Dexter Casts Bolts With His Pentacle|20k Series|Deck Guide

Card draw simulator

Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
안 움직이는 권총 저격수 트리시 0 0 0 1.0
Evasive Underworld Alchemist 1 0 2 1.0
Dexter Evade/Spellfighter TFA attempt 0 0 0 1.0
Dexter Drake - Can you introduce me as Sorcerer? 9 7 1 1.0

Valentin1331 · 56183

Dexter uses his magic Onyx Pentacle to cast Ranged Shadow, Arcane and Fire bolts.


Credit: Shane Pierce


Changelog 18/05/23: It was ruled by the game designers that Dirty Fighting attacks must target an enemy that is at your location. This shuts down a big part of what is fun with this deck. The ruling was done to prevent abuse with Pendant of the Queen's evasions, for instance. I personally feel like this deck doesn't use this mechanic to break the game. Feel free to ignore the deck completely, use the deck with the new rule (it will probably still work well), or pretend you didn't see this message (Promise, I won't tell anyone). It's a cooperative game, after all, so as long as everyone at your table is fine with it, you are free to choose whatever you want ;)

When seeing Dirty Fighting for the first time, some obvious investigators came to mind, like Kymani, Finn or Rita. But I also wanted to explore other less conventional options. That's when I realised that it worked well with the completely overlooked Onyx Pentacle. In practice, it makes a fun and surprisingly efficient enemy management deck!

This series is a celebration of the 20k points on ArkhamDB to thank you all for all the support received.
Click here to see all the previous decks. I will keep releasing a new standalone-ready deck concept every week on Friday, so stay tuned and keep pressing the button if you want to see more!

Let me know which investigators you would like to see next in the comment!

Table of Contents:

  • Overview

  • Main Strategy

  • Evasion Tools

  • Ripple Effects of the Evasion

  • Increasing Your Skill Value

  • Other Cards

  • Upgrade Path


Difficulty: ★★★★★
Enemy Management: ★★★★☆
Clue-getting: ★★★☆☆
Encounter protection: ★★★★☆
Survivability: ★★★★☆
Economy: ★★★★☆
Card Drawing: ★★★★☆

Main Strategy:

Evasion tools:

When the enemy is at your location:

  • Ineffable Truth fits well in this deck to evade an enemy because you will be trying to kill it, so the 1 damage becomes useful against odd-health enemies.

    • I am really happy with this deck for using Ineffable Truth for the first time. I love the artwork to bits, but it never felt right before.
  • Our backup evasion tool is Sword Cane which is particularly great in Dexter Drake. You can play it with your ability or with "I'll take that!", which gives you a fast evasion using your .

    • We also appreciate the versatility of dealing 1 damage without using a charge on our spells.

Evading at a distance:

  • Onyx Pentacle allows us to evade from a distance which can be extremely useful in multiple situations:

    • When engagement can be detrimental, like in many parts of The Innsmouth Conspiracy.

    • To deal with Hunters before they enter your location.

    • To evade an enemy engaged with another investigator at your location or a connecting location.

    • Simply to save move actions against enemies that spawn at a different location than yours.

  • Sin-Eater takes over the doom from the evasion to mitigate the impacts.

Ripple Effects of the Evasion:

No matter how and where the enemy is evaded, it will trigger a reaction of events:

  • Pickpocketing will reward you with cards and later resources.

  • Dirty Fighting will trigger an attack on the evaded enemy, even if it is at a different location.

  • If the attack is performed using one of your fighting spells (meaning not the Sword Cane), it triggers Sign Magick (3), which allows you to use another spell or ritual! Based on your situation, here are some of the things you can do:

    • If you are under doom pressure, you can transfer the doom to Sin-Eater and use Sign Magick's to trigger the cleaning .

    • If the enemy is still alive and at your location, you can trigger another attacking spell. Note that 2 different cards with the same name do not count for this effect.

    • If the enemy is already dead or you want to finish the last damage with the Sword Cane later, you can get a clue with Sixth Sense.

    • If there are no clues on your location and none of the above is relevant, you can still heal yourself with Earthly Serenity or use Sin-Eater to ready David Renfield for another resource and have Sign Magick (3) clean Sin-Eater.

