Patrice Hathaway Slays the Spire. (Hard Mode)

Card draw simulator

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GermanJoey · 200

The Silent visits the city of Arkham...?

A lone assassin ventures forth on a mission towards an ancient edifice of mysterious origin... as she climbs each floor, she is accosted by bizarre creatures... she shreds some with her deadly shivs, dodges others using her ghostly Wraith Form, picks up an Oddly Smooth Stone for some reason, and, um, has a baseline of three energy per turn to play her 5 card draw? but then sometimes can gain a fourth energy from, uh, a boss relic...? wait, what game are we playing again?!?

Ok, I'll admit it: a snecko-skulled The Silent, Patrice Hathaway is not. However, I feel like fans of Slay The Spire (or other deckbuilders, such as Dominion) will feel right at home with this deck. It's fast paced and very active, and playing through scenarios using it has a similar feeling to navigating through fights in StS.

I'm posting this writeup because I haven't seen this take on Patrice posted here yet. I've used this deck to take me through Return To TFA, Return to Carcosa, and TCU, and, IMHO, it just kicks ass, so I'd like to share it here.

The general idea is that just a few core assets combined with Patrice's huge card draw allow you pump up to 8-10 skill on arbitrary skill tests 2-3 times per turn, every turn. This deck works great in two, three, and four player games, although your role will be a little different depending on what teammates you have.

General Piloting - i.e., "Doing Things"

The first step to playing any Arkham Horror deck is to know what your character is generally supposed to be doing. For this deck, what you want to be doing is things. What things? Well, that's up to you. This is a "Doing Things" deck, and that means whatever you want to be doing, you can do it really well. Crush whatever arbitrary skill test that stands in your way, whether that means investigating, fighting, evading, or just doing some weird, wacky, and unfair B.S. that randomly popped up a some scenario card halfway through the campaign that's suddenly become an otherwise-insurmountable roadblock to your team's survival. In short, this deck is about successfully doing whatever you think your team needs to do to win. (and hopefully, that's the same thing as what you actually need to do to win, but no deck can force you to make good decisions. :)

Doing Things(vintage... a classic.)

So, how to Do these Things? Primarily through Mind's Eye + a pair of Willpower boosting assets + Cornered. That's 8 skill on essentially any test. Using Cornered on every test would ordinarily be disastrous, because it'll chew through your hand in a blink of an eye, but that's not a problem since Patrice loses her hand at the end of every round anyways.

Of course, a single Mind's Eye doesn't have enough charges to sustain this kind of thing indefinitely. The fast-recharge ability on the card helps a lot, and you'll get to trigger this a good 4-5 times per scenario thanks to Patrice's frequent deck shuffles. However, even that's not enough. Thus, we lean on various events to maintain our decadent Doing Things lifestyle. Playing lots of events would generally be too expensive in terms of resources, so we bring in On Your Own to massively mitigate those costs.

Here's an example that puts it all together. Lets say you want to investigate some shroud-4 location with a nasty Haunted effect. You start by playing Winging It from your discard pile, paying 0 resources thanks to OYO. You have base 2 Book, so you're 2 skill against 3 difficulty. However, you then spend a secret from Mind's Eye to test your Willpower instead - you've got 4 base Head, plus 1 from Moonstone and another from Four of Cups, putting you up 6 to 3. You toss a card with Cornered, and now you're 8 to 3. If you've got both Cornereds out, you could even pitch a second card to go up 10 to 3, which should be a SAFE check (Success, Auto-Fail Excepted) even on Expert difficulty.

When you succeed, you gain an extra clue thanks to Winging It! You've won! You hear your teammates let out a huge cheer, you feel them hoisting you onto their shoulders... and then you remember you're playing dual-hand solo and fall back into your chair with a thump. Just think. This could be you!

Assets

Understanding your core assets is the best starting place for understanding how this deck works. The way I see it is that there's a tradeoff with Patrice when it comes to assets. On one hand, they're the only things that stick around for her from turn-to-turn, so there's a temptation to load her up with them. On the other hand, you'll have exactly three actions to play a particular asset when you draw it, and not playing it then might mean you don't play it at all for the whole scenario. So, you better hope you a.) already have the resources on hand to play it and b.) aren't otherwise pre-occupied with like, actually playing the scenario. In my opinion, you want to cut down assets with her to bare minimum.

