|Card draw simulator|
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
|None. Self-made deck here.|
|Level 1 Preston||0||0||0||1.0|
MOTUX · 3939
This is a solo Preston deck that can work equally well as a "flex" investigator in multiplayer. The deck is built around (1) the "Poorston"/Dark Horse archetype, (2) failure mitigation, and (3) high tempo. Once Preston has a little bit of XP (3XP for Streetwise to be precise), he rapidly transforms into one of the more powerful solo investigators around. Streetwise is hands down the most powerful solo permanent in the game, and combined with Preston's constant influx of resources. Preston quickly becomes one of the most efficient and consistent solo investigators around.
The problem, of course, is that Preston has a bad case of scenario-one-itis, and getting up to 3XP is easier said than done with his skill line. After a fair bit of testing on Hard pitting this deck up against the games many "scenario one's", I feel pretty confident this deck can get there. However, full disclosure: it won't always work out and can fail spectacularly; Preston/the deck is equally prone to bad luck and certain encounter card draws can be game end'ers as noted at the end of this description. However, if the stars align, this deck does have the tools to get past scenario one and catapult forward through the campaign.
1.1 The Level 0 Survival Guide
Fire Axe is the primary card you are looking for to deal with enemies, and its importance can warrant a hard mulligan. Preston is dead in the water without it. With it, Preston can easily chew through most of the toughest enemies in the game. If possible, you should try to keep Preston's resource pool at 2-3 resources to be combined with his Family Inheritance to make to make two consecutive full +6 swings; this is particularly the case if tough 4+/4+/X enemy is expected. Fight or Flight and Narrow Escape can be used to further pad out your (or if you need to escape). Think on Your Feet can also provide a good one shot escape solution.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that you find Fire Axe. If you don't find it, you will almost certainly die. It's just that simple. Therefore, we are also taking with us Backpack to try to dig out Fire Axe. While this card is ordinarily questionable, in Preston its resource cost is trivial but our need for targeted tutors is immense.
To investigate, we are mostly looking at Flashlight and "Look what I found!" to hopefully wipe out any risk of failure on 2 or less Shroud locations. Regarding "Look what I found!" while 2clue locations are infrequent in solo, the resource cost is immaterial to Preston but its effect (even on a 1 clue location) is huge. On 3 Shroud locations, Lucky!, Rise to the Occasion, and Live and Learn should be used in conjunction with the aforementioned cards. In the case of Live and Learn, you should intentionally fail an attempt, play Live and Learn, and then go "all in" with committing other cards to pass the test.
To deal with treacheries... we can't. Instead, we rely on (1) maintaining a fast tempo to defeat the scenario quickly, and (2) luck that the encounter deck won't give us a bad draw. To keep our tempo up, Leo De Luca, Think on Your Feet, and Elusive can help us zip across the board as needed to either gobble up XP or end the scenario. If you draw a treachery, commit Take Heart to it to get an extra tempo boost and keep pushing. Otherwise, you just have to cross your fingers and pray you don't get hit with a nasty treachery. You'll just have to go full Rogue and roll the dice!
To quote Smash TV: Good luck, you'll need it.
1.2 The Level 3+ Guide
So you now have some XP and your deck looks closer to this, now what? Streetwise(3) shifts our strategy given we now have a reliable means of investigating (boost ) and dealing with enemies (evasion by boosting ).
The key cards you are looking for in your opening hand are Leo De Luca and Lola Santiago(3). Cards like Fire Axe and Flashlight are still good to hang onto but no longer as necessary as before. Dealing with enemies may now also be done by Evasion via Streetwise(3).
Investigation similarly may be achieved via Streetwise(3). You should be able to boost yourself up to 4 twice or 7 once each round, at minimum. Lola Santiago(3) can also assist to "buy" clues. Don't forget that you can use Lola Santiago(3) during a window during a test; this is relevant when using Flashlight for the reduced shroud, and even for 3+ shroud 1 clue locations this combo is often worthwhile to remove the chance of failure.
Treacheries are still a problem, as Preston doesn't have access to his Family Inheritance during the Mythos Phase. To this end we turn to A Test of Will(1) and Devil's Luck(1) Exile cards; the former can cancel whatever pesky treacheries hit you, while the latter can cancel out a whopping damage/horror dealer. Charon's Obol(1) (be brave) can take some of sting out of their XP cost. As a bonus, canceling means we save our figurative and literal resources to push our tempo during the investigation phase.
High Roller(2) is a tricky pickup and offers two key advantages. (1) It's easy to burn through your resources too quickly, but Higher Roller allows you to get more mileage out of Preston's resources by using High Roller on one test, the refund then being spent on Streetwise(3) during the next. (2) It allows you to go into Dark Horse/Fire Axe-mode without actually spending those resources (knock on wood).
