Mystic
Asset. Arcane

Spell.

Cost: 2. XP: 4.
Test Icons:

: Fight. This attack uses instead of . You get +2 for this attack. If a , , , or symbol is revealed during this attack, the attacked enemy gets -1 fight, -1 health, and -1 evade for the remainder of the turn (to a minimum of 1).

Damien Worm
Before the Black Throne #321.
Wither
Reviews

EDIT: I misunderstood the card negatively, which is funny because I was very much pleased with it to start with! This should reflect how good the card is better:

I'm a fan of Wither, a cheap asset that can be used infinitely kill off problems that aren't worth charges from other assets, it's a great backup weapon, 1-off, or to dual wield with Shrivelling or Enchanted Blade or Ornate Bow or Timeworn Brand (I.E, a fight heavy whose role is to kill things, like many forms of Agnes Baker, Diana Stanley and Jim Culver). "Super archmage" builds with Sign Magick will also be interested. The -1 fight and evade trigger is surprisingly useful in making hits land or getting out of trouble.

So, the upgrade is worth it's XP cost because:

  • The -1 health effect reduces the written HP total of the target by 1 and triggers whether or not you actually hit, this can create some funky circumstances such as:
    • You shoot a 2-hp foe a and get a token, killing it in one attack.
    • You miss a damaged enemy, but draw a special token, reducing their health total enough to make their existing damage kill them anyway!
  • The +2 and special trigger combine to make Wither very, accurate. The largest penalties are often keyed on tokens and Wither innately resists those.

Layer all of this with Wither's initial ability to infinitely channel into damage and you've got yourself a very good attack spell, whether it's for the 5- juggernaughts who do everything via or the 4- midrangers who like to use their other stats for things and miss the occational spell charge.

This card stands out as being FAR more impressive than it seems at first glance, especially in the latter half of a campaign where special tokens tend to be much more numerous. Wither a very impressive attack spell that manages to stand alongside without replacing Shrivelling.

Edit 2: After now playing in 3 campaigns with Wither, I'll stand by it except in 1 circumstance. In a skillful and informed playthrough of Dunwich you might manage to not actually add any special tokens to the bag, in this case Wither looses much of its luster.

Tsuruki23 · 2150
I want to like it, but at 4xp I think it's overpriced. I'm not too sure of the maths on this, but I'm guessing that most of the time you're only going to be at 40% or worse of pulling a token that would trigger the -1 damage. The +2 will is replicated by Shrivelling(3) anyway so the hit rate is not a big deal. Why exactly does this spell cost more xp ? It's overpriced for what it brings to the table. Not bad exactly, but it's never going to be a priority upgrade. — Sassenach · 152
I think it could be interesting in an Olive+Grotesque build (though so is Songs of the Dead), but otherwise in terms of doing damage I'd take Shrivelling 3 over this. Agnes in particular likes Shrivelling better since she gets to do extra damage anyway if she pulls a spooky token. I think if it gave the -1 health/fight/evade for the whole round it would be worthwhile, because then you could have anyone else come in and punch a now withered monster. Maybe some strategy with Swift Reflexes? — StyxTBeuford · 12621
It doesn’t actually matter whether the health reduction is before or after in your example. If it had been after then you would (1) deal one damage, (2) reduce its health from 2 to 1, and (3) then it would die because it has damage equal or greater than its health. — Death by Chocolate · 1021
#Death by Chocolate. You mean that the reduced health keys off total health rather then current health? — Tsuruki23 · 2150
Definitely. Health is the number printed on the card. It doesn't change with damage. — CSerpent · 106
Also note that the health reduction is only until the end of the investigator's turn. You're right that it defeats a 2 health enemy, but it is not the same as damage because it will go away if you don't defeat the enemy.. — CSerpent · 106
if you are with 1 HP left and you fail an attack with special token against a monster with 1HP left and retaliation keyword, are you both defeated? — chrome · 11
It should also be noted that the effect happens in step 3 of the skill test (https://arkhamdb.com/rules#Skill_Test_Timing), so you could you're sort of at a +3 vs special tokens. You can also end in a sitaution where the enemy dies, before the attack is finalized, which is a bit funny — dotPeddy · 1
I think it is worth combining with Shards of the Void. It takes the normal downside of Sealing 0s and turns it into a positive for Wither, which also lets you conserve Charges. — Radix · 1
@chrome, the special token effect happens at ST3, so I think you would defeat the enemy at ST3, before the enemy can retaliate. (The retaliation only happens AFTER the entire skill test has been resolved, as per the section on the "Retaliate" keyword in the Rules Reference.) The only exception would be if you're fighting an enemy that already only has 1 (max) Health, because Wither can't decrease the max health of the enemy down to 0. — iceysnowmansolo · 1
If several special tokens are revealed during a test (with grotesque statue, olive or dark prophecy, does the effect trigger several times ? — JemJaime · 8
@JemJaime No, for a couple of reasons. If the highest review in Shards of the Void is accurate, then effects which reveal and then ignore tokens do not consider ignored tokens to be 'revealed'. As such, Grotesque Statue or Dark Prophecy would only 'reveal' one token. Olive McBride also has an explicit ruling that if an effect triggers on a token type revelation, "Such an effect will not trigger twice if two of the designated tokens are resolved." — Ruduen · 650
Totally understand why people don't like this card, but to me this is a way to kill an enemy without using a charge on Enchanted Blade for example. If you hit a 3 health enemy with Wither and a special token, the enemy now has 2 health and 1 damage, so you can just attack with Enchanted Blade, and it is important to note the card reads; you may spend a charge, which in this case you are going to kill an enemy in 2 actions with no charges spent which is huge in my opinion in a Mystic build. — TiguiDaisy · 13

