This Wizard Has a Pistol, is That Even Allowed?

Card draw simulator

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ElseWhere · 1042

Thud. Thud. Thud. CRACK.

The barred door burst open under a wave of supernatural force, and Lodge Knights boiled through the opening like ants coming out of a kicked hill. Mandy swore and glanced around for an exit. There wasn't one.

She was about to call on her friends on the other side, desperately, praying there was some hidden passage out, when Diana stepped between her and the arriving Lodge members.

"Well. It would appear we have discovered a traitor within our ranks." The lead knight intoned, hand tracing the delicate handle of the sword hung at his side. Other knights around the room bore similar weapons, but Mandy knew all too well that the threat the blades posed paled in comparison to that of the sorceries these operatives had mastered.

"On the contrary," Diana shot back, her voice betraying not an ounce of fear or concern, "All I see before me are traitors. The Lodge was meant to protect humanity, Samuel. Not hunger for the secrets of the universe. Not try to seize the Blind Idiot's power."

The hefty knight scowled at her. "You know nothing of the secrets of the universe."

"That's true." Diana replied, surprising Mandy. "But neither do you. Has Mr. Sanford clued any of you in about what exactly we're trying to do here? Hmmm?"

There was silence.

"That's what I thought. Well, I for one will not follow him blindly."

"Then you will die!" Samuel shouted, and thrust out his hand, azure fire flickering across the knuckles to gather in his palm, ready to lance out in a blaze of withering glory–

But Diana snapped her fingers and the fire extinguished in a puff of pale blue smoke. Another knight made a swift series of hand motions and Diana's arms were pinned to her size by some invisible force, but she shouted a word of power and the pressure vanished.

"Fine." Samuel muttered. "We do this the old-fashioned way." The knights drew their swords, in terrible unison, a chorus of vibrating steel echoing through the chamber. Mandy pressed herself against the wall, focused on the door behind the squad, and prepared for the most dangerous sprint of her life...

...when a gunshot rang out. Samuel looked faintly surprised as the sword fell from his lifeless hand, and he slowly toppled onto it, a single bullet hole in the center of his skull.

"Sorry," Diana said, "I'm just not that old-fashioned of a girl." And with that, a second pistol appeared from within her sleeve and she began firing akimbo, dodging sweeping blades and finding flesh with every bullet she fired.


Hey everybody! Allow me to introduce Diana, a gunslinging sorceress supreme with a penchant for magic and violence! Hmmm, judging by this deck and my Dexter deck, I may have a type for Mystics...

Anyway! This deck came about because I've always loved the gunslinger Guardian events, specifically Marksmanship and "Eat lead!". There's only one problem: they're...kind of bad. Marksmanship is pretty solid, but tough to fit into a deck, and Eat Lead wastes your precious ammo–and thus your precious damage–for a fairly paltry benefit.

But, wonder of wonders, both cards contain the word "ignore" in their text. Enter Diana! It turns out most cards become a lot better when they gain "draw 1 card and gain 1 resource", and the Guardian gun events are no exception.

This deck is a primary fighter with support elements, intended chiefly to cover for your allies by dealing with enemies and weakening the encounter deck. Your main damage comes from your .45 Automatics, which you can tuck under Diana if you use their last shot on an enemy with Retaliate–or one that you're attacking with Daring. The same goes for Marksmanship. But unlike Marksmanship, the Automatics cannot be replayed using Diana's Twilight Blade–instead, you have to find an Elder Sign with Eat Lead or Olive McBride, or discard them with Terrible Secret before you cycle your deck.

To support her pistols, Diana uses Well Prepared and her skill suite to pass tests, while maintaining a solid economy engine with Jewel of Aureolus and her ability. Almost every event she's packing allows her to cancel or ignore, meaning that you can play them all multiple times and draw at least 1 card off each. Delay the Inevitable can even be replayed from beneath Diana as many times as you want, if your resource engine is running efficiently, to block big attacks or dangerous mythos damage.

