Parallel Fates

This is a flavorful card, but I'm not sure how effective it is outside of Jacqueline or another chaos bag manipulation Mystic. It's also of less use in Solo, since you can't parcel out the cards to the investigators best suited to withstand them, although knowing what the next 4 Mythos Phases are going to spit out isn't nothing (always assuming the Act or Agenda doesn't reshuffle the Encounter Deck before you get to the 4th Round).

It's most similar to First Watch, with -1 cost, requires an action, has a "bad stuff token" test, and always looks at 4 cards. In 4-player, First Watch is much better, in 2-player, Parallel Fates lets you pick between investigators for 2 turns, so it probably edges the card out.

Gloria Goldberg might like this, since it synergies with her ability, although she'll need chaos bag support to make it really work. All in all, this might have a few too many moving pieces to be a mainstay, and I'd be happier if it was Fast or didn't have the token pull, but maybe future cards will make it more reliable.

I agree this card really needs fast to make it viable and fun. It still wouldn't be particularly powerful. — housh · 100
Don't forget that it is worthwhile even if the agenda advances and reshuffles. If you see a card you don't have an answer for, push it to the bottom and let the agenda reshuffle it. It's a bit jank, but I've done it with Scrying and it can be helpful to avoid certain treacheries you just don't have the patience for. — LaRoix · 147
Ineffable Truth

Pretty much everything that one can say for the Level-0 Version, but more so. How does it stack up to Mists of R'lyeh (4)?

  • Costs 1 more XP
  • Costs 1 more resource
  • Has 2 fewer charges
  • Doesn't give you a free move
  • Does 2 points of damage
  • Might cost an extra 2 resources if you draw an , +1, or 0

This is looking like a less attractive upgrade, especially since a bad draw with Mists (4) still only costs you 1 card. Alternatively, if you compare it to Ineffable Truth (3), you are getting a +1 and +1 damage for a cost of 2 XP and the risk of an extra resource lost on an unfortunate token pull. I suspect it will take a very specific deck to want to upgrade beyond the 3-level version of the card. I guess Meat Cleaver Agnes can use this to do 8 damage to an enemy in 1 turn, leaving it exhausted at the end, but Agnes has a lot of ways to hand out hurt.

It also doesn't compare all that well to the higher-level versions of Mists, although you probably want to look at Ruduen's comments on the "good token" vs "bad token" suite in the Azure Flame review.

Obviously, 2x Arcane Research mitigates some of the extra XP issues, but you could still be spending that XP on cards that provide a bit more punch for the cost.

TL;DR? Level-0 is fine, but, if you are going to upgrade, you might want to stop at the 3 XP version.

Sure, it has an increased penalty while Mists4 doesn’t, but Mists4 also doesn’t have an increased upside. If you are JUST taking these for the evade effect, Mists was always a more efficient option, but 1) unlike the 0 or 3, this 5 deals 2 damage, and 2) it is easy to mitigate the penalty by just having 1 or 0 resources. — Death by Chocolate · 56
True, but how often is “Evade and do 2 damage” something you want to do? Hitting for 1 Damage is a nice setup for getting rid of a 3-health enemy, but 2 is awkwardly extravagant. It would be useful for taking down a 5- or 7-health Elite, but surely you would want more attack power in that case. — LivefromBenefitSt · 92
A Test of Will

Normally, I'd would entertain the idea of having a chance to not exile a card, especially if it's determined by a moderate difficulty test of a skill that many investigators in this class excel in, and also gain a 1 resource discount for 1 additional XP.

But the very same pack that introduces this card also contains a card that lets you return its cheaper variant back to your deck for FREE in between scenarios. Both copies, potentially. Understandably, you might not have Unspeakable Oath, or maybe, you really don't want to chance exiling your Test of Will. This pack gives you an even CHEAPER alternative with the exact same effect. The only thing that this card affords you over its Lvl 0 version is that the effect is guaranteed to happen in Lvl 2, but then you have to pass the exact same test in order to keep it from being exiled. If you weren't confident enough in passing that test to settle for the Lvl. 0 version, what makes you think that you can salvage the Lvl 2? In that case, you're just flushing an extra XP down the drain; I'd rather take my chances on the Lvl 0.

