Luke Robinson: Cursed Relics

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Lucaxiom · 2487

Back from hiatus and with a doozy of a deck to share, let me introduce you to cursed cleuvering, a surprisingly competent deck that's taking a two-player The Circle Undone campaign by storm.

I had significant reservations above the efficacy of curse decks, and whether any amount of synergy could override the downside of polluting the chaos bag with extra negative modifiers. If you empathize with his mindset, let me put those fears to rest; you get massive benefits of playing around with curses, and a plethora of mitigation tools to keep the worst effects from ever happening. Even the unreliability of getting the tokens you need at the right time has means of becoming extremely reliable, and it's that last point that this deck focuses on ensuring.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. First, why Luke?

Class Combos (AKA, Why Luke)

FFG have made an interesting decision giving the mystic class an overwhelming amount of cards that play off of curse tokens (henceforth referred to as curse-combos), but only two curse-generation cards, and pitiful ones at that. I wouldn't even count Tides of Fate as one, since it turns bless generation into curse generation, which the mystic class also lacks. So, all you're left with is the singleton curse generator that is Promise of Power.

In conclusion, to bring the likes of the curse spells, Curse of Aeons, and Flute of the Outer Gods to bear, you need out-of-class help, period.

Fortunately, all but the guardian class has some degree of curse generation and curse synergy. So to narrow down our investigator options, let's first commit to characters that can take the lvl 4 versions of the curse spells (Armageddon (4), Eye of Chaos (4), and Shroud of Shadows (4)). So, all the mystics, and Norman Withers; 11 candidates total.

Jacqueline Fine can be immediately forgotten, since she has no out of class options. Level 0 curse generation is also pitiful (incidentally, that's why the level 0 version of this deck looks light on anything related to curse; it really comes online at 6xp), so investigators that only get level 0 out-of-class options can go too. Goodbye Jim Culver, Akachi Onyele, Marie Lambeau and Norman Withers.

Forget about Father Mateo or Diana Stanley; too honed in on bless options to give curses the light of day.

That shortlists the candidates to:

I'm confident that any of these characters could make a decent curse deck. However, this author has compunctions for each of the other candidates; Agnes, with survivor cards, feels more suited to a blursed deck, rather than a purist curse deck (blursed means synergy with both curse and bless tokens, e.g. Paradoxical Covenant. Dexter Drake has already been type-casted to work better with doom synergy, and Gloria Goldberg, while competent, is concerning due to her lack of access to out-of-class covenant assets, specifically False Covenant and Blasphemous Covenant.

Thus, we arrive to mystic/seeker, and our event-heavy aficionado, Luke.

Playing to Type (AKA The Deck)

One thing one realises quickly when tooling for curse cards is the infeasibility of taking the entire suite of curse spells. Both resource-wise, and xp-wise, it's just too big an investment at 24 resources and 24xp for six cards. You're going to have to make a cut.

So, for Luke, let's stick to type and only take the investigate curse card, Eye of Chaos. Let's add the rest of the desirable curse generation, Deep Knowledge, Tempt Fate, and Promise of Power (excluded options are Tides of Fate and Cryptic Grimoire, for hopefully obvious reasons).

Now, there's is one last card, not specifically related to curse, but absolutely vital to what we're attempting to achieve with curse; Scrying Mirror. Scrying Mirror will make more sense when the xp options are discussed, but for now, is stands to benefit you in the face of a very swingy chaos bag, as the blursed tokens are want to do. The more variance there is in the outcome of drawing from the chaos bag, the more knowing the result before committing cards to tests matters. Plus, there will be synergy with the other side of this deck; that of relic-tech.

Every other card is less vital, and you can mix it up as you desire. The most borderline vital/non-vital card is Enraptured, since it has many targets for its effect (Scrying Mirror, Eye of Chaos, and especially Gate Box), and will get even more options once xp is a thing. Otherwise, make sure to have a good selection of both skills (to make use of Scrying Mirror) and events (to make use of Luke's special ability). Going down the inclusions made here, they were chosen because:

  • Barricade: too cool with Luke's ability to ignore.
  • Drawn to the Flame: test-less clues benefit a 3 cleuver.
  • Open Gate: also too cool to drop, but less useful in lower investigator count games.
  • Read the Signs: workhorse card for cleuvering.
  • Shortcut: cool card the 3rd, but less useful in higher investigator count games.
  • Inquiring Mind: 3/4 really needs heavy commits to ensure successful investigates.
  • True Understanding: leverage high into more clues.
  • Tooth of Eztli: The best level 0 relic option IMO. Becomes more relevant with xp.
  • Sixth Sense: A stand-in workhorse card until the curse synergy really takes off.

And that's all there is to it. Piloting is straightforward; aim for assets in your starting hand, and just work with whatever cards come your way. Simplicity itself... for now.

Twin Paths (AKA Upgrades)

So, scenario 1 passes, this deck operates largely like any other, and hopefully you got a fair bit of xp. Come scenario 2, everything should fall into place. Let's start with the essential upgrades:

1.) Drawn to the Flame Stirring Up Trouble

Once a moth to a flame, Luke insatiable curiosity gave way to a desire to leave his mark on the mythos. Might as well kick a hornet's nest while he's at it.

