Agnes - Caster Barista, Baby (Hard Mode)

Card draw simulator

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Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
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StartWithTheName · 32039

StartWithTheName

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A friend of mine once told me that the Hyperborea from Agness signature Heirloom might be a connection to Conan's homeland, so we possibly should have known SHED BE BACK! And much like Arnie's most famous role, BY CROM! Her sequel, or indeed unlikely twin, might just be even more of a thrill ride than the original!

For anyone confused, FFG semi-recently published optional alternative Character card fronts and backs for Agnes along with a print your own mini stand alone scenario and alternative signature cards. See this article for details. You can also see the alternative options on Arkhamdb when making a new deck under deck options. Here I am using the new "Parallel Agnes" front with the original deck building options to enable a fun little soak and spell recursion combo suit.

StartWithTheName
StartWithTheName

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As with a lot of my decks this year, ive not had the time to play test it as much as I used to before making these guides, but versions of it has been through some standalones including Bad Blood. Admittedly these have all been in standard mode in multiplayer games with friends, but numerically it overshoots the chaos bag so much and packs so much soak that I expect it to be fine on hard mode. Ive also not had any chance to take it through a campaign yet, so the upgrade path and pre xp advice are very speculative. Nevertheless, I wanted to get it out there as it was an interesting theorycrafting exercise to me and the games i have had with it have been a blast.

My best bet at a campaign starter is to reset all cards you can to level 0, then Jessica Hyde to another Leather Coat, and Grotesque Statue to pretty much the card of your choice. Possibly just a Guts or another Arcane Initiate, though a Gravedigger's Shovel could be good.

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ESPRESSO (TL:DR)

OVERVIEW:

  • CLUEING: ....................... Good.
  • ENEMY HANDLING: ...... Burst damage/soaks
  • ENCOUNTER PROT: ...... Very High
  • DRAW CONSISTENCY: .. High
  • CASH ENGINE: ............... High, but needed
  • HEALING: ....................... Soak Focussed but heals slowly

PLAYSTYLE:

  • ROLE: ............................. Flex - Tanky, cluer with burst damage.
  • COMPLEXITY: ................ High
  • JANK FACTOR: ............... Rude Platinumberg!
  • THEMATIC FEEL: ........... Warlock, Spell Weaver, Manipulator.

SLOTS:

A spell event spam and draw focussed Parallel Agnes deck aiming to maximising uses of her ability while soaking the damage (its not direct) on Jessica Hyde, or expendables like Leather Coat, and The new Heirloom of Hyperborea. All of which refresh hp or can be totally recalled by Scavenging anytime you succeed by 2 using Sixth Sense (4)'s +2, and potential shroud reduction on draws. The same tokens which can be fished out using Scavengable Grotesque Statues, all the while sniping bonus clues. Its quite the machine once you get it running man ...ok ill stop

Backpack (2) digs out the items with its 12 deep search. These can be played from the backpack (like a chump!) ... OR if we play another body slot item, the backpack, and all its contents (also items), will be discarded and available to actionlessly Scavenge into play later on. This also thins the deck so spell events reshuffled via our ability and redrawn via the on Heirloom of Hyperborea will keep cycling at an increasing speed as long as we can repeatedly soak damage on items and allies. Suddenly we have 2 micro decks circulating. A spell event deck main deck, and a pool of items in the discard to be scavenged back anytime we overshoot a Sixth Sense test.

Yet more cash and draw come from Arcane Initiate, Take Heart, Renfield, and The new Scroll of Secrets (which may as well be 3 free draw actions over 3 turns, with a chance to kill a weakness ... and once again can be Backpacked and Scavenged).

The Spell event suit shown here can be adapted to taste. I have simply chosen a decent spread of some of the better damage options and a few utility cards. Hypnotic Gaze is surprisingly effective at 1 cost when you can fish for with Grotesque Statues, especially on bosses, and Hypnotic Gaze (2) is even more powerful if you pick it up. Astral Travel cares very little when you can just Scavenge any lost item back later, and the any damage from tokens on Storm of Spirits that you didnt manage to avoid by drawing 2 tokens, can be soaked on Coats, Heirlooms (its damage from a player card), and allies.

