Dark Horse Fairmont, The New #1

Card draw simulator
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
Never Pull A Chaos Token 1 0 2 1.0
Dark Horse Fairmont, The New #1 0 0 0 1.0
Dark Horse Fairmont, The New #1 0 0 0 2.0

ArkhamDio · 273

Alright, so this deck mainly uses Joey "The Rat" Vigil. I know this might be hard for some to take seriously, but it is very effective and you'll just have to try it to see what I mean. This deck achieved R1 on Return to NotZ (on standard admittedly) and had all six cultists from MM in the victory display, teamed up with a Joe. He single handedly solved the last act, because Joe was tangled up with monsters, and could do pretty much anything he wanted.

The deck focuses on a very simple concept: Spend all your money each turn. If there are no tests to be made, you want to equip yourself. This is where Joey comes into play as a key card, since he will let you equip all your item assets as Free actions, without exhausting. I won't bore you with details, as long as you mulligan for Leo or Joey and get your fire axe out, you should be able to do whatever you want. Except succeed at treacheries, those you just tank. Dont be shy to let Joey or Leo die, and make sure to commit Take Heart while at it to draw more soaks.

The 0xp version isn't as powerful, but basically you just use Fine Clothes and another Shovel instead of Lola to help out with the clues and Parleys. For those times you have to evade, use cunning distraction. Upgrade to streetwise asap. You will still be just as powerful when it comes to hitting things with an axe though. And remember, you can always Adaptable in powerful events that fit the scenario.

For you guys who dont need the details, here is how you run the deck:

Mulligan for Fire Axe, Leo da Luca and Joey. Later Lola is included, but mulligan all other cards. This is important. If you dont find the Fire Axe and either Joey or Leo, you do not want to keep Dark Horse. It is horrible on its own, and is only good combined with your other cards.

  1. Streetwise, 2x Lola Santiago, Flashlights and The Skeleton Key makes you able to get any clue. Not much worse than a clue heavy Finn imo, with the added ability of being a tanky Survivor that hit's harder than Yorick when he needs to.

  2. Soaks are really valuable, and smoking pipes help a lot to even out your horror

  3. Playing with Joey "The Rat" Vigil is very exploitable, especially since Gravediggers Shovel is your best card to survive rats (the enemy kind) before you find your fire axe, and when you find your fire axe you use the shovel for a free clue. You want to use as much of your resources as you can if you go dark horse, and Joey is the way to do it by playing lots of cheap assets. Leo da Luca helps out in the same way, and i'd suggest including both, because they can work in tandem when you get charisma. You also desperately need all the soaks you can get, and since most soaks are cheap you can play multiple a turn as fast actions with Joey. Remember, you lose all money that isnt spent. Use it.

  4. Focus on doing a few tests a turn where you can succeed, and use your other actions to maneuver, draw cards or do testless actions that other investigators would hate to do. Spending clues to get cultists for midnight masks is a good example. However, since you get 5 resources a turn, with Fire axe and Streetwise alone you can make 1-3 tests at a skill value of anything from 4-7, every turn, for any skill except willpower. Your static boosts from Lola and Dark horse brings it up to 6-8 for your Fire Axe hits and 6-9 for evasion and investigation. Pretty versatile and solid, if you ask me. Maybe throw a Peter(2) in there when you buy that second copy of Charisma, and you'll even survive the treachery tests.

  5. There are a couple of cards that will let you succeed on most tests as dark horse, even without being able to use your inheritance. The 0xp one is Rise to the Occasion, the upgraded ones are Stroke of Luck and Sure Gamble. Use them on the crucial tests. Money Talks could work at some moments in the game, since you will need 10 resources to pay off your debt at some point and dark horse doesn't have to be online at all times.

  6. He is best as a third investigator, or with another flex investigator. He relies on his cards (and streetwise) to do things, so he has a hard time being a full duty guardian or full duty clue getter. You will be great for doing big, hard tests, but you cant do more than one or two a turn. This of course changes as you buy Lola and the Skeleton Key, but if you are playing with only two investigators then make sure the other player can defend him- or herself in a pinch. You are good at fighting, but you will also need protection from time to time. Probably all investigators from TCU will team up well with him, but I can also see him work well with a Finn, Wendy or Roland.

  7. You will need all the help you can with card draw. his kit has a lot of ways to cheat extra actions, so dont be shy to use the actions you save to just draw cards if theres nothing better to do

Down to the details then.