The biggest benefit this card is supposed to give you is saving your XP from having to dump it into upkeeping its exiles, and you know what, if you just bought 1 copy for the fun of it and wanted to see how far you could get without losing it, then sure, this card obviously has more sustainability over time than Lvl 1. But if you're including this in an exile deck or planning on buying 2 of these, just use Lvl 0 for lower difficulties and Lvl 1 + Deja Vu for higher difficulties. This card really has no place in your deck given the alternatives. If you don't have Unbreakable Oath, just pretend these cards are Lvl 1 problem solved :)

TheDoc37 · 3
Generally agree, although one thing to note as Stella, if you have this a test of will, and commit "neither rain not snow" you essentially autopass, because even if you fail, you cancel the treachery and don't exile the card — NarkasisBroon · 1
Damn, good point Nark! — MrGoldbee · 92
It definitely fits a new design space that I am unsure how I feel about. 2 XP in Survivor gets you so many good cards, it seems like either going hard into Exile or just stiicking with Level-0 is more attractive. — LivefromBenefitSt · 92
Deja Vu also exists, and if I have that card already, I think I prefer unsure if exile over unsure if cancel — StyxTBeuford · 2080
But, if you are going with Déjà Vu, you've already committed to Exiling cards. You might as well go with Test of Will (1), because you can replace it for free. ToW (2) just lets you gamble with XP, which isn't that fun a game from where I'm standing. If I want 2 XP Exiles, I think Fortune or Fate or Stroke of Luck are better choices, but that's me. — LivefromBenefitSt · 92
If your willpower is high enough, it becomes an XP savings in the long run since you will almost always pass that test. — StyxTBeuford · 2080
Take Deju Vu twice and just leave yourself open to get 2 xp exile cards back, if all of them are conditional then you don't want them all to exile in the same game so having random chance attached to each one is good. — Zerogrim · 12
I think 2 Déjà Vu would just give you 1 XP for 6 cards. If you are examining six cards per scenario, that is impressive. — LivefromBenefitSt · 92
The Skeleton Key

TL;DR: Think of the key as a late-mission MP support Event, not an Asset. It competes with no slots, and you don't have to play it until/unless it's needed. If 3R and 1 action to trivialize an entire 3+ Shroud 8+ Clue location for EVERYBODY in your party seems worth it, then it doesn't matter when you draw your one copy- you'll always be happy to see it.

+++

I recently completed a 3P Carcosa as Tony Morgan; the key here was a late upgrade in the "eh why not" vein after getting all his other needed upgrades. It ended up being a relief to see on each remaining mission.

Left me wondering why it never really got much in the way of reviews, but I think I can see why- it looks deceptively cumbersome. 3R to play, 2 actions to place & recover, only 1 per deck, Lockpicks exist, etc. But here's the thing: in 3-4 player MP, all of these become unimportant... a single use of the key will pay for itself.

  • Fast. No need to play it til you need it, and ultimately costs only 1 action to place it at a destination.
  • NO SLOT. Did you notice that? Some assume the key is an Accessory or Hand item at a glance, and thus in competition.
  • Item. You can tutor it with Backpack, which many Rogues enjoy running.
  • You likely want it late. High-shroud spots often reveal near end of mission. This reduces the 1-per-deck risk.
  • Scales hugely in MP.

That last one's the biggy. It's rare that a campaign doesn't have at least one location with 3+ shroud and 2+/Investigator clues. In SP you can clear that with an event or skills. In 4P though, the Skeleton Key becomes an 8-charge Flashlight that your whole party can use in addition to any other investigation skills they have.

