Kate Doesn't Need Roads|FHV Intro|Deck Guide

Card draw simulator

Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
Kate Doesn't Need Roads (Level 0 Edition) 29 24 1 1.0

ElseWhere · 4206

Hey everyone, and welcome to my contribution to the FHV Intro Deck Cycle!

If you're not sure what that is, check out this accompanying article on my blog, Strength in Numbers, where you can find a short description of the collaboration and a LOT of extra thoughts about Kate that wouldn't fit into this decklist: https://strengthinnumbersarkham.wordpress.com/2024/02/20/an-introduction-to-kate-winthrop/

As for the other amazing content creators contributing to this project, you can check out their work here (thanks to Val for the markdown, in case it wasn't clear by my usual formatting I have no idea how to do this stuff):

And now, without further ado, let's get experimental!


I've loved Kate as a character for many years and across a wide variety of Arkham Files games, but certain aspects of her design–namely the Flux Stabilizer–usually fell short of the power and interesting gameplay I wanted from her.

But no longer is that the case! Now, Kate is packing a fascinating gameplay loop, and quite a lot of power besides. I get into the specifics of her loop in the accompanying article, so if you're having trouble wrapping your brain around it (and it certainly took me a bit!) you can pop over there; in summary, she cycles through a pattern of activating her Stabilizer, using all her clues for temporary stat boosts to charge it up, then discharging it via her signature Aetheric Currents. Then the process begins again!

So for this list, I decided to focus almost entirely on maximizing that core loop, since it's (obviously) unique to her; other Seeker strategies, or ones offered by her deckbuilding, will be discussed in the Variants section.

In order to do this, you need three things: assets for Kate to put clues on, clues to put on those assets, and an absolutely enormous amount of card draw. For the first two parts, I chose a full spread of 8 Science/Tool assets; depending on your player count and how much the rest of your team is clueving, you may want to increase or decrease this number.

As for the third need, there's a perfect card draw card that also enables the first two: Empirical Hypothesis! This was the last piece that really fell into place to bring this deck to life.

Building around Empirical Hypothesis with Alternative Hypothesis (and the help of Fine Tuning to ready it without changing the hypothesis) really makes you feel like a scientist as you set hypotheses, warp your gameplay (or that of your Peers) around fulfilling them, and save up a huge pile of evidence you can use whenever an enemy pops up to draw rapidly through your deck and grab an Aetheric Current, or just spend as you get it to keep your deck moving fast and help with early setup. You can even trigger the oversuccess hypothesis while passing the test on the Current of Yoth, trigger Alternative Hypothesis to switch to the Independent Variable hypothesis, resolve the test's success to discard the targeted enemy, and immediately resolve the new hypothesis, for two evidence in one test and (more importantly) a feeling of absolute scientific badassery.

There, we've got all our core elements sorted! Let's meet the good doctor properly.

Deck Breakdown

The first thing Kate wants to do in any scenario is set up her equipment! She's got research to do, after all, and no cosmic evils are going to get in the way of that. Fortunately, she carries it all with her and is practiced at fieldwork.

Once she's set up with her scanners and detectors, and has begun to formulate her hypotheses, she'll want to collect some clues to study. She can then use these clues to initialize her Flux Stabilizer, and use it to pass any of the tests a scenario will throw at her. Obviously investigation tests are top of the list, but her ability doesn't discriminate based on stat so any location or treachery tests are equally fair game. Kate can do anything she puts her mind to, with enough clues, equipment, and the help of her loyal intern Delphinia Bell!

With setup complete, Kate can begin rapidly cycling (drawing through and reshuffling) her deck via Empirical Hypothesis, Dream-Enhancing Serum, Delphinia (who will also counter the horror taken by cycling so much), and Perception. As reality thins, her dimensional tech gets more effective, represented by End of the Road; and as a good scientist, she learns from each failure and phases those weaknesses out of her equipment and her own approach, represented via one of my favorite cards, "Fool me once...". You'll want to save at least one of those to remove Failed Experiment from your deck; the more you cycle, the worse that weakness gets. The severity of your RBW will determine if you also need to lock it out, or if you can spare the second FMO to lock or cancel encounter cards.

