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SamWeiss

Before the Black Throne Player Cards

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Hallowed Mirror + Soothing Melody 2/5
As with my first thoughts on Blood Rite when it was previewed, the problem with Bonded cards is the luck value.
At base cost, Hallowed Mirror is 2 Resources and 2 Actions to heal 2 damage or horror among Investigators and Allies and draw 1 card.
If you get lucky, it is 2 Resources and 3 Actions to heal 4 damage or horror and draw 2 cards.
If you get really lucky, it is 2 Resources and 4 Actions to heal 6 damage or horror and draw 3 cards.
Which is kinda, sorta, worth it - If you get really lucky. And I would submit full on good if Carolyn is doing it, as she also distributes up to 6 Resources in the process.
And then of course you never draw the second or third Soothing Melody during any scenario of the campaign.
Maybe if you can count on a guaranteed tutor effect it would be worth a bit more - if Carolyn passes on Peter Sylvestre for an Arcane Initiate for some reason, or stocks up on the Seeker cards for search and draw, but I'm not really seeing it.

I've Had Worse (2) 4/5
More accessible than I've Had Worse (4), though of course with less effect.
I would say pretty much made for Diana in terms of xp cost and the cancel element.

Occult Lexicon + Blood-Rite 2/5
See Hallowed Mirror Above.
I suppose it is "better" as it self-tutors for itself, but the other effect is based on discarding, which I'm not seeing as that efficient a trade.

Glimpse the Unthinkable 4/5
Expensive, but when you absolutely, positively, need to mega-mulligan in the middle to end of a scenario . . .  yeah.
But that 5 xp cost is brutal, and will force some serious choices for Seekers.

"You Owe Me One!" 4/5
When you read this review, add the Bonded discussion thread to your reading list.
I think it is a great way for Resource laden Rogues, Preston and Jenny, to pay for big tickets from other Investigators, especially with the ready made combo with Double, Double.

Double, Double 6/5
"Gee, if Rogues only had a reliable recursion mechanic for their events."
And here it is. Yes, it is expensive, but the possibilities! Preston could eat up 8 clues, do 8 damage, or evade 8 enemies for other Investigators. Jenny could go on 4 Hot Streaks.
Double Contraband for enough ammunition to just not care.
Double Backstab and double Sneak Attack for easy attacks and more testless damage.
Double. Swift. Reflexes. And. Ace. In. The. Hole.

Wither (4) 4/5
The +2 Will is awesome. The 1 damage is not, BUT!
Check that card text closely. More closelier.
Reveal a symbol other than Elder Sign or Tentacles  and inflict a -1 Fight, Health, and Evade penalty on the target.
"Reveal"
Not "Succeed"
You inflict the damage even if you fail.
Yeah. That's worth the upgrade cost right there, especially with draw manipulation.

Sixth Sense (4) 4/5
Not as good as Wither (4), but the possibility of a double clue pickup if you can succeed when revealing a symbol.
That's difficult, but doable.

Lure (2) 2/5
While nice to distract enemies, it needs the right map and the right timing to be truly effective. A bit too much for my liking.
Still, if you can get a full team combo going, I would accept it being a bit better.

Eucatastrophe (3) 5/5
Especially for Survivors. On top of that, it full out cancels the Tentacles. I'm not sure how this can not be made of awesome.
Right, right, you cannot play it for somebody else. 
So what. If they wanted to survive so much they should have been a Survivor. :P

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A few scattered thoughts:

The Bonded cards, as has been discussed elsewhere, want to go into draw-heavy decks. It is worth noting that Ursula can take the Hallowed Mirror -- drawing is no problem with the Seeker card pool and a draw-heavy Ursula may appreciate the horror healing to counter Call of the Unknown. Still, I don't see it making the cut unless she take it to support another investigator who wants access to healing.

Blood Rite ticks a lot of boxes for me: flexibility, cycling though the deck, and testless damage; it's just hard to give up a hand in Seeker for Occult Lexicon. Perhaps it's better in Daisy despite having no synergy with her investigator card -- it does help you find her Tote Bag.

Glimpse the Unthinkable is a high-level card in competition with other high-level cards. It may be worth mentioning that Cryptic Research is from the core set and Studious is also from The Circle Undone cycle, so you are likely to feel the squeeze even with a limited card collection. My gut feeling is to prefer those two cards over Glimpse, being free and fast or being a Permanent is really, really good; but it's a close thing.

Glimpse is unique (for investigators not named Wendy Adams) in that it can move cards directly from your hand to your deck. This could be relevant with Elli Horowitz, especially if you want to attach the Ornate Bow to her and free up double hand slots. However there is no grantee you won't draw the Bow that you shuffled back.

Double Double is an eight-experience, four-cost card in an experience-hungry class that wants me to either spend even more experience on powerful events to double, spend more money doubling expensive, non-fast, level-zero rogue events, or do both. That sure sounds like a Rogue card. And it's probably good too.    It's synergy with Uncage the Soul in Sephina (edit: or potentially Marie [edit edit: never mind it's a ritual not a spell]) is really cool.