Same effect, different flavour of penalty. Once you have this card, your curse generation will really get going. Take care that between your party, you don't have too much generation, as if you max out, you won't be able to pay the additional cost of this card.

2.) Blasphemous Covenant

"What measure is our worldly deities in the face of the vast cosmos"

- Luke Robinson

Once curse generation gets going, it's time for mitigation, starting with this card. Also a stealth curse-generation card,

3.) Inquiring Mind Fey

Indescribable. Alluring. Too late to look away.

Second curse mitigation card, and the true pairing to Scrying Mirror. Scry first, check if you reveal a curse token, commit Fey if you did. Between this and Blasphemous Covenant, up to two curse tokens will be twisted to your benefit per round.

Total: 6xp

Now, the true decision making begins. Curses? Or Relics? Each path offers it's own benefits, and you'll have to decide how far down each path you want to go, and in what order you explore them. At the end of the paths, they merge into a single path once again, with a capstone upgrade that ties them both together. We'll give curse a rest for now; let's explore relics:

R1.) Sixth Sense + One event card Whitton Greene (2)

"The box; can I have it?"

"My Gate Box? Surely you jest?"

"Why should it be sequestered away from the world by a pyjama-wearing hermit?"

"Because without it, you wouldn't be able to access libraries and museums beyond our realm of existence."

"...I'm listening."

A match made in heaven, for two reasons. First, Whitton Greene (2) provides her stat boosts immediately upon entering play, since Gate Box is considered a relic. Second, Luke can put a location into play on demand, the only investigator to do so, and thus is the investigator most likely to trigger Whitton Greene (2)'s reaction ability to most. The only concern is cost, hence why dropping Sixth Sense is a must to keep the deck reasonably affordable.

Why not the level 0 version? 3 to 4 is not a significant enough boost to allow for reliable investigates with . It's primarily the boost we're interested in.

R2.) Tooth of Eztli + One event card Segment of Onyx


Another smooth, ellipses shaped piece of onyx found on my adventures. They are enjoyable to collect, though I suspect they not naturally occuring. Peculiar.

Recently chained to cost 3xp more, still a valuable addition to Luke's deck. Net one extra relic for Whitton Greene (2) to search for, and a net reduction of 3-4 resources to bring the deck back into affordability.

And once assembled? Pendant of the Queen provides more test-less clues, and an alternative to Gate Box for dealing with enemies or zooming around the map.

But most importantly, it's a relic that uses charges. Keep that in mind.

R3.) Scrying Mirror Grotesque Statue (2) Grotesque Statue (4)

I suppose not everything the dreamlands has to offer can be a treat to the eyes.

Not recommended to remove Scrying Mirror until upgrade C1 has been taken, but we'll get to that. For now, Grotesque Statue helps in two uses cases when working with a curse deck; when you want more curse tokens, or none at all. No limit per round is a nice bonus.

Another relic that uses charges. I wonder why.

Total: 16xp

Back to curses now:

C1.) Barricade/Shortcut/Open Gate Favor of the Moon

Despite all warnings of travelling to the moon, I find myself at tranquil ease, gliding over its barren surface.

Now to guarantee curse tokens when you want them, particularly when using Eye of Chaos to trigger it additional effects. The extra economy is a bonus too, as is the fact that Fey also gets guaranteed procs on Favor of the Moon, lessening the need for Scrying Mirror.

C2.) Eye of Chaos Eye of Chaos (4)

...I will use my mask to cover up these disfigurations.

Finally, after 6 pairs of curse tech, both generation and combos, are in the deck are we ready to bring out the big, cursed, guns. Getting multiple hits on Eye of Chaos (4) will become your main strategic focus for the rest of the campaign. Use Gate Box to get into position fast. Flood the chaos bag with all the curse tokens you can muster with Tempt Fate and Stirring Up Trouble. Guarantee one hit with Favor of the Moon, and attempt to succeed despite all the curse tokens you are trying to draw with Scrying Mirror, Fey, and Blasphemous Covenant.

Success nets you 3 clues minimum. Failure get you one clue. Occasionally you'll get 2+ clues on a fail and 4 or even 5 clues on a success.

C3.) Barricade/Shortcut/Open Gate Manipulate Destiny/Gaze of Ouraxsh

I am the master of my own destiny... but apparently not the master of my own eyes...

At higher player counts, these are less necessary, but you should at least be mindful of how your fighters are handling things. If they need assistance, set aside a bit of xp for test-less damage events. Especially useful since you need only be at an adjacent location as Luke. Manipulate Destiny is cheaper, but Gaze of Ouraxsh will likely do more damage. Choose based on your current finances, or prioritize Manipulate Destiny if you've taken at least one physical trauma (not uncommon for Luke), since if you're unlucky and get the eldersign, at least you'll still get some value out of it.

