Stella - Blunder Woman (Hard Mode)

Card draw simulator

Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
Stella - A por todo! 1 0 0 1.0
TWBG Stella 0 0 0 1.0
Stella - Blunder Woman (Hard Mode) 0 0 0 1.0
Stella - Blunder Woman (Hard Mode) 0 0 0 1.0
Inter-Stella Detective Agency 1 1 0 1.0

StartWithTheName · 36694

StartWithTheName

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This is a deck ive been working on since Stellas sigs got spoiled a month or two back. It leans hard into one of my favourite play styles - Full throttle Survivor BS (that stands for Blatant Shenanigans kids, honest). It has cleared the first 3 maps of Dream eaters Waking side on hard paired with a Skids deck, versions of it have cleared several standalones (mostly on standard), and yet another version is currently seeing how many haunted effects it can tank in TCU with one of my regular play groups to see how tough it really is. So far pretty tough. Ive not played it true solo as I dont tend to do so. The solo tag here is really just reflective of the fact I have usually been fine to wander off on my own. If those of you with more experience solo have thoughts to share Id happily hear them

To New Players: This deck isnt really a beginners deck, its more of a direction you might take Stella as yout card pool grows and you get more experience. If you are familiar with other LCGs however you may be fine ofc - it doesnt have to pull off every combo to work well, theres just plenty available. Eitherway it may be worth a read as ive written the Compounding Failure section to describe general tips for the "on fail" suite in survivor. This isnt always obvious even to experienced players until you see it in action. But once you do, it is a wonder to behold. Its just a really strong, versatile, and thematic play style thats just incredibly satisfying to play. Absolutely beautiful design.

To those of you who have been playing for a while I hope you find this entertaining. Its a very strong and reliable build that lets you adapt easilly, roll with the punches, and come out on top. Just like the old full BS (that stands for brilliant stuff, kids honest) Wendy decks Just ramped up to ten.

Too all of you: I Also have a detailed article written that goes through these methods a bit more thoroughly that the wonderful folk at Los Archivos de Arkham have so kindly let me publish on their site.

* Detailed Article on Basic Chaos Bag here

* Detailed Article on On Fail Tech here

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Spanish versions kindly translated by The Los Archives guys are here:

* Spanish verions of Basic Chaos Bag Article here

* Spanish version of On Fail Article here

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YOUVE GOT FAIL (TL:DR)

OVERVIEW:

  • CLUEING: ....................... Good.
  • ENEMY HANDLING: ...... Moderate
  • ENCOUNTER PROT: ...... High
  • DRAW CONSISTENCY: .. High
  • CASH ENGINE: ............... High
  • HEALING: ....................... Self only, very low.

PLAYSTYLE:

  • ROLE: ............................. Flexible cluer with a little combat. Generalist
  • COMPLEXITY: ................ High.
  • JANK FACTOR: ............... Inter-Stella!.
  • THEMATIC FEEL: ........... Reactionary, Adaptive, Unflappable

SLOTS:

A high action compression focused generalist built capitalise on Stellas bonus action almost every turn and showcase some of her more impressive tricks to provide a bit of a guide to her play style for experienced players and new.

The majority of the on fail cards can be combined off single (deliberately) failed investigate actions to trigger multiple effects off a single action. Do you want to use Drawing Thin to deliberately tank a test, use Rabbit's Foot and Take Heart to draw cards and pennies, then spend them on one (or even two) "Look what I founds!", then return the Take Heart to hand via Grisly Totem? What if you could keep doing parts of this over and over while more and more collect up as you build to a critical mass? ... and get your action back. Stella can.

Drawing Thin, Rabbit's Foot, Take Heart and Perception, help supply key cards, while Resourceful, Scrounge for Supplies and Grisly Totem keep key them in circulation. Meanwhile Lucky!, Granny Orne, and Neither Rain nor Snow provide encounter protection (when you dont simply choose to fail it for economy

Once youve successfully milked that deliberate fail, big skill cards and passive boosters bump you into high stat mode to pass actions on remaining tests and pushing you to the other end of the scale.

The deck has a slight lean towards clue/evader but can be adapted to more combat via xp depending on party needs. Similarly it can be shifted more towards clues. Eitherway it can generate some truely spectacular plays both in terms of stories and narrative moments and some solid and literally unstoppable mechanical manipulation. Pure unashamed, relentless but effective BS (thats short for Blatant Shenanigans, kids).

Stella is just so satisfying to play.

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THATS NOT FLYING, ITS FAILING WITH STYLE (Upgrades)

Priorities:

  • MVP Grit Your Teeth Drawing Thin x2 If you arnt playing taboo you could just start with this. If you dont know what taboo is, you dont need to use taboo, just go enjoy the game until you need more challenge. Drawing Thin adds some solid reusable cash and draw as well as a means of forcing a tactical fail. Grit Your Teeth is a hard loss, but its the least worst cut in this build because most of the time we want our fail in the investigator phase, which may be an action in.

