Neutral
Asset. Hand

Item. Relic. Weapon. Melee.

Cost: 5. XP: 5.
Test Icons:

If Timeworn Brand is ready: Fight. You get +2 and deal +1 damage for this attack.

Exhaust Timeworn Brand: Fight. Add your to your skill value for this attack. This attack deals +3 damage. If this attack defeats an Elite enemy, draw 3 cards. (Max once per game.)

Andreas Zafiratos
The Depths of Yoth #276.
Timeworn Brand
Reviews

Quite the sick single-handed weapon. Its direct comparison is to the Machete and of course this is purely better statistically. As it should be for 5 experience. When you break it down, it has a better bonus to hit than the machete and always provides a bonus damage. Whereas the machete only does the bonus damage if they are engaged with you (problem if on someone else and you need to do multiple damage or an evaded enemy) and only if it is the only thing engaged with you.

The cost is high for this weapon at a cost of 5, and the experience rivals that of the Lightning Gun. But we are talking about a weapon that doesn't have an ammo limit, and only takes up a single hand. Comparing firearms to handheld weapons isn't typically something done lightly. The firearm should have the advantage at these direct comparisons. But even so, once per game you can still swing very strongly with this weapon at something scary. Often you will only need to be making one or two hits like this per game anyway as a necessity. That is the problem that arises from something like a firearm. You occasionally run across something you might not want to waste an ammo on, but find yourself doing so anyway while you wait for the proper target or you try to deal with them hand and fist. This weapon has the advantage of waiting for that moment and then unleashing upon it. And you receive an excellent benefit of filling your hand with useful cards upon completion. Zoe obviously stands out with the will and str 4 that would provide for a serious swing when something shows up that needs to be cut down.

This should be up there with the most powerful weapons in the game if it is not the one at the top.

Bronze · 161
I basically interpreted the "Once per Game" condition as a limitation for the last part of the ability (ie. the "If this attack defeats an elite enemy draw 3 cards" part). Are we sure it is for the whole ability?? It basically makes more sense to be that way, otherwise it would be too strong I suppose, but I would like to see a clarification. — matt88 · 2358
I think a natural reading of the card would be that the once per game applies to the whole ability. Moreover, this just has to be the case; this card would be completely, utterly broken if it applied only to the card-drawing clause. If it applies to the whole ability, this card is strong but reasonable for a 5 XP card. It's got to be the latter. — CaiusDrewart · 2561
If you read the rules, it is pretty clear that ‘max X per’ effects the entire ability: “If a maximum appears as part of an ability, it imposes a maximum number of times that ability can be initiated from all copies (by title) of cards bearing that ability (including itself), during the designated period.” — Death by Chocolate · 979
This card isn't unique, very intersting for 4 player. I assume you can't reset the limit by re-playing this card, correct? But other investigators could play their own or take yours with Teamwork and use the ability, as it's not a group limit. — Django · 3807
@django See my previous comment’s quote from the rules. ‘Max’ is different from ‘Limit’ and is a restriction across ALL copies of the card. — Death by Chocolate · 979
If "the Max once per game" applies to the entire bottom text what's the point of there being an exhaust clause on the ability? — ExemplarX · 1
nvm I RTFC'd — ExemplarX · 1
@ExemplarX: exhaust prevent using top abilty for the rest of the round. Personaly I would intepret this "Max" as limitation for what comes after "If ". Card has very high cost in XP and resources so it should be balanced. But Grim Rule tells us to interpet this in worst possible way until FAQ or QnA dont tell otherwise. ;-) — theczarek · 2
@ExemplarX: don't forget that there are also other effects that exhaust cards, for instance <a href="02015">Wracked by Nightmares</a>. Normally, you can use exhausted assets unless their usage requires to exhaust that asset. You cannot do it with this one due to specific limitation on the card. — chrome · 11
An exhausted card cannot be exhausted again, but this does not effect abilities that do not exhaust, so the first ability can still be used. So exhausting this item does not make sense to me. — Django · 3807
No no, the first ability specifically states that timeworn brand has to be ready to use it. You can't use both abilities on the same turn. — Eschaton1 · 1
You can still use the second ability after you used the first in the same round. — v6t2b9 · 1
When I have to add my "willpower" to skyll value, I also have to consider boost from card in play like "Peter"? — Flazzy · 5
Yes you add your total willpower. If it was only the investigator value, it would be mention as "basic willpower" and not just "willpower" — Tanean · 1
Great card for Diana - she can reliably work the 5 str swing, buff with Vicious Blow, and still have her blade in the other hand. By the time the bigger Elites are spawning hopefully she has a solid +3 or +4 will going to really smack them (and could still buff Vicious Blow as this attack is additive). — Time4Tiddy · 172
The "once per game" limit does not apply to the whole second ability. I does not have sense. Card uses "exhaust" mechanic this means the card readies during upkeep phase and "limit once per game " cannot prevent it. If they would want to prevent it they would have to add there additional condition "do not ready this card during upkeep" a why would they do it ?!? Simply if they would want the second ability to be used only once per game they would simply put there "discard" or "remove from the game" or "exile" mechanic instead of "exhaust" mechanic with additional two written limits/conditions. So this card functions very simply - you can use the first ability on it as many times as you want if the card is ready but in this case you get very basic attack bonus a dmg bonus which is far worse then Att/Dmg bonuses you can get from another card with similar cos/exp. value — Rado Gaman · 2
@Rado Gaman: It just means you can't choose to do the big attack and then still keep hitting with the regular attack ability (for example, if you missed the 4 damage attack, and the enemy is still alive). The reason this doesn't discard/remove from game/exile is simple, you can continue to use this card after using the big hit. What you CANNOT do, however, is to use the big hit multiple times during the same game, even on a future turn after it readies again. This card is extremely powerful - the boost/damage bonus is on-par with other weapons, but it's one-handed and infinite use, whereas with guns you have to consider the (very-limited) ammo count. — robert054321 · 1
regarding the "Max X per game"... I agree with the majority that you can only do the bottom ability once per game period regardless of the "draw 3 cards" aspect or not.... But is it a single "attempt" per game? Or a Single "hit"? i.e. if you draw tentacles when you attempt the big hit, do you lose the ability to try again? Anything specific in the rules that would answer this? — stm08007 · 1
edit: it seems clear this means max 1 ATTEMPT per game (regardless of success or fail). this seems harsh but the correct ruling unless anyone has something that says otherwise! — stm08007 · 1
I would rule that you can only exhaust Exhaust Timeworn Brand once per game. — Lotharun · 1

