Card draw simulator
|Silas Dreams of Beating the Chaos Bag||9||5||0||1.0|
seasonedcoma · 293
Innsmouth Update of the previous deck. Also, ArkhamDB doesn't play nice with decks built with the book investigators, so you can no longer search for the old versions, even though they still exist.
This deck has been very stable and successful across many campaigns on Stanhard and Hard. The core remains the same, with about 4-6 cards that flex based on what campaign it is and who his partner(s) are.
The flex cards and piloting have not changed significantly.
- Optionally sub out "Look what I found!" for Mariner's Compass. This is both thematic and still lets you spend a couple resources to grab some clues. The fact that it's not fail2win is a little less attractive, but it is reusable. The Compass is generally more expensive than LWIF, so you can take either option and be fine. This deck is primarily a fighter, so even getting a few clues is just a bonus.
Add Silas's normal signaturesand his replacements. Nautical Prowess is very strong, and Silas will be thrilled to have another weapon available. The Net is a good substitute for Track Shoes, so we can drop to a single copy. I don't think the Harpoon/Net are worth the deck space. His Replacement cards are so much better, that I do not recommend including them unless you don't have access to Meat Cleaver. Siren's Call is just a double action discard weakness, but this deck typically doesn't have resources to spare.
- Meat Cleaver is still the default weapon you want
along with the Harpoon, but most other Survivor weapons work. .18 Derringer, Baseball Bat, and Fire Axe will all work, so pick your favorite. This version has Fire Axe due to the mechanical similarity to the Compass.
- Lucky! is back in, just because it's a strong card. This could easily be another pair of neutral skills of your choice.
- A single Emergency Cache was added to fund Fire Axe, Compass,
or using the reaction abilities on the Harpoon or Net.
- Painkillers has dropped out of the core deck. I think this is a great card for TFA specifically, due to the likelihood of trauma and overall high damage you'll take. For other campaigns, I find upgrading into Jessica Hyde to be enough, if I'm needing soak.
- Eucatastrophe is so good there is basically no need for Will to Survive.
Versatile + Double or Nothing is a good late upgrade.With the newest Taboo list, there is nothing Silas will want that is worth the extra 5 cards. Having double signatures is enough deck bloat already. If you're not playing Taboos, DoN is a great card to enable shenanigans from Silas or your team mates.
- Brute Force mitigates the need for Backpack quite a bit.
- Unrelenting is great for Silas.
This is intended to fill an enemy management role. Compared to a Guardian, the lack of consistency in weapon availability and damage accelerators (e.g. Vicious Blow, Flamethrower) may be a challenge for higher player counts. He makes good use Double or Nothing assists from friendly committed to his attack actions (though not as flashy as big guns ). I've had success in 2-4p as the only option for dealing with enemies.
It was originally built for 3p TFA in expectation for a lot of evading with enough to cover Hunters and non-Vengeance enemies that might be easier to just defeat. I've run this through RtNotZ, DL, RtDL, Carcosa, TFA, Carnevale, and some custom scenarios on "Stanhard" (Standard bag, hard token effects). I never felt hindered by not having Guardian weapons, but some of the beefy Elites were would have been impossible to defeat. He was able to handle the The Experiment at 0-xp with a Baseball Bat easily enough (and a little help from spoiler).
If running TCU, you may need a bit more clue support. The Compass may be enough, if you can fund it. Without spoiling anything, I would find room for Flashlight or Newspaper and replace Manual Dexterity and Stunning Blow for Guts and Perception.
I like Survivors quite a bit and tend to fill the enemy management role in my group. I also like their generalist/flex capability and "succeed by failing" gimmick. Yorick has been in my top two investigators since I first played him, but he is a very different beast.
I'd noticed a trend in my recent decks for most roles. Skill cards had been getting squeezed out, unless they had a very strong effect (Vicious Blow, Deduction), to the point where I would have 2-6 Skills in a deck and tons of Assets or Events. This led me to see how I could make some decks that made good use of Skills. I started with a Minh deck that skipped out on Milan Money and was about half skills.