Finally dont miss that Holy Rosary can be used as a recurrable horror soak as well as a will boost

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PERKS (Upgrades)

As I say in the intro, I have yet to try the deck in any campaign so this section is a little speculative. Take with a pinch of salt but this is my best guess. You`ll just have to put up with manual asset plays for a game or two

Priorities:

  • MVP 1x Backpack(2) Digs twice as deep at half the cost. This simply adds so much consistency its crucial.

  • MVP 2x Sixth Sense(4) Bonus clues are nice, but the +2 is crucial especially at higher difficulty levels if we are looking to succeed by 2 for Scavenging triggers.

  • Next Priority 1x Scavenging(2) Pure action compression by skipping all those install actions.

Then get the other Backpack(2) and Scavenging (2)s.

You should now be back at the deck as listed here.

Later Options:

Then, a few options depending a lot on group composition and playstyle, most of which are upgrades to your spell event suite since you will be spamming these over and over. Some highlights:

  • Hypnotic Gaze(2) Once you see how good Lvl 0 Gaze is at 1 cost with decent odds on a token from Grotesque Statues, this will be much more appealing I promise you.

  • Storm of Spirits(3) Taking this to 3 damage is enough to kill most enemies. Use Grotesque Statues to avoid the damage where you can, or soak it on the Heirloom since this is damage from a player card, or Jessica or Coats.

  • Ward of Protection(2) Always a solid card, but remember you can recur this with your ability if you are willing to take the damage as well as the horror (both of which you can soak)... Thats a lot of team wide cancels..

  • Counterspell (2) Purple Lucky!. But you can recur it and it works on other players, is free with your discount and possibly draws you a card from Heirloom. Yum.

  • Banish(1)/Bind Monster(2) Decent options if you want evade spells. Im not sure what the interaction is between Bind Monster and your ability shuffling it back into the deck however. If i find out i`ll update here.

  • Alter Fate(1) Campaign dependent but when its decent its a a pseudo-Ward that costs an action instead of the horror. its a spell so it can be recurred. And youre less bothered by the 3 cost. Not amazing, but its an option.

  • Word of Command(2) - A perfect spell tutor. Finds Sixth Sense, or any spell event you need in a pinch. With its cost neutered and potential to draw a card on play to compensate for the action it looks a lot more action efficient than it is in other decks.

Also consider:

  • Grotesque Statue (4) For most decks, the level 2 version is plenty and saves a little xp, but since we will be Scavenging(2) this, that extra charge and 1 cost discount is quite a big cost saving over the game. Another option to bolster this aspect of the deck is simply a second copy of the level 2 version to increase consistency. but ive not had the time to test which is better. My instinct is to go for the level 4 version first because of the Backpack(2)s but i would be happy to hear experiences.

  • Relic Hunter(3) This will let you use the Holy Rosary as well as the Heirloom (and you will see both easilly with Backpack (2)s.

  • Charisma(3) this mainly lets you put Jessica Hyde down early if she shows, though I havent really found i cared about the soak when i have the other allies (they can also take hp damage for you).

  • Peter Sylvestre(2) After at least 1 Charisma. He could go over Holy Rosary, but its a hard call since rosary can be tutored out by Backpacks. Still, he covers the indirect horror, will boost, adding an agi pip in toe.

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DETAILED PILOTING

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TAKE A SEAT (Muligan)

we are basically looking for any cards that draw and 1 copy of sixthsense/scavenging. Keep any of the following that you see, and muligan the rest in hope of finding them:

Depending on the hand and the available doom on the agenda, also consider:

Unless you expect to need them early you probably wont need the spell events yet. You will get a steady supply of them later game with the Heirloom , though if you got that in the first hand, there is an argument that any spell event you can play also lets you draw so long as you also have the HP space or soak available.

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I NEED YOUR COAT, YOUR STATUE, AND YOUR SPELLS RECYCLED (Draw and Recursion Engines - THE JANK!)

