A strong build-around economy combo card for Ashcan Pete, who can use his unique power to activate him 2/turn for extra payoff (or sometimes more if you also splash Inspiring Presence, which works well with Duke anyway). Going T1: 2 doom (net +1 resources after his cost), T2: double-use up to 3 doom (6 more resources), T3: up to 5 doom (9 more resources) before killing him off via attacks of opportunity / bouncing him with calling in favors is quite an economic boost (on a 6 doom agenda) for one action and a few discards. If someone in the party has a golden pocket watch at the right time (e.g. Ursula with backpacks/Dr. Elli), you can double-tick up for two final turns instead of one for a massive payout (29R instead of 16R in the example above). Calling in Favors is more or less essential with him, as it does double duty to find him and to safely reset him.
While David Renfield has at least 1 doom on him, you get +1 .
Exhaust David Renfield: You may place 1 doom on David Renfield. Gain 1 resource for each doom on David Renfield.
plural eschatologies 1 :a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind 2 :a belief concerning death, the end of the world, or the ultimate destiny of humankind; specifically :any of various Christian doctrines concerning the Second Coming, the resurrection of the dead, or the Last Judgment
I used this card in my Sefina Rousseau deck (i included mainly spell cards) yesterday and i think he's very strong for 3 reaons:
- Boosts , mystics main stat
- Damage soak. Only mystic ally with more than 1 HP.
- Provides ressources for mystics many expansive assets, like Shrivelling and Rite of Seeking.
- He's also pretty cheap at 1 ressource (including discount from his own ability).
- Ability always succeedes, unlike Alchemical Transmutation and does not harm user, unlike Forbidden Knowledge
- You MAY to add doom to him, when using his ability. You'll get less ressources, but decreases the risk of advancing the agenda
- Can be killed by placing damage on him, if doom is an issue
- Occupies ally slot, which has other strong options like Arcane Initiate I, II and Alyssa Graham
- Doom can be a problem
- boost requires doom on him
Combos to deal with doom
- Any card that deals damage to character, so you can kill him if needed, like Shrivelling (if a symbol is revealed) or Forbidden Knowledge
- Moonlight Ritual to remove doom on him
- Calling in Favors to remove doom, damage on him and get another ally out (Alyssa Graham, Arcane Initiate,...)
- Another ally, so he is discarded when you play the other (be careful with Charisma)
Don’t forget, he’s really useful if you have a deck with a different highly desirable Ally to find (such as if you use lots of spell events, that is heavily dependent on a draw of Arcane Initiate. David becomes quite an efficient option for finding the Arcane Initiate along with Calling in Favors without spending too many resources.
If you have David and calling in favours, net cost is just 2 resources and 2 actions (and those 2 cards) to search 9 cards for an ally and play it with a discount of 2 resources.
I’m playing him in a Diana Stanley deck, my deck really needs an Arcane Initiate, where he’s also useful if I need a extra resource (fast) to play something like a Ward of Protection to stop the encounter deck, conveniently adding doom straight after the doom threshold has passed (“I see your Ancient Evils, and raise you a Ward of Protection”) or if necessary, killing him off with the horror from the Ward of Protection if I got Drawn to the Flame or Delved Too Deep late in my turn.
(As well as the other benefits already mentioned!)
I really want to make this card work with Sefina Rousseau. I feel like Sefina's 4 Willpower is really not enough to use Mystic spells all that effectively, and her 5 health is obviously a problem. David could potentially kill two birds with one stone, while also providing a nice influx of resources. Jim would probably also be interested, as like Sefina he really needs Willpower boosts, and right now David is the only in-faction Ally who could provide that for him.
In practice, though, I've found David almost completely impossible to use. Obviously his benefits are not at all worth it if he costs the team one or more turns. And it's not like Arcane Initiate where you can just play it while the agenda is about to advance, the doom goes away, and that's that. This guy is no longer useful if the doom goes away. So unless there is a very long span until the agenda goes off, David doesn't work. That means that his ability is unusable the vast majority of the time in this game. I tried to use him over a number of different scenarios, and each time I drew him I either immediately saw that I couldn't play him and use him, or I did play him but ended up having to kill him off before I could benefit much from his abilities.
So right now I'd have to say this is a card that looks really effective at first glance, but in practice is just unmanageable. But maybe other people have figured out how to make better use of him.
David Renfield is a swingy card from which you 'll get mixed mileage depending entirely on the scenario layout. While the resource generation, the Willpower boost and the damage soak make David Renfield valuable, you can't always guarrantee you 'll get as much profit out of him as you 'd wish. There are those cases where David Renfield shines, giving you a constant Willpower boost for several turns, while making you rich in the process, but there are also those cases where he 's sitting idle in your hand, waiting for an opportune moment to be played and be exploited, possibly leaving you at an awkward spot or a bad situation. Your mileage with Renfield also depends on how many doom-removing cards you have in your deck. Both times, I had 4; 2 Moonlight Rituals and 2 Calling in Favors. Both times, all of these 4 cards were useful in some way, but they didn't necessarily make David Renfield better. They certainly allowed me to use Renfield more often, but I didn't always get the value I wanted. There were those times that the benefit I was getting was a +1 Willpower boost for a couple of turns and a net-gain of 2-3 resources using 2-3 actions. That's not great value at all. Sometimes I also misinterpreted the situation, which inevitably lead to misplays, making David Renfield even worse. But the worst mistake I did the second time I used him was that I depended almost entirely for my economy on him. And guess what? I was in trouble. Even with 4 cards to remove doom, David Renfield still didn't cut it to guarrantee utility. There were scenarios where my economy was rolling fantastic, but there were also others that I couldn't get as much resources as I needed, thereby severely hindering my ability to be effective. I warn you: Don't make that mistake! But, overall, it was a good experience, mostly finding out Renfield's capabilities and how much you can push your limits.
