We're four cycles in now and Peter Sylvestre has been listening to our horror stories and calming our nerves like the loyal confidant he is since the beginning of Dunwich. I honestly don't know how he does it. It's been a while since anyone's written about him, so I thought I'd take a moment and just list out all the investigators that can take him, and explain which ones he fits best with.
Carolyn Fern - Pete is a popular choice in Carolyn decks. While his passive +1 boost isn't used at all, and while Carolyn has a whopping 9 Sanity, his ability to heal 1 horror per turn often makes him a pseudo Lone Wolf. I personally think you're better off running Dr. Milan Christopher if you're not adhering to taboo, or Alice Luxley if someone else needs Pete's +1, but Pete, especially when combined with Forbidden Knowledge, is a tried and true way to afford all that Dynamite. Carolyn also likes his upgraded version, which helps her lean into her Mystic side a bit more. With Solemn Vow from the Dream Eaters deluxe box, you can now, with Peter, turn other people's horror into your own money. Carolyn may be sub Seeker/Mystic, but she's very Rogue once you start picking apart the theme.
Tommy Muldoon - Tommy loves allies and he loves soak. Peter isn't a bad choice in Tommy decks by any means, but generally he's more fond of Beat Cop, Guard Dog, Tetsuo Mori, and later on Agency Backup. Not a bad fit for Tommy decks, but probably not a priority.
Zoey Samaras - Pete is sometimes seen as a one or even two of in Zoey decks, but it's not common. The +1 isn't particularly useful for her, but Zoey has a tendency to fight several monsters at once, and Pete can help soak up the horror from such attacks. Still, it's hard to justify him over Beat Cop or Guard Dog, and her limited five off class slots are often better suited to make up for her low (Drawn to the Flame, "Look what I found!", or even Rite of Seeking). Plus, with her 4 she takes horror much less often than many Guardians that would literally kill to have access to Pete (I'm looking at you Mr. Banks).
Minh Thi Phan - Peter is rarely seen in Minh decks. This is another investigator who has little use for the +1 and whose lessens the need for horror soaking. Seekers are also generally spoiled for choice when it comes to allies (we got Dr. Milan Christopher, Mr. "Rook", and even Laboratory Assistant, all of whom tend to help enable combos and synergies that Seekers just love so much).
Rex Murphy - Ah, finally someone who can actually enjoy the +1! Still, those five off class slots are precious. Rex also has a whopping 9 Sanity, and like Minh is spoiled for choice ally-wise. As a result he rarely sees play in Rex decks.
Finn Edwards - For me personally, this is almost an auto-include for Finn. The +1 is put to amazing use with Finn's free evade, but on top of that, Pete helps make up for Finn's frankly pathetic 1. Yes, Finn only has five slots for Survivor/Seeker cards total, but two of them will always be Peter Sylvestre. You will run two and you will like it. (Okay fine yes you could also run Dr. Milan Christopher, but come on, why would you choose some nerd over the star quarterback of Miskatonic University?)
Jenny Barnes - Rogues aren't exactly known for having great allies. Their only 0 XP ally who provides any kind of passive buff is Dario El-Amin, and the only other one with good utility costs 6 resources. So Jenny, being Jenny, doesn't necessarily mind Pete, however like the other Dunwich investigators she really needs to think carefully about her five off slots. Pete is great for her if combined with other agility passives like Track Shoes and The Moon • XVIII, and the horror healing for Jenny isn't nothing. However she'll often one way or another replace him with Lola Santiago down the line, so typically it's worthwhile to pick something else for those off slots anyway.
Preston Fairmont - Passive boosts are not Preston's style. While Preston has a tendency to fail tests, his deck-building is ridiculously tight and doesn't really have room for healing most of the time. You need to set up your economy engine, you need to get Well Connected or Dark Horse up ASAP. On top of that, because he starts the game with 9 resources in tow, Preston is one of only two investigators who can play Leo De Luca turn 1 without taking a 'gain a resource' action (the other one being Leo Anderson). There's just no room for you in Preston's club, sorry Pete.
Agnes Baker - Pete is a natural pick for Agnes. Usually Mystics need to rely on to do basically anything, but +1 allows Agnes to evade many monsters she can't kill with her main ability or Shrivelling, as well as protecting her from even more treacheries. On top of that, you need the horror sink in order to maximize the amount of horror put on Agnes in the presence of baddies (by minimizing the horror gained when alone). Don't take all the horror from that autofailed Rotting Remains if you can help it- give Pete a few remains, he'll totally forget about them next turn because that's just the kind of guy he is. Run two every time, and upgrade him before anything else because the +1 and +1 Sanity is literally the best upgrade Agnes could ask for.
