Joe Diamond - P.I.Staker (Hard Mode) - Now Improved!

Card draw simulator
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
Joe Diamond - P.I. Staker. (Hard Mode) 83 63 6 1.0
Inspiration for
Joe Diamond Investigates...Jareds build..tweeked 1 0 0 1.0
Kinky Joe (Arkham in Flames 2019, Hotseat) 2 0 1 1.0
Joe Diamond - P.I.Staker (Hard Mode) - Now Improved! 1 0 0 1.0
Jess's Joe Deck 1.1 0 0 0 1.0

StartWithTheName · 7925

- Have you ever fired your gun up in the air and gone Noir?


This is an updated and much more refined version of my old P.I.Staker Deck which i wrote for my blind run of TCU. Now that im unblinded, ive had the opportunity to try the deck out specifically against the TCU encounter pool a few times paired with work in progress Diana and Preston decks. In addition to the previous version`s testing, its also cleared the first 6 of hard mode Carcossa in this form so im quite confident that it is well balanced now.

The Flashlights are fairly flexible clue tool slot. It gets overwritten very early with Death • XIII so its had limited testing really. The idea was just to be able to hit 6 if milans and mag glasses didnt show early. Other good options are Perception or Fingerprint Kit. Though 2x Fingerprint Kit is too expensive in practice without milan money, which ofc undermines its purpose.

If you are looking for inspiration also check out these two decks:

These were both fantastic decks that I took ideas from during testing. I have no idea how i overlooked Steadfast on the first draft...



- Whats the matter Danny? Havent you ever taken a shortcut before?


This is a mixed clue and combat Joe build capitalising on his 2442 statline and mixed seeker/guardian card pool to make a true judge Judy and executioner. The rough game plan is to use one hand slot for and one for a weapon, then add passive boosts from Milan & Beat Cop to be able to investigate or fight with a base skill of 6 or 7.

protection is provided via Higher Education paid for via Milan Money and Caches, and several or skill cards. Aim to float 2 resources for Unsolved Case and ideally 2 more to be able to boost to 6 at short notice if you dont have skill pips to burn. Failing that we have Logical Reasoning for repairs and 4 allies with 2 san each who can be spent for the greater good.

The hunch deck is:

Dont put Logical Reasoning or Shortcut into the hunch deck unless they are being recycled via your ability, these benefit too much from holding in hand until an opportune moment.

Its not all murder, murder, murder though. The hunch deck is a mix of draw and auto clues. Early game this means we have access to either an auto clue for a high shroud location, or a draw card to dig for our tools. Late game it means we dont need to chase super high or over spend on Higher Education for high shroud locations. Several of these are position dependent card, so joe needs to make use of his impressive skills as a fun runner, by keepingShortcut in hand and taking Pathfinder early so you can move to a clue on demand.



- Sergeant Popwell was an exceptional officer. Truly exceptional. But he had one thing you haven't got....



Then some options

Pick these to match playstyle and group composition.

  • .45 Automatic (2) - Similar +2 but on the automatic.
  • Evidence! Deciphered Reality - God I love this card. The key to using Deciphered Reality well is not to wait until it empties the whole board. Use it to get 3-4 clues, which at 2 cost is a bargain. Note that you get 2 clues from your own location, one from the initial investigate action, and one from the bonus effect.
  • Preposterous Sketches Cryptic Research - Removes the clue restriction and changes this to fast which is a massive shift in tempo. You may not be benefiting from the 2 cost discount, but honestly its fine. If the deck was resourced sufficiently before then its resourced sufficiently after...
  • No Stone Unturned (5) - Simply amazing when its free. The 2 cost reduction and change to fast status means this is just too good not to leave in the hunch deck.
  • 1x Magnifying Glass Mag Glass (1). You only need 1 of these. It lets you used 2x mag glasses early game or during Detective's Colt 1911s and pull one back when you want to put another weapon down. Note that the advantage of keeping the spare in hand is to keep Higher Education active or Asset killer encounter cards like this
  • Beat Cop (2) - Nice for 1hp or 3hp enemies
  • Vicious Blow (2) - More damage is more damage
  • Deduction (2) - Nice on on 3p+ where 3+ clue locations are common, less useful on 1-2p.





