Diana Stanley - Practicing Safe Hex (Hard Mode)

Card draw simulator
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
Diana Stanley - my version of StartWithTheName deck 2 1 1 1.0
Diana - Practicing Safe Hex - Now Even Hexier (Hard Mode) 130 106 35 1.0
Diana Stanley - Solo Return to the Night of the Zealot run 1 1 0 1.0

StartWithTheName · 14755

HEADS UP, I NOW HAVE A NEW ITERATION OF THIS DECK WHICH BUILDS ON THE COMMENTS FROM THIS ONE SEE THIS LINK IF YOU ARE INTERESTED.

This a deck ive been working on since the release of TCU. It has cleared the first half of TCU hard mode with ease several times paired with a number of decks, mainly other versions of this Diana while refining things (yes i know thats cheating, but this was for science!), but also my MinhFinity Stones deck (which is incredible fun), my current Yorick deck, and different versions of Joe some published, some not. I plan to take it into the second half soon now that i have finally settled on a design but I thought I would publish now since the player cards from TCU are all out.

I've not played much mystic as I've never been keen on the way they can do anything very well with the right spell... but can't draw that well to find them. It's always felt too swingy for me. Thankfully Diana can draw like John Wayne and Leonardo Da Vinci had a love child, which massively reduces that variance...

This is a deck that grows on you. Its easy enough to pilot, but with practice and a little attention to timing charts, it opens up combos you didnt see. Once you get it, you can really clean up, and you feel like you earned it in the way that a ringer deck like Mark or pre taboo Rex doesn't quiet do. Unfortunately this complexity has meant the write up has ended up much longer than usual. I will try to be more concise in the future i promise!

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OUT OF ORDER - Overview/TL:DR

A fast, thematic and flexible Diana deck that focussed on low cost cards and healing/prevention to capitalise on Arcane Research. At various states of upgrade: about a third to half of the deck are draw cards, about a third to half of the deck are cards, and about a third of the deck (including most of the cards) are spells, allowing Arcane Initiate to dig them out, making a very low variance deck with lots of spare pips to use on that X333 statline.

The deck aims to hit 4 around turn 3, then uses spells with + built into the action to reach an effective 6+ very early game. Until then we simply lean on wild skill cards and other spare pips fed to us by the draw engine, and a melee offspec for damage. Once the will is in place, these pips can be used on other stats to get leverage from our X333 statline.

When spamming out cards, her ID card fills up fast. So about half way through the game the draw engine will briefly stall while you find your Twilight Blade. If you didnt see it from the draw, Prepared for the Worst will be digging through a much diminished deck giving it very good odds on finding it. It can also be used to grab a Brand later on if Shrivelling are running low.

Once we have Deny Existence (5), the deck can largely ignore horror and actively use Terrible Secret to heal back up to 5 horror later in the game. With this in mind, and cancels like "I've had worse…"/Eldritch Inspiration, we can safely use the Big Shrivelling that everyone has been both drooling over for the 3 damage, and wincing at for the 2 horror. What if rather than taking 2 horror you could gain 3 pennies, draw a card and gain 1? with "I've had worse…" (2) you can!

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ONWARD AND UPWARD - Upgrades

Diana is very tough and craves early campaign xp if you want to get + spells, so we have 2 copies of Arcane Research to get a leg up. The deck basically upgrades in 4 stages to ween itself off relying on St. Hubert's Key for early and horror healing, and move on to better toys once we have alternatives in place.

This gets a little more complex than usual, so if you prefer, you can just click through the stages with this link.

.

STAGE 1: Upgrade Clue Spells to + Versions: This too important to delay as it lowers the need to to get cluing early. Use both regular and Arcane Research xp here. We have melee damage so Shrivelling can wait for now.

STAGE 2: Add more horror healing/protection: The deck is set up to reliably turn Terrible Secret into a heal with Deny (5) (see Achilles Heal). Once we have more healing we can start upgrading to Big Shrivelling and take or ignore the hits (see Witch Slap section), and move away from St. Hubert's Key since all our spells have + built in.

STAGE 3: Boost Combat and/or Utility Cards: Pick these in the order you feel suites your team composition best. Or frankly looks most fun.

STAGE 4: ADD MORE TOYS! Once the above is in place, pick whatever takes your fancy from the smorgasbord board below:

Spell Upgrades for Arcane Research:

Non [Arcane Research] Upgrades:

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DETAILED PILOTING

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INITIATION - Mulligan

Keep:

Depending on how many of the above you saw you might also want to keep a Recall the Future in place of a card. Muligan away anything else in the hope of seeing the above. If you expect to need combat options early:

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TOKE-ON TOKE-OFF - Chaos Bag Control

Usually when calculating the probability of passing a test, you count the number of tokens with a modifier lower than the difference between your skill level and test strength, divide this by the total no. of tokens and you have your pass probability. Adding something like Unexpected Courage just increases your skill to cover more tokens. However mystic do this a little differently with cards that let you “snipe” specific tokens that were failing and treat them as if they would pass despite their actual modifier. This breaks rules of thumbs around being X above test strength to get odds of Y. In this deck specifically we have:

  • Defiance is a great example If you were say 4 skill vs a test of 3 (one above) and your Unexpected Courage was additionally covering say -2, -2, -3, and the (at -3), and there were 2 s (at -4) in the bag, Defiance can target s and cover the -2,-2,,. Which is also 4 more tokens. Note that you didnt wast the Defiance if you didnt draw the any more than you wasted the Unexpected Courage if you didn't draw the -3 or here. This equivalence happens quite a lot but even if you were say 1 token fewer, the option to block a bad token effect, is a good trade off, and in Diana the trigger is a MASSIVE sweetener, especially if you saw the token on Premonition.

  • Recall the Future - Can snipe any token within 1 or 2 of the pass value. but is reusable. Importantly you arnt always trying to target a token exactly 2 outside of reach. You are targeting whichever token there are most of that would convert to passing if drawn. In the above example, this is probably the again because i've rigged it. Ofc if you pass on a different token than the you get to use it again.

  • You usually get the boost from your during the test you used the card. Check the timing charts, you check your skill vs test strength at Step 6, but you reveal or resolve token effects at Steps 3 & 4. Which means you use your before you check your will. This works for: Dark Prophecy (cancel is at Step 3), Eldritch Inspiration (Spell token effects happen at step 4, and you can cancel Jewel of Aureolus's at step 3), and "I've had worse…" (on horror/damage from Shrivelling/Storm of Spirits also at Step 4)). Importantly this means you can play as if the tokens had a 1 point more favorable modifier when taking these tests simply because you have the card in hand. its like a baby Lucky!

  • Similarly Sixth Sense itself lets you play with the odds: tokens are usually at the higher end of the chaos bag, so being able to pick a location with a lower shroud is similar to reducing the modifier on tokens.

  • Use Dark Prophecy To Target a Token Named by Recall the Future: So! lets put all that together! Lets say you are 2 above test strength on and are at -4, and you have Recall the Future in play. Name the for Recall the Future. You have good odds on seeing it with Dark Prophecy. If that was a test and Dark Prophecy was coming from hand, you can also rely on the +1 from the effect too, so you are fine at 1 above. And ofc, once you have Twilight Blade down, you can replay Dark Prophecy using Recall the Future on the again next turn. Combine this with Sixth Sense (4) and you can benefit from a reduced shroud and bonus clue.... quite a lot of times. Obviously this works on other non- special tokens too.

  • Premonition plays well into a sniping strategy: With so much draw power (See Drawing away from the Flame), you will find you have plenty of pips to exactly match required test strength or snipe the exact token with Recall the Future. Note that if you see a token, you can also be sure of getting a off Defiance. Finally, if you dont like the token, you can mulligan it off with Dark Prophecy because there is a special place in hell for whoever put that -6 in the TFA hard mode bag.