Each turn you have 5 resources to spend (6 with Lone Wolf, if you want to stay away from the rest of the team). So how do we spend them all?

Option 1. Use Joey or Leos extra action to equip yourself. Especially with Joey, you can play 1-3 assets a turn, which frees your other actions up to do testless activites. Card draw is the big weakness, and this deck relies on it, so don't be shy to draw cards with the extra actions gained from Joey and/or Leo. They work best as a team, and there are always things to do that dont require you to test. Moving, spending clues, activating scenario abilities are all important and needs to be done, and you will have actions to spare

Option 2. Monster hunting. Your inheritance isnt considered to be your resource pool, which is why Big Money cards dont work in a dark horse deck. That also means that as long as you spend your regular upkeep resource, you will always do 2 damage with the fire axe. 5 resources is enough for one blow at +8 and one blow at +6 if you have dark horse, which is pretty solid considering you can do it every turn. It also allows you to deal damage even to tough, boss type monsters, even better than some guardians at 0vp and in some situations. The fire axe is crucial for Preston, make sure you mulligan for it. If something needs to be evaded, 5 resources gives you 2 bumps of streetwise for +3 evade each. If multiple enemies are on you, Cunning Distraction automatically evades them. Conveniently enough it also costs 5 resources.

Option 3. Get clues. While harder in a 0vp deck, where you rely on flashlights for 2 shroud locations and Joey'd in Shovels as well as the odd Look What I Found, it becomes easier and easier with vp, and each card you add helps you out a lot on its own. Streetwise is probably your first buy, since it lets you brute force it. 5 resources gives you two +3 boosts per turn, and a +1 from dark horse. With Charisma (and you definitely want Charisma to play both Leo and Joey anyway) Lola gives you +1 and lets you buy clues. You can buy clues during tests, and reduced shroud with flashlights also reduce the cost to buy it with Lola, which is crazy. You can buy any clue at 5 shroud and less, and with flashlights coupled with lola and dark horse, even a 5 shroud becomes even for you. So wait, you flashlight a 5 shroud location, buy a clue for 3 resources with lola. That leaves 2 resources that is burning a hole in your pocket. Streetwise the test, making the test 6 against 3. That's a high probability of a clue even playing on Hard. Buying Skeleton Key early trivializes locations with a lot of clues, and lets even your crappiest team mate investigate that location. With your action advantage from Leo and Joey, you might as well carry the key around to buy clues with Lola for 1 resource.

So yeah, it plays itself. A simple and solid clue getter Preston that can also kill bosses if he finds his axe. With his statline, there are of course a lot of things that can go wrong, so here are some thoughts.

Weakness #1: Encounter deck. The main advantage with a Big Money deck is that you can play Dig Deep and then just pay to succeed. Since you dont have access to your Inheritance during the Mythos Phase, this leaves you vulnerable. Dark Horse doesnt help much either. For that reason, this deck is full of soaks, and I would take a close look at upgrading your keepsake to an elder sign amulet. For the times i've ran this deck, horror and damage hasnt been a problem, especially since you can balance it out with a smoking pipe. Handling enemies is the one thing you are good at from the start, so you'll have plenty of health (Joey is 3/2 as well, which is a nice bonus). For those tests you really have to pass, Rise to the Occasion is solid, and you probably want to buy either Sure Gamble or Stroke of Luck if you want to continue down the Dark Horse route. With adaptable you really dont have have to though, you could switch to a big money build whenever you feel like it. For the first three or four scenarios though, your current item assets will definitely be more than enough, as long as you make sure to actually equip them (remember, Joey doesnt exhaust. There are plenty of 0-1 cost items in the deck). The same idea goes for encounter cards where you have to discard; just make sure you use all of your assets before you have to discard your whole hand. It should be easy enough between Joey and Leo.

On that note, a quick one:

Weakness #2. Lodge Debts. Just take an action and transfer your resources to your pool. Because of this card, i actually think you could fit in Money Talks in this deck, because there will always be a turn or two when you have to pay off the Debts, so you can use it then. Dark Horse definitely doesnt have to always be online, it's just there to shore up Prestons spending habits. Also, if you keep your hand small, theres a big chance the debts will be "randomly" discarded by a treachery.