The Timeworn Brand to Shrivelling (5)'s Lightning Gun, except not really. Unlike Sixth Sense which is a viable replacement for Rite of Seeking and Clairvoyance, Wither should almost never be taken over Shriveling 3/5.

Without token manipulation support, the chancs of drawing a special token is usually in the range of 30-40%. Even at the 0xp range, weapons that don't give bonus damage are usually not taken (even as backup weapons) for good reason — it's usually too action inefficient to fight without bonus damage. Weighing in at 4xp; Wither needs to do better than +0.4 damage to stand on its own.

With token manipulation support (read: Grotesque Statue, Olive McBride, Dark Prophecy), the chances improve, but the payoff is still poor for the investment since you only bring Wither up to par by adding 0.3-0.5 damage per attack. Token manipulation isn't free, costing charges, slots, allies, cards, and plays, compare what other classes get with the likes of Beat Cop/Vicious Blows/Deliah that very reliably add +1 damage for roughly equivalent investment.

The fact that you can draw a special token, fail, and still do damage & reduce stats is counterbalanced by the fact that the extra damage doesn't stick around if you fail to kill within a turn (aka most elites), Retaliate, enemies with on-Fight effects, enemies without max HP, etc. Or that in Hard/Expert, failing with a special token can be a really bad thing.

What about running this along with Shrivelling for increased consistency? That might have been good before Azure Flame (3) existed. Although you can run a pure beatstick mystic that takes all 3.

If you're fighting a lot, Wither is too action inefficient to fight with on its own (and you'll run out of token manipulation too fast). If you're not fighting that much, Shrivelling's 4 charges should last you quite a while until you find Recharge, Twila, or its second copy. If you really want to conserve charges on that Swarm of Rats, Sword Cane is now a much better option.

suika · 8292
I agree. I want to love this card (the art is awesome), but I struggle really hard to justify picking it up. Infinite uses is nice, but unreliable +1 damage is difficult to work with when the support to recharge is so much easier to achieve. Think it'll get tabooed like Springfield or Winchester? — LaRoix · 1506
Hopefully as a mutation instead of an XP modifier. This would be playable at 2 XP, but it'll also mean there won't be another high XP version of Wither. My humble proposal would be something like changing it to: For each <symbol> revealed, canceled, or ignored during this attack (max 3)... — suika · 8292

Things have changed a bit here, and so I'll throw my two cents in for wither. There are always better options.

Yes sure, in theory with Arcane Research, its effectively a 2xp spell, but in practice it's not. To use arcane knowledge you have to have Wither which is just awful, and for most mystics in most situations is a blank draw, or worse a 2 resource 1 actions sink. So until you can upgrade both you lose 2 decks slots. Now let's say you know this and decide to use your first 6xp to get two Wither, then and only then is it somewhat viable. Not to mention using your Arcane Research on Wither instead of Shrivelling or Azure Flame is lunacy.

The cons to Wither:

1) Costs 4-8xp. 4xp means you have to waste the first two scenarios on Wither taking up valuable slots.

2) Takes up an arcane slot. If for some god forsaken reason you have been chosen to be the fighter as mystic, then you want both hands for Shrivelling and Azure Flame, which you can upgrade for 8xp by scenario 3. If you want something without charges then choose Sword Cane, though you lose two will.