But its the good type of jank I promise! ... ok, i dont believe any jank is bad... but this is surprisingly functional.

  • THE OVERALL PLAN is to keep some combination of Leather Coat, Heirloom of Hyperborea, and Jessica Hyde in play, to keep soaking the HP damage (its not direct) from your character card ability over and over again so the (usually very powerful/efficient) spell events can keep being put back into the deck.

  • This is mostly done Scavenging Leather Coats and Heirlooms via Sixth Sense's +2 boost and Read the Signs since Scavenging triggers of any successful investigation not just based ones. This takes us to 7 or 8 skill which is enough to pass on a 4 shroud reliably, with occasional Scavenging triggers if we draw low tokens (about a third to half the bag usually on a 4 shroud), or it will trigger much more frequently on 1 to 3 shrouds. If we are in a tight corner needing to force a trigger, Promise of Powers should easilly overshoot the bag on demand (or summon the inevitable !)

  • Spare triggers are then used to recycle Statues to support token fishing or avoiding cards, the new Scroll of Secrets for draw, and Holy Rosary for horror soak.

  • You dont have to play the cards from Backpack, though you can. Playing (or Scavenging into play) another body slot item, including the other backpack, will bump any in play Backpack and any attached cards into the discard pile where you can Scavenge them into play action free if you can wait for Sixth Sense to trigger it. Notice that playing backpacks over backpacks also slowly thins your deck putting all the items in the bin for later. This boosts the chance of drawing spell events later on once you have the engine flowing.

  • The draw on Heirloom of Hyperborea is on every Spell played. Its not limited to once per turn etc. So when you play spell events, which cost at most 1 resource if you use your ability, you will draw a card to replace it. Statues and Heirlooms are not cheap, so save your David Renfield and Take Heart cash for these, prioritising the heirlooms as they are more crucial to the engine.

  • The above two points makes 2 mini decks. Your main deck will eventually thin down to mainly spell events cycling with Heirloom assistance as they are played, while your items will end up cycling from the discard via Scavenging.

  • Dont miss that you can kill off David Renfield or Arcane Initiates with your ability relieving the doom or just making space for a new ally as needed. it even saves a bit of space on your recurrable assets. As usual, you should also consider using these for the horror from Ward of Protection if necessary.

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PERCLUELATED (Investigating)

This is probably fairly obvious, not least given the details in the recursion section, but just to go over it all

  • Sixth sense is the main clue tool With a base of 5 +2 built into the level 4 version of it hits 7, which is enough to reliably pass investigate tests on shroud 3s or 4s on hard. Buffs are available from Holy Rosary and/or David Renfield if you want to go higher. And as I say above, Promise of Power can be used to force a high skill if you need to in a pinch.

  • Mid ish game, you should be able to get Grotesque Statue down and by late game it should be recurring via Scavenging. Use this to fish for tokens where safe to do so. You can use these to effectively lower the shroud you are checking against, ideally so that you then succeed by 2 or more to trigger Scavengings.

  • Grotesque Statue discards the very second there are no charges on it, so it will discard mid test at the token reveal if you used the last charge. Notice that Scavenging s AFTER the test. Ie the statue is in the bin in time to be targetted a scavenge on a test that was actually used to discard it.

  • Read the Signs will be recurring This is usually a guarenteed 2 clues, and only costs you 1 damage with your ability. Keep this cycling and it will do you proud. It can also trigger Scavenging. Note that it is a test not a will test. So any cards you commit need to have at least 1 pip on them to be legal. But this does include Scroll of Secrets if you are trying to get it in the discard pile to Scavenge into play action free. Similarly, Promise of Power can bump you to 6 as a one off if needed, or the magic 7 with one Scroll of Secrets committed too.

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BREWING UP A STORM (Enemy Handling)

Again, possibly not a lot of surprises other than hypnotic gaze suddenly being in vogue

  • Spectral Razor is just a staple these days, and even better when its free and recurring. Notice it is a test not a test (you add your to your skill value). However this does let you commit pipped assets like Leather Coat to the test to get them into the bin for Scavenging into play later.

