The Butcher of Arkham Asylum

Card draw simulator
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Dai · 199

Terror stalks the halls and wards of Arkham Asylum. Monsters called into reality by the nightmares of waking dreamers swarmed through the building. Carolyn Fern, enjoying a late-night cup of coffee in the cafeteria after yet another long day desperately struggling with the plague of madness in the wake of the performance of the King in Yellow, found herself ambushed by a snarling beast identical to the things described by her patients during their psychoanalytical sessions. Panicked, she fled into the kitchen, and finding herself cornered, her searching fingers luckily found the handle of a cleaver, and a burst of frantic strength gave weight to her swings, slaughtering the surprised monster. Surrounded by blood and ichor, everything became clear. A doctor needed a scalpel to excise corruption, and in her right hand, she held a scalpel large enough to excise even this corruption from the world. Terror stalks the halls and wards of Arkham Asylum, but it is not an otherworldly monster or evil, but instead the unhinged Psychologist herself, daubing the walls with bloody wards and defending its residents at any cost.

Disclaimer: This deck is intended to use at least 2 cards that have been spoiled but not yet released: Alice Luxley and crucially Meat Cleaver in place of Machete, and is not meant to be an optimal deck by any means.

Instead, it is intended to be a fun approach to Carolyn, using her broad deckbuilding to compensate for her poor Combat stat and manage a strong amount of combat potential with the Meat Cleaver, while also keeping a high Intellect for investigation and defensive abilities and tanking damage for the team. This means few events and skills, so it will primarily be based around assembling a strong board state with high base stats and a resource engine, using Keen Eye and Physical Training to use its high resource income to compensate for the broadly spread stats.

The underlying idea is to use the Meat Cleaver as a consistent attack option, using Prepared for the Worst to dig for it and give us a strong change of getting it early, Ancient Stone for healing, Peter Sylvestre for resource gain and soaking up the horror from the Cleaver plus Forbidden Knowledge for extra resources particularly when not killing stuff, Well Prepared targeting Physical Training for attack or willpower boosts and targeting Hypnotic Therapy or Forbidden Knowledge for Intellect boosts, with Ancient Stone as another Willpower target, and even Peter Sylvestre and Pathfinder for emergency Agility if targeted by such treachery cards. With the resource engine assembled and no other uses for its arcane slots, it should be able to afford one or both copies of Protective Incantation, helping out the entire team, and "Let Me Handle This!" and True Grit for tanking hits for weaker enemies. Even with Dynamite Blast, Prepared for the Worst and Ever Vigilant under Stick to the Plan, it will be vulnerable to scenarios with no time for setup or to bad opening draws.

Arcane Research is there for starting horror to let you use healing (early Ancient Stone or elder sign draws) for resources from the get-go, and to upgrade Deny Existence to the recently spoiled Deny Existence (5) when it is released.

The deck here is pretty much "complete", though it could certainly spend more exp (upgrading Vicious Blow, Deny Existence, Peter Sylvestre, Dynamite Blast, getting another Charisma and buying Beat Cop (2), etc.). The exp total is 3 lower than listed, with Shrewd Analysis giving a 3 exp discount on upgrading the two Ancient Stones.

Non-vital cards that can be replaced are Pathfinder, True Grit, and maybe Vicious Blow, Protective Incantation and Deny Existence. Possible other options include Something Worth Fighting For, Preposterous Sketches, Painkillers, Eureka!, Deduction, Scene of the Crime, Logical Reasoning, Emergency Aid and Working a Hunch. If more seeker/mystic slots are needed, feel free to drop the Arcane Research, it's mostly there for flavour anyway.

Upgrade priority would depend on exp earned, but Stick to the Plan, Charisma, Ancient Stone and Reliable seem like the main priority.

