Wendy Adams: Who Says She Can't Fight?

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Lucaxiom · 1507

"A combat-oriented Wendy Adams deck" will probably elicit some incredulous guffaws, and yet that is the premise of this deck, and this write-up will justify its potency. It is a tried and tested deck of two campaigns on normal difficulty, so I am confident of it's reliability in practice. I must say that it was great watching the likes of Jim Culver and Joe Diamond repeatedly getting saved by a diminutive 14 year old orphan wielding a Baseball Bat:


Assault and Bat-tery

The raw numbers on the card Baseball Bat are, quite frankly, ludicrous; for 2 resources, you get +2 and +1 damage on an limit-less, 0xp card. This would blow the six resource .45 Thompson out of the water, if it were not for the downside of gambling its existence on every swing.

In the Night of the Zealot campaign's chaos bag, you have a 3 out of 16 chance (18.75%) of losing your bat per attack, and the rest of the campaigns' chaos bags don't deviate much from this number. Those are pretty good odds, but relying on them can see you lose your only weapon (since it takes up two hands) at a crucial juncture, and given the number of times you would perform a fight action though-out a campaign, that's actually likely to happen 3-4 times.

With that in mind, Wendy's ability seems almost tailor-made to eliminate this threat; for her to lose Baseball Bat, she would have to draw a or token twice in two attempts, reducing the odds of that outcome from 18.75% to a measly 4.33%, with a approximately 1 in 5 chance of discarding a card of your choice while you're at it.

It's a pity then that her stat is the lowest possible at 1, all but negating any chance of successful fight actions. Even with the +2 from the bat, she'll struggle against 2 enemies, let alone 3+... except she won't, because she has access to cards, of which many are key to the viability of this deck.

Typical Survivor Bullshittery

We're interested in cards that play off of low stats, failure, and/or huge skill boosts. Enter Live and Learn, Oops!, Trial by Fire, Rise to the Occasion, and Last Chance. In Order:

  • Live and Learn raises her to 5 on the second attempt; respectable enough to deal with low to medium enemies in any situation.
  • Oops! helps when swarmed, which does happen even in 2-player games. against 2 enemies, Oops! is guaranteed to trigger, since your modified skill value cannot fall below 0, which counts as failing by two or less.
  • Trial by Fire is for killing bosses and the like. On use, Wendy will be testing at 7 for a turn, making 4 or even 5 enemies kill-able.
  • Rise to the Occasion sees Wendy fighting at 6 against enemies with 3+.
  • Last Chance's boost varies on your hand-size, but if you're discarding cards with Wendy's ability, then you'll find yourself with a trimmed hand. with three cards including Last Chance, you're testing at 6.

Of course, this is on top of her ability to re-roll any skill attempt at her whim, and since you are occasionally get a 0 or above, you don't always use one of these cards per attack. All together, this gives Wendy's deck enough 'ammunition' to keep swinging until scenario's end. As a backup, Wendy's Amulet (and a not too unlucky Abandoned and Alone) guarantees the long-term fighting potential of this deck, despite the reliance on event cards.

A Positive Mindset

With the inclusion of Oops! and Live and Learn (and another reason mentioned later on related to 2-cost events), we might as well take the rest of the 'failure' suite of cards. This adds Dumb Luck, "Look what I found!", Rabbit's Foot, and Take Heart to the deck.

Despite the combat-focus of this deck, there's no reason to neglect Wendy's moderate and high . Like Oops!, they proc on difficulty 2 tests, regardless of the revealed token (even !). Investigation keeps Wendy relevant even as there no enemies about, and evasion means she's flexible in how to deal with enemies, some of whom you don't want to attack. Dumb Luck even acts as encounter-hate, as it reverses the flow of encounter cards out of the deck into people's threat area, and makes the next mythos phase more predictable.

And now that you're occasionally hoping to fail tests, Rabbit's Foot and Take Heart turn failing by two or less into critical-successes, with failure leading to better outcomes than success with extra card-draw to boot. Live and Learn is especially good for this since it makes you test twice, once when your likely to fail, and thus can proc Rabbit's Foot and Take Heart, and once where you're likely to succeed, to... well... succeed at what you're seeking to achieve, all in one action.

Of particular note are the combos Live and Learn/Oops!/Baseball Bat, and Live and Learn/"Look what I found!". The former gets you to hit twice against two different enemies for 2 damage each in one action, and the latter gets you three clues for one action. Both are partially guaranteed against difficult 2 tests, and are further galvanised with card draw from Rabbit's Foot and Take Heart.

And the Rest

Most of the final cards included are to fund the rather expensive events that this deck includes ("Watch this!", Lone Wolf, and Madame Labranche). Of particular note is Madame Labranche, for while she's good for topping up resources, she also provides card draw for an investigator that may burn through a few cards when using her special ability.

The final two cards involved are Swift Reflexes, which combos with Trial by Fire particularly well, as well as all purpose usefulness, and Waylay, adding an alternative means of killing off enemies, especially should Baseball Bat not appear.

