Roland Banks - Structure Deck Series ( Core Set )

Uncle George the Farmer · 37364

Hello Fellow investigators

Welcome to my structure deck series!


Since the game contains a large pool of cards and this might seem a bit confusing for newer players I decided to create some deck ideas of old investigators in the game. With the new product of starter decks coming on the way, it gave me a reason to create some decklists through every cycle.

I 'm going to give you an upgrade list for everyone through every cycle. For example, I start with Roland from the core set and I'll progress his deck through Dunwich, Carcosa etc..

Let start with the show, shall we?

Roland pros and cons

Roland is a character good at finding clues by killing monsters. Two birds in one stone right? He has a good amount of Health (9) which comes to balance with his low skill (2). So he can take a few hits from agility testing treacheries.

While his is average (3) his low sanity of 5 makes him vulnerable to willpower tests. We need cards to protect him from those treacheries.

He may be good at finding clues but his weakness card is there to mess with his plan. I'd say better draw it in the beginning so you can deal with it fast rather at the end of your scenario.

Last but not least his resource income is pretty poor so you must be very careful where you spend your resources. You don't need many heavy assets that cost a lot otherwise you will be left in a bad position costing you actions to defend yourself.


Try to get a weapon asset in your hand from the beginning. We got 6 weapons and the best choices are Machete and Roland's .38 Special. Use Flashlight in low shroud locations and keep Evidence! and Working a Hunch for the high shroud ones. Guts, Physical Training and Dynamite Blast their use is for willpower tests. If you feel rich you can play Dynamite Blast as a boss finisher especially in the 1st scenario.

Ideal first Hand: Machete, Flashlight, Emergency Cache, Guard Dog, Unexpected Courage.

Upgrade route

You don't have a lot of choices in the core set. There are two routes: the fun one with the Shotgun and the efficient one with Encyclopedia.

Shotgun route: Buy asap aShotgun with 2x Extra Ammunition and swap them with 2xPhysical Training and 1x .45 Automatic. While it looks strong in terms of fighting you usually won't draw often the combo. And Shotgun without Ammunition is actually meh..

On the other hand, Encyclopedia seems the best choice here. It costs only 2 xp and you can add an Elder Sign Amulet to protect your sanity.

After buying your core choices go for 2x Beat Cop to upgrade those 2x Guard Dog and you are ready to enter the 3rd scenario and hope for the chaos bag to be nice to you.


Most people think Roland is a good starting investigator to enter the game and learn the mechanics. I would agree that he is easy to learn but difficult to master. His low sanity is his main problem and you can easily be defeated from a treachery card.

In the Dunwich cycle, Roland gets some beautiful cards in his hand and you can be more creative and versatile. I hope you like this guide and we'll continue with his Dunwich deck build.

To be continued..


Apr 01, 2020 bricklebrite · 458

Roland has only gotten more and more interesting over time as the Seeker card pool has grown. In my opinion, he is so much more interesting to play than Mark or Zoey, who are both rather one-dimensional.

Apr 01, 2020 Uncle George the Farmer · 37364

@bricklebrite That's True! And on my Dunwich build, I tend more to seeker side :)

Apr 02, 2020 yepesnopes · 1

Nowadays, in campaign mode I would suggest to play Roland with The Dirge of Reason weakness , which is much more manageable.

Apr 02, 2020 Uncle George the Farmer · 37364

@yepesnopes New players don't own the books (even myself as an old player) so I will stick with the theme of my series :). Keep in mind that in multiplayer games your fellow investigators can contribute their clues so Cover Up becomes more manageable as a weakness. Thank you for reminding me this because I forgot to mention it above :)

Apr 03, 2020 MorbidSM · 7

I'm really looking forward to the structure deck version of the investigators for the other cycles (Dunwich, Carcosa, etc).

Apr 03, 2020 Uncle George the Farmer · 37364

@MorbidSM I'm glad you like it! I hope you will like the next one too :)

Apr 07, 2020 finalattack · 2

Great deck :) Why the double knife though? Is the 1 card + 1 action + 1 resource better than automatic with 4 bullets?

