Q: If I have Forced Learning and I draw a weakness during my upkeep phase, can I choose to discard it? What happens if both cards I draw are weaknesses? A: Weaknesses cannot be chosen to be discarded from your hand. If you draw 1 weakness and 1 non-weakness card, you must choose to discard the non-weakness card, then resolve the weakness as normal. If you draw 2 weaknesses, you cannot discard either one, and must resolve both of them. - FAQ, v.2.0, August 2022
Q: If Patrice Hathaway uses In the Thick of It to purchase Versatile to purchase Forced Learning, how does she resolve the draw cards step of the upkeep phase? A: If Patrice Hathaway has Forced Learning, she decides which trigger - hers or Forced Learning’s - to resolve during the upkeep phase, because both her ability and its ability share the same timing point.
Q: According to FAQ 2.0 [see above]: When resolving Forced Learning you draw 2 cards, choose to discard 1 non-weakness card (if able), then resolve Revelation effects. What happens if you choose to discard a non-weakness card with a revelation effect, such as a Dilemma card from The Scarlet Keys? Does its revelation effect not trigger because it has been discarded, or does the effect trigger from the discard pile? A: To answer your question(s):
- When you draw a Dilemma with Forced Learning, you must resolve the Dilemma’s Revelation right away (as a nested sequence), discard it, then finish Forced Learning’s discard (discarding the other card you drew if it isn’t a weakness. If the second card was also a Dilemma, instead resolve it too).
- We will plan to update that FAQ entry to make it a bit more clear what was intended. It was just meant to comment on Forced Learning and Weaknesses drawn, not enforce a timing structure for all Revelation effects.
Permanent. Limit 1 per deck. Purchase at deck creation.
Increase your deck size by 15.
During each upkeep phase, instead of drawing 1 card, draw 2 cards and discard 1 of them.
This darn review took like a week and a half to math out and write, with lots of scrapped segments because it's so hard to explain every permutation of how this helps and hurts your deck and doing so doesn’t actually help you understand this card.
It is a theorycraft puzzle, a little mystery, one that will stress you to uncover. One that requires you to suffer a bit to do so. And one that makes it harder for you to communicate your understanding of the world to others. And this was the most lovecraftian theorycraft puzzle to solve, because now I am at the end, knowing half way through there was no light at the end of the tunnel as I sought to find a way to convey the hidden knowledge I have uncovered through brute force with a calculator, knowing from the get go that I was doomed to write a TL;DR: of this card that would make all the work I put into delving deep into this card worthless.
Its just… kinda meh
All this theorycraft and number crunching to check for breakpoints where this can shine, where it helps you get what you need faster based on what you shove into those 15 extra cards, how late in the game you are, how little you drew with other cards, and in the end it is just... meh.
Along the journey there were little sparks, little lights of hope. ”Maybe it will be good for this?” I pondered. ”This is an interesting ramification of deck building I noted. But in the end, nothing.
I am a professional educator and writer, and this card broke me in trying to figure out how to explain why it is, at the end of the day, just a ‘meh’ card no one is going to think about. But it had to be done, because this blank review spot taunted me, and on my spot half way down the path of the madness that was analyzing this card I knew enough to know I didn't want anyone else to see this blank review space and start along it to try to figure it out on their own. So I finished this grim work, accepted it was going to be very incoherent and ravey with lots of odd choices for what numbers I crunched, and hope it makes enough sense to warn others away.
Forced Learning is going to hurt 'That One Card' (ex: Seeker-guardians who want just two weapons, seekers trying to 'shotgun blast' clues out of locations with guiding stones but will generally increase your consistency in the back half of a scenario, or if you can afford to run 4+ 'hits' of a card, as even compared to a regular 30 card deck running x4 of a given effect it becomes more consistent faster. However this consistency is undercut for each card you draw outside of the upkeep phase, and overall it doesn't help your late game consistency so much that it is likely worth bricking early game, or the fact that it will be harder for you to get the cards you leveled up into.
