Grisly Totem

I think a lot of people were overly negative on the level 0 version of this card, which I felt was fairly powerful if not game changing. I think, on the contrary, most people are in agreement that both upgrades to it are strong additions to their respective factions.

In the best case scenario this card draws you an extra card each turn, while giving you +1 to one skill test. This is a reasonably powerful effect, though it comes at the cost of 3xp, 3 resources and an accessory slot. If Grisly Totem always maanaged to deliver on this potential it would be a reasonable if somewhat unexciting spend of 3xp. However, in order to get this effect you have to be comitting a card to a skill test every turn and on top of that you have to pass that skill test. Now, the Totem does help you to pass the skill test so its not overly likely you'll fail and miss out on the card draw, but there's always the . Needing to commit a card every turn however is a little more of a restriction, though the card draw Grisly Totem provides can help to fuel itself in this regard.

Now that is the best case scenario. If you dont draw this in your opening hand then suddenly its looking a lot worse. The big question really is, how many cards do you need to draw for 3 resources and 3xp for it to be worth it? And then, how early does this need to be in play for that to regularly happen. To compare, for 2xp you could include Preposterous Sketches which will draw you a guaranteed 3 cards for 0 resources, no matter when in the game you draw it. So how many cards does the Grisly Totem need to draw on average to be worth an extra 3 resources and an xp? To simplify, lets say that the extra experience and the plus one to a skill test cancel out. So the question is how many cards is 3 resources worth? I feel like a reasonable heuristic would be 2, in line with Emergency Cache. So to recap, we have to regularly be drawing 5 cards per game with the Grisly Totem before its beating Preposterous Sketches for efficiency. If we figure that we're likely to pass 75% of the tests we use this on, that means we have to have this in play for about 7 turns for it to be the better option. Which doesnt seem too tall an ask, though the later you play it the more you are likely risking by doing so.

For a brief aside, I do think this card bears comparison to the fairly medium Tooth of Eztli. Both provide you with bonuses to skill tests, and both reward you with a card draw once per turn for passing them. They both costs 3 and they both take an accessory slot. Now, you have more control over when Grisly Totem triggers, as you can use it on any skill test and not just encounter cards. However, you do need to commit a card to the test so you may not even be netting a card necessarily, whereas Tooth of Eztli only asks you to pass tests you would have to take anyway. I'm not saying that I think Tooth of Eztli is better, but it is 3 fewer xp and fills a similar role, so it bears considering.

All of this adds up to a card that sounds pretty okay, if not hugely exciting. But that's in a vacuum. What are the situations where this card over-performs? Well I think a big thing to consider with Grisly Totem is that since you are adding both a skill icon and a card draw to a test, its going to stack up well with other cards that are relying on you passing big tests. For example, applying this to Deduction isn't just giving you a card draw, its also improving your chances of getting the succeed by two effect on Deduction. In a similar vein, I think if you have a teammate who is using Double or Nothing then you can really help them out with Grisly Totem.

Another case where this card might shine is in a more support focused build. While has a lot of card draw options, the class is definitely a lot lighter on ways to help out other investigators with drawing cards. I think trying to leverage the ability to add card draws to other people's tests could be a fun way to build with this card, particularly if you are co-ordinating with your team on deckbuilding and you know one of your allies is going to be struggling for card draw.

All that said, this does all come with the caveat that you are able to keep committing cards to skill tests. This somewhat limits the usefulness of this card to investigators who already want to be proactively committing cards to their tests. This makes the most obvious use case, by far, Minh Thi Phan. Minh meets the criteria of wanting to proactively commit cards to skill tests, it also stacks with her Analytical Mind to allow her to draw multiple cards per test. Minh is also already incentivized to stack up test rewards in order to best take advantage of her ability, which is a playstyle thats get stronger the more ways you have to stack those benefits up. Outside of Minh, I'm not convinced this is a high priority upgrade. Its biggest advantage is not having much competition for the accessory slot, but even then I feel that for 3xp you can be finding more reliable sources of card draw.