  • Granny Orne (3) Encounter protection and reusable micro Lucky!lets that gives you more control over what you pass or fail. You can even use it on someone else. Her 4 cost is a little high for this build, hence getting Drawing Thin first. And with Drawing Thin we no longer need Madame Labranche cash so were free to upgrade old ladies.

  • 1x Relic Hunter, then 1x Grisly Totem See totem and Take Heart combo in compounding failures section. Relic Hunter first as Rabbit's Foot is just too good to give up even for the combo.

Later Options:

Take these to match playstyle and team composition. In general you want to swap like for like, though dropping dark horse is another option if you want to diversify. Swap out clue tools for combat or visa versa if you want to specialise.

Generics

  • Lucky!(3) Unless you have spare xp, you can likely skip Lucky! (2) since you have draw elsewhere, but that 1 more point of skill and option to play on other players is a big step up.

  • Peter Sylvestre (2) Campaign dependant, TCU will kill him off too often. But that agi pip goes a long way for your evading, and recuring horror soak lets you tank more Retaliates/Alerts/ shocks.

Want more clues

  • Perception Sharp Vision Once you have totems and drawing thin you have the draw elsewhere. Extra clues are simply great and it combos well with the totems extra pip (see clues section).

  • "Look what I found!" (2) I didnt know this card existed until quite late in deck testing so ive not tried it. But it looks really solid in this build on paper.

Want more combat?

  • Timeworn Brand I almost always take at least 1x of this over Meat Cleaver unless im going full chainsaw. Its expensive but it just gets the job done. No ammo. No Horror management. Its even relic traited for Geist enemy reasons (Spoilers). 1x not 2x as you have enough draw and alternatives to simply wait for it to show and that xp is pricey.

  • Jessica Hyde That combat boost is always nice. As is the health pool, for dealing with Called by the Mists (see encounter protection). You will also need a Charisma so shes going to effectively cost you 3 more but in the right build its going to pay off.

  • Chainsaw. I mean you wanted to use this the minute you Saw it no? The only dissapointment is that i didnt bring Act of Desperation for comedy Chainsaw throwing, but lets save that for a Yorick deck eh ;). If you are bringing this, then probably swap out a Old Keyring since they compete for that off hand slot.

  • Oops! (2) Oops! lvl0needing to target a differnt enemy is too restrictive to use unless you also use it for pips or you have swarm enemies around. But the level 2 version lets you deal damage to the same enemy with that shiney new Chainsaw without losing a supply. Also works for .18 Derringers

  • .18 Derringer(2) More ammo, and more accuracy for cheaper. Just a solid staple weapon in a lot of decks and a little extra synergy from stella.

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DETAILED PILOTING

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FAIL TO PREPARE TO FAIL, PREPARE TO FAIL TO FAIL (Muligan)

Yeah ok, you may need to read that title a couple of times to get it to make sense, but it works i promise!

You are looking for as many draw tools as you can find, these are the core of your engine and will feed you clue tools over the game, keep:

Mulligan any thing else in hope of finding the above unless something circumstance specific is somehow vital. If you get a good stack of draw tools in there, then consider keeping/digging for clue tools instead but it is secondary.

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COMPOUNDING FAILURE (Action Compression)

A lot of players misunderstand survivor as a class thinking they are designed to play like seekers or guardians, but with a set of panic buttons. This tends to result in a deck that is essentially a slower version of how other classes play, but with a gimmicky angle to them. The problem is they are trying to imitate a different class's tools by mapping whatever survivor card looks like the closest match, and these are often cards that are designed to be played differently and come with additional costs to use. The on fail cards are then used to compensate for the loss of consistency. This works to some degree, and can be fun, but makes survivor look like a weaker or "challenge mode" class as you didnt get to experience its full potential (both mechanically and entertainment wise). So I have compiled a quick run down of some key principals to help explain:

