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|Perfecting Roland Solo Deck||1||1||0||1.0|
MOTUX · 4145
This is a solo Roland deck designed to take advantage of some of the cards released in the Carcosa cycle. In particular, it aims to limit conventional investigating via Art Student, Working a Hunch, and Mysteries Remain. Calling in Favors provides additional Ally support ensuring we should have ample meat to throw at the encounter deck. As a solo deck, it tends to focus a lot more on grabbing clues than combat. The deck can easily work in multiplayer, just be sure your partner doesn't expect to call in any favours of their own and depend on you to handle combat. A good companion would be someone like "Ashcan" Pete with A Chance Encounter to take advantage of all your allies hitting the discard.
Important Note: During the majority of testing I used proxied versions of Roland's unreleased replacement signature cards (Mysteries Remain and The Dirge of Reason) instead of his .38 Special and Cover Up. There is no reason why his standard signature cards wouldn't work, but it wasn't a focus of this deck.
The basics are pretty straightforward as far as Roland goes. Get a weapon (preferably a Machete) out along with a Magnifying Glass for some conventional investigating. Use your clue grab cards on locations you can't reasonably investigate (ie 3+ shroud) and blow through the scenario. Beware scenarios featuring cards like Locked Door and Obscuring Fog; if these cards are present, avoid ending your turn on a location that has a clue unless you have a clue grab card in hand. In this case, if an enemy pops up then good news, you can trigger Roland's ; if it's Locked Door, then that's why you have Working a Hunch. Dr. William T. Maleson can also do wonders.
Your allies are your mind shields. If you don't have Calling in Favors in hand, consider just letting them die and hit your discard rather than take unnecessary damage/horror. Art Student is more important to preserve than Laboratory Assistant. Use Dr. William T. Maleson to avoid encounter cards you aren't ready for; do try to end your turn on a low shroud location, however.
Mysteries Remain deserves a special note. Most of the time, you will probably just want to use it to grab a clue. However, placing a clue can be useful to (1) trigger Inquiring Mind (eg tough enemy time), (2) an enemy popped up and you want to trigger Roland's , and (3) farm a low shroud location (since 1 extra easy clue can make a big difference for our tempo in solo). However, you will probably just want to snag a clue from a high shroud and/or Victory X location. It's also amazing in Where Doom Awaits where it can effectively save you 3+ actions (two moves and an investigate test).
The Dirge of Reason will haunt you, but two tips to deal with it. First, always spend your clues ASAP if possible (lest you drop your clues on a 4 shroud location, have fun!). Second, if you draw cards during an Investigate skill test (eg Perception), always draw first before you pick up the clues; that is, you are permitted to choose the order in which multiple results are resolved during ST.7 of skill test timing. Don't turn your investigate test into "discard a card, lose an action, and take 1 horror". The same applies if you have Cover Up around.
Eureka! will probably be used on tests, namely investigating, and dig for whatever you need.
A note regarding : we are awfully short of it. Our plentiful allies mitigate the need for since we can face tank a number of tests and let our allies take the heat. For those "must pass" scenario tests, do take note of them and reserve your for those; don't waste them on a Rotting Remains when the real threat is an Act test.
Generally we want to find:
- Perception x1 Scientific Theory(1) x1 (1XP)
- Deduction x1 Scientific Theory(1) x1 (1XP)
- Charisma(3) (3XP)
- Magnifying Glass x2 Magnifying Glass(1) x2 (2XP)
- Shortcut x2 Shortcut(2) x2 (4XP)
- Emergency Cache x2 Emergency Cache(2) x2 (4XP)
- Vicious Blow x2 Vicious Blow(2) x2 (4XP)
- Guts x1 "I've had worse…"(4) x1 (4XP)
- .45 Automatic x1 .45 Automatic(2) x1 (2XP)
- Deduction x1 Deduction(2) x1 (4XP)
- Charisma(3) (3XP)
- Keen Eye(3) (3XP)
There are some oddities here that require some explanation seen below. Note that purchasing priority will be influenced by the upcoming scenario. If something like The Devourer Below or Miskatonic Museum is coming up, do get Shortcut(2) sooner. Deduction(2) is pushed so far back because 3 clue locations are uncommon in solo, and even its level 0 counterpart doesn't have that many uses. In multiplayer, you may want to reprioritize a bit.
Keen Eye is great, but Scientific Theory has four things going for it. (1) I find a lot of the time with Roland, if I take multiple test attempts, one of those attempts has a lopsided skill value due to Inquiring Mind et al. I really want to pump skill into my other attempt(s) which Keen Eye doesn't help out with. (2) It's a horror soak, Roland can always use an extra one of those. (3) It's a target for Pushed into the Beyond, Crypt Chill, etc to save your Machete at the cost of 1 proactive resource. (4) Obviously, if you only test that skill once then Keen Eye is a huge waste, relatively speaking.
