Solo Rita Runs Circles Around the Circle Undone

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TheBlackHorror · 1812

Introduction

Rita is the quintessential Survivor. Do not expect to smash scenarios with her, especially in solo. She is meant to run through each scenario along the knife edge of success. To do well with Rita, you must harness her built-in action efficiencies with her special ability, which allows her to ping for free damage or move, and Track Shoes, which allows her to move up to two locations away and can be triggered off her reaction ability for an evasion + double move for only 1 action!

This is a solo Rita deck I have successfully run through TCU up through The Wages of Sin. TCU challenges Rita in 3 primary ways: (1) Investigation; (2) Killing Enemies; and to a lesser degree (3) Willpower. These challenges are only made more difficult in solo. In true Survivor fashion, this deck is designed to give Rita just what she needs to handle TCU. This deck may not be flashy, but it is very efficient--and that's VERY important in solo.

The Level 0 deck gives the foundation of the tools Rita needs to succeed; however, this deck really shines once she gets Cornered. But Cornered alone is not enough, because it exists in a faction with relatively low card-draw--and without cards in hand, Cornered is useless. So to get the most of out of Cornered, this deck's upgrades are geared toward increasing card draw.

Note about Rita's Elder Sign ability: do not be distracted by Rita's damage ping reaction with her Elder Sign ability. The true power of this ability is the movement. In a recent play through of The Greater Good, I drew an Elder Sign on Rita's first action (an Evade), which allowed her to move to the connected location where there was an enemy. Second action: evade, use reaction ability to move to an adjacent location. Activate Track shoes, pass (of course), move again into a fourth location with an enemy. Evade, succeed, use reaction ability to move again. And just like that, in a single turn Rita moved 4 locations and exhausted 3 enemies! So far she has beat this scenario in record time due to this one Elder Sign draw. I cannot understate how amazing this ability can be in solo, especially when you begin to get mobbed by enemies.

Investigation

Let's face it, Rita sucks at investigating. But fortunately Survivors have a lot of tools to get clues. And one of the things Survivors (and this deck) do well is succeeding even when they fail.

Flashlight: need I say more? Rita may still need help on certain locations, so do not be afraid to also commit a Perception, Resourceful, or an extra Rabbit's Foot. In solo you will need to succeed on relatively few investigation tests, so you want to make each one count.

"Look what I found!": This is an easy way to get two clues, but it is not always easy to fail by 2 or less. You may have to pair this with a Flashlight charge to get the desired effect. Worst case scenario, you can always commit "Look what I found!" for the icons. This is also fun to combo with Take Heart for a total of 2 clues, 2 resources, and 2 cards!

Belly of the Beast: If there was ever a Rita card besides Track Shoes, this is it. As good as this is, it can be hard to trigger in solo TCU, since sometimes there won't be enemies on the board! Again, worst case scenario, you commit this to a Willpower test or, later on, use it to fuel Cornered. Belly of the Beast's auto-clue potential is just too good to pass up.

Perception: Rita needs all the help she can get investigating and these provide precious double Investigate icons AND card draw.

Gravedigger's Shovel: The shovel is action- and resource-intensive for what it does. That said, it is also an automatic clue, which for a 4, 5, 6, or even 7 Shroud location allows Rita to get valuable clues at locations she would never have a snowball's chance in hell at ever getting. With Shovel in one hand and a Newspaper in the other, you can time it so that you can get 2 automatic clues off the Shovel's ability! All in all, Gravedigger's Shovel has been a life saver for (sometimes literally, like in Black Stars Rise) on several occasions.

What about Winging It? Winging It is a great card, especially in solo, HOWEVER, especially in TCU, it does not make the cut. The Shroud on most multi-clue TCU locations is too high for Winging It to trigger reliably. With only a -1 Shroud bonus on a 2 investigator, Winging It would require help from other cards for Rita to pass. That said, once Rita gets Cornered, Rita could get some use out of Winging It. Unfortunately, it's pretty much a dead card until then--and that is something a solo investigator cannot afford in a demanding campaign like TCU. BUT, there is a way around this. Once you upgrade into Exile cards and use their Exile cost to remove them from Rita's deck, you can replace them with level 0 cards like...you guessed it, Winging It!

