- Q: If I commit Daring to a skill test as Silas Marsh and use his ability to return it to my hand, do its effects still resolve? A: The lasting effect that grants the enemy retaliate and alert would continue for the duration of the skill test, since it is a lasting effect, and lasting effects persist for the specified duration regardless of whether the card that created the lasting effect is or remains in play. The second aspect of the ability, however, functions like any other ability on a skill card; it may only be used during the resolution of the skill test to which Daring is committed. (It is not a delayed effect.) - FAQ, v.2.0, August 2022
After you reveal a chaos token during a skill test you are performing: Return a skill you committed to this test to your hand. (Limit once per round.)
effect: +0. You may commit a skill from your discard pile to this test. After this test ends, return that skill to your hand instead of discarding it.
Silas Marsh - Back
Deck Size: 30.
Deckbuilding Options: Survivor cards () level 0-5, Neutral cards level 0-5, Innate skills level 0-2.
Deckbuilding Requirements (do not count toward deck size): Sea Change Harpoon, Silas's Net, Siren Call, 1 random basic weakness.
For those of you who like me were looking for a review of Silas Marsh, I've copied and pasted Tsuruki23's excellent write up of him from his Book Card Page since it is no longer available. The Card Links and symbols are broken and there is no mention of his standard signatures since I pulled this from the cached page, but this will do until an updated review is put out there. All credit goes to Tsuruki23 for the following:
(Update 5/1/2019 (Forgotten age complete), new cards). Silas Marsh is here and he is rocking the boat of how the game is played!
TLDR: Get your Fire Axe and your Dark Horse, load up on skill cards, and brute force through every skill that comes your way. Make sure to bring a lot of skill cards that draw cards to keep your hand cycling and full. Don't be afraid to spend an early-round to load up your hand. As you level up grab Key of Ys and your choice of upgraded weapons.
Now the long version.
Silas Marsh is more flexible than he first seems. The and values combine to ensure that you can have a LOT of control over combat encounters. You can leisurely evade and neutralize the threat a retaliating foe poses until you're ready to kill it. Obviously, Silas Marsh has a good fighting baseline but for investigation and treachery defense he is completely reliant on cards.
So, what cards do you use?
Because of the low you really must make sure you load up on as much horror defense as you can muster, especially since he's only got 5 Sanity. Cherished Keepsake and/or solid tanky allies like Madame Labranche, Peter Sylvestre are absolutely necessary. Although you can make use of Yaotl you need to get to grips with the fact that your allies will be taking the brunt of your horror damage, therefore don't get too attached. Obviously, you will be taking Guts and give serious consideration to a copy or two of Say Your Prayers.
The is a great challenge for Silas Marsh, Flashlight is the classic solution, a solution that integrates very nicely with "Look what I found!" to create a 1 - 2 punch that deals with both low and high difficulty locations. Silas Marsh's ability syncs with Perception and even Desperate Search to stubbornly pry up a couple more clues. With these cards in your deck, you're all but guaranteed to pull up half a dozen clues, often more, but you're at the mercy of the draw-gods. (If you really want to give it your all in the clue game then grab Winging It too but not at the cost of an important skill slot!)
The and skills both let you deal with threats. There's no Lockpicks, no Evidence!, no nothing in the investigator cardpool that lets you turn these skills into clues, these stats are for fighting only! Sadly your weapon options at 0xp are severely limited, Knife and Baseball Bat will trash themselves long before you kill your way through all the threats you need to kill, Kukri is too damn slow and so is Gravedigger's Shovel, that leaves just Fire Axe. Thankfully Fire Axe works beautifully with alongside Flashlight or Newspaper.
The limits of Silas Marsh's cardpool sorta shoehorn him into a Fire Axe + Dark Horse build if he intends to kill things with , but don't forget that you can drastically increase the longevity of a Knife or Baseball Bat by dealing with some enemies via cards like Close Call and Waylay, they become much more reliable with Live and Learn, or save their use just by running away. Obviously, Peter Sylvestre is a great addition if you intend to run circles around your enemies rather then fighting them, keep in mind however that you cannot run a fully loaded lineup of events and assets if you want a properly loaded assortment of skills.
The dearth of suitable weapons means Fire Axe + Dark Horse is the way to go for an effective 0xp deck, things really liven up with some XP however because the new cards Ornate Bow, Old Hunting Rifle, and Timeworn Brand are all great choices for Silas. Brand, in particular, costing 5 XP, slots seamlessly into your deck and skyrockets your combat potential without blocking space for a flashlight. Old Hunting Rifle supplements the Brand/Ornate Bow as a good 3rd and/or 4th weapon to increase the odds of getting an armament early. If you go for Bow + Rifle then make sure to also bring Quick Thinking and Live and Learn to earn back some of the time spent reloading and to re-use missed shots.
