Item. Charm. Blessed.

Cost: 2. XP: 3.
Test Icons:

After you commit a card to a skill test, exhaust Grisly Totem: That card gains another instance of one of its skill icons of your choice. If that skill test fails, return that card to your hand.

We should have thrown it back immediately.
But how could we have known?
Ethan Patrick Harris
For the Greater Good #195.
Grisly Totem

This is an actual review of this card, not a wall of text about one combo ;)

The characters have a few among them that love skills passionately. "Ashcan" Pete is good with them in particular and Silas Marsh likes to sip his skills like fine wine.

In addition to the empowering mechanics from the 0xp version, Grisly Totem grants a failure umbrella much like Try and Try Again would, this is very good for key mechanics like Resourceful, Deduction and Vicious Blow and still very efficient for pure boosts like Overpower or the desperate skills.

The fact that you can play a skill card every turn, where you know that said skills's benefits are eventually guaranteed, this is a great luxury and potentially crazy powerful. You know how bad it feels to miss a 3-hp foe with a vicious blow? Totem gives you 2 chances at it! Just make sure to bring some easy to play skills like Unexpected Courage and/or Resourceful that you can play and cash in on that bonus as often as you can.

Note that Try and Try Again is a more complete fail umbrella than totem is, even so, the extra boosts really stack up.

A big argument against totem, which requires card commitment to operate, is that it shares a slot with one of the best cards in the game. Key of Ys. Obviously if you adhere to the taboo list then totem shoots up the priority list, especially if you're playing Silas Marsh or a Yaotl based deck.

(Also p.s. the combo with Take Heart is currently legit).

Tsuruki23 · 2463
Just a slight correction, Grisly Totem doesn't require skill cards, any cards will do. — Sassenach · 173
My initial reaction to the Seeker/Survivor variants of the L3 Grisly Totem was that the Seeker version is much better. I plan on passing tests after all but this does allow insurance for Resourceful/Inspiring Presence/Vicious Blow/etc. You really do want those cards to succeed. Grisly Totem is part of my plan to take Ashcan Pete up to Hard difficulty. Pete/Duke's stats are split across the board (good but not great) and there aren't a lot of Survivor options to boost them. Adding any skill card bumps their stats by 2-3 with Grisly Totem though. I plan to end up with Double Relic Hunter for this deck. Not sure if it will work but it sounds like fun. — The Lynx · 946



Both Grisly Totem (3) and Take Heart have the same triggering condition—“If the skill test fails”—which occurs during step 7 of the skill test, when the effects of the successful/failed test resolve. Because both effects trigger at the same time, you may decide the order in which they resolve. You may therefore choose to resolve Take Heart before Grisly Totem, then return Take Heart to your hand if you so choose.



