Scientific Theory

Pretty good for a flex Amanda. She doesn't lose any tempo from putting it into play and you can put it under her as well for a good boost for those stats. But I think it's true home is definitely in a Joe Diamond deck. It protects his fragile sanity and the 2 stat boosts aren't wasted on him. Just make sure you have a way to tank 1 damage.

Not sure who else might want this. Everyone's favorite speedy block of cheese would enjoy the sanity soak and boost but I can't see him fighting a lot without his bullwhip. Maybe he would benefit more from a little moxie instead of ivory tower theorizing. If you really wanna turn your cluever into a combatant, then this is the card for you! Just remember to bring some acid, occult chants, long lost stones, blood books, terrifyingly intelligent crows, a scary disc, home alone trapmaking skills, and a ghost hunter.

Points for theme as well. Really connects with truly understanding the mythos and learning how to fight it. That is until it bites back.

Tay5967 · 12
A surprising number of scenario cards have one-off combat checks, I can see Monterey Jack running this for utility, especially if paired with a monster-killing Mystic. — OrionJA · 1
Sounds indeed great in Joe, in particular after a clean shave. — Susumu · 165
Timeworn Brand

Weird to see that this is a card with only one kinda old review, especially since I often hear it talked about as almost the gold standard of weapons, often thrown into any fighter or flexer who can take it - which is pretty much everyone to begin with.

That said, I have a controversial opinion about this card; it's the worst exp weapon in the game. If Song of the Dead and Fire Extinguisher (1) didn't exist, I'd probably extend that to calling it the worst exp fight asset in the game. I would only really consider it in characters who generally have no other option, or characters who would really prefer not to run in-class weapons, who it certainly has a place in.

Now, I don't think this was always the case. A lot of excellent weapons have come out recently, particularly in Edge of the Earth. Before cards like Meat Cleaver, Fire Extinguisher (3), Chainsaw and Sledgehammer existed, it must have been a pretty strong pick in Survivor. Even compared to Guardian big guns, it at least had the benefit of infinite uses, but now there's Sledgehammer, Butterfly Swords, Holy Spear and, of course, Cyclopean Hammer to outshine it in that niche. And while all of those take up two hand slots - well, now guardians have a nice sidearm that doesn't take up a single hand slot and can be used efficiently against lower health enemies.

The appeal of the card, too, is obvious. A single weapon that you can slam down turn one and be consistently fighting with +2 for 2 damage definitely sounds like a good deal. And its once per game attack seems decent enough as a boss killer. That said, the second attack is extremely limited. It can only be even attempted once, and while its damage is high, if it kills a boss, there's a lot of levels where the draw is not likely to be very useful after that. And of course, using it as an opening attack loses you potential of the draw. But even so, just the first effect is a very strong one, especially for a card that, taking up a single hand slot, can be run alongside almost any tool you could care to name.

So, with all of that, why do I think it's the worst exp weapon in the game? It's a simple factor; cost. 5 cost, 5xp for a weapon that is simply efficient and infinite, is completely prohibitive. 5 resources can block off any number of other important cards to set up, and when drawn late can be difficult to get out. Costing the entire pool of starting resources is perhaps fair for a weapon that could last you the entire game, but with one major exception, all of its in-class competition is cheaper (or the same cost but better), and much of that can also last the whole game, while also being played out with an ally. 5 cost is also a very significant number for an Ever Vigilant starting turn, with the cost of 5 prohibiting it being paired with anything but a single 2-cost or multiple 1 or 0 cost cards. This rules out every significant guardian ally. In most other classes, it likely rules out playing even a single other asset - which can be very bad news if something like Crypt Chill is in the encounter deck. Some economy cards can help with that, but that starts to become very dependant on a specific opening hand of brand, economy, and a card cheap enough to be played by the econ card. No option for drawing, either.

The second factor of the cost is its experience cost. Two copies of this will set you back 10 whole exp. That's an entire extra weakness in standalone mode, and is something very unlikely to be earned in a single level. But if the card is good enough, it generally doesn't matter how fast you can buy it, or whether two copies are spread across two levels. And, of course, if your draw or search is enough, you could potentially get away with only a single copy. It'll be much less likely to be found in your opening hand, but that could well be worth it. It's not like you'd ever need to play the second copy, unfortunate discards aside. But even compared to a single copy, there's a lot of better cards you can buy. Two Beat Cops are cheaper to get out, and will tack on extra and damage to your weaker, level 0 weapons, bringing them almost to par with the brand, at least for a while. Survivors could get a pair of Brute Forces and a True Survivor to recur them. Rogues can grab a pair of infinitely cheaper Switchblades if not using taboo, or one and a Haste to get more tries at hitting with it if you are. Even Seekers have a cheaper, higher damage, higher combat bonus fight option, though it runs out a lot quicker. And any class using guns can take any number of cards to let them last longer for much cheaper than the brand.