Killing Enemies

Rita's high stat means she will be evading enemies more than killing them. In solo this can create a dangerous snowball effect. The more enemies you leave in play, the more actions you will be forced to expend to evade them, until finally you reach critical mass--you require more Actions to evade all of them than you actually get in a single turn! In solo Rita yYou will have to choose which enemies you can leave alone (such as non-Hunters in locations you will never go to) and which you must kill. I cannot stress how important it is to deal with these enemies as soon as you can so Rita does not get overwhelmed. Fortunately she has a base Combat of 3, which means she can kill enemies when she needs to, especially with some help from a Gravedigger's Shovel or a Fire Axe.

Rita's Evasion Ability: Rita's damage ping upon a successful evasion is really great. However, in TCU is may end up being less helpful than you'd think. It helps her take down odd health enemies or deal with Retaliate enemies (evade, ping for damage, hit with Fire Axe or Gravedigger's Shovel), but mostly you will find yourself evading and moving. Choosing when to use the damage ping can be challenging and one you should plan ahead for.

Fire Axe + Madame Labranche: Not only is Rita not good at investigating, she's not really very good at killing monsters either. However, a Rita armed with a Fire Axe, Madame Labranche, and Track Shoes can quickly become an axe-murdering fiend who can vault across the map at a single bound (Evade-> use her ability to move--> activate Track shoes--> move again). This kind of action efficiency lets Rita really shine. However, in solo TCU, you may not encounter many enemies, and some of those (such as Witches) you may want to keep on the board so you can clear Treacheries in your play area.

Gravedigger's Shovel: the shovel is an okay weapon at best, but it allows Rita to fight at 5 Combat, which is nothing to sneeze at. Granted it is only one damage, but she can always Evade-> ping for damage -> bring shovel down on the back of enemy's head for another damage. The shovel gives Rita versatility and some enemy killing power.

Act of Desperation: I love this card. Unfortunately, there are few targets in this deck, namely Flashlight and Gravedigger's Shovel--hence only 1 of. However, in solo Rita I have found this card invaluable for adding extra damage. I have fond memories of Rita chucking an empty Flashlight at a certain head witch to win an early TCU scenario :)

Waylay: if there was room to add two of, I would. However, Waylay is very expensive to play. This provides a way for Rita to lay a trap (see what I did there?) to take out high health non-elite enemies. If you adapted this deck to multiplayer, I would consider including two, even despite its Resource cost.

Where is Meat Cleaver? As much as I would love to include it, there is just no room for the Meat Cleaver. In TCU at least, investigation takes precedence. Plus, with RIta's 5 Sanity, she will not have much room for playing with Horror. If you want to adapt this deck to multiplayer in which you don't need as much investigation, then by all means throw in the Meat Cleaver in lieu of Perception!

Willpower

There are several cards with icons in this deck, however most tests you will have to take on the chin until you can get Cornered. On those tests you know you cannot pass, commit Take Heart to get some resources or card draw out of it.

I hold back Lucky! for worst tests, especially those that deal horror. Until you get Charisma, you will be forced to choose between Madame Labranche and Peter Sylvestre, so there will be times when Rita cannot absorb horror. Lucky!provides a good fall back. And of course, you can use Resourceful to pull back Lucky later on. Once you have Cornered, Rita can test at (5), which is really good for TCU! With a Lucky! in hand you have a a solid chance of shrugging off even the worst Willpower treacheries.