- You're off the Fkin' Chain!...


Priorities: - keep,

For Clues: All Eureka!s, And up to +2 passive assets from:

For Combat: All Eureka!s, 1x Cop and 1x weapon,

Mixed: All Eureka!s, 1 weapon (same priority), then follow the clues list.

  • Note that with the Timeworn Brand you will be able to get to 6 without the cops which leaves plenty of scope to focus on clues with the rest of the hand until quite late in the game.

Eureka! takes priority as it effectively can be used to self replace for a choice of 3 cards rather than 1. It may (rarely) deny you the on Death • XIII, but its well worth the trade off.



- What's a matter, you got brain freeze?

- No, I've got brainwave.


Hunch deck randomness operates differently to your main deck. Regular cards sit in hand letting you position to make best use of them, where hunch cards need to be spent asap before they disappear. This means the 2 cost reduction and effective free card draw needs to compensate for the fact you are often forced to play them with suboptimal timing otherwise they are inefficient rather than a bargain. If you are interested, i have some musings on the theory of hunches here

This particular hunch deck is designed to help build up a high base early game, or provide autoclues for high shrouds while we look for them.

Never Start with Logical Reasoning or Shortcut in the hunch deck. They benefit too much from choosing when to play them. Since Joe is vulnerable to horror (low & sanity) You dont want Logical Reasoning to be unavailable when you are close to dying. Holding it in hand lets you wait for a safe (enemy free) turn to play it. Similarly Shortcut is important for setting up Scene of the Crime or Evidence! when it shows (See Clues section)

If you get the opportunity to reuse Logical Reasoning or Shortcut via Detective's Colt 1911s or the , then go for it if the game state feels right. Getting a second use from the card is different to blocking its first use. Just be careful not to over dilute the proportion of clue based cards if you are reliant on them.



- Hey biggun'. Playtime's over.


On hard we want to be testing 3 above test value to get reliable odds on success and out strip some a lot of the nastier token effects (some scenarios need higher). So for example getting your base to 5 lets you gives you (~70% to ~80%) pass rates against a shroud 2. Similarly a base of 6, or 7 are needed for shrouds 3 and 4 respectively.



- Have you ever fired two guns while jumping in the air?


This build isnt a dedicated enemy handler, but it can hold its own very well.

  • Get to 6 on attacks This puts us 3 above a 3 enemies. The starting weapons add +1, hence the Cops. With a little xp we can get Timeworn Brand and/or .45 Automatic (2) for built in +2. The value of this in terms of tempo (not needing to find 2 cards) is huge. And late campaign as higher tokens are added to the bag, these will let us reach 7 base with both Cops & Brands

  • Regular +Damage Each of our basic weapons (including the upgraded ones) have the standard target of +1 damage built in. For the majority of 3hp enemies, were just going to have to suck it up and attack twice, though we also have Vicious Blow and can buy Beat Cop (2) and Timeworn Brand with xp for a little burst as needed



- Well, I wouldn't argue that it wasn't a no-holds-barred, adrenaline-fueled thrill ride. But there is no way you can perpetrate that amount of carnage and mayhem and not incur a considerable amount of paperwork


The priorities:

The Rest:

  • Eureka!, Deduction, Unexpected Courage, Take the Initiative, Inquiring Mind, and in a pinch Higher Education All offer back up pips for higher shroud or while we dig for the passive buffs. Keep an eye on the modifiers too. Try not to rely too much on Higher Education, you will need that money for checks (see Encounters and Weaknesses Section)

  • Hunch Deck: A large amount of this is devoted to autoclues, which can be used to clear high shroud locations or locations with investigation caveats or hazards. Very very minor spoiler warning for TCU: this helps with the new haunt mechanic.