Weird to see that this is a card with only one kinda old review, especially since I often hear it talked about as almost the gold standard of weapons, often thrown into any fighter or flexer who can take it - which is pretty much everyone to begin with.

That said, I have a controversial opinion about this card; it's the worst exp weapon in the game. If Song of the Dead and Fire Extinguisher (1) didn't exist, I'd probably extend that to calling it the worst exp fight asset in the game. I would only really consider it in characters who generally have no other option, or characters who would really prefer not to run in-class weapons, who it certainly has a place in.

Now, I don't think this was always the case. A lot of excellent weapons have come out recently, particularly in Edge of the Earth. Before cards like Meat Cleaver, Fire Extinguisher (3), Chainsaw and Sledgehammer existed, it must have been a pretty strong pick in Survivor. Even compared to Guardian big guns, it at least had the benefit of infinite uses, but now there's Sledgehammer, Butterfly Swords, Holy Spear and, of course, Cyclopean Hammer to outshine it in that niche. And while all of those take up two hand slots - well, now guardians have a nice sidearm that doesn't take up a single hand slot and can be used efficiently against lower health enemies.

The appeal of the card, too, is obvious. A single weapon that you can slam down turn one and be consistently fighting with +2 for 2 damage definitely sounds like a good deal. And its once per game attack seems decent enough as a boss killer. That said, the second attack is extremely limited. It can only be even attempted once, and while its damage is high, if it kills a boss, there's a lot of levels where the draw is not likely to be very useful after that. And of course, using it as an opening attack loses you potential of the draw. But even so, just the first effect is a very strong one, especially for a card that, taking up a single hand slot, can be run alongside almost any tool you could care to name.

So, with all of that, why do I think it's the worst exp weapon in the game? It's a simple factor; cost. 5 cost, 5xp for a weapon that is simply efficient and infinite, is completely prohibitive. 5 resources can block off any number of other important cards to set up, and when drawn late can be difficult to get out. Costing the entire pool of starting resources is perhaps fair for a weapon that could last you the entire game, but with one major exception, all of its in-class competition is cheaper (or the same cost but better), and much of that can also last the whole game, while also being played out with an ally. 5 cost is also a very significant number for an Ever Vigilant starting turn, with the cost of 5 prohibiting it being paired with anything but a single 2-cost or multiple 1 or 0 cost cards. This rules out every significant guardian ally. In most other classes, it likely rules out playing even a single other asset - which can be very bad news if something like Crypt Chill is in the encounter deck. Some economy cards can help with that, but that starts to become very dependant on a specific opening hand of brand, economy, and a card cheap enough to be played by the econ card. No option for drawing, either.

The second factor of the cost is its experience cost. Two copies of this will set you back 10 whole exp. That's an entire extra weakness in standalone mode, and is something very unlikely to be earned in a single level. But if the card is good enough, it generally doesn't matter how fast you can buy it, or whether two copies are spread across two levels. And, of course, if your draw or search is enough, you could potentially get away with only a single copy. It'll be much less likely to be found in your opening hand, but that could well be worth it. It's not like you'd ever need to play the second copy, unfortunate discards aside. But even compared to a single copy, there's a lot of better cards you can buy. Two Beat Cops are cheaper to get out, and will tack on extra and damage to your weaker, level 0 weapons, bringing them almost to par with the brand, at least for a while. Survivors could get a pair of Brute Forces and a True Survivor to recur them. Rogues can grab a pair of infinitely cheaper Switchblades if not using taboo, or one and a Haste to get more tries at hitting with it if you are. Even Seekers have a cheaper, higher damage, higher combat bonus fight option, though it runs out a lot quicker. And any class using guns can take any number of cards to let them last longer for much cheaper than the brand.