Matthew Newman

Senior Card Game Developer

Fantasy Flight Games

dubcity566 · 108
Does this mean that Try and Try again also works with Take Heart? — Django · 4846
@Django No. Try and Try Again triggers "After a test is failed", i.e. ST6, before resolving Take Heart (ST7). — ak45 · 436
How does that make sense? Per the RR under the "If" section, the keyword "If" specifically applies explicitly between "Before" and "After" so I don't see how "If the skill test fails" can happen after "After the skill test is failed". Not only that but in the English, "fails" necessarily has to come before "is failed" since the latter is in the past tense. — pneuma08 · 26
It's not about the timing of "if" and "after", it's about what is being modified. Try and Try Again returns a committed card to your hand for a failed skill test before that card resolves with the failed skill test, during STP 6 when you determine success or failure. The "if" effects on Totem and Take Heart are STP 7, when you would apply effects based on the result of the skill test- in this case, if the test failed, you can get goodies from TH then return it toy our hand using the Totem, otherwise neither could trigger. — StyxTBeuford · 12915
To parse it down more simply: "when you would you fail" (eg Lucky) and "after you fail" (eg Try and Try Again) apply to Step 6 when you decide the outcome of the test. "If" is a response to a test that has already failed or succeeded, so it occurs in Step 7. — StyxTBeuford · 12915
But it's not "after you fail" (although I would still argue that "after you fail" has to apply after the event of failure as a consequence of failing) it's "after a skill test is failed". How is this not "a response to a skill test that has already failed"? You are using literally the same word in the same sentence construct to mean different things ("failed" - notably in the past tense). If this is true then the difference is between the things acting as a consequence of the determination of the success or failure of a skill test and the "test results" that happen as a consequence of the success or failure of a skill test. That means that there are consequences of the success or failure of a test that are not results, which are only defined as "consequences of success and/or failure for that test". So what makes Grisly Totem and Take Heart a consequence but Try and Try Again not a consequence? — pneuma08 · 26
Sorry, meant what makes Grisly Totem and Take Heart a result, but Try and Try Again not a result? Related, if this is indeed in ST.6 could you use Try and Try Again to return Dreams of the Deep to your hand to prevent failing a test? Could you also use Look What I Found (same trigger - "after you fail a skill test") on the same check to get 3 clues (2 from Look as a result of failing by less than 2, then Try to return Dreams to your hand and pass the test)? — pneuma08 · 26
Just read the FAQ related to this part of the skill test. The wording is actually very clear on the matter. — StyxTBeuford · 12915
Oh, the difference is because it's a Forced or Reaction ability. That makes some sense, basically because it's a trigger its effects are immediate before going to the next step. Grisly Totem here is a reaction ability as well but one with a different trigger that creates a delayed skill result. That's still crazy confusing though since the results also share the same condition, they're just not triggered, just conditioned by them. — pneuma08 · 26
It's not really about it being a reaction ability, it's just the difference between an effect that occurs due to the outcome of a test versus one that occurs during the determining of an outcome of a test. This thread included the exact part of the FAQ that explains it. — StyxTBeuford · 12915
So if I've understood this correctly, the reason you can't use all of Grisly Totem, Dreams of the Deep and Look What I Found together is because once you're resolving LWIF you've gone past step 6, where you determine whether the skill check passed or failed and into step 7. Like , the pass/fail only gets checked once and it's before that point? Have I followed that right? — bee123 · 25
The only reason why it occurs during the determination of the outcome of the test is because it's a reaction ability, that is, occurs immediately based on a trigger (where the trigger is the same determination used in ST.7; the difference is between it being a triggered reaction and a result determination) and more specifically it occurs during the determination step as an after-effect of said determination - see how this is totally counterintuitive and confusing? I have also submitted an rules question about how Try works with Dreams of the Deep since if it does work in ST.6 then that implies it could affect the outcome of the skill test and since Dreams is a net negative removing it could result in changing a triggered failure into a success. — pneuma08 · 26
Yeah, it seems — bee123 · 25
* weird, but a lot of skill check timing seems weird to me :) . I think I can see it though. TTA reacts to the determination about the skill check, so it doesn't interact with Take Heart. But Grisly totem does, because the second part of its text adds to the skill check result. I don't know about Dreams of the Deep and Try, though. "After"'s rules reference entry has "after the trigger has fully resolved" , so maybe it doesn't help because you've already made the determination at that point. But it doesn't seem clear-cut. I guess there aren't any other cards that can undo their own triggering conditions to compare it to! — bee123 · 25

There is a lingering question as to how this interacts with Take Heart. By rules as written, Take Heart's effect happens in step 7 of skill test resolution, same as the totem, and thus you can order the effects as you like in order to gain the benefit of Take Heart and take it back to your hand. Since there seems to be some uncertainty in the community as to this ruling, I'm going to consider this card both with and without this combo. Though my suspicion is that, since the rules as written support this combo, it is likely to stay.

So this is the long awaited (by me at least) upgrade to Grisly Totem. I think a lot of people were overly negative on the level 0 version of this card, which I felt was fairly powerful if not game changing. I think, on the contrary, most people are in agreement that both upgrades to it are strong additions to their respective factions.

