Ultimate Ursula (Deck Guide)

Card draw simulator

Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
Ursula - How many actions you can take in 1 turn? 1 2 0 1.0

chirubime · 17760

Ultimate Ursula

reiko-murakami-lostintime-web.jpg

Illus. Reiko Murakami

Clue: 10 | Enemy Mgmt: 4 | Treachery: 7 | Tempo: 9 | Consistency: 9

Ursula Downs is easily a fan favorite among the Arkham Horror franchise for many. Despite her card pool being so much smaller than most Seekers outside monoclass Harvey, the few out of class cards she can access provide her with some of the most interesting card combos. This deck attempts to combine a few of those archetypes into a single deck:

  • Large & in Charge - Archaic Glyphs (Guiding Stones) has been a Seeker staple for clue acceleration for a long time now. Some of the best users of this card have been Daisy and Mandy because of their access to recharging mechanics (e.g. Enraptured, Recharge, Winds of Power). In this deck, we use Eldritch Sophist to move charges from an infinite source of charges, The Red Clock onto Archaic Glyphs.

  • Acceleration & Stasis - Since we can move charges to and from Archaic Glyphs and The Red Clock, we can manipulate which effect we want from The Red Clock each turn. Do you need to stay on the same effect with Red Clock? Use Eldritch Sophist before your turn to move off a charge from The Red Clock. Do you need to speed to a different effect 2 ticks ahead of the clock's cycling effects? Use Sophist to move a charge from Archaic Glpyhs onto Red Clock before your turn starts.

  • Jeremiah Kirby - Has this become the card I build everything around? More or less. This entire deck is comprised of even-costed cards (except for your signature ally, Jake Williams and Crystallizer of Dreams. Jake unfortunately will always be something that you're stuck with, but Crystallizer is a Relic making it tutorable via Whitton Greene. Kirby helps trigger your Cryptic Writings and establish your hand.

  • Cheating the Guardian - In order to maximize Kirby, we play no skill cards. We don't miss Deduction, because infinite Archaic Glyphs (Guiding Stones) has us covered there. However, we want to min-max events, so we play Crystallizer which let's us commit the events we play. We also cheat Crystallizer into play without having to see the bonded Guardian enemy by using Archaic Glyphs (Markings of Isis) to put the Crystallizer into play which is different from playing it.


Click Here for 0/3 EXP Deck


Mulligans & Piloting

There are two types of cards you want to keep in your opening hand: tempo cards and engine cards. Tempo cards help establish consistency and tutor for your engine cards.

Tempo Cards:

  • Jeremiah Kirby: Call "even". Draw 5 cards. Gives you the +1 that helps succeed by degrees for both Archaic Glyphs.

  • Deep Knowledge: Draw 3 cards. Be selfish, you're funneling all of your tempo onto yourself. Cryptic Research also works towards this goal once you get them.

Primary Engine Cards:

  • Archaic Glyphs (Markings of Isis): The investigate action for Ursula advances the game objective as well as establishes her board state / engine cards. You want to put as many of your assets out without spending actions to play them. Ursula compresses changing locations, grabbing clues, and establishing your board state with this card.

  • Magnifying Glass: Investigation tests are so critical for the game and this deck. This card lets you hit the ground running.

Secondary Engine Cards: Once you have your primary engine cards, then work towards unlocking these through successful investigates via Archaic Glyphs (Markings of Isis).

  • The Red Clock: This card functions as a way to extend the longevity of your Archaic Glyphs as well as allowing you to modulate a different effect that is most relevant to your current situation. More on this card in its own section.

  • Eldritch Sophist: This is how we to move charges from Red Clock to Archaic Glyphs.

  • Crystallizer of Dreams: Searchable via Whitton, crystallizer allows your events to also function as your skill cards. Focus on establishing other components prior to this card since it doesn't necessarily advance your victory. Only put this card into play with Archaic Glyphs so that you don't have to shuffle the bonded weakness into your deck.


Archaic Glyphs & Passing By Degrees

Both Archaic Glyphs want you to over-succeed by a big amount. This deck is built in a way to make your ability to pass those big investigate checks with renewable resources, such as assets that ready each round along with static boosts.

Static Boosts (+5 ):

Test Pumpers (+7 ):

Double Events: Commit these from Crystallizer.

Pay To Boost (Optional): There are a lot of choices here, pick which one works best for you.

