About this deck:
This deck is meant to be the dedicated enemy killer/evader in a multiplayer campaign on standard difficulty. You should be able to handle most enemies yourself, but you will need some help every now and then, especially with big elites and in 3-4 player games. This deck is not meant to help gathering clues - but in the section "Card Alternatives" below I listed some cards that enable you to help with that.
The upgrade path I suggested for this deck uses Timeworn Brand as a primary weapon, which means you'll be stuck with a 2-damage weapon for the entire campaign, since you also don't have access to Vicious Blow. That means things might be a bit harder than with a Guardian, but Silas' great -Ability makes up for that.
Toss back everything that's not Peter Sylvestre or a weapon. You can consider keeping Nautical Prowess or Backpack. But seriously, since you're responsible for killing things, you'll need a weapon. And since you only have 5 sanity, you'll need the Big Man.
Play a weapon and play Peter Sylvestre. That's really it - you're set up and can start stabbing things.
You don't really need more assets, so whenever there's something to kill, kill it. If you have time, you can play your Drawing Thin, Rabbit's Foot, Painkillers or anything else you need. If you have good cards to recover with True Survivor, go ahead. Especially if there are high priority skills like Nautical Prowess in your discard pile. Don't be afraid to use True Survivor for only 2 cards, if they're good enough.
There are three important things to remember: 1) you can only use the ability once per round, 2) it only works on skill test you perform yourself, and 3) it only works with skill cards.
1) This means that towards the end of your turn, you can be more generous with which skill cards you commit, if you haven't used your ability yet. Don't commit skill cards in the mythos phase "just because you can", and then return them because you didn't draw your 1/16 chance of success. Think about committing cards early in the round, about your odds and potential benefits. Still, don't be afraid to pull back an important card when you do draw that .
2) and 3) There's nothing more to add, really. Just remember those points and don't accidentally commit a wrong card or to a wrong test, thinking you can just get your card back anyway.
Pretty much every time you draw an Elder Sign, it'll have a huge impact. Not only does it make your test easier to pass, you also get a potentially huge bonus (eg. search for a card, get an extra action, draw a card, etc.), but you also get the skill card back to your hand to get the effect again with a future skill test. In rare cases, when you perform a hard test (eg. with Drawing Thin), you might even draw a bunch of cards and get some resources. Note that like your -ability, this only works for skill cards. So you can't pull back your assets from your discard pile.
Ok, not really a choice since the non-replacement cards for Silas haven't been released yet. But even then, I can't imagine them being better than the replacements.
• Nautical Prowess: Your best skill, and arguably the best skill in the game. The way this is worded lets you draw a card and then pull the card back to your hand with your -ability, if you don't need the icons. It doesn't have to be a number-token in order to use the ability, a token with a symbol (///, from now on called bullshit token) will work as well if it has a negative modifier on the scenario card. This should be your primary target to return to your hand with your -ability.
• Dreams of the Deep: This weakness is usually pretty mild, but can be brutal if drawn at the wrong time (ie. early in the game, or if there are simply no tests to take). Silas should be equipped to deal with it pretty soon, and his health pool allows him to even tank this for a turn or two. Try not to draw cards with your last action, or if you know you won't be able to pass another test this turn. Also, try not to draw Amnesia for your basic weakness (but that's more a general tip, not specific to this deck).
• Fire Axe: This deck is really cheap at 0 XP. This will allow you to attack high combat enemies, even early in the campaign. The only asset you really want is Peter Sylvestre, so unless you already have im in your hand, feel free to spend almost all your resources on attacks. Fire Axe will be replaced by Timeworn Brand quite soon.
• Meat Cleaver: Once you have Peter Sylvestre out, this weapon can reliably deal 2 damage on each attack. It's also good for odd-health enemies, and can even heal horror when finishing them off.
• Cherished Keepsake: One copy should be enough to deal with horror, considering the two copies each of Peter Sylvestre and Meat Cleaver
• Rabbit's Foot: Sometimes you will fail tests, and this will refill your hand when you do. Only one copy since it shares its slot with Cherished Keepsake. Later you will get better card draw like True Survivor, so feel free to replace this soon.
• Backpack: Early in the game, this will search for your weapons if you don't draw them in your opening hand after mulligan. Otherwise this can freely be committed to tests, unless you're in desperate need of horror soak (Cherished Keepsake) or damage healing (Painkillers). One copy is enough, since it's only for emergencies.
• Peter Sylvestre: With only 5 sanity, the Big Man is necessary for Silas not to go insane. Not only will he soak horror from treacheries and enemies, it will also allow you to freely use Meat Cleaver and Painkillers, especially once he's upgraded.