birdfriender · 119
I don't see Grisly Totem 3 as a source of regular card draw to be honest. It is a nice upgrade of its level 0 version that you 'll probably want because if you already have the level 0 version, it means you will be committing cards to tests often anyway, so it gives you a nice boost. Is it worth 3 XP? Not so sure. But it's definitely a fun way to get more card draw or give some card draw to your allies. I personally love this card in Minh and there's a certain build that combos this with Ancient Stone (Knowledge of the Elders) that turns Minh into a cannon. — matt88 · 575
Grisly Totem

There is a lingering question as to how this interacts with Take Heart. By rules as written, Take Heart's effect happens in step 7 of skill test resolution, same as the totem, and thus you can order the effects as you like in order to gain the benefit of Take Heart and take it back to your hand. Since there seems to be some uncertainty in the community as to this ruling, I'm going to consider this card both with and without this combo. Though my suspicion is that, since the rules as written support this combo, it is likely to stay.

So this is the long awaited (by me at least) upgrade to Grisly Totem. I think a lot of people were overly negative on the level 0 version of this card, which I felt was fairly powerful if not game changing. I think, on the contrary, most people are in agreement that both upgrades to it are strong additions to their respective factions.

The xp cost, the slot used, and to some extent the effect of this card make a comparison to Rabbit's Foot inevitable. Both are 3xp Accessories that go some way to insulate you against failed skill test. In the case of Grisly Totem this is by allowing you to "take back" a card after the result is revealed; in the case of Rabbit's Foot its by allowing you to draw a new card to replace the one's spent.

So where do they differ? Well, first of all Grisly Totem also helps you to pass the test, rather than just making failure less painful. In addition, Grisly Totem can be used in the aforementioned Take Heart combo as a way of generating cards and resources each turn. The Totem however costs an additional resource, while having for the most strictly worse icons. In addition, Grisly Totem only protects you from wasting cards on skill tests, it doesn't help you if you aren't committing cards to a test and it doesn't do anything to mitigate the wasted actions. Rabbit's Foot on the other hand can be used on any failed skill test, however important or unimportant it was. This allows it to be used on very high difficulty but low impact skill tests as a way to proactively dig for cards. Rabbit's Foot also has relevant combos, with cards such as Drawing Thin and Double or Nothing to allow it to act a pseudo-tutor effect.

I think that if you ignore Take Heart combo, Grisly Totem seems to stack up somewhat poorly against Rabbit's Foot in the general use case of softening the blow of failed skill tests. However, I think that Grisly Totem does have a niche where it substantially outperforms Rabbit's Foot. In my previous analysis, I was treating the value of a skill card returned to hand as roughly equivalent to digging for a card to draw. However, this may not always be the case. If you are for instance playing a Double or Nothing combo deck, returning your Double or Nothing after a is revealed is much more valuable than digging for a replacement card, for instance.

The other case where I think Grisly Totem outperforms Rabbit's Foot is when the additional skill icon is going to consistently matter. This means that you need to be playing a deck that plans on somewhat aggressively committing skill cards to tests in order to pass them. The obvious candidate here is Silas Marsh, which makes sense given that the second effect on this card is essentially a slightly different version of his investigator ability. However there is a case of diminishing returns here, since in order for this card to be maximally useful you would need to want that effect twice a round rather than just the once. Another investigator who often plays a lot of skill cards is "Ashcan" Pete, as he can use skill cards to boost his investigate actions with Duke, where other tools don't stack. It's also worth mentioning that due to the Blessed trait, Father Mateo can take this card. I'm not particularly convinced that this card does anything he wants, particularly since he has access to a lot of powerful accessories from his main class already, but its worth bearing in mind in future.