Eucatastrophe seems amazing for survivors generally and Silas and Yorick in particular with their powerful elder sign effects, but I have been thinking it may not be as good as it seems for Mateo. The mystic play style is usually to boost Willpower as high as it will go, use it for all of your tests, and rest easy knowing that the encounter deck only infrequently tests another skill. This makes it very hard to fail by enough to trigger Eucatastrophe once you are set up -- you could find yourself waiting for the whole game to draw an auto-fail or draw a treachery with an Agility test and then fail hard enough. You could spend an action to punch a monster and hope you fail by enough to gain an extra action? Though I will say that on expert Eucatastrophe in Mateo starts to look a lot better.

Edited by Spritz Tea

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Hallowed Mirror/Soothing Melody

This card is great for those who want it, and not really worth it for the others. Which is more or less the perfect spot for a card in terms of utility and balance, neither a boring staple nor a card that never makes the cut. It takes an action to get into play, which is a mark against it because I generally feel that healing cards should not take up more than one action. However, the Soothing Melody cards it provides you with cantrip, so they are inherently more efficient than your average healing event (e.g. Emergency Aid or Logical Reasoning), which helps bring Hallowed Mirror back up in terms of efficiency. Healing is generally less effective than simply playing soak, but putting aside the inherent cost of having to draw and play Hallowed Mirror for a moment, Soothing Melody by itself is one of the best healing cards in the game - you can flexibly distribute the 2 points of healing between damage and horror, target any investigators or allies at your location, and it doesn't cost you any resources. Finally, it's ultimately only a single card in your deck so there's a degree of "you might as well put it in there if you might want it", since it will only take up half as many slots as a playset of another card. This is particularly important for Guardians as Stick to the Plan often means that they run three one-of events in their deck (e.g. 1x Prepared for the Worst, 1x Ever Vigilant, 1x Custom Ammunition) so they are more likely than other classes to end up with a spare single space in their deck. The ally healing is great for Beat Cop (2) and (if you want to splash out) Agency Backup, letting you get more uses out of their Exhaust abilities.

I really see this as being a good card for three investigators: Mark Harrigan obviously likes damage healing - each point of damage you can heal from Mark Harrigan is like putting a +2 Wild/+1 draw skill into his hand, and it also helps reverse getting on the wrong side of Sophie. Mark has a lot of card draw so he's more likely to see all three copies of Soothing Melody and more likely to draw Hallowed Mirror in the first place. The ability to heal horror as well is nice, as Mark has 3 willpower and 5 sanity as well as a signature weakness that deals horror, and is therefore pretty vulnerable to it. In addition, the fact that Soothing Melody costs 0 resources (and Hallowed Mirror is pretty cheap at only 2 resources) is a godsend for Mark - between his heavy draw, lack of economy cards being a single-class guardian and tendency to have an event- and asset-heavy deck with very few skills, Mark is often pressed for resources (even if running a .45 Thompson deck). Mark also has very little competition for the Accessory slot - other than the Mirror, it's basically just Police Badge and maybe Elder Sign Amulet (if there's anyone who does want Hemispheric Map, it isn't Mark).  Mark is the only investigator I've used this card on so far, but it was a pretty excellent choice - not revolutionary, but solid.

Carolyn Fern appreciates any source of efficient horror healing. The fact that Soothing Melody can also heal damage is nice simply to give her flexibility, even if physical medicine won't help her pay the bills. You can also divide the healing between two different investigators to give them both a resource, causing the overall efficiency of the card to skyrocket. Carolyn tends to have more competition for the Accessory slot than most guardians, with unrestricted access to St Hubert's Key as well as a good reason to look at Holy Rosary and more reason than most to consider Police Badge, which does reduce the Mirror's attractiveness - on the other hand, once she's set up with 20 or so exp, she quickly starts running out of crucial upgrades, so it becomes easier to justify a copy (or two) of Relic Hunter in the mid-to-late campaign. Lastly, the added draw is particularly great for Carolyn since she often ends up with a huge pile of resources that she's unable to spend. Carolyn is one of the toughest investigators in the game so she is less in need of healing to keep her alive, but that does also push her into a tanking role - and the damage healing is also useful as she often uses allies such as Guard Dog to defend herself since she is a poor fighter - healing your Dog will give you a huge amount of tanking ability as well as testless damage. Finally, extra horror healing plays nice with both her base and replacement signatures - heal Foolishness, heal Rational Thought, and boost it with Hypnotic Therapy. At least until we get a Guardian 5/Mystic 2 investigator, Carolyn is probably the only person who is going to care about the Spell trait here - a spellslinging Carolyn (with Shrivelling/Wither, Blood Eclipse, Ward of Protection and Deny Existence, say) might want to consider taking Arcane Initiate, but that's not all that likely given how much pressure she already has on her ally slots.