Hedging3-1-600x338.png
  • Simple Hedging Cards like Lucky! or "Look what I found!" let you take tests at lower skill vs test strength. Normally testing at say 1 above might offer you a 50% chance or so of getting something useful back, but when you have Lucky! in hand, the chance of passing is similar to having 2 points of skill higher. If you draw a -1 or better you pass and keep the lucky for the next test. If you draw -2 or -3, you play the lucky and pull your skill up retrospectively. You can also hedge with other effects. Rabbit's Foot means you either get that clue, or draw a card and get your action back via your ability. You dont know what you`ll get but you will get something good from the test. By simply having the card ready, your options change and you are able to take tests at lower strengths than decks which focus on repeating one task well. This leaves you much more flexible, and usually means you can the ground running earning time in the early game that other decks spend setting up.
Hedging8-1-600x337.png
  • Going All Out Survivors can combine several effects on a single failed action. For example, with Rabbit's Foot down, you can investigate when you have no chance of passing, throw in a Take Heart, fail, then play 2 copies of "Look what I found!" if you managed to fail by 2 or less (it doesnt say one per test). Granny Orne or Lucky! can even mean that works on 3 or 4 or less (5 combined). Now you are getting 3 cards, 2 pennies for one action with the potential to get 2-4 clues if you draw a suitable token and can afford it. Throw in Drawing Thin and you can both force the fail and provide you the cash you need for that second "Look what I found!". Stella's personal twist on this is to also get that action back as well. By compressing multiple on fail triggers into single actions, survivors can have obscene action compression being able to play entire hands in some cases, and since many of these effects offer draw or economy, they can be chained. This is likely why as a class survivors dont have access to many bonus actions. Importantly you dont have to have that many moving parts in each test to see get good value, even just 2 is a good return, and quite a few of these are cards which stay in play. For Stella that can be as little as her ID card's and a Rabbit's Foot which you can then use every turn.
Hedging5-1-600x338.png
  • Extra Failing Leaves You Vulnerable to Retailiate/Alert/Haunted and tokens As these can trigger on failed tests even if that fail came in inverted commas with a high five. This means you either need ways to weather the hits (like Stella`s massive HP and Sanity pool), allies like Peter Sylvestre or Jessica Hyde, or you need to pick your fights carefully, and have ways to pass tests when needed and fail reliably when its safe.
Hedging6-1-600x338.png
  • Your skill can never be reduced below zero Tokens which would take your skill below zero, instead reduce it to zero, as does the . This mainly matters for investigating, and theres some tips in the clues section, but the general principal is important to bare in mind on any card that relies on you failing by a specified amount. For example if you draw a -4 when investigating a 2 shroud location with your basic 2 , your skill for the test is 0 not -2, so you have failed by 2 points not 4, letting you play "Look what I found!". An important exception to this is Lucky!, as for reasons I have never worked out, I am reliably informed by the rules gurus of Arkham that these are applied BEFORE your skill is zero'd. I assume (but have not had it confirmed) that Granny Orne's is the same. Either way - the principal gives a lot of value to things which lower test strength vs things which raise skill but ill save that for below.

  • Live and Learn is not an inferior lucky, its an extra action What Live and Learn does is let you both PASS and FAIL the same action. You can get all the compression you want, then also get the pass. You can fail ( gain an action) get 2 clues with "Look what I found!", then throw in Perception to swing +4 int on the second test and pass it, drawing a card... You now have 3 actions left and a smug grin. Live and Learn effectively gives stella a (figurative) 5 action turn. Lucky! on the other hand is better on things like encounter tests that you didnt initiate by choice.

  • Draw Hard We touched on this above, but a lot of the best compression tools are one shot cards. Which is why you need to draw hard to get several in hand over as often as you can. Key tools in this deck are: Rabbit's Foot (this will carry you all game if you get it early), Drawing Thin (similar), and Take Heart. Track Shoes plays into this by opening up the possibility to fail a test any time you move, Throw 2 drawing thins into that and its a 7 test you cant actually pass, but gives you pile of other effects (Take Heart/Rabbit's Foot anyone?) and even a action. Prioritise draw it will feed you action compression.

  • Repeated Failure You then want ways to reuse these powerhouse cards, hence the Resourceful and Scrounge for Supplies. Main targets for these are: Live and Learn (see below), "Look what I found!" (clues), Take Heart (economy), or a weapon if you need it.

Right thats the generics done, onto some BS tricks more specific to this build and Stella specifically. Some more BS tips in the clues and enemy handling sections below where they relate to specific cards like Old Keyring and Chainsaw:

  • Duel Purpose You are likely to get the most value back from the first failure each turn due to your and Rabbit's Foot being once per turn. While there may be reasons you want to compress too actions by failing, you will also want to pass a few. Her therefore has dual purpose. Its a fail and a pass depending what you need at the time. The impact of this is actually a very solid 5-6% swing in your favour on all tests. The micro heal also helps recover some of that damage/horror you took earlier, so its ok to float a little.

  • Toggling Stats up and down with Dark Horse This deck uses Dark Horse in a different way to other decks. You almost always want to take the penny in upkeep. This is because unless you are worried about encounter tests, you want to start your turn with low stats to let you perform a controlled failure, trigger all your BS, bow a few times while your comrades sigh, then spend the money on something like Grit Your Teeth, boosting your stats for the next 3 or 4 actions you take. Its not about maintaining Dark Horse active all the time, its about planning ahead. Madame Labranche can play into this either putting you to 1 penny at the end of your turn so you have 2 after upkeep ready to play "Look what I found!", or by letting you stay at 0 over upkeep then ping up to 1 for your first action to turn Dark Horse off long enough to fail. It just depends on the board state and what you have in hand.

  • Grisly Totem & Take Heart A strong combo, that is debatably glitching the game a bit, and goes into overcharge in Stella. Commit Take Heart to a test you plan to fail, use Grisly Totem on take heart. It has no icons, so it doent even gain a pip, but when the test fails, you can chose the order of effects from Take Heart and Grisly Totem since they both trigger on the same timing "if this test fails" allowing you to return Take Heart to hand after getting the benefits. Optionally throw in Drawing Thin, and you now have a solid source cash and cards you can trigger every turn. In practice the few when ive tried this I didnt need to use it more than a couple of times, I found myself preferring to use the bonus +1 on other skill cards like Resourceful or Sharp Vision for the boost (and recursion on an unexpected ), so its not as OP as it looks on paper. Nevertheless, if you plan to use it on Take Heart I suggest checking with people you are playing with as its the sort of thing that many would prefer to house rule to curb abuse. Alternatively just dont go over the top with it if its not fun.

