Diana Stanley - Contrite Sorceress

Card draw simulator
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
Diana Stanley - Circle Undone - Group of 4 0 0 0 1.0
Diana Stanley - Contrite Sorceress 1 1 0 1.0

DocLeo · 467

I've been playing a lot of Diana Stanley builds on Return to the Gathering (which is a fun multifaceted scenario and along with Return to the Midnight Masks, I find to be a good testing ground for decks). This deck is really meant to be in multiplayer but a few minor adjustments could make it reasonable for single player.

Diana seems to be a "slow burn" character. In that what I mean is she is more about precision of action. Initially, I spent time trying to get her Will maximized as quickly as possible and this led to economy problems and her weakness just eating her alive.

After a few sessions, I approached her play more cautiously. I wasn't worried about maximizing her Will but allowing it to maximize over the course of the scenario and landing the big hits at the end. Also, just putting a single asset or two into play as needed rather than building the tableau quickly.

Over the course of the scenario she tended to lean heavily on Flashlight and .45 Automatic (or Machete) and by the end she was unleashing with Shrivelling. For me a key was economy. The cancel cards do cost resources and while you can get one back (remember her ability only triggers once per phase) it is easy to run dry quickly.

Rather than cancelling everything as fast as possible, my play style became "surgical strikes". Even if I could cancel a card, I wouldn't necessarily do so unless I really needed to do so right then.

Torrent of Power became great fun because it works with anything she wants to do. So a Mists of R'lyeh becomes a 2 cost (or possibly 0 cost) battery for Torrent of Power with four charges, which worked better than Physical Training for me. Shrivelling could also serve this role up front or become a solid blasting spell towards the end of a scenario.

Personally, I find Alyssa Graham vital to Diana because Terrible Secret is destructive especially if it appears late and with all the drawing Diana can do there is a higher chance of it appearing during a turn.

So, Diana becomes a slow build and precision play style. I think of her as very reluctant to use her eldritch skills. After all, she's a former cultist. She knows the horrible side of the Mythos. She has to build up the will against ever increasing odds in order to dip back into that dark side of her personality. At least, that's how I see her.

When I played her this way, I felt as though I had a great deal more control over the game and over Diana's progression through the scenario. Getting clues can still be a problem (Rite of Seeking is a perfectly good replacement for Mists of R'lyeh but it is a bit more expensive).

Some of the cards are easily replaceable. Guard Dog can be Beat Cop (though I prefer to use Guard Dog and then replace with higher level Beat Cop). Defiance is a nice quick cancel but there are others, or even Steadfast for better icons. Torrent of Power, I find to be great fun (and heck it goes great with a .45 or machete) but could be changed to something else. Fine Clothes is a nice cheap soak. Evidence! could be Scene of the Crime.

The idea here is that each card is capable of serving multiple purposes so there are always options during every turn of the game.

Thank you for taking a look! Diana has been one of my favorite investigators since Arkham Horror 2nd days!

Tentative Upgrade Plan

The Four of Cups is what I think of as an optional upgrade.

Towards the end of the campaign it may be worth trying out "Eat lead!" (2) (I would trade Defiance for that).

After several more trial runs and discussion here. I made some adjustments.


Feb 02, 2019 Myriad · 652

Thanks for the perspective! Did you find cards like Deny Existence or Delay the Inevitable helpful in combating her weakness?

Feb 02, 2019 DocLeo · 467

Strangely enough I never had that effect as I used Alyssa to keep the weakness at bay. It looks like a great use of Deny Existence because it allows you to ignore (without cancelling) the horror effect.

Delay the Inevitable, I did try this card but I found the cost a bit too high to work real well. For me it tended to stay in my hand or get used for icons so it was pulled. However, I think it is also a good card if the deck economy can back it up.

Feb 02, 2019 caffeineaddict · 11

I don't think you can use deny existence on her weakness, as it says encounter card effect.

