Asset. Hand x2

Item. Relic. Weapon. Ranged.

Cost: 4. XP: 3.
Test Icons:

Uses (1 ammo). Limit 1 ammo on Ornate Bow.

Spend 1 ammo: Fight. This attack uses instead of . You get +2 and deal +2 damage for this attack.

: You nock another arrow. Place 1 ammo on Ornate Bow.

Andreas Zafiratos
Heart of the Elders #204.
Ornate Bow

This card has generated a lot of hype. And why not? It unlocks an entirely new playing style by allowing investigators to fight with Agility, and the +2 damage is quite impressive. Plus, anyone can take it!

I'm going to argue, though, that Ornate Bow is not actually that good and probably not worth the 3 XP, 4 resources, and 2 hand slots.

First, the action efficiency on Ornate Bow is really poor for an XP card. If you play the Bow and use it once, it's clearly way inferior to just using something like Backstab or "I've got a plan!" or Waylay. If you use it twice, you're dealing 6 damage over 4 actions. That's the same as a level 0 weapon can do! And the more you use it, the worse the action efficiency gets. Use it four times for (optimally) 12 damage over 8 actions. A standard +damage level 0 weapon can deal 14 damage over 8 actions. The more you use the Bow, the less efficient it is compared to the game's level 0 weapons. That's not great for a 3 XP card.

The Bow does have the advantage that you need to pass fewer skill checks. In the above example, 12 damage from the Bow would take 4 successful skill checks, where it would take 6 from the weapons. That's a considerable advantage. But then there's the big disadvantage that a lot of enemies have more than 3 health, and reloading the bow during combat is a huge pain. You either have to swallow attacks of opportunity or you have to evade, and either is wasteful. Even if you're facing 3-health enemies, obviously the optimal situation for the Bow, if/when you miss with the Bow, you suddenly find yourself in an awful spot. If you miss with other weapons, it's not nearly as bad. (Finn can get around this, but I don't think the Bow is that great for him--see below.)

So the Bow is not looking so great for a 3 XP weapon. And indeed, I think anyone with half-decent Combat (and this would include Finn, Jenny, Silas, and Skids) should just use weapons that use Combat instead, because these are way better. Even if your to-hit bonus is a little lower, even the level 0 weapons are more efficient in terms of actions, and the XP weapons available to these investigators are way more efficient. (Not to mention Rogues have a nice set of cards that synergize well with a big gun, like Sleight of Hand and Contraband, but are really terrible with the Bow.)

But what about those high-Agility investigators who have really low Combat but high Agility, like Ursula, Wendy, and Sefina? Doesn't the Bow find a home here?

The answer is: sort of. Yes, these would be the most viable candidates to use the Bow. But I have real doubts here. For one, like I said, you're still not reaching very good efficiency. You're still doing worse, action-wise, than other investigators do using level 0 weapons. Since you have to invest a lot into the Bow in terms of XP, resources, and hand slots, I'm really skeptical when the final result ends up being not very efficient compared to how other investigators can fight.

Besides, these investigators all have really important things to be doing with their hands. Ursula is simply a far better investigator when she's got a Magnifying Glass or two in hand than when she doesn't. Ditto for Sefina with Lockpicks or Spirit Athame or Wendy with Lockpicks. By playing the Bow you are seriously compromising your ability to investigate. I think someone like Sefina or Wendy is better off not fighting very much, and using events like Backstab, Sneak Attack, or Waylay on the rare occasions that they really want to kill something, rather than investing a ton into the Bow for a pretty unspectacular payoff. (Plus, focusing more on events synergizes really well with these characters anyway.)

And yes, Ursula has a possible combo with Dr. Elli Horowitz to get around the Bow's hand slots. But not only is that unreliable (the Bow needs to be in the top 9 cards of your deck), you're just using up a different super-valuable slot instead. More to the point, Ursula can just take Acidic Ichor, which is not only far more efficient than the Bow and attacks at the same base value, it's also far cheaper and doesn't take up any slots at all. She should just do that.

I'm not trying to say the Bow is unplayable. If you really want to make it work, I'm sure it's possible. But I do think the efficiency is not very good and the Bow is not nearly as profitable as it seems at first glance, even for those investigators who seem like the best fits.