Weakness #3. Having the worst statline. Dark horse doubles all your values. Allies like Lola, or Peter (2), bring you up to a decent statline. Coupled with streetwise, as I wrote above, you'll do fine both evading and investigating, but for those times it's not enough and especially at a 0xp deck, you might have to rely on things that do not require tests or reduces the difficulty of tests. There are a lot of actions in the scenarios that you can resolve by using cards, resources, clues or just actions in general, and your stats do not matter at all while doing them. Elusive only requires resources for a really strong effect, and Cunning Distraction gets you out of spots where you would die, both while evading and with its icons for commiting. There are a lot of events you can fit in to suit your needs, just look for cards that would be too expensive to use. If you have a spare VP and charisma, maybe you'll be interested in a Cat Burglar for both a static boost and a free get out of jail action every turn?

Remember, you want to spend ALL your resources every turn, and your stats are crap.

Joey lets you play flashlights and shovels as fast actions to cheat clues. Look what i found isn't as needed after getting Lola, but it's definitely something you want starting out.

Weakness #4. Card draw. The only thing he is lacking in a 0vp deck, since the accessory slots are used up for soaking. Drawing cards is an action where your stats do not matter though, which means that if you save actions by using Joey or getting Leo out, those actions can be used on drawing cards. You will almost always trigger Take Heart on treacheries or LWIF investigations that you want to fail, so there's some more card draw (just be wary of using it for Frozen in Fear, the way your inheritance works means that those 2 resources will be lost.)

If you dont have a plan for what to do with your resources, draw a card and see if its something you can put down with Joey. This deck is made with this strategy in mind, and all assets will help you either investigate or survive. Dont be afraid to tank some damage, Joey is only useful up to a point in the game and you could always replace him with his twin brother if you draw him.

Oh, and getting the Fire Axe is crucial. Backpack literally has only one job, and that is to find the Fire Axe early. I really wish he had access to Prepared for the Worst, because it really is a crazy weapon that will become Prestons signature.

I might write an updated version after i run him through a whole campaign, but until then I hope this rundown can help others who want to try out this route with Arkhams New #1

Update: I ran this through a couple more Carcosa scenarios even with my 3 mental trauma, so here's a quick guide on what cards to cut when upgrading.


After you get 2xLola and Streetwise, you can cut both Cunning Distractions, and LWIF.

Skeleton Key makes you cut 2xGravedigger Shovel

If you use two of those cards those to get better sanity soaks, like Elder Sign Amulet, Treasure Hunter or Peter (2), you will want to cut Smoking Pipe.

At that point, you can also cut Joey, since after you get rid of your 2xFine Clothes at some point, the number of items he can target has dropped from 14 to 7. Either keep Joey and replace the cut cards with high quality items like Lucky Dice, Elder Sign Amulet or The Gold Pocket Watch, or figure out a new direction to go with adaptable. Without Joey, you'll have 7 cards to replace, 9 if you also want to cut Dark Horse. You can really go anywhere from this, and it will have carried you through the first scenarios so you get that VP to start building your deck.

As stated above, Sure Gamble and Stroke of Luck are great for you if you want to pass tests. Hot Streak (2) is good even in a Dark Horse deck, because there are some times where you want to spend 10 resources instead of 5 in a single round, if only to get three extra charges of streetwise to make sure you succeed.


Feb 02, 2019 Snakesfighting · 71

This makes a lot of sense, Preston a Joey are natural bedfellows. It’s nice to see a deck that goes all out on this mechanic. I suspect there’s a Joey the rat scavenging deck for Preston waiting to happen.

Feb 02, 2019 ArkhamDio · 273

I think you want to phase Joey out as you get 2xCharisma, you could make good use of Cat Burglars as well as Relic Hunters for the soak, which will let you remove some items and makes Joey less effective. However, you could also go further down the road and get Relic Hunter, buy the Gold Pocket Watch and Lucky Dice and Elder Sign Amulets, Adaptable in an extra backpack and some Lucky Cig Cases. With adaptable you can really change your deck on the fly in any case, but going for the high VP assets might be a fun deck to explore.

Feb 03, 2019 Django · 1645

Between, Joey, Leo and Lola, which one do you priorize? Only 2 can be played with 1 Charisma.

With so many crucial allies i think Calling in Favors and Flare would be useful?

Do you think Relic Hunter and Rabbit's Foot are worth it, when some XP are available for some card draw in addition to your soaks?

Feb 03, 2019 ArkhamDio · 273

You only need one of either Joey or Leo to gain action advantage. If i can get any or both, i'll put them into play, but Lola can wait until i have explored a bit, and in a pinch i can just streetwise to investigate. At one point or the other, one of the allies will die and will have to be replaced. Calling in favors isnt the worst idea, but the reason for having both Joey and Leo is to make sure at least one of them will show up early, not necessarily getting both. I can see going relic hunter for Rabbits foot, Lucky Dice and Gold Pocket Watch, but you could also go 2xCharisma and replace joey and some item soaks with Peter Sylvester (2), Treasure Hunters, Cat burglars etc.

