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Allonym

Prediction for the next taboo list: Survivor cards

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So, last night I was tooling around on ArkhamDB, looking at the new Survivor cards and thinking about combos, and I came up with the following deck:
Is there something I'm missing about Drawing Thin that would prevent something like this happening, aside from the fact that it would be boring to play? Drawing Thin with On Your Own, or with infinite recursion of Take Heart via the newly spoiled Grisly Totem (3), seemingly makes it easy to accrue enough resources to play Will to Survive every round - and all these resource options give substantial card draw to make it easy to assemble the rest of the pieces. Wendy and Pete are best placed to take advantage of it, since they can best gain additional actions and Wendy can use the additional strong draw cards from Rogue, but any survivor can use these cards to trivialise the game. The core of why this seems so overly powerful is Will To Survive itself, which is a card that has always broken the fundamental rules of the game, but if you can get to the point where you aren't drawing chaos tokens turn after turn, the game ceases to work as intended, but even without that, Grisly Totem/Take Heart/Track Shoes/Drawing Thin is an absurdly powerful card and resource engine, netting 2-4 cards and 2-6 resources at response speed, and while it requires multiple pieces in place to reach its full potential, each individual piece provides plenty of draw to assemble the rest.
With the Taboo change to Ace in the Hole commonly seen as a direct response to the infinite combo with Rita, do you think we'll see further steps taken to close loops like this? And how do you think they'd look? I'm thinking something like Drawing Thin given an upfront resource cost and changed to only 1 resource gained, or maybe Limit 1 In Play, and Will to Survive changed to be removed from the game after it's played.

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I think Will to Survive being removed from the game after play is a very good idea.   As you mentioned,  that's the card that is fundamentally breaking the interaction.  Though Drawing Thin is a good card,  and certainly a weird card in a faction I typically have thought of as being resource-light,  I'm not sure it's the problem.

-As an aside,  I've seen this alluded to a lot but... what exactly is the infinite combo with rita?   I've looked around and while I've found plenty of places discussing it,   I've never seen it fully laid out.

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42 minutes ago, awp832 said:


I think Will to Survive being removed from the game after play is a very good idea.   As you mentioned,  that's the card that is fundamentally breaking the interaction.  Though Drawing Thin is a good card,  and certainly a weird card in a faction I typically have thought of as being resource-light,  I'm not sure it's the problem.

-As an aside,  I've seen this alluded to a lot but... what exactly is the infinite combo with rita?   I've looked around and while I've found plenty of places discussing it,   I've never seen it fully laid out.

I still feel that Drawing Thin is, on the face of it, way above the curve, even without this unlimited combo. Once it enters play (so there is that initial cost of a card and an action, but no resoures), if you spend an action to take a useless test purely to trigger Drawing Thin and expecting to fail, that's essentially the same efficiency as playing Emergency Cache (gain 2 resources for 1 action, compared to gain 3 resources for 1 action and 1 card). If you pass the test you use Drawing Thin on, that's as efficient as Emergency Cache (2) since you aren't wasting an action, same if you can manufacture a test without an action, such as Track Shoes. If you can put Take Heart into the test, you get even more efficiency. If you have 2 copies in play (at an initial setup cost of 2 cards and 2 actions, not counting any other ancillary setup like Track Shoes or Grisly Totem (3)), taking an action to fail a test and activate both copies is 4 resources for 1 action - or the efficiency of Hot Streak (2), without the play restriction, without thinking about the full combination listed above. Will to Survive is merely the most abusive use of that kind of incredible economy - 4 extra resources a round, every round, is incredible and can distort the game economy massively (even if you're just using Scrapper and Moxie to drop them all into tests), and for 0 exp with assets costing 0, even more so!

The infinite combo with Rita goes something like this:

Empty your deck and your discard pile (by playing assets or Exile cards, and having a weakness that stays in play or is Indebted - obviously that's a whole lot of setup required). Have Ace in the Hole and 2 copies of Cherished Keepsake among the cards in your hand. Don't be engaged with an enemy.

