Versatile

Versatile offers every investigator the ability to buy any one level 0 card at the substantial cost of 2 experience and an increase in deck size. I actually think the +5 Deck Size is the greater cost associated with Versatile than the experience because its going to make it harder to find and draw your key assets - weapons to fight with, tools to gather clues with, etc. - not to mention also making it harder to find that special out of faction card you bought Versatile to play in the first place! I don't think its worth buying Versatile without an exceptionally good reason; the out of faction card you buy better offer you something especially powerful for your investigator. There are a hanful of investigators that get something really unique from Versatile or else who I believe are in the best position to take advantage of it:

Wendy Adams - Wendy gains access to Premonition, which combined with her amulet truly breaks Arkham Horror. The Forced ability on Wendy's Amulet is presently ruled to not apply to events that don't go immediately to the discard pile after being played. This means that, with Wendy's Amulet in play, you can play Premonition over and over again at the player window at the start of every skill test and always know exactly which token will be drawn. To dig to find this combo, Wendy has access to Rabbit's Foot, Drawing Thin, and Nothing Left to Lose, among other cards. You still won't reliably find your exact two cards in 35, and the experience cost of the best Survivor draw makes this combo likely a late campaign option at best. Personally, I think infinite Premonitions will spoil the major challenge of Arkham Horror - in having to guess which skill checks are worth your resources, and sometimes being screwed by bad luck you couldn't foresee.

Mandy Thompson - Mandy is a special case on this list. Her sheer power of deck searching means she cares far less about her deck being a bit on the large side. If you are playing Mandy with a base 30 Deck Size and all the generic deck searching cards that are so strong for her - Mr. "Rook", Eureka!, etc. - then you likely will find the card you bought Versatile for in most scenarios. The question remains as to what you should buy. Given Mandy's insane searching I don't think you need as powerful a combo as other investigators considering Versatile, but I'd suggest a powerful out of faction asset to make up for the fact she only gets events and skills in her "off-class".

William Yorick - being allowed to replay assets means that any you buy will get value for as many times as you can afford to play them. In addition to that though, Occult Lexicon offers Yorick a truly fantastic ability with Blood-Rite. Blood-Rite lets you discard assets you'd rather play actionlessly from your discard pile in exchange for the two things Yorick wants most of all: resources and damage. On top of that, Yorick's card pool contains a broad variety of powerful weapons all of which he's happy to play - Enchanted Blade, Baseball Bat, Meat Cleaver, etc. - so you can keep the desity of weapons in your deck high even if you add 5 more cards. In addition to the powerful Survivor draw available to Wendy, Yorick can use Yaotl to mill his own deck to dig for assets.

Calvin Wright - Calvin uniquely benefits from having his health and sanity pools extended because it means his stats cap out at higher values. The number of cards in the game that presently do that is exactly two: Five of Pentacles and Hawk-Eye Folding Camera. Five of Pentacles is already a Calvin staple. Is the camera worth it for 2xp and +5 Deck Size? The willpower and intellect boosts are also nice to double down on deepening his sanity pool. I'm not certain this is worth it, however. Both Five of Pentacles and the camera demand that you mulligan for them because they are far stronger than in your opening hand than drawn later in the scenario, and all the card draw and deck searching in the world won't help you mulligan your thick 35 card deck. If you want to give Calvin a camera, you might be better gifting it to him by the use of Teamwork.

I think these examples show well enough when Versatile is likely to be good. It's not really worth it if all you are doing is buying some generic value card from out of faction, it really has to be a card with a unique effect that is particularly powerful with your investigator that you wouldn't be able to substitute with in-faction cards, and even better if you have access to plenty of card draw to dig through your bloated deck to find your cards.

aeongate · 27
I quite like the idea of giving Calvin Dynamite Blast and turning him into a suicide bomber. It may not really be worth it for all the reasons you already set out about the drawbacks of having a larger deck, but it would be hella fun and if you do manage to draw it early it's an instant +3 boost to fight and evade. s — Sassenach · 59
Spectral Razor

Workhorse event. Pretty good in a large variety of decks.

First off, a singular 3 damage attack with high hit chance is perfectly presentable by itself. People play Backstab fairly regularly and Spectral Razor sure as hell blows that old thing out of the water in terms of price and hit chance. Most characters can mount a +7 or +8 bonus without any support from other cards, which is enough to net hits on medium and hard with relative ease, Backstab in comparison requires some skill card committal or other forms of boosting to land a secure hit.

The ability to blow away a 3-health foe completely free of any support from other cards is perfectly worth a card. It's frankly super impressive at 2 cost and 0 xp.

You can build a deck with 2 Shrivellings and 2 Spectral Razors and use the Razor to cover yourself while you wait to find or play a Shrivelling, alternatively you can play it with Wither and finish off a foe you've started working on. If you have all 3 cards in a deck you've got yourself a very powerful, and dependable, combat focused battle-mystic!

The free engagement is the cherry on top, pull an enemy off of a friend before striking (removing the friendly fire risk) or engage an aloof enemy who'dd otherwise cost you an extra action! Luke Robinson has confusing rules but this probably lets him teleport enemies around!