William Yorick likes Soothing Melody for much the same reasons that he is maybe the only genuinely good reason to use Kerosene. Yorick is probably the tankiest investigator in the game, and as such often takes a bit of a beating (especially as he either needs to rely on 2-damage attacks exclusively, or use the highly unreliable Old Hunting Rifle). Much like Mark with his draw power, or Carolyn getting resources, William can increase the overall efficiency of the Hallowed Mirror by getting it into the discard pile (most likely by pitching it to a Willpower test) and the playing it using his reaction, saving the original action to play it. It works really well with Aquinnah (3), keeping her sanity topped up to keep using her ability (and healing horror from Yorick himself as Aquinnah doesn't attenuate the horror from enemy attacks). We'll see in the FAQ whether you can discard and replay Hallowed Mirror to get multiple uses of the Soothing Melodies, but the rules as they are now indicate that once a card like Hallowed Mirror leaves play and causes the associated Bonded cards to be removed from the game, they're gone for good (RR, Removed from the Game). The cheap nature of the healing makes the Soothing Melodies good for Yorick much like it does for Mark - Yorick builds tend to be incredibly resource-starved (unless you only recur 0-cost and 1-cost assets, or you lean into the absurdity of Drawing Thin). However, Yorick suffers from competition for the Accessory slot, much like Carolyn - between Cherished Keepsake, Grisly Totem and Lucky Rabbit's Foot (as well as recursion of Police Badge), Yorick is loath to reserve his accessory slot for any other card.

The only other person I think could really want to consider Hallowed Mirror is Roland Banks, as he has low sanity and middling willpower like Mark and tends to suffer mental trauma, and as a secondary Seeker doesn't have much competition for the accessory slot. It could be worth a look for Roland as well, but he doesn't have any economy to mitigate its downsides and has access to an army of disposable students to soak horror for him. Might be worth a look as it at least helps him deal with his downsides, but doesn't really help out with upsides.

While Soothing Melody is a spell, so can be tutored with Arcane Initiate and played with her extra action, I don't think that it offers enough to be attractive for Marie Lambeau, since it takes up the accessory slot and she doesn't really need or benefit from healing. Maybe as a starting deck card if playing with 2x Arcane Research, and then get rid of it once you have 2x Fearless (2).

In terms of flavour and art, Hallowed Mirror is merely OK. The picture is fine but it's not like, a thematic niche I really wanted or needed filled. Soothing Melody is a bit better - nondescript mystical energy in the art but it's pretty at least, I like the framing of birds silhouetted around water and I love the flavour text. I also like the idea of Mark Harrigan being a really good singer, and Carolyn Fern using song as part of her therapy (hey, better that than a Meat Cleaver or Liquid Courage). What I don't get is the connection between the mirror and the melody - the art doesn't really tell me, and there's not an inherent thematic link (it's not called like "Resonant Mirror" or anything).

"I've Had Worse..." (2)

I guess this card is OK. It's more usable than the level 4 version, as it can be very hard to take a single hit big enough to get 4 resources and it can be hard to justify using to just soak 1 or 2 damage. I really dislike how bad the icons are for an exp event card. For most investigators with poor resource options (which includes many Guardians) it's worth considering - it can linger in hand unused for a bit until you can trigger it, but if you get to use it without wasting too much time, it's a nice 2-for-1 deal that helps your economy. I think Mark, Roland and Yorick should consider it as all have resource issues and are vulnerable to big horror hits, and it would also be a decent choice for Joe Diamond if not using Dr Milan Christopher, but for all of them it's a "luxury" upgrade - a decent choice, but not a priority in terms of what they're spending their exp on. For Diana Stanley, however, it's a fantastic card. How does +3 resources, +1 card, -2 horror/damage and a stat boost sound? Not going to be her very first choice (that would be Ward of Protection (2), upgrading core spells for mystic Diana and upgrading Enchanted Blade for guardian Diana) but definitely an excellent pick for her. Being able to play it a second time with her Twilight Blade is also nice - not as useful to re-play as Ward of Protection, but it's always nice to have options, and adding emergency resource gain to the things you can use your Twilight Blade for is a great string to the bow. Being Mystic/Guardian, two very resource-starved classes, Diana struggles with her resource economy even with her ability, so the resource boost is particularly welcome. An excellent card for an excellent investigator.

The art, as with the level 4 version, is actually really nice. It tells a bit of a story (I like that it's a shirt-wearing asian woman getting ready for a brawl after walking away from a car crash - a much more interesting choice than another tough guy in a trench-coat shrugging off a stab or claw wound), and is generally just excellent quality. Her expression is great. As much as I like the expressive card title, I would have appreciated a little bit of fun flavour text, just to add an extra frisson of badass cred.