As Dirty Fighting makes the fighting action fast, try to use it before using the action from Sign Magick (3) on a fight action.

Increasing Your Skill Value:

First phase: All your spells are lvl 0 and you are testing with 5 all the time, which is not ideal.

  • Crystal Pendulum offers an additional as well as some occasional draw which is always good when it happens.

  • David Renfield is a little less reliable as he'll be on and off, but when he is active, you'll benefit from another .

Second phase:

You get Dirty Fighting, which will give a bonus of +2 on your fighting spells as long as you evade the enemy before. Therefore, upgrading fighting assets is a low priority, and we focus on:

Third and last phase:

All your non-fight spells have been upgraded, and you are ready to increase your damage output by upgrading your fighting spells to the lvl 5.

Other Cards:

I decided to ignore the David Renfield Taboo willingly and chose the 2021-06-28 taboo version instead of the latest one because I feel 3xp is an unfair change.
I can see the power of David in Charlie Kane decks, but even with Sin-Eater in the doom archetype, I don't think he deserves such a treatment.
If you want to discuss this, feel free to reach out in the #taboo-discussion channel of the Mythos Busters Discord.

  • Lone Wolf is a good asset that gets you some cash, can be played for free with your ability and can be replaced at any moment if you think you have enough resources.

  • "I'll take that!" is all Dexter Drake wants: action compression and economy. It brings some good "wow, that's nice" moments when you can make it work.

    • Use it to play Sword Cane fast which triggers the on the latter.

    • You can use it to play Lucky Cigarette Case and trigger it on the same test.

    • If you have in your hand a second copy of an item that is already in play, you can use the same fast window in which you play "I'll take that!" to first use your ability to replace that item with another asset and then play the asset from your hand with "I'll take that!". This way, you can see it almost as if, with Dexter, "I'll take that!" could play any non-item asset for you.

  • Uncage the Soul is also perfect in Dexter Drake, offering you action compression and econ. The faster you can fill the table with assets, the easier you'll have your magic engine running.

Later upgrades:

Upgrade Path:

Note: I updated the experience cost of each card in this list based on the optimal usage of Arcane Research and Down the Rabbit Hole on 2 cards in between every scenario, for an 8 scenario campaign.
All of these are given in the priority order, but it is important to change the order as you gain experience to ensure you always use the most out of the upgrade bonuses.

Link to the 0xp deck

 Cost  Total
    →  Down the Rabbit Hole 0 XP 0 XP
    →  Arcane Research 0 XP 0 XP
    →  Arcane Research 0 XP 0 XP
Core upgrades 0 XP
   Sign Magick    Sign Magick ••• 2 XP 2 XP
   Sign Magick    Sign Magick ••• 2 XP 4 XP
   Lone Wolf  →  Brand of Cthugha 1 XP 5 XP
   "I'll take that!"  →  Earthly Serenity 1 XP 6 XP
    →  Sin-Eater ••• 7 XP 13 XP
   Onyx Pentacle    Onyx Pentacle •••• 3 XP 16 XP
   Onyx Pentacle    Onyx Pentacle •••• 3 XP 19 XP
   Ineffable Truth    Ineffable Truth ••• 1 XP 20 XP
   Ineffable Truth    Ineffable Truth ••• 1 XP 21 XP
   Crystal Pendulum  →  Dirty Fighting •• 3 XP 24 XP
   Crystal Pendulum  →  Dirty Fighting •• 3 XP 27 XP
   Pickpocketing    Pickpocketing •• 1 XP 28 XP
   Pickpocketing    Pickpocketing •• 1 XP 29 XP
Luxury Upgrades 29 XP
   Uncage the Soul    Uncage the Soul ••• 2 XP 31 XP
   Uncage the Soul    Uncage the Soul ••• 2 XP 33 XP
   Sixth Sense    Sixth Sense •••• 2 XP 35 XP
   Sixth Sense    Sixth Sense •••• 2 XP 37 XP
   Brand of Cthugha    Brand of Cthugha •••• 1 XP 38 XP
   Earthly Serenity    Earthly Serenity •••• 1 XP 39 XP
   Ineffable Truth •••    Ineffable Truth ••••• 0 XP 39 XP
   Ineffable Truth •••    Ineffable Truth ••••• 0 XP 39 XP
   Azure Flame    Azure Flame ••••• 4 XP 43 XP
   Shrivelling    Shrivelling ••••• 4 XP 47 XP
   Azure Flame    Azure Flame ••••• 4 XP 51 XP
   Shrivelling    Shrivelling ••••• 4 XP 55 XP