Then I looked into Silas. I've not looked closely at any Novella investigator, and my previous anti-Skill bias made me discount him. I watched the Whisperer in Darkness's RtDL playthrough and realized how strong his ID actually is. After looking for other Silas decks here, it was clear he doesn't get much love. Most of the decks were lacking some of the newer TFA and CUD cards, and almost all of them were Dark Horse decks.
Why not Dark Horse?
It's a very strong card and a Skill-focused deck shouldn't need a lot of economy, so it's seems obvious to use Dark Horse. However, it is a deck-defining card that limits your upgrade choices significantly. Timeworn Brand is an obvious upgrade, but hard to pay for as a Dark Horse. Having no resources also makes it hard to play some of the strong events, like True Survivor and Will to Survive.
On Your Own makes events playable, but with 2 and 5 Sanity, Silas really wants to have Peter Sylvestre. There are other options to get some soak, but most are also Allies. Madame Labranche is also a Dark Horse staple, which doesn't work with OYO.
Peter > Weapon > Nautical Prowess > Take Heart/Drawing Thin > everything else
You want Peter to soak and give you an extra . You'll need a weapon to fight with.
Take Heart functions as economy and draw in a single action. Drawing Thin provides you with flexible draw/resources. Either can help you find anything you missed during mulligan. You probably only want one in your opening hand, but dropping two Take Heart on a test you're sure to fail isn't bad either.
Nautical Prowess is amazing. You can get the draw effect and still pull the card back with Silas's reaction ability. It's also an awesome target for pulls. Due to the icons, it's most useful for Treachery support in this deck.
Beyond those, your skill cards are fairly flexible. Use what you get. Resourceful is not terribly useful until you have some cards discarded, but it's good to have if Baseball Bat is your opening weapon, just in case. Quick Thinking is intended to be pulled from his ability, if it would proc a free action. I would not put a lot of effort into trying to make it happen.
Once you get some experience, you want to go for Timeworn Brand or Chainsaw. I wouldn't throw away all weapons just trying to dig for the Brand. It's ok to use a Bat until you have resources and actions to replace it with a Brand.
In the first scenario, Meat Cleaver or Sea Change Harpoon are your preferred weapons. Once you have Peter Sylvestre out, its Horror cost is easy to mitigate. The Harpoon requires you to commit a card with every attack, so you will be using Silas's ability to return cards to hand often with the Harpoon. Returning it to hand can be useful to save 2+ skill cards if you pull an . Otherwise, the action and resource cost of replaying the Harpoon is unlikely to be worth saving a single card.
Baseball Bat has its own reliability issues, but is strong as long as you can keep it out. I had good luck with it, but be prepared for failure with either your backup Baseball Bat or keep a Resourceful in hand to pull it back.
Depending on your luck, the first scenario can be hard to manage. Plan to leverage your (hopefully with Peter) to Evade enemies you don't have to kill. With 4-6 and plenty of skill icons, he has a strong ability to evade when needed or if your weapons don't show up. Stunning Blow is here just for action compression to deal with enemies you can't kill before the enemy phase or those odd enemies with low Fight/high Evade. Eureka! can also help with evasion tests, but is included mostly for either investigating 1 shroud locations or Treacheries.
Timeworn Brand or Chainsaw will be our weapon upgrade of choice. It's a large chunk of xp and one of the main reasons we're not running Dark Horse. Both are among the strongest non- weapons and removes a lot of the reliability issues with Baseball Bat and a few of the tricky situations Meat Cleaver can get you into. The Brand being only one-handed is nice, but not terribly important for this deck. Either of our weapons can be upgraded with this. If the campaign attacks assets in play (Crypt Chill/Pushed into the Beyond), it might be good to keep at least one other asset, such as Painkillers, to protect the your weapon of choice.
Daring is a great Silas card. It's card draw effect is a Lasting Effect, so it works with Silas's ability to pull the card back. It also doesn't matter if you pass/fail the test. You generally don't care about the Alert/Retaliate (which also stick around if you pull the card bac), as you should be testing at 7+ with this card. It's quite common to be able to draw 2-4 cards off a single Daring by committing it over several turns, so consider that option instead of taking Draw actions if your hand is running low. If you don't grab this at level 0, Daring plus any neutral skill with draw are good cards to grab with Versatile + Double or Nothing to mitigate the deck size increase.
