Ursula Downs - Fast and Curious. (Hard Mode)

Card draw simulator
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
Ursula Downs - The Forgotten Age 0 0 0 1.0

StartWithTheName 2515

OVERVIEW

A simple to pilot, “hit the ground running” Ursula build focussing on Ursula's natural core activities of: movement, investigating & evasion with a little check support for additional encounter protection.

The rough game plan is to get passive + boosts down asap to enable efficient clueing to free up cash/cards for other deck functions. Several investigate action converters (such as: Unearth the Ancients or In the Know) and bonus movement (Shortcut, Pathfinder or occasionally her ) also allow her to capitalise on this by offering increased efficiency from her ability. and boosters (Hyperawareness/Higher Education) and skill cards/pips provide encounter and enemy handling while a generous cash and draw engine minimise variance.

The deck is light on non-fast assets (including relics). This is mainly to minimise time and resources wasted on install actions to let you get going quickly. It’s also in recognition that the current relics available, while often considered to be generally strong cards, have limited synergy with her statline or ability, so including too many supports for these can slow down the deck. (Ofc as new Ursula synergistic relics are released, I expect this will change).

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UPGRADES

Ive put these at the top as I know not everyone wants to read the full blurb.

Priorities:

Other upgrades to taste:

  • Deduction Deduction (2) - More clues are more clues and you should be able to boost high if needed when the time comes.
  • The Chthonian Stone/Tooth of Eztli the XP relic of your choosing (this is a game, pick the toy that looks the most fun!)
  • Deciphered Reality Not that important really, but its a great card. Remember you dont have to wait until all locations have clues on this. Getting 3 or 4 clues is still amazing efficiency for a single action. Also note that you can use this from her ability, and that it says the bonus clues are "additional" so you still get 1 from your location as usual).

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DETAILED PILOTING GUIDE

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MOVEMENT & ABILITY:

Ursula's ability - a Pseudo free action each turn is strong so how do we get the most out of it?

A few points for anyone unaware:

  1. The free investigate action doesnt have to be spent on the basic investigate a location action. It can be spent on any card that initiates an investigate. action as part of its test, such as Unearth the Ancients, In the Know or Flashlight.
  2. Despite the action being generated via a ability it does count as initiating a new (non-evade., fight. or resign.) action so it can trigger attacks of opportunity.

Specific Cards:

  • Shortcut , Pathfinder, and when you're lucky enough her , each offer free move actions, allowing you to position yourself and achive 4 investigate actions in a turn.

  • In the Know (and perhaps later Deciphered Reality) allow you to use the free investigate action to target a location other than the one you just moved to. I have skipped on Seeking Answers as while it does a similar thing, my experience of it in many other decks have been very circumstantial and more often used for pips.

  • Unearth the Ancients combines action economy and efficiency by converting that into an install. Note that while you get a bonus draw if you use this on a seeker relic, It can be used on ANY seeker asset, so its a great way of getting that Pathfinder or Milan out without the tempo hit from paying 3. Note also that you can use the + on Magnifying Glass and Milan and you get the penny back from Milan if he was in play before you played it. Double pips also puts it on a par with a dedicated skill card if you dont need it for the install.

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CLUES AND INVESTIGATION BOOSTS

Some quick hard mode maths (sorry!):

On hard we want to be testing 3 above test value to get reliable odds on success and out strip some a lot of the nastier token effects (some scenarios need higher). So getting your base to 5 lets you gives you easy (~75% - 80%) pass rates against a shroud 2. Similarly a base of 6, or 7 are needed for shrouds 3 and 4 respectively. Which implies:

The priorities:

  • THE MULLIGAN: You ideally want to build to at least a passive +2 from Mag Glasses and/or Milan asap so MULIGAN HARD FOR THESE. This will get you able to reliably succeed on shroud 3 location which should mean you are covered for the majority of locations. More is always going to be better ofc, but you are unlikely to see both Mag Glasses early so we have a few extra toys.

The Supports:

  • The Chthonian Stone gives us the option to seal away a nasty token, which can bring the odds of success up and reduce risk of harsh token effects (and for your comrades as too) but it will block that hand slot. Then again it will also eventually return itself to your hand letting you put the second Magnifying Glass down if needed. Or ofc you can just over write it with the Magnifying Glass.