Apr 07, 2020 Uncle George the Farmer · 37364

@finalattack hello my friend! I use 2x knives to deal with low health monsters (rats, ghouls). Automatic while you're ensured to deal +1 dmg at the same time is expensive (4) to play and it will slow you down for 1 round. For example, Opening hand: Knife/ Machete / Roland 38 can be played with a Flashlight and you have 1 action left to investigate. Automatic on the other hand you play it and you waste 1 action to gain a resource and then play your Flashlight = end of your round. It becomes even more difficult in midgame where you 're in high shroud locations and you need your resources for your events rather than playing your assets. That doesn't mean that Automatic isn't a good asset but still its an expensive level 0 weapon :)

Apr 08, 2020 charlie4727 · 1

Bud, this is exactly what im looking for, thanks!

Apr 09, 2020 Killian · 1

Thank you so much for these decks @Uncle George the Farmer, I started a game with some friends yesterday and we REALLY enjoyed it. I'm using this deck and have 8 exp to upgrade and, as much as I'd like the shotgut, the Enyclopedia route sounds the better choice. As I'm new to the game I'm really not sure how best to approach these upgrades, would you trash the same cards as your shotgun route (e.g. 2 x Physical Training & 1 x .45) and then buy 2 Encyclopedia and 1 Elder Sign Amulet or would you just go for 1 of each and then look to upgrade the dogs further down the line?

And, without wanting to spoil things, I am the Lead Investigator so can choose to carry an ally across into the next scenario. Would you suggest doing that or would I be better served keeping my dog/guard allies?

Apr 09, 2020 Uncle George the Farmer · 37364

@charlie4727 I'm glad you liked it!

Apr 09, 2020 Uncle George the Farmer · 37364

@Killian This is a great game and its nice to have friends to play with! If you were playing solo I would suggest swapping Evidence since you find more locations with 1 clue on them. But you're playing multiplayer/more enemies and clues per investigator so keep it for autoclue. Guard dog for Beat Cop for sure. If you have another character like Daisy do the investigation actions Flashlight is your choice here. You can remove 1x Physical Training for the Elder sign Amulet. If your partner is not Daisy go for the Knife.

The resolution of Gathering says you may add that asset on your deck as the Lead Investigator. It doesn't count on your deck size if that is your question about your other allies so don't worry. This asset is great for Roland so enjoy it! :)

Apr 09, 2020 Killian · 1

That's great thank you @Uncle George the Farmer. And yeah, my allies are Daisy and Agnes. So are you suggesting I trash 1 x Physical Training for the Elder Sign Amulet but what about Encyclopedia? I have 8 xp to use so I could upgrade the dogs now and skip Encyclopedia entirely but then I never actually played the .45 in the first round (I just ran rampant with a machete) so may trash that still for 1 Encyclopedia. How does that sound?

Apr 09, 2020 Uncle George the Farmer · 37364

@Killian If you feel you need more the Elder sign now than Encyclopedia I'd say go for it since Daisy can go 1st for that encyclopedia upgrade. The Upgrade Beat Cop is great in the 2nd scenario. Keep the .45 for the last scenario cause you want a guaranteed +1 damage on some high health monsters and if there are two monsters engaged with you Machete won't be effective.

I hope i helped :)

Apr 09, 2020 Killian · 1

You most definitely have @Uncle George the Farmer. Thank you both for your time and for putting these decks together for us beginners to the game.

Apr 13, 2020 Time4Tiddy · 228

Might be worth noting that this deck requires 2 cores, which many beginners may not have or want to invest in immediately. It's definitely possible to build a strong Roland deck from just the single core you start with, but you'd have more Seeker cards to offset some of the single Guardian.

Apr 14, 2020 charlie4727 · 1

Proxied this deck and the Wendy deck and has a blast playing the core set campaign which now feels much more balanced on standard mode. Thanks again! I only play at home so I proxied the cards with my inkjet copier, cut em out and stuck them to some old magic cards. A good option in Spain right now as we cant move or source another copy.