Dreams of the Deep is pretty soft and usually can be cleared with a Fight or Evade action.
As a primary fighter, LWIF or Belly of the Beast are intended to fill all the investigation this deck might be expected to do. LWIF can be a problem when the location has a bad effect if a skill test is failed (see TFA and Haunting). BotB only triggers if you can evade successfully and only gets a single clue. Both will require some setup to trigger. Which one is better will depend on the campaign and how much Clue support Silas needs to provide.
If you wanted to add more clue power, I would try to fit a Flashlight in. This conflicts with Baseball Bat, which is why it's not currently in the deck. Generally, I use Investigate actions as a way to play Take Heart. LWIF gets played if possible. If you need to contribute more than four clues, utilize Resourceful to get your LWIF back or commit Nautical Prowess/Eureka! on lower shroud locations.
If you expect to need more help w/ clues from your fighter, I'd suggest taking a Guardian instead. But Silas can utilize Inquiring Mind to good effect and later Rise to the Occasion can also help for higher Shroud locations. Don't count on lots of clues from him, but given enough economy and LWIF plays, he can get enough.
Resourceful and Eureka! have icons, but he's still not a clue hound. Save them for fighting, evasion, or encounter cards unless you commit enough to have a high likelihood of passing. Their draw/recursion effects are too important to this deck to take chancy investigate actions.
At 0-xp, this deck needs few resources. Indebted is your ideal Basic Weakness. You have TH/DT to draw cards. The resource gain is there to pay for future Timeworn Brand and True Survivor/Eucatastrophe. That's about it.
The addition of Siren Call means you either need to count on having some resources or have a plan to deal with the weakness if it shows up.
Once this deck has all the pieces, you "need" about 10 resources a game. You'd "like" 16-20 to fund Eucatastrophe, Will to Survive, and LWIF, especially if you're pulling them back with Resourceful. Everything on top of that is gravy. You start with 5, should get 4 from two of TH or DT tests. That gets you to 9-10, and upkeep covers the rest.
The Emergency Cache is not needed. It could be an insurance policy for not drawing your other economy options, but I found it to be mostly a dead card.
If you want to include Scrapper or Plucky, you may want to add a Emergency Cache or recur Take Heart. I found I had "enough" resources, but didn't often have excess for boosters. Also, the build is fairly xp-hungry for a Survivor, which pushes Scrapper to a late buy.
Reacting to skill tests
Until you’ve used his Reaction to return a skill card to hand, you can safely commit cards to every test. This often means you’re committing Nautical Prowess during the Mythos phase and using your ability to save it, and that’s ok. The option to return a card protects you from missing tests you should have committed to and wasting cards you didn’t need to commit.
If you’re swinging your Baseball Bat versus a Ravenous Ghoul, you might not want to commit your Overpower. For Silas, you can do so to protect against drawing a -4/-5, but save it when you draw -1. This combined with his , True Survivor, and Resourceful mean you tend to have skill cards available for every test. You tend to fail far fewer tests than another character or deck. It’s a good feeling.
Note that his ID reaction only works on Skill cards, not Assets or Events committed to skill tests. You can’t save your Cherished Keepsake if you didn’t need to commit it. Grisly Totem(3) can save any type of card, but only on failure. This makes it a good backup to your ID for a second test or when you a test that you committed multiple cards to.
When using his reaction, you will not get the effect or icons of any card you recall. This means neutral skills won’t draw a card if you succeed, Fearless won’t heal horror, and so on. Defiance is a strange one in that it still cancels the token drawn, even if you pull it back.
You pulled an ! Now what?
This is always going to be a situational decision, but I've found that the cards I prioritize for this effect are Nautical Prowess (which is basically the best Skill card in the game) and Resourceful.
The strength of his makes Eucatastrophe a priority upgrade. It think it mostly replaces the need for True Survivor. It only draws one card from the discard (unless you pick Resourceful), but often one is the most valuable. Eucatastrophe has the same value in recurring as True Survivor with the side benefit of letting you (probably) pass a test you would have failed. It also can give Silas some ability to Investigate low shroud locations. Versus a 2 Shroud location, only -1's are bad draws.