Occult Lexicon/Blood Rite

This is just a very solid source of flexible benefits. No one part of what Blood Rite gives you is spectacular or even worth it on its own, but the huge flexibility (card draw and/or hand cycling+resources and/or testless damage) is enough to make it worthy of consideration. Much like the Hallowed Mirror for Guardians, the Occult Lexicon takes up a slot, but unless you're Daisy with her Tote Bag (and even then, given the increase in playable tomes), you're going to find a lot of competition there - hand slots are very much in demand for Seekers between Magnifying Glasses, Fingerprint Kits, Ancient Stones and Pnakotic Manuscripts. While it is flexible, unless you really lean into the testless damage aspect (and if you do, this will just be a stopgap until you translate Ancient Stones (Knowledge of the Elders)), this is mainly just a source of economy - and it is far less efficient than any others. Taking up a useful slot and an action to put into play, then additional actions to use the events, you'll have to really know you want to use its other benefits. Playing a card for an action in order to draw two cards is very inefficient (it is as efficient as spending an action to draw a card), and spending 3 cards (Blood Rite + 2 discards) and an action for 2 resources is hilariously inefficient (compare Emergency Cache, which gets you 3 resources for 1 card and 1 action), so the only benefits that are actually worthwhile in terms of efficiency are card cycling/filtering (draw 2 cards, discard 2 cards you don't have any use for and at least get some benefit from them) and testless damage, which is good, but this is a very inefficient source of it - useful if you're in a bind and you got jumped by a 2-health ghoul, or need to kill a 1-health acolyte before its doom advances the agenda, and the Guardian is nowhere to be found, or to make a contribution to a boss fight, but outside of solo play it's never going to be impressive, and won't save you from a 3-health enemy unless you have more than 1 copy in hand (or the ability to otherwise defend yourself).

Also, economy is just not a problem for Seekers. Seekers have an extraordinary amount of incredibly efficient card draw, and also have excellent resource gain (sure, Dr Milan Christopher has been nerfed to be almost reasonable if you play with taboos, but he's still an excellent source of resources, and Crack the Case is superb) coupled with generally very low resource costs for Seeker cards. That said, the Seeker resource cards are level 0 but many of the good draw cards cost exp, so there is some merit in including this in your starting deck and getting rid of it once the card draw starts rolling in.

Basically, this is not a very good card for most Seekers. The flexibility is great, but at the cost of huge inefficiency. However, there are some Seekers, and some builds, for whom this is a good card. Any build that aggressively draws through its deck can make good use of this - if you often have more cards than you know what to do with, and can easily refill your hand, the card efficiency becomes less of an issue and being able to filter your hand to get rid of unusable cards, and get some damage and/or resources into the bargain, can be great. I've played alongside a frankly absurd Minh Thi Phan build (absurd card draw, aggressively looking for her signature asset, two copies of Grisly Totem (3) with Relic Hunter, providing huge bonuses to almost any test anywhere on the map as well as incredible card draw for allies, drawing through her entire deck multiple times per scenario) which made good use of Blood Rite. Minh is probably the best investigator for this, though it could find a home with Ursula Downs if she isn't using her hand slots for relics as an alternative means of tackling enemies. A situational choice for sure - if you're thinking about using this card, make sure you know you want it before you include it.

There might be some mystics who want this card - Blood Rite is a spell, so it can be tutored by the Arcane Initiate and played with Marie Lambeau's bonus action, and as an Occult card the Lexicon won't take up one of her 5 off-class slots. It offers economy, albeit inefficient economy, which is a big problem for mystics, and if Marie isn't using her bonus action on a given turn (nothing to Shrivel and just investigating with her Intellect or moving around), using it to play the Blood Rite gives it a boost in efficiency. It's a maybe for Marie - I'll have to see how she plays before deciding.

The art for the lexicon is one of the most boring pieces of book art in a game utterly stuffed with books. I do like the art for Blood Rite, with the kind of calm, scholarly perusing of the book juxtaposed with the creepy floating sigil in blood. Could have done with some flavour text though, and a more explicit link between the book in the Occult Lexicon art and the one in the Blood Rite art would have been cool, like if one is the theory and the other the horrifying practice.

Glimpse the Unthinkable

Leaving aside issues of questionable card interactions, this card is merely okay. It suffers in that it is very expensive (5 exp to include, 1 resource and an action to play) compared with other options. Sure, there will be moments where you draw 7 cards with Glimpse the Unthinkable, or "mulligan" a hand of useless cards in favour of much better options, but using this to draw, say, 3 cards is poor compared to Cryptic Research or even Preposterous Sketches (2). In addition, Cryptic Research doesn't provoke opportunity attacks to use if you're in a pinch, and can be used for allies as well. On your average Seeker, this card is just not worth the exp.

