- "As If": This was added to the FAQ (v.1.7, March 2020) and then amended (v.1.8, October 2020). You can read the October ruling on the ArkhamDB rules page here. (I'm adding a hyperlink rather than retyping the rules in case in future the ruling is changed or amended - at that point, the rules page will be updated and all ArkhamDB FAQ entries will link to the correct ruling.)
The Private Investigator
Forced - When the investigation phase begins: Reveal the top card of your hunch deck. Until the end of the phase, you may play that card as if it were in your hand, at -2 cost. If it is still revealed at the end of the phase, shuffle it back into your hunch deck.
effect: +1. You may move an Insight event from your discard pile to the bottom of your hunch deck.
Joe Diamond - Back
Deck Size: 40.
Deckbuilding Options: Seeker cards () level 0-5, Guardian cards () level 0-2, Neutral cards level 0-5.
Deckbuilding Requirements (do not count toward deck size): Detective's Colt 1911s, Unsolved Case, 1 random basic weakness.
Additional Requirements: Your deck must include at least 11 Insight events (including Unsolved Case). During the setup of each scenario, you must choose 11 Insight events from your deck (one of which must be Unsolved Case) and shuffle them into a separate "hunch deck".
PACKING A HUNCH - A brief guide to hunches
It is very important to note that the hunch deck operates on a different form of randomness to your hand. In short cards in your regular deck will show up and can sit in hand for a turn or two while you position to make best use of them, hunch cards on the other hand need to be spent fast before they get shuffled back into the deck. In exchange for access to them at sub-optimal timings, we are given a hefty 2 cost discount and an effective free card draw a turn - a bargain if used well, a hindrance if not.
So how do we get the most from this? Here`s a few ideas:
Try to make the cards in the hunch deck perform a roughly similar role. That way it matters less which card you draw from the set, and means the function they provide can be relied upon from the deck as a while rather than a specific card showing at the right time.
Fast Cards are great. Without the need to draw these, they function like a bonus action in a lot of cases.
Avoid cards that depend on or benefit heavily from timing. Since you are least likely to be able to play these well when they show. Examples:
- Interrogate - suitable enemy needed at the right place.
- Logical Reasoning, important to keep in hand to maintain access when sanity is low and enemies are few, also covers for Frozen in Fear.
- Shortcut Timing that fast move can be crucial to leverage it well such as moving to a clue for Scene of the Crime or dragging an enemy around for Evidence!.
Where possible pick cards that cost 2 or more A bit of a no brainer. If you are being encouraged to play these sub-optimally timed then the price your paying for their reward usually needs to be lower to compensate (I'm sure there will be exceptions ofc).
With these points in mind, we're looking for sets of cards that match up to common or core deck functions. After a little scoping a few sets stand out to me:
The set picked needs to be considered while building the main deck. Good options include suring up something you lack, or bolster your primary activity. I'm still to get my head around it fully but on paper it looks like a long term a pure clue base will be best (and most thematic). Unfortunately the tools available at level 0 atm (mainly Interrogate) are a bit too circumstantial to pull off a reliable purist auto clue hunch deck just yet.
Investigators are complex beasts, and lots can be written about the various nuances of their cards: Playstyle, Key Combos, Deckbuilding, Archetypes, and of course just how fun they are. I don't want to cover all of that, but instead just to talk about one question for Joe, but probably one of the first questions you will ask about him: "What do I put in the Hunch deck?"
Before we answer that, lets make some observations about the Hunch deck:
First off, note that you "play" from the Hunch deck, which means you cannot commit cards to skill tests from it (Norman's ability is the same). As you are not committing, cards that are good for their flexible commit icons lose that power in the hunch deck. Conversely if a card has a weak set of commit icons, you don't care.
Note also that you can only play Hunches during the Investigation phase. This means that defensive insights such as Forewarned are not useful.
Every time you play from the deck, it is the equivalent of a draw and 1-2 resources, that's up to 3 actions, and is therefore extreme value (most Investigators get the equivalent of a bonus "1 action" from their ability, Joe's ability therefore compares very well to others, providing it gets used frequently). You will want to be playing from the deck as much as you can. An average game is about 15 turns, which should be enough time to empty the deck.
You will see the Unsolved Case every game, and need to plan around it. Note that you can play this even if you have no clues in play (which is great!), so the main thing here is keeping two resources back, or at least a way to get two resources in a pinch if you need to. Joe is actually a very resource-hungry investigator, so if you don't have a regular source of income from Dr. Milan Christopher, you'll need to consider economy during deckbuilding.
