Dario El-Amin
Unscrupulous Investor


Ally. Patron.

Cost: 4.
Test Icons:
Health: 2. Sanity: 2.

While you have 10 or more resources, you get +1 and +1 .

If there are no enemies at your location, exhaust Dario El-Amin: Gain 2 resources.

Colin Boyer
The Unspeakable Oath #151.
Dario El-Amin

This guy is weird. He costs too much money to effectively generate the money and bonuses that he might seem like he is supposed to be granting. There are too many disadvantages. The highly competitive slot, the high cost, the high bonus threshhold.

But then when you add in a powerful resource generation framework for him to inhabit, some Hot Streaks, a few Burglaryes, a little Lone Wolfing, Jenny Barnes's natural ability, Dario will take off and fly you to the finish line like a magic carpet ride.

That really is the gist of it. If you can generate the kind of $$$ that Dario needs, he's really really good, but getting there takes a lot of cards and quite a bit of time, you better have some powerful resource dumps ready for the late game to make all this setup worth it.

Tsuruki23 · 2446
I think the Burglary is not recommended even here.. as Dario can provide very similar action just by himself. — XehutL · 47
Dario gets better when you've spend some XP on 2x hot streak, so i'd recommend to start your deck without him and instead add him later with adaptable. — Django · 4741
Couldnt agree more. — aramhorror · 688
Even if tou hit the 10 resource threshold, you aren't getting much. A +1 to two stats isn't goong to win you the game, and is easier to achieve other ways. — Tilted Libra · 33

Dario's stock has gone way up thanks to The Circle Undone's focus on giving Rogues cards geared towards hoarding and making tons of money. Before, the best strategy to get his stat bonuses required taking Lone Wolf, investing into Hot Streak and ideally playing either Jenny Barnes or Sefina Rousseau. The problem was that hoarding those resources for a small amount of stat boosts versus just throwing them into Lola Santiago, Streetwise, and Physical Training was just an all around worse strategy.

However, we've got a slew of amazing cards for encouraging you to hoard resources for consistent high stats in the midgame, before going all out in an endgame spending spree. First, we got Preston Fairmont, who can generate resources like no one else and can turn on the stat bonuses from Dario with relative ease. We got more resource generators like Investments and Another Day, Another Dollar. Most importantly however, we were gifted Well Connected and Money Talks, the former of which allows consistent stat buffing for tests, and the latter can be used for incredibly important tests. If you're playing Jenny Barnes or Preston Fairmont, you can even take two copies of TCU's best card Drawing Thin, the fastest resource generating card in the game.

Dario's +2 resources ability is much stronger on higher difficulties where you can't expect to succeed at a test without some significant boosts, and grabbing 2 resources to make your later tests better is a good move. I expect we're going to see a lot more of him from here on out. Plus he's good friends with Lola Santiago for rather Charismatic investigators.

StyxTBeuford · 12879
You can't use "Watch this!" with Money Talks, since "Watch this!" does not have a matching skill icon (resource). — ak45 · 418
You are correct. I will edit that. — StyxTBeuford · 12879
So I guess this guy isn't as terrible as he used to be but he is still a hard sell considering that Leo de Luca and Dr. Milan exist and if you plan to playhim only early campaign then you won't have enough money generation to pay for his boosts. — Alogon · 999
Milan is taboo'd. Leo I think is still a better fit for Preston big money builds, but again there's no reason you can't run two allies and pick up Charisma later. Use the extra action on Leo to gen resources from him. It's sort of like having a slightly weaker E-Cache available to you every turn. — StyxTBeuford · 12879
Interesting review! Hoarding money definitely seems more viable as a strategy than it did, but I'm not sure if it's quite there yet. Even with synergy with Well-connected, Dario still has a lot of costs and conditions and downside- you need to spend four resources and an action up front as well as the ten resource hoard, his action costs an action and requires there to be to no enemies - which isn't always guaranteed- and most of the investigators that can take him don't really care about the +1 will. So as of now, I find it hard to imagine situations where I have Dario and Well-Connected and wouldn't still just rather have Lola and Streetwise. That said, I can see the potential for more cards in that design space. A money-hoarding type card that boosted combat would be interesting... — bee123 · 25
I still dont see Dario as viable. The extra action from Leo can be used to net you the same exact amount of resources as dario per round, and unlike Dario he contributes in every round, not just rounds where you stop to take money or have 10+ cash in the pocket. — Tsuruki23 · 2446
Maybe, but Leo costs 2 more resources and doesn’t boost any stats at all. I’ve heard some people say Dario might be the Rogue St. Hubert’s Key in some time, and 10 resources is becoming increasingly less of a problem to reach. — StyxTBeuford · 12879