The main value of Forced Learning is instead letting you really cram your deck full of redundant tools that you would normally mulligan for, without hurting your odds of finding stuff you normally wouldn't, and even allowing you to actively mulligan for marginal cards that support your ‘main’ cards confident you will find them quickly early on by using those 15 deck slots. However, doing so generally requires you to add inefficient ‘sidegrade’ cards that undercuts the benefit of more consistent access to supportive tools, and its hard to upgrade a lot of redundant cards.
Forced learning is compatible with other deck filtering tools, but makes them less efficient, especially early. For 'tutor' effects that aren't hitting your entire deck (ex: Prepared for the worst) hold off on playing them until say... turn 3-4. Due to the fact that Seeker-Guardian already has absurd tutor efficiency, I would not recommend it on this particular class combo. Instead, it makes sense on seekers who often aren't running filtering already and do not have specific cards they need to get.
Overall this card isn’t terrible, especially if you plan for it, but even if you don’t. It just… doesn’t really help any deck that seems like it ‘wants’ to exist.
My mad ravings In depth analysis.
Forced Learning increases your deck size by 50%. It increases your passive draw rate by 100%. Ergo, you are more likely to see the cards you want on any given draw with Forced Learning than without, barring the fact that it hurts your mulligan (Hard mulliganing for an 2 of in your deck hits 55% of the time in a normal deck, and 39% in a forced deck, for an x4 you hit it 81% of the time in a standard deck, and 64% in a forced deck), so you have 5 cards that are less likely to be what you want you need to 'get past,' not to mention the intangible costs of not getting a core tool (like an upgraded weapon).
This means forced is going to become stronger over the game, as your opening hand's loss in consistency matters less to the larger pool of cards you saw. An intuitive way to think about it is this: Your tutor shows you 10 cards out of 31 (not counting weaknesses), or 33% of your deck, and then 1 card at a time after that from a deck of 28 cards. Forced shows you 10 out of 46, or around 22% of your deck, and then 2 at time after that out of a deck of 43 cards. So on your first upkeep after your initial muli and draw, you get to see 3.7% of your deck with a standard deck, and 4.5% of your deck with a forced deck, so it looks like it would take 11 turns to 'catch up' right? Yikes!
But it actually is better than that in some ways, because the forced deck is actually also thinning your deck when it shows you cards, which is in many ways more 'powerful' than mulligaining them back into your hand. Because you're not just 'seeing' 4.5% of your deck on turn 1, you are culling 4.5% of your deck on turn 1. On turn 2, your deck is now 27 cards in a standard deck, and 41 cards in forced. Now in a standard deck you 'cull' 3.7% again, while in a forced deck you are at 4.8% per draw. Turn 3 it is 3.8% vs 5.1%, and on 4 its 4% vs 5.5.
This all doesn't look like too much, it is only a difference of a few percentage points, but by turn 4, the forced learning deck has gotten to see 20% of your remaining deck in the forced deck, while in a standard deck you only got to see 15%, which is extremely significant once you also remember the density of cards you want in your deck tends to increase with every 'miss.' This is what is called a Hypergeometric Distribution, and it is a huge PITA to really wrap your head around, so let's think of it this way:
On turn 4 of any given game, assuming you were looking for 4 specific cards in your deck, a standard deck has a 90% chance to find that specific card. A forced deck, assuming you don't use any slots to help you find the card, has an 85% chance to find it. By turn 6, it is 96% in a standard deck, vs 91% in a forced deck. So early on it's significant, but it gets less significant over time, eventually overtaking a standard deck in time for the scenario to basically be over.
So it isn't increasing your deck consistency in the first 6 turns (unless your using the extra space to run extra copies of things you want, which is also where this can shine, but we will get to that math in a second), but it won't hurt them that badly early, unless you are running huge tutor effects.
For example, turn 1 you will fail both your mulligan and prep search you stuck to Stick to the plan (Which I include only to make the math easier) to nab a 2 of upgraded weapon only 20% of the time in a standard deck. Meanwhile, in a Forced deck turn 1 you are failing to hit it 35% of the time. That is a jump to a miss in 1/5 games to 1/3!