  • Bonus Clues: Deduction, Working a Hunch, Scene of the Crime (with an enemy), Deciphered Reality (requires xp) allow us to get more than one clue in one action. Evidence! also sort of tags a clue onto an action that woudlnt have one.

  • Pay attention to positioning: Try to end turns on locations with clues. Scene of the Crime is first action only and Evidence! required an enemy on a clue. Both of these will appear at random, so you want to be set up to get to the clue on demand to utilise them well. Note that both Shortcut and Pathfinder let you move fast before you take an action to help align with the hunch decks whim and Shortcut can let you drag an enemy to a clue without taking an attack of opportunity.

  • Bandolier is overkill After the first Sc you wont have Flashlights and you only need 1 weapon in play. Bandolier is a time and money sink that requires the cards to turn up in the right order. It also adds little apart from allowing you to hold a second clue tool. This is the reason that Death • XIII is so important. It sort of combines Bandolier and your second clue tool in one saving endless handslot juggling.



- What's it like being stabbed?

- It was the single most painful experience of my life

- ... What's the second most painful?"


Joes Achilles Heel is his combined 2 and low sanity since encounter deck checks frequently cause horror. He often takes 3 point HP hits from tests too, but he has a high base HP and since he can fight quite well, he has a lot more leeway there.

  • Try to float 2 cash for Unsolved Case This will show at random and cost you 2 (you still get the hunch deck discount). You can play this without a clue since removing the card from the game counts as changing game state.

  • Try to float another 2 and keep your hand at 5 for checks Higher Education is your main method of dealing with these. Paying 2 to get to 6 isnt cheap but it is reliable since it starts in play. We also have 6 cards with or pips incase you get caught short. The ones can also be used for tests if needed. Note that in the mythos phase no one has spent an action for Take the Initiative so it will always be a full 3 icon protection for encounter cards.

  • You're a Doctor, deal with it Logical Reasoning is your post san shock repair button. Most games you wont use it and it will feel like a dead draw. But the time you need it it will save the game. If it sits in hand too long, it is at least keeping Higher Education open, which is possibly the reason you arnt taking the horror in the first place. In a pinch it can even be for a non horror will check like Crypt Chill etc. Note that Frozen in Fear can be cleared by Higher Education quite easilly, so you will rarely use it for that.

  • Use your allies to soak You have 4 allies with 2 san each. We are seeing more and more encounter cards being printed that target allies directly. Milan will earn you a load of cash, and buffs are important, but if he dies off there is a second copy in the deck, he will invariably leave you with a pile of cash, and we have Mag Glasses and Death • XIII to compensate. Dont worry if you need to spend him to soak san. The deck has methods to compensate. You also have spare hp with Beat Cops if you took too many blows.

  • Recycle Logical Reasoning with and Your Colts. But dont start with it in the hunch deck Logical Reasoning is a card that is too reliant on timing to put in the hunch deck (See Hunch Deck Section). If it shows before youve taken horror its a dead card. Late game however you are very likely to have taken some horror so recycling it can be much more effective.


- Narp?


As ever, thanks for reading! I would love to hear thoughts and experiences.


Feb 17, 2019 Sixtyten · 7

Brilliant. For the greater good.

Feb 18, 2019 Rancord · 52

Very good update, you basically did the changes I did myself to your version :)

Feb 24, 2019 Smands · 73

You never disappoint! Amazing deck for an amazing character! Tried it today, very powerful and fun :)

Feb 25, 2019 leikos · 1

no prepared for the worst to find ur colts?

Feb 25, 2019 StartWithTheName · 7925

Hi @leikos, it doesnt need it basically. You only need 1 weapon its got 4, + 2 No Stone Unturned, Preposterous Sketches, Eureka! and Vicious Blow to tide things over if they didnt appear in the mulligan. The good thing about all these other solutions is that when you do find the weapon from the muligan, they perform other functions rather than just being a single or pip.