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GRAND IF YOU CLUE, GRAND IF YOU DONT (Clues)

  • Old keyring isnt just a smaller Flashlight See note above about your skill not being able to go below zero. While you can use it that way, where it really shines (badum-tssh) is lowering the shroud to make "Look what I found!" land on 3 or 4 shroud locations. If you pass get 1 clue and lose a key, if you fail (even by ) you can at most fail by 2 on 3 or 4 shroud, so you can play "Look what I found!" guaranteeing at least 1 clue. Note that if managed to fail, you you dont remove a key from the keyring. If as i suggest you are recurring "Look what I found!" via Resourceful and Scrounge for Supplies, you can get a lot of uses from this without depleting the keyring. Note also that your value is irrelevant in this. Infact a higher risks accidentally passing and running out of keys! You will learn to curse that +1 like you do the in other decks! Be careful with Live and Learn on a Old Keyring/"Look what I found!" combo as if that +2 on the second test causes you to succeed, you will still lose the key (which you may be fine with). This works the other way around to our .18 Derringer and Chainsaw counter parts (read the cards carefully)

  • You can use Winging It from hand to cover 3 shroud locations with "Look what I found!" Youre less bothered about how its used from hand as it doesnt get the bonus clue. It is then in the bin ready to play for 2 clues later. Note that with this much draw, Winging It will keep coming back so as long as you have the cash just keep cycling it, and that spending that last penny can help with the stat toggling trick on Dark Horse (see above).

  • One Shot Clues Perception, Neither Rain nor Snow, Live and Learn, Old Keyring, Lucky!, Sharp Vision (thats a lot of options) can all also be used for one shot clueing the normal boring way. Note that a lot of these combo nicely with Granny Orne (3), and Grisly Totem. Any single pip in that combo (Resourceful anyone?) can be an equivalent to 6 with the granny/totem combo in play. The trick is in being able to flip back and forth between going into a test with low to fail on demand, then boosting high with big boosts once youve done all your compression.

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GOING POSTAL (Enemy Handling)

  • Hit and Miss Its tempting to see .18 Derringer and Chainsaw just as weapons which you definately get one success out of each ammo/supply. And this isnt entirely wrong, but like our Old Keyring friend, theres a lot more you can do with this. Live and Learn lets you reload your gun/saw and then hit. Oops! (2) lets you miss, reload, AND deal the damage to any enemy at your location - including your original target if you like or something awkward like aloof or retaliate enemies. Just like "Look what I found!" theres nothing stopping you playing 2 Oops!s on a single fail or indeed all your other on fail compression stuff and action. You can THEN Live and Learn for a further attack that you aim to pass. A double oops, live and learn chainsaw action is potentially 9 damage here... then you get your supply and actions back ready to take your turn. 3 more chainsaw swings anyone?

  • Youre good at evading too With Track Shoes and/or Peter Sylvestre down that 5 or 6 agi to use as needed. Dont forget you can bump this with Granny Orne, Resourceful, Neither Rain nor Snow, Dark Horse, Lucky!, Grisly Totem and ... well a few other things.

  • Dont forget all these big wild boosts can boost when needed too. So does Jessica Hyde if you took her and Dark Horse. Just one of those active gets you to a respectable 6 on .18 Derringer, or Chainsaw. Putting you on par with a lot of guardians, but in a clumsier way.

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BEYOND THE FAIL (Encounter Protection)

  • Pick your fights Taking a failed check in the mythos phase will give you the bonus action for the investigator phase. Whether you want to do this or not depends on the test and general board state. You have a massive health pool at least so a small hit here and there isnt a big deal not least because you are likely to take more tests than most IDs with all those bonus actions so you should see slightly more s to heal from (unless ive just jixed you by saying that). The benefit of doing this largely depends whether you have things like "Look what I found!" in hand or not to capitalise on a within investigator phase failure instead. This makes Granny Orne (3) and Lucky! particularly valuable for encounter protection as they let you choose passing/fail once you know the consequences. 3 horror from Rotting Remains for a fail trigger is a very different proposition than 1, especially with Peter Sylvestre in play!

  • Neither Rain nor Snow DOES let you trigger your Neither Rain nor Snow cancels the effects of the test, your is a separate effect which can be triggered on a fail (so is Rabbit's Foot). You still fail, there are just no effects of the test.

  • Called by the Mists is nasty with Drawing Thin Just to point this out as it can be overlooked. Drawing thin boosts the test strength so it quite often pushes you into the 4+ zone. A lot of the time you have the spare damage to take the hit (Jessica Hyde anyone? that damage isnt direct), so called by the mists isnt always somethng you have to get rid of on sight like other sig weaknesses. With drawing thin in play this dynamic shifts south very fast. Be careful with it. On the other hand things which lower shroud like Old Keyring and Winging It work in your favour.