It gets less bad if you wait a hot sec though: After 2 turns you have a 74% chance to snag that weapon at some point between mulligan, passive draws, and prep, while if you wait a similar 2 turns in a standard deck you have an 84% chance to see them. After 4 turns it's 82% on the forced and 88% on the normal deck. The gap basically becomes non-existent after that.
If you run 4 of, you also get way better, a non-forced deck sees a hit on 4 copies with a hard muli+prep opener 99% of the time, while forced sees it 87% of the time, but by waiting until turn 2 the forced is seeing what they want 93% of the time, a difference maker only in 1 in 20 instances. Overall though, you generally run a tutor specifically because you want to compress the value of cards: Guardians aren't using prepare for the worst over 4 weapons because it costs a lot of xp to upgrade weapons, they want that SPECIFIC gun, so utilizing Forced Learning in Guardian is fairly questionable.
However, these are the odds with you not utilizing those extra deck slots, applied to 'critical' tools. So what if we use those deck slots really aggressively? What if we, for example, are a mystic who normally runs 4 clue spells, and 4 attack spells mixed between events and assets? What if we used those 15 slots to increase that to 8 and 8 respectively? Sure we might not WANT a copy of Withering and Spectral Razor as our first picks, but lets ignore the fact that each 'sidegrade' is probably weaker than the last for now, Armageddon isn't THAT much worse than Shrivelling. Now we find them 90% of the time in our mulligan, much like a standard deck, and even assuming we got two in our opener, our odds of drawing another on our first upkeep are still 26%, increasing every time we don't get what we want.
In a standard deck this makes it significantly harder to get our cards that support our general strategy, but you aren't generally mulligaining for those (meaning the mulligan harming aspect of this card is less relevant) and we aren't altering the density of them at all (in fact, we still have 7 slots to fill up with those if we can find more!), so we actually will still find them pretty fast if we need them. For example, if we are running x4 accessory willpower boosters in this hypothetical, and we don't mulligan for them and don't see them in our opener, we will see them 33% of the time turn 2 in a forced deck, and 27% of the time turn 2 in a normal deck! Even if we run only x2 it's 18% in a forced deck vs 14%.
So the ‘optimal’ strategy of this card seems really clear: It allows you to push your deck way harder in a given direction for cards you actively want lots of, and positively affects the rate of finding support cards you aren't pushing into the deck. Heck, you can now mulligan for important support cards that don't do ANYTHING on their own, but which dramatically help you, confident you will find some tool that enables them, jumping your odds of seeing them in the first few turns from 20% to some odd 80%.
...Assuming you aren't drawing more cards via card effects (ex: Book of Old Lore, Lucky Cig Case, ect.). The benefits of this card weakens every method of card draw except upkeep draw. For big searches this doesn't matter, you're not really running them as 'draw' so much as 'get the thing I need.' But until your 15th upkeep phase (At which point your deck size equals out with a standard deck at 18 cards left), every draw effect is weaker. This isn't a terrible outcome if you are occasionally popping one card into your hand, and heck it can kinda work ok with old lore, but if you are very consistently just shoveling extra cards into your hand with non-upkeep draw you are really only going to hurt yourself. Mandy, for example, is going to likely be drawing as many cards with search effects (which are now less consistent), as she is by upkeep, so she really just struggles a bit more to find what she wants unless she really leans into what she wants via those 15 cards, which is hard to do when Mandy wants such specific things.
Is this worth it?
I don't think so, no.
Firstly, the idea of 'cramming' your deck full of sidegrades to an effect is viable if your running say... 4 of them. But 6 or 8? That comes out to 24 XP to upgrade them, so unless that is all your doing (Which likely trashes your deck), you are still going to have cards in your pool you would much rather see, and upgrading cards is important over the course of a campaign to keep up. Seekers have plenty of good level 0 stuff, but ultimately you are going to really struggle, especially because so much of Seeker's design space is already based around having good tutor to allow them to 'build around' cards.