What's the reward of all this cycling? Chiefly constant access to the Aetheric Currents, which are extraordinarily powerful enemy management tools that can one-shot or control the positioning of non-Elites, and allow Kate to use her superior intellect to fight or evade bosses. But it also means more uses of Deduction for compression, and Emergency Cache to keep your dimensional analyzers topped off.


  • The elephant in the room is probably Archaic Glyphs. While I left it out of the deck here in pursuit of a more general (and perhaps less predictable) overall build, Guiding Stones is almost certainly the most powerful strategy available to Kate, with her built-in (and incredibly strong) buffs to oversuccess. Easy synergies like The Raven Quill and Knowledge is Power can take you in a more parapsychological direction, to tie you over until Agatha gets added to the game. Also, don't sleep on Markings of Isis, an insane card especially in a cycler which often gets overlooked because of the power of Guiding Stones.

  • Another elephant, and one that completely dispenses with Kate's normal pattern, is Clue Drop. Research Notes may have gotten tabooed but it's still quite powerful, and if you're playing without taboo, frankly a little terrifying. This will consume a big chunk of your deck but it comes with all the normal rewards of Clue Drop PLUS the fact that you can drop clues off assets Kate has already clued with her ability–meaning that when you pick them up again, you're free to use them for her ability yet again, without relying solely on the Aetheric Currents to reset.

  • On the topic of oversuccess, there's another new challenger in the ring for Seeker–the Ravenous Myconids! If you'd like to take your Kate in a more xenobiologist direction, all three are very powerful, whether you prefer mythos defense (the Sentient Strain), even more instakill power (the Carnivorous Strain), or healing (the Nurturing Strain).

  • And speaking of healing, lots of healing cards are Science-traited, including the slotless Surgical Kit and First Aid! So an MD-PhD Kate is absolutely possible, keeping her allies topped off and adding Soul Sanctification to her pool of flexible +2s.

  • Survival Technique is an absolutely fascinating new card from FHV, and as well as being a slotless Science card for Kate's ability, it opens some really interesting play patterns up for her. From classic Seeker cards like Shortcut for short hops through other realities, Map the Area for a local difficulty reduction if you're setting up a field laboratory, and Barricade to become a mobile forcefield keeping enemies out; to crazier picks like Breach the Door, which combined with her ability can permanently reduce shrouds to zero.

  • Breach the Door also has other interesting interactions even without Survival Technique, such as enabling Shed a Light, reducing the aforementioned Sentient Myconid's growth requirement to 0 (whoa!), or synergizing with Clue Drop.

  • From the mentions of Breach, Barricade, and Map some of you may already have caught on to Kate's position as a very strong Command Center deck. Setting up your mobile lab in one location and remaining there all game, via In the Know, Pendant of the Queen, and other ranged interactions, is both thematic and entertaining. Kate can even use Survival Technique to raise and lower her Barricade forcefield to allow allies in and out of the location; while there, she could use some of the healing we discussed earlier, or the powerful Alchemical Distillation both to keep her In the Knows charged and to offer economy to visiting investigators.

  • Finally, if you're limited solely to FHV and a core set, here are some quick changes I would make to keep this deck functioning. Microscope, especially its upgraded version, can sub in for Fingerprint Kit. Cryptic Research is obviously amazing (and if you have the spare XP, fits well in the full card pool deck too) and can cover your lack of Empirical Hypothesis. Dr. Milan Christopher is likely your best bet for ally, although both Dr. Charles West III and Gabriel Carillo could make a case for themselves. The last few slots and the event array can be fleshed out with other science assets and tech or economy events from the core and FHV without too much trouble.


And thus concludes my research into Kate–I hope yours, however, is only just beginning! Do you agree with my hypotheses? With my conclusions? I'd love to hear from you in the comments here or over on my blog.

And once again, please check out the other creators who explored the other new investigators from Hemlock Vale! They're brilliant and way better at this than I am, and you can find links to all their content on the blog page I linked above.

Thank you so much for reading, and always remember–magic isn't science we don't understand, science is magic that we do!


