Cost: –.

Permanent. Limit 1 per deck.

Anytime you upgrade a card with the (Unidentified) or (Untranslated) subtitle, you may upgrade a second copy of that card at no experience cost. If you do, the two upgraded versions are chosen at random from among the eligible options. (You must still meet all deckbuilding restrictions.)

Tiziano Baracchi
Threads of Fate #106.
Shrewd Analysis
FAQs (taken from the official FAQ or FFG's responses to the official rules question form)
  • Q: If I'm upgrading two Strange Solutions in my deck, what is the process for the upgrade? Do I: a) Create 2 stacks of the 3 possible variations and pick one from each? or b) Shuffle up all 6 of the variations and draw 2? There's a slight difference in the likelihood of getting a matching pair depending which way I do it and the wording seems ambiguous depending on how we interpret 'option'. A: Since the game has no inherent limit on how many copies of each variant you might have in your collection, the method that makes the most sense to me is to take 1 copy of each variation in your collection and randomly select one of them, then do the same for the second strange solution [option a].
Last updated

This is a very unusual card.

Permanent cards are, by their very nature, kind of strange in that they start off in play, so taking the card doesn't dilute your deck. Normally with cards like Scrapper, the level and experience point cost are barriers that keep every eligible investigator from immediately taking it. Arcane Research, the other level 0 permanent card besides Shrewd Analysis, inflicts mental trauma when you take it, so you have to consider the consequences of using the card before you acquire it.

Shrewd Analysis is different from both of these cases because there is, in most instances, no drawback for taking it. There is no experience cost, no trauma... you just get it.

The ability on the card is not mandatory (since it is phrased, "you may upgrade a card") so taking this card does not commit you to using its ability. It simply gives you an option that wasn't there before. In my opinion, it is really not a good ability, since you sacrifice deck consistency for a discount, and I normally don't consider that a good trade. However, the option is there. In a way, taking this card kind of future-proofs your deck a little bit; if there is ever a card released like Strange Solution with upgrade paths that have a negligible difference between versions, you'll be thankful you grabbed this permanent. However, if you never use this card's ability, that's fine too, because it doesn't cost anything. The only potential drawback is if there's an encounter card that punishes you for number of assets or number of permanent cards. That second situation seems pretty unlikely, but you never know...

For investigators that have limited Seeker cards or out-of-class limitations, I think you should probably never take this card. I don't think it's normally worth it.

Otherwise, I think you should always take this card.

For reference...

Investigators who should always take this card:

Investigators who should never take this card:


  • Lola Hayes can take this card if she wants to use it to take up a Seeker slot without taking up a card in her deck.

Is there a functional reason to justify not taking this card if you have no Seeker slots restrictions? I really can't think of one. Very curious to see if we'll get more level 0 permanents like this one in the future.

Now that Ancient Stone (Minds in Harmony) has been anounced I think carolyn will definitely want shrewd Analysis! — mogwen · 252
I agree! Carolyn Fern definitely wants this card now, but only if she's running Ancient Stone. — ArkhamInvestigator · 291
You say there's no XP cost, but that's not true. Even level 0 cards cost 1 XP. From the rules reference, page 5: "Each card costs experience equal to the card’s level, to a minimum of 1 (purchasing a level zero card still costs 1 experience)." — ddbrown30 · 3
Sorry, I take that back. I didn't realize you could start with permanents in your deck. — ddbrown30 · 3
While Roland could take this card, it would literally just be a waste of your time to find and sleeve it, since he can't use any of the upgrades (they're all Seeker level 3+). — SGPrometheus · 738
I'm trying to figure out how this would be worthwhile for Carolyn in place of 1 (or 2) Delve too deep. Other than getting the second upgrade sooner? — Claire Voyant · 1
@Clair Voyant, this card costs nothing and does not occupy a deck slot. She spends 2XP for two copies of Ancient Stone(1). Then, after solving it, she upgrades one to Ancient Stone(4) and gets the second one upgraded free, saving 3XP. The trick is that only the horror healing version of Ancient Stone is valid for Carolyn's deck, so she's guaranteed to get two copies of it when "randomizing". — CSerpent · 119
Correction to previous: it does take one of her 15 Seeker/Mystic slots — CSerpent · 119
I know this comment is coming 3 years late, but wouldn't Norman Withers never want this card too? He only has access to level 0 seeker cards, so there aren't any "translated" or "identified" cards he can take, right? — Viycktor · 1
He would never need it, but it wouldn't harm him either. Dunwich investigators outside Rex however now get an incentive to maybe take it: cards with the Synergy trait. — Susumu · 326

So correct me if I'm wrong: Carolyn has only one eligible option when upgrading Ancient Stone: Unidentified and that is Ancient Stone: Minds In Harmony. When I upgrade the stones for which I spent 2 exp. (1 each), I spend 3 exp. and get free 3 exp. upgrade, since like the card says, Minds In Harmony is the ONLY eligible upgrade.

