- Q: I have a question concerning Sefina Rousseau and Diana Stanley. Are cards put beneath these investigators by their abilities considered to be in play, or out of play? The question arises because they're physically in an investigator's play area, which suggests they might be in play, but there are a few implications that makes me want to confirm. For example, if they are in play, that implies that a treachery such as Ants! can discard them, which feels strange. Can you confirm if those cards are in play or not? A: These cards are considered out of play. They cannot be affected by anything other than the abilities that refer to them explicitly (like Sefina's action ability, Twilight Blade, etc).
Forced - When you would draw your opening hand: Draw 13 cards, instead. Choose up to 5 events to place beneath this card and keep 8 cards as your opening hand. Discard the rest. (You cannot mulligan.)
: Choose an event beneath this card and draw it. Does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
effect: +3. You may choose an event beneath this card and draw it.
Sefina Rousseau - Back
Deck size: 33.
Deckbuilding Options: Rogue cards () level 0-5, Neutral cards level 0-5, Mystic cards () level 0-2.
Deckbuilding Requirements (do not count toward deck size): 3 copies of The Painted World, 1 copy of Stars of Hyades, 1 random basic weakness.
Although I agree on most things stated in previous review, I disagree at some point and, most of all, I wanted to give my point of view on my favourite investigator so far.
I've played her in both multiplayer (with Daisy Walker) and solo, through The Night of the Zealot and Dunwich, now raiding Carcosa and she -quite- never disappointed me.
1/ Base stats
2/ Unique Ability
3/ Playing and Improving (XP !)
4/ The lore wise character
4 Willpower : Willpower is often associated as a defensive stat, as many Treacheries require a willpower test of 2, 3 or 4. It is also a very versatile stat that enables spells, which, in turn, can seek (Rite of Seeking) and deal damages (Shrivelling, Song of the Dead...). Enabling spells is a way to offset the difficult early game Sefina can have. I'll come back to this point later. Later in the game, Moxie can help boost willpower, ensuring you will hit with your spells or overcome some hard treacheries.
2 Intellect : Let's say that, without XP, Sefina is never going to gather clue with intel tests... But, well, no problem ! Rogues and Mystics have some way to make up for that ! Let's cast a Rite of Seeking, or use some Lockpicks to open every locked door, chest or whatever you find. At higher level, Rogues have a reliable way to ensure good seeking tests : Streetwise. Sefina can be flooded in ressources, and thus, using Streetwise will be a piece of cake. In the end, I'm quite happy her intel is that low : lorewise, it makes her a real rogue / mystic combination, using its own tricks of the trade to search for clues. Oh, and you have access to Drawn to the Flame. (And enough Willpower to face that upcoming Treachery !)
2 Combat : Now, let's speak about the real weakness of Sefina. She can't fight reliably with her combat stat, and weapons like Switchblade or .41 Derringer do not really make up for it. It might be bearable thus, if you use Hard Knocks, but no other Talent is going to help here. You will have to do it either the Rogue way (Backstab, Sneak Attack) or the Mystic way (Shrivelling, Song of the Dead...). Hopefully, both are available early in the game. The only weapons I can actually endorse with Sefina are Chicago Typewriter (which can compensate her low combat) and Switchblade (lvl2) (to stab weaklings). Again, she is very lore-oriented : no weapon, do it like a real Rogue/Mystic.
4 Agility : Yeah ! Here comes the Rogue signature ! At first glance, it may seem only a defensive stat, but it's also a hidden fighting one : Sneak Attack ; Backstab. Or even Intel points in desguise (Lockpicks). And here comes the really shiny thing about Sefina ! All in one stat, you can deal efficiently many things. You need to get that clue ? Easy. You are facing a non-hunter ennemy ? Great, dodge that one, no need to invest actions, cards and ressources to deal with it. Or you can just ask your Cat Burglar. You are facing a dangerous, elite, hunter ennemy ? Just Backstab him again and again. Or do so with Sneak Attacks. Well, we are breaking the lore here (can you perform multiple sneak attacks whithout that ghoul noticing you ?). Anyway. For all these actions, you can rely on Streetwise, which become more or less a "pay 2 : add 3 to any test". Flaw ? No flaws here. Ahem... Okay, let's just say that, if you can burst big bad ennemies to death very quickly, it will cost you. Ressources and cards. So, you want to avoid needless fights. Elusive is great and Stealth might see some uses early game.