With that in mind, I've included only 4 assets here and they cost just 11 resources all together. And, although your deck is huge, it's important to remember that you're almost guaranteed to see them all within your first 9 turns because Patrice is going to draw 5 per turn.

  • Four of Cups• and Moonstone These boost your willpower from 4 to 6. Note that you're very likely to need to play your tarot manually, which is unfortunate. In contrast, Moonstone is much easier to play than normal, as you need no shenanigans to discard it and it'll save you an action compared to playing any other accessory.
  • Mind's Eye•• This card lets you use your high Willpower to do anything you want to. First, remember that since it's Myriad, you'll only need to spend 2 XP for all 3 cards. (hashtag-value) Next, notice that you only need to actually spend 1 action to play all three of these, as you'll quickly cycle into the other two and then be able trigger its fast refuel ability. That's seven uses for one action! Enraptured hopefully gains you another one or two secrets as well. 8-9 uses is a lot, and often you'll get more like 13-15 during a scenario with a reshuffle or two. However, even that isn't enough to use it for everything. For the most part, you'll want to save these charges for use with Winging it and Improvised Weapon, or for tests that other investigators simply can't do, to get the most out of them. However, do use them when you need them. Special note: if you have a particularly insane skill test to make, note that you can activate Mind's Eye on Read The Signs/Spectral Razor/Ethereal Form to test at double your willpower. (plus Cornered!)
  • Cornered•• Unlike Mind's Eye and OYO, this is a very standard pickup for Patrice. You get to draw 5 cards a turn but then have to discard them at the end of turn... so why not discard the ones you don't want to play for an easy +2 skill on every test?

One last asset is the Violin. It's really powerful, but more of a "nice to have" rather than something that's necessary for the deck to function. (Note: at lvl 0, I think it is a core asset, but just loses some of its critical importance once you have OYO)

Events and Skills

There's 36 Events and Skills in this deck, which can make it hard to see what the hell they're all for. Note that 12 of these cards are Survivor events that are compatible with On Your Own. I'll try to break them down into three main categories, "Grease", "Fancy Grease", and "Utilities", and then a fourth category for your main action compression cards, Winging It and Improvised Weapon.

  • "Grease" You'll only have 8-9 or so Mind's Eye secrets per shuffle, but you'll have at least 27 actions per shuffle. So, how do you maintain efficiency? These cards! I call them "Grease" because they kinda grease the deck's wheels, in terms of keeping it running when Mind's Eye isn't there to actively push it along. In other words, they basically let you do your high-skill-for-anything Thing without needing to explicitly spend Mind's Eye secrets. We've first got Trial By Fire, Last Chance, Rise to the Occasion, Promise of Power, and Lucky.
  • "Fancy Grease." Like Grease, but specialer and fancier. We've got Spectral Razor, Read The Signs, Ethereal Form, Drawn to the Flame, and "Look What I Found!" All in all, there's 20 cards between the "Grease" and "Fancy Grease", so that should give you enough to continue Doing Things all the way through your deck. Note that you should be careful with playing too many of the Mystic spell events before you've got your core assets down, because they don't get the 2 resource discount from On Your Own since it only applies to red cards.
  • Utilities Anything else not mentioned elsewhere... you've got some encounter-countering, some extra resources, some horror healing. If you combine Enraptured with some of your "Grease", you can net yourself extra Mind's Eye charges, and it's my experience that even just 1 or 2 charges can make a difference between a free-wheeling Doing Things lifestyle and, like, actually needing to think hard about what you want to do. Also of note is Open Gate; because you're cycling through your deck so fast, you'll see all 3 very quickly.
  • Winging It / Improvised Weapon These two get their own special category, because they are effectively your "hand that's not in your hand". You use them to increase your action efficiency when you Do Things. IW lets you deal two damage instead of 1, allowing you to kill enemies with one action (and thus one Mind's Eye Charge). This won't make you a primary fighter, but it can be clutch if your dedicated guardian is locked down dealing with something else. Likewise, WI lets you gain extra clues per Mind's Eye charge. Unlike IW, you'll want to play WI as often as you can, like it's a goddamned hot potato. Between frequent WI plays, Drawn to the Flame, and Read the Signs, you can often keep up clue-wise with a dedicated yellow cluever.