As you want to play Hunches wherever you can, you favor Insights that are flexible over ones that are situational. Situational insights can still go in your regular deck if you like them.
You favor cost 2 Insights over anything else, as you get maximum value without any investment. Cost 1 and 3 insights are also good. Cost 0 insights provide lower value, and cost 4 insights demand investment and therefore lower flexibility.
For the same reason, you prefer Fast insights over standard action ones as they increase flexibility. Fast insights that cost 2 or less are essentially completely free.
When you empty your regular deck, spent Insights will get reshuffled back there rather than back into the Insight deck. This isn't a huge problem, and doesn't really affect deckbuilding, but its worth noting. It possibly does mean that very late game draws might be "polluted" with Hunch draws, but they should still be playable or used for commits. It probably does mean that Joe has a mild dislike to things that burn his deck, and possibly weakens cantrips for him, but only by a mild amount.
Given all the above then, here is my rankings for Hunches.
Some notes on the above:
Scene of the Crime won't always get you the two clues, but you should be willing to play it for one clue whenever it arrives. It still provides good value at that cost. Emergency Aid, normally a middling card, becomes very strong when it is free, as well as providing options around healing Beat Cop or other allies. Likewise, Delay the Inevitable, No Stone Unturned, Preposterous Sketches while not amazing cards, hit all of the sweet spots for Joe (2 cost, usually always playable, etc), that the provide immense value in the Hunch deck.
Logical Reasoning is a fantastic card, but normally has three abilites (heal, counterspell, commit) and only one of those (heal) is reliable from the Hunch deck, so I prefer this in Joe's regular deck and in his hand. Anatomical Diagrams is a great card, generally underrated, but Joe's low Sanity makes it a tricky play. "I've got a plan!" is interesting, and can sometimes be amazing, but won't always be playable - again it might be better in the main deck. Shortcut is good, but you're missing out on some value as its 0 cost (Shortcut (2) is better here). Connect the Dots is strong, but you need to be confident you will be able to play it, as it requires both the investment and the right situation.
Joe is a powerful Investigator and his Hunch deck is an opportunity for immense value. However it's not a sideboard. Flexibility and mid-cost Hunches that you want to play every turn are the best way of building the Hunch deck, rather than a traditional sideboard stuffed with magic bullets that will go unplayed.
This has got to be one of the strongest investigators in the game. I'll tell you why.
TL:DR. Joe gets things done, his 2 main stats contribute directly to solving the 2 major challenges that ArkhamLcg tends to put in your way: Clues and enemies. The low is a challenge to navigate sometimes, but the speed at which he deals with a scenario tends to make up for that.
Joe's abilities are fairly straightforward despite the dramatic change in deckbuilding they represent.
You benefit from a secondary deck that you "draw" from every round in addition to your main deck, cards in the secondary deck, or hunch deck, get a hefty discount but have the disadvantage of unpredictability, since the card might disappear and not reappear in a timely fashion. The hunch deck is a fantastic place to put a variety of support mechanics that extend your survivability or give you healthy amounts card draw, free clues or even free movement. As this deck gets thinner, the more likely you are to find each mechanic, which is why in my opinion -Fast- cards are even better then usual when put in the hunch deck, because they are more easily playable at any given moment. Keep in mind that while this mechanic can be unpredictable, it is still an additional card option to play every single round, you effectively get to draw all your support cards for free without dudding the draws that might net you a key weapon or friend.
Because the hunch deck is not set in stone, it isn't a terrible idea to have 12 insights in your deck so that you may swap them around a bit.
So, ability broken down. Lets look at the stats, these are the secret behind Joe's great strength.
2 serves to do not much at all. Even with cards in your potential cardpool like Physical Training, Take the Initiative and obviously, Guts, you're bound to take horror at a higher rate and to suffer the effects of many treacheries, this is why Logical Reasoning is a great card to bring. Thankfully you wont generally be relying on willpower to do stuff so this stat is not going to slow you down TOO much, just worry about not dying! Lucky for Joe, he's also got access to a lineup of cheap and horror-tanky allies and Dr. Milan Christopher which makes cards like Charisma and Calling in Favors extra juicy for him. In solo where you need to do all the things by yourself Higher Education makes it a bit easier to tacke scenario specific tests, this is still not a particularly high-priority upgrade.
4 makes Joe able to grab clues from just about anywhere with a little support from his faction. Intellect is one of the key stats in advancing the scenario and having a good score here means that this character can advance a scenario relatively fast.