Good question, and this one comes down to some preference. Shortcut loses some of its lustre in solo but it can still be a boon in scenarios like Miskatonic Museum and Blood on the Alter. Shortcut also has a few features that make it a more attractive option for solo Roland. (1) It is 2 resources cheaper and Fast, making it great for our tempo. (2) We can use it even if we are engaged with an enemy, which means we can move to a location that has a clue and trigger Roland's . (3) It can't be discarded via Pushed into the Beyond, Crypt Chill, etc... is that a good thing? Well, losing a 3 resource asset certainly hurts, but I'm sure some may be of the opinion that Pathfinder has the edge here (ie to save your Machete). The choice here is purely preference so take your pick.
Because we're playing solo silly. However, if you're playing multiplayer you may get smacked in the head for doing this.
No Lightning Gun(5)!?!?!??
You can easily drop one into your deck, especially instead of the .45 Automatic. However, that's a lot of resources that in solo I would prefer to save for other things. It also eats up our hands which, if we need to do any conventional investigating with a Magnifying Glass, can really hurt.
No Beat Cop(2)?
Beat Cop fits in nicely, especially given we already have Calling in Favors. However, I do not think the amount of use we'll get out of him in solo justifies his cost.
Alternatives and Omissions
You can shift a lot of 2 of's and 1 of's (or make them 0 of's) to accommodate your preferences, particularly the following cards:
What other cards may you want to drop in? Well:
- Flashlight: to assist with conventional investigating, very helpful on Scenario 1 if that's what you need to do. This is particularly the case with Curtain Call, however you will also want to pack...
- Fine Clothes: if you're playing Path of Carcosa, take these with you for The Last King. Roland's 3 and 3 means he is a great Parley dude when dressed for it.
- Fieldwork: I like this one, and it can help out a lot with tests / combo with Shortcut (activating Fieldwork for an attack!). I just can't find the space for it given all the space Calling in Favors eats up. If you want to be bold, drop your .45 Automatic for it.
- Desperate cards, particularly Say Your Prayers and Desperate Search.
These are the cards I cut pretty quickly from this deck:
- Dr. Milan Christopher: a good add for economy, helping you fuel your Scientific Theory's. However, we shouldn't be investigating enough to make good use of his +1 and ability; he wouldn't be a terrible add, but I just can't justify making deck space for him.
- Evidence!: First, we're Roland, why do we need his in card form? Second, his ability is tricky enough to use in solo never mind a card that requires the same. Its icons are great, but so are Working a Hunch's (and that's a card we can use).
- Prepared for the Worst: I dig this card, but Eureka! serves a similar purpose while being more flexible to boot. Take your chances on finding a weapon and lean on Dr. William T. Maleson or Vicious Blow's if you don't. If you're planning on grabbing a Lightning Gun then you may want to make space for this card.
For the most part, this deck should perform just fine on most scenarios. There are a few worthy mentions, however:
The Devourer Below is fine until the end when you have to make 2x (3)/ tests. This isn't inordinately difficult, but be sure to save your skill icons for those tests. Get hit by Frozen in Fear? Save it. Hope you get lucky and keep pressing on.
Extracurricular Activities / The House Always Wins: between the two, I prefer to start with EA to buy us a little more time and snag the XP locations (+ the bonus XP at the end of THAW). Whether you want to save the students vs grab Professor Warren Rice is up to you, though he is a great ally for this deck (remember, his still works if we discover clues via card effects). By contrast, Professor Warren Rice won't do too much for us especially in solo and we shouldn't have too many difficulties with a truncated THAW.
Undimensioned & Unseen is... virtually impossible for this deck. We have neither an abundance of nor the to take advantage of the Powder of Ibn Ghazi. During my hard Dunwich play through, Roland breezed through Blood on the Alter resulting in U&U giving him no quarter. I got extremely lucky taking down 1 Brood and resigned. On reflection, I should have probably just not even bothered setting up the scenario and "resign" on round 1. This may seem like setting yourself up for a bad time on Where Doom Awaits, but we can breeze through that scenario fairly quickly; despite starting with 4 Doom, Roland still ended the scenario with 10/12 doom on Agenda 1. Take advantage of Shortcut(2), Mysteries Remain, and all your clue grabbing cards. If you're worried about WDA though, you may want to consider intentionally letting some people get sacrificed in Blood on the Alter.
*Note: we can use Powder of Ibn Ghazi during either of the player window's in the Enemy Phase or Upkeep phase, provided the Brood exhausted (ie it attacked you and exhausted during Step 3.3). If you want to play with fire, it may just help you wipe one or two out.