I also can't think of any existing character who wants this card, and the strategies it enables are probably done better by other characters and cards: Alt Agnes is better at event spam with her native draws and ways to stack her deck, Akachi is probably better at spell asset spam. Daisy wants to run lore and doesn’t really want a ton of spells anyway, Guardian-seekers hate this, Many REALLY hates this, Trish is at the limit of what the pool supports already in her main archetype so she really can't fill out those 15 cards, Minh draws a lot already and it has anti-synergy with skills tending to draw you cards, her use of Old Tome, and her desire to get her signature. Rex REALLY doesn’t like this between having a specific setup and his use of lucky cigs. Ursula… might want this? But it's hard to see what she would really do with it.
So this, more than the other 'deck modifiers' is kinda a gimmick card. I could 100% see an Underworld Support deck that is very serious and tuned showing up, because it asks way less of your build and it is less anti-synergistic with rogue's native card pool.
This is 100% to make a 'wacky and wild' deck, or to deliberately harm yourself a little bit to let you try as hard as you can on lower difficulties without ruining the game for others: If your able to get through Cthulhu's Awful Dinner Party on Super Double Secret Probation difficulty and you start playing with newbies who want to play their own decks on standard or easy and they do cute little things like giving Wendy a switchblade, this is a good way to allow you to keep your deck relatively strong without letting you take over the experience.
But in the current gator-pool it probably... isn't good. I would say, despite the negative effects on your deck, again, being not that bad. Even if all these added cards were literally blank 'commit 1 wild' cards it would not totally ruin your deck (And one potential path could be ‘shove the 15 full of 6 cards to do ‘your main thing’ and then overloading on skills on the rest) but I still wouldn't ever choose to add this at the moment for raw power.
This card is best with some cards. Many of you already told with Scavenging, but there are more survivor cards you can get bonus when discarding.
For example, if you discard Improvised serises (especially Winging It), you can trigger powerful ability from discard pile. The main problem of thoes card is the way to discard without playing, but Forced Learning is good solution. Another one is Moonstone; you could play Moonstone by Forced Learning without any action. I think A Glimmer of Hope is another good canditate.
A more beginner-friendly way to describe this card is that it allows you to flex "live" depending on the current situation, instead of at the time of deck building. Making highly situational cards shines a little bit more.
In terms of emergent story, your character may looks like he always has something very specific to deal with a very specific situation, making him looks cool as if scripted in a movie scene. Because if it were characters that don't have this card, the situational cards wouldn't be in the deck in the first place and instead is full of staple must-include cards.
For example, the healing. When deck building, you don't want to include many healing cards as they are anti-tempo and somewhat situational. You also don't know if anyone would need any healing cards due to random basic weakness in EotE until you finished building the deck. You don't know if you will be hit by trauma early along the campaign and really need some preemptive healing to continue or not. Or even, you don't know if your cousin will join in the campaign half way with a character that needs some healing or not. Now you can include Medical Texts "just in case" and bias to discard it if it isn't needed while playing. This may also extends to movement cards where they may be needed in big map scenario, and not needed in a brawl scenario.
One other notoriously situational card that comes to mind is Barricade. Imagine if Barricade has a that let you discard it and draw a new card to replace immediately, it would move up from "no, thanks" tier to "sounds like fun!" tier. By modifying yourself with Forced Learning, you add this kind of flex ability on all the hard-to-use cards.
When beginners wanted to try out all the shiny cards or is going to blind run a campaign, this card speed up this learning process by letting you include them all and pick the right combination as you go. When you realize what situation you are in in the scenario, then you can "turn off" part of your deck that isn't matching with the situation as you draws.
One problem not covered by dezzmont's otherwise exhaustive analysis is the fact that you're forced to choose your Weaknesses. You're more likely to hit them from the get-go (~2/22.5 versus the normal ~2/30), and this relative drawback only gets magnified as the campaign progresses and more weaknesses get added to your deck.