Unique ability - Painting Sefina's sucess
All Rogues bargain for something. Jenny Barnes gives you free ressources. "Skids" O'Toole sells you extra turns. Sefina Rousseau ? She does both and neither at the same time. She can give you a burst of ressources Jenny can't compete with. She can give you reliable chances to have sustained extra turns. She can give you 'free', 'selected' cards. Basically, she fulfills any dream you may have.
Let's read her ability : Forced - When you would draw your opening hand: Draw 13 cards, instead. Yeah ! So, I will have a 13 cards opening ! Wait. What does that mean ? You will have 59% chance to see one of your 2-of cards. (Hey, Leo De Luca, come here !). (You cannot mulligan.) Hum... so, I will be stuck with my 13 cards opening. Not that bad anyway. If you hard mulligan with any other investigator for a specific 2-of card, you only have 45% chance to have it, or so. So, +15% opening with Leo. Choose up to 5 events to place beneath this card and keep 8 cards as your opening hand. Discard the rest. Oh ! So, I can't keep my 13 cards hand :'( Well, worst case scenario, I'll have to discard 5 cards, to net a +3 cards and more that a free mulligan, probability-wise.
Now, you've put your favourits events beneath Sefina. All kind of events... Crazy Ressource making (Hot Streak), fighting events (Backstab, Sneak Attack), free teleportation (Elusive), Clues (Drawn to the Flame), Protections (Ward of Protection)... Now what ? Well, you can always draw them for 1 action, or for free if you nail a critical success. But Sefina's greatest strengh resides in The Painted World. It allows you to copy one of the events beneath Sefina. Which means an extra +7 ressouces, (Hot Streak), 3 more damages (Backstab), 2 clues (Drawn to the Flame) etc...
Use it wisely, you only have 3 The Painted World. I often use them as copy of Hot Streak, for a big start, allowing me to play high cost cards right from turn 1 (Leo De Luca for example), or later as copy of clue-gatherer / damage dealer, depending on the scenario. Copying Elusive also happens, to get away from a dangerous situation that is likely to happen again. It is very versatile, and really powerful.
It is only mitigated by Sefina's own weakness, Stars of Hyades. It's not very hard when it happens thus. Just get it back next time.
Playing and Improving
Late game Sefina is bonkers... Access to breaking events like Hot Streak or Sure Gamble empowers her unique ability. And, like every Rogue char., she has access to completely crazy cards. Namely, The Gold Pocket Watch, Ace in the Hole (which can be hidden beneath Sefina but not copied by The Painted World sadly), Lucky Dice... Chicago Typewriter late game will do the fighting work that Shrivelling did early game. All in all, she synergies greatly with powerful Rogue cards.
Not so XP-intensive cards played by Sefina are (obviously) Leo De Luca, Cat Burglar, Charisma to play them both, and Lockpicks that are really needed. Leo is auto-in since he may be one of the best Rogue cards : sponging horror and injury, and giving 1 more so valuable action each turn. Cat Burglar gives you 1 more agility (which scales really well in Sefina's deck) and can "buy" actions by disengaging AND moving to a connecting location. Other best cards to take really early are Hot Streak (I feel like I link this card in every category...) and the very important Streetwise !
"Core" deck that cost no-XP is composed of : 2x Backstab, 2x Elusive, 2x Ward of Protection, 2x Drawn to the Flame, 2x Lone Wolf (which is too great for ressource generation to not play 2 of them, even if they do not stack). Some players like to keep 1-2 Sneak Attack. (I am waiting for the improved version to play it : Sneak Attack). Double or Nothing and Quick Thinking, virtually giving you free actions, may wait until you improve a bit your deck. Or, if you like high risks - high rewards, you can include them in your base core deck.