Nautical Prowess has the benefit of commiting to any type of test, but is certainly best for and . Pulling it from discard gives you future encounter protection and possible card draw. The flexibility to draw or get 2 make this card a priority to replay. The ideal play is to commit to a test, draw a negative token that allows you to pass without Nautical Prowess, take the Draw reaction, and return it to your hand.
Grabbing Resourceful nets you an additional card returned from your discard during this test, so it’s essentially a free Drawx2. Between , Eucatastrophe, and True Survivor, you should be able to play Resourceful (and by extension, any card) many times a game. If Resourceful would whiff, think about other options.
Eureka! gives you the chance for future draw and can be committed to tests, unlike Resourceful.
Quick Thinking is worth pulling, if it nets you an extra action from the current test, otherwise I would not recur it.
So many cards!
As a primary fighter, it can be common to be 2-3 up on or tests on basic enemies before you commit anything. Combined with a low asset count, Silas's + ID ability, and Skill card draw effects can mean you often are swimming in cards on Standard. This is less true on harder difficulties, as you will end up committing more cards.
Don't feel bad pitching cards you have duplicates or already in play (e.g. Baseball Bat), or overcommitting to tests knowing you can recur w/ Resourceful or True Survivor. You don't have to "save" skills as much as you might be used to with other investigators. You'll often play your core skills multiple times, so use them even if you're "sure" you don't need to.
One of the downsides of some of the newer additions is that Silas may end up with fewer icons to commit than you would like. It actually has more icons than any other skill. His low base Will means this is an area he'd like to shore up, but some of the newer TCU cards have replaced Combat with Will on duplicate cards you'd be able to commit (e.g. Fire Axe vs Meat Cleaver). Daring was a great addition that helped increase his enemy-focused icons.
He's so Resourceful!
Resourceful is a great card that let's you replay strong cards or adapt to what you might need in the future. As a primary deck, there are a ton of cards you might pick. Which should you though?
- Stunning Blow
- If you have everything else you need or are doing a lot of fighting, this is a staple card. It's a useful Combat icon for fighting big stuff you can't evade first.
- Survival Instinct
- This is a critical card for some scenarios that try to overwhelm you with enemies. I think most decks will want at least one, even if it's just used to save your Seeker, so being able to replay it is useful.
- Stroke of Luck
- A staple Survivor upgrade. If you end up passing without using the Exile function, you may want to get it back again.
- Alter Fate
- There are a number of treacheries that this really trivializes. There is rarely a time that this card will not be better to have in hand.
- Take Heart
- Eh...maybe if you don't have True Survivor to refill your hand or really need resources. Not a high priority. Can be useful if you need to dig for weapons or Peter.
- Baseball Bat
- Unfortunately, it will break. If you don't have another weapon available to play, you should Resourcefully fix the broken one.
- Cherished Keepsake
- Who do you think you are? Yorick?!? I've not found the need to play this more than once if Peter is out. It's not in the base deck as I've not found it necessary with Peter(2).
- "Look what I found!"/Belly of the Beast
- Do you need Clues? Because that's how you get Clues.
- Peter Sylvestre -> Peter Sylvestre (4xp)
- He's 1/2 of Dark Horse with Horror soak as a bonus. He helps you against the encounter deck and shores up your weaknesses. You could swap this with the Brand, but think carefully about it.
- 1x Guts/Manual Dexterity/Steadfast -> Eucatastrophe (3xp)
- Discussed in the section. This is just a great card for Silas. It helps you pass tests/cancel the and recur your Skill cards.
- 2x Neutral Skill/Steadfast -> Brute Force
- Backpack had low consistency, so I found it better to get through scenario 1 without it. It mainly acted as a bad Prepared for the Worst. Having a skill that can fairly consistently do 3 damage helps you buy time to draw into a weapon. Between and Resourceful, this can do a lot of work until you find a weapon.
- Any weapon -> Timeworn Brand (5xp)
- I replace Fire Axe/Baseball Bat depending on which I'm running. Meat Cleaver is good enough that I keep it with the TWB.