This might be slightly better in Norman Withers than elsewhere, since he at least pops weaknesses off the top of his deck for free (i.e. he's only half as likely to get his upkeep draw nuked, compared to other investigators).
Here's a trick: you totally can discard weaknesses with this card! This is legal as long as you're not lactose intolerant.
Of course, you can't choose to discard weaknesses from hand. That's illegal and heretic and the Arkham Police will bust down your door and confiscate your collection. But the trick is, you're not discarding weaknesses from hand. You're discarding them from play or from your discard. Forced Learning never specified that you can only discard the cards you drew from hand!
See, when you draw Paranoia as one of your two cards over upkeep, you immediately resolve its revelation effect. It's then discarded and goes into your discard pile. You then choose paranoia as your card to discard from Forced Learning. Good thing it's already in your discard pile, so you keep the other card you drew.
Alternatively, you draw Internal Injury. Even better. You resolve the revelation effect of internal Injury and put it into play. Then you choose Internal Injury as the card you discard from Forced Learning, and discard it from your threat area. Hurrah, you just cleared that weakness without spending an action! This also works for enemy weaknesses!
Don't actually try this at your table unless you enjoy rule arguments.
This permanent was really fun with Mandy Thompson (30 cards). Every line on the permanent worked to her advantage.
+15 deck size? Great, I can fit in three sets of Myriad cards, Segment of Onyx, A Glimmer of Hope and Astounding Revelation while not feeling like I have a bloated deck. 6 spots leftover for me to fill in with Seeker allies (tons of great options).
Draw 2 cards per upkeep? Great. Procs my Ancient Stones twice as fast with no action required.
Discard 1 of them? Great. Lets me discard allies, survivor cards, item cards.
What to take with Survivor subclass as Mandy? Winging It, Impromptu Barrier, A Glimmer of Hope, A Chance Encounter. Three of these are playable from the Discard Pile, while A Chance Encounter lets you play discarded allies.
Don't forget to take Calling in Favors to be able to put 2 allies into play using Mandy's ability. You can even use it on the "A Chance Encounter" target.
For upgrades, take Charisma/Miskatonic Archaeology Funding to facilitate more allies. Ancient Stone to utilise the Draw 2 effect. Versatile + Scavenging to recur any items used up or discarded during upkeep. Protecting the Anirniq works wonders with Ancient Stone/A Chance Encounter.
Conclusion: Don't take this if you were hoping to be flexible during upkeep and "choose" which cards to keep based on the situation. Don't take this if you care about your opening hand either.
Instead, take it if you're like me and actively WANT half your deck discarded and to proc Ancient Stone. The only things I didn't want to discard were Talents, Skill Cards and the cards that let me do ally shenanigans. Everything else was fair game.
Oh, and who cares if you drew Shocking Discovery during your upkeep phase? You lose the other card which you can probably get back and it's considered a dead draw which doesn't matter for a Big Hand Mandy deck. As Mandy, I almost never draw Shocking Discovery because she has plenty of ways to proc it on her own terms via Search.
Tried this out a few times and the results were quite underwhelming.
A few things you don't think about...
1.) This magnifies the intensity of a weakness. Per the rules, you can never willingly discard a weakness. So, when you draw your weakness, it basically has an additional revelation effect: discard the other card you just drew. This messes with just about everything in your deck.
2.) You would think the double draw during upkeep makes up for the +15 cards, but nope. It essentially just dilutes out your deck, and makes any draw action half as effective when it comes to milling.
I've tried just about every scenario I can think of. Using the boosted deck number to avoid Beyond the Veil, trying it out in gators that can take level 0 seeker cards, etc. The result is the same...
The +15 is just simply too punishing to make this worth it. Even if it was just draw 2, the extra discard with each weakness can really bone you. Skip.