  • Hyperawareness: This gives Ursula a chance to actually evade enemies. The lvl 4 version of this card gives you (+2 ) for free each round. If your team is reliable at mitigating the encounter deck, you can go for a greedier card than this.

  • Higher Education: This is 0 resources making it playable on any pass with Archaic Glyphs (Markings of Isis). The upgraded version is permanent and converts double the output of resources to stat compared to other boost cards. Willpower defensive uses are great too. Keep your hand full with Kirby.

  • Scientific Theory: The static boost and it being fast are the main selling points.

  • Quick Study: (+3 ) makes it a great for troubleshooting difficulty tests they aren't just investigates. Downside is losing a clue. The importance of that clue is largely dependent on difficulty since in standard difficulty, you can easily recover that clue with a big pass with Archaic Glyphs (Guiding Stones).

Markings of Isis Guiding Stones: Transition during the later stages of the game to compressing ALL of your actions into clue acceleration. In the early stages of the game, focus more on compressing your move+investigate+play actions instead.

Solo or Two Player?: You can consider swapping your Guiding Stones for Archaic Glyphs (Prophecy Foretold). This one lets you automatically evade enemies. You just try to out-tempo the game with this sort of build.


The Red Clock

Red Clock effects are generally pretty versatile. The two most relevant ones are 1st Tick and 2nd Tick. 3rd Tick is pretty situational as is 4th Tick. Something to keep in mind is that once you go past a tick, it takes a while to get back to that effect, so its best to lock yourself onto the 1st and 2nd Tick effects for a while using Eldritch Sophist. Here are the possible uses for each tick's effect:

  1. +3 on your next skill test - This effect doesn't have an expiration so you can actually bank this effect if you don't test at all from this round to the next round. Otherwise, use for passing by degrees for Archaic Glyphs, or for evading enemies, which is the only thing you can do against enemies with this deck. Let your teammates deal with the actual enemy management. Certain tests that are in play also find good value with this tick (e.g. Locked Door).

  2. Move up to two times - This effect lets you get your free investigate action off in either of the 2 locations you move to. You can even move out of your location and reenter it to get the investigate right where you are.

  3. Take an additional action - Much more situational. The first 2 ticks actively play towards your strategy. This one is probably most useful for dealing with double click treacheries and weaknesses.

  4. Get 3 bucks - The reset back to 0 effect where you take all the charges as resources gives your 3 money. You can actually amp this up to 4 bucks by moving a charge with Sophist onto the Red Clock between the start of your turns. However, you rarely need money. Events such as Burning the Midnight Oil, Crack the Case, Cryptic Writings cover a lot of that need. You also don't pay any resources when you put assets into play with your Archaic Glyphs (Markings of Isis).


Upgrade Path

Checkpoint One (9 EXP):

  • Archaic Glyphs (Markings of Isis) [3 EXP] - Bread and Butter!

  • 2 Magnifying Glass [2 EXP TOTAL] - The most important thing about this is the conversion of resources. It costs you zero resources saving you early game economy, AND now is searchable with Kirby. I like using In the Thick of It to get these upgraded right from the start.

  • Miskatonic Archaeology Funding [4 EXP] - It's not absolutely imperative since you can play Eldritch Sophist over Kirby. But once we need to hyper carry with clue acceleration, we need to stack allies for int boosts without losing out on Red Clock charge regeneration.

Checkpoint Two (19 EXP):

  • The Red Clock [4 EXP TOTAL] - Exceptional so 4 exp. Prior to this card, you will be using Decorated Skull to acquire charges for your Archaic Glyphs. This is less reliable since you need to wait until your allies or your fighter kills some enemies while you are present at that location, but still doable before having Red Clock.

  • Relic Hunter [3 EXP] - Once you have this card, you can play Crystallizer. Prior to this card, it is pretty much a dead card in your deck since you don't want to lose out on the Sophist + Charge Accessory (Decorated Skull/The Red Clock) combo.

  • Archaic Glyphs - Clue acceleration for the rest of the campaign.

Checkpoint Three (29 EXP):

  • 2 Cryptic Research [8 EXP TOTAL] - Good for your early game. Can be used for teammates if you already have all your engine pieces.

  • Whitton Greene [2 EXP] - Upgrade Whitton lets you see more cards helping you find Crystallizer and The Red Clock faster. The Willpower boost is also really really nice.


"Even" More Card Choices

I will list the resources for the card here because I am only considering "even" costed cards. We are NOT diluting Kirby when we upgrade/tech cards! The skill icons will also be listed for Crystallizer purposes if relevant.

