Better Starter Decks - Agnes Baker

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Killbray · 1149

Introduction:

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.

Objective:

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:

Agnes Baker is a very versatile investigator who can do almost everything provided she has the right cards. This deck is mainly focused on defeating enemies, but it can still succeed an investigating, with the right setup. It is therefore viable both in solo as well as in multiplayer in either a fighting oriented role or as a generalist.
Shrivelling is Agnes's first and foremost mean to defeat enemies. With her exceptional , which can be further boosted with Holy Rosary and Arcane Studies, she can ensure the attack succeeds. The spell can cause her to suffer a horror if a symbol token is drawn, but in Agnes's case that can actually be advantageous, since she can then use her ability to deal further damage. In case she can't find Shrivelling or in case she runs out of charges, Baseball Bat is her backup plan. While Agnes's is a mere 2, the Baseball Bat improves it by another 2 points by default, which is enough to allow her to fight weaker enemies like Swarm of Rats or Ghoul Minion. In case of stronger enemies, several cards can be committed for their icons, starting from Overpower and Unexpected Courage, but also Leather Coat and Knife. The latter can also be used as a weapon as a last resort. And then, do not make the mistake of thinking that Forbidden Knowledge is an economy tool. In Agnes's hands it's a weapon. Since her ability works once per phase, with Forbidden Knowledge she can take avail of any player window in any phase to deal extra damage, including right after a hunter enemy moved in the enemy phase, before they get a chance to attack. Since Sanity for Agnes works mostly as available uses for her ability, you want to divert all unnecessary horror to other cards, like Holy Rosary and Arcane Initiate. Fearless can also be used to heal horror so that she can further use her ability.
Flashlight can be efficiently used on locations with a shroud value of 2 or lower. Since a modified skill value can never go into negative, she cannot fail in those cases unless she draws a in spite of her 2 . For the more difficult locations, she can make use of Arcane Studies, fueled by Emergency Cache and Forbidden Knowledge, but there's also Drawn to the Flame, which can even bypass a Locked Door. Be however aware that the extra encounter card could even cost you the game. Ideally you don't want to use it as your last action, in case you draw an enemy, unless discovering 2 clues will immediately end the game.
Playing Arcane Initiate might look like a bad idea (who wants an extra doom?), but potentially drawing an extra card every turn can be extremely invaluable, and you definitely want to improve your chances of drawing Shrivelling (be careful of Dark Memory though!). You can avoid paying the full round loss penalty by purposely taking damage and assigning it to the Initiate, or you can displace it by playing Stray Cat, which can be very useful to automatically evade enemies. Finally, and this is the best option, you can play Arcane Initiate on what is commonly called "The Witching Hour". Since the Doom Threshold is normally checked only during the Mythos phase, it is safe to put any amount of Doom in play if the Agenda is one Doom from advancing anyway. When the Agenda advances, all Doom in play is removed, and then you'll have a completely clean Initiate to use for as long as you want.
That being said, this deck is conspicuously lacking "spell" cards, and so Arcane Initiate is mostly there in preparation for later "spell" purchases. Be aware that Heirloom of Hyperborea is not useful until you substantially increase the number of "spell" cards.

Suggested Upgrades:

If you want to further expand Agnes's options to deal damage using her , you can purchase Blinding Light. In spite of having Evasion as its main purpose, it actually also deals 2 damage (which is what you normally do with an attack), and it has the potential of dealing a horror to its user, which Agnes can convert into further damage. It's a spell too, so a target for Arcane Initiate. Then if you want to improve Agnes's ability to discover clues, you definitely need to buy Rite of Seeking. With this card Agnes is practically guaranteed to discover 2 clues from any location in a single action. It has a very harsh punishment if a symbol token is drawn, so ideally it should be used as your last action only.
Regardless of your aims, with Lucky! you simply cannot go wrong. No matter the test or the situation, Lucky! is an extra insurance to pass skill tests, and this level 2 version also grants an extra card draw. Grotesque Statue is another all-purpose cards. It has a very steep XP cost, but it can be used multiple times and it drastically improves the chances of succeeding, even having the potential to completely nullify the chances of failure. it is therefore an ideal end-game tool, but since it occupies a hand slot, it might clash with Baseball Bat. Leather Coat should be enough to provide protection against damage for Agnes, but Bulletproof Vest can be considered if you want to be on the safe side. It can also be committed to boost by 2 points.

Replacing Cards:

Stray Cat and Knife are not particularly useful and are therefore primary choices if you need to make space for something more valuable. Flashlight can be replaced as well if your group already has an investigator dedicated to gathering clues. The same is true, in a minor degree, for Drawn to the Flame and Arcane Studies. Leather Coat can be removed as well if you are not overly concerned about taking damage. If you still need space, Fearless and Arcane Initiate are not strictly necessary, but it must be worth it.

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 Wendy's deck isn't used, you should consider adding Lucky!, as it is a staple card that can always prove to be useful. "Look what I found!" is another powerful card. You can take it in place of Drawn to the Flame or even Flashlight. If Daisy's deck isn't used, Ward of Protection is always nice to have. Blinding Light can also be considered, though it isn't as good as its level 2 version. See the paragraph above to decide which cards to remove to make space.

3 comments

Nov 19, 2021 tylorlilley · 3

I used four of these starter decks with four brand new players to teach them the game tonight. Thanks so much for putting these together! Overall it went over quite well and they had a lot of fun. The only deck that was not used was Wendy's, but we did not alter the other four lists and played them as is.

One bit of feedback I can give is about this deck - the Agnes player was excited to have their Heirloom of Hyperborea in play on the first turn and an arcane initiate up early to start searching for spells, but spent most of the game getting increasingly frustrated that he could not find any to play. After the game was done he was further disapointed in looking through the deck to learn that there were only two spells in it in total! I would suggest including a few more in the deck since so many of the cards point you in that direction.

In any case, thanks again for doing the work to put these together - definitely better than using the provided intro decklists would have been!

Nov 19, 2021 Killbray · 1149

Thanks for the feedback. Regarding Agnes that's a problem that I didn't quite consider. Unfortunately there isn't any mystic card in the current deck that I'd want to remove to make space for the spells that went on Daisy's deck.

The only advice I can give is to buy Rite of Seeking and Blinding Light as soon as you have the XP. That would bring the total spells in the deck to 6 (or rather 7).

Unfortunately compromises had to be made and some of these decks require a few purchases before they can become fully functional (like Skids' deck). I will anyway add a warning in the description about the lack of spell cards.

Nov 19, 2021 tylorlilley · 3

Yeah, it's a bit of a pickle. Since we are just using the 2x core sets I own we don't even have access to Rite of Seeking, only Blinding Light (2) and Mind Wipe (1) as upgrades, which compounds the problem a bit... I totally see what you're saying though about no good mystic cards to move into Daisy's deck.