The limits of Mandy's deck size just got a whole lot larger. Starting out with a 65 card deck is sure to make the other players at the table question how much horror you've taken. But combine it with two Versatiles to make a 75 card deck and the others will surely drive you to the asylum for the clear bout of insanity that you're experiencing. Then, combine that with Ancestral Knowledge to make a pseudo 80 card deck. What does one even put in an 80 card deck? Everything? At least the Dunwich encounter deck will lose much of its power. These combos would probably make activating Beyond the Veil an achievement in the most draw-heavy class but it would also make it a challenge to find the cards you need. Have fun shuffling this monstrosity! Combine it with the other new permanents for even more deck shenanigans.
Other people are writing interesting analysis and ideas. I have something different for you all to consider. Let's take a look at 3 notable permanents that we can combine to create the dumbest build in the world.
Now why are doing this you may ask? Wonderful question, but I'll need to bring up an important ruling first. Crystallizer of Dreams has a clear ruling in its interaction with The Painted World that says that forced abilities take priority over other replacement effects.
Now let's consider Patrice Hathaway. By using Versatile to bring in Forced Learning (thanks to the xp from thick of it) we are able to replace Patrice's signature ability with "Draw 2, Discard 1". You'll also have a 62 card deck size. To be clear, this is not a good idea, but it is hilarious and does allow you to laugh at both the watcher and much of the Dunwich encounter deck. If you actually decide to do this, please let me know and let me see your deck because I am sure it will be amazing.
I think best use is for a seeker/survivor with scavenging+resourceful (so you can pick back scavenging) and pair this with short supply, and a lot of survivor cards that can be used from discard or gets advantage of discard cards.
I think the biggest problems are the weaknesses. Basically in 15 rounds you go through the same size of your deck with this card as without it (not counting tutoring). You get +15 cards but mill 15 more so it nets 0. So it is nearly the same chance to see your weakness. But if you draw your weakness you have to discard your other card (as you have to discard 1 but you cannot discard weakness) so you lose your chance to choose one. So the main problem is if you draw your "best" card and a weakness at the same time.
I would replace "During each upkeep phase, instead of drawing 1 card, draw 2 cards and discard 1 of them." to:
"During each upkeep phase, instead of drawing 1 card, look at the top 2 cards of your deck. Draw 1 and any weakness among them. Discard the rest."
It seems fair middle road to me. I think both other interpretations are unbalanced. If you draw a weakness with it, then allowing to discard that weaknesses (right after the revelation) is too powerful if it's a crippling asset or enemy. Then there's the other way, forcing a discard of the other card makes it near unplayable. You would not only be getting the activation of a weakness, but also losing a (good) card!
Increasing your decksize hurts your mulligans, but being able to pick your cards in the draw phase negates the issue of diluting your deck pool with extra cards. Essentially, this card allows you to pick a lot more of those niche, great-in-one-situation cards, and then toss them aside for your normal good cards if that situation doesn't seem likely. Enjoy the power of Fine Clothes in Carcosa and when the Parleys aren't in the scenario you can shunt em. Have Roland bring Handcuffs to the dance and toss them right back in the trash where they belong when the tentacle monsters come out to play.
Notably you will draw your weaknesses faster since the rate of draw is higher than the rate of deck dilution, and in that highly improbable and inevitably Arkham fashion you can draw two of them at a time (which then leads to a choose and discard situation, which assumably means you keep them both).
Also notably, your upkeep phase will take longer than everybody else's and you'll have to make a higher amount of choices each round, a situation that is all fun for some players and sheer decision paralysis for others. But if you're up for that enhanced complexity, this is a permanent that gives you a higher quality draw at the expense of a slightly lower quality deck with a more inconsistent start. If you're taking the rounded approach, this card is perfect, and discard synergy and interaction make it more so. If you need a particular start: Tarot, key assets and signatures, weapons of choice - this is more likely to be a pass.
Quite fun in a Short Supply, Forced Learning Ashcan Deck... Hopefully you discard some Glimmers, Winging It's, etc... but if you don't, your deck size really isn't effected, but now you gain the 2 for one deck draw.