Blackmail File

The effect, making an enemy aloof for a round is quite nice -- it is frequently better than conventional evasion. A frequent awkward experience when investigators split up is that a seeker will spawn a hunter enemy while they're separated from the guardian. If the seeker evades, clears the location, and moves out, then there's no inherent reason for anyone to go back in. But if the enemy is left alone they will hunt and attack someone the following turn.

If you make a hunter enemy aloof you can move away and let it move onto and engage your guardian without getting to attack him.

Sadly, I don't see many characters with rogue access wanting to play a 2-cost asset that allows them to spend actions to make will tests vs only non-elite enemies against sometimes quite high skill requirements. So this seems pretty bad. But it probably will show up here and there as scenario tech because you can tuck it into underworld market, boost and discount it with Sleuth, and so on.

I've been considering it as splash for some shenanigans in a Zoey deck where you might want an enemy to engage with you to trigger her signature. — nixmyth82 · 10
Aetheric Current

Kate has two great signature events; generally this is the one you’ll want more. At bare minimum, it resets your clues, giving you between a few and half a dozen +2s in your future. If it only did that and it was a general evade with books, it would be OK. But no… This is noping an enemy. In solo, you might not see it again; In multiplayer, there’s a chance it’ll get dealt to the fighter. In very rare circumstances, like the encounter deck being empty, the enemy goes to the discard pile, because you can’t shuffle something into an empty deck. This is tremendously useful against enemies that explode when they die, certain enemies in The Forgotten Age, or beefy foes with tons of hit points. This was extremely useful in dealing with Horror in High Gear and The Deep One Bull in Innsmouth.

MrGoldbee · 1402
Chemistry Set

Seekers traditionally have not gotten good accessories, especially at level 0. But don't cry for them. Instead of accessories they get very strong slotless assets like Pathfinder, Empirical Hypothesis, Fieldwork, and the like. Now that Hemlock Vale is out, Seekers ... still don't have a good level 0 accesory.

Chemistry set is a weird little jack of all trades of a card. It can theoretically generate a trickly of free draw for doing something you were going to do anyway, like a variant Lucky Cigarette Case or Empirical Hypothesis. It can theoretically be a clue accelerator like a baby Fingerprint Kit or re-usable Working a Hunch. It can theoretically generate resources over time, like a Dr. Milan Christopher or Thieves' Kit or Lone Wolf or something.

Trouble is, if you compare this to almost any dedicated single-function card, it's miles worse. You'd have to hit the resource gen three times to surpass the humble Emergency Cache, let alone Crack the Case or Rogue economy. You'd have to hit the draw 4 times to outdo Preposterous Sketches. If you want to compare it to draw assets, it gives you one chance per turn to draw if you suceed by exactly 2 when when hypo/cigs give you 3 chances per turn to succeed by 2/3 or more. You have the hit the succeed by 4 2-3 times before it beats Working a hunch, 4 times before it outdoes Fingerprint Kit (although of course it is cheaper to play).

Now, you might say that it's unfair to compare multi-function cards to specialized cards because versatility is a strength that you pay for. But I'm less certain that's true when you don't actually choose what benefits you get. You can't really rely on it to fix a hand size or resource economy problem and you can't stop it from giving you effects you don't need or want like forced draws on an already-full hand or "additional clues" when there was only 1 left in the first place.

So, let's suppose you play it, use it every turn for 6 turns, and trigger it half the time, hitting the benefits once each. You put in 2 resources, a card, and an action, and got back 2 resources, a card, and an additional clue. The net benefit after 6 turns, then, is that you spent an action to get an effectively testless clue. It's like a 0-cost working a hunch that drew a card instead of being fast. Only it's not really a free clue like with Working a Hunch, because you probably had to put some resources into oversuccess intentionally to hit that +4.

If you get it mid scenario, that's probably all you can expect to get from it. If you get it first thing, you can perhaps hope to hit each of its functions one more time. Which is indeed a pretty good return on investment, but nothing out of line with other early asset plays. And besides the up front cost to get it in play, it's also forcing you to take activate action on it which might block you out from using other tools or investigation events that are more effective. And it can blow itself up.

Not even Kate Winthrop really wants this, IMO.