Feb 04, 2019 starslain · 1

key of ys might be a good idea, replace the keysakes, adds 2 more horror soak but more importantly it would buff his stats to where he can pass some of the tests he wants to make and lessens the danger from the encounter deck

Feb 05, 2019 soakman · 8

This looks like a VERY solid Preston Deck. Well done. I thought he would be very difficult to get any consistency out of, but this is great.

Feb 05, 2019 Mighty Jim · 2

Interesting looking deck - I’ve been having a lot of difficulty getting Preston to work. Just curious though, why no Lucky or Resourceful? Both are just so versatile that I rarely build a deck with Survivor access without them

Feb 05, 2019 ArkhamDio · 273

I dont think Joey is worth it without at least 11 items to target, so it only leaves a few card slots for events. At 0xp I definitely want LWIF and Cunning Distraction to help me with my deck focus. Sure, Lucky is good, but it isnt as efficient as an automatic evade and it wont let me get two easy clues. After buying streetwise, you can adaptable in any events or skills in those slots though. Even then you will do a lot of your tests at 8 or 9, so lucky is still only useful in some cases. As I wrote in the upgrade section, the deck opens up a lot of deck slots after you can buy clues with Lola and Evade with streetwise, so just put your favorite events and skills in at that point. Might even be worth buying two Adaptable.

Feb 06, 2019 jdk5143 · 1

Have you ever thought about putting Scavanging in? I guess the greater question is; did you find a decent number of times this wanted an item that was already in the graveyard and not in your hand?

Feb 06, 2019 Django · 1645

I'd definately would like to Scavenge the soaks or commit items in multiplayer (such a Minh deck is great), but i doubt you'd have the money for that, as you'd need to push your stats by another 2 to activate it consistently.

Feb 06, 2019 NickJ · 1

Question: I am unsure if you can use flashlight to reduce the cost of buying a clue with Lola. I had debated this when I played as Finn but was ruled out. The reasoning was the flashlight does gets -2 shroud but only for the investigate action. What are others thoughts and reasoning on the rule???

Feb 06, 2019 Mighty Jim · 2

I don't have a source to hand, but I'm sure that it's been clarified that you can. I think essentially, because it's a fast action you can interrupt the Flashlight investigation to perform it, and whilst the Flashlight investigation is ongoing, the shroud is reduced.

Feb 06, 2019 ArkhamDio · 273

Scavenging will probably work great, however you will find that most of the time you just buy the clues. This is why Lucky Cig Case didnt work that well in this build, you just dont test enough. But, Lola+Dark Horse+Streetwise makes you investigate with 6 or 9. Even if they would rule that the flashlight window doesn't work with Lola in the future, the real exploitable card is Skeleton Key, which will enable both Lola and Scavenging. I don't really know what you would pick up with Scavenging though, but there's probably a couple of good targets. Elder sign amulet is one that springs to mind that is already mentioned in the upgrade path. Gold Pocket Watch is unfortunately removed from game after being used.

Feb 10, 2019 Caligula · 1

What campaign are you playing? 16 exp after the first scenario, well done.

Feb 11, 2019 Django · 1645

@Caligula I think this deck is just there to showcase the combos and LV0 version, not really after any first scenario (altough you cold get close to 16 XP with first scenario of the gathering and 6x Delve Too Deep in a 4 player game).

Scavenging: All those cheap survivor soaks are perfect targets to scavenge, especially playing them for free with Joey "The Rat" Vigil in the player window before failing an appropriate test.

The Skeleton Key: Problem with all those cool high level rogue assets, they're exceptional, so you're less likely to even see them in any game, with only 1 copy in your deck. So i wouldn't rely on them too much. Unless you add some card draw (Lucky Cigarette Case, All In) and/or tutoring Backpack).

The Gold Pocket Watch is removed from play after activating, but as long as you don't need it's effect you could commit it to test(s) and scavenge it later, maybe combine with Moxie to avoid some devastating treacheries.

Feb 24, 2019 Iluvatar 79 · 1

I'm one of those people who'd totally forgotten Joey "The Rat" Vigil even existed and here he is as the centrepiece of a deck. Thank you for opening my mind. Great work!