How do you Solo a problem like Mary?

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Frost · 90

Sister Mary is a bit of an oddity. Her ability and stat line scream "support" but upon further inspection, her ability is best utilised with as few players as possible!

  • With more players, you divide your tasks and end up spending fewer actions moving overall
  • With fewer players, you're able to divide up tasks less and spend more actions moving

So with fewer players, you take fewer tests per turn, which means the tests you do take will benefit more from Sister Mary's bless tokens. Taking that to its logical conclusion, the best use of Sister Mary's ability is in solo!

Solo Sister Mary

Unfortunately, her stat line leaves something to be desired. Her and are at a mediocre 3: not able to be relied upon. And more importantly, her is an abysmal 2, which means she's going to need to rely on her cards to help her get clues...

So she's a mystic who leverages her . So what? Well, she starts at 4, which in general means the investigator is going to need help, especially if she relies on it for everything. Additionally, she can't take mystic cards above level 2! No Shrivelling (3) or Sixth Sense (4)! She needs to boost her through static boosters or committed cards. In other words, she is Not A Very Good Mystic either!

Blesses in Disguise

Her ability is what makes her interesting. From my experience, I've found that the bag tends to end up with 8-10 bless tokens, which is about 30-40% of the bag. This usually adds to your probabilities in a way that means you're at effectively +1 to all your stats.

With +1 , Sister Mary can hit a 3, and combined with her ability, she can reasonably often hit 2 shroud locations without help.

This also means that she can reasonably often evade enemies with 2 evade, saving precious Shrivelling charges and fight spells.

Playing the deck

This deck plays like a normal mystic: mulligan aggressively for spells. Shrivelling is top priority. If you're missing Sixth Sense, that's okay: plan out your path through the scenario so you can brute force low shroud locations with Flashlight and St. Hubert's Key, and hopefully have found Sixth Sense by the time you get to the high shroud ones.

You'll usually have to spend a number of actions setting up or digging, and that's okay. If you mulligan into the nightmare hand, don't bother doing anything but draw for cards: if you get caught without your defences, the scenario's just straight over. Spending a turn or two setting up is also sets up the bag with bless tokens, so when you do get going you can really start powering through the scenario.

My Favourite Things

Scroll of Prophecies is for those times when you get caught with your pants down and have none of your spells. In those cases, you just need to dig dig dig.

Azure Flame is a tough sell at 5 health, but at level 0, there just aren't any other reliable damage options. Upgrade out of this as soon as you can!

Rite of Sanctification is a huge economy card! Seal even 2 bless tokens and it's 4 resources. It awkwardly hogs an arcane slot, so plan ahead. I'd usually keep Shrivelling in the other slot, and look to pick up clues without Sixth Sense until you've squeezed Rite of Sanctification for all it's got. Remember paying costs comes before the card actually gets put into play, so you can use your last bless from Rite of Sanctification to pay for the Sixth Sense that's going to replace it.

St. Hubert's Key, alongside Flashlight, solves Sister Mary's consistency problem with clues when she doesn't find a Sixth Sense.

Deny Existence can ignore the horror from Crisis of Faith. The weakness is really nasty so make sure you always have a Deny Existence on hand. (Check out the Weaknesses section of the rules)

Ward of Radiance is a less reliable Ward of Protection that saves you a resource and a horror. In practice, missing is pretty rare, but the horror is relevant because we're playing with St. Hubert's Key.

Promise of Power and Take the Initiative are both cards with loads of icons. Useful for solo because you'll need to pass unexpected tests for each scenario, and occasionally for evading an enemy or picking up a clue when you don't have Sixth Sense.

Upgrades

Radiant Smite is an obvious include. This, Shrivelling, and Spectral Razor is usually enough damage spells to last.

Stick to the Plan, holding Emergency Cache (2) and Ever Vigilant will mean you'll never have resource problems in the first few turns of the game: vital turns you're meant to use setting up.

Four of Cups and Brother Xavier both give +1 , which Sister Mary sorely needs.

Dynamite Blast (3) can be a useful panic button to put underneath Stick to the Plan.

Time Warp in general I think is underrated, but is pretty cool as an extra shot at getting bless tokens (or to undo accidentally taking all of them out...)

