current releases and will not be updated to include future enemies. The most recent release is “In Too Deep” and “Dark Revelations”.

P.P.S.: My group has a houserule to decide which random basic weakness you get. There are so many at this point, that drawing a random one from a big pile can become a lottery at this point. When we get to this part of deckbuilding, this is what we do; Every player draws 3 random basic weaknesses. We all choose 1 we don’t want from the 3. Then we shuffle the remaining 2 together and draw 1 at random. That is the weakness we get in our deck.
So, for example; I draw Overzealous, Indebted and Paranoia. I discard Overzealous. I randomize Indebted and Paranoia. My partner draw 1 at random, it being Paranoia. So I add Paranoia to my deck. Hopefully this houserule will inspire you. 🙂

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