However, there are builds that can make it work. Any build that regularly empties its hand will obviously get far more benefit, such as certain Minh builds - it also has triple matching icons, which is inherently attractive for Minh and gives it an additional effective use if you don't need the draw option, but 5 exp for a 3-icon commit is not great. It's actually a card made weaker by the taboos - this is because it works really well with Higher Education as a guaranteed way to bring Higher Ed online with some extra leeway, and both the increased exp cost of Higher Ed and the nerf to Milan make it a less attractive choice - by the same token it also helps empower Curiosity, but that's not a particularly huge benefit all told. This card can also be great for builds that otherwise eschew card draw. Some Seekers can play a lot of draw and never need to refill up to 8, but if you use your deck slots for other things (Joe Diamond leaning into Guardian, Daisy Walker leaning into Mystic, and even certain other builds) it can be a nice one-stop shop for card draw and hand filtering. It's interesting that both the Seeker cards in this pack are great for filtering your hand - I can see this working well together with Blood-Rite. Finally, Glimpse the Unthinkable can work really well with Ancient Stone (Knowledge of the Elders) - if you have a huge Ancient Stone translation with loads of charges, being able to guarantee drawing up to 8 cards as an action lets you dump a huge amount of charges to wreck a boss enemy or big enemy like Beast of Aldebaran. This also means that the card is better for solo or 2-player, where you are less able to concentrate on pure investigation and instead need more enemy management tools.

Outside of the specific builds that can make this card work, it is similar in appeal to Agency Backup - a card with a huge effect that looks really powerful at first glance, until you consider the inefficiency, lack of usability and inflexibility coupled with a big exp cost. And like Agency Backup, I think the weaknesses will become more apparent once people start playing with it.

I love the art and would consider playing this card for that reason alone. Kind of weird that this was the art used for The Wages of Sin, as normally the art for packs is found on one of the cards within that pack. But either way, the colours are lovely, vibrant and weird; the actual picture itself seems a bit flat and lifeless but the colour scheme saves it and the disintegrating face is just creepy. Nice little bit of flavour text as well.

"You Owe Me One"

I've kind of given this card a very thorough analysis here - the short version is that if used correctly it's very efficient and lets you do a lot of solid and flexible plays, certain situations can really use it to its fullest effect (e.g. Tony Morgan playing someone's spare Flamethrower) by completely breaking the idea of class restrictions, and it might be the cornerstone of some truly broken combos in future. The danger is that it will sometimes linger in hand doing nothing and slowing down your economy, and it is a massive, cumbersome amount of effort to properly coordinate.

My short conclusion is that it's too efficient and is just a really bad idea for card design and the health of the game, but I also don't want to ever deal with the hassle of using it. Don't like it, wish it wasn't in the game, but some people will have fun with it I'm sure.

I really like the art (though I wish it were on a different card since it seems more like "awesome smuggling run" and less like "that favour you owe me"), and it has nice flavour text. Mechanical flavour makes sense, too.

Double, Double

This is a fun card. You can do a lot of interesting things with it. It's essentially situational recursion plus action economy. With the right events, this card will really shine - I think it will be particularly great for Preston Fairmont and certain Jenny Barnes builds, as they tend to be very good for buying loads of events, and Sefina Rousseau with her event focus and access to the power of mystic events (the main ones that will actually work and be useful are Storm of Spirits, Drawn to the Flame, Uncage the Soul and some of the chaos token manipulation). It also gets stronger as your deck improves - Double, Double-ing an Emergency Cache (0) is an extra 3 resources, but Double, Double-ing Hot Streak (4) is an extra 7. If you play without taboos, Double, Double + Ace in the Hole is incredible, and All In is great with Exceptional cards because it gives you incredible card draw to tear through your deck to find them. There are a lot of event cards it won't really do anything with, though - Fight events like Storm of Spirits can be huge to double, but Evade events like Slip Away are less handy unless you're engaged with two enemies (or you fail the first evade attempt), and Sure Gamble will naturally not do anything if Double, Double'd.

The potential effectiveness is very attractive, but it's a lot of exp and 4 resources plus an action to put it into play. Doubling your Hot Streak (4) will get you net 7 resources, but you've spent 4 resources, an action and a card to put Double, Double into play so you need to get a lot of benefit from it before it starts paying off. Rogues can already have very serious problems getting set up quickly and this exacerbates the problem. In general, I'd rather have 4 resources right now than 7 resources at some indeterminate point in the future.

In terms of power I think this is better than Borrowed Time, but worse than Gold Pocket Watch and Ace in the Hole. It's not a card you want to just throw into a deck and hope - firstly because 8 exp is a big expense, and secondly because unless you're making good use of it you run the risk of not even recouping your investment. But you could build around it with an event-heavy build, getting loads of resource gain and then spending your gains for massive efficiency and power. Definitely don't overestimate this card, but decks that do get use out of it will be really fun.

With the big Shakespeare theme (and the witch theme) it's a shame the card is Rogue and not Survivor (for Yorick) or Mystic (for all the witchcraft), but the flavour text is cool, as is the mechanical flavour. The art is just hugely weird. I get what they're going for but I just find it genuinely unpleasant to look at.

