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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?
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.

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”.

One thought on “Top 10 Investigator Signature Weaknesses That Make Me Question Balance

  1. Great list. The top 2 are in a tier of their own for me. Dark Memory adds the indignity of making you cast it yourself.


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