Finally, my last point against it is its simplicity and blandness. As a weapon, it just isn't interesting enough for it to effectively synergise with any fun class cards. Rogues can put together a group of guns and Sleight them, or Reload them. You can use Knight of Swords and lean into all the weapons that want to succeed by a lot, and it adds far more to any of them than it would the brand, and to a number of other cards, too. Guardians can also reload or do tricks with their guns, or find much more interesting targets to Enchant. Survivors can throw away their much less reliable weapons for cash and damage, or just keep bringing them back. And all of this doesn't even touch on cross-class options.

Now, an important distinction here is I don't think it's bad that the card is bad. I think this is exactly what a big neutral weapon should be - well, this or the Ornate Bow, its opposite as a unique niche weapon that does something very few other cards can even imitate - a less cost-efficient option than any in-class option you could care to name, but one you can grab if you care more about having a simple, good weapon for the entire game than any kind cost-efficiency. Certainly, plenty of people will value that a lot higher than I do.

SSW · 148
A lot of the weapons you recommend in place of Timeworn Brand are two-handed. I think the real value of TWB is that it leaves you a spare hand and spare deck slots to fill that hand, because it doesn't need "support" cards itself. TWB + Survival Knife (2) is pretty exciting for Guardians; Survivors can use TWB + Compass or Old Key Ring, and so on. Rogues could go TWB/Lockpick. — OrionJA · 1
Most of the Survivor weapons I named were one-handed, and again, Brand is bad for this because its cost is so prohibitive. Compare having Fire Extinguisher 3 in one hand and Compass in the other, or Rogues having Switchblade 2 and Lockpicks. You've saved a great deal of xp, enough cost to play them out on the same turn, at the cost of maybe needing a little bit of support for the weapons, which is also still often true of the Brand. — SSW · 148
Why do you call it "the only option for Amanda"? I Have not played her yet, but she looks for me as the best investigator for "Acidic Ichor", because of her access to upgraded VB and Overpower. But I think, this is not enough to build her a speciallized monster slayer, who could profit from the "unlimited ammo" of TWB. I'm planning to rather build her flex, when I will take her. No need to forfeit having Deduction, too. — Susumu · 165
The cost is actually relatively cheap because it's infinite use. With other weapons, you'll have to play multiple copies and/or ways to reload. The only comparable survivor weapons are Meat Cleaver, and taking horror each swing is obviously unsustainable unless you pair it with Peter, which costs you an Ally slot, another card, and 3XP. — suika · 8176
for Charisma, and requires you to be at 3 or less horror to function. Compared to a Rogue suite with guns and reloading, it's actually cheaper both in terms XP and in terms of resources and cards. — suika · 8176
Sure, it's boring. But it's incredibly reliable the way a lot of cards aren't, requiring basically no set up to function. And for that, it comes with a hefty XP tag. But outside of Guardian, and even for one-handed Guardians, this remains a staple 1-handed weapon that's actually quite cost-efficient in the long-run simply because it needs no other support. — suika · 8176
Meat Cleaver, Fire Extinguisher (3), and Sledgehammer are all as infinite and all cheaper. Besides, set-up expense is far more relevant than expense over the course of an entire game, since you get more resources over the game. — SSW · 148
Dealing constantly 2 damage without ammo or supplies and a good bonus on attacks in just one hand. Yes there are other weapons like the spear or the hammer, but they use both hands and you need a specific class. Yes switchblade and the machete are cheaper but their damage is conditional and need further support like the switchblade or the right enemies (hello swarms) — Tharzax · 1
I think, from a balance standpoint, a 5xp weapon available to every investigator has to be weaker than weapons available to combat classes. Because of that, the brand is exactly as good as it's supposed to be. Its "gold standard" image doesn't come from its goodness, but from its availability as a standard. — SGPrometheus · 594
But, SSW, you' — olahren · 1517
* Sorry, pressed Enter too fast. The Brand is the only one-handed +2 combat, +1 damage melee weapon in the game with no drawbacks. Yes, the brand is expensive both in terms of resources and experience, but that's the price you have to pay for fighting with one hand free. And the once-off ability can be a life saver. It's not bland, it's simply what it is. Plus, it's available to all. Do you have spare Xp and want a backup weapon for Stella that's not ammo reliant? Or another weapon for Joe Diamond that can be combined with his other tools? Go Brand! It's a great equalizer. — olahren · 1517
It can also be helpful to contextualize the value of a strong one hander by looking at what you can lose without it. Wendy suffers pretty hard from bows being two handers for example. Hand slots are big and every class besides guardian has very powerful uses for a spare hand. — dezzmont · 69
Blur

Blur (4) for Mystics :

Let's compare to its main competitor: Mists of R'lyeh.

