Asset. Hand

Item. Weapon. Melee.

Cost: 1.
Test Icons:

: Fight. If you have no resources in your resource pool, this attack deals +1 damage.

During an attack using Fire Axe, spend 1 resource: You get +2 for this skill test. (Limit three times per attack.)

Stephen Somers
The Dunwich Legacy #32.
Fire Axe

I personally think this is one of the most thematically satisfying and versatile weapons in the current card pool.

High accuracy:

The paying 1 to boost 2 is an incredibly good rate of return compared to the likes of Hard Knocks or Physical Training (the only other pay to boost options in the game just now). In low characters such as Wendy it makes occasional combat quite viable even if you dont want to go all in for the + damage. A maximum of +6 should be enough to land a blow of some sorts on most enemies irrespective of which investigator your playing. In a combat focused character it may enable harder difficulties, or devastating late game combos with Double or Nothing and Vicious Blow. Note that Zoey's passive bonus resource upon engagement can be spent immediately on the axe if needed. She can also choose not to take it if you dont want to go above 3 resources to keep that + damage option open.

Draw consistency:

By combining a damage card and pay to boost ability, Fire Axe sets up much quicker and much cheaper than decks aiming to use Hard Knocks or Physical Training with a weapon (likely Machete) to maintain both high and bonus damage. The tempo boost from this is not to be understated here. In the case of Machete and Hard Knocks, you need to find 2 cards, pay 2 actions and 5 resources compared to 1 card, 1 resource and 1 action with the axe

Maintaining damage:

To compensate for these fairly hefty advantages, Fire Axe requires a little working around if you want to reliably be able to use that +damage abiliy. Firstly it is important to be aware of your cash flow. Be careful not to play your Emergency Cache or similar until you actually need to spend it. in cheap enough decks you might not even need to bring a cashe at all.

Second or subsequent swings with bonuses to both accuracy and damage can be obtained through committing cards for icons on your second attack, in particular Overpower, Unexpected Courage, or the in faction Oops!. Alternatively, as pilgrim highlights, Forbidden Knowledge lets you take another resource between swings giving you a second attack at +2 and +1 damage.

Comparisons with competitors:

Natural comparisons are with Machete and Baseball Bat. Others are of course available, but im conscious of how long this review has already become.

Machete is arguably the closest comparison for a weapon you could potentially plan to reuse indefinitely. The consistent + 1 damage is only dependent on the enemy being engaged with you and being the only enemy engaged with you (not hard to achieve by any standard) and it attackes with a passive +1. This may not be enough alone in low characters, but it probably is in combat heavy characters at least for regular encounter deck opponents. In exchange it is more expensive, a different faction and arguably needs support cards to hit boss type enemies (rather than resources as the axe does). That said, by the time a boss has materialised you would expect to have seen your combo pieces.

Baseball Bat offers a consistent + damage, and effectively saves you 1 resource per attack where you needed to boost, but will eventually break and similar to Machete needs support to go higher on bonuses should the need arise. Arguably its biggest achilles heel though is the two hand slots requirement, which can be very restrictive in non-arcane focused investigators, particularly by hampering the option to use key investigation cards like Magnifying Glass or Flashlight. Or indeed carrying a back up weapon.

Comparisons aside it is worth remembering that if you do plan on using weapons, you may well want 4 or 5 cards in the deck to be likely to draw one early. Certainly 2x Machete and 2x Fire Axe together isnt a bad call for a melee build. Late game you will probably have the one you need for your boss fights and early game frankly they are similar enough to be substitutes while you get rolling.

StartWithTheName · 10758
Its worth noting that Fire axe does work on non-fighter's. Say for example a Wendy or Rex that is supposed to be chasing the clues. If the game throws a wrench in your plans and puts an easy foe in your way you can deal with it with the Axe and continue. Sometiems you just gotta unlock a location and repeatedly evading a 1 or 2 HP foe might not be an option. — Tsuruki23 · 384
I find it very curious that this doesn't require two-hand slots. The flavor-mechanic relationship is on point except for that one detail. Have you ever seen or heard of someone using a Fire Axe one-handed? No, to really be effective, you have to use two-hands, which make me wonder what the designer(s') rationale was... — ArkhamArkhanist · 1

This card is curious to me. It seems to fit a similar slot as Physical Training or the other talent cards. By itself it does nothing but spending a box gives a bonus to a skill for a resource. The down side is it uses a 'hand' slot and only applies to combat. Spending all your resources for a plus one combat bonus is nice but risky.

Machete is obviously the best hand to hand combat weapon. But let's compare Fire Axe to others readily available to survivors (as of Dunwich).

Baseball Bat the other survivor card is powerful, cheap and gives a massive plus 2. Unfortunately it is subject to breakage with and uses 2 hands.

At the same cost Knife gives a simple plus 1 or can be thrown for plus 2 fist and damage! Cheap and easy for a disposal weapon which along with baseball bat synergies with Scavenging.

Kukri saves two skill checks required to do two damage over two actions. Its nice but perhaps gimmicky.

All the weapons have a downside however Baseball bat is obviously superior. If you have that hand planned for something else, say Agnes Baker with Ritual Candles it isn't a bad call. However i would possibly be more keen on knife with scavenging or kukri as Fire Axe does nothing on it own.

Pilgrim · 225
It's worth noting Agnes with Forbidden knowledge is in the best place to use Fire Axe. Spend all your resources, use forbidden knowledge using Agnes passive ability and attacking again. That's a potential 5 damage in two actions. — Pilgrim · 225
Am I right in thinking that if you take the action to initiate fight then spend say the ONLY 2 resources you have for +4 fight you would then also trigger +1 damage as at the point damage is calculated you have no resources? — Stebb · 2
Yeah @Stebb, that would deal 2 damage. If you attacked with no resources in the first place, it would also deal 2; the damage increase is contingent upon you not having resources, not you spending them. — SGPrometheus · 135