Finally Notice that a lot of these points work on , , or tests, letting you capitalise on your X333 for occasional clueing, evading or melee combat.

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WHAT DOESN'T KILL HER ONLY MAKES HER STRONGER - Building high quickly

Prioritising +2 spells in our upgrades means we want to get to 4 (ie 3 cards played, or assets etc) as early as possible.

  • About 1/3rd to 1/2 the deck can boost We start with 11 cards (1x Dark Insight, 2x Dark Prophecy, 2x Deny Existence, 2x Dodge, 2x Eldritch Inspiration, and 2x Ward of Protection) in the deck, plus 2x St. Hubert's Key. Early on we add 2 more ("I've had worse…", and Recall the Future works in a similar way (see Toke on Toke off section).

  • Your ability can be used every PHASE not ROUND, Plan it out: It is vital on your first few turns that you play more than one + (usually cards) per turn. It is worth understanding which cards can be played in which phases to let you plan a quick start:

  • This basically means you always cancel the first encounter card There is probably a reason you get Dark Insight in your starting hand. It looks to me like its in the design that she is intended to cancel something early. If possible use another card since Dark Insight is very versatile. With the +2 spells, that first card you use gets you to 4 when using them, which means you can land it fairly easily by throwing in a skill card. This may open up opportunities for a cheeky Dark Prophecy, "I've had worse…" or Eldritch Inspiration in the investigator phase and get that snowball rolling. Note that Uncage the Soul has pips so it can also be used as a skill card on a spell.

  • Self harming or taking actions to trigger a card is fine while low on . All of the reaction cards here are cheap. If you were offered an opportunity to spend an action to put a 1 will asset into play, for free and gain a card and possibly a penny, you would usually be very happy to do so... What about an asset that couldn't be forced out of play by an encounter card?

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YOUR ACHILLES HEAL - Deny (5) combo.

Deny Existence can prevent the horror from Terrible Secret. See the FAQ on Terrible Secrets ArkhamDB page. This also means Deny Existence (5) can actually make you HEAL horror equal to the number of cards under you when you draw Terrible Secret. Yes it is nuts. But yes I have checked it and it is correct. Given that this deck is spamming s hard we need a way to get very good odds on being able to block it. Some tricks:

  • You will usually see Deny Existence before Terrible Secret. because there are two copies, you are mulliganing for it, and it can be tutored by Arcane Initiate.

  • If Terrible Secret shows really early: It will do very little horror. You can just take the hit. This can go on a soak like Arcane Initiate or on your ID with the knowledge you will heal it back via Deny Existence (5) or St. Hubert's Key. If its doing more than you are comfortable with, you can lose a card or two from under your ID and take the smaller hit. If you didnt have your Twilight Blade down yet, that can free up some of the space you needed to keep the draw engine rolling. If you have access to "I've had worse…", either in hand or under your ID with the Twilight Blade down, this can act like 2 more horror available for any future hits. Similarly you will likely have Dark Insight under your ID so the blade protects you from any other weakness or an unexpected high risk encounter card.

  • If you have Twilight Blade down, remember you can play Deny (5) from under your card.. This means we want to see the blade early. This is what the Prepared for the Worst are for (more in Drawing away from the flame, and witch slap sections). But basically the deck is set up to see Twilight Blade and Deny Existence before Terrible Secret, unless Terrible Secret lands at a time when it will do little damage. Notice that this also works for "I've had worse…" on other sources of horror, ie that you can likely play it 3-4 times in a game. Which is like having 6 t 8 more san in itself before you deny anything.

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DRAWING AWAY FROM THE FLAME - A Seriously Heavy Draw Engine

I've wanted to play a high draw mystic since day one simply to find the converter spells very fast, and this deck draws HARD - You will very rarely find yourself with a low hand.

  • About 1/2 the deck draws cards: The deck starts with 11 cards which draw and the 2 Arcane Initiates, have 14 spells to target, so it will rarely miss early game. Thats 13/36 non weakness cards that draw (=~1/3rd fo the deck). With xp, we add up to 4 more cards (including 2 spells), and Jewel of Aureolus, taking us to a maxim of 19/36 (= more than half) of the deck that draws. YEAH BABY! This is why its fine to swap out Arcane Initiate for Dayana Esperence late campaign, 19 is probably overkill. Basically, you will not want for cards....

  • ...Which means you have LOADS of spare pips: This plays nicely into her medium statline of X333 since you can throw pips into off stats to pass tests.

  • Use Prepared for the Worst to find Twilight Blade early to keep the draw engine going: Since we are playing cards early and aggressively, the space under her card will fill up. When it does your effective 8 will land your spells easily but your draw engine will briefly get clogged. Hopefully about turn 4-5 ish. This is the ideal time to play Twilight Blade and start keeping 1 space under your card clear. Playing them is usually easy, but any of them can be committed as pips to clear if needed. You have been drawing hard so you may have seen it. If not the 2 Prepared for the Worst are there to dig it up now your deck is shortened. I've done the maths, you wont always see it around then but you have decent odds and one or two turns at 6 shouldn't really be an issue.

  • More tricks with Eldritch Inspiration You only get the benefit when you place it under your ID card. When you play it via Twilight Blade, you are free to use it to double the benefit from Jewel of Aureolus. So to spell this out. When you cancel Jewel of Aureolus, you get a card and a penny, instead of a card OR 2 pennies. Then when you play Eldritch Inspiration again via Twilight Blade, you trigger Jewel of Aureolus twice for 2 cards or 4 pennies. or 1 card and 2 pennies and make space for another card. You can also use the second play on Sixth Sense (4) to target a 3rd location getting clues from all three, and picking the lowest shroud.

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GETTING CLUES INSIGHT - Clues

This should be mostly obvious from the above section:

  • Use or pips to pass regular investigate tests until you have spells ready This covers turn 1 and 2 while you build , or any time while you dig for Rite of Seeking or Sixth Sense. You have 4 clue spells purely to draw one early.

  • Use one arcane slot for clues and the other for combat. Until you have the Timeworn Brand, you cant really get away with both Rite of Seeking and Sixth Sense in play and have a melee option.

  • With Eldritch Inspiration in hand you can use Rite of Seeking with impunity: Ie. you can use it on action 1 or 2 without worrying about losing the rest of your turn. Usually you wont need to play it and if you don't you get to use Rite of Seeking again in the same turn, but the fact you have the option, opens up a lot of flexibility. Note that once you have the Twilight Blade down, you have this flexibility even with it under you're ID card. Also see Drawing away from the flame , and toke on toke off for more Eldritch Inspiration tips. Its way better than it looks on paper with your ability.

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WITCH SLAP - Combat

Again, Most of this should be fairly obvious from the above:

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IGNORE-ANCE IS BLISS - Encounter Control

Hahahahahahahaha - yeah, seriously you've got this, dont worry.

...oh you're still reading? ok, well here's a few tips.

  • To state the obvious - cancel bad encounter cards or their damage/horror... thats sort of Diana`s thing... You have a lot of cancels. Play them liberally, get the Twilight Blade down, then play them again. This is why the deck has 2 copies of Prepared for the Worst to be sure you see it asap. Use it to keep space under your ID an keep the Draw and cash flowing. Want to be cocky? Play Ward of Protection from hand and cancel the horror with "I've had worse…" using Twilight Blade. This Get your back, gains you a penny, draw a card, and lets you bathe in the jealous eyes of your comrades having basically turned a mythos phase into a second upkeep... again. Just be careful about the timing on what is being played via the Twilight Blade when you do so as technically the blade blocks s in general while events from under the ID are being played (Cheers to @Deadlykipper for highlighting this - see comments).