Jim Culver - Like the other Dunwich investigators, Pete doesn't see much play in Jim decks because of how precious those five slots are. Jim also has additional methods of horror healing and his luck is often strictly better than anyone else's due to his passive ability, which combined with 4 makes horror not a large issue for him. He also can't take good advantage of the +1. His ally slot often goes to Olive McBride to take advantage of the modifier, or to Dr. Elli Horowitz since she can apparently play his Trumpet for him?? Elli is quite talented with all the Relics she just knows how to use.
Marie Lambeau - The +1 is actually not a bad fit for Marie decks, however the horror healing competes with much of what Marie wants to do. She needs allies who bring Doom in play, and unfortunately there's nothing Doomy about Pete's youthful physique. Arcane Initiate, David Renfield, and Alyssa Graham are all vying for a spot in a deck that will inevitably bury them when Baron Samedi shows up. This jazz club is just too crowded.
"Ashcan" Pete - Like other Dunwich investigators... oh wait a sec, Ashcan's a Survivor! And he doesn't compete for a slot with Duke! And his +1 rounds out Aschan's statline to all 4's with Duke in play (which is thematically fitting as well as mechanically satisfying). Heck, we could even call our deck The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Now, while Peter Sylvestre's horror soak tends to not be as big of a deal with Duke in play, there are still many Ashcan decks that like to run him. Most notably, the Desperate strategy which uses St. Hubert's Key and/or Meat Cleaver to get Ashcan's sanity down to 3 to play all the fun four icon cards. Sylvestre helps out a ton here by offering a permanent 1 soak per turn to keep Aschan AND Duke alive (because honestly once the doggo is gone there's not much hope left for Aschan). He's also often seen in Dark Horse decks alongside Madame Labranche, though I personally feel something like Track Shoes would be a better choice for a way to bring down your resource pool early while gaining +1. Outside of all of that, Aschan Pete is not the most natural choice for Sylvestre. Look for Survivors (or Finn) who really need the horror soak and boost first.
Calvin Wright - Calvin absolutely adores the horror soak Pete provides, as it helps sustain him when he's on the edge of death (which is exactly where you want him). This allows Calvin to use cards like Delay the Inevitable and Perseverance to protect his health, and Ward of Protection to deny health impacting treacheries you can't afford to test. The +1 is strange however, as it can work if you build Calvin towards evasion (which given the fairly lukewarm pool of weapons available to him is not a bad way to build him). A little physical trauma and maybe a Trench Coat, plus Pete in play, and before you know it Calvin can just evade before taking any actual damage. That said, Calvin decks are incredibly tight, and other allies like Madame Labranche (with Fire Axe) and later Yaotl will sometimes take priority, especially in Dark Horse decks.
Patrice Hathaway - This is an odd one. Patrice is quite flexible in how she can be built. It's certainly possible to build her in such a way to care a lot about , especially if you throw in lots of evade based events like Impromptu Barrier and Waylay. The real problem is Patrice works really well with Madame Labranche, as Labranche plus Patrice's Violin means she can pay for any event 2 or 3 cost event that comes her way quite easily. Patrice with her good also doesn't benefit too much from Peter's soak. However, a more leaning Patrice can take advantage of the upgraded Peter's +1 , and you could, if you'd like, use Peter's soak in conjunction with Forbidden Knowledge or Painkillers. Overall, Peter definitely has uses with Patrice, but in terms of priority I still think Labranche is usually the better choice. Definitely consider the level 2 version if you like using spells.
Rita Young - This is one heck of a dynamic duo. Rita should be the absolute first choice for Peter Sylvestre among all the Survivors. +1, especially when stacked with Track Shoes (which Rita pretty much always runs) is beyond amazing. Rita can use that for her slew of ridiculously good evade based events: Belly of the Beast, Waylay, Slip Away, and Impromptu Barrier. You can turn that into fighting potential with Ornate Bow, which is miles better than any of her other weapon options. But that's not all. Peter's horror soak is amazing for Rita's 5 Sanity, and his upgrade helps get Rita's to a solid 4 to help protect her Sanity long term. Finally, Rita is another good candidate for a Desperate build alongside Meat Cleaver. She doesn't need Run For Your Life, but she'll happily run Say Your Prayers, Desperate Search, and Reckless Assault. Pete helps pretty much no matter how you choose to build Rita, and the fact that they both attend Miskatonic University makes it that much more thematically satisfying to run these two star athletes together.
