The Stargazing Sophist

Card draw simulator

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

Dai · 903

Hello, friends! Whether you're here from my Eldritch Sophist Primer or just browsing ArkhamDB, I hope you enjoy this particular alignment of the stars!

Deck concept

This deck is designed to keep multiple tokens sealed while providing a replenishing source of charges for attacking and solid investigation ability.

The deck shown here is more or less complete - further upgrades (which will be discussed below) are mainly incremental.

Norman Withers is particularly well-suited to making use of what the Eldritch Sophist can achieve, since he has no need of an investigation spell, leaving him free to more flexibly use his arcane slots. This deck also showcases the interaction between the Eldritch Sophist and the The Chthonian Stone (3), which can work for any Mystic with Seeker access.

Core combo

The core of this deck is the interaction between The Chthonian Stone and Eldritch Sophist. The Chthonian Stone comes into play with 3 charges, and when it runs out it is returned to hand. If the Eldritch Sophist siphons off those charges, it can then be replayed - making it into a repeatable recharge effect. The Sophist's ability to top up secrets also keeps the Scroll of Secrets online, which works well both with Norman's ability and in conjunction with his (replacement) signature asset. The charges from The Chthonian Stone are used to prolong the lifespan of the Seal of the Seventh Sign and "reload" Shrivelling.

Mulligan priority

This deck revolves around Eldritch Sophist, The Chthonian Stone and Shrivelling/Seal of the Seventh Sign. Any of those cards should be kept, and I would most likely keep Arcane Studies and Scroll of Secrets as well.

I'd otherwise mulligan away any other cards, possibly keeping one of the resource cards if I had a good spread of the core assets in my opening hand. However, with a solid amount of card draw and Norman's inherent ability, this deck is not hugely dependent on getting a good opening hand - and even before its board state is set up, it can easily contribute to clue gathering.

Piloting

This deck fills a flex role, with attack and investigation options while also providing substantial support with its Sealing effects.

We want to make ideal use of Norman's ability to provide card advantage and resource discounts. If the top card of our deck is no use to us - or is a skill - Scroll of Secrets can potentially find a good option. I tend to use Scroll of Secrets to aggressively draw cards to hand until I came across a good option for use with his ability - and then move that to the top of my deck when I don't much care for the card on top, while using the Scroll to manipulate the encounter deck in the meantime (especially if Split the Angle is in play). Practice Makes Perfect and Eureka! can shuffle the deck, and Stargazing can shuffle the encounter deck, for those circumstances when both the top and bottom of the deck aren't good options.

Otherwise, this deck mainly investigates for clues with a well-boosted Intellect. Once we have Seal of the Seventh Sign and The Chthonian Stone in play, we can happily default to clue gathering (unless there's something we need to kill), until we need to replay The Chthonian Stone.

We should make sure we're using Eldritch Sophist every round if possible - keeping the Scroll of Secrets and our spells topped up wherever possible. Normally we want to be siphoning off charges from The Chthonian Stone onto Seal of the Seventh Sign or Shrivelling, but there will be times when we want to move charges in other ways - say, if we have a charge left on Shrivelling and a spare copy ready to play, or if there's nothing to fight and we want to keep The Chthonian Stone online for a round since we can't play it this turn and it's sealing away a nasty token.

Upgrade priority

The level 0 deck (shown under Side Deck) is a solid Norman Withers deck but isn't making full use of the Eldritch Sophist yet; our first priority should be to get Shrivelling and The Chthonian Stone so we can contribute more flexibly and deal with our own weakness. Then, we take Arcane Studies and Seal of the Seventh Sign in whatever order we like, picking up Stargazing if we happen to have any spare experience points.

Once we have assembled the deck shown here, there's not a great deal more to do. The next upgrade should be Scroll of Secrets (3), which has an extra secret and lets us manipulate the top card of the relevant decks too - which is good for making full use of Split the Angle and directly drawing the top card of our deck into hand in case a more useful card is underneath.

After that, if we still have experience to spend, a copy of Charisma isn't a terrible idea just to have two copies of Eldritch Sophist in play at once for maximum charge and secret manipulation. Upgrading to Shrivelling (5) is worth considering if we find ourselves in need of more firepower, and we could replace Eureka! with Four of Cups for the willpower boost or add in Knowledge is Power to really pump out the damage. Adding 2x Hemispheric Map and taking a copy of Relic Hunter is definitely a luxury but worth considering if existing stat boosts aren't enough. If we find Practice Makes Perfect starting to outstay its welcome, Ward of Protection is never a bad idea, and that gives us more flexibility with our skill cards to potentially take Seal of the Elder Sign.

Variants

The main variations for this build are in the form of which spells to take and how to best use events and skills. Scrying is a great card for Norman, since it lets him use his ability and Split the Angle extremely effectively, and it could easily be taken in place of Seal of the Seventh Sign.

Shrivelling is a better choice than Azure Flame for this build since we seal away multiple backlash tokens and have much better horror soak than damage soak, but Armageddon could work with a curse-oriented team - especially if we were to take Favor of the Moon, Manipulate Destiny, Deep Knowledge, Promise of Power and Tempt Fate.

Practice Makes Perfect is a fun way to leverage Norman's high intellect without having access to higher-level Seeker cards but it's not core to the deck - it could be replaced to make room for other events or enable a more varied skill selection.

If the team needs more clue-gathering ability, we could use some events to cover the gap - say, 2x Read the Signs, 2x Connect the Dots and 2x Working a Hunch.

If we want bigger static boosts, we could take St. Hubert's Key or maybe Holy Rosary in place of Enraptured; I found St Hubert's Key to be too expensive for the benefit it provides (at least on Hard difficulty), running the risk of creating a resource bottleneck when setting up, but the stats it offers are very useful. If I were going down that route, I would take 2x Plan of Action in place of Occult Invocation, Eureka! or Stargazing, in order to still have enough targets for Practice Makes Perfect.

Finally, if you're happy being less effective in your first scenario (and delaying your upgrades a little), we could not take Scroll of Secrets (0) at all to free up two more level 0 Mystic slots, and upgrade to Scroll of Secrets (3) as soon as possible - that will leave Eldritch Sophist basically useless in the first scenario aside from its soak; alternatively, we can spend the experience (or take Versatile) to take additional level 0 Mystic cards once Scroll of Secrets has been upgraded.

Conclusion

This deck provides flexible contributions to scenario progress, providing the baseline clue-gathering ability of a high intellect alongside the combat potential of consistently replenishing Shrivelling charges, while also providing substantial support in the form of sealing Auto-Fail and a Symbol token for the majority of a scenario. It also serves as an example of a generally effective Eldritch Sophist/Chthonian Stone combo that could equally be useful to Jim Culver, Luke Robinson, Marie Lambeau, or even Ursula Downs with Archaic Glyphs, Arcane Insight or the Pendant of the Queen. Hopefully you found this decklist enjoyable to read, and if you decide to try it out or have been inspired to design another deck based on this combo, I'd love to hear about it!

2 comments

Apr 09, 2021 minju · 1

The Chthonian Stone + Eldritch Sophist for charges is pretty cool. but alas Twila Katherine Price

Apr 09, 2021 Dai · 903

Twila Katherine Price doesn't work on Seal of the Seventh Sign, and you can't double up on her, and she doesn't work retroactively, and she doesn't provide Secrets. I don't think it's the case that she is strictly a better choice.

That said, I certainly agree that Twila Katherine Price is a very strong card for charge-using assets, but variety is the spice of life, after all!