  • The tempo boost from the cancels shouldnt be understated. Most encounter cards essentially try to slow you down or spend a little of your HP/San so you have to play more cautiously or spend time healing. Diana essentially tries to reverse this and gain tempo from these cards by ignoring them and using them to draw and progress her board state, or even actually heal off them. Play aggressively. you basically ignore the mythos phase for the early part of the game use this to get your board state in place fast and start progressing the act while the scenario cant really touch you, by the time it can you will be an absolute machine.

  • Early campaign Let St. Hubert's Key fire: Its there to cover you for low until you have got past the first upgrade stage, and to compensate for the trauma from Arcane Research until you have Deny (5). You have the money. Let it happen. Play the second copy if needed.

  • You have a X333 statline, Take the Initiative can pass most encounter tests irrespective of stat: In fact any of the skill cards or Recall the Future/Counterspell can cover other stats, and see the notes in Drawing away from the Flame regarding having lots of spare cards for pips. You are very flexible here.

  • Alternatively just let the test fail, take the hit and heal it back later With Deny (5) or St. Hubert's Key.

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Blimey you made it to the end. Well done, and thanks for reading!

I have left directions to a safe deposit box containing 300 vicotry points at this link. The combination is 0451. You are probably the only person to have read this far. You should probably grab it before someone else has a 10 hour train journey and no sedative.

46 comments

Aug 03, 2019 Alogon · 235

This is a very squishy build without Charisma, good ally soakers and with 2 Arcane Research. This means you will have to rely on your cancel cards to keep you alive. Since you have to save your cancels for the right moment, it will be almost impossible to reach an effective 6+ very early game (in my experience it will take atleast 6+ rounds to make your spells playable). I have tried Diana on a 3 Investigator team as the Guardian (enemy killer) and she just dosn't deliver. Maybe she would be a better clue gatherer? well the 7 turns you need on average to be an efficient clue gatherer makes me doubt that this is the case.

Aug 03, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

Hi @Alogon Cheers for your thoughts.

The deck is really not as squishy as it looks. Its been played a lot and refined to sure it up early campaign specifically due to that concern. The second “ally horror soak” you appear to be looking for is St. Hubert's Key. This is why I say to plan to let it fire. By the time it does so you have plenty of from cards anyway. Once you have done Step 2 of the upgrading, Deny (5) and "I've had worse…" will allow you to block even more horror, and even let you heal it back in large bursts a few times a game. The deck becomes an absolute brick at that stage allowing you to drop St. Hubert's Key in favour of Jewel of Aureolus (Stage 3 of upgrading section) for even more tempo. Rather than thinking of needing to “use the cancels at the right moment”, fire them off liberally until you have reached 3 or 4 will, you have plenty and with this much draw you will find more. You also need to think of a cancel in hand in a similar way that you would consider an ally soak in play, except they didn’t take any tempo off you to put into play, they in fact give you a tempo boost if you use them. That’s sort of Diana`s trick, turning a negative into a positive.

Reaching effective 6 on spell tests early game is VERY achievable once you have the +2 spells (see upgrading and Building high will quickly sections). With the +2 spells, 5 is literally just 2 cards played, and if you are using the token control tricks listed in the chaos bag control section, that 5 will act like a 6 for spells specifically in most cases. We also have a lot of draw feeding us big skill cards and spare card pips while the will is building (Uncage the Soul is the secret 6th and 7th skill card with its pips). Note that your ability is once per Phase not per Round. So you can cancel your first encounter card with #insight, and play any of: Dark Prophecy, Deny Existence, Dodge, "I've had worse…", Eldritch Inspiration or St. Hubert's Key in the investigator and/or enemy phase if you get the chance, or indeed just use Ward of Protection, Deny Existence, Dark Prophecy during turn 2`s encounter phase and you will have +2 very easily. Certainly it should never take 6 rounds to get your spells going. If anything by turn 6-7 ish you expect to have the Twilight Blade down and be actively using it to keep 1 slot under your card open and keep the $react train draw engine flowing. Your first game will be a little slower (latterly by 2 , but that’s why St. Hubert's Key and Arcane Initiate are in the starting deck but not the late deck, and why the start deck has wild extra skill cards to either pump will on spells or just use your other stats.

I agree in this build she is not a pure killer. This is why I describe it as a flex slot deck. She is a reasonable cluer who can stand her own against regular enemies. She lacks high bursts of damage and mobility to carry a team in this build at least. Later in the campaign Big Shrivelling and Timeworn Brand give you a little more punch, but the point wasn’t to be a dedicated killer really, just to up your game a bit. Later campaign enemies will have higher hp anyway. There may be a guardian heavy build that plays on her to be a killer, or maybe a similar approach but with more combat spells and giving priority to their upgrading first. But i have a feeling you would run out of charges. Anyway thats not really what i was going for here. She is just meant to be carrying her own weight really.

Aug 04, 2019 wern212 · 23

The title is amazing. Thanks for making me smile!

Aug 05, 2019 Quanz · 1

Great guide mate!

Just a quick point that I think you may have overlooked. You cannot use Deny Existence to cancel Terrible Secret and heal horror as it is a weakness and not an encounter card or enemy attack. This makes Terrible Secret an absolute killer in this type of deck

Aug 05, 2019 wern212 · 23

Quanz, you will be delighted to hear that all weaknesses count as encounter cards when drawn, and that Deny Existence works on them.

Aug 05, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

cheers @wern212 and @Quanz.

It not very intuitive, but @wern212 is right. There is an FAQ on Terrible Secrets card page. I will just C&P it here since i suspect a few ppl will find this helpful to know:

Q: How does Terrible Secret interact with cards like Ward of Protection (cancel), Delay the Inevitable (horror cancellation) and Deny Existence (horror ignoring) A: Terrible Secret reads: "Cannot be canceled." at the end of its effect. This means that any card effect which would cancel the card or any of its effects would fail (such as Delay the Inevitable). However, card effects which ignore the horror, such as Deny Existence, would still work, because it is not cancelling anything.

As written, this doesnt explain that weaknesses count as encounter cards per se, But the phrasing clearly assumes this is not an issue. I understand that everything after "A:" in the above comes from FFG, likely Matt Newman. I cant remember where it is written in the rules reference, but i recall being shown once back when the game first released. Perhaps someone with better rules-foo can give us a link for clarity?

Aug 05, 2019 Deadlykipper · 1

"To state the obvious - cancel bad encounter cards or their damage/horror... thats sort of Diana`s thing... You have a lot of cancels. Play them liberally, get the Twilight Blade down, then play them again. When you replay Ward of Protection using Twilight Blade, you can cancel the horror with "I've had worse…" to: Get your (head) back, gain 2 pennies, draw a card, and bathe in the jealous eyes of your comrades having basically turned a mythos phase into a second upkeep"

Could you explain this to me, please? If you're using "Twilight Blade" to play "Ward of Protection", and cancel the horror with "I've had worse...", surely you can't get your head back due to the exhausted Twilight Blade preventing you from using Diana ability. Am I missing something?

Aug 05, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

I think you may be right @Deadlykipper. I must admit i interpreted the Twilight Blade as essentially saying you cant use her on the specific card thats coming from under the ID, but the phrasing arguably prohibits cards while such an event is being resolved.

The comment was only really meant as a little humor and encouragement to keep 1 slot under her card revolving for the econ/draw. You dont necessarily have to replace the + with the same act that reduced it. going to 5 (+2 from spells) will be plenty. Im on a bus just now, but if i have a little time at home later on, i`ll rephrase it.

I havent actually ever had the stars align to allow me to cancel a Ward of Protection from under the ID with an "I've had worse…" in hand, but it was a trick I use to do with Delay the Inevitable when Diana first came out. I then dropped Delay the Inevitable due to its price.

