Ancient Covenant

This is the card that is going to open Extreme mode to the masses (like me). It greatly improves the math of the bag. Let me show how!

You have yourself a standard Extreme bag, as follows: 0, -1, -1, -2, -2, -3, -3, -4, -4, -5, -6, -8, , , , , , , . Obviously the special tokens will vary, but let's say for argument's sake that the and are -3, and the and are -4. That actually seems somewhat generous!

Here are your odds of passing checks. The first number is with the plain bag, the second is with 5 's, and the third is with 5 's AND Ancient Covenant.

Even: 11% / 16% / 29%

Up one: 21% / 29% / 38%

Up two: 32% / 42% / 46%

Up three: 58% / 64% / 67%

Up four: 79% / 81% / 83%

What's the takeaway? If you are already well up on a test (say a +4), Ancient Covenant gives you a bit of cushion but not much. You'll probably pass anyway, and if you draw a , you're even more likely to pass, because by then you're +6. But if you're starting up just one? Even after that pull, there's still plenty that can sink you. Ancient Covenant gives you a fighting chance at checks that in Extreme mode are usually long shots.

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!!!

Sacred Covenant also helps you keep more 's in the bag. How? By cutting down on the frequency with which you draw multiple 's in one check.

BUT WAIT THERE'S SO MUCH MORE!!!!

This may be jumping the gun a little bit, but there's a new card coming out in the Lair of Dagon called Favor of the Sun (not yet up on arkhamdb but announced by FF). That card allows you to seal three bless tokens and draw them during any check instead of something from the bag. Combined with Ancient Covenant, that effect is INSANELY powerful, especially on higher difficulties. It allows you to auto-succeed in the most scandalous way. You can be two DOWN on a check, and pass it without modifying it a bit. How good is that? Let's see:

Pnakotic Manuscripts allows you to avoid pulling tokens on three tests, guaranteeing success as long as you're skill value is even with the difficulty. It costs 5xp, 5 resources, and takes up a hand slot. It also costs an action to play and an additional action every time you use it, unless the test was during a revelation effect.

Favor of the Sun + Ancient Covenant also guarantees success on three tests, but you can be down as much as two. The combo costs 3xp, 2 resources, and takes up no slot at all. And it costs no actions, not even to play, because for some reason Favor of the Sun is fast!

This combo opens up a lot of new strategies for Extreme mode. Of course, Favor of the Sun is max two cards, so you'll want to use other Extreme strats as well: automatic clues and damage whenever possible, fail-forward options. But now you don't have to fear checks quite so much. A card like Pilfer, which seems crazy to run when there's a -6 and a -8 waiting for you, now could have a spot in your deck.

So, if you've been eyeing Extreme mode for a while but haven't had the courage to take the plunge, come on in: the water's warm!

Physical Training

This is still seen a lot in beginner decks, so I thought I'll write an updated review (and because the existing pros and cons review is kind of misleading).

You should almost never take Physical Training (0). Not even as deck slot filler, unless you have nothing but the core set (in which case you might not have any other deck slot fillers).

This card (and this class of cards in general) is among the most inefficient cards in the game. By standard action-economy analysis, this costs 4 "actions" to play: 2 resource, a card, and a play action. That's a large investment for a card that you need to burn even more resources on to get any benefit out of. If you don't use it a lot, you just spent 4 "actions" for very little benefit. If you use it a lot, you'll find yourself short of resources to play actually useful allies weapons and events.

The + could have come from an ally or weapon you could have played if you hadn't spent resources playing and boosting with Physical Training. The horror damage you reduced by boosting could have been soaked by the same ally. Or the same boosts could have been gotten by committing cards that you drew using the tempo you gained by not playing Physical Training (+1 skill boost ~= 1 card committed ~= 1 resource anyway!).

If your 0xp deck is flush enough in resources to take Physical Training, it is a sign that you've over-invested in resources for your deck, or should take the chance to throw some Dynamites.

The upgrades don't have this problem because they have a much lower upfront cost (and synergy with Well Prepared).