  • Neither Rain, Nor Snow, Nor Drawing Thin: Finally, its not hard to not care if you boost the test strength on a test that has no consequences. If you are committing Neither Rain nor Snow to an encounter check to stop the risk of on fail effects, by all means, pumop that test strenght as high as you like with Drawing Thin for all the cards or cash you can grab.

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As ever, congratulations for making it to the bottom of all that and thanks for reading. If you give this a bash I would love to hear how it went, especially if you have used Quick Learner or Déjà Vu with any success. I have as yet been too wimpy to try them.

42 comments

Sep 02, 2020 MrGoldbee · 1061

Take Heart triggers AFTER Grisly. No combo.

Sep 02, 2020 StridingCity · 5

They trigger at the same time and you can choose their order.

Sep 02, 2020 StartWithTheName · 36694

Thanks for checking @MrGoldbee, but @StridingCity has it right. I checked this quiet thoroughly with the various rules gurus on discords actually in respect to Try and Try Again (which is the one that kicks in too late). They both trigger on the "if that skill test fails" step, so you can chose the order. Try and Try Again apparently can return take heart, but you wouldnt get the benefit. Eitherway as I say in the text, this could potentially be seen as glitching, it is likely not intentional in the design so i could encourage people to consider other players before you do it. I at least never wanted to use it to get more plays of take heart than the deck could manage without it via Scrounge for Supplies or Resourceful. I guess the main benefit here was saving 1 of those for anther "Look what I found!" or Live and Learn.

Sep 03, 2020 Yenreb · 15

It hadn't occurred to me to pair Dark Horse with Stella, but it seems obvious now. The timing of Take Heart ("If this test fails") and "Look what I found!" ("Play after you fail") is such that you can use the former to pay for the latter on the same test, solving the usual problem with saving up for those 2-buck events with Dark Horse out. Neat!

Sep 04, 2020 KenkakuKnight · 1

@YenrebI'm pretty sure Take Heart and "Look what I found!" doesn't work. "Look what I found!" resolves on St.6 of the skill test framework, whereas Take Heart resolves on St.7.

Sep 04, 2020 Zinjanthropus · 162

I tried playing this deck through the Web of Dreams with a Winifred Habbamock deck (built around Joey (3)), and I was amazed at how many clues Stella got! She also managed to deal the killing blow to the final boss using some .18 Derringer + Live and Learn shenanigans. Super fun deck!

I found it very difficult to use Dark Horse though. I just never had the right number of resources to engage Dark Horse mode after failing. I probably could have planned things out better, though.

Also, as a side note, with all of the draw in the higher XP deck, Narcolepsy was a terrible weakness. I do not recommend. lol.

Sep 05, 2020 lexatu · 2

@KenkakuKnight I'm not sure how this doesn't work. You fail the test at step 6, play look what I found in response, and then you still lost the test? If take heart was committed you would be forced to resolve it? it's not like look what I found makes you succeed the test or ignore the results of the failed test.

Sep 05, 2020 KenkakuKnight · 1

@lexatuIt doesn't work in that Take Heart won't pay for "Look what I found!", it will only refund it. This means that you still need to the resources up front to pay for it . It's an important difference that can change the tempo of the game.

Sep 05, 2020 lexatu · 2

@KenkakuKnight Ah! sorry I thought you meant you couldn't resolve them both on the same test. What you're saying makes much more sense.

Sep 05, 2020 KenkakuKnight · 1

No worries @lexatu! I was hoping to use Take Heart to pay for "Look what I found!" and was disappointed when the timing didn't work. But there are so many good Survivor cards and combos that I don't mind it not working out.

Sep 09, 2020 Conalias · 1

Can Wingin It -1 be used when the investigate action is triggered through Old Key ring? And then achieve a -2 shroud modification?

Sep 10, 2020 Zinjanthropus · 162

@Conalias Winging It and Old Keyring each have their own investigate action so they can't be combined together

Sep 13, 2020 HanoverFist · 372

@StartWithTheName Just wanted to post to commend your fantastic pun work in your headers. The deck title got me to read in the first place, and you did not disappoint!

Sep 13, 2020 StartWithTheName · 36694

hehe - Thanks @HanoverFist. I legitimately have decks i did not publish because i didnt have a good enough pun.

Sep 16, 2020 serre · 25

seems #dumb luck is also great addition to stella's deck even with here 4 agility.

Sep 19, 2020 StartWithTheName · 36694

By all means give it a bash @serre. The most flexible slots to cut are grit your teeth and dark horse.

I personally didnt take to Dumb Luck in this deck because i was pushing agi high and aiming to pass tests on it without too much effort. This also makes Track Shoes more reliable. The cards doing a similar role to dumb luck in this deck are Lucky!, and Live and Learn which also let you "hedge" on evade checks but are cheaper and can be used on other tests. You can also go very high on agi with Neither Rain nor Snow if needed so theres a lot of ways to pass an evade without needing additional hedges. Of course you dont get the pseudo-kill that dumb luck offers. So it just depends on what you are trying to do woth the slot really. Incase you are interested, if you are simply trying to take the deck more combative, a cheeky 1x Waylay is another option, though admittedly it doesnt play into on fail effect stacking in the same way.