Thanks for pointing it out though. Im not the greatest rule guru, but i like these guides to be correct so they can be helpful to newcomers in particular. I wouldn't want to accidentally lead anyone astray!

Aug 05, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

Interestingly, im trying to work out if you can do it the other way around. Play Ward from hand, cancel a revelation, fire the on the first effect of Ward of Protection. it then says "THEN take 1 horror". at which point im not sure if the Ward would already be under the ID. If so the Twilight Blade would cause the "I've had worse…" from under her ID to block the since it had already happened.

Anyone know the answer to this?

Im going to change the guide anyway. I mainly want to know because i like making a particular friend sigh while we play.

Aug 05, 2019 Alogon · 235

@StartWithTheNameThanks for your detailed response. I see that you seek to counter the many limitations of Diana through careful deck building and smart play.

Here I leave you a list of the challenges of deckbuilding and playing Diana, that you also seem to adress in your deck, and my take on them:

  1. She is XP hungry. Solution: Build her almost pure spell-mystique and use 2 copies of Arcane Research. Also don't use Charisma, Enchanted Blade(3) and also skip Grotesque Statue.

    My take: Yeah sure, I had similar ideas, but 2 mental trauma and having to renounce to those cards is a great price to pay.

  2. She is poor and Guardian/Mystique cards tend to be very costly. Solution: Get Jewel of Aureolus.

    My take: In my desperation to make Diana playable (multiplayer) I have also considered this. I haven't tried yet, but it doesn't seem very consistent, prevents you from running Holy Rosary and cost allot of XP.

  3. She is very inconsistent with her 38+ card deck and do all playstyle. Solution: Get Arcane Initiate and focus on cluegathering through spells.

    My take: You are almost completely renouncing to her enemy managing and guardian aspect, which is fine, but I would go even further by taking that Shrivelling out and never upgrading to Timeworn Brand, since they will most often than not end up been useless with this build (in multiplayer).

  4. She has a very slow set up (partly because she starts with 1 , partly because she tends to be poor). Solution: play her counters agressively (play them for Diana's rather than for protection) and thank Matt Newman for "I've had worse…".

    My take: forcing a Dodge or even a "I've had worse…" should be fine, but burning a Ward of Protection or a Deny Existence in a suboptimal situation can be a real misplay. Besides sometimes there is no enemy to dodge or damage to cancel, so a round will pass and you won't be getting any head .

  5. Terrible Secret can finish you if unlucky or if you do a small missplay. Solution: smart play or, in other words, hope that Terrible Secret comes early or hang on to that Deny Existence no matter what.

    My take: This weakness is really nasty if it comes late. More than once I have died to it or been left in a hopeless situation. It makes one copy of your Deny Existence a dead card in your hand, since you have to reserve it exclusively to counter it. If for any reason you don't have Deny Existence and this comes late, you dead.

Conclusion: I think Diana is better suited for Solo. In multiplayer she will hardly be as useful as other investigators. Deckbulding and playing Diana is like balancing an egg on top of a nail...while a ghoul is trying to eat you and a cultist is doing some weird stuff next door. She is very very fun to play though (except maybe the part where you make your whole team loose :D ) and slowly but steadily getting head is incredibly satisfying.

Aug 05, 2019 jjz · 2

I love Diana and have been playing her in Carcosa, Forgotten Age, Abyss and of course Night of the Zealot - all multi-player 3-4 player games. I agree - you want to get to 4-5 cards below her as soon as possible; ideally you want Dark Insight below her and not in your hand once the fifth card has been placed. In this phase she really excells by gaining resources and cards - after that you hit a road block. I found that seal of the elder sign is a must have card for her - you can cycle Dark Insight while using your resource and card engine. Also Alyssa helps for drawin that stupid sign. I think 2 rights of seeking and 2 sixth senses are somewhat excessive and costly; drawn to the flame might be a better card, especially as it gives you a chance to cancel something. I liked the jewel - I ended up playing with a relic hunter. I wound up with an elder sign amulet as well as a bullet proof vest and alyssa as horror soak - and in some scenarios it was really called for. In Forgotten Age gained another mental trauma so I started with 4 sanity each scenario. I didn't really like the blade - any weapons for that matter. It was nice at times but again, costly and not quite as good as shirvel once upgraded; also that arkane slot hurts. Maybe an (upgraded) Blackjack might be an option for her in multiplayer. Dark Prophecy felt meh... Grotesque Statue I would be careful with... it might end of beneath her after just one use.

Aug 06, 2019 trazoM · 1

@jjzWhy be careful with Grotesque Statue? You don't have to use Diana's reaction. And if you put it below here and draw an elder sign, you can recycle it and play it again!

Aug 06, 2019 jjz · 2

My Bad - of course.

Aug 07, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

@Alogon & @jjz - cheers again guys. Ive not missed your comments, im just a bit tied up with work this week. I have some early thoughts, but I may need to come back to things later in the week as thats a lot to reply to.

Anywho - its really interesting to hear peoples different experiences with Diana. It strikes me that she may be an ID where the deck composition needs to be tailored to personal playstyle more than others. I personally love fast decks with high draw decks that spam events for example. It feels like a more interactive game to me then. As I say in the intro, I was literally drawn to her because of her high draw and econ potential. Certainly I have never considered her as low consistency. If anything she is like a purple Minh to me. I simply assumed the reason they gave her such a deep deck was to compensate for her draw potential (as long as the reaction cards are 0 or 1 cost), and that the reason they make her work to get her will up was to stop ppl using all this draw to convert all her tests through one stat (which in mystic would be will). Here at least she has to wait the same a round or two that most mystics spend finding tools if they didn’t get lucky with the mulligan.

For Terrible secret, I personally haven’t found it that crippling. The deck is set up to counter it hard I suppose due to a desire to capitalise on the deny (5) combo. But even if you were relying on the 2 deny in the deck alone, terrible secret will appear before them 1 game in 3. I cant do the odds on it quickly here but arcane initiate improves this a lot and if it is before the denys, it is likely among the early parts of the deck so the horror hit is unlikely to be a full 5 horror, so you are often fine to just take the hit or block it (at least in part using another method), such as: losing an initiate, firing huberts, playing ive had worse (I completely agree it polishes off the deck btw), discarding a card or two, or some combination. You can also let some horror through with the intention of healing back when you see deny (5). The odds on secret showing before ALL of these options AND taking a big his diminishes extremely fast. This is another reason for prioritising the blade - you can plan to reuse cancels under the card on terrible secret specifically.

Between the two of you, you mention quite a few cards I haven’t really tried in her. For example Ive never used seal of the elder sign in her, but I am reliably told by a friend that it is great. I tried the mystic enchanted blade once. I wasn’t keen on how fast the charges ran out, though I tended to spend them in 2s so perhaps I was missing something. I have actually not used grotesque statue on any char since possibly dunwich. I didn’t even consider it here because I had both hand slots earmarked for weapons and I had slot problems adding ritual candles at one point (bandolier was too slow for me too before you ask). To me recall the future sort of does a similar thing but indefinitely and without losing slots (i realise it is a weaker benefit ofc).

I perhaps should have said in the text, but the only reason for 2x rite and 2x sixt sense @jjz, is to see at least one of them early. I dont plan to play more than 1 (or 2 if it was a rite first and it ran out of charges). Shriv and enchanted blade/brand form a similar pairing. I agree playing all of them would be excessive.

anyway - i have somehow managed yet another long post. Sorry! cheers again for your thoughts.

Aug 07, 2019 ak45 · 68

Great deck! It seems powerful and fun to juggle cancels. Some card choices (Dark Prophecy, Premonition, Jewel of Aureolus and Recall the Future) are really interesting. I will definitely try out this build in my next campaign.