Wither (4)

My overall impression of Wither (0) was that it was only really worthwhile for Mystics as a secondary combat option (if they haven't drawn Shrivelling or run out of charges, and don't have a good Combat stat to use Enchanted Blade), or as a combat option for Mystics leaning purely into a clue-gathering role (a rarity for mystics unless they have a strong Intellect, and if so they could run Shrivelling anyway since they won't have much pressure on their arcane slots), or as a backup combat option for non-fighty non-mystics like Carolyn Fern, Daisy Walker or "Ashcan" Pete just to allow them to handle being jumped by a Swarm of Rats or a Ghoul without running crying to the Guardian. For the first application, Wither (4) is a bad idea - if you're leaning heavily into combat you would want high-damage spells, say Shrivelling (5) and Shards of the Void as a backup, since (on average) 1-damage attacks are not worth 4 exp. For the third application, Wither (4) isn't an option at all, because they can't access Mystic level 4. So that leaves a backup combat option for non-combat Mystics. For that application, it's actually a pretty good shout - it's cheap (in terms of resources), it is relatively accurate, and it doesn't have the risk of backlash associated with Shrivelling (instead you could get a quicker kill for drawing a symbol token). But...that's still not really a niche. Marie is a high-intellect Mystic, but with her extra action for spells in general she's still well-suited getting a proper combat spell like Shrivelling, unless the team is otherwise very combat-heavy. With that application, the only person I think genuinely benefits from this upgrade is Norman Withers. As a very high-intellect character with extensive Seeker level 0 access (where a lot of the investigation cards are) he will always be investigating heavily, with very limited access to Mystic 0 he has less ability to easily access Mystic combat solutions, and he is more likely to be taking on a primary investigation role rather than the flexibility of normal mystics.

However, the improved symbol effect means that this card is also worth looking into for mystics leaning into chaos token manipulation. The main Mystic for that niche is Father Mateo, so I think this would be a good choice for such builds, but any mystic could build that way. This means that you could have a cool combat-leaning chaos token manipulation build with Wither (4) and Shards of the Void for great potency, and not needing to worry about backlash from Shrivelling means that cards such as Dark Prophecy, Olive McBride and Grotesque Statue are safer and will be good ways to ensure that you can draw lots of symbol tokens for Wither. Protective Incantation to seal away the high-negative non-symbol tokens is also a good option. Not sure it would be a strong build but certainly sounds like a very fun build. No Shrivelling backlash also makes Arcane Research a safer option.

Overall, only a minority of builds will want it but it's a good option for those builds. Only use it if you know you want to.

Just like the level 0 version, the art is really cool. Horrifying, brutal and generally just great, with lots of nice little background details and good lighting. I'd use this card just on the basis of the art.

Sixth Sense (4)

Whereas the upgrade to Wither is a very situational option, the upgrade to Sixth Sense is a much more attractive prospect. Naturally, the same sort of caveats apply (Ashcan and Zoey can't use the upgrade), but not running out of charges is a nice boon. Rite of Seeking (4) can be hugely action-efficient, but the backlash effect makes it hard to make full use of that efficiency, and if there's fewer than 3 clues left on a location you can waste one of your very limited and expensive charges. Sixth Sense (4) is cheaper, and while Fight tests generally need to be 2-damage minimum to be worth it, Investigating for 1 clue per test is essentially the norm. On a combat or support mystic with low intellect (like Agnes or Akachi) this could be a great card to let you contribute consistently when you're not busy killing or supporting.

The symbol effect is huge, to the extent that it both makes chaos token manipulation better and is good enough to significantly lift the baseline power of the card. Eldritch Inspiration is very powerful in combination with this! If you are confident, or even certain, that you are getting a symbol token (Dark Prophecy, Premonition), you can make some really good plays with this by moving to a low-shroud location and picking clues off high-shroud locations while also getting an overall boost in action efficiency. So a chaos token build with Mateo is looking pretty solid with this card - both this and Wither (4) perhaps!

One thing that's been proposed is combining Sixth Sense with Scavenging on Agnes (or to a lesser extent, Jim or Marie) to reliably recur cards from discard. With Agnes, you could recur Leather Coats for tanking as well as to absorb damage from Smoking Pipe to heal horror and fuel her ability, as well as recursion of Grotesque Statue. This also seems like a really fun build to try. I'm happy to see more interesting Mystic builds in general, since the baseline Shrivelling/Rite of Seeking/boosts deck is getting really samey and stale.

Much like the level 0 version, this is more generally useful than Wither - I'd say this is competitive with Rite of Seeking in general.

Again, as with the level 0 version, the art is very weird but not all that great. It's very different and well done, but I find it a lot less attractive than Wither.

Lure (2)

Well, it's better than Lure (1). But it's not worth the exp at all. If this card worked on non-Hunter enemies, or could cause enemies to disengage from people and run after your decoy, or was also combined with the effect of Snare Trap (another card that just isn't worth it), it would have decent value. If it could do all of those at once it might even be worth 1 exp and Exile. But as things stand, it's so, so situational. There could be times this will really save the party, but those are rare, and the "magical christmas land" thinking is a poor way to evaluate a card. The icons are OK, but the same as the level 1 version.