Starting deck In your starting deck, you want to compensate your lack of seeking and fighting skills... Thus, you will rely on spells : Rite of Seeking, Shrivelling. They will be your staying power. Because they have a high cost, you can include an Uncage the Soul. Even if it's not played to save you 3 ressources, its 2 Willpower can help against a Treachery or to resolve a spell. Arcane Studies will be a proxy of Streetwise and Moxie, helping you to resolves spells and/or to seek when you really must seek. Holy Rosary can also help a bit, and sponge horrors. Alchemical Transmutation will not stay long in your deck, but you can start with 1 copy of it. It's fun (weak but fun) to trigger it with Double or Nothing or Quick Thinking. You can also consider Blinding Light and Storm of Spirits. When looking at Rogue cards, Stealth can be considered, as an erzatz to Cat Burglar.
The Lore wise character
To sum it up, Sefina is a really potent investigator. She will start as a Roguish Wizard, and will be less and less Wizard and more and more Rogue. In the end, she will be capable of big turns of insane impact. She will rely mostly on her Agility during the whole campaign and her Willpower at start. Every task she will do will be done with one of those two style. No hand to hand combat. No intel seeking (at least until late game). She will be one (if not the one) investigator which can do the highest burst in every kind of role (damage, seeking, movement...) even if she can't do it all the time. She is also the investigator with the best start. On the other hand, you will have to take care of her body, since she only has 5 life...
Elusive, Polyvalent, Lucky and Deadly... but fragile. That's Sefina Rousseau.
Sefina Rousseau, a humble painter with a penchant for the illicit.
If you are familiar with Android:Netrunner, her ability is very similar to a few IDs from that game. She is a very interesting investigator, who might just be held back right now by a few limiting factors.
Lets start with her strengths.
1.) You draw 13 cards for an opening hand - You draw effectively 1/3rd of your deck. If you run two copies of a card in your deck that you really want to see, you have around a 56% chance of finding one of those cards. This gives you a great degree of consistency.
2.) Tuck away up to 5 events - You get to hide up to five of your best cards away under your investigator for later. This keeps them safe from amnesia or treacheries, or random discards, but not your characters unique treachery. When you absolutely need just one card to pull off a combo, Sefina just needs a single action to fetch one of those cards.
3.) The Painted World (and tucking events away) - The painted world is part bonkers skill card (its basically a manual dex/guts) OR a copy of an event you want, when you need it. This leads to the potential for some very powerful, potential combinations, which you can assemble early and possibly execute several times a scenario thanks to this card.
4.) Defensive Stat Line - With a 4 Will and 4 Evasion, she is very adept at staying away from some of the more difficult, tests a scenario will throw at you.
5.) Access to Rogue and Mystic Cards - Rogues have some mighty events, such as sleight of hand and backstab. Mystics have a few great events, like drawn to the flame and ward of protection. Sefina can potentially play any of these of these cards 5 times, before shuffling her deck.
Now for her weaknesses.
1.) Low Fight/Intellect - While both of these issues can be resolved with the cards available in her pool, it drives home the fact that she will likely need to either have some way of improving one of these stats, or side stepping requirements entirely.
2.) Lack of available, quality events or synergies in her card pool - Due to the cross class with mystic, she is more or less forced to decide to be a spell caster, who will not have access to some of the premier rogue cards, or a sub par rogue with a small splash of mystic cards.
3.) You don't want emergency cash/uncage the soul to be under your investigator - Spending two actions to get the card and its effect harms these cards play ability. If you can avoid it, don't put these under your character.
4.) Evasion is ho-hum - To make matters worse, the evasion element of the game is really, half baked right now and more or less requires access to the survivor card pool in order to fully leverage it. This issue will eventually become a non issue as the rogue and mystic classes gain more cards. But for now it is a sizable problem for Sefina.
A few notable combos:
Blinding Light + Sneak Attack - Three/Four damage for four resources. Just be sure that you don't try to uncage the soul because you are going to get hit first.