  • Storm of Spirits is our back up or swarm killing attack. Notice that The new Heirloom of Hyperborea can soak any damage you take from drawing tokens as this would still be damage taken from a player card. And as usual you can use Grotesque Statues to try to avoid the token in the first place if needed.

  • Hypnotic Gaze is a sleeper powerhouse with Grotesque Statues ... at least at 1 cost when it also draws you a card ... and comes back later... and especially on boss fights. Its strength is that is is off action damage and it tends to scale with the size of the enemy, ie you tend to use it on the big stuff. It can also be used collect up enemies up for a Storm of Spirits, as can simply soaking any attacks on Jessica Hyde or similar.

  • In a pinch Promise of Power can be used to evade at 7 or go high on a combat check.

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HOT WATER (Encounter Protection)

  • As usual high and Ward of Protections take the lead Few mystics struggle with checks, though this can be campaign specific. As usual, save the Wards for particularly rough cards. Though if you get both in hand, consider playing at least one of them aggressively if you can take the horror since it will eventually come back around via your ability. This becomes much better with the Level 2 Ward covering other players.

  • Soak damage where you can using the reusable soaks This will neuter a lot of the side of the encounter deck as these are usually based when they are not automatic. Remember that you can afford a small amount on your character card as eventually an will show and heal you, especially if you are using Grotesque Statues aggressively. Holy Rosary can be used in a similar way if the encounter deck is handing out horror too readily.

  • Promise of Power can also one shot any one rough or off spec test. It appears in every section of this guide for a reason. The reason is 4 wild pips.

  • Scroll of Secrets can occasionally snipe a weakness A bit obvious, but if you see a weakness on the bottom of your deck, you can discard it. Less obvious is that if you play scrolls 2 or 3 times a game, which isnt uncommon, thats 6-9 cards seen, which is a sizable proportion of your deck albeit over a long time. You have good odds on sniping one weakness every couple of maps.

  • You can soak the horror of Dark Memory on Heirloom of Hyperborea, and its a spell so you can use your ability to reduce the cost. This will still hurt at a whopping 1 damage, 2 resources and a doom to clear if you cant soak the horror. Though you can still draw a card from Heirloom of Hyperboreas . And because you keep restocking your deck with events, it at least wont easily cycle back through despite having this much draw.

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As always thanks for reading and well done getting all the way to the end!

If you are somehow craving yet more Parallel Agnes puns, I have left you a short song at this link

Enjoy!

13 comments

Jan 14, 2021 suika · 7195

Scavenging (2) + Backpack (2) is such a strong combo for tempo. It's even better when you add can Research abilities to the mix, like Minh (shameless plug).

For an starter version, you'd pretty much want to ditch Backpack (0) for something — Backpack (0) is pretty much never worth playing, unlike its upgraded version. Good filler candidates are Live and Learn, Deny Existence, Lucky!, Guts, etc, or even Fearless if you're greedy and took Arcane Research on a 6 san character.

Jan 14, 2021 StartWithTheName · 32039

Thanks @suika. Yeah its also a fun combo which is nice. Im running it in a clue heavy blessed tommy deck as well just now to save on play actions. Ive not played seeker in a very long time as i got a little put off by all the fast action stuff, but im tempted to try it again with the new taboo nerfs. The upside is that the fast action period made me play a lot of archtypes i might otherwise not have tried which has been fun. Its now hard to convince me not to take a rogue - a class that at the start of the game I didnt really understand!

I agree re backpack tbh. I just didnt have much experience of the level 0 deck to lean into when writing that section. But those are good calls ofc. the hard bit with cards like those is they always feel hard to cut. You really have to have your eye on a long term plan and the will to commit to it (a check i often fail in practice!).

