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.
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.
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”.