Silas Marsh - Most of what I said about Rita applies to Silas as well- he's a great pick for Silas. While not built as well for evading, Silas is still a good choice for Desperate cards and Meat Cleaver, and not even a bad shell for Ornate Bow (though it conflicts with his high somewhat). Arguably he needs the horror soak more than she does with his 2, however he wont be evading as often. Given Silas' nature to include more skill cards and now Grisly Totem to help with skill checks, I'd say Silas doesn't need the +1 nearly as much. Still, an absolutely essential include if there's copies available of him for you to take. And yeah the upgrade should be high priority as well.
Wendy Adams - Even with Fire Axe and Dark Horse, Wendy has a lot of trouble fighting. Though Preston Fairmont also has 1, he can always trigger +6 on the Axe every turn if he wants to, while Wendy just can't. So most Wendy builds have to lean into evasion. Enter Peter Sylvetre. Stacking with cards like Track Shoes, The Moon • XVIII, and Trench Coat, Wendy can be made into an incredibly capable evader. While she doesn't need the soak nearly as much as Rita or Silas, she still appreciates it. Wendy is literally on the art for Waylay so you know exactly what to do.
William Yorick - Out of all the Survivors, Yorick enjoys Pete's company the absolute least. Sure, the +1 puts Yorck at a respectable 4, and sure he needs a way to deal with his low Sanity. However, Pete's competing both with other allies that enable Yorick's recursive ability as well as cheaper soak assets that can be more easily recurred. Yorick simply doesn't need Pete's comfort as long as Mr. Pawterson is in play, and when his Teddy Bear loses all of his fluff and at least one of his eyes falls off he can always dig up another one with the help of Beat Cop. Yorick is a strange creature.
There's also Lola Hayes, but I'm not well versed enough in playing Lola to even attempt to evaluate him there. My understanding is that only being able to trigger his ability on turns where she's a Survivor makes him a harder sell, and that Lola decks are usually combo based, so there's no room to run Pete.
So who are the best investigators to take Peter Sylvestre? Finn Edwards, Agnes Baker, Calvin Wright, Rita Young, and Silas Marsh. If you're playing any of these five, seriously consider running Peter in your deck, and if you're running any of them except Finn, definitely give him an upgrade. If you're running an expensive, asset heavy Carolyn Fern deck, I would also highly recommend him.
EDIT: As a quick side note that's hardly worth mentioning, you always run Peter if you're running Key of Ys, with or without taboo. Just do it, trust me.
A very strong card but one which I feel is commonly misunderstood.
Basically Pete is a highly defensive card.
Looking first at the stats he offers, Pete gives a boost to and once upgraded . When not used for specific class trait abilities such as spells () or rogue/survivor style /evade based events, these tests typically come up in REACTIVE encounter deck tests. That is to say you cant easily plan when you are going to use them. Encounter deck tests are typically associated with horror hits and is typically associated with physical damage, though both are associated with other penalties such as action loss/movement restriction or asset loss. Note that is more common than in the encounter deck so far making unupgraded pete considerably less useful for encounter protection than upgraded pete.
The stats Pete doesn’t cover, and , are more PROCATIVE. You have more control about when you choose to use them and as a result you tend to get more mileage out of them (specific / specs aside). is typically the most progressive given that clue hunting is the primary source of act progression in the game. And while obviously plays a defensive role against the damage from enemies, it can be seen as progressive in the sense that it is common for a scenario to offer you compulsory/boss type enemies which are either plot relevant or at least offer victory points. It is much rarer for the game to offer or tests for progression, though it is not unheard of.
The difference between these two sets of stats is likely the reason for Pete being the only card in the current card pool to offer a boost to two stats simultaneously, and has a lower cost than other stat boost allys, such as Beat Cop or Dr. Milan Christopher. Essentially unless you have spec`d into them for spell casting/evading based builds, they are less innately progressive. They don’t help you win so much as stop you from losing. Part of the lower cost however may also be representing both the unique pip and the survivor trait of coping well with encounter decks.
Looking at Petes second ability, the recurring sanity soak has obvious defensive capabilities. It can be argued that in mystic where you expect to take additional horror from spell side effects it would facilitate a more aggressive play style letting you use spells more liberally. With current investigators, this is mainly Agnes Baker since Jim Culver gets a lot of passive horror healing from Jim's Trumpet but you could argue a similar role if you have used out of faction slots on other characters to be a hybrid spell caster. Outside of these effects, it is simply defensive.
So, what are good uses of Pete?
- Any time you want Pete just for theme. Honestly this is a game. just enjoy it. Despite what i'm writing here there is no wrong way to have fun!