I tried this card on a Jenny Barnes deck in SOLO Play on STANDARD difficulty. My idea was to stack his boosts with St. Huberts Key to get +2 willpower and intellect. Playing him though almost got me killed on the first scenarios of the Carcosa campaign. At first sight he may look playable, fun or even good, but believe me, he is BAD (considering the current card pool). Let me explain:

-He costs too much resources to play, wich makes it even more difficult to gather the 10 resources you need for his static boosts. This also means he is to expensive to effectively serve as a meat shield.

-He is waaaay to slow, specially on the early scenarios. Remember that you don't have Hot Streak from the start, so collecting the 14 resources you need to play him and get the boost will take forever, even if you are playing Jenny Barnes with Lone Wolf. Consider that you normally also have to expend resources playing other assets or boosting your skills with Hard Knocks or other talents.

-His trigger ability "Gain two resources" is not that bad on multi player, but in Solo play it's not very useful. Consider that on average you will be loosing one action per turn fighting enemies or resolving treacheries. If you then constantly use 1 action to gather 2 resources from Dario you will only have 1 action left to advance the game, meaning you will loose to the Agenda.

-There are too many better allies than him (Leo de Luca, Lola Santiago, Dr. Milan, Beat Cop, etc.) and there are many other easier ways to boost your intellect and willpower. The willpower stat is by the way not very important for rougues anyways (except for Sefina maybe) and you are better of boosting it with Talents like High Roller or Moxie.

-Even when I managed to stack this guy with St. Huberts Key, what he provides wasn't worth the enormous effort. By the time you have it all set up you would already have drawn Leo de Luca anyways, wich is a thousand times better. If you are going Jenny Barnes clue gatherer play Dr. Milan instead.

-With his wicked smile he tempts you not to use the 10 resources you have put on him for the static boosts. Soon enough you will find yourself not playing important cards or not overcommitting to important skill tests, just to keep him happy (charged with 10 resources). I warn you, the over commitment to this guy could mean your demise.

In conclusion/Summery: His smile fair as spring, as to put him in your deck he draws you. His tongue sharp and silvery, as to invest 14 resources on him he implores you. Your stats he boosts, as he swears to adore you. Though dues need be repaid, and the overcommitment will ruin you. His slow set up will snare you in bonds, as the Agenda advances glowing’, a fire. To gore and torment you, till the stars expire. XD

Alogon · 999
I'm with you on this one. I don't think this card is worth it. — CaiusDrewart · 2970
There are more support cards for this archetype than there used to be, thanks in part to cards like Hot Streak 2 and Watch This! it is actually pretty easy to get back into a range where you can safely acquire Dario's bonuses. With that said, I don't think many investigators in the pool actually want that, aside from maybe a cluey Jenny. Finally, Pay Day gets a large bonus to output thanks to his action. Just something to consider. — Myriad · 1199
Dr. Ch. Milan is allot better than Dario El-Amin for Jenny Barnes clue gatherer. I guess if Dr. Milan gets taken by a yellow investigator you may consider consider Dario...but if you already have a clue gatherer in your team why would you play Jenny Barnes with a clue gatherer build? I would just go for combat to protect the yellow investigator. — Alogon · 999

I'm a huge fan of Dario.

Any card that gives you a permanent stat boost is worth looking at. Dario gives you two. Incredible! Also, his ability is sort of a Cache-on-a-stick, improving any free action you might have. Undoubtedly very powerful. But he comes with some downsides.