- Any Weapon -> Chainsaw
- UC (or other Skill) -> Unrelenting (1 xp each)
- Unrelenting gives you easy access to draw, without needing to fail a test to get it. If you spend a few turns committing and pulling back this card, you can easily have a full hand of cards.
At this point the deck is fully online and you can prioritize whatever you might need for the campaign at hand. For example, in Dunwich, grab 1x Devil's Luck, because you can easily draw through your deck. You have enough recursion options to make a 1x work, even if it is forced into your discard (but take care if you don't have a Resourceful or Eucatastrophe to save it). In TFA, Survival Instinct or Expeditious Retreat are very strong upgrades to deal with the masses of hunter enemies you may not want to kill.
After that, I'd suggest the following options in any order.
Note: "Any skill" does not include Resourceful. The recurring effect is very powerful, and I don't think you can easily replace it. If you replace Take Heart, you may need to consider your economy needs.
- Second Timeworn Brand or Chainsaw
- This helps make the deck more consistent. I typically get this next, as finding the brand is so important. The same is true if you went the Chainsaw route.
Any skill -> Will to Survive Extremely strong card. It gets better the harder the difficultly level, as testing without drawing is so strong with the all Skills you have to commit. Paying the resource cost can be an issue, so consider your resource curve before purchasing.
- WtS is still great, but Eucatastrophe has completely replaced the need for it.
- Any skill -> Eucatastrophe
- Once you have one in hand, Resourceful usually means you may not need a second, but having two means you're more likely to find the first.
- 1x Manual Dexterity/Unexpected Courage -> Survival Instinct(2)
- The action compression can be very valuable.
- Any skill -> Fearless(2)/Guts
- If you want more Horror soak. Keep in mind that you are typically at the mercy of the encounter deck for tests, so this healing is far from guaranteed. Low priority. The new Guts upgrade can help shore up his low , but don't count on drawing two cards often.
- Unexpected Courage -> Defiance(2)
- It can be very good on harder token bags or for specific tokens with bad effects, but it's not amazing. Sad that it doesn't save the Baseball Bat.
- Any Skill (probably Guts or Not without a Fight) -> Rise to the Occasion(3)
- This card really helps pass hard tests, but I think you'll find more than one clunky or too expensive. It gives at least 3 icons with a possible 5. Mostly that lets you fight Brood of Yog-Sothoth, investigate 4-5 Shroud locations, or cover Treacheries. Unexpected Courage (2) is another option for this slot. Silas tends to only fail on or on / you want to Take Heart on. It can be useful to mitigate "for each point you fail by" Treacheries, but it definitely a luxury upgrade.
- Any skill -> Stroke of Luck
- Emergency Cache
- Only if you need to get more health soak. It allows you to refill Painkillers. I don't think you need the economy, unless you are playing lots of events.
- Alter Fate or A Test of Will are good for encounter deck protection, if you can spare the xp.
- Charisma only if you have a story asset to consider. This deck only needs Peter Sylvestre. Jessica Hyde makes this more appealing as well.
- Scrapper if you feel you often have excess resources. With the Taboo bump, this is an expensive purchase. Make sure you can support it with resources before you purchase it.
- Jessica Hyde
- Versatile + Double or Nothing (If not using latest Taboo)
- Grab 4 skills with card draw on them to cycle your deck faster, and the extra cards don't hurt much.
- DoN usually functions as a Vicious Blow(2) with your Brand, but can be used for clues on low shroud locations or for your Cluever. In combination with Eucatastrophe, this can be a solid option.
- The extra card slots also help if you're running out of things to spend XP on, by giving you more room to fit in Exile cards.
- LWIF/Belly of the Beast/Mariner's Compass -> Sharp Vision
- For low shroud locations, using the skill just saves you resources, but it is also good for when you want to commit to your Cluever in multiplayer.
- Commiting TH and Sharp Vision to an Investigate on 1-2 Shroud can almost guarantee triggering either skill. There is a slight chance you succeed but not by enough for two clues where you have to decide which skill to waste.
I still say that Dark Horse makes this a different deck, but there are options for changing the level 0 deck or for upgrading out of cards.