  • Hyperawareness and Higher Education let you pay to go a little higher. Note that if you have Milan down, he can refund one of the resources you spend on each test if you pass. This is particularly important in the first scenario before you get Higher Ed because it changes the permutations of cards needed to reach the magic +2 for shroud 3 locations allowing the Hyperawareness + Dr. Milan Christopher combo incase a Magnifying Glass didnt turn up.

  • Perception, Deduction, Eureka!, Inquiring Mind and Unearth the Ancients are all good cards for hitting higher shroud locations. They all offer either 2+ pips and/or bonus clues/draw when you use them. Ofc feel free to use Eureka! or Deduction on lower shrouds as needed, especially Eureka! which can be used liberally for the filtered draw (such a strong card!).

  • Fieldwork Ive used this a lot in Ursula and while its good, it isnt the panacea for her that it looks like it is on paper. It will help you on one or two actions on some turns. While it is great support for her in general its not strong enough to fully substitute out your Magnifying Glasses. It does however offer wild +2 to any type of test which makes it just as good for or checks where needed (see below).

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ENEMY AND TREACHERY HANDLING ( & TESTS)

With high base and reasonable , Ursula has a good base to build on to handle encounter skill checks and Evade enemies. As before we are looking to test 3 above the test strength on hard so her base stats wont be enough except in very easy cases. They at least offer a little protection (if unreliable) when you have no boosts available and this may be a 30-50% on early campaign 3 tests for example. Again a test strength of 3 or more is common, so you're looking to be able to reliably go up to at least 6/ for the test at short notice, or simply take the impact of the fail. Pick you're fights here. We have a lot of one short or expensive options, but hard mode is about rolling with the punches and they will run out in time or burn tempo if you over spend on boosters. If the impact of failure is minimal, just let it through and save your war chest of counters for a more dangerous test.

The options follow a similar pattern to those in the investigate section:

  • Tooth of Eztli offers the only passive + or that we have brought with us and its only on treachery cards. These passive buffs are ofc nice to have but not that essential with so many alternatives in the deck. The draw is also very nice but at 3 cost its a big tempo hit which means its not an early game card unless youve drawn alot of cash early. This makes a second copy potentially a common dead draw, hence the 1x include rather than 2x.

  • Pay to boost with Hyperawareness/Higher Education again.

  • Eureka!, Guts, Manual Dexterity, Inquiring Mind and Logical Reasoning all offer or pips, most of them with a bonus effect for use.

  • Dumping Enemies in spent locations and using Fieldwork for evasion: Fieldwork has also already been noted for potential use on any test, but it required some co-ordination. To use it to evade an enemy you are already engaged with you either need to take an AOO (attack of opportunity), use Jake Williams, or play Shortcut. Shortcut is fast and as such doesnt trigger AOOs similarly Jake cancels the first AOO. Both effectively let you just take the enemy with you to a new location. This has some considerable potential to let you dump an enemy in a location you dont intend to come back to after, which can be particularly important if you dont want to kill it (#vengeance).

  • Fieldwork to clear test at end of turn checks. Some encounter cards like Frozen in Fear require you to test at the end of the turn. If you want to use Fieldwork for this you need to make a move action as your last action, but NOT use the free investigate action as Fieldwork triggers on the first action you take after the move.

  • Logical Reasoning This is included more for party support and optional horror healing if you've been hit by Call of the Unknown too often. But in principal you can use it to clear a terror encounter card or pitch it for its double pips. Alternatively this slot is really a bit of a flex slot. Feel free to bring something else that caught your interest. I often use Preposterous Sketches.

  • "I've got a plan!" Finally, our only damage button for those enemies that you cant simply evade or leave to your comrades. If you want a little more damage, consider swapping Logical Reasoning or Inquiring Minds for Strange Solutions with a view to upgrading them to Strange Solutions ( edition)

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DRAW

With so many good talent assets for Ursula, you can find your hand waning and turning off Higher Education if you dont keep it topped up. Draw also helps with general deck consistency so ive included plenty:

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Anyway - Thanks for reading and good luck on your next expedition!.

6 comments

May 16, 2018 Low_Chance 2

Very interesting deck - I love the emphasis on fast setup and getting underway. I also hadn't realized Ursula's triggered ability can be used to play Investigate actions on cards - that opens a lot of interesting possibilities.