First, as an Ally, his slot is incredibly competitive. He costs is relatively high, his soak isn't amazing, and his stat-boosting ability is tricky to turn on. But, all of these can be mitigated. If you build around him, he's great:

  • Money. He costs 4 to play, which is high, and then expects you to have enough money to turn on his ability. However, any card that gives you cash to turn on his ability also gives you cash to play him. He himself gives you cash with his ability. So once you throw in a Lone Wolf or a Hot Streak(4) (or a Hot Streak(2)), he is pretty viable.
  • Slots. He competes directly with Leo, of course, but I'm not convinced Leo is always the strongest option. Leo gives you actions but sucks your tempo to the tune of 6 resources. What if you'd like to bounce back pretty quickly? Dario can take 2 actions to play at a net cost of 2 resources, then can give you another 2 next turn to get set up. Regardless, if you'd like to mitigate the slot cost of Dario, Charisma is the obvious answer.

I've played him in a pay-to-win solo Jenny before to great effect. She could afford to win through Streetwise and still keep her Dario bonus up. I've also enjoyed him in solo Jim (with Lone Wolf for money), stacking with St. Hubert's Key to have a very imposing 6 5 3 2 statline. He is much easier to play around than David Renfield as far as econ options go, and he gives you as well.

So give him a try, particularly in solo decks (where 2 stats is massive)!

PureFlight · 724
I admire the passion of this case for Dario, though I'm not sure I'm convinced. I wonder if Milan might not be stronger for these Jim builds? No Will boost, but Milan is much faster, much more efficient at making money, and doesn't require you to have 10 resources just sitting there, unused and unhelpful. — CaiusDrewart · 2970
Only one Milan can be in play in the entire game, so in higher player counts, alternatives matter. — Chitinid · 14

You know, the "14 resources to get going" may actually be worth it, in this case. The way I see it, the Unscrupulous Investor has four especially important interactions right now:

  • Jenny Barnes's unique ability plays well with Dario, and I would especially recommend Dario for a Jenny deck. Raising her willpower and intellect from 3 to 4 significantly boosts her resilience and investigative ability, and Jenny's Twin .45s can make excellent use of a giant resource pool.
  • Streetwise is a reliable and efficient way to ensure that double-digit resource pools can be used to full effect. For Rogues who can buy it, Physical Training also deserves a mention for, alongside Streetwise, letting the investigator buy their way to the top of any skill check.
  • Hot Streak allows you to get Dario's stat-boosts as quickly as possible.
  • Now for the non-obvious one: Lockpicks. When you're early in the scenario, Dario and Lockpicks provide a useful turn-loop, where you take one action to investigate with lockpicks (almost certainly successfully), one action to get resources with Dario, and one action for miscellaneous purposes like moving or putting other cards like Lone Wolf into play. Reliably getting one clue and three resources per turn makes it fairly painless to hit the magic 10. (Admittedly, many things can disrupt this loop. Welcome to Arkham Horror!)

It's worth noting that 10 of the resources you're committing to Dario aren't actually spent, so they're more like a war chest that you can sit on until the endgame, and then spend on a final flurry of Streetwise-based investigations and evasions.

My point is that, provided that you have Lockpicks, Streetwise, and Lone Wolf in your deck, Dario actually has a very nice tempo in most scenarios:

  • in the opening, when there are less likely to be dangerous enemies to deal with, he's an effective way to build up your war chest while still getting some things done;
  • in the midgame, he's a persistent and boost, which is a top-tier bonus from the ally slot, and provides the occasional extra resource-bump when you happen to have a spare action at the end of your turn; and
  • in the endgame, he's the reason that you have like 20 resources to buy your way out of trouble, plus some much-needed damage-soak.

You can get Streetwise and two Lockpicks for just 5XP, which is often feasible just one scenario into your campaign, so this is a very attractive starting point for leveling up your Rogue.

If Dario had been available when I played Jenny Barnes, I expect I would have settled pretty early on a Dario/Hot Streak/Streetwise/Lockpicks deck, resulting in an effective, Treachery-resistant clue-gatherer who just happens to be able to transform into an unholy murder-machine with Twin .45s, when necessary.

The deck-building lesson here is that the best way to compensate for having actions that can only trigger once per turn is to get additional once-per-turn actions. Dario is there so that you have something useful to do when you can't use your Lockpicks; your Lockpicks are there so that you have something useful to do when you can't use Dario.

sfarmstrong · 264
As you said Dario is better with hot streak. I usually swap him in with adaptable once I have 2x hot streak and charisma. — Django · 4741

Let's revisit some old cards with years old reviews, for the benefit of new players.