Sep 20, 2020 Krysmopompas · 173

Doing a morph of this one in Return to Forgotten Age, thanks for the ideas. I also went no Dark Horse, a little more combative and am indeed running Quick Learner - it’s a hoot, like with Stella in general it seems you have to plan ahead for it but it’s great. Since FA favours evading Vengeance enemies I’m loading up on Dumb Luck (2) when the time comes.

Sep 24, 2020 OzValdo · 355

Why no quick Learner?

Sep 25, 2020 StartWithTheName · 36694

fantastic @Krysmopompas, yeah TFA looks like somewhere Dumb Luck may shine. Can also upgrade into Close Call so the vengeance enemy doenst come back next turn (though you know it somehow will anyway!)

@OzValdo, I breifly cover this at the very bottom of the guide ;)

If im honest my reason for not trying it was mainly that I forgot about it. Though I do like having control about which test I fail as I am usually trying to do so for bonus clues. The other concern (and again this is entirely theoretical and untested) is that the times you have an enemy on you you will usually be using the first action to attack or evade, and these are tests that in this build I am trying to pass. Perhaps this plays more into @Krysmopompass and @serres Dumb Luck approach however. It looks like theres something there on paper at least.

Sep 25, 2020 StartWithTheName · 36694

Heads up anyone following this thread. The accompanying broader guides are now published:

and Spanish versions kindly translated by The Los Archives guys are here:

Theres a few more still to come from this series, but they are less relevant to this deck. Hope you enjoy them.

Sep 29, 2020 Krysmopompas · 173

awesome thanks `@StartWithTheName. I was mentioning Stella's pack's new card Dumb Luck (2) in particular, as it can throw the enemy right to the bottom of the encounter deck. My first upgrades after a 2xTabooed Drawing Thin and 1xQuick Learner. Good point on Close Call too. Apologies for no hyperlinks.

Oct 09, 2020 Zanadar · 1

Thanks a bundle for the elaborate write-up and awesome deck list @StartWithTheName! I'm fairly new to the game (Done Dunwich Legacy and almost through FA right now). I'm going to give this a swing in DE. I'm tempted to take on Quick Learner. I'll let you know how to goes once I'm through!

Oct 13, 2020 ramensgood · 116

I and my GF has been playing through all the previous campaigns and are now just starting on Dream-Eaters. We mainly used decks you created and I must say we really enjoy them! Excellent guiding for how-to and upgrade paths, which makes it much easier for us, since there's a lot of cards to know about at this stage.

I have to say Survivors are the most fun to play for me and the GF prefers the Seekers. Though I did see her light up a couple of times Practicing Safe Hex.. I really enjoyed the Faceplanter. But for me, this Stella shenanigans is my new favorite.

We really are looking forward to see what Innsmouth will do to your elaborate deck scheming. Thank you for making it easier for us to enjoy this intriguing and fun game!

Oct 23, 2020 siroma · 1

Would Fire axe be a better weapon replacement compared to meat cleaver and the like. Easy enough to activate between dark horse/drawing thin.

Oct 24, 2020 StartWithTheName · 36694

Thanks @Zanadar and @ramensgood - I appreciate the kind words. Its always nice to hear that folk have got use from these decks.

@siroma - Re Fire Axe vs Meat Cleaver its a bit of a coin flip. This isnt really a Dark Horse focussed build, in fact the current version I run of this simply swaps grit your teeth and dark horse out for some combination of Waylay, Dumb Luck (I came around to this - especially in TFA to move enemies to less awkward locations), Improvised Weapon, and/or Manual Dexterity depending on party composition. In most cases they still get xp`d over early.

I find that once I have Drawing Thin and enough draw to find Take Heart early game I end up with a lot of cash easy enough. Not really through abusing either card, just really by using drawing thin to force fails when needed, so although ive not tried the axe in this build, its not impossible that it might be hard to stay at 0 cash, and also if ive swapped in the Waylays, i want to horde money more. Though dumb luck or man dex could be paid for by on tap drawing thin cash maybe? The other way i use this cash however is to xp over the cleaver with a Timeworn Brand. Its expensive, but its ammo free. So its not far into the campaign that the axe/cleaver debate becomes moot. That all said, as with any survivor these days theres probably a dark horse build to be made somewhere.

Nov 14, 2020 andyhaggis · 1

@StartWithTheName Kudos. This deck is just too much fun to play. Stella has become one of my favorite true solo investigators playing this deck through RttFA. Awesome :-)

Nov 16, 2020 StartWithTheName · 36694

Thanks @andyhaggis - always good to hear people enjoying these things. Not tried her in either TFA yet, but that agi makes her look like she`ll handle it relatively well.

Jan 05, 2021 FederalCat · 1

Un deck que se me hace bastante interesante al aprovechar cada oportunidad en el juego sea ganando o ganando con fallo XD. ¡Tengo que probarlo! El combo de Heart y Look se me hace bastante bueno y veo otros igualque tengo que probar. Gracias!