Total: 18xp

So, to get every single upgrade mentioned, you would need 40xp. Presuming you average 5xp a scenario, you would go into scenario 8 with 35xp. So, don't expect to get every upgrade. But, if somehow you do, or you've gone far enough down both paths, it's time to consider... the final option.

What Lies at the End? (AKA The Capstone)

???.) Enraptured Recharge (2) Recharge (4)

These eyes are not my own. The pendant is an eye. The moon is an eye. My Eyes are many eyes. I need more eyes. More Eyes. MORE EYES.

Recharge will ensure more of whatever runs out at the worst possible moment. Gate Box, Pendant of the Queen, Grotesque Statue, and The Eye of Chaos are all candidates for a Recharge. And because you're flooding the chaos bag with non-symbol tokens, the odds of getting a bad Recharge are slimmer than usual. Regardless of whether you went more curse or more relic, Recharge will be useful all the same. Rather than wait until every other upgrade has been acquired, your thought process should be, between each scenario "is now the time for Recharge?".

Is now the time for more eyes?


It's been a while since I've published a deck. In part due to multiple flubs in terms of constructed decks not meeting up to expectation, or just too boring to warrant an essay. But also in part due to the lack of positive reception in my last three decks, as compared to my most well received deck. Since then, I've turned my hand more to custom content, which I am publishing elsewhere. Still, please do not think I my desire to make write-ups such as these has abated. If anything. I've got quite a few promising decks on the testing grounds that I hope to share soon. I'm also open to ideas, requests and criticisms, as always. Do Let me know what you think.


Mar 29, 2021 dkayarkhamdb · 2

wow, what a nice write up! I can't wait to give this a spin

Mar 30, 2021 Calprinicus · 2608

Two things.

(1) barricade is less useful since it takes 1 action to play & the monster still gets an attack as you move to the location you just barricaded. It does free you, but they attack first.

From barricade's faq: "If an investigator that is engaged with an enemy moves to a Barricaded location, the engaged enemy will disengage and remain in the investigator's previous location (after making an attack of opportunity)."

(2) I highly recommend keeping Shortcut. When used with luke's ability It moves him 2 locations (as a action) and avoids the monters at the location you played it on.

From "as if" rules

Example 2: Luke Robinson instead plays Shortcut (0) as if he were at a connecting location. This would allow him to move to a location connected to the chosen location. If there are 1 or more enemies at that location, they do not move with him, because even though the event is resolved as if Luke is engaged with him, those enemies are not actually in his threat area, and therefore do not move when he moves."

I believe this also works with the upgraded Shortcut.

From fast rules:

"A fast asset may be played by an investigator during any player window on his or her turn."

I believe there is a window after you play the the asset using Luke Robinson's ability. Since the trigger is also action.

Mar 30, 2021 Calprinicus · 2608

For (2) from above post. I am incorrect. There is no player window where you can activate the ability of shortcut(2) after you play it. After the resolving of the event, you immediately return to your original location.

Mar 30, 2021 suika · 7552

You mentioned two players, what other deck would you recommend to pair with this? Most of the curse payoff are in Mystic or Seeker, so that seems like whoever you pair with also should ideally be from the same class.

Mar 30, 2021 Lucaxiom · 2487

@dkayarkhamdb Glad you enjoyed the write-up.

@Calprinicus That's not how you should use barricade. Gate-box first, move to the location you want to be, place barricade there. As for shortcut; its inclusion and how long to keep it is entirely up to you. It's not integral to the curse or relic-tech going on in the rest of the deck. Don't upgrade it though; you lose the extra functionality that Luke gives it.

@suika My current partner is Jenny Barnes with Tempt Fate, Tristan Botley, and False Covenant. So long as you have curse mitigation, any deck or investigator should handle a cursed chaos bag fine. But, don't bring a deck whose version of curse mitigation is removing the curse tokens, e.g. Dark Ritual or Harmony Restored.

No specific examples; Rogue/Mystic/Seeker cards all contain the desired curse mitigation and combos that play off of curse, which give you a lot of leeway for investigator options. Just make sure they specialize in fighting if its a two-player game.

Apr 06, 2021 headmoths · 1

Thanks for this decklist and writeup, really looking forward to tweaking + running it through Dream-Eaters A alongside a parallel Skids deck I've built! How consistently have you found the money to pay for your 3-5 cost assets with no econ cards?

Apr 06, 2021 Lucaxiom · 2487

@headmoths Not consistent at all, which only became obvious in the latter half of the campaign I was running this deck in. My calculations on its affordability was off; at it stand, this deck costs 35 resources for 33 cards, except Gate Box starts in play, so it's actually 32 resources/32 cards.

That might seem fine on paper (you do get one resource per card draw as standard), but this balance starts to break down when you draw cards without a corresponding resource coming with it, as Tempt Fate, Deep Knowledge and Whitton Greene (2).

That, that since all the expensive cards are assets you want out early, this deck's costs is heavily front-loaded, and so you usually can't wait around for the upkeep drip to catch up.

So, to fix this, I'd recommend one of either Emergency Cache (2) or Forbidden Knowledge. I think that solves the issue.