Hello all, with the release of the new Dream Eaters Deluxe, Patrice has easily become many people's favorite investigator. Her deck-cycling ability opens up new possibilities, making you re-evaluate cards you may have not even glanced at since the Core and think about deck-building in a whole new way. And most importantly, she is incredibly fun!
This is a brief review with some general deck-building guidelines. It is not meant to be comprehensive, but it is meant to get you thinking like a Patrice player.
Patrice is easily one of the most versatile investigators out there. You can make her into a deadly monster-killer with Fire Axe, Madame Labranche, Patrice's Violin, and Last Chance, or Shrivelling and Wither. Or you can create a powerful cluever with Winging It, Drawn to the Flame, St. Hubert's Key, Sixth Sense, "Look what I found!", and Fortuitous Discovery. Or you can make a well-rounded Patrice that includes all of the above, able to transition from clue-getting, to enemy management, to test-taker at a moment's notice.
Patrice's signature asset, Patrice's Violin, is a hidden superpower. It allows you to dump useless cards from your hand for another card from your deck, or ditch Improvised cards (Improvised Weapon, Impromptu Barrier, Winging It) so they can be played from your discard pile, or ditch them for a resource. Do not underestimate the latter. Between Madame Labranche and Patrice's Violin, Patrice can earn up to 3 resources are turn without expending any actions!
Patrice is an amazing solo investigator who also does just as well in multiplayer. She can flex to fill whatever is needed from turn to turn, and even use her icons to support her fellow investigators. She is highly versatile and can do anything you need her to.
But how do you go about building a Patrice deck? Below is a short guide that will give you some insight into how she works, followed by a brief list of some of Patrice's favorite upgrades. This summary references the deck build I originally included it in (https://arkhamdb.com/decklist/view/15698/the-desperate-violinist-1.0), which showcases a lot of Patrice's strengths. However, the actual deck building guidelines apply to anyone building a Patrice deck of any kind. I hope you find it helpful.
GENERAL PATRICE DECK BUILDING GUIDE
Regardless of how you build your Patrice deck, you need to be mindful of 4 main things:
1 - CARD ICONS
Let me introduce you to an idea that is central to Patrice: Average Hand Icons per Round (AHIR). As a general rule, the more usable icons you have in hand each round, the better Patrice will do. As I explain below, you cannot rely on having your key assets out in any reasonable amount of time--and there may be games where you have few opportunities to put them in play. See below for why.
1a. Watch your Icons!: I cannot stress this enough. The single most important thing about building a Patrice deck is to WATCH YOUR ICONS!
Patrice cycles through her deck within usually about 8-9 rounds, without draw help. This means you want to commit every card possible in her hand every turn, except for the assets you are going to play that round, which means you want to ensure your hand is filled with usable icons. It can be tempting to include a lot of No Icon cards, but even with only 8 (Take Heart x2, Lucky! x2, Emergency Cache x2, Winging It x2), this means on average you will only have 4 cards with icons in hand--make that 3 if you are holding the Watcher or another hidden card. So be mindful of just how many of these you include! Ask yourself if you REALLY need them. For example, I didn't include Emergency Cache in this build because (a) it takes an action to play and; (b) Patrice doesn't really need it. Both Take Heart and Lucky! were left out because in this deck Patrice doesn't typically fail a test unless she draws a Tentacle.
I'm not saying don't include these cards, I'm just saying to always watch your icons! When you're playing your Patrice deck, keep an eye on how frequent your icons appear in your hand and use that as a way to calibrate your deck. Whenever you include ANY card, always look for good icons. If it doesn't have good icons, then it better have good reason to be in the deck!
1b. She Likes It Wild: Patrice LOVES wild icons! Cards with plenty of wild icons like Last Chance, Unexpected Courage, Prophesy, and the level 3 Rise to the Occasion are amazing in her. But even in this deck, having single wild icons cards can help, such as with Defiance. You can use Wild icons for any test, so the more, the merrier. However, just be careful not to fill you deck with too many single-icon cards. If you can use double or triple icon cards, then do that instead!
1c. You Don't Have a Plan: The Improvised cards (Improvised Weapon, Impromptu Barrier, Winging It) are a bit of an exception. They can clog your hand with no icons, but since they can be played from the discard pile, they essentially extend your hand size and allow Patrice to keep them for when she wants to use them. Besides, they can be discarded by Cornered or her Violin.
2 - NUMBER OF ASSETS
2a. Don't be Greedy: So many assets look delicious in Patrice and it is so easy to build her deck with a lot of assets. Don't do it! But how many is too many? Here's some general advice about assets in general. They are powerful, yes, but assets generally require a lot Resources and an action to play. You can easily fall into a trap of endlessly putting down more and more assets, sometimes accruing something like 3 full rounds of nothing but play actions! Even in this lean deck, a full rig is 5 assets (Violin, Peter Sylvestre, St. Hubert's Key, Sixth Sense, and Mists of R'lyeh)--7 with Cornered! 7! That's 2 1/3 entire turns of nothing but play actions! That's a huge dent in tempo.