It combos with labcoat, so -1 becomes $2. — MrGoldbee · 1402
Sure, just spend 4 resources, two actions, two cards, and 1 XP and occasionally you can turn a fail-by-1 into a clue and some cash. But I'd still rather play Fingerprint kit (3 extra clues for 4 resources, 1 card, 1 action, no xp) or 2x Working a Hunch (4 resources, 2 cards, no xp, no actions, 2 clues) — OrionAnderson · 43
Once you get Steady-Handed you want to use this because you have better control of what you are getting. Lab Coat can help too in harder checks. I don't really think I'd want to play this without any way to control my results. I find the "science" card set fun because it is all about calculated risk everytime you experiment with the chaos bag, but until I try I don't know how powerful it can be. — rodro · 70
Steady-handed looks pretty good in high-horror campaigns, especially for jittery folks with off-class seeker access like Trish and good old Roland. It's a lovely complement to actually good "succeed by" cards too, like ancient stones, deduction 2, lockpicks, cigarette case, sharp vision, and so on. But I'm not taking Chemistry set in my level zero deck in hopes of redeeming it with steady-handed later. — OrionAnderson · 43
It's a quite cheap tool in an uncontested slot (for seekers), which give your basic investigation additional effects. Compare it with the grim memoir, which also enhance the basic action. I every game as a seeker I use the basic investigation quite often, so the additional effect will be good in my eyes. With steady handed and fine tuning (the second one, the first goes to the thesis) it only gets better. — Tharzax · 1
With Steady Handed, in a standard/hard bag, this card can give you approximately 60% chance of getting an additional clue, per use. As Tharzax said, you can Fine Tune it, and I personally prefer Fine Tuning my Steady Handed as well, to get 2 shots at it each turn. Also as Tharzax says, this turns regular basic investigations into potentially great acceleration/fuel for your engine. I won't say this card is busted, but after playing it in Kate, which is the queen of oversuccess/skill value control, I had great results and loads of fun. Because that's another aspect of this card: it adds a mini game to the Seeker gameplay that I personally found fun and changing from the "Pathfinder -> Basic Investigate x3 -> Hiking Shoes" loop." — Valentin1331 · 56145
@Velentin1331 Even with Steady Handed in play I experienced much less than a 60% success rate at picking up extra clues. Not saying that no one ever gets that kind of consistency, but the bag is it nearly as generous in practice as it is in theory. After a whole campaign using Chemistry Set and Steady Handed my takeaway was that basically any other clue acceleration would have been more reliable than my results with the Chemistry Set. — Pseudo Nymh · 41
Wilson Richards

FoHV has been out for a month and still no reviews, so here's the description from my "One for All" series of decks that has a similar breakdown for each investigator:

Tools! What the heck is a tool, anyways? They're definitely assets. They probably have their own associated skill test, are very likely help you fight or investigate... and our boy Wilson wants to play lots of them! This means that his stats and abilities make him a relatively sturdy flex character who can pick up clues and take out enemies in equal measure. He can single-handedly churn through scenarios, and with a mitt of decent cards, he can fairly easily re-focus his efforts on whatever task the game throws at him. It's also remarkably easy to tweak your role mid-campaign with just a few simple upgrades, as Wilson's card choices can have a greater impact on his gameplan than most investigators. His signature is pretty neat too, allowing you to make duplicate item draws more useful and combo with big costly items like sledgehammer or pitchfork.

Even with some cleverly integrated stat boosts, Wilson is still a generalist, and generalists don't always have the sheer output specialists can typically achieve in Arkham - especially in larger teams. Static boosts and skill cards with lots of icons will help him overcome some of the tougher tests he'll eventually encounter. Like most of the Hemlock Vale investigators, Wilson isn't super beginner friendly to pilot either, and his deckbuilding can be rather complicated without some digital assistance.

Some archetypes that work well for this template:

The Handyman: Wilson's discount creates some bonuses that might not be immediately obvious. Playing lots of cheap tools potentially means resources spent on tool assets can be decreased by half or better. It also lends itself to playing limited use or discard-able assets that encourage you to cycle them in and out with your discount. Costly tools make great discard fodder for his signature Ad Hoc though, so those are absolutely worth including if they have powerful effects. Lastly, remember that his second ability only activates on skill tests printed on tool cards, so keep all these things in mind while filling your toolshed.

Full Flex / Solo - Keep a good balance of tool-based weapons and investigation aids, and you should be completely self-sufficient on almost any scenario. Static boosts to your combat and intellect skills will improve your odds, and targeted skill cards will really help push you through some of the more challenging tests.