Some questions:

  • St. Hubert's Key: Why not Holy Rosary? It doesn't seem like the boost is meaningful enough for the 2 cost difference, especially since the deck runs 4 clue-gathering spells. For buff / horror soak they are similar.
  • Skills: What about Steadfast? I know the deck uses 2 Arcane Researchs, but with this many cancels it should not need much effort to keep Steadfast at 2-3 icons.

Thank you in advance!

Aug 07, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

Cheers @ak45.

Yeah Holy Rosary and St. Hubert's Key are largely going to be a personal preference thing. My preference for Huberts, and the use of Take the Initiative rather than Steadfast, are actually related.

Her flat statline means that wild pips are very versatile in her. The skill cards listed may as well all be Unexpected Courages. Similarly Recall the Future is a bit like a recurring single wild pip in terms of how it effects the draw odds (basically you can usually target a token there are 2 copies of in the bag and bring it into range, which is on par with what 1 higher skill value covers in a lot of circumstances). I love Steadfast in other decks, but i wanted the option to use the skill cards to clue very early game or pass tests on encounter cards or evade if needed. This links to the booster on St. Hubert's Key, as the effective 6 you can get with 4+ 2 wild pips is ok for investigating. Its not going to last you the game and its not hitting high shrouds reliably, but its fine while you are building will or if Rite of Seeking runs out of charges befor you find Sixth Sense. You are right though. These circumstances are rare. But it is a fairly rich deck. Notice that almost all of the events are effectively zero cost or cash generating. You only really pay out sizable expenses on 2 or 3 spells/weapons, her blade, and the accessory slot. You may as well have the extra functionality.

I am actually really surprised so many people find Dark Prophecy an unexpected pick. I almost see it as an auto include in diana as it is so easy to get the boost from it early game. Notice that you dont have to pass the test and it draws you a card, which early game you may have done with the action anyway. Also notice that s often start low in a scenario and increase as the game progresses. If you keep an eye on them, you can often throw pips into an early test (like these wild skill cards) to get yourself into a position where the skull would pass using on a ,, or test. Which is quite nice early game while building up .

Aug 07, 2019 Deadlykipper · 1

@StartWithTheNameCould you explain from your last comment: How does Dark Prophecy draw you a card? (sorry, I'm quite new to the game - loving it, though!)

Aug 07, 2019 trazoM · 1

@Deadlykipper If you draw one of the BS-tokens, the others are ignored, so you get your money for Dark Prophecy back and draw a card (Diana's reaction).

Aug 07, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

Hi @Deadlykipper - Dark Prophecy "ignore"s the 4 tokens that you revealed but chose not to keep, so it triggers Diana`s ability and lets you draw a card. I disregarded the penny you gain because you had to spend a penny to earn it back. The net effect (assuming you could pay the penny to play it) is 1 card and 1 for 1 action, plus anything you get from the test. Ofc if you see it later in the game its also nice with Sixth Sense and Jewel of Aureolus.

In case it helps clarify things, there is an FAQ on the Diana Stanley card page:

"Q: Does cancelling or ignoring a chaos token count as a cancel/ignore for Diana Stanley's ability? A: A chaos token is a game effect which can be ignored or canceled. If you cancel or ignore a chaos token using one of your cards, you can place that card beneath Diana Stanley using her reaction ability. This includes both Counterspell and Dark Prophecy, as well as any other card effect that cancels or ignores a chaos token or a chaos token’s effect (such as Defiance, Grotesque Statue, etc)."

As before the bit after the "A:" is from FFG, likely Matt Newman.

Aug 07, 2019 Deadlykipper · 1

@StartWithTheNameI'm so dumb. I've played her twice, and completely missed the "draw a card and gain a resource" part of her ability. Thanks for pointing it out. I have no idea how I missed it :/

Aug 08, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

@Deadlykipper - Oh wow. Thats harsh. Shes definitely an ID with a lot of things going on I guess its easy to miss some of them. I can only imagine how much harder that made her.

Aug 08, 2019 Yann · 74

@StartWithTheName I really like your deck building guides and they really helped me to set up a nice Diana synthesis (which I published almost the same day you published this one ;) Thanks for all the work !

However, I was never convinced (in hard difficulty) by the way almost everyone seems to use her skills. I think 3 is really not enough to be useful, and as such any card towards seems wasted to me. Ok, with Timeworn brand and wildcard pips you can achieve something, but the cost (xp+resources+1 card each action to get the required pips) is prohibitive to me, on a regular basis. How does every one manage that ? My only options were to fail often, or spill my hand in support (both options I dislike).

Aug 09, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

Cheers @Yann, i saw [Fantastic deck (link here for anyone who wants a read)](youre arkhamdb.com) as it was posted actually. Really unfortunate timing. I think that tick was from me. I was actually tempted to reply, but i was worried that might look like i was trying to hijack the thread. I loved the write up btw. Youve clearly given things a lot of thought.

Anyway - my thoughts - I have a feeling FFG have been making real efforts to make it possible to fight with a 3 ID recently. A lot of weapons have +2 and +1 damage, Enchanted Blade, .45 Thompson, Meat Cleaver, Timeworn Brand, and i swear ive missed some. Anyway, ive written about this in other deck deck write ups, but if we think back to the core, Machete + Beat Cop was a staple in guardians for quite a long time as this got them to 6. these +2 get you there in 1 card. Which means for a 3 ID, you can achieve a similar thing with Timeworn Brand + Beat Cop.

In this build Beat Cop is basically replaced by Recall the Future - though in Diana's defense, she can also take Beat Cop and/or Ace of Swords if someone was going full melee.

If you look at the Hard mode TCU chaos bag (note this deck was refined on this bag, and hasnt been tested elsewhere, so this logic might not carry over):

, 0, 0, –1, –1, –2, –2, // –3, –4, –5, , , + either , or , .

Ive put a // to divide the tokens that being 2 above a 3 strength test would cover. Note that s typically start low and increase over an sc. This link should let you look through all the sc cards (i think). If you look through them, the skulls start as -2s (or safer) on hard in most scs. They typically then increase. U&U is the exception starting at -3. Which means at 2 above, you will land the hit on a 3 enemy 9/15 =60% times early game without adding pips (not great i agree). Oddly if you add permanent skulls to the bag for spoiler reasons this even helps you. The or are usually -3 or -4. though they each have a spot as a -2. Which means 1 copy of Recall the Future covers you for an extra 2 tokens (11/15 = ~73%) so long as you target the /. By the time you put the second Recall the Future, into play, you are likely targeting the s since they may have escalated by then, but if you are fast you can be higher.

Compare this to our old Machete/Beat Cop 6 guardian:

, 0, 0, –1, –1, –2, –2, –3, // –4, –5, , , + either , or , .

They are only sniping the -3. Not the / tokens so not only are your odds actually lower (8/15=53%), but you risk "on fail" / effects. Ofc this isnt really a fair comparison, the new Machete/Beat Cop is arguably Timeworn Brand/Beat Cop with 7. Covering everything but the -5 & (13/15 = ~85%). But they have had to find the same number of cards to achieve this, and they probably dont have Dianas draw engine to find them quite as early.

Youve gained a reasonable amount of additional accuracy, but lost the flexibility of Recall the Future which can be used on any test, not just combat to leverage more from the X333 statline and give you even more options to boost early on. Incidentally you can do a similar thing with Well Prepared especially since your trying to get the Twilight Blade down ( pips), I just like the fact Recall the Future rarely exhausts so it may as well be a +1 to basically all tests that turns off until the end of turn (2/15 = ~13% of the time). If you wanted you could throw in a Ace of Swords and be identical to the 7 guardian but with 1 more card to find for your rig. You then use Recall the Future on the -5 to cover litterally all of the bag except the . Note that any single pip will do the same for 1 test.