Wolf · 67
As far as I can tell, yes, although Shrewd Analysis will permanently take up one of her 15 mystic/seeker slots, but that is a pretty minor downside. — Death by Chocolate · 1351
That's my assessment as well; I mention it in my review of ancient stone. — SGPrometheus · 738
I think that's actually a pretty major downside but still might be worth it. Later on if you're choosing between a 0-1xp M/S card and a 4-5xp other card it may seem like a smaller downside but she really likes those seeker cards for investigation. — Timlagor · 4

Requires more data for a thorough analysis.

I reserve full review of this card at this time as we still have no idea what the Ancient Stone does. Once we know exactly how that works, it might be more worthwhile.

Right now, it is basically just good for the Archaic Glyphs, wherein either result will probably really help out your investigator.

The Strange Solution has a few results that might just mean you wasted slots and opportunity cost.

Basically, wait and see.

Myriad · 1201
I disagree; I think 2 out of 3 results for the Strange Solution are great, and the third one is fine. In either case, saving 7xp is pretty decent for a card that took no experience and no deck slot to purchase; literally no investment. It'll definitely get better with the stones, but I think it's great now. — SGPrometheus · 738
Restorative concoction is fine, but below the curve compared to either other result. — Myriad · 1201
If I understand this card right you save 4XP for Strange Solution? — Rothemd · 2
Yes — Myriad · 1201
This card seem really limited for me. — AquaDrehz · 197
Fun card in Lola. It makes it so that you only have to include 6 yellow cards in your deck without actually requiring anything else from you. — Sechen · 53

There is a good synergy between this card and Vincent Lee deck's requirements.

The only eligible Strange Solution upgrade is the "Heal Damage" version.

You can basically upgrade a second copy of Strange Solution for free without loosing consistency.

The problem is that this version of Strange Solution is a terrible card and I won't add it to Vincent's deck even if it is 0 xp, not to mention investing some time and actions to identify the solution and then to spend 3 XP on two its copies. The card cannot heal allies, it requires an action to play the asset and an action to trigger it later. You cannot divide heal between different investigators like Healing words do. Nonetheless your point is very correct and I would suggest to pay attention to the similar situation with Carolyn Fern and healing horror Ancient Stone upgrade. It is still not the top priority card for her IMO, but unlike Strange Solution it may be taken into consideration for the deck if you would like to do such a combo. — chrome · 50
This is of course the same as the long known and often applied Carolyn-AS:MiH-Combo. The thing is, "Ancient Stone: Mind in Harmony" seems like the way better card than "Restorative Concoction". Maybe, if there is a second seeker on the team, who wants to do the research anyway, it's worth it. Also in a single collection run of multiple investigators, Vincent might upgrade first, filtering out the concoction, then the other investigator has no risk of getting that version, should they use "Shrewd Analysis" as well. Of note, contrary to Caro, Vincent can also use this card for "Dream Diary", which I consider the best use case, as no version really sucks. ("Forbidden Tome" also has level 3 upgrades.) — Susumu · 326

How is this practically applied?? If, for example, I choose to upgrade Strange Solution, which has 3 available upgrades, do I put each copy of those available upgrades (ie 6 cards) facedown on the table and choose 2 of them at random??

matt88 · 2935
I think so! — CaiusDrewart · 2994
The question is: do you draw from all "options" or from all "cards"? (It's irrelevant for the first upgrade but for the second.) For example Strange Solution: do you draw for the second upgrade among the 3 options (33% chance each) or from the remaining 5 cards (20% chance for the already upgraded version, 40% for each of the other ones)? — Astrophil · 1
I think you do pick *both* upgrades from all random choices — sharingiscaring · 1
How does purchasing the card work? It's got no cost, yet some decks have included it as an upgrade path. Isn't this one that you would have to pick at the start of a campaign? Also being Permanent, presumably it doesn't take up a card slot? But if it's free and doesn't take up a slot..............why would you not take it? I'm confused! — TheBrokenMeeple · 18
@thebrokenmeeple You're correct: it is free and it does not count towards your deck size. The reason someone might not want it is that they don't want to take the 1/3 chance that their strange solutions become the freezing variant. — SGPrometheus · 738
The text says "you may upgrade a second copy of that card at no experience cost". I suppose it means the player can choose not to invoke its ability even if this card is included in their deck. — pariah · 1
@SGPrometheus I’m pretty sure it is only free if you start with it in your deck at character creation. Otherwise it would be the same as buying any other level 0 card - it costs 1 xp. — Death by Chocolate · 1351
@DeathbyChocolate Oh yeah, sure sure. — SGPrometheus · 738
Ok, how do you use the effect here on Arkhamdb? I did not find any work around. Do you give yourself „virtual“ Xp? Can you somehow force the card in? Comments appreciated. — Castorp · 1
Bump. How do you apply this in ArkhamDb? — holapenguin · 1
@holapenguin and Castorp: while our may not be pretty, Arkhamdb doesn't appear to actually care how much xp you have when upgrading, and it will let toy spend more than you gained. This will result in your deck description saying things like, "4 available, 8 spent," but, *shrug* you'll know it's correct. — SGPrometheus · 738

What I haven't seen written is that this is still a good card for strange solution. Four experience points for two random upgrades will save four experience points. Even if acidic ichor is not drawn, it is only two additional experience points to switch them out. It still saves two experience points overall.