4 is the other stat that has perennially contributed to scenario completion. If a scenario isn't completed by gathering clues, chances are that it's beaten by killing something, not to mention the importance of being able to deal with threats, which is apt to do. The weapon selection is not quite the best, but note that there is access to Strange Solution and .45 Automatic, put these two together along with Vicious Blow and your ability to deal with enemies goes through the roof!
2. The real dump stat, once in a blue moon an agility test will be required by something that deals health damage (we don't really care) or an enemy must be evaded. Outside of Forgotten age the odds that we test this stat intentionally is pretty much 0.
This here is why Joe Diamond is so strong. While the and arent great, he simultaneously enjoys an of 4, probably the most important stat for progressing a scenario, and 4, the other most important stat for progressing scenarios. While you'll steadily take damage and horror and bad effects in the mythos phase, you're unstoppable in the investigator phase. And dont forget that the hunch deck is still there giving you free moves, healing and clues.
In short, like the previously released Finn Edwards, you have a disadvantage in your statline, but you have all the tools you need to cover the weakness along with a statline that allows you to brutalize scenarios. Except this time you also pull from the best cardpool for on one hand, the cards, and the best cardpool for on the other, .
Joe's and signature cards aren't worth too much attention.
Unsolved Case is an incredibly soft weakness. Often its just a couple lost actions and a couple lost resources. At the very worst you'll find yourself with Unsolved Case exposed while you don't have any actions to spend on it or in a circumstance where the dropped clue is going to cost several actions. The upside to these is always "Oh well, it's just 2 xp."
Detective's Colt 1911s Do their job sufficiently. Note the errata for Leo Anderson's unique asset affects this card as well, allowing for playing the tools first, then the guns. An extra gun is never bad and by the time your hunch deck is full of fast card-draw, Joe can slim down his weapon selection to just a couple, especially if you also found the time to gain Strange Solution. Joe's weapon selection can very naturally go from 2x.45 Automatic and 2xMachete to 2x.45 Automatic and 2xExtra Ammunition. You may note that I haven't talked much about Detective's Colt 1911s, that's because they just aren't that interesting, quite often you'll be playing them as the second weapon in a scenario or never at all because the other weapon is Machete or a well stocked .45 Automatic, Magnifying Glass synergies with them because you can get them in and out of play as best suits your slot capacity.
Some 0-xp stars to put in the hunch deck in no particular order:
Logical Reasoning, reduced to 0 cost, this event is outright fantastic in any given scenario. If the scenario has Frozen in Fear in it try to swap this into your main deck instead so that you might consistently remove the Terror when it shows up. In any other scenario 2 points of horror heal at a happenstance moment is perfectly acceptable, especially if you judiciously supply the deck with fast events that you play immediately, to increase consistency.
Emergency Aid. Pretty much the same as above with Logical Reasoning. Health heal is ever so slightly less useful to you then horror but as with "Skids" O'Toole health can pose a threat surprisingly often, not to mention the relief you can give to friends.
Shortcut. Although you're not utilizing the discount with this one, the free move that doesn't dud a card draw and thinning your hunch deck are all useful elements to taking this in the hunch deck rather then main deck.
Working a Hunch. Easy to hit free clue, making full use of both discount and free action, a must have in the hunch deck even if you just burn it on an easy location.
Preposterous Sketches. 0-cost draw 3 cards, very good. The presence of powerful card draw in the hunch deck can make weapons and key cards a lot easier to find.
Note how healthy, fast and consistent Joe can be via the hunch deck right from the start? And then some XP-hunches really knock it up a notch:
All in all, Joe has a terrific cardpool and a strong ability. he can very reliably do the job of monster killer or cluehound as needed by the team, or outright do both at the same time, as he gains XP he can add cards like Physical Training, Well Prepared, Strange Solution is absolutely fantastic for him and works with Beat Cop, Well Prepared, Venturer, Emergency Cache (both of who can also replenish Fingerprint Kit) and Vicious Blow.
The really fun thing is that Joe Diamond has rather flexible deckbuilding, a specioalist who can beat away the things that try to prey on him, a who kills things efficiently then turns around to grab some clues. A switch-hitter who wields the .45 Automatic in one hand and Fingerprint Kit in the other, doing both tasks at once.
At what time during setup do you set aside the Insight events? Presumably before drawing your opening hand. (Ah never mind the rest of my comments. I now see that the deck size s 40 so that his regular deck matches normal investigators deck sizes).