Gabriel Carillo

Interestingly, Gabriel has the exact amount of Health and Sanity he has on Arkham Horror 3rd Edition, but his ability is completely different (in the board game he was basically a reskin of Leo De Luca)

He is he good however? Extremely: one curse to draw an extra card is incredibly good, it makes your deck that much faster with a fairly manageable drawback. It can disrupt bigger player groups, so you probably should tell your team ahead of time you are planning to use him, but he also has the advantage of being a reliable source of curses if you want to get for a "Curse Seeker" build, which originally wasn't quite worthy to do because Seekers just didn't have a constant, renewable source of cruse tokens: Gabriel alone will be the backbone of decks using Gaze of Ouraxsh, The Stygian Eye, Fey and Prismatic Spectacles.

AND on top of that, it increases your intelect by 1!

Even if you are not doing curses, Gabriel is a very solid ally for the draw and the stat boost, I can see people upgrading into him in place of Jeremiah Kirby (if they need more consistent draw) or Dr. Milan Christopher (if they do not need the extra resources)

Captivating Discovery

There is a tradition with player cards, that they are kind of made for the investigator depicted on them. There are exceptions, as for instance Silas can't take upgraded Overpower, and even more so Sister Mary does not Keep Faith. But in general, it is rather the question, whether the character is even allowed to take the card, not if it would be really good for them.

There is another tradition, that sometimes player cards give hints for upcoming releases. Inspiring Presence from Carcosa foreshadows Leo Anderson in TFA. "Before the Black Throne" teased the Bonded mechanism with Hallowed Mirror and Occult Lexicon, which was a big thing in TDE. Tony from TDE got a Deep One enemy as his weakness, sadly not one with the signature ability of Deep Ones to do something bad on engagement. Lex Luthor from TFoHV is supposed to be somewhat linked to the Mafia themed next campaign...

Now keeping that in mind, it seems obvious, that the person on this card is not Rex Murphy, it is Rex Murphy! I can arguably see the card as tech for a true solo deck of the Dunwich investigator to drop a clue on a 1 location to proxy his ability, but there are better cards for that, and he is not great in solo anyway. For his parallel ability however, this card is made for!

It seems odd for me, that a card from an official product is foreshadowing a print and play release. Sure, we had an April Fools Day joke about a Blob Investigator hinting at p&p Suzi, but that was just on the homepage, not from inside a box. Of course, I can be terribly wrong, but I have high hopes now, that we might get a proper release of these parallel investigators. I know, it won't happen with Gamezenter anymore, but maybe they reconsidered doing it themselves at FFG? Fingers crossed!

Susumu · 335

Hank Samson and Silas Marsh are both combat ready investigators who share a common trait of not being able to take Vicious Blow owing to their lack of Guardian access, but they can take this level 1 Innate Skill which does much the same job, and it has a few quirks that make it a particularly interesting choice for our fearless foragers.

Notably, while Vicious Blow only adds damage to an attack that succeeds, Strong-Armed just plain goes hard, hit or miss. This means you can accidentally impale your fellow investigators for 4 damage with your trusty Pitchfork (Silas likes spear fishing, what can we say?) ... good job you can take 1 damage to redraw that chaos token, eh?

Yeah, it is. Because you very well might want to miss! Combine this card with Oops! (2) and redraw chaos tokens until you fail by the right amount rather than redrawing to succeed like you normally would and now you're hitting for 4 damage while keeping your Pitchfork in hand (because the attack was not successful), ready to jab again for another 3. If you've got both copies of Oops! (2) then you can extend the combo and if you've got Live and Learn ready to go then you can compress the follow up thrust into the same action that triggered the Oops.

The fact that this is a combo play ain't so bad, because Pitchfork's 3 base damage makes it excellent at dealing with low health enemies, and lets you save this as a bossing strategy. You can save up the right cards for when the big target appears and avoid having to deal with Pitchfork's problems in protracted fights to quite the same degree.

The same strategy applies to heavier hitting weapons. Sledgehammer Oops! plays can now be performed with some reliability thanks to Strong-Armed's token redraws, though you might need the aid of Drawing Thin to get your highly bonused super-smash into a range where it's feasible to fail. Oops! (2) / Live and Learn plays with Sledgehammer's three action attack makes dealing 13+ damage in one turn a realistic proposition instead of a relative pipe dream.

That's a lot of fun combo potential for a card that's just plain good on its own. You're probably going to love to a 1XP skill card that lets you hit harder and avoid bad symbols / the dreaded auto-fail even if it isn't doing something extra like it so easily can, even if that's only prolonging the lifespan of your Baseball Bat. Strong on its own, strong at enabling combos. What's not to love?

