Better Starter Decks - "Skids" O'Toole

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Killbray · 1149


The Revised Core provides a much better ideal starting point than the original Core for whoever wishes to delve into the universe of Arkham Horror The Card Game. One of its many improvements is a very clean and logical distribution of the cards in several distinct packages. Among those are the five pre-made and ready-to-play investigator decks. As soon as this was announced, many expected them to be improved versions of the original starter decks, since the limitation of the single class cards no longer applies to the Revised Core. Alas all the prepackaged decks are exactly the same starter decks suggested in the old Core with no change whatsoever. It is commonly agreed upon that those decks are very underwhelming and that a much better distributions of the available cards can be achieved.


This series of decks aims to provide a better alternative to the pre-made decks found in the Revised Core by redistributing the cards in a more sensible manner, while keeping them 100% compatible among each others and preserving their ready-to-play nature.

For the rest of the decks, follow these links:

Strategy Tips:

"Skids" O'Toole is an investigator with generally balanced stats and this deck is meant to allow him to perform various tasks, with a slightly stronger focus on combat. It can therefore work well for true solo purposes as well as in multiplayer, either as an enemy handler or as a generalist.
The .45 Automatic is the only really good weapon in this deck, so it should be prioritized. .41 Derringer is the second best weapon choice, but it requires a high to be truly efficient. For that purpose Beat Cop should be found and played as soon as possible for his constant +1 bonus. Overpower alone can grant the extra 2 points necessary to deal the Derrigner additional damage, and Vicious Blow can provide both extra and even further damage. Opportunist is a skill card that can be committed on any test, but ideally it should be used to further ensure succeeding by 2 points or more and if you are lucky you'll succeed by 3 points and get it back. Knife and Switchblade are backup weapons, but the latter only provides a benefit if you can raise high enough. Hard Knocks can be used for that purpose, though Skids has a lot of uses for resources, including gaining extra actions with his ability. Emergency Cache is a handy card to fuel his economy, burglary is only worthwhile if you can investigate a location with a shroud of 0 or 1, since it can't be combined with Flashlight or other investigation tools. Skids is particularly vulnerable against treacheries, especially Rotting Remains and Frozen in Fear. To that end Guts should be used to pass or mitigate the failure of those tests. Opportunist can be pitched in as well. With 4 Skids is already very proficient at evading enemies. This deck also provides several icons to commit against enemies with high Evade value. He can then follow up with Sneak Attack to deal damage without even the need to Fight. Skids can also shrug off enemies with Elusive or become immune to their AoO with his signature card. Dynamite Blast is a trump card that can dispatch multiple enemies in one blow, but it's very costly, so you might consider using it for its icon instead.

Suggested Upgrades:

While Skids's base deck is lacking in both combat and investigation tools, it can be drastically improved, and easily, with the cards included in the Revised Core. .41 Derringer and Lockpicks should be purchased as soon as possible. The latter is especially powerful, allowing Skids to investigate with a skill of 7. Between that and Flashlight, he can become very efficient at investigating, though it still shouldn't be his primary role. The former grants more reliability in dealing extra damage and can occasionally even award an extra action. Hot Streak is very costly in terms of XP, but Skids's full potential can only be reached with a lot of resources and this card offers 7. Beat Cop is then a natural improvement over the level 0 version, but if Roland is in the team, he should probably be the one to get it. Police Badge can provide the much need and even more extra actions when necessary, though Elder Sign Amulet should also be considered to simply take the inevitable horror. One Ally is already costly enough for Skids, but more can be taken with Charisma, at that point Leo De Luca and Cat Burglar become available options. The former is decidedly the more valuable of the two and you can even consider it over Beat Cop. The latter should only be taken if you want a focused deck. Sure Gamble can be very useful to improve the chances of passing a very difficult test, but it costs a lot of XP and shouldn't be a priority.

Replacing Cards:

Switchblade is by far the worst card in the deck. Even Knife is a better weapon. Burglary is a close second and should be phased out as soon as you get Hot Streak. Do not replace Emergency Cache, as Skids definitely can never have enough resources. Opportunist offers very little, and the chance of triggering its effect is very low, unless you are using it with Lockpicks, which isn't really necessary.

Improving the Deck:

While this deck is primarily intended to be ready-to-play as is without any need for deckbuilding, it is certainly possible to improve it by taking cards from decks that aren't being used in your current campaign. In this case it is certainly a good idea to take skill cards from those. If Roland's deck isn't used, .45 Automatic and Machete should be retrieved; at which point you could safely remove all copies of Knife and Switchblade. Physical Training should be taken in place of Hard Knocks, because treacheries like Frozen in Fear can be devastating, and having means to increase can be invaluable. But if Skids is only meant to fight, you can keep both and replace Flashlight instead. If Wendy's deck isn't used, however, there aren't many cards that you want to take. Only take Backstab if you are also taking Manual Dexterity. Leo De Luca is a very powerful ally, but Skids won't be efficient in Combat without Beat Cop, so only consider this if fighting isn't his primary role.


Nov 07, 2021 relaxeddave · 7

Getting back into the game after a long break. Really appreciate these, thanks for the efforts !