Key of Ys
Let the Storm Rage

Neutral
Asset. Accessory

Item. Relic.

Cost: 3. XP: 5.
Test Icons:
Health: –. Sanity: 4.

You get +1 to each of your skills for each horror on Key of Ys.

Forced - When any amount of horror would be placed on you: Place 1 of that horror on Key of Ys.

Forced - When Key of Ys leaves play: Discard the top 10 cards of your deck.

Stephen Somers
Dim Carcosa #315.
Key of Ys
FAQs (taken from the official FAQ or FFG's responses to the official rules question form)
  • Q: When Key of Ys says "placed on you" in the Forced effect, does "you" mean your investigator card, or any card you control? A: "You" in this case means your investigator card.
Last updated
Reviews

I think this is the best card Arkham Horror: LCG has released since Higher Education. Key of Ys is absurdly broken.

For best results, try it with Duke and Peter Sylvestre as Pete. Those two allies will keep the Key in play more or less indefinitely, and you can enjoy what is effectively an 8/7/7/7 stat line. That is totally gamebreaking.

Or try it as Yorick. He can also use the Peter Sylvestre combo, and if the Key somehow does get discarded, Yorick can just play it back! (More often than not 10 discarded cards actually helps him, too.)

Survivors are best poised to take advantage of the Key, but really, anyone can put this to great use.

Yes, it's 5 XP, and you need other sanity-soaking assets in play for it to really work, but the benefits it grants are so absurdly strong that these drawbacks don't come close to balancing it. No matter who you are, the Key makes you an all-around dominant investigator. This card makes Wendy fight like Zoey and Skids resist treacheries like Agnes. What is more, it augments every investigator's strengths, to the point that even the Expert chaos bag stops being that scary. No other card in the game comes close to that.

The "discard the top 10 cards of your deck" proviso is totally irrelevant unless the scenario features Beyond the Veil. Even then, you might not draw Beyond the Veil, and if you do, you can just be careful about keeping the Key in play. That's not a major concern at all.

CaiusDrewart · 1508
@CaiusDrewart, does the wording on the card "+1 to each of your skills" mean that #Duke can get a boost as well? Does it add to the ally skills or only to the investigator's skills? — JuSTiN · 1
@JuSTiN: Duke lets you investigate or fight with a base skill of 4. Any card that provides a passive boost to a stat, such as Magnifying Glass, Dark Horse, or Key of Ys, will modify this new base skill as well. — CaiusDrewart · 1508
+1 for needing other sanity soaks. You really want at least 3 horror available for those "1 horror for each point you fail by" treacheries... — AndyB · 382
Additionally, if the discard effect mills your entire deck, the Key gets shuffled back into your deck! It actually allows you to draw it later! Insane. — SGPrometheus · 167
Based on the card wording, can you avoid putting horror on the Key, by assigning all horror to allies/items? — Daerthalus · 4
@Daerthalus: Yes. That's why this card is super broken if you get it into play with e.g. Peter Sylvester. — CaiusDrewart · 1508
I have played 3 campaigns (2 with Pete and 1 with Minh) the diffrence between having and not having the card is "doing good" to "complete and utter god mode" I don't think a single card should have so much impact, I think it is broken and it needs (imo) to be changed, if you always had to assign horror to the key first I would be fine with it (I would really like the design of the card at that point) :) — Quilzar · 5
@SGPrometheus, not if you have less than ten cards left. The 10 discards are triggered by the key leaving play, which means they are resolved before the discarding of the Key is resolved (see "Nested Sequences") — CSerpent · 73
Why does this card and some other cards don't show up in the deckbuilder screen? I notice this card doesn't show up in the filter for Ashcan Pete Neutral lv1-5 filter on. — XTruFinale · 1
I got it in my opening hand for Marc last friday for The Boundary Beyond. Oh my god. — Apologised · 2
@Apologised: Right??? This card is so broken. — CaiusDrewart · 1508
Incidentally, while I think my initial review has mostly held up, I was incorrect in calling this card the best card since Higher Education. This card is way more broken than Higher Education. — CaiusDrewart · 1508
Agreed. Higher Education is a strong card. This is a broken card. Why it's still not errata'd is a small wonder by itself. — ratnip · 10
Incidentally, ruling via FF customer service: "If an investigator suffers 1 direct horror while he or she has Key of Ys in play, the horror must be placed on Key of Ys instead. However you may assign a non-direct horror to another asset (like Elder Sign Amulet) and it doesn’t have to be placed on Key of Ys. In other words, the horror most only be placed on Key of Ys if it would otherwise be physically placed on your investigator card. Cheers, ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Matthew Newman Senior Card Game Developer" — Cluny · 38
Whats the difference of direct and non-direct horror? — Fuzer · 1