Finally, my last point against it is its simplicity and blandness. As a weapon, it just isn't interesting enough for it to effectively synergise with any fun class cards. Rogues can put together a group of guns and Sleight them, or Reload them. You can use Knight of Swords and lean into all the weapons that want to succeed by a lot, and it adds far more to any of them than it would the brand, and to a number of other cards, too. Guardians can also reload or do tricks with their guns, or find much more interesting targets to Enchant. Survivors can throw away their much less reliable weapons for cash and damage, or just keep bringing them back. And all of this doesn't even touch on cross-class options.

Now, an important distinction here is I don't think it's bad that the card is bad. I think this is exactly what a big neutral weapon should be - well, this or the Ornate Bow, its opposite as a unique niche weapon that does something very few other cards can even imitate - a less cost-efficient option than any in-class option you could care to name, but one you can grab if you care more about having a simple, good weapon for the entire game than any kind cost-efficiency. Certainly, plenty of people will value that a lot higher than I do.

SSW · 148
A lot of the weapons you recommend in place of Timeworn Brand are two-handed. I think the real value of TWB is that it leaves you a spare hand and spare deck slots to fill that hand, because it doesn't need "support" cards itself. TWB + Survival Knife (2) is pretty exciting for Guardians; Survivors can use TWB + Compass or Old Key Ring, and so on. Rogues could go TWB/Lockpick. — OrionJA · 1
Most of the Survivor weapons I named were one-handed, and again, Brand is bad for this because its cost is so prohibitive. Compare having Fire Extinguisher 3 in one hand and Compass in the other, or Rogues having Switchblade 2 and Lockpicks. You've saved a great deal of xp, enough cost to play them out on the same turn, at the cost of maybe needing a little bit of support for the weapons, which is also still often true of the Brand. — SSW · 148
Why do you call it "the only option for Amanda"? I Have not played her yet, but she looks for me as the best investigator for "Acidic Ichor", because of her access to upgraded VB and Overpower. But I think, this is not enough to build her a speciallized monster slayer, who could profit from the "unlimited ammo" of TWB. I'm planning to rather build her flex, when I will take her. No need to forfeit having Deduction, too. — Susumu · 166
The cost is actually relatively cheap because it's infinite use. With other weapons, you'll have to play multiple copies and/or ways to reload. The only comparable survivor weapons are Meat Cleaver, and taking horror each swing is obviously unsustainable unless you pair it with Peter, which costs you an Ally slot, another card, and 3XP. — suika · 8176
for Charisma, and requires you to be at 3 or less horror to function. Compared to a Rogue suite with guns and reloading, it's actually cheaper both in terms XP and in terms of resources and cards. — suika · 8176
Sure, it's boring. But it's incredibly reliable the way a lot of cards aren't, requiring basically no set up to function. And for that, it comes with a hefty XP tag. But outside of Guardian, and even for one-handed Guardians, this remains a staple 1-handed weapon that's actually quite cost-efficient in the long-run simply because it needs no other support. — suika · 8176
Meat Cleaver, Fire Extinguisher (3), and Sledgehammer are all as infinite and all cheaper. Besides, set-up expense is far more relevant than expense over the course of an entire game, since you get more resources over the game. — SSW · 148
Dealing constantly 2 damage without ammo or supplies and a good bonus on attacks in just one hand. Yes there are other weapons like the spear or the hammer, but they use both hands and you need a specific class. Yes switchblade and the machete are cheaper but their damage is conditional and need further support like the switchblade or the right enemies (hello swarms) — Tharzax · 1
I think, from a balance standpoint, a 5xp weapon available to every investigator has to be weaker than weapons available to combat classes. Because of that, the brand is exactly as good as it's supposed to be. Its "gold standard" image doesn't come from its goodness, but from its availability as a standard. — SGPrometheus · 594
But, SSW, you' — olahren · 1535
* Sorry, pressed Enter too fast. The Brand is the only one-handed +2 combat, +1 damage melee weapon in the game with no drawbacks. Yes, the brand is expensive both in terms of resources and experience, but that's the price you have to pay for fighting with one hand free. And the once-off ability can be a life saver. It's not bland, it's simply what it is. Plus, it's available to all. Do you have spare Xp and want a backup weapon for Stella that's not ammo reliant? Or another weapon for Joe Diamond that can be combined with his other tools? Go Brand! It's a great equalizer. — olahren · 1535
It can also be helpful to contextualize the value of a strong one hander by looking at what you can lose without it. Wendy suffers pretty hard from bows being two handers for example. Hand slots are big and every class besides guardian has very powerful uses for a spare hand. — dezzmont · 69