You know Barricade? How occasionally it could save the team, but most of the time it's a card seeking a situation rather than a card that proactively helps? This is like that, but costing exp, and guaranteed only lasting 1 turn, and without the ability to build around it. This might be tech for specific scenarios, but unless that scenario is the last one of the campaign, the fact that it isn't Exile works against it, since that's a permanent disappointment in your deck.

I genuinely don't know what the design process was here - a new version of an unused card that doesn't solve the underlying problems with the other version. This cements my feeling that The Circle Undone has seen the most uneven player card design so far in the game.

It sucks, don't use it.

Art is pretty nondescript and doesn't really encapsulate the idea of the card, and no flavour text.

Eucatastrophe

This on the other hand is both good and cool. The way I see it, there are three uses for this card.

The first is to just keep it in hand to use whenever you get an opportunity. Sooner or later you'll draw a token that reduces you down to 0, then you can use Eucatastrophe and it's worth a success with elder sign benefit that you otherwise wouldn't have.

The second is to use it as insurance to test with more impunity - this is kind of like how Lucky! is always useful until used, because you can take tests that you aren't sure you can pass, knowing that you can be Lucky! and pass if a bad token comes up - until you actually need to use it, having Lucky! in hand is like having +2 to all stats, because you can take the ability to use Lucky! into account when deciding how much to put into skill tests; Eucatastrophe can work alongside Lucky! to cover for tokens that would fail you even further. Imagine you're taking a test at difficulty 3. If you have Eucatastrophe and Lucky! in hand, you're guaranteed to pass - if the token would reduce your skill to 1 or 2, you can be Lucky! and pass. If the token would reduce you to 0, Eucatastrophe will let you pass.

The third is to use it to take advantage of your Elder Sign effect. Taking tests you're almost guaranteed to fail badly, or using chaos token manipulation, or even using Premonition and knowing that you'll fail, will mean that you can be relatively, or even absolutely, certain that you'll be able to use Eucatastrophe and get an elder sign effect. Wendy's elder sign is pretty meh. "Ashcan" Pete's is alright, but not really worth playing around. Same with Calvin. But Yorick and Rita both have exceptional elder sign effects that are worth building to take advantage of. As a Blessed card, Father Mateo can also take Eucatastrophe, and as a mystic he can go for heavy chaos token manipulation to manufacture an opportunity to use it, and his elder sign effect is incredibly strong - between this with Olive McBride and Seal of the Elder Sign, you could manufacture 4 Elder Signs in the game. If we ever see a Survivor 5/Mystic 2, this card will completely shine.

I like this card a lot on Yorick. Not only does he have a fantastic Elder Sign effect, but Eucatastrophe can save you from having your Old Hunting Rifle jam. I still don't think the Old Hunting Rifle is worth using (too unreliable), but if you are using it, Eucatastrophe is a must. Regardless of whether you're using the Rifle, "reveal chaos token" (the point at which Eucatastrophe would trigger) and "resolve chaos token effect" are separate phases in a skill test. Yorick can use his Elder Sign effect to recur the Eucatastrophe he just played. If you have the economy to play it repeatedly (say, Drawing Thin, or even a Drawing Thin/Grisly Totem/Take Heart engine), you could do some truly absurd things with this on Yorick.

Basically this is a great card, and very Survivor-y.

The art is just...awesome. A bit over the top, especially for, say, using Eucatastrophe to turn an investigation failure into a success (the clouds part, the sun burns away the evil, the nightmare ends, you finally found the hairpin you dropped), but awesome; not quite on the level of Fortune or Fate, but still. Not to sound like a broken record, but could have used some flavour text.

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33 minutes ago, tsuruki said:

I think people misread the -health on Wither.

The -health occurs before damage is applied, thus if you hit a 2hp enemy for example it goes down in one hit.

Does the order even matter? It would die either way. Also, the symbol effect occurs even if you miss which is nice I guess.

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Havent played with it too much yet,  but Mirror seems really good to me so far.   Nice card to help Skids' sanity problems,   or Leo (or anyone else really) heal the Beat Cop/Guard Dog.   This card is super versatile,  where something like If It Bleeds...  only heals horror,  with Mirror/Melody you have the choice of what to heal,  and on which character/ally.   You can also split if you feel like it, so I love that too.  Also, the extra draw on Melody helps to maintain tempo.   Easy to access,  even Ursula can grab it if she feels like being a team player.     I think this has a place in a lot of decks.

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Another thing about the 2 bonded cards is they are Occult lv 0,. which can be used by Marie Lambeau.  Might guve her a playstyle, and at least add more cards to your deck to avoid Baron Samedi.  

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I also like the bonded cards because they give you more deck space for alternative cards. Yes, I want some flexible damage mitigation, no I do not want to replace 3 cards in my deck full of guns and ammunition.