1.3 Other Random Piloting Notes
- Lodge "Debts": if you draw it, and can afford to spend a round (or two) moving resources from the Family Inheritance to Preston's pool, then do it. Otherwise, cross this bridge when it comes.
- Dark Horse: treat this as a fun bonus and not an integral part of the deck. It's useful because we will be dipping into all of Preston's skills, but it's not an essential card to find, mulligan for, or put into play.
- Think on Your Feet: if you have this in your hand, try to end your turn at a clue-less location (i.e. discover all the clues there) so you can full advantage of it in the event you draw an enemy.
2.0 Upgrade Guide
- Streetwise(2) (3XP)
- Charon's Obol(1) (2XP)
- Backpack x2 A Test of Will(2) (2XP)
- Narrow Escape x2 Lola Santiago(3) x2 (6XP) or Devil's Luck(1) (2XP)
- Charisma(3) (3XP)
- "Look what I found!" x2 Lola Santiago(3) x2 (6XP) or Devil's Luck(1) (2XP)
- Expendable card (see below) x2 High Roller(2) x2 (4XP)
- Think on Your Feet x2 Think on Your Feet(2) x2 (4XP)
- Lucky! x2 Lucky!(2) x2 (4XP) (unless expended)
- Leo De Luca x2 Leo De Luca(1) x2 (2XP)
Note on "Expendable cards" I suggest replacing the following cards as noted above:
- Fight or Flight: less useful once you have Streetwise(3), however this still combo's wonderfully with Fire Axe and/or used for a cheap evade.
- Live and Learn: still handy to help out on investigation and scenario tests, but less useful otherwise.
- Elusive: depends on the current scenarios location layout.
- Lucky!: crazy to remove this, I know, however per the RR on Modifiers, Lucky cannot save you from negative results before the result is treated as a "0"; as Preston will frequently find himself in that territory, Lucky becomes less useful.
- Dark Horse: hardly integral to the deck, but we will often be able to engage its bonus.
2.1 Alternatives and Additions
- "You handle this one!": near auto-include if playing multiplayer.
- Winging It: good if playing multiplayer, less useful on solo.
- Against All Odds(2): the math on this card doesn't quite shake out with Preston. Often times you'll be in a position where you could spend its resource cost on a +X skill boost, which may improve your odds just as much as Against All Odds does. While the token selection is valuable, I'm not sure if that alone is worth the deck space. Your mileage may vary but consider the next card instead.
- Lucky Dice(2): spending to re-roll works perfectly with Preston.
- Stroke of Luck(2): good to auto-pass tests, especially nasty treacheries.
- Ornate Bow(3): good to deal +2 damage and works well with Streetwise, however I prefer to rely on my Fire Axe.
- Key of Ys(5): obviously good.
3.0 Scenario One Notes a.k.a. what will kill you
The following is a list of cards featured in the various "scenario one's" that put you at extreme risk. In the event you draw one, it is likely, game over is likely imminent, and you may wish to pretend you exist in alternate universe where you drew something else by shuffling said card back into the encounter deck and drawing something new; see, it's not cheating, we're just existing in an alternate universe!
- The Gathering: Frozen in Fear is not a game ender, but it will slow you down.
- Return to the Gathering: Frozen in Fear is bad, but the various tests will shred your hand. This makes this scenario extremely difficult for low willpower investigators who don't have any cancels.
- (Return to) Extracurricular Activities: Preston is vulnerable to the testing treacheries that mill your hand... exposing you to Beyond the Veil; if you do this scenario without A Test of Will/Devil's Luck then be quick (it killed me 2/4 times during testing... and nearly killed me the other 2/4).
- (Return to) House Always Wins: Conglomeration of Spheres can end you so move to end the scenario so you never see one in scenario one.
- Curtain Call: Frozen in Fear is bad, Poltergeist is worse (use Think on Your Feet), and if you draw Black Stars Rise then just take the doom and kill the Royal Emissary again with your Fire Axe. The Man in the Pallid Mask can be dealt with through a combination of your Fire Axe and committing cards (Rise to the Occasion/"Look what I found!"). Use Elusive for a tempo boost if available.
- Untamed Wilds: Overgrowth in the wrong spot (turn 1 Expedition Camp) is game over. For Ichtaca, either commit cards ("Look what I found!"/Rise to the Occasion) or wallop her with Fire Axe.
- The Witching Hour: Bedeviled is bad. Just don't draw it okay?
4.0 Shameless Plug
If you like this deck and want to read more about my thoughts on Arkham Horror: The Card Game, please do check out my blog The Strange Solution.