  • "I've got a plan!" 2R : Only the Lvl 2 has an even cost. Fight option. Clue dependent.

  • Occult Invocation 2R : Another fight option. This one is Lvl 0. Having to discard cards is not great. You probably end up discarding events since your assets are important.

  • Occult Lexicon 2R with Blood-Rite : Another fight option. Also decent card draw.

  • Expose Weakness 0R : This card is pretty situational. You can tech it for your teammates, especially weapons that require success by degrees (e.g. Derringer, Cyclopean Hammer, Beretta).

  • No Stone Unturned 2R : Lvl 5 card helps you find the right engine card and fast. Can be also helpful for key cards in teammate's decks.

  • Unearth the Ancients 0R : The lvl 2 version of this card probably has some value in this deck. It's not my favorite since the relics you do play are not seeker ones, and there is some redundancy with Archaic Glyphs (Markings of Isis). You also get to choose your shroud value for this test.

  • Quick Study 2R: This card doesn't get played much. This is probably one of the better usages. It can be really nice for troubleshooting tests across multiple stats in lower player counts or if your team is lacking on certain stats.

  • Hiking Boots 2R: I have a qualm with this card. On one hand, it's like everything Ursula wants. On the other, it just is SO hit-or-miss depending on the campaign. Take TFA for example---you have to explore the locations for them to come out. So leaving your location after your get the last clue doesn't mean you actually see a new location. Another example is SPENDING the clues where you just were for stuff like Veiled keywords, fast objectives, and what not. There is no window for you to activate effects ON the location you just left and cleared the clues from. Definitely better for early game exploratory mobility compared to later objective-centric mobility.

  • Prophesiae Profana 4R: Ignore attacks of opportunity can be great for simplifying enemy management for your team. Group teleports are great too. The stat boosts are lovely as well.

  • Studious Permanent: Helps with early game tempo and combo consistency.

28 comments

May 26, 2022 Maya · 1

It's really lovely to see this character evolve. She ages like fine wine and has been getting some particularly interesting tools as of late. I love the Haas-Bioroid like wall of assets cheated into play as well. It's a new way to play her compared to the asset-lite speed build Dreamy Ursula.

May 26, 2022 avaira · 1

Love the guide and the deck idea. I feel crystallizer in this deck since it takes a backseat to everything else going on in the deck. What are your thoughts on running other relics like Eon Chart which is even costed?

May 26, 2022 chirubime · 17760

@avaira In a lot of ways, I agree with you. Crystallizer isn't really a primary engine for the deck and most of the icons you get are singletons which sometimes help you deal with treacheries defensively.

You can definitely play Eon Chart instead. For me, Crystallizer was added to the deck because of the internal synergy with Kirby asking the player to run as little skill cards as possible. Also, it perfectly works into the Archaic Glyphs putting assets into play to bypass the weakness as well. You are certainly free to make that substitution. I'd like to hear how that goes for you :D

May 29, 2022 Lola Hayes · 823

Props. Usually, I like to take a deck and tweak it for myself or optimize it a little more. This deck already works so tightly with all the cards working together in different combinations <3

May 29, 2022 chirubime · 17760

@Lola Hayes Thanks! What campaign/scenario did you give this deck a try in? Would love to hear about it

Jun 08, 2022 Revokee · 7

Thanks for the deck @chirubime - I have trying to run a version of it on TFA, I believe that the Archaic Glyphs is not that strong vs Dr. Elli Horowitz, which can cover the same purpose of bringing Relics to play with 0xp (and puts less pressure to have Relic Hunter).

I also question the need of Eldritch Sophist, how relevant is to move charges around?

And now the ultimate question that I have in mind: Isn't this better implemented by Trish? The reason why I asked this to myself was that, other than Archaic Glyphs, Cryptic Research and Scientific Theory, Trish can also implement this deck and with Rogue Events which are much better for Crystallizer of Dreams.

Don't get me wrong, I'm just frequently asking myself if 1) Can other investigate implement it better? Ursula has better stats than Trish, but Trish has better events and 2) What is unique about Ursula that others cannot deliver? Is it the Archaic Glyphs? I don't think that this is compelling enough vs other relics.

Oh and last but not least - I like decks with more points on "Enemy Mgmt", so I do think that Occult Invocation can add a lot (and I added Moonstone to my version to have some synergy with it). I tried a version with one Sword Cane as well, but it was useless to be honest.