suika · 7363
A one of card that can spend resources is more useful than it sounds, it is very easy to have one or two games with a deck where you simply can't turn your resources into progress, no matter what the situation is physical training will give you that progress, sometimes dynamite is in hand when you need soak, or an ally is in hand when you need to avoid AoO. and almost all assets have a cost of 3+ "actions" and there is certainly worse than a slotless comitable card. — Zerogrim · 159
This is great for P skids with O Back. He has too many resources. This pushes his fight and saves him from treacheries like rotting remains or frozen in fear. — Django · 3370
@Zerogrim difference being that nearly all other assets provide some form of benefit without needing you to spend even more resources — or if they do need you to spend resources/cards, they have much higher rates of return on those resources. And physical training won't help you if you need soak or need to avoid an AoO either, so I don't quite get your point (also nearly every card is committable so). Physical Training also practically never translates into progress by itself unless there's a Will parley somewhere, in which case you should have bought Fine Clothes instead. — suika · 7363
@Django 1) skids fighting with Fist isn't very effective in the first place 2) skids has much better resource sinks and/or well-connected 3) skids can soak the horror from rotting remains, and after a bit of XP he has much better options against Frozen in Fear and will treacheries — suika · 7363
suika I definitely agree that this suite of level 0 cards are simply not worth taking, except for one exception: a beginner Preston deck. He's simply got the cash to make those costs irrelevant but may need help with a head test every once in a while. That being said, even this advantage I've found to be niche as I usually am spending my 5 resources a turn on something else, and thus willing to take whatever the encounter deck wants to give me. But there are a few of those truly nasty cards (frozen in fear) that you just have to pass, and Preston doesnt have a plethora of cards with head icons to rely on. I haven't played with the super upgraded version yet, but I imagine it's simply cream these situations. — jdk5143 · 93
@jdk5143 Dig Deep is a great Preston card yeah. The analysis is different for Dig Deep and Scrapper as well since those are in the class with Dark Horse access. — suika · 7363
The problem with the "there are other cards that offer boosts" is that those cards often compete for slots. So a "slotless boost card" can provide more flexibility. — LivefromBenefitSt · 536
@Live the more relevant comparison would be using skill cards for boosting, since PT boosts are per test only. Skill cards are pretty much better every time than playing and boosting via Physical Training — or even random cards with Will and Combat icons. — suika · 7363
Well, except PT can be used repeatedly (depending on resources) which is like other assets but not like (most) skills. I think PT is particularly weak because of traditional Guardian resource economy problems. — LivefromBenefitSt · 536
Eye of the Djinn

I think this card is great. Even without a blessed or cursed package, it acts as a plus 2 or 3 every single turn. That alone is worth a handslot at cost 2, and it synergies with other increases given this affects base stat. Works great for over suceed rogue. I've used in Wendy Adams and it allows her to punch cultists - a huge resource save and allows her to do things that she normally can't. That situation is probably the biggest benefit - allowing investigators to do things they can't normally so each turn - pass head tests, attack, investigate. Amazing versitility!

Without a blurse package, this would be quite expensive as a +2/+3 once per round; compare the slotless 1/round stat boosters aka High Roller/Well Connected and the like. It also works poorly for stats that you're already good at. In true solo, the versatility will be still worth the price even without blurses, but in multiplayer specialization generally is more useful. — suika · 7363
I also think this is great, especially to boost will. Many rogues have low will and fear rotting remains and such. The eye is a great solution to that. You can only have 1 in your deck but backpack (2) will help you find it. — Django · 3370
@Django Eye of Djinn doens't work work in the mythos phase, so it won't help against Rotting Remains and the like. It will work for Will treacheries that require tests during your turn though. — suika · 7363
Seal of the Elder Sign

The most broken elder sign effect with this is probably Winifred Habbamock. Play your entire „overachieve“ combo, have your mystic friend commit this, profit, take it all back. Really can win a scenario for you.

You can really force it, too by putting Word of Command in your deck. If you haven’t already Wini & Jaqueline Fine is a combo you should try! ;)

Scarx · 9
Serpent's Haven

So this card lets me wonder, regarding Read the Signs: up until recently, I firmly believed, you can not ignore the trigger of the damage, because it happens after investigating. Neither could you move from Père Lachaise Cemetery after successfully "reading the signs". But I'm browsing now all the locations for a RtS review, I'm preparing, and I stumbled over the definition for Investigate Action:

If the test is successful, the investigator has succeeded in investigating the location, he or she discovers one clue at the location. (This occurs during step 7 of the skill test, per "ST.7 Apply skill test results" on page 26.)

So apparently cards, like Père Lachaise Cemetery seem to trigger, because there is a timing after succeeding in investigating within the test (which lasts until ST.8). But if "after successfully investigating" is within reach of RtS's ignore ability, this should also apply to "after investigating" in general? Weird! How are the opinions on that one? Or have there been any official ruling? (Probably not, otherwise it would be mentioned in the FAQ paragraph of RtS.)

Susumu · 101
I don't recall an official ruling, but I'd be of the opinion that any forced abilities using the investigation (or any part thereof) to define their timing point are considered to "trigger during" that investigation, regardless of whether they're "when", "if", or "after". — Thatwasademo · 32
(after all, Haunted, the keyword that Read the Signs was primarily printed to interact with, resolves "after applying all results for that skill test" — Thatwasademo · 32
Haunted works after ST.7 and before ST.8 so it's unambiguously still "during" the investigation. — suika · 7363
Agree with suika here. I also posted the question on BGG, and there KillBray reasoned that "after successfully investigating" triggers on the success, not the end of investigating. Seems, this was also somewhere officially confirmed. He agrees with me, that "after investigating" should NOT trigger. I wish, they had found a clearer wording, but that's what I will go now with. — Susumu · 101