Drawing Thin vs Take Heart - Drawing thin is stronger because you can get value whether you succeed or fail. Having two DTs in play is almost gamebreaking, so I don't recommend it (hence the Taboo). Take Heart gives you a mostly controllable burst of draw and resources. They are both useful, and I believe you should include one of these in the deck. You could split them to have one-of both. This is a personal preference. I've run both, and I think they are both strong. I found that DT + 2 Take Heart is too much. Once I had DT in play, TH usually just stuck in my hand and was not needed.
Track Shoes is an enabler for Drawing Thin. It's a nice to have, but Peter is preferable as a static booster. Without DT, it's movement effect is still useful. It's value is dependent on how often you need to move two times in a single turn. If I were excluding it, either Survival Instincts can provide similar action compression for movement.
- Neutral Skill cards
- The draw is fantastic, but they are situational. The Overpower can be whatever skill you need most. In TFA, you want Manual Dexterity. Guts is a defensive option. You can also replace with Lucky! for more reactive flexibility or any of the cards in the next section. Unexpected Courage could be swapped with any of the neutral skills without an issue. Draw versus flexibility.
- Backpack can easily be removed. Just have your friend Mandy help you look under nearby rocks for weapons. Or Evade stuff until you draw into a weapon.
- Quick Thinking
- It's a useful effect, but not consistent. It's in the deck to grab with from the discard or to get value from strong draws on / tests.
- Fire Axe vs Baseball bat is personal preference.
- Painkillers are often unneeded. Swap in party clothes or more weapons/skills depending on campaign.
- Stunning Blow is in for an extra icon which is often useful for dealing with something until you find a weapon or you just can't defeat it this round. It's very useful in TFA especially, but this can easily be dropped for Guts or another skill of your choice, such as Rise to the Occasion, "Not without a fight!", or Able Bodied.
What's not included?
- Inquiring Mind is great for higher player counts, but can be dead in 1-2p or late in a scenario. Replaces Guts.
- Fearless/Defiance - Not impactful enough. Get the upgrades, if you want them.
- I tried this card. It's very strong, but not for this deck. I think you want more cards with double/triple icons and fewer icons. Many of the skills I was using have multiple pips, but they are all different. A number of no pip cards as well would turn off his ability.
- He also requires Charisma, so he doesn't kick out Peter Sylvestre.
- Live and Learn
- I prefer Lucky!, but both are fine. Worse with harsh failure penalties (see Haunting) and doesn’t help vs most treacheries.
- Great insurance policy card. It can clog your hand at times, since you have lots of skills to buff your tests. If only the will cause a failure, this card does nothing. As the deck has evolved, this card has bounced in and out of the deck as part of the flex card list.
- Try and Try Again (either level)
- His ID ability fills the same role. It can be used if you overcommit and pull a or if you fail multiple tests in a turn. Adding it would require accounting for the extra action to play and resources to pay for. I don't think they are worth it.
- Able Bodied
- This deck is low on Items, so it would fit. However, a consistent 2-3 and icons are less valuable than the flexibility to have UC for icons. It could easily be swapped in.
- Opportunist (either level)
- True Understanding
- Better for a solo Silas deck. To get the effect, you may need to commit a lot to tests or use on / tests and you have to be on a clue location. Often a dead card.
- Leather Coat
- Painkillers fill the same role, but offers one more soak per card and can heal damage taken before you play them. They leave the Body slot open in case you need Fine Clothes or Trench Coat. Either choice will work. Dreams of the Deep is not typically a problem, but you can end up drawing it last action via a skill card effect, so you have to account for taking a few turns of damage from it.
- Grisly Totem
- This has been in and out of the deck. It competes with Cherished Keepsake for the Relic slot. One free pip a turn is ok, but you have a ton of skill cards to commit. The extra resource pressure and action requirement for setup is not worth the return IMO. At 14 Assets, this deck was too slow. Cutting DT and the Totem helped quite a bit. Grisly Totem + Take Heart can lead to crazy draw and resource generation.
Silas is a lot of fun. His access to lots of skill icons can make him feel very strong and able to test well beyond the reach of the chaos bag frequently. You should try him out.