So the price of this flexibility is a need to spend the odd pip to land some of these hits, but we do have the skill cards and a ton of draw here. They will be found and they will replace. You just cant go on a massive killing spree every turn. You arguably couldnt anyway since if you are carrying the team`s combat duties you really need more +damage stuff that i didnt take here.

The main thing is the melee here is not the primary function of the deck, it’s a flex slot deck not a killer. Its only really set up to handle its own enemies, not the whole team’s. You only need to be able to handle an enemy here and there, and the melee in this build is really covering for early game or if Shrivelling didn’t show and save you charges on small enemies. These are quite common in TCU since [WARNING SPOILERS HEAD], almost all TCU scs use enemy sets (have a look here) with 3 little things with 2 or 3 and 1 big thing with 4 ish that keep coming out of the encounter deck. (cultists, witches, lodge fellas, wraiths, rats). A lot of enemy based encounter sets are built with this structure generally but im not sure if TCU has been a little more generous. If we keep the Shrivelling charges back for the big stuff, and use the melee on the smalls, we basically last a lot longer on the big stuff. This was pretty much the only reason to upgrade to 1x Timeworn Brand – since Enchanted Blade also runs out. Now you are evergreen on the majority of enemies.

Finally – adding some sort of weapons also lets you get a little more milage out of Prepared for the Worst, which would only have 1 target if it was there for the Twilight Blade only. I wouldn’t usually use Prepared for the Worst on less than 4 targets, but the blade is too core to how Diana functions.

Aug 09, 2019 Deadlykipper · 1

@StartWithTheNameyour posts are always very informative. Thanks.

One question: "By the time you put the second Recall the Future, into play..." What do you mean by this? I thought you could only have one card with the same name down at a time?

Aug 09, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

hi @Deadlykipper. That is true of unique cards only. Recall the Future isnt unique. You see the little star next to the name on St. Hubert's Key, that isnt there on Holy Rosary for example. That denotes that the card is unique. Ie there is thematically only one of it in the world presumably. You will see it on all the named allies too since it would be weird if say Peter Sylvestre was in two places at once. If a card isnt unique you can have more than 1 copy in play. There are a few similar cases like Lone Wolf etc which specifies each investigator can only have one copy in play, though two differnt players could have one each. But if you imagine if no one could have the same card in play as another person, the "limit 1 per investigator" on some cards would be a moot point.

Aug 09, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

hang on - i messed up. the "If you wanted you could throw in a Ace of Swords and be identical to the 7 guardian but with 1 more card to find for your rig. You then use Recall the Future on the -5 to cover litterally all of the bag except the . Note that any single pip will do the same for 1 test" should have been refering to Brand + cop + swords + recall. thats 4 cards not 3. But you can be very similar to the 7 combat guardian with 3 cards. thats what i meant. Not superior. I must have edited myself badly when typing.

Aug 09, 2019 Deadlykipper · 1

@StartWithTheNameI have so much to learn/remember! Thanks for your patience/information.

Aug 11, 2019 Yann · 74

More on the topic of weapons vs spells: I have crunched some numbers to compare the well known Timeworn brand with the more recent Wither(4). The numbers can be seen here. Of course, I made some assumptions, some simplifications, probably some mistakes, and averaged everything ; so, please feel free to suggest any improvement. Besides, statistics can be interpreted in various ways. So, here is one possible interpretation:

First, what I see there, is that the sweet spot to kill you average monster in 1 turn with the Timeworn Brand is 4. Definitely not 3. As such, any other investigator than Diana is better suited to wield that weapon than her. Ok, not any other, but you see what I mean. So, why persist on that way with her ? There may be a reason, really, but for now I don't see it. Yes, we go there with the Beat cop, but at what price ? Cutting Arcane initiate, and paying 4 resources are both heavy. Also, requiring a second card to make the first work, really takes the former's efficiency down.

Speaking of additional cards to make the weapon work, we see that adding Recall the Future or the Ritual candles does not change that much. Of course, you deal more damage, but you are still not killing (on average) your (average) monster in 1 turn with 3 base .

Then, there is the new Wither, which hits at +2 with (sort of) +1 damage in case of special tokens. That spell costs almost the same in xp, and less than half in resources. In a vacuum, that spell is still way behind the weapon, since it requires 2 more points to deal even slightly less damage over one turn. Also, adding Recall the future, or ritual candles is such a marginal improvement that it does not seem to be worth the effort. However, I claim that, with Diana, it is not harder to reach 6 than 4. And even more so, the number of pips in the deck is twice the number of ones.

So, I do not say every one should do the same, but this is certainly to consider, at least in terms of overall deck fluidity.

This reading of those numbers makes me think that (Wither + Arcane initiate + Holy rosary) seems to be better in terms of overall deck consistency than (Timeworn brand + Prepare for the worst + Beat cop), while being equivalent(ish) in terms of damage dealing. It might still come down to personal preference, but this is certainly an almost equivalent option to consider, especially to preserve the intiate.

Of course, please feel free to argue against it ;) This is mostly theory crafting and I may have overseen many real-life details.

Aug 11, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

Cheers @Yann

Its certainly an interesting argument for Wither (4). It’s a card ive got my eye on, but not yet actually tried yet. I have heard others say its much better than it looks at first glance, though I am a little apprehensive about relying on its pseudo bonus damage without more tools to fish out tokens. This particular deck only really has Dark Prophecy & Premonition (which admittedly doent fish as much as tell you which action to use on an attack). If we were running Olive McBride, some seal stuff to get rid of the neutral -4 &-5, or using that freed up hand slot for Grotesque Statue etc, there might be something there though. Ive just not tried it out. The other options for spell attacks are Shards of the Void and Shrivelling both of which like Grotesque Statue and Shards of the Void could benefit from Olive McBride too. These come with the + and certainty around the 2 damage.

I must admit, im not sure I understand your spreadsheet fully. Have you used average values for some of the tokens rather than looking at each bag case by case? Also am I right in reading that you have taken average values for the enemies , and essentially ran a calculation that is based on enemies with 3.5 and tokens at -2.5 etc?

If so I suspect this is causing the pass odds to be artificially low certainly 41% cant be right against a 3 enemy. Even a 4 enemy with Recall the Future targeting the -2s instead of or , that should pass on 7 tokens out of 15 (, 0, 0, –1, –1, –2(r), –2(r) // –3, –4, –5, , , , , ), which is 46%. As I show above, draw odds vs a 3 enemy should be around the 60% and 73% mark for a diana with a Brand and Brand + Recall respectively. I wonder if somewhere in the sheet, the recall is targeting a specific token rather than whatever token there happens to be the most of that could be moved into the “pass zone”.

I do a lot of mathematical simulation modelling as part of my work, and I would always strongly advise against average values in this sort of modelling. It feels like a handy shortcut, but it only works in very limited circumstances. More often than not it introduces considerable bias in results. The classic joke being "bill gates walks into a bar, everyone on average is now a millionaire". Unfortunately for this sort of problem you always have to just count up the actual tokens and enemies. Specifically pay attention to tokens that change values and what time in the game they do so. This is usually just the , but the timing of this matters massively. If you are reliant on a support card like Recall the Future to cover you for when the increases, but you are confident you have the draw to find the support in time, its very different to being dependent on the support at all times.

The other thing at very least for the 3.5 enemy average, is that the Timeworn Brand is really just there to deal with the small stuff. So litterally just things upto 3. Spoiler can be a particularly stubborn issue for charge based attacks mainly due to its HP. You can at least usually tank the hits with Dodge/Deny Existence etc. Shrivelling or a skill card are there for the 1 "Big" enemy in the sets of 4 that i linked (like Spoiler depending on timing). These should only come up very occasionally as they have to cycle through the encounter deck to reappear. I also really like the Timeworn Brands one shot ability for these, particularly if they are VP enemies that will then not come back through the deck.