Feb 02, 2019 kai_spa · 1

2 XP to upgrade two Vicious Blow (0) to two Marksmanship (1)

I dont see blows on list. What do you replace for this?. Thanks.

Feb 02, 2019 DocLeo · 467

@kai_spaHeh, yeah I was playing around with Defiance, Vicious Blow, and Steadfast. Any of those seem to sit well in the deck. It would be those two skill cards that I would upgrade to marksmanship possibly. For example trading Defiance or Torrent of Power for Vicious Blow seems to be fine. It's a flexible slot.

@caffeineaddictAs far as I can tell, her weakness is of cardtype encounter because it is a treachery card as per the rules on Weakness. If this isn't a correct interpretation then my mistake. In any case, I tend to use Alyssa to try to avoid the weakness.

Feb 02, 2019 caffeineaddict · 11

Hmm, interesting, I think I've overlooked that in the rules up to now.

Feb 03, 2019 apotropaic · 23

I definitely agree that Diana must be played really strategically. Her ability and a good combo of cancels (specifically Deny Existence, Dodge, Dark Prophecy, and Hypnotic Gaze) and her Twilight Blade allow her to engage and ignore or cancel attacks at various phases, multiple times if the blade is used right.

The inclusion of Alyssa is brilliant, the +1 and the ability to put off her weakness is probably what will make a stronger Diana deck. It seems to make Arcane Initiate needless, as you'll be gradually building up Diana's willpower and drawing cards with her cancel/ignore ability over time.

The Guard Dog I'm not too sure about. Especially since you've stated there's a problem with Diana's funds. I'd go David Renfield as a second ally, it should help curb the cost of assets/events, and most of Diana's cancels should keep you from much of the damage/horror. I also feel like Quantum Flux might be situational, unless you really do go for broke and boost Diana's very quickly, then you could get those cards back. Unfortunately, I think you'd also be returning her weakness, in some cases.

I prefer a build that can work in a worst case scenario, which would mean falling back on her and off class, while still having that juicy potential. I would throw in more icons, and Vicious Blow, and go Machete or 2X Kukri.

Feb 03, 2019 DocLeo · 467

Kukri is a very intriguing idea. After all if that can hit then it's pretty easy to get the second damage point (unless was the last action). That could be fun to try.

For me Quantum Flux works well, because I have a tendency to throw it when there are only a few cards in the discard but they are important ones. Also with more focus on the ability of Twilight Blade it could also be beneficial to use it to get those cancels back into the deck. I agree it's not a crucial card just one I like to throw into decks that can take it.

The Defiance slot is easily replaced by a variety of cards including Vicious Blow, which I do like and have been using.

Feb 03, 2019 apotropaic · 23

@DocLeoYea, if Quantum is upping your recursion of your cancel/ignores then it's solid. Actually reconsidering Kukri, and would probably opt for Survival Knifex2, especially if I had Guard Dogs.

Feb 04, 2019 DocLeo · 467

Survival knife is actually a pretty cool idea. I may give that a go!

Feb 04, 2019 mattastrophic · 1042

I have a feeling that Diana builds that use weapons are really going to hinge on what the text of Enchanted Blade ends up being.

Feb 04, 2019 Django · 2194

I assume Enchanted Blade is a card that has not been released yet but shown somewhere? Is it mystic or guardian?

It's interesting seeing different playstyles of Diana. This deck is a pretty balanced approach. But focusing more an guardian and her ability (playing counters whenever possible) means that her weakness is more of a boon cause it re-enables her abilty again. But it also makes her more vulnerable to the mythos (no counters available and low ).

Feb 04, 2019 TipsyGamer · 11

@Djangothe Mystic/Guardian gold card from pack 2

Feb 06, 2019 LingeringDrama · 1

I've found a single back pack is nice. Helps looks for her blade and can also bring in other useful items. Back only gets stronger as you upgrade to Jewels and Statues.