Where is Guts? You will notice Guts is conspicuously missing. Here's my take: In Solo you must equip your investigator to succeed in completing and (hopefully) winning each scenario. TCU requires intense investigation, something which Rita is obviously not very good at, so a lot of space must be dedicated to clue acquisition. Trust me, there is nothing worse than needing only a few clues left and not having anything in your hand or in play that can help your investigator get them! Furthermore, TCU scenarios essentially require you to (1) get tons of clues so you can (2) kill the boss before time runs out. So accelerated clue acquisition is a MUST if you want to win. Rita's 3 Willpower and her two allies provide just enough soak to help her survive. Once this deck gets Cornered, chucking cards to Willpower tests gets much easier.

UPGRADES

This deck requires a few key upgrades, then from there you have some options, depending how your campaign is going.

KEY UPGRADES

1) Charisma: Rita needs both Madame Labranche AND Peter Sylvestre out at the same time to really succeed. The first for card draw and resources (and to power Fire Axe) and the second to absorb horror on a 5 Sanity investigator! Get Charisma as early as possible.

2) Cornered: the other vital upgrade, Cornered turns any card into Unexpected Courage. Get 2 of ASAP after Charisma. With your other cards such as Drawing Thin, Take Heart, Rabbit's Foot, etc. helping you draw cards, you should have no problem passing a lot of tests.

3) Peter Sylvestre: Upgraded Peter Sylvestre allows Rita to absorb more horror, which you can see quite a bit of in TCU. The additional boost alone gives Rita a lot of Encounter Deck protection in TCU, where Willpower is heavily tested.

4) Newspaper: this is one of my favorite Solo cards. Most scenarios have 2-4 Acts, which means you will be able to trigger this at least that many times. With a Newspaper in one hand and a Gravedigger's Shovel in the other, you can use the Shovel's ability to automatically get 2 clues! If you get tired of the Advice column, use Act of Desperation to chuck it at a Witch and make THEM read it. This card comes with 2 Investigate icons, so even when it's not all that useful, it's still useful.

5) Lucky!: all the power of Lucky! with added card draw to fuel Cornered or help you find your Fire Axe!

6) Ace in the Hole: an extra 3 actions in solo? Yes, please! Access to this card should be criminal!

OTHER UPGRADES

A Test of Will: remember all those awful, brutal, punishing treacheries in TCU? A Test of Will could easily save a scenario and possibly even your campaign. You will find that Rita runs out cards to spend XP on, so that is when you start looking at the powerful Survivor Exile cards like A Test of Will and Flare.

Flare: this card gives a damage-starved Rita a new option for dishing out pain. You can also use it to grab Peter Sylvestre in a pinch, but with the card draw of this deck you probably will not need to resort to this. I include this card mainly for damage-dealing efficiency.

Rabbit's Foot: this is not required, but it does make Rabbit's Foot more efficient and allows you to find your key cards faster.

Will to Survive: this is always welcome to have and works well with "I'm done runnin'!" (which I have only ever used as icons). This is a late buy only because you will have to make room by getting rid of other key cards.

COMBO

It is very possible to achieve a fun combo with this deck: if you attempt an Investigate test you can use Drawing Thin to increase it's difficult by 2 and commit Take Heart. If you fail by 2 or less, play "Look what I found!" and activate Rabbit's Foot reaction ability. This combo nets you 2 clues, 3 cards, and 2 resources or 2 clues, 2 cards, and 4 resources!

MULTIPLAYER ADAPTATION

In multiplayer, Rita can drop a lot of clue acquisition (assuming, of course, the other 1-3 Investigators will have better ways of getting clues) and lean into her killing power. Her maneuverability still makes her ability to get clues valuable (such as with "Look what I found!" and Belly of the Beast), but her true strength is in enemy management. She can use her Evasion to keep non-Hunting enemies in play so they don't get cycled through the Encounter deck while keeping the squishy Seekers and Mystics safe from monsters.

Some good cards to add might include Meat Cleaver, Tennessee Sour Mash, another copy of both Waylay and Act of Desperation, and possibly even Live and Learn.

Depending on the other investigators and whether you plan on taking the Ornate Bow or not, you can get rid of the Perceptions, Flashlights, and Gravedigger's Shovels. Some excellent upgrades include the Ornate Bow (drool) and the upgraded Tennessee Sour Mash.