Feb 21, 2024 nythe08 · 1

Do you have a level 0 version of this deck? Curious what your thoughts are for campaign play.

Feb 21, 2024 ElseWhere · 4206

@nythe08here you go: arkhamdb.com

One asset of this deck is that it pretty much has all its important pieces at level 0, so you can hit the ground running right in scenario one (a nice plus of building around such strong signatures). From there you can take any path you really want upgrading into the higher-level cards (whether those are the ones I've selected here, or a different set for a different playstyle).

All you really need for Kate to be full steam ahead are some tools, some clue compression, and a bunch of card draw, and fortunately all of that is available to Seekers right from the start!

Feb 24, 2024 CuddlyZombie · 1

Could you elaborate on the Independent Variable combo you mention at the bottom of the deck intro, please? I'm not seeing how you discard an enemy.

Feb 24, 2024 ElseWhere · 4206

@CuddlyZombiewhoops, looks like that one is just straight up a mistake on my part. My apologies! Working on this deck before I actually had the cards in my hands meant a lot of clicking back and forth between web pages and relying on my mediocre memory, so I'm guessing I thought there was a defeat or discard clause on Current of Yoth that there isn't actually.

No great loss, but if you really want to pull that particular Hypothesis trick off, it should still work on a different enemy management tool like Occult Invocation, "I've got a plan!", Strange Solution, or any other card that lets you oversucceed a test and then discard or kill that enemy as a result.

Feb 24, 2024 dmance · 1

Can this deck work without the serum? I do not have this card...

Feb 24, 2024 CuddlyZombie · 1

@ElseWhereAh, okay! I thought maybe I was missing something. I like the idea of using one of those other cards though!

Feb 25, 2024 drjones87 · 173

Can the +2 on Kate's stabilizer be used more than once per test?

Feb 25, 2024 Rolandironfist · 26

@drjones87there is no limit except how many empty assets you have. If you have 5 clues and 5 science assets, you can give yourself +10 to a test. That is why the Archaic Glyphs is quite good for her.

Feb 25, 2024 ElseWhere · 4206

@dmanceit can absolutely work without Serum! Serum is a decent card draw card, more useful for the increase to hand size it offers, but since we're not going for Big Hand payoffs the thing you'll really be missing is two more science assets. So I would just add one of the other slotless Science assets I mentioned in this decklist or over in the article on my blog, like Survival Technique, Strange Solution, or even Chemistry Set for that empty accessory slot.

@drjones87Rolandironfist is absolutely correct! She's an insane oversuccess enabler as long as you make sure to keep your eligible asset array open, which this deck tries to do via the Aetheric Currents but you could also manage through Clue Drop or just spending clues as fast as possible, if the scenario will let you.

Mar 23, 2024 tumblestix · 1

Thank you so much for this, as well as all your extra thoughts on your blog essay. I played a version of this deck with a Carnivorous Myconid (we named him "Tiny") through a 2p Scarlet Keys campaign with my husband, and honestly I've never enjoyed playing a Seeker so much! I love how she's ready to go from the beginning, how you made it easy to understand "the loop" of her gameplay, and well, just how FUN the science theme was all around. Kate is now firmly established on my list of favourite investigators. :)

Apr 24, 2024 CuttlefishBeyondTheStars · 67

This is a great writeup! I'm so excited to play Kate and I have accidentally built 3 different decks for her already.

I just wanted to point out that for Research Notes, Kate's Forced ability is also a player card effect--if you drop the clue because the asset leaves play, that's also an evidence!

Jul 13, 2024 Marymatician · 35

I took my fourth read of Kate to finally wrap my head around her interactions, and found this. At first, your article piqued my intrigue in Kate, but it was the short fiction at the end that's made me fall in love with her. Short fiction, led by the works of others, is what this entire genre was built on, and it was an enjoyable read. I hope I get the chance to take Dr. Winthrop for a spin soon!

Jul 17, 2024 Majja · 1

@ElseWhere Sorry I don't understand how "Empirical Hypothesis with Alternative Hypothesis (and the help of Fine Tuning to ready it without changing the hypothesis) " Fine Tuning helps you ready but why would you need Alternative Hypothesis then?

Thanks :)