• Blur doesn't spend a charge spends charges to Evade only on success and provides extra actions. Blur has the capacity to kill most investigators if you decide to spend charges 1 by 1. often have pretty low Health and therefore it can be a dangerous game. The best way to mitigate it is either to know exactly your token pool: if there are -3 and -5 tokens in the chaos bag and you test at +4 or +6, you make sure that there is no risk for you. Mind the symbols tokens though.

• Mists of R'lyeh is the same price, has 1 more Charge (which compensates more or less the fact that Blur spends only on success) and gives you one extra skill value (+3 ). The extra action is less flexible: you may want to Evade and then Investigate rather than move immediately. The negative potential can be much more likely to happen but is often less problematic as you often run 2 copies of each of your cards.

Conclusion: Blur (4) is for with high that are sure to oversucceed every time, and Mists of R'lyeh (4) gives you higher chances of success, but the downside happens more often though I'd rather throw away crucial cards than die.

Blur (4) for Rogues :

Except Sefina Rousseau, most rogues have a low and use their to evade. So why would they use this card to use their to evade when they can do it normally?

Blur costs 4 actions: 1 Play action, 1 Draw Action and 2 Resource actions and brings you back 4 actions via its 4 charges. It is therefore break even. That enters the category of deck fillers, this one being rather expensive though.

The positive side is: it provides you 2 to 4 Unexpected Courage for Evasion tests. It also gives you a bit of flexibility by choosing the number of extra actions you need for example in case of a location that you do not want to finish your turn in, but throwing 2 charges in one go is a waste of the boost of skill value.

The negative side is: you may take 2 damages per use. 4 charges means that this card has the potential to kill any investigator that can take it if they have no soak.

Interestingly enough, Knight of Swords can protect you from the negative part of both Blur (1) Blur (4), but for that price and that amount of XP, I'd rather play Hot Streak, The Moon • XVIII and Trench Coat to have the same bonus, with soak instead of damage risk.

TL;DR: I think that Blur (4) is a very niche card that will most likely not be used in decks because 4 XP for break even is really too much. For , if you really lack Drawing, it can be an alternative to Mists of R'lyeh, but based on most Mystic's low health, I don't think it's going to see a lot of uses either.

Valentin1331 · 2548
You should spend a charge if you succeed; the effect without "may" word have to be resolved if it can. Of course, blur is more flexible since you don't spend a charge if you fail. — elkeinkrad · 230
Alright indeed that is good to know and I will edit my review to prevent misuse of this card. That also makes Blur significantly less attractive — Valentin1331 · 2548
Down the Rabbit Hole

I notice that a lot of the discussion I see about this is in regards to actually gaining XP from Down the Rabbit Hole (DtRH), but I think it has more to offer than that.

DtRH offers more than just some savings on XP, and I think the important thing to realize here is that you don't need to have a net positive XP gain, or even net 0. I'm of the opinion that this card is amazingly good even when it costs you XP. That might seem counter intuitive, but I prefer to look at this as acceleration for your deck's power at the start of the campaign. If it saves you XP on (for example) the first three scenarios, and you don't go negative until scenario 5 or 6, that means you're above the XP curve on 5 of the 8 scenarios, and only below for the last 2 or 3.

I think this is an amazing advantage of DtRH, since Arkham is a game where a lot of the difficulty is in the early scenarios, before your deck has all of the cards that it needs, and thus where you have more limited options. Additionally, early game XP means you're better equipped to take all the XP from those early scenarios, which means you indirectly get even more XP from DtRH. This means you can snowball into the late game with XP for your entire party, and with several good scenario resolutions under your belt.

This is opposed to the late game, where you probably already have a solid deck, and so can afford to take a penalty on the cards you purchase because you're going to feel that a lot less. Another way to look at this is that getting +1 or +2 XP when you only have ~10-20 XP is a %10 increase, where as in the late game where you can have 60+ XP, the penalty of +1 XP per card is just a lower percent of that.

In the end, I see this card as not being too dissimilar to early promoting in Fire Emblem. You're trading your potential late game power for an early game advantage. I think in Arkham (as in the Fire Emblem games I've played) that's a trade that will work out better for you in the long run.

Whimsical · 6
Parallel Fates

Apart from the straightforward uses for encounter-deck-mitigation and card-selection, this is a fantastic tool for letting Lola Hayes mitigate her (potentially crippling) weakness, especially if her deck is low-cycling. If you see 6 non-weakness cards---great, you know you can sit in any class safely for your next 5 turns! If you see one of her weaknesses, make note of where you put it, and then be sure to switch classes to something with no assets out just in time to draw it.

Compared to Scroll of Secrets (3, seeker version), this gives slightly fewer safe draws (5 vs 6), can't be tutored by Research Librarian, and doesn't auto-discard weaknesses it finds, but is much more flexible in what roles Lola can sit in (you aren't locked into swapping back and forth with Seeker continually), doesn't take a hand slot, and can be played on Lola by a friendly mystic, not just by yourself.