Feb 07, 2019 DocLeo · 467

@LingeringDrama So I decided to trade a single Fine Clothes for a Single Backpack it is really helpful (since I am also trying St. Hubert's Key instead of Holy Rosary with a combination of 2 Arcane Research. It works really well for a potential horror heal (negating the Arcane Research) and a +1 to Will and Intelligence.

Feb 10, 2019 BlueCrab · 22

I see a number of Diana decks running Rite of Seeking, but I think, that, with change to St. Hubert's Key and Alyssa Graham, Diana would be quite capable at investigationg. Do you find that is the case when you play?

Feb 10, 2019 DocLeo · 467

@BlueCrab For me, I find that Rite of Seeking is a bit too expensive to get down reliably if St. Hubert's Key is in the deck. Rite does give an extra-clue so it's worth considering. In the deck I'm running, I have 2 Arcane Research as a result St. Hubert's Key helps protect and heal that initial trauma. With that and Alyssa Graham Diana has an Intelligence of 5. This is a solid level for clue gathering (with the occasional icons committed). So for me, not having Rite of Seeking seems to work fine. Though it's easy to add to the deck especially if you're not running Arcane Research.

Feb 11, 2019 matt88 · 1061

@DocLeo What do you think of Crystalline Elder Sign for Diana?? I think that of all other Mystics, she's the one that can use it best!! :)

Feb 11, 2019 DocLeo · 467

@matt88I would probably run it solo, but I think in multiplayer my teammates would actually do great harm to me. ;-)

Feb 11, 2019 Django · 2194

Regarding Rite VS Alyssa and Key:

  • Rite has the problem that her starts at 1, so it's useless until you've countered enough.
  • Be aware that Diana's deck is 5 cards bigger than most others (Dark Insight is added to her starting hand). So you're less likely to see both in the same game. Having Flashlight as backup and maybe Backstab to search for the key and flash is a good idea.

Regarding Crystalline Elder Sign, be sure to read it's reviews, many good points are already there. It's more useful in solo and lower difficulty (sealing +1 instead of ). But i agree dianas balanced stats make her benefit more than other mystics. Or allow her to focus more on . Imagine Crystalline Elder Sign + 1-2x Beat Cop + Ace of Swords in play + either Machete or Timeworn Brand.

Feb 11, 2019 DocLeo · 467

@DjangoI've been playing this deck a great deal in both the first scenario of TCU and Return to Midnight Masks. In both cases, I'm running 2 Arcane Research to try out the St. Hubert's Key strategy. Also, I made few adjustments (noted in the NB in the deck description). In practice I hard mulligan for St. Hubert's Key or Alyssa Graham because either help with that initial clue gathering. Backpack has helped from time to time. Also, as Diana draws a lot, I've frequently had both St. Hubert's Key and Alyssa Graham in play. The flashlight, I find excellent on its own. I'm not a fan of Rite of Seeking in this deck because of the Will issue.

Strangely enough with both David Renfield and Alyssa Graham in the deck it can be a challenge to know which one to put down first. Alyssa is vital once Diana has a few cards under her, but once the Terrible Secret is handled Alyssa feels less necessary. David, on the other hand, works reasonably well to get some economy. I would prefer to start with David and switch to Alyssa then back to David, but randomness doesn't always agree! Maybe Calling in Favors?

Lately, for weirdness I've been trying out Survival Knife in place of the .45 Automatic or Machete. It's not bad and it seems to work ok for her. I still would prefer the advanced .45 Automatic when XP allows. Vicious Blow is now definitely in the deck.

Interestingly, as I advance Diana my plan is to move into more guardian cards.

Feb 13, 2019 Django · 2194

It's too bad no counter works against doom, like for renfield. Be aware that unique cards like renfield cannot enter play while another is. So renfield cannot replace himself. But Alyssa can replace renfield, if he has too much doom?

I've played Calling in Favors in a few decks, not sure it's worth it with only 4 ally cards. It's great with 5 or more and an important one is missing. It gets better the more damage/horror the returned ally healed way and doom removed.