(View at

Link to the full xp deck

To create your own guides, find the template I have created here


Mar 10, 2023 Raketensegler · 1

This is incredible! I liked your Charlie's S-Team and played him through Cylopean Foundations alingside Prestons. I upgraded it (IMHO) with Underworld Market which I would include here as well. I thought about a Dexter evade/Dirty Fighting/.25 deck with Underworld Market, but your Onyx version is so much cooler. Once again I would run Underworld Market in this deck as well, then you can leave out 1 Dirty Fighting and take Fence maybe. I'd also change the signatures.

Mar 10, 2023 Acedentprone · 327

I love the concept, and at 29+ xp this deck is probably a flex powerhouse. Breaking the ankles of the scariest monsters with a follow up arcane blast to the face (while pivoting to pick up a couple clues every now and then) sounds super fun to play .

I feel like the upgrade order here feels a little off. Dirty Fighting sounds somewhat crucial to the gameplan of the deck and you don't have access to it until 24+ xp, which typically you don't have until after the 3rd scenario, maybe 4th if youre trying to optimize your Arcane Research and Down the Rabbit Hole usage.

While the 8xp bonus from Down the Rabbit Hole is undeniably great here, is it at the cost of the tempo for how you want to play out each scenario of the campaign. Maybe a "healthy balance" is to take In the Thick of It for some combination Brand of Cthugha, Earthly Serenity, Charon's Obol to smooth out the upgrade progession?

Mar 11, 2023 Valentin1331 · 56183

Thanks @Raketensegler, happy you like it!

The Underworld Market is a very good card and could probably fit in any deck that uses at least 1 Illicit card in a combo.
If I would do that

One last thing, because of Down the Rabbit Hole, Underworld Market costs another experience point, as well as any upgraded card we'd like to add to it...

I suggested adding Molly to the party for the signatures, but I would not take Showmanship out; it is really strong, especially at the beginning of the campaign.

@Acedentprone, it is! And with both Arcane Research and Down the Rabbit Hole, you get experience crazy fast!

And that's a bit of the thing. The upgrade path is a bit of a mess here. You want to get targets for Arcane Research early, but you don't want to waste too much xp before you get your core cards.

My thought here behind why having Dirty Fighting so late is:

And when it comes to deciding between In the Thick of It+Charon's Obol vs Arcane Research+Down the Rabbit Hole, it really depends on a lot of factors:

  • What campaign are you playing, Down the Rabbit Hole will be more penalising in a low xp campaign like The Dunwich Legacy.
  • What is your team, Charon's Obol requires your team to sometimes sacrifice to save you, and in a situation where your spells actively hurt you, it's a bit of a complicated bet.

I think it's one of these many things where there is no perfect solution, and we have to choose what fits our situation best.

Mar 11, 2023 Raketensegler · 1

Hello again, I'd put Hidden Pocket in the Underworld Market once for a third hand slot. You could Scratch a Sword Cane for the coat of your choice, maybe even the stylish one. If you play the Pentacle with I'll take that, you can have 2 Sign Magicks. Or just declare that its Hammer Time and take the Cyclopean Hammer... I mean its OP but were fighting dirty. Although, I don't even think It'll be better than 2 Sign Magicks (3) with spells. Lastly I would add Geas as you don't use skills. But I suppose that would mean no Down the Rabbit Hole.

Mar 13, 2023 karnen · 1

I’m not sure you can use Dirty Fighting’s ability to attack an enemy in other location. Whatever, i enjoying your deck creations.