If you can get the key to work on 1 hard room in a mission in 3-4 player MP, it's a terrific and reliable value. The uninstall/reinstall effect is neat, but distracts from the fact that it should pay for itself with a single use.

(FUN FACT: Preston & Dexter aside, everyone who can take the Key has 3+ base INT, and is thus themselves now investigating at a minimum of +2 after using it.)

HanoverFist · 190
When I learned about Skeleton Key I was really excited because it could pair with the Ornate Bow and make the loss the Lockpicks not that big of a deal. But I only play 2 handed solo so it just didn't have the payoff since there just aren't enough clues at one location to justify using it. It might still work in some Rogue decks that have a bunch of extra actions like Leo DeLuca, Haste, Quick Thinking or other free action cards. Maybe I will design a deck with that in mind and make Skeleton Key an element of the cluegetting. — TWWaterfalls · 539
Smart thinking! The key goes nicely w/ 2H rogues who like the Bow, Typewriter, or .45 Thompson. But yeah, in 2P it may still be a tossup as to whether you'd want it, or another copy of something like Followed to scoop clues from high-shroud spots. — HanoverFist · 190
everyone who can take the Key has 3+ base INT, and is thus themselves now investigating at a minimum of +2 after using it.) — MrGoldbee · 92
Not Sefina! — MrGoldbee · 92
Preston, Sef, and Dex. — StyxTBeuford · 2080
Of course, Preston and Sefina can use Lola Santiago, who still likes the reduced shroud; and Sefina and Dex can use spells to investigate at 4 or 5 vs 1. — Yenreb · 9
Alter Fate

Just to be clear, neither this version or it's upgrade can discard a treachery unless that treachery has the text "put X into play", correct? In other words, If I draw a hex or something, I have to resolve the revelation effect; I cannot have someone play this to cancel that card entirely (that'd be Ward of Protection lvl 2 if I really want that effect). Right?

As for this card itself, it's... well, it's not great. In a nutshell, what you're doing is replacing whatever conditions have to be met on a threat area treachery with the following:

  • Spend 3 resources: discard this treachery.

But that's not the whole story since there are other things you've spent or are giving up in order to have this card, so it really reads like this;

  • Spend 3 resources, 1-2 xp, and discard a specific card from your hand: discard this treachery.

To compare, here are a few common treacheries. Now I'm only looking at cards from the deluxe boxes and return to boxes since these are the only ones that will continuously pop up throughout a campaign. Obviously, it's preferable Alter Fate has some value beyond getting you through a single scenario. Look at the cost to get rid of it is and ask yourself if you'd rather pay the alter fate cost (because it is extremely costly):

I like lvl 3 Alter Fate, but lvl 1 is massively inferior just from a numbers perspective. Unless you've got money to burn like Mr. Fairmont who I do think is ideal for this card since he can not only pay for it but also generate extra actions to mitigate that loss as well. Besides him, I suppose Stella might like it to get rid of those "end of your turn" treacheries so she can approach her turn undisturbed, but 3 resources and an action just seems like a lot to cough up. It does make you wonder what sort of threat area treacheries we might find in Innsmouth, no?

Also, question. Does either version of Alter Fate work on Straitjacket?

By the way, I love that the art is a depiction of The Tower • XVI, which was a subtle hint at the time the original Alter Fate released because we would see the tower released in the deluxe box a few months later. Nice touch, though curiously you can't use Alter Fate to counter it.