A card poised to take Arkham Horror by storm (get it?).

I don't have to say much. Most investigators will benefit from this, especially if they have any way of off-shoring sanity to other assets (it has been confirmed the "you" is your investigator card).

So if you are a Mystic, Survivor, or Seeker you have assets that can help shield your Key.

Guardians without access to these card pools will struggle, but even they have beat-cops to take a few hits to keep the key around longer.

Rogues also struggle a bit to use this card without those dips due to ally selection, but they have a few things that can work.

Solo, this card is a monster. Multiplayer, you probably will have 1 person who is considering it and is trying to build around it.

Let them. Because once it gets 2 or 3 horror on it, they become hyper efficient.

Myriad · 652
Yeah, I agree with you, which actually brings up my one issue with it: is it okay for a card to be good (or great) in literally every deck? I fell like it kind of waters down class identity, but I'm not the one making the cards. — SGPrometheus · 167
@SGPrometheus: I agree. I think a neutral XP card this powerful was a mistake. The individual strengths and weaknesses of classes and investigators--some of the most interesting parts of this game--become less meaningful if literally anyone can take the Key and become godly. — CaiusDrewart · 1508
It's a 5XP card, that does nothing, when it hits play, and might continue to do nothing, if you do not find a way to get horror on you... — Adny · 1
Well, in the second half of the Carcosa campaign you can simply say "Hastur" a few times. Even in other circumstances, it is generally really easy to take a couple horror in this game. — CaiusDrewart · 1508
@adny: The very fact that it changes horror from something you avoid into something you're seeking is game-warping. Horror is one of the ways the game punishes you, and this card makes it useful to you. Agreed though, 5xp is a hefty price tag, but if it does nothing all game, then you probably won the scenario super hard and didn't need it. — SGPrometheus · 167
After seeing this card absolutely dominate in three separate campaigns by completely different investigators, I would really appreciate witnessing a game where Key of Ys 'does nothing'. — ratnip · 10

Many people think this card is totally broken. Is it really? Let's analyze it.

Costs

  • 5 XP: Very expensive, but reasonable for such a powerful effect. We're lucky it's not exceptional.
  • 3 Ressources: Reasonable price, which most investigators should be able to pay. Only Dark Horse decks may find it too expensive.
  • Relic Slot: Shares the slots with some other powerful cards, like Elder Sign Amulet, Holy Rosary or St. Hubert's Key. Most of these cards are mystic, so the slot is ok. Relic Hunter is also an option.

Requirements

In order to get the most out of this card, you need:

  • In play as early as possible
  • A reliable source of horror
  • horror soaks to protect it

Getting the key into play

Only way to draw this card early is hard mulligan and seeker cards:

Horror Sources

  • Forbidden Knowledge
  • Scrying 3
  • Shrivelling, but very situational
  • Painkillers, but only if there's damage on your investigator

  • Most of these are cards. Other than these, enemies are the most reliable source of horror. But they often deal damage as well, so you need damage soaks (Bulletproof Vest) and/or healing (Strange Solution).
  • To play it safe, stop taking horror intentionally after the second, so it it's bonus is only at +2. Then it won't leave play when you take another horror wihtout a soak.

Horror Soaks

Other things to note:

  • When taking more than 1 horror, you can place any of them on Key of Ys
  • This card can replace other boosters, like Spirit Athame or Dark Horse
  • Direct horror can't be redirected, even when this card is in play.
  • You can't use Agnes Bakers ability while this card is play, unless it's direct horror

Summary

This card is definately powerful, but uesless if you can't put any horror on it or it's destroyed. So i wouldn't put my first 5 XP into this card, unless your deck (or your party) is built around it.