Jan 13, 2021 andresd6 · 1

Amazing Survivor deck, @StartWithTheName.I am missing Track shoes for this deck. Can you recommend an alternative?

Jan 13, 2021 StartWithTheName · 36694

Thanks @andresd6! and after a little trip to google translate - Gracias @FederalCat!

You`ll be fine without the shoes. Some sort of asset from your collection that has a passive +1 would be the easiest swap. Peter Sylvestre comes to mind first. Or Moonstone. Failing that, just Manual Dexterity would work as a slightly more potent one shot.

Jan 13, 2021 andresd6 · 1

@StartWithTheNamethank you, you are the best

Jan 28, 2021 VikingLeif · 1

@StartWithTheName Thanks for building this deck! I ran my own variant of this through Carcosa and a bunch of sidequests in a 4player campaign, and it's easily my favorite deck I've played or seen yet. Couple thoughts on it:

Quick Learner: I took two of these as my second and third upgrades, after getting my first copy of Drawing Thin, and I never regretted it. This card immediately became the workhorse of my deck, always letting me get my early fail at the start of the turn, and then made my remaining three actions so much easier. Basically, this card does what Dark Horse does in your deck, except it does it better and with more consistency throughout the campaign. Especially when combined with Drawing Thin, you'll never accidentally succeed when you want to fail. I recommend taking this card even before Granny Orne. Top tier, gold star card.

Relic Hunter/Grisly Totem: On the flip side, I never took this combo. By the time I was ready to consider it, I realized that I almost never needed to submit cards to checks (thanks mainly to Quick Learner). Outside of Take Heart, Resourceful is the only other card I'd have liked to recover, and I normally save it for safe checks anyway. Because of Drawing Thin and Rabbit's Foot, I always had a card draw engine early, and I never felt I needed to play Take Heart more than twice in a game. I did end up taking Try and Try Again (the budget version of this combo), and even when I got the perfect setup in one scenario, it felt lackluster.

Comedy Chainsaw Throwing: At first glance, this appears to be a fun direction to take the deck, but now that I've actually played it, it actually is EVEN MORE AWESOME THAN I WAS EXPECTING! Seriously, doing 15 damage in one turn, spending a turn reloading, and then doing it all again is bonkers fun, even if it's overkill in most 4-player games.

Déjà Vu: About halfway through, we had done enough sidequests that I had the xp to grab this, alongside Charisma, Flare, and A Test of Will. The Wills were solid, and Flare was a fun, janky direction to take the deck (Leo De Luca is next level good since I had the #Quick Learners out). It worked well, Déjà Vu easily paid for itself about twice over, and it held its own as a viable upgrade path, though that's mostly because the core deck was so strong already. However, it really depends on what allies your other gators are playing in their decks, and how annoyed they get if you take their allies more than once. I don't see the other Exile cards as being powerful enough to justify Déjà Vu.

All in all, great deck, tons of fun to play, and I really think you're sleeping on Quick Learner. Thanks for putting this together!

Jan 29, 2021 StartWithTheName · 36694

Cheers @VikingLeif great to hear your experiences.

I clearly need to take the leap of faith and try Quick Learner.

My main concern with it is that it forces the fail action to be the first action when sometimes I want it to be say the 2nd or 3rd. Specifically if you have an enemy on you, you might want to land the fight/evade, then fail somethign else. It feels like it wants the Dumb Luck or maybe even Oops! type cards in there to offset this... And the one time I ran Oops! Chainsaw combos was hilarious if a little high on xp for one joke.

Anyhow - perhaps im still being too cautious - all the more reason to actually try it out one day. The hard bit is finding the time :) Though I do still love stella. Its such a blast to play her.

Feb 03, 2021 walla151 · 1

I really appreciate the extended write-up. I’m a newer player who was initially underwhelmed by the Survivor class and you’ve done a great job of showing how to make the most out of it!

Feb 04, 2021 VikingLeif · 1

@StartWithTheName I understand the worry about Quick Learner, but it was never something that came up in the campaign or the sidequests we played. Maybe it was because we had 4 players, so there was always someone to take care of problematic issues, but mostly because it doesn't matter what kind of check Stella fails. Except for Oops! and "Look what I found!", you really don't care what kind of check it is that fails. Just make an evade, fail, and your second action is just like it would have been naturally, except you have the extra cards/resources that you just drew to help. There were occasionally edge cases where it got tricky, but it was more than made up for the fact that all 2 difficulty tests (and 3-shroud locations with Winging it) were basically auto-successes, without spending a thing.

Feb 14, 2021 captainequinox · 8

@VikingLeif I’ve been playing this deck and am intrigued by your double Quick Learner variant. Do you have a decklist for your final build you’d be willing to share?