Ofc if you are wanting to make a more combative Diana Stanley, (and just to reiterate this deck does not claim to do that) there is the option to bring Timeworn Brand or Enchanted Blade, AND Wither, Shards of the Void and Shrivelling. I also have my eye on a bit of a toy jank deck that uses De Vermis Mysteriis, Recharge and various token blockers (Counterspell/Eldritch Inspiration) to reload and block horror from the Big Shrivelling repeatedly via Twilight Blade. It might not be super effective but it might be fun. There is also an upgrade Spoiler in Spoiler that was seen at gencon. This could potentially go nicely on Spoiler. With enough 3 damage Shrivelling and similar options in the deck it might be much more fighty.

Aug 12, 2019 Yann · 74

I understand your point about being cautious regarding averages. And it is always informative to get the opinion of someone using simulations on a daily basis. I like that :) Also, I know that comments on the internet can easily be seen as harsh, patronizing, condescending...since there is no context nor human interaction. So I clarify immediately: I am delighted to compare opinions, improve interpretations, and learn from other's experience !

So, I felt obligated to compute the exact values for Recall the future. Please bear in mind that I focus on the expected damage per turn. I don't say that this is the best metric of all, but looking only at one test with a card that can exhaust during the turn is not satisfying to me. And, I am pleased to say that my simple approximation "1 chance with +2 tokens and 2 chances over -2 tokens" was fairly good (ok, I refined the count of targetable tokens for each base value). The exact results can be seen on the right of the spreadsheet, but I left the approximation in place in the results zone, since the difference is not enough to be relevant.

As for the "averaged" values for the ... tokens : yes of course, taking the precise value (be it 2 or 3 or 4) changes the odds. No argument here. However, I wanted to have "global sense" of what's going on in general. So, I don't focus that much on precise values. This is not 100% accurate, but allows it to be still relevant in other campaign settings. However, anyone can import the spreadsheet to their own drive and change the token values to make their own opinion, for instance with exactly 3 monsters, instead of the initial (and fully arbitrary) 3.5 "average".

My point here, is only to show that most of those parameters don't change the results much: the major factor still seems to be the base characteristic value. And, in my opinion, Diana gets slightly worse results from the Timeworn Brand brand than from Wither4, even with Recall the Future, even on medium monsters.

However, the difference is not overwhelming and both options can certainly be seen as roughly equivalent and up to taste. I guess I mainly wanted to show that the spell is a completely viable option ;) (with the added benefit of a better overall integration in the deck)

(On a side note, Recall the Future seems expensive regarding what it does, compared to the Ritual Candles)

Aug 12, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

Oh hi @Yann, it might be a little while before i can look over the post and digest the maths bits, but just so youre not worrying, i didnt read anything you said as patronising or condescending at all. Its actually really nice to have someone interested in a technical discussion. I also hope i dont come across that way either, certainly thats not the intention.

Aug 14, 2019 mattastrophic · 885

3/5 needs moar Blood Pact.

Aug 15, 2019 Korsarchen · 1

@StartWithTheNameToday I tested the deck in solo and it was really a lot of fun. I played return to dunwich legacy and it filled up very well. I got 6 points and of course 2 for Arcane Research. So I can't use the 10 points on one occasion, but that's not the plan, is it?

Aug 15, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

Cool @Korsarchen. Glad to hear it worked! Yeah the xp stages thing is just more of an ordered list of priorities. If you can do all of a stage in 1 sc, great. If not then do a bit of it then do the next bit after the next sc. I just show it in stages so people can follow the transition from using St. Hubert's Key, to using + spells & more horror blocking, before dropping the key. It was also really to stop people doing what i kept doing on the first few runs of this, where i delayed the spell upgrades to use Arcane Research xp on them. This adds too much tempo to delay. Just grab it asap. if at the end of the campaign you are spending the Arcane Research xp on less important stuff, so be it. You`ll have had the benefit of the wider strategy already and its not like you wont use the xp on something...

@mattastrophic - STEP AWAY FROM THE BLOOD PACT.

(A little context - Matt is a friend of mine from the Edinburgh play group - He has something of a history with Blood Pact... And is an amazing Lola Hayes player, both in the sense someone actually plays Lola and that he seems to make her work (see this vid).

Though in fairness, Blood Pact might well be a decent way of getting that turn 1 or on tap and avoid @Yanns tempo concerns about needing supports for the Timeworn Brand? Moonlight Ritual is a spell so Arcane Initiate can find it. Ive never tried it because im a scaredy cat, but its worth a thought)

Aug 15, 2019 mattastrophic · 885

@StartWithTheName See? Embrace the Blood Pact and it will come through for you!

Aug 16, 2019 bigfomlof · 1

This is a lovely post. Your write-ups are always informative and helpful, and I learn something every time. Thanks!

Aug 17, 2019 Katsue · 8

Just as a note, you can't cancel the horror from Terrible Secret, which means that Deny Existence is the only defence apart from soak.

Aug 18, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

Cheers @Katsue, that should be the text fixed now. The trick with the secret is that you have very good odds on seeing one copy of deny, but those odds are poorest early game, where the secret is least impactful.

Aug 18, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

Hey @Yann - Sorry it took me so long to get back to you.

I love these technical discussions, but they can be a little time intensive. Anyway, I was trying to think of a quick ish way of explaining why using averages can give quite misleading results, but I don’t think its necessary. If you are interested its related to treating discrete variables as continuous, or in the context of the mystic tools for special tokens, there is an argument to even treat some of it as categorical. I actually really enjoy teaching this stuff to my students and would happily explain it if anyone is interested, but again ive managed to digress.

Anyway - It sort of doesnt matter. Whether I would model it differently or not I actually think the Wither idea is a really good one. It gives a nice focussed strategy that may be more easy to follow. I wouldn’t want to disregard her other stats completely. Its usually important to have the ability to pass a specific skill test on demand here and there, and using wilds means you can adapt to unlucky draws this for clues if rite or sixth sense didn’t show, or to evade (or even a simple punch) if the damage spells didn’t show.

So! - Ive had a bit of a play about redrafting the deck to see what a hypothetical hybrid of cancel spam and token fishing could look like and I have a few decks you might be interested in seeing. They need testing but the bulk of the deck runs on the same cheap reaction card core as the above so it might be ok. Interestingly this opens up both the hand slot to allow a Grotesque Statue that a few people mention, and encourages the use of Olive McBride (and her 3 san soak) adding even more protection for those worried about pre "I've had worse…" horror shocks.

Some links:

  • My first draft was this:, which has come comments and thoughts at the bottom of the notes. It would have had a campaign start that looked like this
  • These thoughts then made me redraft to this, and the accompanying campaign start. Which actually possibly has some options for an accessory slot, but I wasn’t too comfortable increasing the asset density after id added the extra ally.

Anyhow - I was going to suggest we move this discussion over to your bespoke thread if you would be happy to do so. I was hoping to keep this thread open for shorter comments like @Katsue helpful corrections or other questions. A huge wall of text can discourage new players from engaging, and I mainly write these guides to help people get into the game more without needing to go too deep into the deckbuilding if they are uncomfortable or disinterested in doing so.

Aug 18, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

sorry - the starter deck for the second deck should have been this deck arkhamdb.com

I must have copied the wrong link. I wish you could edit comments on here :)

Aug 31, 2019 lordpacman · 1

Warning: Minor dyslexia.

I'd like to share a few thoughts about how I personally would run this deck, with more focus on multiplayer, but probably changes i'd still have some version of in solo play too.