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Just finished my first full playthrough of The Circle Undone (we won...kind of) on Hard difficulty so I have some more practical experience with some of these cards now:

Hallowed Mirror/Soothing Melody is just fantastic, and a sure-fire choice for almost any Guardian even without taking the special benefits for Mark and Carolyn into account. It's great for Leo who has the allies to heal, and for Zoey who is most focussed on pure murder than any other guardian to give her stuff to do when she doesn't have any heathens to smite.

Sixth Sense (4) is even better than I gave it credit for - I was running it on Agnes and I ended up getting more clues than anyone else (at least up until the last 2 scenarios when Finn finally went nuclear with clue gathering); really nice with Eldritch Inspiration to pick up 3 clues in one action. I wasn't playing a full chaos bag manipulation build, just Grotesque Statue and Scavenging to recur it, so it might end up being even more potent on, say, Father Mateo with Olive McBride. Incidentally, Sixth Sense+Scavenging isn't a totally fantastic build (it's a lot of setup as Scavenging tends to be) but it prevented at least 1 point of trauma by allowing me to scavenge back Leather Coats (and later on, Bulletproof Vests) as well as the Heirloom of Hyperborea to commit to skill tests. I suspect it'd be a lot weaker on fewer players, since it relied a lot on having clues on lots of different locations. My favourite moment was drawing Elder Sign and Cultist with Grotesque Statue and choosing Cultist over Elder Sign in order to benefit from the Sixth Sense backlash.

Wither (4) is at best "Okay". It is ultimately not good enough to be a primary option for a mystic, and even as Agnes with her direct damage ability I did very little monster-hunting and oddly ended up being a clue-gatherer, though that might have been because we had a strong combat group. I don't really think it's worth the exp, because either it's your main combat option if you're not hunting monsters, at which point it's a lot of exp for that and 2 copies is not reliable (and it's not good enough to justify Arcane Initiate to find, unless your deck has lots of other spells as well), or it's just a backup (like having a .45 automatic on a guardian just to increase chances of drawing a weapon) which is not really its niche since it has unlimited charges and isn't powerful enough. Reducing health on symbol token turned out to really be a non-starter compared to just doing more damage, though again I wasn't running the full suite of Dark Prophecy/Olive McBride (but that's a lot of investment for what it gets you). Not taking horror backlash was great, but I think I'd rather run Enchanted Blade (3) and Song of the Dead if I wanted that. 2 resource cost was really nice, but this should really have been like level 2 so off-class characters could take it.

"I've Had Worse" (2) was really great on Diana Stanley, just superb. Solved her economy issues entirely and even let her do things like take an attack of opportunity to be able to use "I've Had Worse" with the Twilight Blade, just for the resources. I'm very impressed, and I think it will also be good for many other Guardians - the lower exp cost is great because Guardian (and Diana) is very starved for exp.

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My problem with Mirror in Zoey was I wanted her Cross more than the Mirror almost always.   So I needed to take Relic Hunter to ensure there was no conflict (which felt kinda bad), but I guess it's not the end of the world.  I ended up cutting it after a couple of scenarios for some Rosary (after I replaced the Cleavers with Brands) since I was playing Zoey with Sixth Sense and that was a better use of the Relic Hunter slot in my opinion. 

For Mark and Carolyn Mirror seems fantastic.  Haven't tried it yet.

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I'm really liking Hallowed Mirror on Mark. Two Something Worth Fighting Fors, a Hallowed Mirror, and a second wind, and I'm set as far as healing so far (in Standard Carcosa).

Gives him plenty of room to run 2 lvl 3 thompsons, 2 acts of desperation, some grenades, custom ammo, well-maintained, and Agency Backup.

I will say that while Agency Backup looks amazing, it takes a while to put it out, and if you are running with a very strong seeker, you usually don't really need the clues at that point. 4 horror soak is nothing to sneeze at though.

Edited by Soakman

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3 minutes ago, Soakman said:

I'm really liking Hallowed Mirror on Mark. Two Something Worth Fighting Fors, a Hallowed Mirror, and a second wind, and I'm set as far as healing so far (in Standard Carcosa).

Gives him plenty of room to run 2 lvl 3 thompsons, 2 acts of desperation, some grenades, custom ammo, well-maintained, and Agency Backup.

I will say that while Agency Backup looks amazing, it takes a while to put it out, and if you are running with a very strong seeker, you usually don't really need the clues at that point. 4 horror soak is nothing to sneeze at though.

I ran a pretty similar Mark build through the first 2/3 of TCU on hard, and both Mk 1 Grenades and Agency Backup turned out to be even more unwieldy and overpriced than I expected them to be. Agency Backup looks good but it really isn't very impressive; I'd much rather have Beat Cop at far less exp, fewer resources and stat boost. Agency Backup is somewhat better for Leo but even then our Leo in TCU didn't get much benefit from it - I'd rather run Beat Cop/Brother Xavier.

It's at the point where I wonder if Agency Backup is mainly useful to make solo guardian more viable as a means of repeatable clue gathering, but even then, 5 exp and 7 resources is just not affordable on solo. And there's loads more clue gathering tools in Guardian now.

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