Obviously the card is uniquely useful in campaigns where 3-health foes are more common, Forgotten age and Circle Undone have these in abundance.

It's good to see more events that are good without heavy support or combo mechanics.

Tsuruki23 · 865
I don’t think this lets Luke teleport an enemy because (per his ability) he is already treated as ‘engaged with each enemy’ while resolving the effect. Spectral Razor allowing him to engage the enemy doesn’t necessarily cause a change in game state. Even if It did engage, it isn’t clear it would teleport since (per the rules reference) moves with an investigator when they ‘move’ - which Luke isn’t when he resumes being where he was. This does also bring up the question: what happens when Luke uses his ability while engaged where he was - does he provoke from engaged enemies (probably?) and what location are they treated as being at during his event? — Death by Chocolate · 12
I think this card is rock solid, too. That +2 damage to non-elites is key. This is probably a card you'll need to cut to make way for XP cards eventually, but I think it's a respectable early-to-mid campaign option. — CaiusDrewart · 1544
This + Dayana + Luke is pretty good — Django · 2150
Practice Makes Perfect

This card really interested me when I saw it. Besides sticking it into any Seeker deck, I can see this doing the most damage with Mark Harrigan. As Practice Makes Perfect is a Tactic card, he can use it. With cards like Vicious Blow, Take the Initiative and The Home Front, you're playing 5 out of 30 targets for Practice Makes Perfect.

When you attack, use Practice Makes Perfect. Either you boost the damage with Vicious Blow, get a variable (1-3 ?s) boost with Take the Initiative, or find The Home Front and all-but-guarantee your attack, as well as transfer a damage to your target. Not only that, but if the skill test succeeds, you get to return the card to your hand! Which means you get to use The Home Front twice in a game reliably.

The nice thing is that Vicious Blow and The Home Front both effectively do +1 damage so Mark can use Practice Makes Perfect for extra damage more consistently that another investigator. I think Take the Initiative meshes awkwardly with Practice as you don't necissarily want to limit yourself to using Practice only on the first two actions of the round. But Overpower is also practiced-traited, and it's never bad for a fighter to take that card. — Spritz · 21
*necessarily — Spritz · 21
Very true, Take the Initiative isn't especially effective using the PMP formula. Overpower would probably be the better choice in a deck like this. definitely be the better choice. — WolfGeneral349 · 2
Improvisation

It may be kind of a dumb question, but I could not find the answer to it on BGG or here: can you use improvisation to switch role to the same one? I.e. your current role is Mystic amd you switch into Mystic to benefit from the discount.

grizzling · 1
I understand "switch your role" as change your role, so If you stay in the same one, your not actually changing anything. — Fenrirgarm · 3
Armor of Ardennes

It's almost pure insult how much better Jessica Hyde, a level 1 survivor card, is than this level 5 guardian armor. It has some niche bonuses:

  • Far less contested body slot

  • can tank 3 more damage immediately instead of having to wait for heals

  • those two willpower icons can be used in a Well Prepared deck to moderate effect. (I will pass on commenting on the fight icons since guardians have many sources for those)

  • damage is canceled, which can have edge-case benefits like voiding a Pit Viper's poison (this is not a common benefit)

However these niche bonuses do not make up for:

  • Jessica provides a flat +1 to fight

  • 4 more XP to purchase but a single copy

  • 1r higher cost

  • lower overall damage negation than Jessica since she can benefit from the heal every turn rather than just on turns where damage is taken

  • Jessica has synergy with move damage effects as well (hello Solemn Vow)

  • 1 horror soak

The fact that you can purchase 2x Jessica Hyde + Charisma for the same cost as one copy of this card costs suggests something went very wrong in writing the balance for these two cards.

Difrakt · 642
The only other advantage to this card is that it's a relic so can be placed on Elli Horowitz. That's not a hugely big deal of course, and doesn't affect many of the investigators who can take it. Truth to tell I tend to forget this card even exists. — Sassenach · 59
How about Jessica and 2x this in play, one on Elli? — Django · 2150
If you mean for Tommy, wich is the only investigator who can access both of them, then I agree with you, but I still prefer to use the ally slot for the Beat cop or the Guardian dog to maximize the damage dealt to enemys. — Fenrirgarm · 3
At the end of the day very few are upgrading to Armor of Ardennes and many Survivors will want this. One difference not covered is that they come from different classes and things are not equal between classes. Jessica Hyde is essentially a new Peter Sylvestre. He is one of the strongest allies in the game and so is Jessica. The ironic thing is that most of the investigators that want the combat bonus don't need the infinity damage soak as much. Jessica and Peter could make for an interesting combo though with someone. Infinity soak. I doubt that I would upgrade to Armor of Ardennes though. — TWWaterfalls · 199
Yeah, the armor is way undertuned. It's just unfortunate that the big splashy Guardian XP card from the Carcosa cycle is almost unplayable. It doesn't even work well with Mark's ability! — CaiusDrewart · 1544