• Painkillers: One copy to be able to heal yourself lategame, if necessary. Synergizes very well with Peter Sylvestre.
• Drawing Thin: A 0 XP, 0 cost asset that can draw a card or gain 2 resources in exchange for making a test a bit harder. Sometimes you need to kill a low-combat enemy where +2 difficulty doesn't matter. Sometimes you draw a treachery with a skill test you can't beat anyway. Sometimes you can take tests without using actions (eg. Track Shoes). You'll always find a way to use this - maybe not every turn, but at 0 resource cost, even if you use it only once or twice in a game, it'll be worth it. Combine it with Take Heart and Rabbit's Foot for insane value.
• Track Shoes: Sometimes you want to evade rather than fight, and sometimes you need to be Usain Bolt. Track Shoes help you do both, while also providing an action-less test for Drawing Thin. Keep in mind, the test is only 5 even with Drawing Thin, and you'll be at 6 with Peter Sylvestre and Track Shoes, so you might succeed. If you do, you have to move.
• Defiance: Negating one of the bullshit tokens can be equivalent to +3 or higher sometimes. The fact that the effect of tokens are ignored even if you pull it back makes this even better. There will be times when there are no enemies to stab, and you're thinking "I might as well try to investigate... but wait, if I draw a now, I will also add a doom". Defiance is there to help you. The upgraded Defiance is even better, as it protects you against all bullshit tokens.
• Eureka!: A card draw that can't draw weaknesses, while also helping your test. Do I need to say any more?
• Quick Thinking: Especially good for Silas. If you commit this and are tied for your skill test, it helped you pass the test. If you passed the test by 1, you can pull it back with your -ability. If you pass by 2 or more, you get an action.
• Resourceful: This can get you back your Cherished Keepsake if you need to soak more horror, Take Heart if you're short on resources or cards, and later on True Survivor for insane card draw. For a survivor card, we really don't have a lot of -cards, but the cards we can get, are really good. That being said, I've found that especially in the beginning of a campaign, 1 is enough.
• Steadfast: In the beginning of the game, this is insanely good. Peter Sylvestre should help you stay at high enough health/sanity to always provide at least 2 icons.
• Take Heart: As I mentioned earlier, sometimes you will fail tests, and sometimes you'll know in advance. When you're really desperate you can also just investigate your location with the intention to fail. If you actually succeed, you can just use Silas' -ability to pull it back. Combine this with Drawing Thin for an insane economy boost. If you have your -ability available, feel free to throw this in your last test in your turn. I like to combine this with one skill card that does something on success (eg. Eureka!), and return the latter to my hand if I fail, or return Take Heart to my hand if I succeed.
• Guts: With a base of 2, you'll need Guts to succeed at even the easiest tests. Unless you'd like to be Frozen in Fear forever, you should have a way to deal with it.
• Unexpected Courage: Sometimes the game throws tests at you were you just need this, for example Black Stars Rise. Sometimes there's an Elite enemy with a high combat value or Retaliate, that you just don't want to miss. Unexpected Courage is your joker, there will always be a situation where it's useful. It will also help you get rid of Dreams of the Deep.
• Stunning Blow: While Silas has a high enough value to naturally evade most enemies, especially with Peter Sylvestre and Track Shoes, sometimes you'll want to put damage on a boss but still evade him because you can't kill him in one turn. Also, sometimes you'll want to evade an enemy who has a high evade value, but low combat value. Stunning Blow is just a pretty versatile card.
These are some cards I considered, but decided against including them in the deck. Here's why:
• Baseball Bat: 4 weapons and a Backpack to find them should be enough. This would have a +2 , but as long as you have Fire Axe in the deck, you should have enough resources to buff our even better with the Axe. Keep in mind, Defiance doesn't protect Baseball Bat!
• Dark Horse: It would be possible to take this early on and then replace it later, but I think it's not needed. Once you get Timeworn Brand, Will to Survive and True Survivor, playing Dark Horse will be very difficult.
• Fine Clothes: Those are ok in early Dunwich and Circle Undone, and even better in early Carcosa. You can play 2 copies, and then just upgrade them to other cards after the second scenario. It's usually not worth keeping them after that, even if you don't need the body slot for other cards.
• Flashlight: This card allows you to help your clue getters. Playing this instead of things like Track Shoes, Rabbit's Foot or one of your skills is perfectly fine. Investigating locations with a shroud of 2 or less will guarantee success unless you draw .
• "Look what I found!": See above. If you want to help your Seekers, this and Flashlight are the cards you'll want.
