Jim Culver's Callous Casuistry

Card draw simulator

Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
None yet

Dai · 822

Hello friends! Whether you're here from my Eldritch Sophist Primer or just browsing ArkhamDB, I hope you enjoy this particular feedback loop!

Deck concept

This deck is designed to provide Jim Culver with a replenishing source of charges via Decorated Skull, which he can then transfer to his spells via Eldritch Sophist.

The deck shown here is at a solid midpoint, where it should be effective at handling whatever the game throws at us but still has plenty of room to grow if we're in a high-exp campaign.

Jim is an interesting investigator - much less raw arcane power than Akachi or Agnes, and with an ability that subtly shifts the chaos bag in his favour rather than something flashy. It's easy to ignore him in the face of the many other Mystic investigators available, but his deckbuilding uniquely (among Mystics) allows him to take advantage of the Decorated Skull/Eldritch Sophist combination.

Core combo

The core of this deck is the interaction between Decorated Skull and Eldritch Sophist. The charges generated by Decorated Skull are transferred over to his Azure Flame and Clairvoyance, while the secrets on the Sophist himself keep the Scroll of Prophecies topped up to give a strong card economy.

Azure Flame and Clairvoyance were chosen since the deck wants to be drawing skull tokens, meaning that Shrivelling and Rite of Seeking are a bit of a liability; Jim's ability is stronger at higher difficulties where Skull tokens are much nastier, and the chaos bag contains fewer "+1" and "0" tokens on Hard or Expert difficulty. Additionally, Jim has a better Health total than most Mystics, meaning that the backlash from Azure Flame isn't quite as harsh for him. That said, there are other options as will be explained under Variants later on.

Mulligan priority

This deck revolves around Eldritch Sophist, Decorated Skull and the Spell assets; I wouldn't mulligan any of those away, nor would I get rid of Word of Command to find the spell assets if I didn't have them, and obviously if I had Four of Cups in my opening hand I would keep it.

I'd otherwise mulligan away any other cards to find those. In a perfect world where my opening hand already had Azure Flame, Decorated Skull and Eldritch Sophist, I'd keep economy options like Scroll of Prophecies and Voice of Ra.

Piloting

This deck should be generally familiar to anyone experienced with playing a mystic - we have powerful attack and investigation tools limited by charges, and our most important stat is Willpower.

If we're not currently burning monsters or finding clues, we should be getting set up to do so; generally this means using cards in hand (or, if you have no other option and have been unlucky, spending actions drawing cards/gaining resources) to get more cards and resources. In a 3-4 player game, it's also important to stay close to friendly investigators, especially monster-hunters, hence the inclusion of Safeguard - we want to be present when ally cards and enemies are defeated if possible, in order to harvest charges with our Decorated Skull(s).

If we are running low on charges and/or at a loose end, we shouldn't be afraid to try oour base skills - punching a Swarm of Rats or investigating with base intellect against a low-to-moderate shroud location is much less of a waste of time with Jim than many other investigators, since Skull tokens count as a +0 (except for the handful of scenarios where Skull has no numerical modifier but instead draws another token).

We should make sure we're using Eldritch Sophist every round if possible - transferring Decorated Skull charges onto our spells, transferring secrets onto our Scroll of Prophecies or transferring charges from an almost empty spell so we can play a replacement copy from our hand, etc. This ability to empty assets in play so we can replace them at the most efficient time is easy to overlook but can be crucial - if you've ever been caught out with a gun with one bullet or a Shrivelling with one charge and a second copy in hand, or played an asset to replace one that hadn't completely run out of ammo or charges, you'll be happy with the flexibility this offers.

Upgrade priority

The level 0 deck (see the Side Deck for cards replaced while upgrading) is effective by itself; typically our first priority should be to get the two copies of Relic Hunter so we can make full use of our accessories (we can also move away from Crystal Pendulum entirely by taking Recall the Future or Arcane Studies (4) early on, which will reduce the need for Relic Hunter, though I would eventually want at least one copy of Relic Hunter so I could have two Decorated Skulls at once). Then, focus on getting willpower up to properly attack the scenario - upgrading our spells is an obvious way to go. Word of Command should be purchased whenever we have the spare exp for it; it's a bit expensive to use, but the consistency it provides cannot be overlooked.

