- Q: Cards committed to tests never really "enter play". So what is the position of the card that has been committed? In Play? Out of Play? Void? For example, when I play Unearth the Ancients, I choose 2 assets in my hand, can I commit these 2 assets in the Investigate Skill Test? if successful, how do I settle the card effects? Can I put the cards into play after they are committed? A: In FAQ 2.0 there is going to be a name for the state you’re describing, where a committed card is while being committed, called limbo. These cards are not in play, not out of play, not in hand, and not in a discard pile, but they are still affecting the game in some way. That said, Unearth the Ancients doesn’t put the chosen cards into limbo; they will stay in hand after being chosen. Rules as written says that yes, you could commit the chosen cards to the test, and put them into play when the test resolves. We may revisit this in a future FAQ (not 2.0, which is about to be released).
Investigate. Choose up to 2 assets in your hand. The difficulty of this skill test is equal to the combined cost of the chosen assets. If you succeed, put the chosen assets into play, one at a time. For each Relic asset put into play by this ability, draw 1 card.
Unearth the Ancients (0) was one of those cards that everyone wanted to try out when it was released in Forgotten Age. Some players here thought it was decent, others thought the card sucked and heated argumentes followed. Three years later, Unearth the Ancient (0) is practically never played, apart from the odd Ursula deck as her free, once-per-round investigation action makes it... less bad.
But now we have an upgraded level 2 version! The difference between the level 0 version and this is ...drumroll... you can now put TWO items into play rather than just one! The skill test is the combined cost of both. Plus, it's free to play now at 0 resources and yeah, they added a single icon and you'll get a clue now if you suceed at the test.
But is it worth it? I don't think so. Yes, the payoff can be great, but there's quite a few pieces you need to line up here. First you need to have the card in hand, along with TWO assets, hopefully relics, that you want to get into play. That's three cards. It should ideally be early-to-mid part of the scenario too, because that's when you usually need to play assets. And the assets really can't be too expensive because you need to be able to pass that skill test. The card gets less reliable on harder difficulties and in scenarios with evil special tokens.
And remember that the intial payoff is resources saved. You spend one card and one action, the reward is two assets put into play for free. Seekers have plenty of good economy cards, such as Crack the Case, so these are the cards we need to compare Unearth the Ancients (2) to. The exception is if the assets are relics, since card draw is always good.
TL;DR: This card is often bad, unless you can count on passing the test and you have a clue you want to find and and at least one of the cards put into play are a relic. Then it's good. It's just that you need a rather specific type of deck and quite a bit of luck to get there. Me, I would rather spend those 4 experience points on something less risky and more generally helpful.
Contrary of the review above, I think this card is actually very good, for having playtesting it. It's the ever vigilant equivalent of Seeker. Yes, it requires you to have three cards in hand to play it to its maximum effect, but with seeker card draw, it's not much a problem. Like Cryptic research, it's not a good card by itself xp wise, but it will greatly enhance your deck when you'll include it. If you play with higher education, the difficulty of the test becomes trivial. Let's say you pay for a 3 cost and a 4 cost asset, you test at difficulty 7 and you're Ursula. It means you need roughly 4 resources to crack the test in standard. For one card, one action and 4 resource, it nets you 7 resources, three actions (two play action and an investigation). That's a total of +5, which has the same value as a hotstreak lv4, for the meager risk of getting the autofail. It gets better with 5 intellect character, or if you manage to land your int tarot turn 0. In asset heavy decks, this card is a god sent. The additional draw from relics is a bonus at this point.
Started out skeptical on this one, but mugu and Oriflam's maths made me curious, and now I'm not so sure!
You may think "Sure, if you wanna risk a massive Int test." But while high prices and a correspondingly high test do certainly increase the reward (but also risk), you don't need much for a good payoff.
You're a Seeker - Can you hit a (4) Int test? Cuz if you can, then by using Unearth The Ancients at a clue-bearing location:
- Landing 2 Relics with a total cost of 4 will tie the previously mentioned Watch This + Donut.
- Even landing 2 NON-Relic assets with a total cost of 4 will still BEAT a fully loaded Ever Vigilant.
Using the flawed-but-oft-cited economy valuation of Actions, Cards, and Resources being of descending-but-approximately- equal value, we can appraise some economy cards as so:
- (Gained R + Gained Actions + Gained Cards) - (Spent R + Spent Actions + Spent Cards) ~= Value
So, some values for common economy cards:
- ECache = +1
- Crack The Case on 3 shroud = +2
- Uncage The Soul w/ 3R+ spell/ritual = +2
- Watch This = +2
- Take Heart = +3
- Ever Vigilant w/ 3 assets costing > 0R = +4
- Watch This + Donut = +7
For Unearth here: if you can hit two relics, with a total cost of 4, at a location with a clue:
- (3R + (2 Play Actions + 1 Clue) + 2 Draws) - (0R + 1 Play Action + 1 Card) = +7
I reckon 3-4R of Relics on a clue is the sweet-spot scenario, and happily some of the best Seeker Relics cost only 1-2R (list of Relics below). Meanwhile, regular Seeker assets are basically 1 less value than an equally priced Relic, which is still good. If you can't find an Ancient Stone, go dig up an Art Student!