Mar 13, 2023 Valentin1331 · 56183

@Raketensegler Those are all good suggestions indeed, but as we are going Down the Rabbit Hole and I'm always aiming at what one campaign can usually deliver, I don't think there is enough room for many more upgrades past the ones I suggest in my upgrade path. Now it is up to you if you want to stray from the path. That is what these decks are made for, sparking ideas! :)

@karnen thanks for checking! The Rules Clarification on Survival Knife points in the direction that using Dirty Fighting against an enemy in a different location is actually possible!

Mar 20, 2023 Chiaroscuro210 · 2

I loved your deck series. Especially I inspired by the idea of dirty fighting works regardless location and made the Trish deck that shoot .25 across time and space with remote clue/auto evade. I wonder if it really works tho.

Mar 20, 2023 Valentin1331 · 56183

Hi @Chiaroscuro210; happy to know I spark some ideas across the community!!

As per the current ruling, evading at a distance and attacking that enemy is a valid strategy, so yes, it should work in your case too. Note that the .25 Automatic (2)'s only work at your location, though, so you will only have the synergy with Dirty Fighting.

Apr 09, 2023 ucantseeme · 1

"Survival Knife" allows you to take a "special" fight action against the enemy, while "Dirty Fighting" allows you to take a fight action which you can do.

When you evede enemy in connecting location then: 1) If you have a weapon that can attack from a connecting location (weapon with "Telescopic Sight" for example), then you can exhast "Dirty Fighting" and do a fight action againts that just evaded anemy at a connection location. 2) If you have a weapon that can attack only in your current location then you cant do a fight action againts just evaded anemy at a connection location.

Here's what I think about it.

Apr 11, 2023 Ejoeyjoey · 1

Hi @Valentin1331. I'm not sure you are using the upgrading rules properly. You only pay 2 exp to buy the level 4 Sign Magick even though it costs 3 exp. As far as I understand, you cannot deduct 1 exp while upgrading the card because the level 0 Sign of Magick only counts as a 0 exp card while upgrading. So 3exp - 0exp = still 3 exp. Am I wrong?

Apr 11, 2023 Ejoeyjoey · 1

Scratch my previous comment. I understand the use of Down the rabbit hole now. :D

Apr 11, 2023 Raketensegler · 1

Played my variant of this through Bloodborne alongside Stella and had a blast. But one question remains. Can you use the Onyx Pentacle/Dirty Fighting combo to evade aloof enemies at connecting locations? Very good custom campaign btw.

Apr 11, 2023 Raketensegler · 1

Ok, I got my answer on Mythosbusters discord, its possible if you place doom on it. Btw the deck got 95 xp before the last scenario and still not all spells were (fully) upgraded... :D

Apr 14, 2023 clapdog · 13

Hi @Valentin1331. Thanks so much for the amazing deck write up - very much appreciated! However, I’m confused why the upgrade from Lone Wolf to Brand of Cthuga (1) is shown as only costing 1XP. As it’s a new card, doesn’t Down the Rabbit Hole mean it costs an additional XP? Thanks!

Apr 17, 2023 jmmeye3 · 613

Did you consider Storm of Spirits? It seems like there would be good opportunities to use it if you are evading a lot, especially since you could use it to hit multiple enemies at a connecting location.

May 17, 2023 Lateslow · 1

Hi @Valentin1331 and thanks for an awesome deck! I've been looking for an opportunity to take Big Nasty pimping and this looks like a fun and thematic way to do it.

@ucantseeme it's the "against that enemy"-part in Dirty Fighting that allows it to be used against an enemy evaded at a distance.

Jun 18, 2023 ucantseeme · 1

@Lateslow If you don't believe me you can read Q/A from this card

Jun 26, 2023 clapdog · 13

@ucantseeme doesn’t that Q/A say the opposite?

Jun 27, 2023 Raketensegler · 1

@clapdog Unfortunately it does, apparently it was ruled that way. So this build doesn't work anymore at range. But at least I played it through Bloodborne.

Nov 24, 2023 Ramun · 271

@Valentin1331 Thanks for the inspiring decks!

Do you think it's less efficient to use hand slots to fight and arcane slots to evade? I kind of like the flavor it gives. The "dirty" job (combat) is done with physical weapons, while magic tricks are "clean". Here is my attempt to build a deck this way.