Seal of the Elders

With the new interpretation of Rod of Carnamaegos, this might be much easier to achieve. Not good at probability math, but a full bag of each type, a rod, plus an Olive may be much more efficient in getting both sides out than you would with favors.

Andy · 2
Fine Tuning

As of the Feast of Hemlock Vale Investigator Expansion, there are 26 Tool or Science assets that exhaust.

Strange Solution, Cleaning Kit, Cryptographic Cipher, Fingerprint Kit, Matchbox, and by extension Quickdraw Holster all have uses that are spent when exhausted and need help to be replenished. Readying these assets doesn't increase the value of the asset, only increases the tempo of the asset. Spending two resources and an action to slightly increase the tempo of an item is somewhat counterproductive, so these are not great choices.

Ice Pick (3) and Lockpicks (0) are cards that you expect to discard fairly quickly, so taking the time to attach this certainly isn't worth it.

Dr. Charles West III, Dream-Enhancing Serum, Pocket Telescope, and Mechanic's Wrench are all cards where the exhaust effect isn't the main reason you bring the card, so readying the asset probably isn't worth the cost of Fine Tuning.

Darrell's Kodak and Grappling Hook are not going to be reliably useful multiple times in a round. It might be worth considering for certain parties or builds, but isn't an obvious pick.

So this leaves us just 11 cards to examine.

Great Choices:

Chemistry Set is one of the better cards to ready. If you're taking the time to build around it, Chemistry Set is a very efficient way to investigate, yielding a bit of extra economy and the occasional spare clue. Most seekers are hoping to investigate twice a turn, and for those who are typically testing book v shroud, doubling down on Chemistry Set will likely be an efficient use of their time. Just be wary of losing both cards to a fail by two if you can't adjust the result.

Of course, if you're bringing Chemistry Set, you should also be bringing Steady-Handed. Refreshing both together is very logical, allowing you to adjust both checks to an even number, and avoid throwing the set out to a bad pull. As of right now, there's not much else for Steady-Handed to adjust, so this is certainly a lower priority.

Lockpicks (1) is one of the best uses for this card. Yes, it discards when the uses are spent, but it's not unreasonable to expect that you'll get 10 or more refreshes. A rogue clex-leaning-cluever can legitimately make this their main engine for when there aren't any enemies. Mariner's Compass and its upgrade are similar for survivors.

Empirical Hypothesis is going to be one of the strongest targets for Fine Tuning. If you haven't put any experience in, this will likely be a second card most turns. You do need to initiate two tests to get the full value, but most seekers are investigating 2-3 times a turn, so it should pay off more often than not. The value goes up if you sink in some experience; with Peer Review, you're all but guaranteed that one of your allies will find the second oversuccess, and more likely to convert the charges into value.

Finally, Pocket Multi Tool is a great choice. With just a bit of XP, this is two resources, 1 XP, and an action for a free unexpected courage once per turn. With Spring-Loaded, it turns into a free Lucky once per turn.

Situational choices:

Lab Coat isn't likely to be worth tuning up, since it's incredibly unlikely that you fail two tests in one round by exactly one. The most notable exception to this is if you're frequently testing at just below a critical value in the chaos bag (frequently testing at +2 when the bag is majority -3, for instance). If that's the case, then you can adjust on a per-scenario basis, although it's going to depend so heavily on the shroud values that you probably shouldn't make this your main game plan. It can also be cute if you're frequently testing against a shroud of 1 for guaranteed success; see The Skeleton Key.

Survival Technique is probably tough to use multiple times per round to great effect. There are probably cool combos that you can attach and pull back multiple times per round, but they're too complex to analyze in this little review box.

Backup choices:

Microscope can be ok, although if you're building around Microscope you certainly want to upgrade them as soon as possible. You can attach this to your Microscope in the interim, but shouldn't invest the XP in this card unless you have another asset to fine tune once you can get the good Microscope.

Ice Pick (1) is a small skill boost once per round. Doubling this is decent, but similar to Microscope, you are probably taking this on the way to upgrading this, which means you need a backup target for your Fine Tuning once your deck hits its stride.

SamForest · 1
You say there's not much more for steady handed to adjust, but it goes perfectly well in any "succeed by" package not just the seeker ones that want you to succeed by an exact amount. Fine tuning could be useful in those builds as it turns it into essentially +1 skill value. — Spamamdorf · 1
Empirical Hypothesis, when tuned, is MONSTROUSLY efficient. — MrGoldbee · 1402