Django · 2027
- you forgot Painkillers as a source of horror — Adny · 1
- the key isn't redirecting horror, it works in step 2 of the process; direct horror prevents assigning it to other assets in step 1 — Adny · 1
Thanks, i added painkillers. However they can only be used if there's damage on the investigator, see the cards page, comment from " CSerpent" — Django · 2027
You forgot the most important source of horror (at least in the Carcosa campaign): saying 'Hastur'. For those who don't know, there is a story option in the Carcosa campaign that gives you one XP but in exchange punishes you with 1 horror whenever you say the word 'Hastur' while playing. Well, guess what, that's free horror on Key of Ys. gg no re, Mr King in Mellow — jeermaster · 19
Huge spoiler. Thanks. — aramhorror · 229
When you say "Direct horror can't be redirected, even when this card is in play." does that mean if you take direct horror it does not go to the Key? Do you have a link to a ruling on this if this is the case? (most people seem to think it is the other way) — Quilzar · 5
Don’t the Composure cards all work to shield the key from excess horror as well? — Setzu · 195
# Quilzar: Direct horror MUST be placed on your investigator card; nothing will affect that unless it specifies direct horror. #Setzu I use plucky in Yes, This is Dog True Suvivor when needed, because Key of Ys will generally save me spending resources, and I can get plucky back with resourceful (or some other soak) — CecilAlucardX · 2
as already stated above, direct horror must be ASSIGNED to your investigator in step 1 of dealing horror. The key then takes the horror, that is PLACED on you in step 2 of the process — Adny · 1
Meat Cleaver is a source of horror as well, and one that can ramp Key of Ys up to full power really quickly on a fighter. — ClownShoes · 4

Hi folks--this is less a review than a post to point out that in the new "List of Taboos" FFG released with new Errata, Key of Ys has been "Mutated" to have the Exceptional keyword. That would mean this would cost a whopping 10xp, right? That almost certainly puts it outside of playable for most decks. That seems like a wild over-correction to me... I appreciate the List of Taboos as an incentive to keep deckbuilding fresher... but what do you all think?

I personally would be disposed to house-rule it to keep the exceptional key-word, but shift the XP to 3 or even 4 (which would total 6 or 8 xp). A 10 XP total cost just seems grossly prohibitive.

Malgox · 11
Yes, for me, it's a little like, now you won't play this card! In my groups we never had to have prohibitive rules like that! We have a general guideline, only Calvin can take the key, well we're partial to Calvin! — mogwen · 108
The "Taboos" section in the FAQ includes the Limited, Mutated and Forbidden clarifications... this is entirely optional. I believe you should only use it if you have played enough to require a different challenge. For me its something i will not apply in my sessions. — Adrian San · 1
The Taboo list hits 4 cards that I liked to (ab)use: Machete, Higher Ed, Street Wise and Dr. Milan. I think the Taboo list is great, because it encourages creative deck building. I think the list nerfs seekers and rogues the most. — Alogon · 237
I think the taboo modifications are fair with the exception of Elusive and Machete, because with them, you´ll never gonna pay 2xp to buy them. Because you have Elusive(2) and .45(2), wich are clearly more effective. — Fenrirgarm · 3
I usually don´t play with the Key of Ys, since its release because i think its not well designed. But I think they could simply modify the "placed on you" part of the text, to "Whenever you receive any horror", that way its a strong card, but it forces you to be careful. — Fenrirgarm · 3
I don't know, "only Calvin can take the key" sounds like a pretty prohibitive rule to me! — Death by Chocolate · 12
Yeah, I recognize that these are optional rules--it just seemed pretty harsh... but I like limited powerful cards like this to the investigators that may need them most! Totally applaud that, @Adrian San — Malgox · 11
@Fenrirgarm I totally agree. A better fix IMO would have been to change the Forced ability slightly. — Daerthalus · 4
To >> Forced - When any amount of horror would be "dealt to" you: Place 1 of that horror on Key of Ys. — Daerthalus · 4
I think the change to Key of Ys is fair, as it is a ridiculous card. — Katsue · 8
Even at 10XP it's broken. — Eruantalon · 93