The signature cards used here are the base ones, and they should be reasonably effective, with Hypnotic Therapy boosting the heal from Ancient Stone and Meat Cleaver - Rational Thought will put a severe dent in the necessary healing for the deck, but if you have Ancient Stone and Hypnotic Therapy out you should be able to clear it relatively quickly. However, this is a deck type where Foolishness might be a particularly effective card, as this build has use for every stat to some extent, so the stat boost and 2 wild icons (for Well Prepared) will give you even more flexibility. If doing so, I would recommend a second Charisma, replacing Alice Luxley with Alyssa Graham, and maybe replacing "Let me handle this!" and True Grit with Calling in Favors and Moment of Respite, to ensure you get your allies out quickly and heal up Foolishness efficiently. Alyssa Graham and Deny Existence should be enough to deal with the threat of To Fight the Black Wind, though there's no accounting for luck.

6 comments

Mar 12, 2019 Tiktakkat · 24

I thought of something along these lines the moment I saw the Meat Cleaver. Carolyn takes horror to boost it, gets resources when she heals the horror, spends them on Keen Eye to boost the Meat Cleaver even more, and just repeats the cycle to become a real monster-slaying Guardian without ever needing an upgraded weapon.

Mar 12, 2019 Dai · 199

Exactly. You're still not playing to her strengths - starting 2 Combat means she's never going to be an optimal choice for using a weapon - but it should be fun. Numerically it works out about the same or (with Foolishness) slightly ahead of a typical Carolyn build using Shrivelling for a combat option, and isn't constrained by limited charges and gets a reliable source of horror for Peter Sylvestre. It also helps make the most of being a Guardian, which is something missing from Carolyn.

Racing to 3 sanity remaining should be doable with St Hubert's Key and Arcane Research, but it is kind of contrary to one of her strengths, that being her unusually high health/sanity total. I considered some Desperate skills as well, but it's a lot of deck space and she already has very little to spare, plus it's better for the deck to work regardless of how much horror she's taken. I think more card draw might be needed as well. I'll be testing this concept out next time I play...

Mar 12, 2019 Django · 1969

Your deck is pretty asset heavy, so it'll be rather slow.

Carolyn could also play the new Enchanted blade or .45 Thompson instead of the cleaver for similar +2 bonus, but limited uses.

Mar 12, 2019 Dai · 199

It certainly is, but that's often the case for Carolyn (and many Guardians in general, but particularly for Carolyn); her unique deckbuilding lets her assemble extremely strong board-states, but if you aren't taking advantage of that you're best off picking a different investigator. Ever Vigilant helps, of course. As said, it's not going to be an optimal deck by any means because making Carolyn a fighter is swimming against the current. You could drop Ancient Stone (and should if you're playing solo, taking Moment of Respite instead), but in a group it's generally an excellent way to do lots of support and economy boost with a minimum of actions. True Grit could happily be replaced with Dodge, Pathfinder is generally action-neutral on the turn you play it, Forbidden Knowledge might be unnecessary with Meat Cleaver. You could lean into more skills and pure resource generation to use Keen Eye as your main means of combat boosts, but I feel that you'll quickly run out of steam if you can get it to work, and it's putting all your eggs in one basket - if you can't get a strong resource engine going you won't be able to fight and the deck falls apart. The idea is not necessarily "you need to get all these assets into play", but instead to have a few different approaches for boosting fight that work within the rest of the deck, so that you aren't caught short if you, for instance, don't get Well Prepared online.

Carolyn shouldn't use the .45 Thompson because she will always want a hand free for Ancient Stone (and if not running Ancient Stone for some reason, Magnifying Glass or Fingerprint Kit); it's also very expensive so compounds the slowness, even with her strong economy - she has to set up before she can get her cashflow going, and if you intend to fight you should be ready to do so early on. The new Enchanted Blade might be an option as a secondary weapon (probably in place of the Protective Incantations), and I might include it in the starting deck. Both of these have the issue that they have limited uses and as such are not attractive targets for Reliable, and they don't help her economy.

Apr 28, 2019 Traison · 1

Quick question. Is this deck ignoring Carolyn's "No weapon cards level 1-5?" Or is there some way around that rules I'm just not seeing?

Apr 28, 2019 Traison · 1

Y'know I'm just stupid, for some reason I forgot level 0 weapons are different from level 1s. I don't know if comments can be deleted, if so you can go ahead and do so, if not w/e.