Apr 14, 2020 Uncle George the Farmer · 37364

@Time4Tiddy True!

Apr 14, 2020 Uncle George the Farmer · 37364

@charlie4727 That's a cool trick! Yeah, these decks are standard mode friendly for most newcomers to learn and play with.

Apr 27, 2020 Oddysee · 1

Very nice indeed. I was wondering, when you say get the Encyclopedia and Elder Sign Amulet, you didn't say what to remove to get them. Any suggestions?

Apr 28, 2020 Uncle George the Farmer · 37364

@Oddysee It's true, thank you for mentioning that. It was my first investigator overview and I wrote it fast and clumsy haha. I think i got better in details to the others :) I swap 2x knifes for encyclopedia and 1x physical training for the Amulet. :)

May 02, 2020 kev971 · 1

@Uncle George the Farmer Thank you so much for this! I'm playing through the campaign and I am using your decks for Roland and Daisy. Excellent work. Can't wait to see more.

May 08, 2020 Uncle George the Farmer · 37364

@kev971 I 'm happy that you liked it :)

May 16, 2020 Shen.CJ · 1

@Uncle George the Farmer Thank you for your articles. My question is: as you said in one comment," If you have another character like Daisy do the investigation actions Flashlight is your choice here. You can remove 1x Physical Training for the Elder sign Amulet. If your partner is not Daisy go for the Knife. " In my opinion, If my partner is Daisy, Roland should focus on fighting(to protect the lady). So I need take the knife. But you chose the opposite way and bring a Flashlight with him(which is Daisy's mojor).Why?

May 16, 2020 Shen.CJ · 1

@Uncle George the Farmer

May 17, 2020 Uncle George the Farmer · 37364

@Shen.CJ hello my friend! hmm I think you 're referring to killian's comment. I said if you have a Daisy partner then the card i swap for Encyclopedia is Flashlight. And I say that if your partner is not Daisy go for the knife(meaning swap knife for encyclopedia). Perhaps I should put a ( , ) over there to be more clear. If there's something else pls tag me again to explain it and forgive me because english is not my foreign language :)

Jul 03, 2020 artyzipp · 1

Really appreciate these decks and the way you are moving through the campaign. I have just two core boxes right now and this is just what I was looking for

Jul 10, 2020 Uncle George the Farmer · 37364

@artyzipp I 'm happy that you liked it! Have joyful gameplay!

Aug 05, 2020 iam · 1

Thanks a lot for this deck and strategy, your structure series really helps me learn the game and its subtilities! The description states that only 1 core set (i.e. 1 pack required) is needed for this deck though, but there are several cards that are unique in the core (e.g. Machete, guard dog, etc), am I misunderstanding something?

Aug 29, 2020 eiseC · 1

Indeed you need 2core sets

Nov 25, 2020 Kostakias · 1

Very helpful for my beginning in the game. Thank you so much!

Jul 16, 2021 garysax · 1

I'm very late, but all of your decks are incredible for not-quite-beginners, thank you so much for these they sort of saved this game for me.

Sep 14, 2021 +DAGON+ · 1

нож? серьезно? как вообще с этим оружием играть

Sep 19, 2021 +DAGON+ · 1

дедукция и предчувствие были взяты как я понял просто ради пона чтобы хоть какието желтые карты были, но они ему явно не идут, лучше бы хил разума взял

Sep 25, 2021 hashstrid · 1

Hi @Uncle George the Farmer Thank you so much for the decks, been very helpful. My partner and I have just gotten in the game, We have 2 core sets and atm we are running Roland & Daisy, They both have deduction and Working a Hunch x2. How should I navigate around this as only one of them can get those sets of cards

Apr 11, 2022 +DAGON+ · 1

machete cant be taken at begining, high payment cards, its fail

May 15, 2023 Leezus · 1

@Uncle George the Farmer thank you so much for the effort you put in creating these decks and writing up how to play them. I just picked up this game recently, and I think I speak for several others with just the core set that these decklists are amazing. Thank you!