Lets talk skill cards, this will be the bulk of a Silas Marsh deck and the bulk of his shtick. 10 Skills in your deck is the absolute minimum and there need to be draw mechanics in your deck to fill your hand and keep it stuffed. You can really go crazy with the skills and have as many as 14 or 16 of them. Silas Marsh's ability is a bit like a reverse Lucky!, you can commit a skill card and then pull it back if you would fail OR if you would succeed enough to make the card commitment a waste. Did you just commit a Reckless Assault and draw a "0" token? Just pick it back up and use it on the next attack! Because of Silas's dependence on skill cards it can be hard to upgrade his deck, thankfully he scales really well with Key of Ys, The Red-Gloved Man and the new and XP intensive weapons, that gives you access to a couple of really powerful, condensed, cards that don't dig into your skill-pool.
I highly recommend that you spend an early round to draw and load up on skill cards, this has an effect like loading a gun before a fight, you're much more prepared to deal with the scenario with 8 cards worth of skill icons in your hand, with this character in particular overdraw is pretty much a good thing!
-> For Silas Marsh drawing cards is the equivalent to playing assets <- Due to the way a Silas Marsh interacts with his skill cards, drawing cards is nearly the same as setting up and playing assets, you know those times when a needs to just stop for a moment to get some cash and play some guns, this is what a Silas Marsh is doing when he stops to fill his hand.
The classic Guts, Manual Dexterity, Overpower and Perception will go a long way to generating most of, if not all, the card draw you need. Use the Investigator ability to ensure that these cards don't get over-committed or lost on failed checks. Unexpected Courage more than makes up for it's lack of draw with flexibility, it's nearly an auto-include in a Silas deck.
Consider including Eureka! or cutting Perception or Manual Dexterity for it, the slightly broadened draw window helps fish out your Nautical Prowess or weapon or something like Key of Ys or The Red-Gloved Man down the line.
On standard you can try Quick Thinking, the extra action is a powerfull tool but on Hard it gets just a bit too hard to trigger and eats your ability trigger round-after-round. You might reconsider it if you decide to play with Fight or Flight, through the duration of which you will very likely be able to trigger the extra action. Having a quick thinking in your deck can turn draws into absolutely crazy value, therefore a 1-off isn't a bad idea.
Another card of note is Defiance, it is extremely powerful with Silas Marsh's ability. The "token blanking" effect takes place when the card is committed, this means that when you commit it and draw the targeted token the token is treated as having a "0" modifier even if you pull back the Defiance with the investigator ability. You will spend a good deal of your ability triggers to juggle this card until it finally gets "used" for the sake of the +1 skill bonus.
Obviously Resourceful is good even if just to grab Lucky!, eventually you'll start getting higher level cards like True Survivor, Will to Survive and the like and these are great targets for recursion. Resourceful is a terrific target for triggers since it causes "chain" recursion when you pick and return a second card.
True Understanding is innate and that makes it a point of interest for Silas, the text means that you can use it during the resolution of treachery cards and unique printed abilities on enemies and locations, beating these tests can be tricky for Silas but the free-clue is a tremendous effect to get for an challenged character.
Take Heart is a good alternative to Rabbit's Foot or other forms of card draw for Silas Marsh. You can actually play Take Heart on tests you're sure to succeed on, if you succeed as expected then just pick Take Heart back up.
All the desperate cards (Reckless Assault, Desperate Search ETC) are good for Silas, just don't overdose on them or you'll find them clogging your hand early in a scenario, 4 Desperate cards seems to be the absolute maximum. I've taken the habit of bringing a single copy of Say Your Prayers in many decks as a stopgap desperation defense against Frozen in Fear and Rotting Remains, I highly recommend this for Silas.
The majority of the other specialized skills, Inspiring Presence and Inquiring Mind for example aren't really worth the effort, they provide powerful niche effects and experiences will vary between decks and people, but generally speaking generic skill cards will yield the same or better benefits.
As for strengths and weaknesses, Nautical Prowess is an INSANE card, much like Defiance you will be juggling this thing a lot. The wording means that you can wait until the token is revealed before you pick the extra skill icons or the free card, if it suits you you can then pick the card up after the reveal to effectively net a free card draw and still have Nautical Prowess in your hand to be used again, don't be afraid to play this supplementally with other skill cards to basically turn one test per turn into an extra card-draw, you'll be sad when the moment finally arrives where you gotta part with Nautical Prowess for the sake of beating a test.
