- "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.)
Peril. Hidden. Hunter.
Revelation - Secretly add this enemy to your hand.
You may fight or evade this enemy while it is in your hand (as if it were at your location). If you succeed, discard it from your hand. If you fail, spawn it engaged with you.
Forced - When your deck runs out of cards, if this enemy is in your hand: It attacks you (from your hand).
This has very quickly become my favorite investigator specific weakness in the game.
The Watcher looks incredibly menacing. 5 fight? 5 evade?! Poor Patrice only has 2 and 2 , how is she somehow supposed to not fail a test against it? Worse, if she does fail, it'll chase her the entire scenario unless she somehow manages to hit it for 2 damage.
The Watcher has two main routes through which it threatens you while it's in your hand. Firstly, it will clog up your hand, dropping Patrice's precious 5 cards per turn to 4. Second, it will hit you for 3 damage every time you cycle your deck. So your options are to either A. deal with the Watcher to free up your hand and eliminate the threat or B. leave it in your hand and tank the damage when it comes. I've found that option A is much better than option B, but it is perfectly possible you draw this card really late and have no answer in the moment, so we'll go over various ways you can either successfully toss this guy aside or tank the damage.
Here are some of the ways I've found you can most easily deal with the Watcher:
- Fight: Patrice has several methods of fighting at her disposal. You can stack using Holy Rosary and David Renfield, then use a Shrivelling or Wither attack, ideally boosted considerably with cards (depending on your difficulty). Alternatively you could use Fire Axe, which, with 3 resources and a bit of combat boosting, can easily push you where you need to be to hit this thing. Remember, you don't actually need to hit it for 2 damage while it's in your hand, you just need to hit it. I like Shrivelling and Axe also because they do allow you to hit for 2 damage should you fail the first test.
- Evade: As above, you can stack and use Mists of R'lyeh to evade. Patrice also has solid access to boosts being a Survivor class investigator. Peter Sylvestre, Track Shoes, and plenty of solid cards like Waylay, Dumb Luck, Survival Instinct 2, and (for multiplayer) Hiding Spot. I particularly like Survival Instinct 2 as a method of evading both Watcher and any other enemies at your location.
- Tanking: Sometimes you just don't have time to respond to the Watcher. In this scenario, it is important that you planned ahead and brought some means of soaking damage. David Renfield, Madame Labranche, and Leather Coat can all soak 2 for you, and as long as you played them when they showed up, you've got nothing to worry about damage wise.
A quick note about Stray Cat, Cunning Distraction, and automatic evade/fight. Currently the ruling based on Harbinger of Valusia is that automatic evasion/fighting does not count as successful since there was no test done. Matt Newman however did recently suggest that you could evade the Watcher using Stray Cat, though it's not clear that this is meant to say it discards the Watcher. For now, until the ruling is made clear, I will be playing as if these cards do not discard the Watcher.
Recently the starter decklists from FFG were published implying that Stray Cat can discard the Watcher for you. As a result I highly recommend using automatic evades as a means to discard The Watcher. jk they just changed that again. It is now clear that automatic evade is different from automatic success. In the former case, no test is made so it wouldn't discard the Watcher, in the latter a test is made and automatically succeeds, which does discard the Watcher.
The last thing you need to know about the Watcher is that you want it dealt with as early as possible. The reason for this is because of Patrice's effect: "+1. After this test ends, you may shuffle all but 1 card from your discard pile into your deck." What this means is that you want Patrice to continue taking as many tests as she can just for the opportunities to draw the token. Once she does, you can leave Watcher in your discard and reshuffle everything else into your deck, thereby preventing it from clogging up your hand for several more turns. You could elect to use Olive McBride to find it more reliably, though I personally don't think it's necessary unless you want to do a seal based support Patrice.
Another enemy signature weakness, with some Erich Zann flavor (let's ignore that Zann played a violoncello, not a violin, and Patrice should properly be hauling a chair around). Looking at the two elements, the effect and the discard condition, we get:
The effect: This is a pretty interesting card; while it is in hand, Patrice only needs to succeed at a fight or evade test (importantly, you do not need to do 2 damage, merely hit). StyxTBeuford, above, gives a very good rundown of the various approaches and options. Additional tools Blur (1) and Blur (4), Sword Cane, Brand of Cthugha (1), and Brand of Cthugha (4). As usual for Patrice, a copy of two of Cornered, plus skill cards like Promise of Power and Last Chance can help make that crucial test. Importantly, the Peril and Hidden keywords only matter if the Watcher is in hand, so, if the test is a failure, other investigators can come to Patrice's assistance. 3 damage is no joke! The most significant effect of this card is that it effectively reduces Patrice's hand size to 4 as long as it isn't addressed, and that reduced size really affects her ability to dela with this weakness.
The discard condition: Succeed at a fight or evade test while it is in hand or kill the damnable thing.
All in all, this is an average signature weakness, below average once Patrice has built up some XP. It might get knocked up a level in Hard or Expert, where failure becomes more likely.
To make it super clear, I'll ask this question for confirmation:
If Patrice draws this card during upkeep, she can choose to go first in the next Investigator phase. If she has 3 actions for her turn, she can spend action 1 to try to fight/evade the Watcher in her hand. If she succeeds, the Watcher is discarded. If she fails the test, then it enters play engaged with her. She can choose to do nothing for her last 2 actions. Then, the fighter of the group can kill the Watcher. Right?
If that's the case, then this weakness seems fairly manageable. If successful, it only costs Patrice one action and maybe some resources or a charge or a card to deal with the Watch. If not successful, then it loses Patrice a turn. Not the most terrifying, but definitely something to plan for considering it can do 3 damage during the enemy phase.