Climb Every Mountain

I hope you enjoyed this guide to solo Sister Mary! It was good fun trying out a bunch of ideas to see which ones stuck and stood the test of playtesting, and I hope you'll find Sister Mary good fun to play!

So long, farewell!

9 comments

Oct 13, 2020 jmmeye3 · 354

Nice Decklist! I would consider the .35 Winchester in place of Azure Flame. The Winchester is super underrated, see my review at arkhamdb.com Sister Mary is a great investigator for it because of her low combat, blessed tokens (which would increase the chance of hitting but not decrease the 0, 1 and elder sign tokens drawn) and her ability to use arcane spells at the same time when you don't need 3 damage.

Oct 13, 2020 davilimap · 41

You mentioned her difficulty investigating but you also don't include Drawn to the Flame. Is there a reason for this? I feel like the tempo that card gives is very important for solo.

Oct 14, 2020 lordocean · 1

Great guide! I look forward to trying Mary myself. Hope to see more guides like this one!

Oct 14, 2020 Frost · 90

.35 Winchester is a card I'd literally not seen before and agree is probably underrated! However, I think the hand slots have too much competition to be able to play a two-handed weapon. I normally want to leave damage assets in play, ready for when an enemy spawns, but then I can't use Flashlight or Scroll of Prophecies at all. With a bit of juggling on deck slots it's possible it's a reasonable replacement at level 0.

However, one thing to note is that bless tokens do not change the chances of drawing any particular type of token: drawing another one just means it's the same probability again as usual.


Drawn to the Flame and Read the Signs both solve a problem I think is probably better solved by using skill cards or by taking multiple tests. In solo, locations are usually either multiple clues with low-medium shroud, or one clue on a high shroud location (not true for every scenario, but is probably generally applicable).

For multiple clues:

  • Drawn to the Flame can be really nasty with the wrong treachery and increases the variance that solo already suffers from.
  • Read the Signs costs two resources, and resources are really tight in the deck. It would be mostly the same just to investigate twice. (An argument exists that the cost is much higher if you're trying to Flashlight twice rather than Sixth Sense twice. Overall I think a single copy of Read the Signs wouldn't go amiss!)

For a single-clue high-shroud location:

  • Drawn to the Flame has the same problems: it increases the variance in a variance-laden game mode. I'd rather commit a skill card than risk having to spend three actions (and possibly Shrivelling charges) for a single clue.
  • Read the Signs is mostly just +2-4 to your investigate, and also costs the two resources. We can match this by just committing a skill card to the test.

Oct 14, 2020 jmmeye3 · 354

@Frost: That makes sense. You could also consider Blessed Blade for a similar reason and that would leave one hand free. Do you find that Arcane Initiate hits often enough? I think your point is that you really need the spells so maybe it’s worth it even though the spell count isn’t very high?

Oct 14, 2020 Frost · 90

@jmmeye3 Yeah, Arcane Initiate misses a lot. As you say, it helps you hit your spells, but I can see an argument to replace it with an ally that's more generally useful, and spend the actions saved that way on using Scroll of Prophecies or just drawing cards.

I think I agree that Blessed Blade is, on average, probably going to be pretty good. I think the problematic part is that it's more variable than Azure Flame. Its ceiling is that it reduces the need for Shrivelling charges by doing the third point of damage (or indeed, might hit the +1 damage and not need to shrivel at all)... But its floor is that if it's your only source of fight, you could end up with a turn where all you do is three damage... I hate not fully dealing with enemies in solo: just one more enemy the next mythos phase and you're practically done with the scenario.

Oct 15, 2020 nhojm · 14

The new Taboo list just made the Winchester even better for Mary!

Oct 16, 2020 Frost · 90

Now that changes quite a lot! Time for some gun nun!

(For anybody who hasn't seen the change to the taboo list, it mutates the .35 Winchester so that it gets its +2 damage if a non-negative token is revealed... Which includes bless tokens! Spicy!)

Oct 16, 2020 jmmeye3 · 354

Nice! I think that makes the .35 Winchester a strong card for her. She would frequently fight with a 2-4 combat boost (from gun and bless token) for 3 damage. It really doesn't get better than that at level 0! You could probably work around clashing with the other hand cards by only playing them when you need the cards or clues right away.