The chance to recur the hunch cards with the colts is nice, but not that special in practice and you can use all these filtered draw cards to dig them out if you want them specifically basically.

Mar 01, 2019 Vittek · 1

Very nice, but I have one question: why don't you have any "I've got a plan"? That one can get to +3 damage and it can one-shot 4 hp monsters. Wouldn't it help to include it? Not that I'd know what to remove to make space for it, I'm just saying.

Mar 01, 2019 StartWithTheName · 7925

Cheers @Vittek. "I've got a plan!" was in an early version. Infact it was in the hunch deck for a while. I swapped it out for Dynamite Blast (that you can see in the first published version) for thematic satisfaction. Then dropped it for beat cop when I discovered the combination of passive buffs I wanted. I tend to find Vicious Blow and the one shot use on Timeworn Brand is enough since the deck is primarily a cluer. But if you wanted to go more burst damagey you could certainly slot it in easilly. The obvious slots are Unexpected Courage which is a flex slot really and 1x Logical Reasoning which I often find I don’t play after the first sc unless something has hit a fan.

I would avoid the hunch deck for it as you really want it in tap even if that means paying 3. The cost curve on this varies from being problematic if you don’t see Milan to being negligible if you see him early. But at least the pops on "I've got a plan!" are . which will play a similar role to the Unexpected Courage in covering you while you look for a passive boost. It doesn’t cover sadly though. So you may find you need to sacrifice an ally or two on the first sc at a guess. But that’s probably ok.

Mar 05, 2019 JadiimJedi · 13

Great deck list and also a great write up with your reasoning for each card slot. My own 2 cents: with all of the open slots we have now I like spending 1-of slots for one of those slots we are not planning to use anyway. In this case I would advocate for Tooth of Eztli or Fine Clothes instead of Unexpected Courage depnding on which campaign you are playing.

One other question did you try Alice Luxley yet with the free clues? 4/10 in hunch deck are free clues that do not generate opportunity attacks and generate damage.

Mar 05, 2019 Smands · 73

@JadiimJedii like the addition of fine clothes for certain campaigns, and Eztli fills a weakness for the character although I’ve never found the item to be value (unlucky I guess). Alice luxley looks real good, but she isn’t released yet - she is scheduled for the Wages of Sin pack :)

Mar 05, 2019 StartWithTheName · 7925

Cheers @JadiimJedi & @Smands.

Yeah. Both those sound good for the flex slots. I’ve not tried the tooth. But with Higher Education paying to pass will checks you should get a bit of draw from it. Even if it wasn’t strong - Tbh, once I have the core of a deck working I like to put something fun in the flex slots even if it’s not “powerful” per se. It’s a game after all and should be enjoyed.

Re Fine Clothes and Alice Luxley, I am working on this thematic interrogating joe deck which uses this core but subs in the guardian cards that turn enemies into clues:

The rough idea is to make the hunch deck able to get a clue when an enemy is engaged with you, which will fire Alice for a little action compression any time you do. Note that Delay the Inevitable can be used as a pseudo dodge, or just played on sight to thin out the deck since it’s fast anyway. it may help in the next mythos phase or not. Just don’t pay to renew it.

I’m hoping to publish it in due course once a) I’ve tested it a bit more, and b) I’ve thought of more 24 puns.

Atm it run a little low on cash and the fine clothes do little apart from a cheap soak in a lot of places. Tho they do aid Interrogate the days the stars all align and it’s actually possible to play it!

Mar 14, 2019 Cambeul · 1

Now that the next expansion The Secret Name is out, have you thought about using Crack the Case for more economy?

I used it instead of Evidence I seem to be able to trigger it more often.

Mar 14, 2019 StartWithTheName · 7925

Thanks @Cambeul

Ive not tried it as its not out yet here in the UK, seemingly its on the boat still.