Perhaps to make up for Silas Marsh's weak deckbuilding options his weakness is suitably weak as well, Dreams of the Deep is very unlikely to deal you much damage if there's an enemy around to evade or punch and even if you take 2 or 4 points of damage the odds that you'll die from damage rather then horror are low at best anyway. Play it alongside a Reckless Assault, a maxed Fire Axe attack or in a Fight or Flight window to all but guarantee that this card goes POOF.
Silas's is a delightful thing to trigger, use it to regain your Nautical Prowess if you can! Don't forget that you cannot commit a card to a test if it doesn't have suitable icons, this means that you can't grab a Overpower during an test and can't grab Desperate Search on a check and-so-on.
Final mention, Try and Try Again and True Survivor are obvious power-cards for Silas. You can double up on Try and Try Again and basically have free reign on your investigator ability for rounds on end and/or grab a copy or two of True Survivor (I find one copy to be enough since the card has terrible tempo and can be recursed via Resourceful) to reload your hand and regain Nautical Prowess. Don't bother with the unlimited version of Try and Try Again.
Silas Marsh is a capable investigator, he is very similar to Wendy Adams in the way that he interacts with the cards in his hand and excels at beating key tests by cheesing them with his skills and/or Lucky!. He used to suffer a bit in his lack of combat options but the last 3 packs in the Forgotten age all had neutral or weapons that really broadened his horizons.
Most players are not going to think too much about their investigator's Elder Sign (), which comes up so rarely and doesn't really do anything. Seriously, how many effects are just +X or only trigger on particular types of tests? Anyways, if your name is Father Mateo, your whole shtick is about the Elder Sign and getting it as often as possible... but Silas Marsh players should also take note, because this is the strongest one in the game.
First off, the effect -- you get to commit YOUR CHOICE of skill cards from the discard pile, (1) getting its icons, (2) getting its skill card benefits, and (3) keeping it around for another test. Any of the three parts would be good-to-great effects, but all three? Amazing. Let's talk about each: (1) the doesn't give you any skill boost by itself, so in the event you aren't going to pass the test (a test in Mythos, probably), this is almost like a Lucky!. Keeping some icons, like an Unexpected Courage, in the discard pile is key. (2) Oh boy -- we don't just play skill cards for their icons, we mostly play them for their action-less effects. Here, there's NO RISK in committing the card, since you know if you'll pass and trigger the effect. And the big prize here is Resourceful, as long as you're taking a , , or test, and you get to grab ANOTHER from the discard pile. It could be another skill, or a powerful event. But maybe if you're going to pass by 1 (and now 2) anyways, why not give yourself another action with Quick Thinking? Your discard pile is your oyster. (3) If that wasn't enough, you'll get a chance to do the effect AGAIN on a future test. Silas can run low on cards on hand because he commits so many skills, so this solves that problem very quickly.
Putting all three effects together and you get a huge tempo swing. The not so unusual case with Resourceful and Lucky! (3) goes like this: compared to just drawing a 0 or +1 token, you'll pick up two more cards in hand from your discard pile (the aforementioned Resourceful and Lucky!). On a future test that you might fail, you'll commit Resourceful, play Lucky! and get it back, and then draw another card from Lucky!'s effect. You'll never fail a skill test again, and you'll keep replenishing your hand. That's the way to stay ahead of the game.
OK, so how do you make sure this keeps happening? In , it's Eucatastrophe, and Silas / Resourceful is probably why the Taboo list makes you remove the card from the game after you play it. Still, doing it twice per game is plenty powerful. Against All Odds, the only card that potentially reveals multiple tokens, is worth a passing thought, but nothing more than that. For maximum multiplayer fun, though, pair with an investigator who will give you some help. One option is someone who can take Blessing of Isis and will follow you around. Silas Marsh is excellent with tokens as well, so you can really put that Favor of the Sun to good use here. The other option is to get help from a Mystic who will toss you a Seal of the Elder Sign or seal other tokens like with The Chthonian Stone, to make drawing the more likely. Or just play with Jacqueline Fine, who can use her ability on you!
Lastly, the only time that the effect fizzles is when there is nothing in the discard pile you can commit. This is because your discard pile is empty because the game just started -- a strong endorsement for Short Supply -- or you don't have skill cards with matching icons in the discard, like a few icons or Guts in the Mythos phase. That's why it's a good idea to have a variety of skills in Silas and commit when you can. Or maybe you've already pulled everything back from your discard pile with True Survivor or something, in which case you're probably already trouncing the scenario.