The Specialist - Focusing your deck around either investigating or fighting will allow Wilson to fill voids in his team and more easily tackle the most challenging problems the chosen role can throw at him. Show Rex or Zoey that you have the right tools for either one of their jobs.

The Fixer - Fighter can't find their gun? There's a Pitchfork for that! Cluever scrambling in the shadows of a 5 shroud location? There's a Matchbox for that! Wilson has access to many more utility options than your average guardian, and loading your deck up with these can turn him into an interesting and effective support character.

EzieBaikUben · 412
Glad to see a referenced to Let Me Handle This, and undervalued card IMO. That said, I'm curious how you see it as a 'uniquely effective or staple card' in Wilson? Same with Emergency Cache and neutral skill cards, is there some Wilson tech I'm not seeing that gives him extra value with these cards? — Pseudo Nymh · 41
The emergency cache and neutral skills are just staple cards that most characters benefit from having in their decks. Let Me Handle This though I feel is a better choice for Wilson because of his generalist statline and it fits well in the support archetype I'd listed. — EzieBaikUben · 412
Strange to list a bunch of generic cards but not point out Tool Belt, which feels almost mandatory for Wilson (both mechanically and flavorwise). — anaphysik · 94
A warning to Wilson players: several cards representing real-life tools are not Tool-traited (which matters for both deckbuilding and the skill boost). E.g. Machete, Fire Axe, Meat Cleaver. I'm also surprised that Salvage wasn't made in such a way for Wilson to be able to play (e.g. by making it Improvised in preparation for Wilson in the next expasion, and simply giving Wilson 0-5 Improvised access, which would barely be different from 0-1 anyway). — anaphysik · 94
@anaphysik Unfortunately the list is restricted to cards I have in my own collection, otherwise that'd be a great include! — EzieBaikUben · 412
If anybody wants to use my list to do up something more complete, they're more than welcome! — EzieBaikUben · 412
Kate Winthrop

FoHV has been out for a month and still no reviews, so here's my description from my "One for All" series of decks that has a similar breakdown for each investigator:

At first glance Kate looks pretty complex, and she kind of is! If you boil her ability down it looks like this: put your clues on your tool and science cards for a +2 boost to any skill. One clue per card. You can still spend the clues, but if you find your other signature card, you can put the used clues back on your investigator for more boosts. This make her quite flexible, especially by Seeker standards, and she performs well with or without teammates around. If you want a clue focused investigator that has an answer for most situations and loves playing assets, Kate is your girl!

Her reliance on assets can also be a liability, as she needs some setup time before she really gets going. Scenarios that require you to hit the ground running, or even some bad early draws can really put the hurt on poor Kate. It's not a bad idea to have a few tricks up your sleeve that might prevent an overwhelming start. Her signature weakness also has some major potential to cause trouble, so be ready to give yourself a little willpower boost at a moment's notice.

Some archetypes that work well for this template:

The Scientist - Here's a formula for you: Tool / Science cards + tutoring / card draw + funding for both = Progress! Dedicating majority of your deck space to the aforementioned items should result in a fairly self-sustaining investigative engine, and not only does bonus card draw help you find your assets faster, it also helps dig for your Aetheric Current! Huzzah!

Precision Success - "Succeed by" cards aren't just for Rogues any more! Kate comes included with a number of cards that grant bonuses if you manage to over-succeed by a specific amount, and this pairs well with her ability to grant on-demand skill boosts if you're paying attention to what the likeliest token modifiers are. Seekers don't have a lot of options for token manipulation, but if you have a Mystic friend, there is a tonne of potential here!

Full Flex - Once Kate gets her gear set up, she can be remarkably self-sufficient. Static foot boosts, evasion bonuses, and cards that allow Kate to get out of trouble if she gets overwhelmed early on will help her get fully online without needing a babysitter for the first half of the scenario.

Clue Drop - I don't personally have the card sets to pull this off, but this is a great archetype for Kate if you have most of the newer investigator cards. Dropping clues from your assets allows you to use your powerful ability even more often, so grab cards that enable drops, and that grant benefits for doing so.

EzieBaikUben · 412
I houserule that "Scientific Theory" is Science. — MrGoldbee · 1402
Right?! We need a taboo list for traits — EzieBaikUben · 412