2b. Tempo - Presto Prestissimo!: One of Patrice's greatest strengths is her fast tempo. First turn: drop an asset into play and start taking tests! Every asset you play takes a chip out of this tempo. As a general rule of thumb I plan my decks so that the investigator can do their job with only 1 asset down and be mostly loaded with 2 assets out. Carefully consider what assets Patrice actually needs to fulfill her function and try to ditch as many as you can for cards with better icons. If you can avoid Emergency Cache, please do! It has no icons and requires an action to play. Meanwhile, between Patrice's Violin and Madame Labranche you can earn up to 3 Resources a turn for NO ACTIONS.
2c. Iconic, but not Really: Remember how I said to WATCH YOUR ICONS? Guess what assets typically don't have? That's right, not that many icons! Most assets typically only have a single icon. So the fewer excess assets you include in your deck, the better icons you will have in hand on average.
2d. Can I Go Out and Play?: Patrice is unique in that she will see every single asset in her deck likely twice. So she has to maintain a pool of resources to allow her to play the asset she needs when it comes up. There are times when she needs an asset and it's in her hand, and she even has the Resources to play it, but the scenario and/or Encounter deck have other ideas. I have had games where I couldn't put Cornered down until the second time through her deck! You must keep this in mind when choosing your assets. Even with 2x Cornered, you cannot rely on them to succeed, especially since you may not see them for 7-8 rounds!
2e. Out of Rotation: Almost contradictory to everything else I've said before, it's important to realize that every asset you put in play is taken out of Patrice's deck rotation! This makes you more likely to draw powerful skill and event cards, like Ward of Protection and makes fast assets or events that stay in play like Open Gate and Premonition absolutely delectable. I'm sure someone will use this concept to make a killer Patrice deck!
3 - RECURRING CARDS
3a. Keep 'Em Coming!: Due to Patrice's unique deck cycling, she will see cards more often than any other investigator. This means that (a) she is guaranteed to see every card in her deck at least once, usually twice; and (b) she will have the opportunity to use a single card 2-3 times a scenario...which means if you are packing 2x of something like Ward of Protection x2 you may get to use it 4-6 times in a scenario--that's amazing in solo! So this means the faster she cycles through her deck, the more often she will see her most powerful cards. This is a good reason to include cards with card draw, such as the Neutral skills, and keep her deck as lean as possible. I'm sure someone will figure out a way to thin out her deck and leave only a small cycle set left, enabling her to play powerful cards 7,8 and even 9 times.
4 - CIRCUMSTANTIAL CARDS
4a. Chance & Circumstance: Cards that are circumstantial in any other investigator become highly circumstantial in Patrice. Because of this, you will want to stick to cards that have a wide range of use, such as Ward of Protection, Defiance, etc. It is for this reason that I did not include the level 0 Rise to the Occasion--it's too circumstantial.
As you play your Patrice deck, pay close attention to how often you use certain cards. If something ends up being a dead card or too circumstantial from turn to turn, cut it!
I hope you enjoy this deck and/or found some good advice in the deck building guide. Patrice is my favorite investigator and I want everyone else to experience the amazing fun that is Patrice Hathaway!
Cornered: considered Patrice's second signature, Cornered x2 allows her to optimize her card icons every turn.
Peter Sylvestre: the +1 and +1 can make a big difference. Peter also allows her to be more liberal with how she handles horror, especially if you are using Shrivelling.
Miss Doyle: the Cats of Ulthar help Patrice supplement her lower stats and, since she will see her cards more than any other investigator, she will see them often!
Survival Instinct: this is one of the best solo Survivor cards. In Patrice, it allows her to evade the Watcher in her hand AND all the enemies at her location AND move. 'Nuff said.
Rise to the Occasion: The level 0 version of Rise to the Occasion is too circumstantial, but the upgraded version is often no less than 3 Wild icons. Wow!
Defiance: Ignore bad stuff tokens? And with how often Patrice sees her cards? Yes!
Ward of Protection: Same as Defiance. It's just good and she can take the horror. The level 2 Ward of Protection allows her to help her fellow investigators out.
Alter Fate: Again, Patrice sees her cards often, so she can get a lot of use out of this card. Especially in higher count multiplayer, there is always someone who could use this.
True Survivor: do you know what's better than playing the same great card twice in 8 rounds? What about 4 times using Resourceful? Do you know what's EVEN better?!? What about 6 times? What about 8 times?! Patrice can play her favorite Survivor card twice, pull both of them back with two copies of Resourceful, then pull back both copies of Resourceful with True Survivor...and do it all over again. By the time she's done she will have drawn into True Survivor again. What about 2x True Survivor? The potential is dizzying!
Patrice has access to a lot of great Innate cards, one of which is the incredibly amazing Rise to the Occasion, which is Innate, meaning it can be targeted by True Survivor, which can be targeted by Resourceful...which can be targeted by True Survivor, etc. Have fun :)