Once I test it a bit more I'll bring the latest version here - btw thanks for open my eyes to Jeremiah Kirby btw - my next try with it is an Ashcan Pete deck with it.

Jun 09, 2022 chirubime · 17760

@Revokee I think a lot of your questions are just asking the same thing differently--namely, how valuable is Archaic Glyphs? (By extension your question about Sophist, your question about Ursula vs Trish's card pool). Markings of Isis isn't JUST to cheat Crystallizer into play. It lets you compress a lot of low tempo moves (moving which triggers a free investigate which gives you a clue AND an asset put into play free of resource cost.)

Elli + Crystallizer is definitely a great deck that both Ursula and Trish has access to. However, this deck isn't just an Elli + Crystallizer deck. Elli is odd-costed which bloats and competes with Kirby. Your Crystallizer is also tied to your ally slot and so kicking Elli means you lose your relic as well.

I also noticed that are only talking about Markings of Isis, Ursula's big advantage in have an auto recharge mechanic is letting you access one of the best clue accelerations cards in the game (Guiding Stones). Sophist moving charges also is important for Red Clock's manipulation.

In terms of enemy management, I naturally lean towards specialization and division of roles. Adding some a degree of enemy management that suits you is definitely a good way to tailor this deck for your needs.

Jun 09, 2022 Revokee · 7

Thanks for the reply @chirubime - you are right, I’m questioning myself simply “What is unique about this deck that others cannot mimic?” And it sounds that the short answer is “Archaic Glyphs”.

You have a point, I’m looking mainly at “Marking of Isis”, since it sounds that the “tempo” aspects would come mainly from it, but with 16 events and 4 ally with cost 4+, it sounded as a hard pitch for me. The same way, you believe that Elli is a hard pitch for this deck, which is totally fine.

As I said, this deck have been a good learning experience for me, your comments as well - I didn’t know that Elli’s relic would take relic’s slot.

Jun 09, 2022 chirubime · 17760

I'm glad that the deck was a jumping off point for you @Revokee. I think what I said may have been misinterpreted. Dr. Elli's attached card does not take up any slots. I simply meant that if you were to lose Dr. Elli to some sort of asset hate or damage/horror, then you'd also lose the card attached to her. Elli definitely lets you bypass slot limits!

Keep me posted on how your deck develops :D

Jun 12, 2022 karin1492 · 1

In your 0 exp deck, you have the decorated skull charges helping to finish off archaic glyphs. Decorated skull generates charges, while archaic glyphs needs secrets. I didn't think the two could be swapped interchangeably.

Jun 12, 2022 chirubime · 17760

@karin1492 no. Decorated skull is not used to finish archaic glyphs quest. Truth from fiction and sophist are used to aid finishing the archaic glyphs quest. Decorated skull generates charges which the upgrades archaic glyphs can use it you move them onto archaic glyphs with sophist prior to getting the red clock

Jun 26, 2022 SleepyLibrarian · 28

So I've got a variant of this deck running, and it's got a few major drawbacks. The first is that the Sophist is only good for moving 3 charges. Sure, you have 2 copies in the deck, so maybe you'll get the second one out, too, but 6 is not really an infinite number of charges. I added Calling in Favors to recur him at least once after he runs dry--that helps, but it's not great, because it smacks into one of the other big downsides of the deck--the economy. These are expensive allies to field without Dr. Christopher!

Jun 26, 2022 chirubime · 17760

@SleepyLibrarian Did you look through the deck guide / deck? The Red Clock generates 1 charge at the start of your turn every round. You move that charge with Sophist onto your Archaic Glyphs.

When you mention "good for moving 3 charges", I am of the impression you are conflating "secrets" and "charges" which is also a nono.

Jun 27, 2022 SleepyLibrarian · 28

Yeah, my confusion came from mistakenly thinking that the Sophist needed to spend secrets to perform his action. I think I just saw the "Uses 3 secrets" text at the top of the card and unconsciously filled in the typical pattern--one use per action. I'm glad to be wrong in this case!

I also look forward to the first time my partner and I manage to get through a scenario without blowing at least one rule accidentally. Someday!

Jul 04, 2022 Lord Triloth · 1572

I’m sorry to be that guy, but isn’t there an infinte here?

I mean you need Unearth and Chart, but if my math is correct you can play Uneart from the Chart action and Kirby from Unearth.