My instinct is to put it over Emergency Cache since it satisfies a similar role but saves the action to play it. Evidence is in there to get clues. While its something of a least worst remaining clue option, and one of a limited quite set of options. But the key to getting the most out of the hunch deck is in getting it all to do one thing rather than a big spread of things. This means you are less reliant on the randomness of the draw in terms of your longer term planning. If i could get it working (and one day lets hope we have the card pool) id have the whole thing give 1 auto clue per card and ditch the efforts to get to a high base int altogether for example. Free up a load of deck space.

Mar 15, 2019 Cambeul · 1

my other thought as to why I like it is it is another Fast Card, and I seem to be able to trigger more reliable, there by thinning my deck out and not having it be shuffled back into my deck more often.

So if you ever hit your Elder Sign, or Signature Gun trigger of putting other Insights back into the Hunch Deck you get to see them more often.

And agree, if I could play 10 Working a Hunch in the deck, that would be awesome.

Mar 17, 2019 StartWithTheName · 7925

yeah it looks really solid as a card in general. I guess the question is whether you want it in the hunch deck (2 cost discount, but appears at random), or in the main deck where you can keep it in hand to play on demand. The odds on it appearing are similar in both decks (depending how much draw you pack). Evidence has a similar problem mind - being able to hold it back until you see an enemy at a clue.

I suspect the relative advantage of each will depend greatly on play style and long term planning. Its one of the great design features of the Hunch deck. Very few of the insight cards come without caveats. So you have to build the main deck to be able to set up the Hunch deck to get any real leverage out of that 2 cost discount since they all arrive (and disappear) at random. Not easy to say without trying each, and i recon it might even differ between the two depending on personal playstyle.

Either way, its a card ive got my eye on. If Emergency Cache had a pip on it so it wasnt a dead draw late game or if you have Milan in play already, id be drooling.

Mar 17, 2019 Myriad · 550

Any other thoughts on the Secret Name's cards? I can see applications for the new blade and the grisly totem. The totem specifically could have some pretty wonderful applications in this deck.

Mar 18, 2019 StartWithTheName · 7925

Yeah, the Enchanted Blade looks like a solid substitute for .45 Automatic since its only there to fill in while you look for a longer term solution (Timeworn Brand/Machete). Its 1 cost lower and the deck loves +2 attacks. the loss of 1 ammo probably isnt a big deal especially since the deck doesnt make use of the firearm support cards or the arcane slot. I can see it fitting in a similar slot in a lot of guardian decks that use the .45 Automatic as a back up weapon tbh. If you run out of charges, having +1 (without damage) while you look for a bigger weapon isnt amazing, but its more than an empty .45 Automatic has.

Id be curious to compare it to the .45 Thompson for the same slot actually. 5 ammo and +2 looks nice though i wouldnt be keen to drop the Magnifying Glasss from play if its avoidable since theyre somewhat of the decks bread and butter. You can only get away with autoclues for so long.

I love the Grisly Totem in general, it just looks really versitile. yet despite this id be reluctant to add another high cost asset to the line up. Plus if i had the deck space for an accessory id love to get a Tooth of Eztli in here. While the +1 isnt really enough to land a pass on an encounter card alone, with Higher Education in play you`ll get the draw from it fairly often, which could provide you with plenty of those wild pips just in the form of skill cards instead. Plus with Joes sig weakness in his other deck hes less worried about drawing hard (basic weakness permitting!)

Obviously all these thoughts come with the same pinch of salt as everything i said above. Ive not played with any of these in Joe. Though I can confirm the .45 Thompson is great fun in Yorik with Act of Desperation after a little proxying a few weeks ago.

Mar 19, 2019 Cambeul · 1

I like the idea of the Enchanted Blade too, but I doing Dunwich with a side trip to Egypt so the Spheres that destroy melee weapons and Sarcophagus that attack you if you use a melee attack are being a pain :D

But the the Blade and its Charges are not too bad, especially if you are fighting mobs with odd amount of hit points like Rats or something, it hurts using Ammo on one of those.