Survival Knife is hard to rate, it's very situational. It's pointless if you lose 1 or 2 actions, waiting for your chance to kill it on counter. You'll also take a lot of damage/horror, which also require ressources to compensate (negated damage does not trigger the knife, like Armor of Ardennes or Delay the Inevitable). So i personally prefer more offensive weapons over the knife.

What do you think of Timeworn Brand VS .45 Automatic 2? 2x Brand costs 8 additional XP, but only 1 ressource more and has no limit on uses.

Feb 14, 2019 DocLeo · 467

I tried Calling in Favors and found it didn't work well for me. Renfield is fine because he's easy to eliminate (Alyssa does a fine job with just replacing him). Even then, I may not be using him to his fullest because I feel like I drop him just to use the free ability once or twice (just before and just after an agenda advances). So I'm still mulling over that card.

Ignoring cost, the Timeworn Brand is clearly superior. However, there is a steep cost. When I was examining the Brand, I felt it more appropriate to compare it to Shrivelling (5). Since they have similar costs in XP. The Brand is something I want to work well with Diana. However, there is Shrivelling and it works with Arcane Research.

It's a really interesting conundrum and goes into a key question of what to use Diana's abilities for? Building up will for big spells? Cycling cancel cards (via the Twilight Blade? Something else?

I do like the .45 Automatic(2) because it combos with a couple of other cancels and because I really enjoyed the ending to the movie Wizards. :-)

Feb 14, 2019 Django · 2194

.45 Automatic: You mean because you can put it below Diana or what do you mean it comboes with other cancels?

I think using her ability is a self fulling prophecy. With 1 the agenda will tear you appart if you don't counter, which raises your will and grants more cards, possible counters. So the question is rather, will you stay at 6 or put a bit of tutoring for her knife in your deck (Backpack) and stay at 5 so you can use her ability more? If you're bold, you could even recycle her weakness with Quantum Flux.

Feb 15, 2019 DocLeo · 467

Oh, it can combine with "Eat lead!" and Marksmanship for silliness.

I have really liked Quantum Flux in this deck.

Feb 22, 2019 eskhata · 1

Hey there, very nice deck, I really like it. Do you use Mists of R'lyeh even without Torrent of Power? It seems that it has the same problems as Rite of Seeking (low willpower early/mid game).

Feb 23, 2019 DocLeo · 467

@eskhataMists of R'lyeh is a solid card since it has that great move on success and the penalty isn't too huge. So far it has stayed in my deck as getting her will up high enough for evasion isn't too hard (compared to fight for Shrivelling. However, I have considered changing it for Clarity of Mind, which while not great at level 0, is much better leveled up.

The deck I'm running in TCU is a variant of this one (with the changes noted in the NB). Additionally, I'm running two Arcane Research. This is one reason I want some spells that upgrade.

In my experience, this slot (the Mists of R'lyeh) spot is rather flexible.

Mar 29, 2019 Deadlykipper · 1

@DocLeo or @Django, could either of you explain how best to use Dark Prophecy? I'm a bit noob and struggling to see the benefit when you'll almost certainly draw a fail token. Thanks.

Mar 29, 2019 Django · 2194

I've never played Dark Prophecy because i agree with most of it's reviews that it's pretty bad on it's own.

However for Diana this is one of the easiest ways to trigger her ability (net effect 1 card drawn and +1). Most other 0 XP cancel/ ignore cards besides Deny Existence and Ward of Protection are very situational so it will get difficult if you want to increase her further (or didn't draw any of those).

Token effects vary for each scenario, but mostly their modifier is equal or better than the expected modifier of your difficulty (like -2 on standard) so you often succeed when you get one of those. I'm currenlty building a Diana deck and am excited to see what this card will do.