LaRoix · 147
Neither version of Alter Fate works on Straitjacket: "This card cannot leave play except by the ability below", and 'cannot' is absolute. — Tamsk · 1
I think the main reason to get Alter Fate (1) is so that you can upgrade it to Alter Fate (3) w/o any XP cost with Arcane Research. Both Patrice and Mateo can do that. — Zinjanthropus · 90
Preston also has the resources and actions to play AF1 - and can use it with Double, Double quite well in a larger player count game. — Death by Chocolate · 56
In an On Your Own build, this is worth considering as well, as you save 2 XP for each Alter Fate which you can use to take more important stuff, and the only thing you lose is it's not Fast anymore. — Nenananas · 21
Yeah I mean, I’m never not happy to see a downgrade because you can incrementally build your deck (plus I’m a sucker for marginal rpg improvement). And the combo with arcane research and on your own are both solid. I was mostly thinking of which off class survivors could play it well since it being lvl 1 opens it up quite a bit. As a card by itself I still think it’s quite poor. It can certainly be improved by good deck building, but Alter Fate lvl 3 is just so far and above this one that it’s a hard sell to me. While arcane xp reduction would be nice, this probably isn’t your highest priority spell to upgrades. On your own would be good with it if you’re running that. I think if this card had Fast and Exile, then I’d be more intrigued. You’d have to weigh if it’s worth saving it to upgrade it or if you really need to free yourself from a treachery. Idk just a thought. — LaRoix · 147
@LaRoix good thoughts, I definitely agree with what you said — Nenananas · 21
@Nenananas Hey thanks! — LaRoix · 147
There's one case where I'd consider buying it for scenario-specific treacheries , late on the Forgotten Age. That one needs quite careful timing and some of the scenario-specific treacheries can be crippling at the wrong moment. Beyond that, one funny case where I might have taken this card would have been to deal with Light of Aforgomon in particular as Tommy of all people. It completely shuts his ability down, and if it gets on to e.g Agenda 2 of Where Doom Awaits it's not leaving play on its own. Having a way to zap it gone would have been nice... — bee123 · 24
You missed the cards that attach (except to Elite enemies): Acrid Miasma, Altered Beast, Arcane Barrier, Conspiracy of Blood, Creeping Darkness, Dhole Tunnel, Driven to Madness, Harvested Brain, Incriminating Evidence, Infinite Doorway, Kidnapped!, Light of Aforgomon, Locked Door, Lunar Patrol, Mask of Umordhoth, No Turning Back, Nobody's Home, Obscuring Fog, Oppressive Mists, Overgrowth, Poisonous Spores, Primordial Gateway, Resentful Wilds, Secret Door, Sickening Webs, Song of the Magah Bird, Sordid and Silent, Spectral Mist, Spirit's Torment, The Pit Below, The Sign of Hastur, Threads of Reality, Towering Beasts, Wonderous Lands — Yenreb · 9
I did not miss the cards that attach. I deliberately didn't add them because I didn't want to list every treachery ever. Most of those target, again, I don't think are worth spending 3 resources and an action. But thanks for taking the time to list them in case someone is really having a rough go with them. — LaRoix · 147
The question worth asking is how many of those treacheries are worth an XP, 3 resources, a card, and an action to kill? I wager not many. This seems like a tech pick for Preston and maybe a transitional AR pick for Mateo, though he can use the savings on other spells anyway, and it might be worth jumping straight to level 3 for this one. — StyxTBeuford · 2080
It may also depend on the investigator so it is worth mentioning the attachments because there are some who are far more susceptible to something like Light of Aforgomon. The savings is nice for any Mystic that can take it, and I definitely agree that Preston would like it because the resource (and actions being a Rogue and all) aren't nearly that big a deal to him. Clearing the board space is always good, it's just how worth it is to you. One thing I didn't mention is that Survivors while enjoying their cheap cards, may not mind the 3 cost since most of their other cards are... well... cheap. — LaRoix · 147
I actually think it tends to go the other way for Survivors, in that because they tend to run cheap cards, they like to run their decks low curve and reward themselves for staying at low curve. Eg if I'm doing a Fire Axe/Labranche/Dark Horse build, I really want to keep as many cards as possible at 2 or lower. I do think this is roughest with the Mystics who can take it though, especially Marie who happens to just run a very expensive deck almost every time. That said, Marie can play this as a free action with doom in play, so that's interesting. — StyxTBeuford · 2080