Upgrades building on the deck shown here depend a little on our priorities. Getting more and better events is a good option - if we find yourselves often short on resources, Dark Prophecy can be happily replaced with Emergency Cache (2). A copy of Charisma to have 2x Eldritch Sophist in play at once is a luxury but it will allow us to really manipulate our charges and secrets, especially if we are consistently able to get 2 copies of Decorated Skull into play.

Otherwise, Guts (2), Scroll of Secrets (3) and Ward of Protection (2) - at least, if we aren't playing solo - are excellent incremental improvements. Clairvoyance (5) and Azure Flame (5) are naturally excellent late-game upgrades, though be aware of the increased backlash and plan accordingly. If we're still flush with exp, Blood Pact (3) is a no-downside inclusion if we only intend to use it in the Witching Hour, and Deny Existence (5) and Storm of Spirits (3) will certainly make the deck stronger, though they are definitely not priorities.

Variants

There's a wide range of possible variants available for this build; the core of it is Decorated Skull + Eldritch Sophist, and a lot of decks could be built on that chassis. The first option - especially if we're on a team that is otherwise light on combat power - is to lean much harder into combat ability, eschewing Clairvoyance entirely and taking an additional combat option for our Arcane slots - Shrivelling is an obvious second option, though Jim can do well with Enchanted Blade, especially if we aren't bothered about playing Jim's Trumpet, and Ineffable Truth (5) does quite a substantial amount of damage as well as evading. This has the substantial advantage of giving us more opportunity to harvest charges with the Decorated Skull(s) and really focuses on the core concept of the deck. If taking this route, I would drop Crystal Pendulum entirely (at least after the first scenario) and pick up an early 2 copies of Arcane Studies (4) so that I could pick up clues with Intellect when there's nothing to kill. This approach also has the benefit of making Enraptured a more viable choice; we could even replace Safeguard with Practice Makes Perfect and change up the skill suite to something like Guts, Enraptured, Perception and Promise of Power accordingly.

Speaking of replacing Safeguard, another option is one copy of Astounding Revelation; triggering it with Word of Command will basically refund the cost for the search (aside from the action) and give us a more healthy resource economy. It isn't included here since it's basically useless in the level 0 deck - if we wanted to go this route, we could sub it in for 1 exp, or even sub in two copies using one copy of Versatile. Alternatively, particularly if playing solo where Safeguard is useless or in a group where we're already the main monster-hunter, we could take Eureka! or Daring in that fifth off-class slot, or even "Let Me Handle This!" to ensure maximum opportunity for harvesting those delicious charges.

The event suite can be easily tweaked to your liking (e.g. taking Storm of Spirits if going to the Dreamlands, or adding in Emergency Cache or Uncage the Soul for better resource economy). Finally, the Scroll of Prophecies can easily be replaced with the Scroll of Secrets (0) if playing with taboo - this means overall less card draw for our secrets, but the action cost is essentially eliminated, which can be useful if it seems likely that we'll have lots of other priorities.

Conclusion

This is a Jim deck that does something no other Mystic really can do. I really feel like Jim's time to shine has arrived, with his deckbuilding opening up lots of new and interesting build options thanks to the mature player card pool. Watch this space for a Jim Curse build - hopefully this won't be the last we see of our much-maligned Musician!

4 comments

Apr 09, 2021 minju · 1

or you can just play Twila Katherine Price

Apr 09, 2021 Django · 3610

I think Eldritch Sophist with Decorated Skull 3 could be interesting and use it's ability when it has 3 or more charges. Maybe a deck for Jenny Barnes or Trish Scarborough? But where to get charges...

Apr 09, 2021 Dai · 822

Well, Suggestion (4) is a pretty great source of charges, as shown in my Marie deck here: arkhamdb.com Or you could do it with Ursula, transferring charges from The Chthonian Stone (3) or I guess Archaic Glyphs. Ursula can even take both Decorated Skull and Empty Vessel; if you can find a way to consistently kill off enemies and take 2x Relic Hunter that's three charges per kill...

Jun 29, 2021 Conalias · 1

I like the deck idea but I fear it is utterly missing economy to support it. Voice of Ra out of Jacqueline won't contribute much.