Feb 14, 2021 VikingLeif · 1

@captainequinoxSure: deck # 1245068

Feb 16, 2021 captainequinox · 8

Thanks @VikingLeif! And thanks @StartWithTheNamefor the great deck! I added Quick Learner in before my group's Horror in High Gear run yesterday, and had a blast. Definitely changes the strategy a little, but man when that -2 difficulty kicks in for the third and fourth action it almost feels like cheating. Didn't even have Granny Orne out and was still raking in clues. My Stella is more clue-oriented, so now I'm debating whether to upgrade "Look what I found!" since the xp version isn't a valid target for Scrounge for Supplies, but I might upgrade Scrounge to True Survivor since this deck is packed with great innate skills already and then I can recur LWIF via Resourceful, which is in turn recurred with True Survivor.

Feb 16, 2021 captainequinox · 8

Here's my 26xp version for anyone interested in a cluever variant: arkhamdb.com

Mar 09, 2021 Valentin1331 · 1024

@StartWithTheName Have you tried that deck with 1 copy of Scavenging (2) to recur the Old Keyring/.18 Derringer/Leather Coat? The upgraded version is great as it allows you to play your Items fast by discarding them in an 8+ hand and scavenging them to play.

I'm also curious about how to keep clueing consistency in a deck with Chainsaw, therefore loosing the Old Keyring? Is Winging It + Sharp Vision enough?

Have you had the time to run Quick Learner by then? I feel like getting 2 copies in my deck would just push the mechanics too far, I'm still looking for... horror. I'm not going to combo Grisly Totem + Take Heart for the same reason.

True Survivor was not mentioned either, when it's an amazing action compression card: with your Drawing Thin/Take Heart, resources are not a problem, and you can bring back both Resourceful and 1 copy of Take Heart/Neither Rain nor Snow in one turn.

@VikingLeif your deck is no more available, unfortunately...

Mar 09, 2021 Valentin1331 · 1024

Oh and I forgot to ask about Unrelenting? It gives you chaos tutoring when aiming at a certain score and gives you 2 cards when you're trying to fail by sealing the best tokens.

Mar 11, 2021 StartWithTheName · 36694

HI @Valentin1331

Ive not yet used scav 2 in stella, but i am using it in a huge number of decks recently and enjoying it emencely. I can absolutely see it being viable in stella as she flips back and forth between deliberately failing and hammering int for a pass. Its benefits tend to be on action compression in installing non essential assets (ie you dont mind waiting for the trigger moment to get them in play), or just spare cards you want to recycle. It is also very much limited to mid or late game as any urgent assets you should play from hand. theres a few iDs like ashcan or wendy that can strategically dump them with the plan to install, but stella doesnt sit in that space, at least in this build. Still, it lets you get the value from the pips, especially on second copies of cards, in particular Rabbit's Foot with its wild pip. Ofc this expects a cluier (clueyer? - how do you spell that?) build to get enough tests in to trigger scav at random rather than by force.

As for chainsaw, its basically going the other direction. You sacrifice clue tool use from Old Keyring in favour of a chainsaw. Now, there are two reasons for taking the chainsaw: The first is that it makes you a decent damage dealer, with moderate access to clue events. So you`ll clue enough to carry your weight, and kill a fair bit while looking cool doing it; The second is that its a chainsaw and you'll look cool doing it. Admittedly theres a venn diagram to be drawn here and one of those circles are entirely within the other... but! ... tbh when i wrote the guide I only considered situation 2. And I still believe I was right to do so ;P !

Nevertheless, in mechanical practice there is a balance to be struck and it basically depends on party composition. If you are short on damage dealing, channel your inner Bruce Camble, and take Chainsaw after Granny Orne (3). In this deck you are usually aiming to play "Look what I found!" on a location you have reduced the shroud to 2 or lower, so the main use of the Old Keyring is actually to fail the test on a high shroud location. Ie make a 4 shroud into a 2 shroud, fail and keep the keyring "key" (resource token), then play "Look what I found!" and get 2 clues (We then recur "Look what I found!" via Resourceful and Scrounge for Supplies). However Granny Orne lets us fail by 1 less, so we can use it on 3 shroud or higher unless we actually pass the test. Her passive +1 gives you a bit of a bonus on the 4 shrouds, and I guess from time to time you`ll just have to live with the fact she makes you pass things occasionally. The other side of her is that she may as well be a passive +1 on the first fight test you fail by 1 a turn... which cant be that many in the long run when you have +3 from the Chainsaw itself.

Ofc if the party needs clues more, stick to the cluieyer (yes I know thats wrong) side.

Unrelenting on the other hand was released after this write up was made and I am using it in a lot of decks mainly for the draw. Ofc here it will shine, both aiding the fail and spamming the draw to refresh your hand. Its a card I can imagine getting an extra xp added in taboo one day since it seems to do this even in non bless decks... still its not so far off the scale to worry about abuse in large amount. Here it feels like the compromises made to accommodate a "fail on tap" tool set has earned its benefits. Its also fun to pull it all off and see the engine land so perhaps its working as intended here.

ive never used True Survivor in any deck. Mainly because it looks slow. in this deck it may strive for space. Resources are plentyful but actions are still actions and if you can draw hard enough you`ll see another "pass/fail this" tool in time. even for grabbing a Resourceful to grab a "Look what I found!", you could have just used the action used to play True Survivor to just get a clue with a big int buff basically. Though as I say ive not tried it.