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Krysmopompas

Building a Carolyn Fern deck for 4-player - advice

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Hey all, I'm not the most confident deck-builder and I'm about to embark on Return to Path (when it comes out), using Carolyn in a four-player game. The reset of the group is:

- Yorick (fighting survivor)

- Joe Diamond (seeker with obvious combat options)

- Jim Culver (mystic with some combat)

so given all that, I was going to play Carolyn as a seeker/healer. Probably going to forego any fighting cards (Shrivelling or a hand weapon) ..was looking at Alice Luxley as a really interesting choice since she also deals 1 damage when getting clues, but Peter Sylvestre just seems like a must have in a Carolyn deck, at least to start and with my rookie eyeballs.

My projected upgrade path includes the Ancient Stones (heal horror), upgraded Peter, Maybe Charisma so I could run Alice, Maybe Relic Hunter so I could also run the Key (I'm dreaming though, we're playing with the Taboo list), and general cards that will help reload/heal/etc. the party.

Here's a link to the current draft of the deck - anyone feel like shooting a comment as to how to make the most of her?

https://arkhamdb.com/deck/view/454725

 

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I would agree that Peter is probably more important than Alice.   Alice is pretty nice, but probably only a second choice as an ally.  Grab her if you want to use Charisma, otherwise don't bother.  If you have 2 cores, I would definitely recommend a second Dynamite Blast.  But if you don't,  then what you have looks pretty good.  

There is probably not a huge reason for Arcane research if you don't plan to run attack spells,  I would probably cut it and save yourself the mental trauma.  You also might want to include I've Got a Plan... or two.   I would highly recommend this,  it's very useful. 

By the way, I really like the idea of Let Me Handle this in your deck,   allowing Carolyn with Peter to steal any horror dealing treachery cards,   clever.

I dont recommend going for Key of Ys,  if you are playing with the taboo list.  If you want to go Relic Hunter,  then probably Disc of Itzamna or Tooth of Etzli are better options.  

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Focusing ancient stone and peter is a good plan. Not sure what the arcane research is doing in there since you aren’t using many spells.

i would probably ditch the cameras just because your wont have hands for ancient stones plus fingerprint kits plus cameras and you’re not leaning too much on your will anyway.

Also not a huge fan of persuasion. I would rather take something to tutor the stones. Or even more clue power in the form of scene of the crime or damage mitigation such as true grit.

Edited by Soakman

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59 minutes ago, awp832 said:

I would agree that Peter is probably more important than Alice.   Alice is pretty nice, but probably only a second choice as an ally.  Grab her if you want to use Charisma, otherwise don't bother.  If you have 2 cores, I would definitely recommend a second Dynamite Blast.  But if you don't,  then what you have looks pretty good.  

There is probably not a huge reason for Arcane research if you don't plan to run attack spells,  I would probably cut it and save yourself the mental trauma.  You also might want to include I've Got a Plan... or two.   I would highly recommend this,  it's very useful. 

 

57 minutes ago, Soakman said:

Focusing ancient stone and peter is a good plan. Not sure what the arcane research is doing in there since you aren’t using many spells.

i would probably ditch the cameras just because your wont have hands for ancient stones plus fingerprint kits plus cameras and you’re not leaning too much on your will anyway.

Also not a huge fan of persuasion. I would rather take something to tutor the stones. Or even more clue power in the form of scene of the crime or damage mitigation such as true grit.

 

Hey thanks for your feedback, both. RE: Alice, if I want her in there eventually, should I just bite the bullet and include her now, or pay the 1-2xp for her later when I can get Charisma?

RE: the cameras, I don't mind having them now and potentially dropping them when the stones come into play. I'll need to ditch cards anyway and these look like good short term boosts.

Good point on the Arcane Research. Thought I could upgrade Ward of Protection but I can't! 

And RE: the Key, yeah maybe I should forego it since it will be 10xp...but Hallowed Mirror is very nice, and cheap even at 1xp if I buy it later. I may go for Relic Hunter to get that active.

Edited by Krysmopompas

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I have used Hallowed Mirror in Mark and it was stellar. The big concern here is that if you are using a lot of actions healing you won't be using them to cluever. You have to play hallowed mirror and then play each copy of soothing melody for effect. The great thing about the stone is that it is a reaction to drawing cards which means it takes no actions to patch people up, and leaves you free to investigate.

Similarly, that is why I like True Grit and Something Worth Fighting for.