Mar 30, 2019 DocLeo · 467

@DeadlykipperI really like Dark Prophecy in this deck as it is a solid cancel that lets you aim towards to "major arcana" tokens. While there is a chance to draw the autofail it seems like the odds favor drawing more than one face token. In all, it pays for itself, can be clutch, gives you a reasonably good idea of what type of tokens your likely to draw, which can help planning the skill test. As with any cancel in this deck, it is important to play it at the right time.

Mar 30, 2019 Deadlykipper · 1

@DocLeo that's what I don't get... How is it a cancel? You're about to draw a random token. Instead you decide to play Dark Prophecy and draw 5 instead. Now you must choose between any of the face tokens. So what's been cancelled? What benefit have you gained? Again, sorry for not understanding.

Mar 30, 2019 Django · 2194

It's because Dark Prophecy says "...and ignore the rest...", this triggers Diana Stanleys ability for "After a card you own cancels or ignores a... game effect..."

Mar 30, 2019 DocLeo · 467

Exactly, so remember that "ignore" is not the same as "cancel" but both can trigger Diana's ability. This is crucial for using something like Deny Existence to "ignore" the horror caused by Terrible Secret without canceling the weakness (since it cannot be canceled).

I finally got to see Enchanted Blade blade in action with this deck and it is really nice (I tried it in a level 0 deck instead of the .45 Automatic). It is a bit tricky with the slots but I think it is a solid card for Diana. An interesting distinction with it, is that the blade has "charges" and not "ammo" so this opens up another target for Torrent of Power.

Mar 30, 2019 Deadlykipper · 1

So, correct me if I'm wrong, I draw terrible secrets, I count the number of cards under me, I then play deny existence and take no horror. The weakness is then complete and I can discard?

Mar 30, 2019 Django · 2194

You don’t have to discard anything if you play deny existence because it cancels the horror you would’ve taken for keeping cards below her. But you can discard some if want to. Though there’s no point if discard all anyway.

Mar 30, 2019 Deadlykipper · 1

I meant discard terrible secrets because it's finished, without the need to take horror

Apr 15, 2019 DocLeo · 467

Having tried Enchanted Blade a few times, I'm finding that it works very well even better than .45 Automatic and the upgrade .45 Automatic. One thing that helps is that Enchanted Blade uses charges, which can be used for Torrent of Power. I really like the flexibility of this card, it's ability to use charges, that it is a resource cheaper.

May 27, 2019 MartinGM · 1

Great deck and discussion. Will be using it on our next campaing. Quick questinon, can I use her ability to draw cards if she already has the 5 cards bellow her? If so, it sounds kindda bad for an ability (being only able to use it 5 times in a game + elder sign extras due to removing a card from bellow)

May 27, 2019 Deadlykipper · 1

@MartinGM, you can pay cards from under her with Twilight blade. So, you can keep using them with skills tests and then adding more under her.

May 27, 2019 Django · 2194

You can't trigger her ability when 5 cards are below her, as her ability says. But her signature weapons helps with that and i'd recommend you to do this. It's like adding all cards below her to your hand and makes you very flexible with what you counter. Also you can use Seal of the Elder Sign to trigger her ability when needed.

May 27, 2019 DocLeo · 467

As noted, the ability only works when there are less than 5 cards beneath her (the Will-O-Meter as I call it during play). However, with careful play, I find that her will steadily increases over the game. Between the Elder Sign ability and Twilight Blade, I think I've only "wasted" a card a few times (with 3 TCU campaigns and a couple of other campaigns going). The issue I run into is if I have to cancel more than one time during a phase. Remember, her ability only works once per phase.

Seal of the Elder Sign is so good with Diana. She autopasses a test at -3 and gets card back and if you're powering a big Shrivelling hit, it lands and no risk of backfire!

With 2 Arcane Research, I find she advances very quickly through a campaign and can get into Seal of the Elder Sign reasonably fast and it replaces Torrent of Power, which I greatly enjoy in this deck along with the Enchanted Blade.