• Leather Coat: You have a big health pool that you don't need this, and you also have Painkillers. In the worst case, you can sacrifice Peter Sylvestre and get him back with Resourceful. If you want to play it safe, you can take this instead of Rabbit's Foot.
• Live and Learn: This is a bit redundant for Silas. It would still be good to have, but failing a test isn't the end of the world, since you can pull back a committed skill card. Also, this doesn't work for most treacheries.
• Lucky!: Not taking this card was a really hard decision. But like with Live and Learn, Silas doesn't really need that effect as badly as other investigators.
• Fearless: Between Cherished Keepsake, Peter Sylvestre and Meat Cleaver, we should have enough horror soak/heal.
• Inspiring Presence: Unfortunately, Silas isn't allowed to use Beat Cop, where this card would be at its best. Peter Sylvestre doesn't need either of the effects of this card, and it's our only ally. You can consider playing this if your teammates could use the effect, but remember Silas' -ability only works if he commits cards to his own tests.
• Intrepid: I like this card: commit it during your encounter, then punch someone three times with a bonus of +1 . Or Evade and punch twice. The problem is, you need to succeed in your test first, which can be a problem for Silas.
• "Not without a fight!": While it sounds good at first glance, not being able to commit this at all if you're not engaged makes it a bit inflexible. I tried to give this card a chance, but I wasn't impressed and I'd rather play an Overpower.
• 2x Peter Sylvestre (2XP each): The additional helps a lot with treacheries, and Peter can now soak 2 horror in a turn without dying. That's a lot of value for 2xp per card. Get both of those ASAP.
• 2x Timeworn Brand (5XP each): This weapon - while expensive - is an absolute beast, if you don't have access to Guardian's big guns. It allows you to fight at a value of 6 without committing cards or resources. Once per game, you can attack for 4 damage and maybe even draw a bunch of cards. You should replace your Fire Axes with this, since your deck is about to become more expensive.
• 1-2x True Survivor (3XP each): More than half of your deck - including Nautical Prowess - is innate. You'll only want to play this later in the game, which is when you have enough good targets in your discard pile and enough resources.
• 1-2x Will to Survive (3XP each): 4 resources is a lot, but getting 3 guaranteed hits on a boss or similar things are just crazy good. You can also use this if you had to use Silas' -ability already in the mythos phase.
• 2x Defiance (2XP each): You commit this card, and all bullshit tokens are +0 for this test, even if you pull it back with your -ability. Very strong, especially later in the campaign.
• 1x Flare (1XP each): You can consider this your 5th weapon or your third Peter Sylvestre, whatever is needed more at the time. If you play this for the ally-effect and can't find an ally, it will not exile!
• 1-2x Key of Ys (5XP each): You have low sanity and upgraded Peter Sylvestre. Those two things alone are enough to justify getting a Key. I know some people don't like to play with this card, and if you think the game is too easy, feel free to skip it. The fact that you don't have access to any passive boosts, makes the Key a good asset for Silas. Remember that it's unique, so talk to your teammates before you buy it.
• 1-2x A Test of Will (1XP each): This is basically a Ward of Protection. With low and values, it can be good to have one of these.
• 1-2x Alter Fate (3XP each): I've found this card to be almost always useful. One of the most obviouis uses of this is to get rid of Frozen in Fear, but there could also be a Locked Door on the other side of the scenario that prevents your Seeker from getting clues, or maybe Beyond the Veil is about to kill someone.
• 1-2x Stroke of Luck (2XP each): Less useful for Silas than for other Survivors, but still allows you to win a hard test every now and then. I wouldn't prioritize buying this, but it's nice to have if you can spare the XP.
• 1x Survival Instinct (2XP each): This is nice to have if you get swarmed and no one has a Dynamite Blast handy. The two icons, combined with your high base and Peter Sylvestre/Track Shoes, this will all but guarantee a success.
• 2x Ornate Bow (3XP each): You can get bows instead of the Timeworn Brands. They're cheaper (XP and resources), you attack with a higher skill value and do 3 damage per hit, but you'll need more actions in total. You can't carry a Bandolier, so you can't carry an offhand weapon for smaller enemies. Missing a shot really hurts, so if you go the bow route, you might want to have Live and Learn to avoid wasting arrows.
• 1x Scrapper (3XP): If you feel like you constantly have a high amount of resources and a low value, you can get this. Also works great if you decided to get Dark Horse.
• 1-2x Fearless (2XP each): If you're struggling with horror, and/or if you or your teammates have mental trauma(s), you might want a couple of those.