If you are planning on getting Alice AND Peter, I would probably include her now and throw Charisma in later so it only takes 3 xp and not 5 to replace cards. Maybe Alice instead of Persuasion?

This was my most recent deck at the end of TCU. It did very well throughout the campaign, but I did have the extra boost of the black book. https://arkhamdb.com/deck/view/433089

NOTE: Carolyn is going to need a LOT of backup when it comes to enemies though. I'd almost always make sure she sticks with someone that can evade or fight.

Edited by Soakman

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One thing I never see noted much is that Carolyn does not only heal horror, she "gives" resources when she does. Investigators with Carolyn can wind up seriously flush with resources as long as Carolyn keeps the regular counseling sessions going. With that in mind:

With Peter Sylvestre and Forbidden Knowledge, Teamwork becomes an option to redistribute some of Carolyn's resources.

When not giving resources away, Keen Eye becomes an incredible upgrade, as Carolyn can use it regularly when not healing to get her cluvering into high gear.

Also, despite the usual complaints of action economy on things like Clarity of Mind or Liquid Courage, I consider them staples as for Carolyn it means 1 (maybe 2) healing and 1 resource to the target for each action. Sure it means Carolyn is not doing "useful" things like collecting clues with her actions, but it means the target is never "wasting" actions to collect that one extra resource.

 

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I like Mirror.  The issue in Carolyn is Saint Hubert's Key is fantastic for her.  The nice thing about Soothing Melody is it's extremely flexible and it gives you a draw.  I'd say it's a straight up include other than the slot issue. 

Also I'd note that in a 4 player game you might have an issue getting the camera fully online.  It's easy for me to use it in 1 player or 2 players where I am the primary investigator.  At four players sometimes it's gonna be a bit harder making sure you are pulling the last clue up on a couple locations early.  It's got more working against it.

If you are putting no fighting tools in your deck then you should put at least one way to evade in the deck.  I'd put Mind Over Matter in there.

Edited by phillos

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Thanks for all gang. I'm taking a risk with no fight or dodge, meaning I'm likely gonna be within earshot of one of the other 3 investigators for the duration. 

Maybe Mind Over Matter or Hyperawareness would be a good idea, but I'm liking the leanness of this deck. Adding 1-2 cards out of 30 to dodge might be messing up too much.. We do have 2 copies of Delve too Deep already held by other investigators.

https://arkhamdb.com/deck/view/456272

Upgrade path, assuming 5xp (and rarely 6) per scenario - I'm playing with a max xp crowd.

1: Charisma,  Hawk Cameras -> Ancient Stones (1)

2: Ancient Stones upgraded 2-for-1, with 1xp left maybe get a Mag Glass (1) for something

3: Keen Eye, Pete Sylvestre -> Pete Sylvestre (2)

4: upgrade other Pete Sylvestre, Relic Hunter, 1xPainkillers -> Hallowed Mirror

then see where we are from there. maybe Stick to the Plan, upgraded Dynamite, etc.

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You do get alot of XP opportunities early in that campaign from what I recall.  That should be easy especially if you are actually using 2x Delves each scenario.  Hyperawareness in Carolyn is not a bad play since it gives her a way to spend resources that might pile up.

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3 hours ago, phillos said:

You do get alot of XP opportunities early in that campaign from what I recall.  That should be easy especially if you are actually using 2x Delves each scenario.  Hyperawareness in Carolyn is not a bad play since it gives her a way to spend resources that might pile up.

Yeah the Keen Eye buy will help down the road...not sure where to put Hyperawareness, but replaced 2 Persuasions with 2 Unexpected Courages. Lose a draw but gain needed versatility. Could always drop those and put two Hyperawareness in short term.

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I wouldn't bother with Hyperawareness, you already have a lot of expensive cards in there, and it's a bit of a false economy given the setup cost unless you're going to be utterly swimming in resources (e.g. a cheap deck using pre-taboo Dr Milan Christopher). Peter S gives you +1 Agility but you're probably still just relying on your allies to come peel enemies off you rather than being able to pump up agility to get away. Keen eye down the road is certainly a decent option, though.

If you want to go down the Forbidden Knowledge/Peter Sylvestre route, you really want two copies of Forbidden Knowledge - it's an engine you want to get set up ASAP so you can pay for the rest of your deck.

I don't rate using many skills on Carolyn - Deduction and Eureka! at least in the starting deck, sure, but beyond that I would look for events with double icons so they can also be committed to skill tests - such as Working a Hunch and Logical Reasoning - so you have the flexibility of either an event or a card essentially as good as a skill, albeit without the draw from Perception or whatever. Carolyn has some of the most unique and broad deckbuilding options in the game as well as the potential for an extremely strong resource economy, and using neutral skills kind of squanders that.