Two questions:

  1. I have to admit I was very unimpressed by Tooth of Eztli when I first saw it. I suppose it depends on the specific encounter cards in the scenario being played, but I find it hard to believe you'll get 3 resources worth of value out of it. Would you say this is a card you were close to cutting from the deck, or does it pull its weight as a 1-of?

  2. Are you concerned that Unearth the Ancients is going to underperform on a higher difficulty? Like Medical Texts, Liquid Courage, and Burglary, cards that rely on unnecessary skill checks to perform their function definitely carry higher risk on Hard/Expert where not only is the test more likely to fail, but you may reveal some nasty token effects. Then again, the synergy with Ursula's ability is very strong. Would you still play this on Expert?

May 16, 2018 Low_Chance 2

Followup Mulligan question: If your opening hand contained Jake Williams, but no Milan, would you keep the Jake Williams or mulligan him away as well? Seems like if he's ever going to be worth it, it's on turn 1, but I suspect even then you're better off with a Milan.

May 16, 2018 matt88 2

My concern about Ursula Downs is whether Jake Williams is worth being played over an ally like Milan. My guess is it isn't, so is it worth buing a Charisma just so that you can use him, or you just never play him and you use him for his skill icons???

May 16, 2018 StartWithTheName 2515

Thanks @Low_Chance

I actually designed and refined the deck on a few runs before her deck composition was known on the assumption she would get accesss to at least a few rogue cards. I was hedging my bets a bit so kept it seeker heavy. But basically for a long while the relics were Burglary and the Unearth the Ancients were Elusive. I tried a few others like Double or Nothing (now Inquiring Mind) but nothing too structurally important. This means my experience of these newer cards aren’t as deep as the other components. But the deck ran fine when the rogue cards didn’t turn up so I was happy to post.

I have tried a few runs with them in and Unearth the Ancients is great if you can get the core + boosts down. If your base is 6 and your looking to play a 2 or 3 cost asset your fine. Playing Dr. Milan Christopher is the only real hump here since if he costs 4 and if he’s not in play your missing at least 1 potential . It means you’d need to use a skill card or Higher Education that’s all. The big bonus here is converting the - ability into an install tho. I see Unearth the Ancients in a similar light to Emergency Cache. It’s just a quick small burst rather than something to shoot the moon with basically. Its also nice with Call of the Unknown since it counts as having investigated the location. But feel free to sub it for another econ.

Re Tooth of Eztli. I agree it’s pricy. It’s not going to put you in a position to pass encounter tests without support assuming your testing 3 above test strength. All it’s doing is saving a penny each test. Assuming base 3 or , getting to “the magic 6” or better takes 2 pennies on Hyperawareness or Higher Education but 1 with the tooth in play. Obv you’ve had to pay upfront to get this benefit so realistically your probs going to be striking roughly even a lot. On the other hand your getting a trickle of draw and potentially a bonus draw from Unearth the Ancients occasionally. Nothing to write home about but not awful hence the 1x. Ofc I expect with time more relics will come out to replace the slot and the accessory was open anyway. I quite like Jewel of Aureolus as a replacement incase it helps.

Re Jake Williams I mulligan him away im afraid. I’ve only ever put him in play a handful of times. He’s nice, but you really want those + and free cash. Maybe with spare do you can grab charisma. And there are games where Milan fails to turn up or just dies on you.

May 16, 2018 StartWithTheName 2515

Sorry. Missed your question about expert. I’m afraid I’ve never played on expert but I would imagine this deck might not quite work there. It lacks auto clues and favour of calibration at 3 above test strength which ofc might not be enough.

May 17, 2018 CaiusDrewart 546

I like this deck a lot! It is extremely close to the Ursula build I was designing! She's in kind of an awkward spot right now, I think, because while relics are really fun and I really want to use them, the available relics are a little bit underwhelming right now. The Chthonian Stone and Tooth of Eztli are cool and unique... but not necessarily great value for their cost.

I think on Expert I would probably swap out Unearth the Ancients for Working a Hunch, although Unearth the Ancients is not necessarily unplayable for her on Expert.

I might think about cutting Eureka! (or some relics) for Strange Solution. I really like Acidic Ichor.

Tooth of Eztli is an interesting one. I kind of doubt you can get a ton of value from it because so many of the encounter cards you draw just won't be Will or Intellect tests. But if any investigator could make good use of it on high levels, it'd be Higher Education/Hyperawareness Ursula. Let me know if it's working for you.