None of the these cards are necessary for the deck theme, however, and are included/excluded at your discretion.

The Keystone Upgrades

While the 0xp version of this deck holds up on it's own, it's when you get 12xp that it all comes together. 12xp nets you two copies of both On Your Own, and Old Hunting Rifle:

On Your Own is the other reason why we're playing with the 'failure' suite of cards. Between all the 'fail by 2 or less' events, Trial by Fire, and Waylay, On Your Own discounts your deck by 20 resources for the up-front cost of 2. As a rough rule of thumb, a deck's 'power-level' goes up the more expensive the cards that are in it. Naturally it makes it harder to play those cards when they come around, but On Your Own almost halves the total cost of this high-impact deck (from 42 to 22). This results in a medium-high power deck with the effective cost of an ultra-poverty deck, and that doesn't include the events you play from the discard pile with Wendy's Amulet!

And of course the Old Hunting Rifle is a direct upgrade of Baseball Bat, and works exactly the same way, including interactions with other cards. This is her equivalent of the guardian's end-game weapon, and while it's not strictly necessary to purchase until the beefed-up enemies of later scenarios show up, the coolness factor of this gun-toting orphan alone is enough for me to recommend you get at least one copy early on, just for the stories you can tell about your Arkham Horror sessions.

Further Upgrades

In all serious though, Oops! (2) is likely a more vital upgrade earlier on than Old Hunting Rifle; the situationalness of Oops! does mean it can sit in your hand un-used for quite a while. Not only does Oops! (2) solve that problem, it also raises the threshold for a guaranteed proc to 3 or less enemies; which is most of them, to be honest.

Those three cards mentioned will take 16xp, possible by the third or forth scenario, and after that, the upgrade path becomes flexible. You can take any of the following cards that directly synergies with the deck, or whatever you fancy:

Weaknesses

This deck cover a lot of ground, and avoids quite a lot of pitfalls; uselessness without enemies, inflexibility when dealing with enemies, too expensive a deck. However, there is one crucial weakness; itsinability to deal with damage/horror. No healing and no soak means damage that you incur stays on you until scenario end. High base and protect against this somewhat, but without many boosts, you're still susceptible to the harder tests, and guaranteed damage/horror incursion is very common. Do be careful especially with Abandoned and Alone, which makes Wendy Adams scared of mental trauma, above all else.

A Narrative Flourish

For the story-minded among you, I think you'll like this next part. At some point, you'll have Lone Wolf, On Your Own, and Abandoned and Alone in your deck. Get it? She's alone guys!

But really, it's quite tragic that by the end, Wendy will have pushed away all potential allies (especially a mysterious benefactress), and even her fellow investigators, probably due to mistrust and stunted social skills. She's fighting like a bad-ass against the mythos, resembling Ellie from The Last of Us (especially with her Old Hunting Rifle), but she's unlikely to ever find happiness down the path she's taking. It's heartbreaking, and yet true to form for the hopeless and despondent setting. This thematic cohesion came about entirely by accident, if you can believe it, but it added a lot of weight to the campaigns I played with this deck.

Conclusion

Snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, and flip off the world that tells you you can't fight with 1. Fail in the battle, succeed in the war, and do it all alone, as you are the only one you can trust.

9 comments

Jan 26, 2020 Conalias · 1

Nice deck. I'm currently trying the On your own/Dark horse version so with 2 cost events but without any economy. Of notice Oops is a guaranteed success if she is NOT using her baseball bat, so for one damage only. Those decks does not require many xp so Adaptable can easily be included early on. I don't quite catch why Will To Survive does synergies with Swift Reflexes though.

Jan 26, 2020 matt88 · 1687

@Conalias Swift Reflexes give you an extra testless action with Will to Survive.

Jan 26, 2020 The King in Yellow · 138

Good write up. I like it

Jan 27, 2020 Difrakt · 746

This one makes me laugh because back in the core days Wendy was pretty easily the best solo investigator for killing Umordhoth.

Jan 28, 2020 Lucaxiom · 1507

@Difrakt Really? How so?

Jan 28, 2020 Difrakt · 746

She's just really well tuned for scenario III of core. She can slip by the enemy ball that usually stops everyone else in act II with a single card, she doesn't struggle with sanity like Roland did or with clues like Agnes did back before the card pool expanded. Baseball bat was a source of actually some incredible damage, and combined exceptionally well with Will to Survive, the best upgrade card in core. That's before you even look at her ability, which remains the best-in-game several dozen investigators later.

She was capable of outputting 1-2 turns of serious damage in a way no one else could.

Jan 28, 2020 Django · 2628

@DifraktWill to Survive and Baseball Bat were even better with Leo De Luca. Though he doesn’t work with On Your Own

May 28, 2020 KJraptor · 1

Love the narrative flourish!

May 28, 2020 Lucaxiom · 1507

@KJraptorwhy thank you! I shall commit to adding more to future decks I publish.