So I am coming around on Silas, the same way I did on Mary, and for the same reason: more cards were released in their campaigns, and those cards play to their strengths.
Many new cards, like signum crucis (now 0xp), give you benefits before you commit them. That allows you to add a ton of bless tokens to the bag every round, either for one action or as part of the mythos phase, and with Drawing Thin, the numbers can get substantial. In a bless-heavy strategy, Unrelenting can either majorly increase your chances of success (Most of the tokens that would make you fail, including numerical tokens, out of the bag), or you can put additional blessings on it, draw cards, and let it ride.
Silas can supplement his stats in odd ways with level two Defiance, Steadfast, or advanced Guts/Manual dexterity. Want to spend money as fast as you make it? Use inspiring presence with Madame LeBranche to power either dark horse or the Mariner's compass. There’s even solo potential, with the compass, sharp vision, and Granny Orne, true understanding, or the survivor suite of fail-to-win.
I am playing with Silas and Ursula through TIC currently*, and speed is more important than the ability to dole out violence. Track shoes, quick thinking to grab enemies off of pals during their turn...it's Arkham at a sprint!
I’ve left my previous review below, but consider this one the most accurate.
*We won. [[[[Silas is a signature character for the Innsmouth Conspiracy. For a cycle all about bless tokens, it’s currently hard to pin down if he can do much that’s more effective than William Yorrick.
Obviously, Marsh will have a better time with the frequent dex checks the campaign asks for. But six boxes into the game’s life, survivors have slim pickings in terms of weapons, and if you don’t buy the Stella set, you’re stuck with the old hunting rifle and that’s about it. (Silas could be confident with the bow, running shoes, Peter, and even Dark Horse, but he has no additional action economy to make the bow effective.)
Being able to second-guess skill checks is useful, but it’s extremely hard to build out combat versatility without guardian access. Your ability to boost your attack and to do extra damage is minimal.]]]
If you want to play as Silas, try the Eldritch Horror third edition expansion, where one of his items is a shirt that keeps getting torn off.
I am not sure if someone has ever brought this to the wider audience... but I am pretty sure no investigator comes even close to Silas when considering the capability to build a combo that absolutely brakes the game [and he needs no more than 7XP to do that]. [Disclaimer: taboos are disregarded.]
Hear me out.
- Cards required for the combo:
Sea Change Harpoon
Quick Thinking x2
Schoffner's Catalogue x2
Joey "the Rat" Vigil
one available action
in play: Versatile x2, Sea Change Harpoon, Schoffner's Catalogue with five secrets, Joey "the Rat" Vigil
in hand: Quick Thinking x2, Resourceful x2, Inspiring Presence, Helping Hand, "Watch this!", Eucatastrophe
in discard: Schoffner's Catalogue
initiate Fight action from the Sea Change Harpoon,
commit all the skill cards from hand [including three resources with "Watch this!"],
with combat value of 17 and Eucatastrophe thirsty for the auto-fail token, failure is nonexistent [unless playing on Expert difficulty and using a very curse-heavy bag - when failure is only almost nonexistent],
succeed at the Fight action resulting in: Dealing two damage, Gaining three resources, Gaining two actions, Adding Schoffner's Catalogue from the discard pile to hand, [Adding Eucatastrophe from the discard pile to hand if it just needed to be played to counter the auto-fail token], [Healing one point of damage/horror from Joey "the Rat" Vigil]
take Sea Change Harpoon along with all the committed skills back to hand
play Schoffner's Catalogue and Sea Change Harpoon using Joey "the Rat" Vigil's ability, two resources gained from "Watch this!" and five secrets from Schoffner's Catalogue
[use an action to gain a resource if there are fewer than five resources available because of the just played Eucatastrophe]
- New state of play:
two available actions [one available action if Eucatastrophe had to be played]
six resources [five resources if Eucatastrophe had to be played]
in play: Versatile x2, Sea Change Harpoon, Schoffner's Catalogue with five secrets, Joey "the Rat" Vigil [potentially with one more health/sanity]
in hand: Quick Thinking x2, Resourceful x2, Inspiring Presence, Helping Hand, "Watch this!", Eucatastrophe, [Potentially an extra skill card if an Elder Sign Token or Auto-fail token was drawn]
in discard: Schoffner's Catalogue
- Repeat for as long as there still is anything alive in range and enjoy the free actions and resources.
P.S. Taking realistic odds into account, the combo does not require all of the above cards to start working. Building a deck around the combo isn't very difficult either, it just needs to draw as much as possible and potentially keep Silas alive.