If you're worried about the rather high XP threshold of the deck, don't be. The only cards you really need are the upgraded Automatics and Colt, Ever Vigilant, and Marksmanship, making for a core of 10xp. Everything else is a luxury purchase to make the deck hum even better. With Arcane Research you can save up to 14xp (as this version of the deck has seven spell upgrades, the max for AR in a normal campaign) and if you include Edge of the Earth's upcoming Mystic permanent Down the Rabbit Hole, you can net a minimum of 2xp (including making your Blood Pact upgrades free) or a maximum (with the help of standalones and In the Thick of It) of 11xp.

All that's left is to charge, guns blazing, into combat! Show those Mythos monsters that there's steel in your heart, and if they stand in your way, there's gonna be steel entering their hearts as well!

9 comments

Sep 13, 2021 unremb · 194

2x Blood Pact (3)? That's seriously overkill man.
Down the Rabbit Hole is hard to get right - you only get 2XP discount per scenario and there's a good chance that you'd have to pay it back with other purchases - such as Marksmanship (1), Ever Vigilant (1) will cost more XP.

Sep 13, 2021 ElseWhere · 1042

@unremb Actually, two Blood Pacts allows you to get +6 to every Will or Combat test during every witching hour (the turn before the agenda advances) in each scenario, as opposed to just +3 to every test on those turns. Plus it gives me enough targets for Arcane Research, which was truthfully the main reason I added them at first, before I realized how genuinely powerful they'd be.

As for Down the Rabbit Hole, I completely agree with you. It's a nightmare to calculate properly, which is why I did the math for the deck here before electing to recommend it.

Lost XP:

  • Jewel of Aureolus
  • Ace of Swords
  • Well Prepared x2
  • I've Had Worse x2
  • Ever Vigilant x2
  • Marksmanship x2
  • Seal of the Elder Sign x2

For a total of 12xp extra you have to pay. If you take In the Thick of It (which in a character with Deny Existence and I've Had Worse is basically free) you can buy three of those 1xp cards before the first scenario, dodging 3xp worth of tax.

Potential Gained XP:

  • .32 Colt
  • .45 Automatic x2
  • Sixth Sense
  • Backpack x2
  • Blood Pact x2
  • Ward of Protection x2
  • Deny Existence x2
  • Overpower x2
  • Vicious Blow x2
  • Eat Lead x2
  • Dodge x2

For a total of up to 20xp gained via Rabbit. Of course, this would require an 11-scenario campaign, so unless you're downing standalones like there's no tomorrow, 20xp is impractical. In a normal 8-scenario campaign, it caps at 14, which (although narrow) puts you at a net gain of 2xp over your tax of 12. With In the Thick of It, that becomes a net gain of 5xp over a tax of 9.

It's a minor benefit, but I think many people will agree that any quantity of extra xp is worth the effort, and if you're adding standalones or sequencing campaigns the benefit only grows. Plus there's a lot of fun to be had in upgrading your Blood Pacts for free, your Deny Existences for four instead of five, and your Sixth Sense for a paltry one experience.

Sep 13, 2021 unremb · 194

@ElseWhere
3 additional XP just for witching hour?
Sure, if you really feel it helps.
I find the additional +3 boost per test to be unnecessary anyway.

You have to consider the opportunity cost of the slow upgrades too.
I've found that being forced incentivised to upgrade the deck slowly over the course of a campaign increases the chance of XP loss through not maximizing the gains of the scenarios themselves.

shrugs

Sep 13, 2021 MouldOfMlem · 2

This is exactly the type of stuff jankery I've been wanting to see Down the Rabbit Hole inspiring, really cool stuff!

Love the double Blood Pacts, had never even considered that! With them being free that's cool though, and, if I'm interpreting Down the Rabbit Hole correctly, would even give you a slot to fill up with a new level 0 card for free, should you want it?

In an actual campaign you might not even go for some of the luxury stuff like Seal of the Elder Sign and Ace of Swords, it looks like it would be fairly easy to dodge some of the Rabbit Hole tax you've listed if you don't get enough exp to buy everything on this list. And if you do wind up getting that amount of exp, then you'll still have gotten the early discounts, and I think any deck would appreciate "borrowing" exp from the future.

Sep 13, 2021 ElseWhere · 1042

@unremb Base 6-8 is admittedly pretty decent at lower difficulties, but at higher difficulties or with curses in the bag I do appreciate the certainty of the extra +3. But you're right, of course, it's entirely a luxury choice. Fortunately, since it costs 0xp with the Mystic Permanents, it's a surprisingly affordable luxury! And because it's not a priority, you can wait to purchase the second copy until the seventh scenario of the campaign if you so choose.