The xp cost, the slot used, and to some extent the effect of this card make a comparison to Rabbit's Foot inevitable. Both are 3xp Accessories that go some way to insulate you against failed skill test. In the case of Grisly Totem this is by allowing you to "take back" a card after the result is revealed; in the case of Rabbit's Foot its by allowing you to draw a new card to replace the one's spent.

So where do they differ? Well, first of all Grisly Totem also helps you to pass the test, rather than just making failure less painful. In addition, Grisly Totem can be used in the aforementioned Take Heart combo as a way of generating cards and resources each turn. The Totem however costs an additional resource, while having for the most strictly worse icons. In addition, Grisly Totem only protects you from wasting cards on skill tests, it doesn't help you if you aren't committing cards to a test and it doesn't do anything to mitigate the wasted actions. Rabbit's Foot on the other hand can be used on any failed skill test, however important or unimportant it was. This allows it to be used on very high difficulty but low impact skill tests as a way to proactively dig for cards. Rabbit's Foot also has relevant combos, with cards such as Drawing Thin and Double or Nothing to allow it to act a pseudo-tutor effect.

I think that if you ignore Take Heart combo, Grisly Totem seems to stack up somewhat poorly against Rabbit's Foot in the general use case of softening the blow of failed skill tests. However, I think that Grisly Totem does have a niche where it substantially outperforms Rabbit's Foot. In my previous analysis, I was treating the value of a skill card returned to hand as roughly equivalent to digging for a card to draw. However, this may not always be the case. If you are for instance playing a Double or Nothing combo deck, returning your Double or Nothing after a is revealed is much more valuable than digging for a replacement card, for instance.

The other case where I think Grisly Totem outperforms Rabbit's Foot is when the additional skill icon is going to consistently matter. This means that you need to be playing a deck that plans on somewhat aggressively committing skill cards to tests in order to pass them. The obvious candidate here is Silas Marsh, which makes sense given that the second effect on this card is essentially a slightly different version of his investigator ability. However there is a case of diminishing returns here, since in order for this card to be maximally useful you would need to want that effect twice a round rather than just the once. Another investigator who often plays a lot of skill cards is "Ashcan" Pete, as he can use skill cards to boost his investigate actions with Duke, where other tools don't stack. It's also worth mentioning that due to the Blessed trait, Father Mateo can take this card. I'm not particularly convinced that this card does anything he wants, particularly since he has access to a lot of powerful accessories from his main class already, but its worth bearing in mind in future.

So all of this is assuming that the Take Heart combo doesn't work. However, as I said above, it currently does and likely will continue to. So in this case, it costs 2 upfront and then generates you 2 resources and 2 cards every turn from then on provided you fail a test. This is clearly extremely powerful. The caveat here is that unless you draw a treachery card with a test you're okay with failing then you are going to have to spend an action on doing so. Still, an action for 2 cards and 2 resources is well above the curve even for 3xp. For example, Jewel of Aureolus provides 1 card OR 2 resources once per turn on a 3xp accessory, for one more resource, and far less reliably. And that card is still pretty good! Of course this requires two cards, but Take Heart is already a staple and Grisly Totem is, as described above, at at least a pretty reasonable use of xp even without the combo.

So in conclusion, in a vacuum this card is a solid if not overly flashy choice for a few main class survivors, while also being part of yet another extremely powerful resource generating combo for the class.

birdfriender · 221

The question being: Is Grisly Totem, the missing link with Take Heart and Drawing Thin to the Survivor economy engine? Looks like so, and that's great for Survivors! All you need is now a survivor who's not afraid to fail a check once in a while. The safest checks to fail being investigate check (barring the BS tokens), this combo is very potent for investigators with low like William Yorick, "Ashcan" Pete or Calvin Wright for exemple and reaching the 200 characters threashold.

mogwen · 252
Well. Stella is here now and this is bonkers with her. — Mufasa · 1