So, after using David Renfield in 2 campaigns, I have acquired enough experience to point out some tips you can use:
Never use Renfield unless you have a way to remove doom from him! Probably obvious, but worth pointing out. It's too dangerous.
You can use Renfield's ability in 2 different ways: Either you stack doom to profit from his moneymaking ability in order to become a hell-of-a-rich guy over the course of a few turns, or keep the doom count on 1 for the constant Willpower boost. Depends on what you need most at a given time and how much the current agenda allows you to go crazy with doom. I was usually abusing the money-making ability, but going the other way is also useful if you don't need as much cash.
Try to have a lot of doom-clearing cards in your deck. A good Renfield-using deck should have at least 4. The doom-removing cards that exist up until this time are Moonlight Ritual, Calling in Favors and Sacrifice. Having a lot of those gives you options. Besides, if you run Moonlight Ritual, you would also probably go for Blood Pact, so there's kind of some competition for doom-clearing targets. Calling in Favors is usually better than Sacrifice if you also run other allies in your deck, especially if they like to be recalled (like Beat Cop and Mr. "Rook").
Be aware of scenario cards and mechanics that interact with doom. Cards like Ancient Evils or a badly-timed Mysterious Chanting can ruin your day. Be prepared to face them and run cards that can deal with them, like Ward of Protection.
Removing doom from Renfield costs an action. You should bear that in mind if you 're playing with fire. If, for example a strong enemy spawns at your location during the turn you were planning to remove the doom and you need all 3 actions to deal with it, you will be in trouble. That is why it may be good to pack some actionless way to remove doom from David Renfield like Forbidden Knowledge.
I would also like to point out a few investigators who can make good use of David Renfield:
Marie Lambeau is probably no 1 candidate to use Renfield due to her ability. In my opinion, David Renfield is the best card that uses the doom element she can use, probably even better than Blood Pact. Even though Blood Pact is a permanent, it's not as solid as using Renfield for her, as she needs to first find a target for it, while David Renfield gives her solid access to her special ability so that she can start using it whenever she wants.
Mutated Dr. Christopher also makes Renfield a good candidate for Daisy Walker as an alternative way to make resources, especially if she wants to use spells from the faction. The constant Willpower boost from him along with other boosters like Holy Rosary or St. Hubert's Key will make her a decent fighter and she can use Arcane Studies or Higher Education to help her land those hits.
Diana Stanley can use the extra Willpower boost and the resources gained from Renfield, especially early game. In my experience, she's been a rather resource-hungry investigator and she wants an alternative way to generate resources until she upgrades to "I've had worse…" (2).
I can also see this card in a spell-heavy Jim Culver/Father Mateo build. Spells are expensive in the first place and none of these investigators is known for their expceptional Willpower. Father Mateo also has the additional benefit of being able to toy with doom in more interesting ways.
As pointed out by another reviewer, this card makes for an interesting case in "Ashcan" Pete. He can use his ability to trigger Renfield twice a round, possibly being able to make huge piles of resources. The main issue here is whether he needs that Willpower boost and somewhere to put all those resources into, but I can see a spell-oriented deck for him with Renfield + Peter Sylvestre (2) for the Willpower boosts plus Shrivellings/Withers/Sixth Senses/Rite of Seekings and Pluckys to put all those resources into, protected by Peter Sylvestre's infinite horror soak. It 's somewhat janky, but someone might make it work. Also note that the upcoming Versitile card will allow him to take 1 additional Mystic card, possibly giving more (?) consistency to this build. Just saying...
In the end, I think David Renfield is a good card. He 's generally good for investigators who need the Willpower boost and can use the extra resources. His value varies from scenario to scenario, but in the end, you will (almost) always find some room to make some value out of him. He 's probably not as good to investigators with innately high Willpower (Agnes and Akachi) and whoever is running him has to bear in mind that he can not fully rely on Renfield for the hard stuff.
Cool fellow but tricky to use though. Ideally you play him when you lots of time left before a timer advance OR when it's right about to advance. Remember that if doom appears in the same round that the timer advances anyway, that doom goes away too without issue. This means that you can trigger David in the round's the agenda advances as a "freebie". If you can do this just once you've just spent 1 resource to get a +1 Willpower proc' for a round, 2 health and 1 sanity. Every extra time you can pull this off is pure grade-A, gravy.
The trick is to know when to kill David off, despite his powerful ability you must keep in mind that like other cheap Allies (Art Student, Dr. William.) he is first and foremost a throwaway character. If you manage to squeeze 2-3 resources, one or two uses of the +Willpower and then soak a 1/1 attack with him you've gotten tonne's bang out of this one card!
The big risk in using David is falling into the trap of stacking doom on him frivolously, the way to do this safely is to, as already mentioned, make sure he dies a timely death. In a scenario where you've got 4-5 rounds between advances you can stack 2-3 Doom on him for a gain of 6 credits, in this case you've got to get in some deliberate trouble so that he gets punched before the big payday turns into a premature nightmare.
Pros: -Consistent benefit when used safely.
-High yield benefit in the right circumstance.
-Moderate benefit in the wrong circumstance.
-At worst a 2-point damage soak or 1-point horror soak.
-Game-loosing if used wrong.
-Dead-draw in the lategame of each scenario unless you can find a use for raw hitpoints.
-Inherent risk, even the safest bets can fail every now and then.