3) Spectral Razor exists for the same cost, and action though its 0xp and can hit for 3, instead of maybe 2 likely 1.

4) Requires you to pull a specific token or does 1 damage, and doesn't help your next hits, essentially not doing its job.

Now I know this seems grim, but there are some pros that make it sort of viable? The pros: Wither

1) Infinite use, your the fighter and need an infinite use back up weapon but also need +2 will to consistently land hits.

2) Want to only use wither (to save deck slots) to assist your fighter by going first getting off wither hits (or misses) but dropping the enemies fight and health value.

3) You have built an entire deck around it, though it is not at all powerful enough for this to work well.

At the end of the day you have to look at your options, instead of upgraded wither what can you do for; 8xp, two spell slots, and two decks slots, that could help you win the scenario. The answer is a lot. Drop wither for more test-less clues, for upgraded allies, Charisma and summoned hound, Twila Katherine Price and Charisma (1xp more and gives infinite Shrivelling, Charisma and Dayana Esperence + Spectral Razor, the list goes on. Wither is never worth the price of admission, nor the cost of building a deck around it, though I would be willing to admit that Jacqueline Fine already builds decks around revealing tokens, so there is natural synergy. For every other mystic there is always a better option.

Cazoodle · 366
Unfortunately, there's even less upside to be had - assisting your fighter would only work if the debuffs lasted until the end of the investigation phase, but the card states "for the remainder of the turn", which means that they no longer apply on the next player's turn. It's close to useless and makes me wonder whether the card was printed as intended. — Sorden · 1
You missed the best part: if you don't kill within the turn, your "bonus damage" is completely wasted. — suika · 8292
Even the option to kill an acolyte or a rat without using a charge has gotten a better option with the sword cane — Tharzax · 1
I think with a taboo of -2xp -1 willpower boost, would help by providing a middle ground between Sword cane, and Shrivelling. There is a slight boost in will and a chance to make the fight quicker/easier, at the cost of 4xp (for 2) AND an arcane slot.. — Cazoodle · 366
Sign Magic (3) says this never takes an action to get free damage, and True Magick says you never even have to play it to make attacks when its out of charges. turns out cards have uses when you look for them! — Zerogrim · 232
That particular combination of 8xp cards (16xp of you get two of each) is capable of making the worst spell look usable. And even in that case, the only real marginal advantage Wither (4) over Wither (0) is a +2 to the check. Even in that case, I'd rather have literally other 4/5xp combat spell instead. The new Brand of Cthugha looks pretty good. — suika · 8292
In response to Zerogrim, I make a mention in my post that a deck could be built around using it, that doesn't mean it's a good card. You are sinking 6-10xp ON TOP OF the 4-8xp for Wither(4). instead of...adding; timeworn brand, red gloved man, empower + enchanted blade, summoned hound, azure flame, Knowledge is power for some and on and on. Regardless you are sinking a minimum of 10 exp and 4 deck slots to make a card work. I appreciate the attempt at being condecending though! — Cazoodle · 366
so you'd rather spend 5/10xp on brand to fight at 4/5 than 4/8xp on wither to fight at 9+? you'd rather run cards with limited uses rather than cards that give infinity return on investment?, you'd rather take up ally slots rather than Arcanes?, yea wow you guys really showed me. the condescending tone was brought from the veiled insults in the pro list fyi, plus just sick of people pretending to give both sides on cards they clearly hate and not bothering to think outside the box. — Zerogrim · 232
You are taking your anger out in the comment section of a review of a card. This is not the appropriate method nor place to attack others, nor vent frustrations about a pro list. No one is trying to show you anything, we are simply speaking on our belief of the card. There is no one right way to play Arkham, and anyone who wishes to run Wither (4) can. This is a place for us to make out review of cards we have played with. I think you should reassess why you have chosen such an agressive approach to this review. I will not respond further. — Cazoodle · 366
To set the record straight, I was referring to the new card Brand of Cthugha (a 4xp spell that fights at will+2) not the Timeworn Brand (a 5xp weapon). The Brand of Cthugha has 9 charges on it and you can spend a variable number of charges to do 1 damage per charge spend. So you can use it like Wither 9 times which is more than enough over the course of a game, with the flexibility of spending additional charges if you need more damage. — suika · 8292
To be entirely fair to Zerogrim, it's a bit strange to compare it to Empower Self and Enchanted Blade or the Timeworn Brand...I definitely don't appreciate the tone, though. — suika · 8292