@MouldOfMlemI've been trying desperately to make a Rabbit deck since it was spoiled, wracking my brain and calculating xp gains vs. taxes for everyone with Mystic access. None of them worked, until this one, which was very exciting!

The double Blood Pacts are indeed free and do indeed open up a level 0 slot for new cards, if you wanted to hold off on some of the more situational or setup-required cards like Olive or Eat Lead until the deck had a little xp going. You're also right that plenty of upgrades here are luxury, so you could pick and choose in order to maximize your Rabbit efficiency.

I actually hadn't thought about the prospect of "borrowing xp from the future" but I think that's an amazing way to analyze Rabbit! I'll still probably try to make sure I'm always netting xp over the course of the campaign, but there's a big difference between making 1xp cards cost 2xp and bringing 4-5xp cards down to 1-2xp. I'd argue in most campaigns the latter has a FAR larger impact, which might make Rabbit worth it even if you are only coming out at parity on the xp totals (or even losing a couple by the very end).

Sep 14, 2021 unremb · 194

@MouldOfMlem``@ElseWhere
Not sure how "borrowing XP from the future" works though, since it's quite likely that you'd be able to get enough XP for more than 2 upgrades per scenario (with/without Rabbits).
If you end up holding off purchases for later scenarios, aren't you actually "lending XP to the future"?

Sep 14, 2021 MouldOfMlem · 2

@unremb It would certainly depend very much on what your priority buys are and how much exp you expect to net per scenario.

But I think in a case like this, you'd certainly be looking at upgrading the guns and backpacks early for cheap. Say for example after the first three scenarios you'd upgrade two .45, then two Colt, then two Backpack. Let's assume 6 exp per scenario. That would give us 4 exp left after our priority upgrades that could be used for new cards like Jewel of Aureolus. If we get one new buy per scenario we're still coming out ahead exp wise.

And even if we spend the next three scenario not upgrading things but only adding one new card per scenario, we're netting 0 exp from Down the Rabbit Hole, but we've effectively deferred 3 exp to the last three scenarios from the first three.

So yeah, it would heavily rely on build and upgrade path and what you consider priorities. But I would still contend that there are scenario where Down the Rabbit Hole would be worth it even if the net gain at the end of a campaign was 0 exp, or maybe even a net negative of a small number, like -1 or -2. This is early exp is effectively more valuable than late exp, because you're using those cards for more scenarios.

The fact that I'm even trying to work this out makes me love Down the Rabbit Hole so much!

Sep 14, 2021 ElseWhere · 1042

@unremb @MouldOfMlemdon't forget that you only get 14 Rabbit upgrades, while there are 18 upgradeable cards in this deck (20 counting the Wards, but those are reserved for AR discounts). So we can upgrade four of the cards whenever we want, like the weapons, Backpacks, or Overpowers, thus granting us some early-game flexibility to avoid unremb's fears of delaying important purchases.

I spent a little under an hour writing out an analysis of xp expenditures throughout an entire theoretical TCU campaign, in the hopes that it would explain the benefits of Rabbit and the controllable nature of its drawback. Then I got logged out before I could post it, deleting it forever. The gist, though, was that with AR and Rabbit this deck can have a complete deck going after Scenario 3 and only be buying luxury cards from there. With In the Thick of It, it can have all its important cards by the end of Scenario 2. Plus, the discounts allow us to buy a wide range of upgraded cards each time, rather than having to focus on a few that we can afford like most decks do. The result is that the deck rockets up to a full upgrade spread, and you can reserve your late-campaign Rabbit and AR triggers for the luxury buys like "Eat lead!", Blood Pact, Deny Existence, and Dodge (2).

Sep 15, 2021 MouldOfMlem · 2

That's a nice point about having more upgrade targets than Rabbit upgrades. I have feeling that might be one of the keys to making Down the Rabbit Hole work, making sure that you keep the upgrade path pretty open an flexible in terms of the targets available to you.

Don't want to reach a dead end in the rabbit tunnels!