The same will happen with both archaic glyphs and ancient stone.

filovirus · 2
Strange solutions and the like actually specify they can only be included by upgrading from the "unidentified/untranslated" versions, meaning to swap out upgraded versions, you would need to buy a level 0 version and then upgrade it again, for 5 xp total each, not 1. — zrayak · 81
zrayak is right, and furthermore the discount for upgrading cards wouldn’t be relevant even without that clause because “When purchasing a higher level version of a card with the same title, the investigator may choose to "upgrade" that card by paying only the difference in experience (to a minimum of 1) between the two cards and removing the lower level version of the card from his or her deck.” The rules do not allow for ‘upgrading’ to a card of the same level. Previously this wasn’t very relevant due to these cards’ clauses, but it is relavent now for the level 3 upgraded dual-class cards. — Death by Chocolate · 1351
Can you add Shrewed Analysis and use it immediately in the same upgrade? Say I identified the Strange Solution in the last scenario, can I add SA before the next scenario and immediately use it to add 2 Identified Solutions? — Vortilion · 1
I don't know with any official capacity, but I would presume that yes you can. Same as Adaptability. — VanyelAshke · 176
Start first scenario with 2x Strange Solution (Unidentified) and earn at least 9 XP. Take Shrewd Analysis and get two random level 4 Solutions. Then take Adaptable and swap for your two unidentified solutions, and upgrade into two more Level 4 Solutions. :) — Runic · 1
Why would you "add" Shrewd Analysis? You can just start with it in your level 0 deck. — gustafusus · 1
@Runic I don't think that works, as you can only own 2 copies of a card "by title" and the title of each of these varians are simply "Strange Solution" — Axoloth · 15

Sorry, but I don't see one question: "Anytime you upgrade a card with the (Unidentified) or (Untranslated) subtitle, you may upgrade a second copy of that card at no experience cost. If you do, the two upgraded versions are chosen at random from among the eligible options. (You must still meet all deckbuilding restrictions.)" let's say I have 2 strange solutions. Do you need to have identified both strange solution before making the upgrade in order to be able to upgrade both, or does the second strange solution have not only 0 XP cost but also does not need to be identified?

--EDIT 2021-09-08: Writing information in the campaign log is

  1. Effective for the whole campaign
  2. Valid for all investigators taking part into the campaign. This means that:
    • Several investigator can upgrade the strange solution (or another), even if only one "Identify the solution"

--EDIT 2021-10-27: remved part about my false interpretation of XP spared by shrewd analysis

el_kloklo · 1
I answer my own question, actually you never need to identify the second strange solution, the note you have written "identified the strange solution" does not go away when you upgrade a strange solution, no matter shrewd analysis or not. — el_kloklo · 1
Sidenote since its a campaign log note only one player has to do it per campaign... I think. — Zerogrim · 282
It must be recorded once per campaign. So other players can also upgrade without identityng — Django · 4846
I would record ist under earned story assets in the campaign log. So in my opinion every investigator have to solve it on its own. — Tharzax · 1
Identified cards aren't story assets. They say to write it in the campaign log. All investigators use the same campaign log, so any investigator can upgrade so long as one has identified it. — zrayak · 81
But we are not talking about card. We are talking about a condition for the purchase. In my opinion this is some part of a story so I write it under the assets/weakness section for each investigator in the log. And at least in the German translation they have chosen the singular for you. — Tharzax · 1
The effect instructs you to record a particular text in the campaign log. To upgrade the card the requirement is that the campaign log contains that same text. Who logged it isn't recorded, either by player or character, and isn't material to the upgrade condition. The tense of 'you' within the bit of text is irrelevant because it's a log entry being transcribed verbatim and checked for verbatim. — Yenreb · 15
Contrast with Doomed, which does specify to record its bit of text in the story assets and weaknesses section for your investigator, not in the campaign log generally. — Yenreb · 15
I like the idea of a side quest with a proper bounty (and i would never share ist with my lazy seeker colleague). But since the text didn't say where you should write it in the log each group have to find their own way ;) — Tharzax · 1
No they don't. When a card or scenario instruction tells you to write something in the campaign log, you write it in the body of the campaign log. The campaign assets section is only there to help with bookkeeping, and is not a place to write anything you are instructed to write in the campaign log. — zrayak · 81
You mean bookkeeping like the information that I'm allowed to upgrade my elixir or book? The weakness doomed works in the same way: you check if the phrase is written in the log (under assets) and if the condition is fulfilled you upgrade the card. — Tharzax · 1
Bookkeeping as in who's deck contains which story assets (as in, the ones the campaign gave you, like Lita Chandler). Doomed is written in the main campaign log, because it is a campaign event that a something is checking against. Because there is only one copy of doomed, it wouldn't even affect another investigator, so there's no reason to write it somewhere else. — zrayak · 81
Actually looking at it again, Doomed does specify using the earned story assets/weaknesses section to record doom approaches. Since translating/identifying don't specify, that just further cements that they are to be recorded in the main campaign log for anyone to use — zrayak · 81