The bow gets much better if the user or another player us venturer and e.cache3 to reload it. — Django 1593
For Silas then (who has poor level 0 weapon choice at present), assuming he doesn't want to sink his resources into Fire Axe but is prepared to commit both hands and XP, you think that Baseball Bat is better than the bow? — duke_loves_biscuits 314
I tested the bow as Finn, and it's... Weird. It's very strong because it's an 'infinite ammo' weapon that can one-shot most of the random encounters. (And when it doesn't, you will want to use that extra evade). Another strong point is the fact that ability is easy to boost as Finn (Streetwise), so you will quite never miss. When it codes to a firearm, you are more limited. I used to run Switchblade to deal with small monsters, but, hey, combat is heck difficult to boost here ! And I don't want to waste Lupara ammo on random encounters. I could do a whole scenario (with a lot of fight actually) with just that weapon. Played the bow on turn 1, and never had to use any other damage output. That said, I was stuck not being able to play Lockpicks. That was a pain. But, as I didn't need much of my ressources for combat, I use most of them into intel boost via Streetwise. 4+3 as Finn is nice and often more than enough. That's one of the reasons why I don't see Sefina and her low intel play the bow. Last but not least, the fucking damn reload. The whole scenario was basically "one shot something, reload, move". This action consuption is huge, and you definitely want a Leo De Luca to be attune that. All in all, not worthy if you play solo, but I played with a seeker, and my job was to take down threats and help gathering clues. For a rogue-fighter, and I think especially Finn who can manage the Bow drawbacks (high base Intel, free dodge) this might be worth a shot. — Palefang 32

I'm going to expand on a comment posted earlier.

"The bow gets much better if the user or another player us venturer and e.cache3 to reload it. — Django 1177 2 days ago"

This card is (can be) baller for Skids, Ashcan or Rex (And I suppose Jenny but she has her guns). Now, keep in mind that Skids has a decent Combat as it is at 3, so it makes it slightly more challenging when comparing to +combat weapons for him, though the others are base 2.

If we break down the efficiency of this vs other weapons usable by Skids, it makes it slightly less valuable, but still in the running. Rex has access to Acidic Ichor and Ashcan has all re-usable weapons to choose from, making this harder to justify. The biggest issue is that it requires you to have Venturer out to re-ammo the bow for a instead of an . Let's break it down.

Ornate Bow - To hit: 6 | Damage: 3 | Both Hands | 4 cost | 3 XP -- Can be stacked with Venturer to attack twice using only two actions

Chicago Typewriter - To hit: 5 | Damage: 3 | Both Hands | 5 cost | 4 XP -- Can be stacked with Leo De Luca to deplete ammo in a single round

Lupara - To hit: 4 (5 if new) | Damage: 2 (3 if new) | Single Hand | 3 cost | 3 XP -- Can be stacked with Sleight of Hand to grant bonus to hit and damage without using an action to play it

Let's assume all combos available and all attacks hit. Over 4 attacks, which would deplete all ammo for each weapon:

Ornate Bow: 12 damage using 4 actions, two rounds, 8 total resources, 3 total XP -- Pro: Still offers 1 action per round to do other things -- Cons: Relatively resource costly, requires two rounds

Chicago Typewriter: 12 damage using 4 actions, one round, 10 total resources, 6 total XP -- Pro: Only uses one round opposed to the others' two -- Cons: Very expensive, both in resources and XP

Lupara: 12 damage using 5 actions, two rounds, 4 total resources, 3 total XP -- Pros: Very cheap to play, only uses a single hand slot -- Cons: Requires two rounds, only offers 1 spare action.

Where this starts to break down is the introduction of Emergency Cache to re-supply Venturer. This allows you to keep up the pace of Venturer being your caddy for an additional 4 shots, where it does nothing for Chicago Typewriter or Lupara directly. Those would require Contraband or Extra Ammunition, both of which are resource heavy. The moral of the story is that for Skids (and pretty much only him) this card is right there with the rest of them, so long as you have Venturer.

What I like about this card is that it opens up new deckbuilding options for various investigators. It should be awsome on Skids with Venturer + EC3, but it's also not bad for Sefina or Wendy (as long as they have Leo de Luca to cover the actions needed to rearm it). Ursula can grab this for some self-defense anf it becomes even better if she can tutor it with Dr. Elli Horrowitz. Also not that, as a Relic, it can deal damage to Poltergeist (a big deal for me). — matt88 212
@matt that‘s also what i like about the more. Skids can also play bandolier for lockpicks. Bow uses speed, so can be boosted by streetwise. — Django 1593
@Django Yeah, Streetwise should be a must if Skids goes down that road. — matt88 212