CONCLUSION:

A lot of people have been wondering how Rita fits into the current investigator pool--she's a poor Fighter, can't Cluever, and sure as hell can't sing--so what good IS she? She is a Survivor with unparalleled maneuverability in a class with a highly coveted card pool. While she may not be a specialist, she is a highly mobile support that can pull investigators out of the fire and save their bacon from all over the map. Her ability to do these things and fill in holes makes her fellow investigators more efficient. Furthermore, her ability to resist a lot of what the Encounter deck dishes out means she can spend less time dealing and more time dishing. Her deck-building may seem limited for now, but she still has access to so many ways to cheat the system. This will only grow with the ever-expanding card pool.

Most importantly of all, she is fun to play!

7 comments

Apr 21, 2019 matt88 · 592

How has Drawing Thin been working for you in TCU so far? Do you use it during investigations with the intention to get its benefits regardless of whether you succeed or not, or do the locations with haunted effects prevent you from doing that? Is it easy to activate it during Agility tests and still succeed? I am asking this because I haven't played in TCU yet.

Apr 22, 2019 TheBlackHorror · 1812

@matt88Drawing Thin is actually used sparingly. It costs nothing except an action to put in play, so as long as you can activate it at least once, it pays for itself. Typically in solo Rita you will want to plan your failures strategically to augment your action efficiency. This means getting as much out of a single purposeful failure as possible (Drawing Thin + Take Heart + LWIF, etc). I can't really tell you more without giving away elements from TCU. But yes, you do get to use it some.

Apr 22, 2019 Brownloaf · 211

Nice one @TheBlackHorror! I'm yet to try her despite my love of Survivors. This looks like an awesome place to start! Thanks for the detailed write-up, really helpful!

Apr 23, 2019 TheBlackHorror · 1812

After some conversations with several different people on using Winging It in solo Rita, I have added a section under Investigation discussing it. In any other campaign I might consider it for solo Rita, but my personal opinion is that it would require too much help in TCU for it fire regularly. But it could work once you get Cornered. See the main article for more details.

Apr 24, 2019 Shakiko · 3

@matt88 So far, I've only tried it in TFA with Calvin and TCU with Wendy, and both campaigns, Drawing Thin was a great, albeit very slow, recurring resource engine.

You can either use it as part of the fail-engine (Take heart, sadly also Rabbits foot) to get most out of 1 single big failure, which makes you quite slow at the start (but kinda useful as Calvin as your first 1-2 turns suck anyways). There it helps allevating the install tempo loss of Rabbit's foot, too, as with both you can double click for cards or for a card+2resources each turn, regaining the tempo lost, esp. with Cornered or when playing Will to Survive or Trial by Fire.

The 2nd way, and the one I prefer for Rita (or Wendy), especially in solo, is to rather run it all stand-alone, without any other Fail-engine pieces. Less installing needed, free Accessory spot for Cherished Keepsake or Lucky Cigarette Case.

With 6 or 7 on Rita due to Track Shoes and/or Peter Sylvestre, you can easily earn an action-less card or 2 resources by raising some select Agility-treacheries difficulty and still have a shot at succeeding. Most failed tests make you lose life, so Rita can take a hit or 2. Also, Track Shoes can earn the ladies 2 money / a card instead if they don't want to sprint after moving. And for Fire Axe, you can net a free resource by raising the difficulty by 2, and spending 1 resource into Fire Axe to get +2 again.

So, as long as you use Drawing thin for resources, it got a place in decks that want to try to go fast as well, w/o the need to run the full fail-engine.

Apr 24, 2019 matt88 · 592

@Shakiko Thanks for the insightful comment! It was pretty informative and helpful!

May 13, 2019 TheBlackHorror · 1812

Added a note about Rita's Elder Sign ability. Using it to evade and move against several enemies in solo can be really powerful!