Sleight of Hand + Derringer/Flashlight/Liquid Courage/Typewriter(XP) - Pop that bad boy out, use it three times and then tuck it back away, where you can pop it out again later or use those icons for a future test (unfortunately there aren't many good targets right now...).
Double or Nothing + Alchemical Transmutation + (Daring Maneuver) - Probably just a "cute" interaction for now, but you do gain 6 resources for two actions (playing the card and using it). This basically makes it a risky two card hot streak, with the potential for "insurance".
We will have to wait and see what lies in store for our friendly painter. But I expect great things.
I just wanted to provide a bit of statistical analysis for Sefina's alternative opening hand in an attempt to help people with the question of how many events should you have to get the most value out of the ability to place cards beneath her.
For a standard deck For at least 2 cards tucked: 3 (non painted world) events provide a 30% chance and 6 provide a 72%
For at least 3 cards tucked: 5 events provides a 24% chance and 9 events provide an 72% chance
For at least 4 cards tucked: 8 events provide a 30% chance and 12 provide a 73% chance
For all 5 cards tucked: 10 events provide a 24% chance and 15 events provide a 74% chance.
For those interested in the impact of cards added during a campaign, adding 4 non weakness non event cards to your deck lowers the above odd around 7% for the 20-30% values and around 12% for the 70% values skewing worse for the larger amount of tucked cards.
I'm writing this review because there is one critical thing that no one else has mentioned:
The Painted World is a Spell. This means you can pull them using Arcane Initiate! If you get a Hot Streak in your opening hand [60% chance if you have 2 of them and no story assets], this means you will often get to play 4 Hot Streaks in a game. This, along with the availability of Uncage the Soul) makes Sefina richer than Jenny Barnes.
With Streetwise and either Moxie or Arcane Studies, this means Sefina can pump any stat except . With a Spirit Athame she can investigate for 2 clues with a skill of 6 using Rite of Seeking once a turn [which is the most you want to do anyway since you should always use Rite of Seeking on your last turn].
Similarly, with a Spirit Athame, she can attack for 2 damage with a skill of 6, but only once per Athame. If you need to take down a big creature, you would dip into your massive resource pool for the second attack.
After running a Carcosa campaign with a friend on Leo Anderson, I'd have to say I quite enjoyed Sefina but I would not repeat the deck I ran. I tried to lean too hard into the Mystic side of things, and that's a mistake.
Early in the campaign, Shrivelling (0) and Rite of Seeking (0) powered by little more than a Holy Rosary will get there more often than it won't. However, around the 4th scenario when the bag has added an extra -# to it's roster and the special symbols are really starting to ramp up you'll find this is falling a bit short. This incidentally is after Mystics would have access to Shrivelling (3). They're going to manage better with a lower investment at every turn due to the buffs on the upgraded spells.
I used Relic Hunter to be able to run Holy Rosary along with St. Hubert's Key, and later Key of Ys. My spells managed to let me down unless I had at least +2 from my accessories and occasionally some support from Arcane Studies (which I should have replaced with Moxie, but that was just a strategic error on my part).
If I could do it again, I would still start with a Mystic focus, using said accessories combined with the level 0 spells. However, I would eventually pivot out of that package into Lockpicks with things like Double or Nothing, Quick Thinking, and Opportunist (2). You can also opt for Sneak Attack (2) as part of your replacement for your offensive spells.
What it should have become was Sure Gamble x2, Hot Streak (4) x2, Ward of Protection (2) x2, Drawn to the Flame x2, Elusive x2, Backstab x2, Sneak Attack (2) x2, and Emergency Cache x1~2. Upgraded Wards are probably the lowest priority, but the stuff I did spend my XP on was not as good as what this would likely have been.
The Painted World however is everything I'd ever dreamed it would be. The flexibility of the card never let me down, and the ability to play multiple copies of Drawn to the Flame and Hot Streak (4) made me feel very powerful. Stars of Hyades was fairly low impact as far as weaknesses go--just don't hold onto your Painted Worlds too long. Use them to get ahead and stay ahead.