Now getting Unearth + 2 Relics + A Clue'd Location + Passing A Test isn't a freebie. Odds aren't terrible, tho- as a seeker, you're probably headed for clue locations anyway, and shroud is irrelevant. Good draw helps you find pieces- luckily again, you're a Seeker. And if your deck happens to be stacked with Relics, great.
Currently, we have 17. Remove Pendant Of The Queen, and we get:
- Disc Of Itzamna, Disc Of Itzamna (2)
- Eon Chart (1), Eon Chart (4)
- Otherworldly Compass
- Pnakotic Manuscripts: Mind-Expanding Ideas
- Prophesiae Profana: Atlas of the Unknowable
- Tooth of Eztli: Mortal Reminder
- Ancient Stone (1), upgrades into: --- Throwin' Stone, Rollin' Stone, Gettin' Stoned
- Forbidden Tome, upgrades into: --- For Beatin's Tome, For Bookin's Tome
- Segment Of Onyx
Of these, the Eon Charts, Forbidden Tomes, and Ancient Stones seem like the big winners. Each costs 2 or less, and are strong late-campaign items. And if I'm reading this right, upgraded Ancient Stones can immediately trigger off Unearth's draw from playing a relic.
Lastly, using this for Segment gains no actions (it's already fast). You do gain +1R and +1 Card for playing it this way though, so it may be worth tacking on.
Insurance vs. the test
If you pump or commit, you're eating into the very economy you're trying to save. High power skills like Inquiring Mind may still be worth it if it swings the odds by a lot, and value-neutral skills like Perceptions, Deductions or Eurekas are almost always worth it on any test they can push into all-but-autofail territory.
Elsewise, post-token insurance is nice, of which there's not much unless you have Survivor access. If you do, Live And Learn is a great level 0 savior against autofail.
Who wants it?
I wouldn't build a deck around it, but some gators might already have a deck that would like having it:
Mandy. Likes draw and sometimes likes big hands. Can find the event and relics quickly.
Ursula, maybe. She likes Prophesiae and Eon Chart, charges all over so she might like Otherworldly Compass, and her fondness of relics means she might already be running Whitton. Also possibly runs Tooth or Disc early.
As for unlikelys:
Level 2 Seekers: There's very few L0-2 Seeker Relics, or assets that are better than what their primary class provide.
So! It does take some planning (but not as much as you may think), a test (but not as big as you may think), to get a good bit of value (possibly a lot more than you'd think), out of Unearth The Ancients. If you can confidently handle INT tests around 3 or 4, and you've got Seeker assets that need playing- Relics especially- you can cleanly match or beat the value of many beloved staples.
And if worst comes to worst and that danged autofail shows up, remember: this wasn't a wager! You don't lose the assets, just the card and action, same as any other event. You're ultimately no worse off than Nacho whiffing a Monster Slayer.
For me there are 2 ways to consider this card:
- as a way to save on resources to play assets, ideally Relic ones (and eventually draw cards), for example the Forbidden Tome or the Ancient Stone,
- or as a way to have a much easier investigate action in a high shroud location.
The 2nd use can lead to very interesting combos: with Magnifying Glass + Deduction / Deduction for 2 or 3 clues with a 0-difficulty test, with Magnifying Glass + Dream Diary to improve your chances to "interpret the dreams", with The King in Yellow (and probably the Magnyfing glass) to have immediately an easy investigation to get rid of the weakness if you lack symbols for other tests, with Scavenging to play while getting a clue the asset you got in your hand because you succeeded you previous investigation by 2, ...
The correct point of comparison comparison for this card is Scavenging (2). It's a card that saves you multiple play actions. Although it doesn't recur from your discard, you're a seeker — you too can do "recursion" it the au naturale way, by simply cycling through your entire deck.
The point of the upgrade isn't to play 2 assets although it's a nice option to have if you have two cheap assets, or you're an Amanda with RGM out. Unlike the 0xp version, this one saves an action because it's also an investigate action, one which you can also manipulate the DC of (Ancient Stone anyone?).
Seekers have no shortage of assets they want to play over and over again. Ancient Stone, The Necronomicon, Mr. "Rook", or the new Eon Chart...some of those are even Relic traited, further increasing efficiency. You can use a charge from your Eon Chart to investigate to play a new Eon Chart as a fast investigate!
Unearth the Ancients is not a simple economy card. You can't expect to throw this into a deck like a Crack the Case or Cryptic Research and have it work — it's acceleration for already powerful decks where you'd play it multiple times over the course of the game. Some of the power Seekers have lost to Taboos, they've regained with Unearth the Ancients, though arguably in a much fairer manner as Unearth the Ancients is susceptible to the dreaded .