So, I decided to give Patrice a whirl to see what all the fuss was about. Despite her ability being abuse-able on paper, I needed to see it in action for myself. So, I put her in a team along with Luke and two custom Investigators I wanted to try out. Just start, we faced Dusty-the-Gray, Quatchil and sealed him in 9 rounds, with a Doom marker of six. I didn't count gate bursts and only used the base board game.
Anyway, I started playing according to the rules (that is, uses Phases appropriately and yes it made a HUGE difference) Patrice got lucky and managed to get a hold of some choice skills and spells at the start, with a lovely Speed Skill and the Dread Curse. Luke was the First Player, so most of his clue tokens went to not being turned into dust--which in turn meant most of Patrice's went to that as well. That meant the job of sealing was left to the customized guys--but one of which was built to fight monsters (and now after a playthrough I realized he does it very poorly). The other customized guy was just getting all the luck, managing to ****** up clues in several Locations before his first gate run. Made it through and sealed.
Monsters started descending from the skies--it seemed all I drew were flying types, especially Mi-Go and Patrice, who could have taken the little buggers, was too busy keeping up her clue count to keep Luke alive to fight them. She got lucky and was sent from the Historical Society while they were on a field trip up to Independence Square. There, she had a chance encounter with Anna Kaslov, giving her the next two tokens she needed to keep Luke from drying up into so much powder.
In the meantime, Luke was busy trekking through gates to just keep his own clue count high and to close the gates. He had an meeting with a strange woman that gave him five clue tokens in exchange for discarding two spells--they weren't very good (Yellow Mist and Dread Curse) so he happily removed them and took the five clue tokens, using them to seal the gate and having two left over to keep himself from having to draw from the Dust deck that round.
While this was going on, two gate openings were blocked because of the Sealed location and some really good Mythos cards (and by 'Good' I mean, didn't hurt or help me). I was getting nervous due to a monster surge, but Patrice went through, closed the gate and was on her way to trade in the gate token for the Unique Item from 'Eccentric Opens Home' when I realized I only had one gate left on the board and the Investigator was about to pop through to seal.
It all came down to that moment. If I drew well, it would mean the end of the game in a victory--if I drew poorly, it meant we'd have to find some other way to deal with it since all of the clues were dried up.
And a Seal saved my bacon. No gate opened and I victoriously slammed shut the final gate--no seal needed!
So, in the end, I learned that yes, Patrice is very good--but someone like Quatchil is there to keep her in check since it was mostly her token generation that kept the Dust deck from having any real effect,