Firstly, im not a big fan of the 4 and 5 base checks on hard difficulty, so the extra 2 resources for St. Hubert's Key over Holy Rosary just for a possible 4 instead of 3 base check I strongly disagree with. If it were coupled with something like Flashlight I'd be 100% on board, but I think Holy Rosary just is such a good value item that does what you need here.

Enchanted Blade I also find abit underwhelming here. There is really nothing it goes well with here, only a decent amount of ? pips. On hard difficulty I find that doing something well is more important than the possibility to do it all. That being said, there really are no better hand slot items for a starting build, and it does kind help with a weakness of Dianas start here. Currently getting better fight capability seems to be in your stage 3 of upggrades and thats with spending some hefty raw exp on spell uppgrades on the way. So these 2x Enchanted Blade will stick around for some time. To me they look like only a decent draw early, and almost dead weight later on.

The solution Id be looking for for this is something that helps uss do what we are good at for a decent prize, and only sacrificing what we are bad at. First 2 non Arcane Research exp should be spent on 2xSpirit Athame, a real dark horse of an item for this build IMHO. There are reasons not to generally like or run Spirit Athame but for this build i think it is exceptional. When you have 8 ussable spells for it (remember it works on Storm of Spirits) and 2x Arcane Initiate drawing SOME spell is rather guaranteed, howerver drawing a specific uggraded spell for +2 is not as easy. With Spirit Athame we can essentially in terms of + cast a spell once per turn at a higher lvl, and with already 2x Prepared for the Worst in the deck, the ablility to get these out look very realistic. To me Spirit Athame looks like a good draw both early, mid and even possibly late game. And good throughout the whole campaign, I dont think we run the risk of getting too much + with a starting of 1 and of course when playing on Hard going +4, 5 or 6 is quite valuable.

You seem to chase that + early to the point of dumping alot of raw exp on spell uppgrade with Arcane Research already in the deck. I say go 2xSpirit Athame fast and let Arcane Research do its job with a few exp thrown in there occasionaly, and look for the next uppgrades faster. At the moment your stage 1 exp spending is 12 exp, and its "basically" all for +2 on 4 spells. Even getting Recall the Future earlier will be better value IMO. But that all depends on how much one like the card I suppose. Personally I htink its amazing, with the only drawback being its a freaking hassle to play optimally.

I could go on some more about both Spirit Athame and Recall the Future for this deck but I think you get the idea im presenting here, I hope you find any of it helpfull. And finally id like to say I think you have created and intresting and good deck here!

Sep 01, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

Thanks @lordpacman

Its always helpful to get comments from people with more true solo experience than me. When I play solo I almost exclusively do so 2 handed. The solo tag was only really reflecting the way that TCU forces you to go off on your own from time to time. But this may not reflect the longer term experience.

Re St. Hubert's Key I think we had a similar comment above. This can be swapped to Holy Rosary as a matter of personal taste (I sometimes now use Police Badge too, early game, then use the later on once you have innate built). I personally like St. Hubert's Key because it puts Defiance and Unexpected Courage within scope of getting clues (essentially doing the same thing is your Flashlight), and with a Recall the Future on the table its usually equivalent to 5 which is fine for 2 shroud. But these are all just backups incase the clue spells don’t show early. There is also an interaction with A (spoiler) TCU story asset to stack stats that was taken into consideration when drafting the deck. However this only helps for a little while as I tend to xp out the St. Hubert's Keys an sc or two later.

The intended use of the Enchanted Blade/Timeworn Brand is similar. The main damage dealing button here is Shrivelling. Storm of Spirits and melee options are really the backups to save wasting shriv charges on low combat enemies (of which TCU has a lot due to the witch/lodge dynamic that I wont spoil). The combo piece you may be overlooking to hit the 3 combat enemies is Recall the Future, or the skill cards again. Recall the Future is similar to having a wild +1 which would take you similar odds to those of being 3 above a 3. I like the Timeworn Brand`s one shot too for VP enemies of panic moments. But as I say in other comment responses, this build isn’t meant as a killer. Its just meant to have options to let it hold its own.

I guess both these points are tempo compensations. Late game you will have a fluctuating 5 or 6 (due to reusing cards via Twilight Blade), loads of cash and cards and you should have found the big spell tools you need. While you are right to say they could be a dead draw later on, to me that’s fine. You have so much draw here so you arnt missing out on much. Its all just pips at that point anyway. These are things added to make sure there are at least 6/7 ways to get clues or deal damage (this is my usual go to balance to almost guarantee an option is available early). Its trading a little late game strength (where we have plenty) for a bit of early game strength, where Diana risks being weakest. Or at least that’s the logic. Its hard to tell if you are overcompensating when draw is much higher than usual.

Ive only tried Spirit Athame once in an earlier build that was quite different to this, so im not in a good place to comment on it. It strikes me as almost functioning the other way around to the damage weapons in that it needs you to have found and played the spell before it becomes useful, and ofc if I can have that + built into the spell itself, I no longer need a 2 card combo. Im also not keen on it being once a turn. There is some logic to just having a passive + card in play that effects more actions then. Or Recall the Future which only might exhaust. This might be of more value in true solo however as I imagine you arnt for example spending 3 actions on Sixth Sense etc. Once you have "I've had worse…" you have a lot of cash so theres also the option of using paid boosters like Physical Training or Arcane Research. The hard bit is finding the slots.

Anyhow. I don’t post these guides to tell ppl exactly how to play, they are more intended as a description of a possible playstyle and the cards that could be used to interact with it. I would encourage people to swap and change things about and make their own decks. If you have an idea of how you would do this better that’s fantastic. That’s sort of the point of these guides really.

I am actually working on a different version of the deck using the same spam principal but much more spell focussed (Link here). This is basically incorporating a few of the other comments above, Spirit Athame may well fit really well in there (if I can only find a slot!).

Sep 02, 2019 BeCurieUs · 14

Love this deck about to fire it up, I am still a beginner so if you weren't abiding by taboo's what would you change?

Sep 02, 2019 StartWithTheName · 14755

Hi @BeCurieUs, if im honest im not sure there is anything i would change. If you are playing on a lower difficulty you could use Machete for the early melee, though with 3 base the +2 from Enchanted Blade goes a long way. Be warned though. This deck is on the more complex end mechanically. If you are still getting your head around the basica rules you might find this deck adds a lot to keep track of. If you are fine with that thats great ofc!

You might find This deck a little easier to pilot (link here). It's a less complicated version of the above deck that im currently work on, that basically focuses on only. Im still working out a decent upgrade path for it but you should be able to see some notes on there that show the things i have in mind. Its just the order im trying to work out, but its more fun to adapt that to personal tastes anyway. As for piloting recommendations, most of the principals from the write up above apply. The only additional things to note are to grab "I've had worse…" asap, you have allies to soak horror hits from bigger and bigger Shrivellings as the deck progresses, and you want to use Olive McBride on Sixth Sense/Wither. The last thing is that im trying to work out whether to go for a 2x Wither (4) or 2x Shards of the Void (always spend the 0 token asap). I currently take one of each and its been fine.

Oct 14, 2019 howlingfang · 8

Well, I just finished playing through CoT with this decklist. I played on Standard difficulty. I was able to win the campaign and in the final scenario it truly felt like a cakewalk thanks to the crazy upgrades in my deck. I will say that for the first two-thirds of the campaign, though, I felt like the two mental trauma I had from the Arcane Research was a significant drawback. I actually suffered one more and also one more physical trauma pretty early on and starting with 3 and 1 every scenario felt like quite a drawback.

Overall though I had an awesome run and I really enjoyed this decklist. Thanks for it @StartWithTheName.

Oct 14, 2019 howlingfang · 8

Oops - I meant TCU not CoT. Also I was on true solo.