A very common opening in Arkham Horror is play a three cost asset, gain a resource, then play a second 3 cost asset. It feels like an efficient use of the only turn you get without an encounter card draw, but most players can tell you that an action is worth more than a resource, and the only reason that such a turn feels deceptively valuable is that you have "setup" in time for the first mythos phase. More efficient would be play, Emergency Cache, play, but that is asking a lot of the random draw of your opening hand.

That is not to forget that turn 2 exists, and you quickly feel the squeeze of 1 resource at turn start where once you had 5. Your hand will have fewer cards than when you started too, and the demands of the encounter deck and the doom timer start to manifest. Many new players I've played with start drawing cards for answers to their lack of options, and once they have then, starting clicking for resources so that they can afford them. You may scoff at their lack of action, but pressing on without your key assets or defenses is it's own folly, making you ripe for action loss through failed actions, or prey for asset hate from treacheries or action hate from enemies.

Dario El-Amin is here to save you from yourself. Forget about his first printed sentence; it is a pie-in-the-sky demand (which makes it a crime that it is not the second sentence). Focus on the second line, and think about turn 1 and 2 with Dario in your hand; play Dario El-Amin, exhaust him to bring your resource pool back to 3 resources, then play a 3-cost asset. Next turn (enemies willing), exhaust again as your first action, play another 3-cost asset, then start working on the act with your final action. Repeat any turn you draw an expensive asset after ending last turn with 0 resources.

The exhaust is a feature, not a limitation. 2 resource actions in a turn is excessive, and Dario is here to gently remind you of that fact. Why spend 2 actions gaining resources when pacing yourself to once per turn nets you that most efficient use of your time? And once you start pacing yourself, you realise that your hand and resource pool are constantly replenishing, so you really should get a move on and let your options come to you.

I focus so much on the opening turns because Dario falls off in usefulness the later he shows up. This fact makes him a 'hard mulligan target' (Def - a card which if not in your opening hand, you mulligan your entire hand to maximise your odds of finding him, regardless of the cards you are giving away). He is universally useful, as all but the leanest decks need economy, and he bankrolls your strategy regardless of whether it is fighting/investigating/evading/supporting, or whether it is asset/event heavy. 0 exp means he is universally splashable too, and should always be a consideration if your investigator has access to rogue cards.

But falling off in usefulness doesn't mean completely useless. He actually has a use for excess resources, and while you shouldn't bend over backwards to activate his first clause as his design might suggest, he does ease another mistake new players make quite often; too much economy. I would say that any role, even fighter, will make good use of an early Dario, but there is no shortage of focused rogue investigators in recent expansions to take advantage of that additional , and extra is always appreciated.

In conclusion, there may be better allies, but you won't regret drawing Dario El-Amin in most cases, and he teaches restraint, which in a hard game with little room for error, is a benefit not written anywhere.

Lucaxiom · 3876
He's cost negative for 3 actions (play, tap, tap). That's a full turn. — MrGoldbee · 1369
I disagree with this review - I think the first sentence is the reason to take him, and the second sentence may as well not be there most of the time. He costs 4 resources to play. So, it takes 6 total actions (Play, tap 5 times) for him to be worth 1 resource per action! (You end up with 10 resources, -4 for playing dario, equals 6 resources for 6 actions). Remeber that he exhausts as well, so it costs 6 actions across 6 full rounds of the game to even break even with the basic "Gain 1 resource" action. Way below Emergency Cache. || Now, the top ability is actually quite achievable for Rogues as your cardpool expands, and getting 2 stat buffs is nice. That would be the big reason to use him IMO. — Jack · 49
We just finished a TSK run with BOB JENKINS doing big money, and Dario was worthwhile every time he popped up. His stock really went up with the addition of Stylish Coat and, more importantly, Unscrupulous Loan. While admittedly Loan requires 3XP, it makes Dario into a 0XP, potential-turn-1 double-stat ally. — HanoverFist · 624

As my nickname here suggests, I'm a rogue deep in my heart, therefore every upcoming green card piques my interest. Sadly, so far Dario El-Amin only brought me disappointment. Breakdown goes like this:

  • to gain his bonus, you have to pay 4 upfront, spend an action and fill your ally slot AND sit on 10 resources. Now, one might say that in rogue class, having 10 resources is a cakewalk, with all those Hot Streaks and Lone Wolves, right? Well, in theory, yes. In practice though, you really need to be able to spend them to either gain more actions or pump your stats during skill checks - you need the cash flow, not the trust fund. What Dario does effectively need you to do then, is to treat 10 as your new 0. One might still think that's easy, since
  • you can use Dario as an action, to get 2 resources every round. Without him, one action can give you only one resource, so doubling that looks like a value proposition... Untill you realize that to get it, you have to: spend 4 resources, an action, fill your ally slot and spend another action... It's just too much and one might call it "slow"... It's a snail move. Rogues ain't no snails, we wanna go fast. Which brings us to the elephant in the room. Or, err, lion. Lion in the room.
  • Since the Dawn of Core Set, rogues have access to arguably the strongest ally in the game, namely Leo De Luca. Played early in the game it's a gift that keeps on giving, everyone loves him and we know that for some time now. Sadly, every green ally printed since then is always going to be compared to him, and so far none have proven to be worthy. In my games in last few weeks, every time I had Dario in play, I wished he was Leo instead. Which is really depressing, because
  • Dario's bonus is excellent when it's there. My old man was looking forward to boost his that was kicking him down all the way through Dunwich, and even Sefina thought she might be able to reach mystic-like state, but to no avail. On that note, Sefina is probably most likely to effectively use Dario's bonus stats, because she can paint herself a juicy hot streak of Hot Streaks. That one additional is also very nice, even if not as substantial. But that's the problem with Dario in general: he seems nice. He wants you to think that he is this friendly companion, but can he take a hit for you, with his 2 health/2 sanity? He offers exotic boost of two stats, but in that regard his business proposition is merely a distorted and mutilated echo of what Peter Sylvestre has brought to the table.

By now I hope I've proven that Dario is not good enough to be the new number one ally in rogue decks, but can he be number 2? I wish I could tell you that he's good enough to warrant taking Charisma for him, but that'd be very optimistic on my behalf, and I have Hospital Debts to worry about, so optimism is not really my thing. I do, however, hope that his time will come at some point, only on the basis of his promise and flavor, even if those things were - so far - very deceptive.

Your analysis seems very solo play and skids centered. Thats hardly seems fair for a card that makes a nice fit in Jenny/Sefina decks. — aramhorror · 688
Your analysis of my analysis seems very assumption centered! I wouldn't really bother writing anything if I only played this card in one deck/investigator - so that assumption doesn't fit here. In Jenny's deck his requirement was hurting the cash flow same as in Skids, as for Sefina though... Willpower stat seems tempting, and as I already hinted, he was most consistent in her deck due to Painted World + Hot Streak combo. With that said, it was never as amazing as it would seem to be. Tempo loss is really not worth it, both in solo and group play. He's flavorful (especially if you're aiming for a thematic deck) but deceptive, because to have him in your deck is almost never as good as good ol' Leo, and believe me when I say that I came to that conclusion with great sadness - I had high expectations and I did my fair share of testing in last two weeks. With that said, I still want to try him in something more exotic, namely Rex with Milan and Charisma. Like I said, I do hope his time will come, for now though there are stil better options than him. — Skid_the_Drifter · 140
Having tried him in a Jenny/Lone Wolf/Charisma/Leo deck, I agree - it's difficult to keep above the 10 resources to keep the bonus active, and Leo knocks spots off him. I'm not abandoning the Jenny experiment yet - but he's definitely not a top flight ally like Milan, Peter or Leo — AndyB · 920
I added him to my sefina deck after i got 2x hot steak and hes absolutely crazy for her. With holy rosary and dario she has will 6, so her spells really rock. His action is also great to fuel Streetwise, if your out of lockpicks. With one charisma, she can have both leo and dario out (or use Calling in favors to get both out quicker). — Django · 4741
What about having him in a leo anderson deck? He's going to be one cheaper to get out and he can consistently provide resources, a problem that guardians seem to suffer from a lot. You're probably not going to be able to use his stat boosts, but his two health and two sanity will still be a good sponge. — majiming · 8