How to build Carson Sinclair! (This is not a Mark deck)

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Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
The Butler Did It! 38 26 5 1.0

Dedalus · 5270

Ignore Mark. This is a pre-Scarlet Keys guide to building a Carson Sinclair deck!

Carson was recently spoiled by Fantasy Flight Games, and the reaction in the Arkham community has been mixed. His stats are so bad! He's got terrible health and sanity on top of that! And even worse - he doesn't really get to play the game!

But after testing him out using what has been announced so far, I predict that Carson will be an A- to S-tier investigator in four-player Arkham. Much more importantly, I can say that playing as Carson is really, really fun.

So here's a guide to building Carson Sinclair as a four-player-game powerhouse. We don't know his official deckbuilding yet, so I've built this guide using only Guardian cards.

How to build a Carson:

Carson's own actions are terrible. His stats are bad. He's going to fail at most of what he does. And he has no superpowers, other than action delegation.

You could try to get around this by avoiding tests. Throw together a bunch of cards that buy clues and damage, and you might have something. But would it work better in Carson than in literally any other blue investigator? Probably not.

Instead, as with any investigator, you should build for his super power. Lean into action delegation! When you do this well, Carson is the world's best flex investigator. He's not the standard Survivor flex, who gets one or two damage or clues a turn and gets them reliably. He's a mega-flex, who fights as well as your best fighter, clues as well as your best cluever, and mystics as well as your highest-will mystic.

Carson's ideal investigator turn:

  • Make Zoey fight a monster and do a ton of damage
  • Make Daisy investigate and get a ton of clues
  • Make Preston play an event that gets him a bajillion resources
  • Move. Or heal somebody. Or--if the stars align just right--pass a test.

The key problem to building for this is that Carson can only delegate one action per investigator per round. And your team is going to split up. So unless you're planning to all pile up like a big inefficient Katamari, the most important thing Carson needs to be able to do is to move around.

So what does it take to build a delegation Carson? In order of importance:

  • Mobility
  • Powerful teammates
  • A way to mitigate his terrible mythos phase failures
  • A reliably useful fourth action for him to take by himself

Substitutions from what is printed in the deck list:

  • The Springfield is actually an 8-xp Runic Axe, with the following upgrades:

    • Scriptweaver: For each charge, imbue two different inscriptions

    • Ancient Power: You may imbue the same inscription up to 3 times

    • Inscription of the Hunt: Immediately move to a connecting location or engage an enemy at your location

  • The Home Front is actually As You Wish

  • Shell Shock is actually Selfless to a Fault

  • Sophie is not in the deck.

Important Cards

  • Mobility:

    • Runic Axe: This is one of the two most important cards in the deck. It's not a weapon! It's a variable amount of Pathfinders, with a weapon attached.

    The upgrades mentioned in "substitutions" are the key to this. For each charge you spend, you get a free move, plus either +2 fight or +1 damage.

    This is how you'll get from where you started your turn (hopefully on top of your cluever), to where you plan on ending your turn (hopefully on top of your fighter).

    It's situational. You need an enemy engaged with someone somewhere other than your location. And you're likely to hit your friend in the face. You're a butler, not a fighter. At least you brought some bandages along.

    But the axe turns your one personal action into two (or three, or four): an arbitrary amount of moves, and a fight. Don't worry too much about burning through charges. You won't be doing this every turn, so you usually have time to recharge before you need it again.

    Unless we get more options outside of Guardian when Carson's deckbuilding is revealed, this is the most efficient way you'll have to get from one cluster of investigators to another.

    • Safeguard: This is the second most important card in the deck. At a bare minimum, it should keep you from starting your turn alone, making you much more likely to have a target for your free delegation.

    But there are some fun tricks, too. Delegate a move action to another investigator, and safeguard them on their way. Suddenly your free action has become two free actions! Upgrade it later and do some considerable movement shenanigans with your friendly Rogue or Seeker. Get two of them out, and you can chain your movement between two of your buddies.

    • On the Trail The third movement card in the deck. When it goes off, it goes off big, but it's very situational. Still, it gets you to where you want to be, with a lot of bonus on the side. I'm not sure if this will make the final cut.
  • Powerful teammates:

    • Stand Together is an outstanding econ card. Emergency Cache can be upgraded to gets you 3 resources and a card. This gets you four resources and four cards. Maths! And the cards are going directly to your minions (er, um, teammates)!

    • A bunch of self-replacing skills: These help with your weakness, and they make your delegated actions even better. Stick with the skills that draw you cards whenever you can, so that you always have a full hand of options.

    • Leadership: A combination of skills and econ. Good card!

  • A way to mitigate mythos phase failures and a reliably useful fourth action

    • First Watch gives you the ability to pick which of the terrible things will inevitably be happening to you this round.

    • Guard Dog is around for soak and to protect your axe from asset hate encounter cards. They're tied with Tetsuo and Sled Dogs for the best resources-for-soak ratio, and guard dogs have the most useful effect on top of that. You draw enough cards that Tetsuo isn't really necessary.

    • Smoking Pipe spreads your damage around. Guard dogs provide more health than horror, and your weakness is going to be plinking horror often.

    • Hallowed Mirror, First Aid, and Second Wind provide healing to you and your team. First Aid is much better when upgraded, but it's not as high a priority as some of the other upgrades in the deck. These also all give you something useful to do when you don't have friends around to give your actions to.

Potential problem areas

One of the worst situations you'll come across is when an enemy spawns directly on you. You can't delegate an action without an attack of opportunity, and you're not great at evading. Hopefully his deckbuilding gives us some opportunities to pack evasion events.

You'll also need to consider your teammates. If they rely on assets with ammo or charges, they'll be burning through them much more quickly than they would otherwise. Carson pairs well with melee investigators.

That's it. Good luck Carsoning!