I actually originally planned to have a variants and flex slots section at the bottom, but a) I didnt have a good pun, and b) the guide was too long already so I just skipped it this time. Arcane Research is an interesting one and one i really wanted to try out before posting, but i didnt find the time. Normally with this many spell upgrades planned it would look like a no brainer. but with Twin Agnes's 6 base horror, and [Very minor innsmouth spoiler] a fair amount of non test damage/horror in the current cycle I was worried it would be too much. I suspect theres only so much the rosary can soak and I didnt want newer players to have a shock. Veterans will just modify the deck to their tastes of course. [spoiler end]

My current thoughts are that since we would xp over the slot after 2 or 3 maps, Delve Too Deeps might be decent an alternative. Using them once or twice at the start of a campaign feels reasonable and you get less benefit from them the later you carry them into the campaign. Ofc in campagins where you think you can get away with the trauma, research would be fine. Its just a shame that the horror healing item assets in faction either Dont self discard, or are a little on the slow and expensive side. Cards like Fearless would never recycle so they`d only heal you for 1 horror per game.

Jan 14, 2021 suika · 7195

A single copy of Fearless (2) could offset the Arcane Research trauma, even if not recurred, taken over a copy of Storm of Spirits.

Though if taking Arcane Research the better option might be to sink some XP from it into a Deny (5) and cycle that for healing.

Jan 14, 2021 StartWithTheName · 32039

Yeah Deny(5) is exactly what were looking for here as its spell traitrd so you can recycle it (even if you dont care about the 2 cost discounting). I was looking for a horror healing spell event or item and missed it. I'll pop it into the guide later on. Cheers @suika

Jan 14, 2021 crayne · 3

My current P. Agnes deck is very similar to yours, but I'm using only 1x Sixth Sense but 2x Word of Command.

I use Dark Prophecy to make Sixth Sense's secondary effect more reliable. I'm also considering Eldritch Inspiration to trigger it again, but couldn't decide which card to cut. It also does nothing on it's own, so it can be dead card.

I've tried Scroll of Secrets but wasn't very convincing. Problem is that it doesn't discard itself and i need most scavenings to recycle Leather Coat. I'll try upgrading it to Bulletproof Vest at some point.

What do you think of Sword Cane? Using it as part of the play action is really nice. Investigate with an OA, trigger Scavenging, play Sword Cane from discard and evade an enemy with the same action (personally, i always had it in hand, though)?

Jan 14, 2021 crayne · 3

Sorry for double post, i didn't realize the items for Astral Travel can be scavenged. Nice combo with Open Gate, which i have in my deck.

Jan 14, 2021 StartWithTheName · 32039

Oh i love the 2x Words of Power as a 1x Sixth Sense tutor. It saves xp and the dead card draw later game and has plenty of alternative targets if SS is already available.

I need to start publishing my decks when they are less refined more often for the feedback it seems!

Im surprised you bounced off Scroll of Secrets. I dont have a lot of difficulty discarding it. I wonder if you know you can discard it any time you play any hand slot item. Ie you dont have to run out of slots. So I essentially just play the other copy over it, then repeat. Or the statues. Even with just 1 play however i like it for getting 3 draws from 1 Scavenging trigger. But it might be dependent on the composition of the rest of the deck, and it sounds like youve gone heavier into the token fishing. I preferred Grotesque Statue over Dark Prophecy as it could be recurred, though it could easilly be the lvl0 option that I struggled to think of. Theres also a lot of flexibility in the specific spell event suit set up if you want both.

Sword Cane was in the build until this very itteration. I tend to just play it from hand as an evade or fight action rather from the discard as investigating could incur AoOs. THough you have Hypnotic Gaze and plenty of soak so it might not always be an issue. Its certainly another good flex slot option. I cut it mainly because I think i only ever found myself playing it once. And even then I had alternatives. It became one of the Promise of Powers instead as they were cheaper and more flexible if it was just a once a game thing. But certainly some campaigns would warrent it more than others like TFA in particular.

Jan 14, 2021 Django · 3177

  • Scroll of Secrets: In most scenarios i felt i was pressed for time, so i tried to spend as many actions as possible on gaining clues. We finished our first scenario on the last agenda. Though we had lots of time left in Bad Blood or war of the underworld. It's hard to tell when playing a scenario for the first time (or after a long while). War was also really combat intense, like every 2 turns i had to assist tony with combat or we had gotten extra doom from enemies killing each other. That side adventure also has lots of 3 HP aloof enemies, so Spectral Razor was perfect. In the end we had 5 doom left before the last red agenda would've advanced. Point being, over 4 scenarios i played 1 scroll, got 3 cards but it was sitting in my hand slot for the rest of the game and i had no actions remaining to recycle it.

