This card is as amazing as it is fun to play. Its overpowered action-compression () and variance mitigation (test less clues/evade) effects are balanced by the fact that you have to gather 3 cards to bring the Pendant of the Queen into play. Because of this and also because it takes allot of deck space, this card should only be used if you are building a deck around it.
What’s the best strategy to use with the Segment of Onyx
The possible strategies you can use to find the Segments of Onyx are search, mill or a combination of both. I consider a pure search build the best way to assemble the pendant, since searching reduces variance or even eliminates it so you will get the Pendant of the Queen faster than the most aggressive mill decks ever could. I would also recommend not adding pure mill cards like Preposterous Sketches or Cryptic Research to your search deck, because through your search actions you will be pulling 1, 2, 3 or even 4 extra cards out of your deck per turn so you will be milling just by searching. Here are some of the best search synergy cards: Mr. "Rook", Astounding Revelation, No Stone Unturned (5), Old Book of Lore. At 0 XP Backpack and Calling in Favors are also good.
What is the best investigator to play with Segment of Onyx?
Mandy Thompson, the queen of search, should be the best investigator for this build right? Actually, I prefer Daisy Walker because of 3 reasons:
Her Weakness doesn’t cancel searches and she can use No Stone Unturned(5) in turn 1.
She can play Recharge. This is the most important reason why I prefer Daisy over Mandy. Once I have Pendant of the Queen in play and 1 copy of Eldritch Inspiration in my hand then every Recharge becomes a copy of Pendant of the Queen that cost 0 resources to play.
Piloting the Pendant of the Queen
The Pendant of the Queen is inutitive and easy to use, here are some guidelines:
- Use the free and test less evade effect only in case of emergency (to save someone from certain doom or scape from an enemy when your bodyguard can’t help).
Use the teleport action only if it would save you at least 2 actions and save 1 charge if you know that at some point you will want to teleport across the map.
Use the free clue trigger only in locations with 4+ shroud or in locations where investigating is risky (locations that drain your resources just by standing there or investigating).
Example of good piloting in a 2 player game:
You move to investigate in a 1-3 shroud location with 4+ clues. While you clean this location of clues, you use your Pendant of the Queen to clean the 2 clues at the 4-5 shroud dead end location your fellow investigator/bodyguard revealed. Using the Pendant of the Queen you saved 2+ investigate actions and 2+ move actions (you don’t have to move in and out of that remote location). This shows the action-compression and variance mitigation power of this card.
Cons of running the Pendant of the Queen
Tight deck space. The Segment of Onyx takes allot of deck space and can compete with other OP cards like Ancient Stone. Nevertheless the variance mitigation of a search deck allows us to play many of our best cards as one-offs, without skipping their powerful effects. In other words I can run only 1 copy of Ancient Stone in my search deck and still the probability of me seen it and using it is higher than in a normal deck that runs 2 copies and no search.
Many cards are needed to make it work. Indeed, but many of those are search cards and the search strategy is strong even if the Segment of Onyx wouldn’t exist.
The only true problem of this strategy is the lack of access to Adaptable of Daisy and Mandy. This means you have to expend XP on some lvl 0 cards once you get the Segment of Onyx or start your campaign with some suboptimal cards, namely 2 copies of Enrapturedand 1 copy of Eldritch Inspiration. This is not great but also not terrible.
I really like the mechanics, balance and strenght of this card. If you like seekers (especially Daisy and Mandy) I would recommend trying it. To be fair constructing the perfect deck to go with the Segment of Onyx is no easy task and at the moment there are almost no decks on Arkham DB that focus on exploiting the Pendant of the Queen. Most of the published decks just run it as an afterthought/gimmick and the few that do focus it (1 or 2) are Mandy builds that are just ok. I do plan to publish a full in depth guide and build with Daisy but I still have to do some more playtesting and refinements, so this is as much insight as I can provide right now.