- Any build that expects to take horror more commonly than other builds. Or where sanity loss is particularly cumbersome, such as Mystics or characters with low and/or sanity.
- Any build that is centric. Which means your either packing cards that test evasion (Backstab, Sneak Attack, Close Call or similar) or you’re planning on evading enemies rather than fighting them (usually low combat characters relying on natural evasion).
- Any build where the upgraded Pete’s bonus is important to you, so mystics again (if you can take him – currently just agnes), or a spell hybrid Survivor investigator, or someone where you need that passive encounter deck protection.
Prime examples from current card pool are Agnes Baker (bonus for casting and option to dump horror hits that you don’t want to/cant use for the damage tick safely), or Wendy Adams ( focus). Note also that both of these have a signature weakness which gives 2 horror.
What are bad uses of Pete?
Basically anywhere that using pete comes at the expense of using something better or where using pete prevents another investigator in your party form using him who would get more.
- Characters who`s primary actions will involve and/or and have little to gain from passive encounter protections, such as high will to protect against horror hits,
- Characters where the ally slot is at a premium, such as seekers who really want Dr. Milan Christopher, or guardians who might want Beat Cop/Brother Xavier.
- Anyone who is in a party with someone who could use pete better.
Specific Implications for "Ashcan" Pete:
This interaction was really my inspiration for this review. Short of a hybrid caster spec, the other Pete doesn’t really get much from young Mr Sylvester, yet many players seem to treat him as an auto include. Ashcan's actions are primarily taken through Duke, who benefits more from or boosts. He usually fights enemies rather than evading. He has high (4), beaten only by Agnes, and high effective sanity due to the option to put up to 2 on Duke without losing him - basically giving Ashcan 8 sanity before death – among the highest in the game. Though realistically that’s equivalent to a quite reasonable 7-sanity investigator before you become heavily encumbered by the loss of Duke. Peter Sylvestre is a massive over compensation for problems "Ashcan" Pete deals with perfectly well anyway. You're likely to be better off with an ally that aids progression such as Beat Cop, or Dr. Milan Christopher (if hes not needed for a seeker). Both also give you a one point sanity soak without dying, or 2 if you dont mind sacrificing them. Perhaps if you cant afford the out of faction slot for these, you might take Peter Sylvestre as an in faction ally which is a "generically strong card". Its probably better than Stray Cat, but thats possibly the only reason for considering him. Remember you dont have to take an ally of course. 3 resources and an action to play is not a small cost for something that has limited synergy with your deck. Definitely dont deny him to the team when someone else has more use for him.
Upgrading Peter Sylvestre gives you the boost, which does very little for a non spell hybrid Ashcan. Its like putting Dr. Milan Christopher in Zoey Samaras. Its boosting even more things you don’t really plan to do. It also costs you a whopping 4 xp to upgrade both cards. Something that could be spent on something substantially better.
Is the star-quarterback of the Miskatonic University football team also the star in an Arkham Horror LCG deck? Let's find out.
Peter Sylvestre adds a lasting +1 to your investigator's agility. If I'm not mistaking, he is the first and only lvl 0 ally/asset in the current cardpool who does this, making him a useful asset for a lot of investigators.
His repeatable horror removal ability however is where he really shines. Als lot of other horror removal cards like First Aid, Clarity of Mind and Liquid Courage have limited uses due to them using charges, but Peter can go on all day. This ability is especially useful when playing low sanity investigators. In my games playing as "Ashcan" Pete, Peter Sylvestre really kept Pete out of the nuthouse. Peter's horror removal ability pairs also really nicely with cards that require taking horror to trigger its beneficial effect like Forbidden Knowledge.
The upgraded version of Peter Sylvestre is even better, though he is not as accessible to many investigators due to their deck building restrictions. For an investment of 2 xp and the same resource cost big Peter gets an extra point of sanity and, more important, a lasting +1 to willpower. Especially in solo games, where a single investigator gets to eat all the nasty treacheries the encounter deck throws at them, having a lasting +1 to willpower is really nice. Upgraded Peter Sylvestre is really awesome when paired with an investigator who relies on willpower driven spells like Shrivelling, Rite of Seeking and Blinding Light. Usually ik put Holy Rosary in my spellcaster decks to boost those spells, but why use Holy Rosary when you can get the +1 willpower AND +1 agility AND the horror mitigation ability.
Downside is the fact that Peter fills the ever usefull ally slot, But luckily there is Charisma in an upcoming mythos pack that offers a way to use multiple allies.
I'm no football talentscout, but if Peter is as good on the football field as he is in the right Arkham Horror LCG deck, I'd recommend signing him for sure.