Play Ace in the Hole, gaining 3 actions (+3). Play a Cherished Keepsake (-1). Spend an action to draw a card (-1). Since your deck is empty and your discard pile consists only of Ace in the Hole, you will draw Ace in the Hole, and take 1 horror for doing so, which you put on the Keepsake. Play Ace in the Hole (+3). Spend an action to draw a card (-1). Assign the horror to Cherished Keepsake, which will enter your discard. Play a second copy of Cherished Keepsake (-1). Play Ace in the Hole (+3). Draw 2 cards (-2), drawing both Ace in the Hole and the first Cherished Keepsake, putting the horror on the second Cherished Keepsake. So far, you have Ace in the Hole and Cherished Keepsake in hand, and 1 horror on your Cherished Keepsake in play but you have 3 more actions than when you started.

From this point on, you can cycle through Ace in the Hole and your Cherished Keepsakes, gaining 2 additional actions each time you complete the loop. This can be performed an arbitrarily large number of times, and you can spend some of your unlimited actions on gaining an arbitrarily high number of resources, and then spend those resources on boosting your skills via Moxie and Scrapper to succeed at any test, with Will to Survive to avoid any possible negative token effects or auto fail on tests with failure consequences. For most scenarios, you can then just complete every act and win the game.

Credit to AK45526 on Reddit for finding the combo. It's worth pointing out that the rule about not being able to shuffle a single card into an empty deck only applies to card effects, and the reshuffle for drawing from an empty deck is a game framework effect so is not covered by that rule. You can also perform this with anyone with access to Rogue level 3 and Cherished Keepsake, so Jenny, Finn and Preston can all also use it, but the reason for using Rita is that she can use Will to Survive to counter the edge cases where auto failing tests (e.g. attacking Retaliate enemies) might defeat you, or certain symbol tokens might mess you up. Even without Will to Survive, however, having unlimited actions is going to snap the game in half. Obviously it requires a copious amount of setup but I certainly don't fault the game designers for wanting to close any completely infinite loopholes like that.

It's interesting that the Taboo for Ace in the Hole specifies "Max once per turn", not "limit once per turn", so it applies across all players. Maybe they also wanted to avoid the potential for 4 players with access to Ace in the Hole to do a huge nova turn and trivialise clutch situations like boss encounters, who knows?

Edited by Allonym

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7 hours ago, Allonym said:

I still feel that Drawing Thin is, on the face of it, way above the curve, even without this unlimited combo.

I completely agree, you just have to compare it with Rabbit's Foot to see the difference. Both are level 0 Survivor cards but Rabbit's Foot:

  1. Costs 1 resource to play.
  2. Takes up the accessory slot.
  3. Only works on a failed test.
  4. Only offers card draw.
  5. Has a wild icon.

I'd certainly reduce the resource reward of Drawing Thin from 2 to 1. My initial thoughts also include keeping the resource cost of the card at 0 but make the reward contingent on succeeding at the skill test. Maybe that's a bit too much of a Rogue feel for the card, but Scavenging is a "succeed by 2" Survivor card.

Previously I'd always though Will to Survive was fine even with recursion from discard because Survivors were poor and 4 resources was pretty steep. But with Take Heart and Drawing Thin, maybe removing it from the game after use is now a good idea.

P.S. Thanks for both the deck you posted on arkhamdb (excellent write-up) and the explanation of the Rita infinite combo.

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It's also worth pointing out that the infinite action combo isn't dependent on Cherished Keepsake either, you could achieve the same end result using Elder Sign Amulets - on the one hand, you'd need to spend two actions on gaining resources each loop, but on the other hand you can play Ace in the Hole four times in a row before needing to play the second Amulet so you'll still easily get unlimited actions.

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I don’t think you have missed anything on drawing thin.... even without the level of thought that you have put into this I was seeing it as a pretty incredible card any standard survivor, let alone other class characters who can take it and abuse it... e.g. for Preston it’s straight on to family inheritance with the resources so he can keep the advantages of dark horse, then he can pump fire axe, pump extra actions with various cards, grab clues with Lola/intel report/streetwise etc. 

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