So all of this is assuming that the Take Heart combo doesn't work. However, as I said above, it currently does and likely will continue to. So in this case, it costs 2 upfront and then generates you 2 resources and 2 cards every turn from then on provided you fail a test. This is clearly extremely powerful. The caveat here is that unless you draw a treachery card with a test you're okay with failing then you are going to have to spend an action on doing so. Still, an action for 2 cards and 2 resources is well above the curve even for 3xp. For example, Jewel of Aureolus provides 1 card OR 2 resources once per turn on a 3xp accessory, for one more resource, and far less reliably. And that card is still pretty good! Of course this requires two cards, but Take Heart is already a staple and Grisly Totem is, as described above, at at least a pretty reasonable use of xp even without the combo.

So in conclusion, in a vacuum this card is a solid if not overly flashy choice for a few main class survivors, while also being part of yet another extremely powerful resource generating combo for the class.

birdfriender · 119
Grisly Totem

The card is amazing for Minh Thi Phan. For a skill-heavy Minh deck, the difference between having Analytical Mind in the opening hand or not is huge. The card basically acts as a 2nd/3rd copy of Analytical Mind, drastically increases the opening hand consistency. Not only is that the case, it can also be played alongside Analytical Mind, and potentially another copy of itself with Relic Hunter (and trust me, it's worth it). With that setup, Minh can draw 4 cards a round extremely consistently. It also means she can commit 4 cards each round consistently, each with 2-3 icons. It's enough to cover every other test the party makes, if not more.

Not only is the card strong, it is also very flexible. Often when I play as Minh, conversations like this come out:
Me: I can give you 2 icons.
Teammate: Great!
Me: ...Or 3. Or 4. Or 5.
Teammate: @.@
Me: ...And with a draw or two. Or none. Which one do you want?

As a side note, the card combos well with Archaic Glyphs and Ancient Stones, which are strong cards you want to include in your decks anyway.

For other , the card is decent. decks naturally include skill cards like Deduction, Eureka!, Inquiring Mind and Perception, so the card will always have some use. However, the upfront cost of 3 resources is steep. It usually is not as critical as -buffing assets like Fingerprint Kit or Dr. Milan Christopher, so you may find yourself delay playing it often enough, making it a low priority upgrade.

ak45 · 40
I think there's a case for this in Daisy as well. If running Old Book of Lore, Daisy can have a ton of card draw, which makes skill cards attractive, which suggests a card for taking this card for even more card draw. It's another kind of engine to Dr Milan/Higher Education, and it's not Taboo. — Katsue · 3
.45 Thompson

Leo Anderson wants you to say hello to his lil friend... OK, he's reloading!

This upgrade (featuring more bullets in the artwork than the original) seems like it might be the real reason why Sleight of Hand made it onto the mutated list of taboos.

By itself, we now have a quality +2 weapon that will almost pay for itself over its 5 shots. This lets us use it early in a scenario to wipe up mooks without losing tempo in the long run, and those click savings mean it can get seamlessly replaced later on for a boss-killer gun.

An obvious combo with Venturer means that the ally essentially ends up costing 1 resource (0 in Leo). Likewise it turns Extra Ammunition (from under Stick to the Plan) into even more resources. It also turns on Bandolier in case you're Roland Banks with a couple Hawk-Eye Folding Camera or something.

This is the Dr. Milan Christopher of weapons. That should speak volumes...

The_Wall · 103
Tennessee Sour Mash

I don't know how good this will turn out to be, but I wanted to point out that the art changes from the original on these upgraded cards; apparently 3 XP buys you a little shot glass ( survivors just get more whiskey).

The main changes here are the addition of the fast trait, an extra +1 on the defensive buff, making your molotov cocktail attack deal +1 damage, and the card has a icon in case you're in to pitching your XP cards for checks.

I can see an argument for Jenny Barnes taking this at some point because miss moneybags plays it easily, hits 6s on her stats, and it represents a nice slot-free attack that leaves her hands free for her guns or Lockpicks or wotnot.

I tried Tennessee Sour Mash in Finn Edwards and have been mostly unimpressed, although it is another illicit card to search out or recur with Smuggled Goods. The small changes here just don't feel worthy of 3 XP that could be better spent on a Lola Santiago or something.

The_Wall · 103