This might require someone to have Seal of the Seventh and you’d need scientific theory to not die and maybe writings to have enough stats, but it should work.

Jul 05, 2022 KillyoxArkham · 1

Looks like a cool deck Myself, I build with a theme in mind in regard to investigator and story. So for example no spells for characters like Ursula or Leo, at least for now :)

Jul 17, 2022 Findanniin · 1

@Lord Triloth I don't see the infinite?

You could Eon Chart free action play Unearth the Ancients, then Unearth into Kirby and draw five cards... Which is very nice.

Where do things go infinite?

Jul 17, 2022 Lord Triloth · 1572

You need two charts and two kirbys ig. Which at some point requires an additional cryptic research.

But then Unearth -> Eon Chart + Kirby -> Draw Unearth + Chart + Kirby.

Jul 18, 2022 tokeeto · 3

@Lord Triloth are you saying that you could repeatedly draw the entire (remaining) deck, and let Kirby soak the horror for reshuffling, while constantly replacing eon chart to bypass the exhaust? I guess that would give infinite wealth (and movement), given a single cryptic research.

Jul 19, 2022 Lord Triloth · 1572

unearth still finds a clue

guys

I guess you can also play like a working a hunch to find more clues. I mean 2x Research, Shortcut, WaH almost goes infinte.

Jul 21, 2022 SpaceMCK · 1

For anyone confused about cheating Crystallizer like I was: arkhamdb.com

Aug 27, 2022 Taevus · 522

@chirubime This deck looks really fun. Do you think Protecting the Anirniq is worth it, even being odd? Could keep Kirby coming back for more.

Aug 31, 2022 chirubime · 17760

@Taevus I haven't tried Protecting in this deck so I don't know. I think Protecting works better in an odd-costed deck with Calling in Favors, and the new Rogue Sleight of Hand for Allies etc.

Sep 14, 2022 Portinou · 538

@chirubime I must tell you, I both love and hate your deck. I am a huge Ursula fan, and I absolutely adore what you have done here, which is clearly the most efficient Ursula deck possible. Of course one can make a few changes (I personally try to add Eon Chart to get even cost cards only and use the secrets of the Sophist) but the core Archaic Glyphs-Eldritch Sophist-Red Clock won’t change. And for that I hate your deck, because now I feel how suboptimal another Ursula deck is. Every time I start a new one I am like “but if I add Seeking Answers it is odd costed” or “Sure I could add Gené Beauregard and Deciphered Reality to show this card can work but Cryptic Research and Jeremiah Kirby are so much more efficient”. Congratulations sir, you REALLY created the Ultimate Ursula!

Sep 14, 2022 Portinou · 538

@chirubime Now that I think about it, have you considered a The Red Clock + Eldritch Sophist + Pendant of the Queen combo? Sure the 3 Segment of Onyx are odd costed, but Whitton Greene can reliably find them for you?

Sep 14, 2022 chirubime · 17760

@Portinou Pendant loops with Sophist and Red Clock in Ursula are not bad at all. The investment will be 4 exp (1 for Pendant and 3 for Relic Hunter) whereas the Archaic Glyphs packages run for 6 exp.

Pendant is Pendant. I wouldn't necessarily play it in a Kirby deck, but in lower play counts where you need to be more self-sufficient, and/or auto evasions and teleports are key techs for certain scenarios, you can opt to run that. I would drop the Kirby Even package in those cases though and rely more on a standard Ursula build since you don't need Archaic Glyphs to play fast assets (Segments).

Sep 17, 2022 SilverTwilightLodgeJanitor · 1

Great deck, I'll definitely try it out. However, I don't think cheating Crystallizer of Dreams into play works (anymore). On the card, it says, "As an additional cost to put this card into play [...]" --- oddly, this phrasing is only on the card itself, not in arkhamdb's version to the left. So the Guardian shows up no matter how you put the card on the table; it doesn't materialize solely if you "play" the Crystallizer.

Anyway, that shouldn't stop the deck from doing what it wants to do.

Sep 17, 2022 Findanniin · 1

@SilverTwilightLodgeJanitor

The text on ArkhamDB supersedes the printed text.

NB: ArkhamDB now incorporates errata from the Arkham Horror FAQ in its card text, so the ArkhamDB text and the card image above differ, as the ArkhamDB text has been edited to contain this erratum (updated January 2022): Erratum: The additional cost on this card should read: "As an additional cost to play this card...". - FAQ, v.1.9, June 2021 [see also The Hungering Blade]