  • Prophecy of doom: ...is a spell event like Eldritch Inspiration so both can be shuffled into your deck and reused. Tentacle Statue is a good idea with Scavenging 2, let's see how this works with 4 hand slot cards. I don't have david, this might be too much for my resources. Might add Drawing Thin later.

Jan 15, 2021 StartWithTheName · 32039

Good to hear your experiences @Django. clearly i need to get this deck into a campaign. I genuinely love the new scrolls at high xp but i must be doing something different. It might be that I see it as an early game card to find keystones for the jank engine so I give it a higher priority. Also hello again! I recall a lengthy deck tech chat with an old jenny deck back in the day! My version of it never took off sadly but looked like you got her spinning.

Re Dark Prophecy, sadly its an augery not a spell so you cant target it with Agnes's ability to reshuffle through (unless I have missed something, as I often do!). Still its a solid card in any SS4 deck most of the time.

Jan 17, 2021 HarrisonF · 32

Love the deck idea, similar to what I was doing, it works really well and is very much different than other Mystics. Lots of fun!

I am pretty sure this is incorrect:

I wonder if you know you can discard it any time you play any hand slot item. Ie you dont have to run out of slots.

Do you have any references for this? MB discord seems to think you can only discard when you are above hand limits.

Jan 17, 2021 Django · 3177

@StartWithTheName Dark Prophecy: I seem to have missed that and played it incorrectly. Thanks for correcting me.

Scroll of Secrets: I had more success with it during our 2 games yesterday. I guess my hand in earlier games was so good i didn't need more draw, but not yesterday. It's quite satisfying to grab scavenging 2 as the last card of your deck or discard your random weakness from there.

Scavenging It's also fun to empty my deck of items by scavenging backpack 2 repeatadly.

@HarrisonF The rules on arkhamDB and errata seem to me like MB discord is correct. But with 2x Backpack and 2x Scroll of Secrets you'll get to the hand limit pretty quickly.

Jan 17, 2021 Django · 3177

Do you think Summoned Hound and Flare/ A Chance Encounter would work in this deck? Not sure what to remove, though. Also the dog's base value of 5 can be too low on shroud/ fight 4+. Crystalline Elder Sign may help with this but quite XP hungry.

Jan 17, 2021 StartWithTheName · 32039

Cheers @Django and @HarrisonF. That all makes sense. Weirdly thats how ive always played allies (which can be an issue with Doom allies, but somehow had a blind spot for hands... though they rarely come up outside of scav builds. Happy to be corrected. the MB discord folk are always much better at these things than I am.

Re Summoned Hound schenanagans, ive never actually used the combo as it felt outside of the intended design, and I had a few negative experiences with that playstyle undermining the challenge a bit too much (not that theres anything wrong if people enjoy doing that sort of thing). These days ive moved away from min maxing to sort of trying to balance my own challenge. So just making decks that consistently use the mechanic I want to try out then picking a challenge that keeps things interesting. Sadly it means i havent got a good grasp on the best uses for things like that. My instinct is that its adding another sub mechanic to an already crammed playstyle and this deck possibly doesnt want yet another gimick to keep track of. Though it is another deck thinner, and those flares have other allies to snipe so maybe it has some cross synergy?0 It would eat into either the spell suite space of possibly one or two items. I would be careful about dropping any more allies, as you at least really want the cash from renfield if you want to be able to afford a lot of statues, and well I was sad to drop the first copy of Arcane Initiate in a spell spam deck. I dont know if I have the heart to cut the other one! Maybe over one of the scrolls if you are finding them sort of nice to have rather than essential draw to compensate on bad muligans. As you say, with a good hand, they can be redundant, and I guess a turn 1 Summoned Hound would also be a good first turn. It has 3 hp too so thats 2 more ability uses, or basically 1 coat play saved.