I'd personally cut the Cameras and maybe Perception and one of the Emergency Caches for doubling up on Fine Clothes, Forbidden Knowledge and maybe Persuasion and Dynamite Blast, and/or a single copy of another Tactic like I've Got A Plan, Shortcut or Dodge - this last one is so that your deck has a total of at least 3 different Supply/Tactic cards in it for Stick to the Plan, which is an exceptional card and one of the major selling-points of Carolyn Fern. However, overall I think it's a solid deck as it stands.

One thing to be aware of for Carolyn is that she has a very weird exp curve - she needs a lot of exp to get up to where she's got her core deck working properly, between Charisma, Keen Eye, Stick To The Plan, Ancient Stones and upgraded Peter Sylvestre, then only a limited number of good-but-not-amazing upgrades like Well Prepared, Police Badge, Stand Together, Deny Existence (5) before she runs out of things to buy due to her limited deckbuilding ceiling. In Carcosa you might not notice it that much but for the more generous campaigns (TCU and TFA) she ends up not really getting much better between later scenarios.

Edited by Allonym

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Hey thanks Allonym, good advice. I'd switfched the Perceptions to Unexpected Courage-s because I wanted some flexibility on tests...but in a 4 player it is a bit of a shot in the dark that I'd be really that alone anyway.

I've seen some builds that just forget about the Forbidden Knowledge but keep Sylvestre. What do you think of that idea? 

The cameras are only there for one scenario, they will be replaced by Ancient Stones. I didn't want to get too attached to what the Stones were going to replace so figured I'd give them a shot to see what they're like. 

Will probably look at ditching the neutral skill cards for another Fine Clothes and something else...and if I do end up with 2xForbidden Knowledge cards I could ditch an Emerg Cache too. Was looking at upgrading them down the line, but it will cost the same anyway.

Thanks for the thoughts on the exp curve, good to know.

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27 minutes ago, Krysmopompas said:

Hey thanks Allonym, good advice. I'd switfched the Perceptions to Unexpected Courage-s because I wanted some flexibility on tests...but in a 4 player it is a bit of a shot in the dark that I'd be really that alone anyway.

I've seen some builds that just forget about the Forbidden Knowledge but keep Sylvestre. What do you think of that idea? 

The cameras are only there for one scenario, they will be replaced by Ancient Stones. I didn't want to get too attached to what the Stones were going to replace so figured I'd give them a shot to see what they're like. 

Will probably look at ditching the neutral skill cards for another Fine Clothes and something else...and if I do end up with 2xForbidden Knowledge cards I could ditch an Emerg Cache too. Was looking at upgrading them down the line, but it will cost the same anyway.

Thanks for the thoughts on the exp curve, good to know.

Forbidden Knowledge is certainly not mandatory - you can make a ridiculous pile of resources with Forbidden Knowledge + Peter S, but you need to get it set up first and you already have a lot of setting up to do, which can be really awkward when one of the cards is buried in your deck, since Carolyn doesn't have much access to Seeker card draw. Peter Sylvestre is great regardless.

With Stick to the Plan, a single copy of ECache is all you really will need - the time you most need that cash injection is right at the start, and Stick to the Plan makes sure you have that. As you say, that's particularly good if you do go the Forbidden Knowledge route - once your combo is online you get an extra 2 resources every round so you would only ever need the resources right at the beginning.

Getting advice to tweak your deck is a great idea to make sure you have a fun and effective deck, however, Carolyn is a bit of a deckbuilding challenge by design, so while I think everyone here is more than happy to give you guidance, feel free to try things out and see what works - for instance, try out the Hawk-Eye Folding Camera, as you suggest.

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Thanks, I think I'm basically set - feels like I should get Stick to the Plan up ASAP, but Charisma and the Stones have to come first...at the end of the day I think the Plan will include Dynamite Blast, E. Cache and Ever Vigilant, or something close to that. Cheers.

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Finished Return to Path to Carcosa with a side mission to the Carnivale. Pretty great experience with Carolyn, I like her a lot. Only change I would have done is started out with Shrivelling (maybe ditching "I'll handle this!") and then trading in the Shrivelling around the same time as "I'll handle this!", as Carolyn can't upgrade it and  it gets pretty useless in multiplayer down the line.

final deck (after final xp): https://arkhamdb.com/deck/view/569975

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