On a special note, because these improvised cards are so important, and because you'll be playing these things constantly (and driving your fellow players nuts constantly combing through your discard pile to find them), I recommend having a special area of your discard pile specifically for them. For example, for covid-era Tabletop Simulator gaming, I put them next to my main discard pile like this:

Discard Hand

Ramping Up

Hard Mulligan for any of the four core assets, although keep in mind you'll be able to play two at most on your first turn. Of the four, Cornered is the most critical, but, like, don't toss your tarot for one extra chance to find Cornered. Happily play an E-cache if you see it early, but otherwise you should just get out there and start Doing Things as fast as you can.

If you're not able to find your core assets early, lean harder on cards that don't care about your stats like Drawn to the Flame, "Look What I found!", and "Rise to the Occasion". If you can't find those either, gaining a resource is better than drawing a card, as you'll almost always be starved for resources.

Weaknesses

Patrice's signature weakness, Watcher from Another Dimension is very interesting, and not just because he's a creepy face that's made out of planets. He tends to be very mild most of the time, but can be catastrophic on a bad shuffle or a bad chaos bag pull. Ideally, you draw it after you've already set up your core assets along with either Spectral Razor or Ethereal Form, bewilder your fellow players by initiating a fight or evade against nothing, and then blow him out of the water at +6 or higher. And you do want to get rid of him ASAP. Every turn he's in your hand means a lost card draw, which means either a lost resource with the violin or even a lost useful action, if it leaves you unable to afford to pitch a card with Cornered to do a test at reasonable values. He's a huge hit to your efficiency even if he were to not hit you on the reshuffle, which is why I just hate seeing Patrice decks with Quantum Flux in them. It feels like you're paying to lose. Feels bad!

On the other hand, autofails do happen, and when you autofail when trying to get this guy out of your hand you may find yourself in a big crisis because the Watcher does endboss-levels of damage and you'll be completely locked down unless he dies. When messing with this guy try to go first in the turn order, and ideally make sure your guardian is close by, just in case you need to be bailed out of trouble.

Protip: try to work with your teammates to include some anti-watcher cards. For one example, a rogue could get Small Favor or Sneak Attack to do 2 testless damage.

Elder Sign

A special note about her Elder Sign. On the surface, this lets you get a whole deck shuffle without a weakness, which is great. Your average hand value in subsequent draws will increase, and you got to avoid taking 1 horror from reshuffling an empty deck. Cool. Most of the time, you're thrilled to do this. However, you should think a bit before you go for it. If you've got 2 Improvised Weapon and 2 Winging It in your discard, but haven't seen Cornered or Minds Eye, then reshuffling is akin to shooting yourself in the damn foot. You're tossing away your action compression pseudo-hand, and you know that the remnants of your deck would have had those core cards that you needed. In this extreme case, it would have been better to not shuffle.

Upgrades

I've presented the deck in what I consider its minimal "True Form", but of course you'll have to start the campaign at 0 XP. Its also unlikely you'll get up to 11XP after 1 scenario. So, you'll need to replace 5 cards here. For the closest experience to the upgraded deck, I recommend choosing 2 Mists of R'lyeh to help dodge the Watcher, 2 Madame Labranche to help pay for your expensive cards in lieu of OYO, and a Dark Horse to gain some general stat boosts (because you're going to be perpetually broke). This deck will be far jankier than its streamlined upgraded form, but the idea is that you can use the violin and the madame to gain 2 extra resources per turn, which will help you play all these expensive events without OYO.

Post-Core Upgrades

After these core upgrades, I recommend first grabbing another Cornered; getting this card into play is super important for the deck to work, so having some redundancy here is great. After that, here's some other really strong upgrades I can recommend:

  • Eucatastrophe••• This is the card that you actually want instead of Quantum Flux. The idea is that you try to play this right after tossing out the Watcher, then reshuffle your deck without him. You can now revel like Scrooge McDuck in your 5 watcher-less cards per hand for a whole deck shuffle!
  • Alter Fate• Such a great card. It's like Ward, but more likely to hit something when you see it. (especially in campaigns that tend to load up your threat area with junk... looking at you, TCU!) On an additional note, you can actually upgrade this card using Arcane research. If you do, consider also taking Ward of Protection. Ward is marginal at lvl 0, but very good upgraded. So, if you can squeeze a lvl 1 Alter Fate before your third scenario, you can upgrade it for free to the lvl 3 superstar afterwards, which gets a 2 resource cost reduction + fast! A pair of Arcane Research would thus net you a total of 8 XP. But again, be mindful of your lack of ally-soak with OYO.
  • Flare• With OYO, you can play this for free and get yourself an ally. Well, one of your friend's allies, but now they're yours, to tank hits and do stuff with their ability! Beat Cop, Leo De Luca, and Dr. Milan are some big ones. Stealing from your friends can feel bad, but try to realize that getting an expensive ally out like Leo out for free is a huge tempo boost for the whole team. Of course, in a very long, high-xp campaign, e.g. RTTFA, you can combine this with A Chance Encounter to try to unlock the Ultimate Survivor Achievement:

Ultimate Survivor Achievement(and no, I didn't hit Agency Backup with Flare... I hit Leo and Veda with Flares, and then talked my buddy into committing Agency Backup "for the icons" so I could pay full price for it with the upgraded No Chance Encounter. WORTH IT!)

Other Options

In my opinion, these three are general slam-dunks that you can't go wrong with. Beyond those, however, you'll need to consider your allies and the nature of the campaign.

For example, while you're generally pretty safe from horror treacheries because of your high base willpower, you start off with 2 horror and will probably take 2 more from playing Wards and 1 more from a deck reshuffle. If the encounter deck dishes out lots of testless horror, grabbing an upgraded Fearless•• could be a priority. OTOH, if you need better clue efficiency, you could consider Newspaper••, which is particularly good if you've got a 3-person player-count as that allows a single use of Winging It + Mind's Eye to completely clear most locations in a single action. If you're having trouble budgeting resources or want to keep Dark Horse around, consider the taboo'd Drawing Thin•••. (and if you're not playing taboo, just include these in over the e-cache from the get-go) The Robes of Endless Night•• are another economy option, plus give you a tiny bit of soak. If you're playing on Hard or Expert, think about adding in either another Moonstone + Relic Hunter, or perhaps Recall the Future••, which can counter a specific token in the tail-end of the chaos bag (e.g. the -6 or -8). But again, try to lean away from including too many assets.

Also consider the various exile cards... Fortune or Fate••, Stroke of Luck••, and A Test of Will•• are all excellent in this deck. Deja Vu•••••, on the other hand, is probably not worth it. By the time you've paid back its XP cost, you'll be at the point of the campaign where survivors won't care much about XP anyways.

Anyways, that's it! Give it a try!

9 comments

Apr 24, 2021 dubcity566 · 58

It looks fun and I've been wanting to try an OYO + Mind's Eye Patrice deck. However, with OYO, you're very light on soaks. Some scenarios even if you can pass most of the encounter tests you still take a bit of a beating throughout, have you not found this to be a problem?

Apr 24, 2021 GermanJoey · 200

Thanks! That's a great question, and my answer is "yes and no." It really depends on the encounter deck. On one hand, the fact that you can crush any test means that you can also usually test through the encounter deck too, whether that's direct tests like Rotting Remains or from Monsters that pop up on you. On the other hand, testless damage is a thing.

However, it's not true that you don't have any soak. That's what Flare is for! Practice these words in front of the mirror: me playing Leo De Luca out of your deck for 0 resources is actually great value for the whole team. ;)

Apr 25, 2021 SGPrometheus · 514

S.A.F.E.... I'm stealing that.

Apr 26, 2021 acotgreave · 92

Great deck theme! Looks great.

Apr 30, 2021 HarrisonF · 68

I really like Premonition in Patrice -- works perfect against the Watcher from Another Dimension and can easily save charges on Mind's Eye as well.

May 03, 2021 suika · 7580

How'd you arrange your cards that neatly in TTS?

May 03, 2021 Darvete · 315

Did a test run of this deck today, modified slightly for true solo play and it worked out great. I've always wanted to play Patrice, but I always had trouble balancing the ratio of assets to skills and events on her. Thanks for sharing!

May 03, 2021 GermanJoey · 200

@HarrisonF - Honestly, not a bad idea! If I play this deck again, I'm gonna try working it in.

@suika - You mean all those permanents off to the side? I draw them into my hand during game setup to line the cards up nicely, select the ones I want for a group, and then plop them down.

@DarveteGlad it worked out for you! What adjustments did you make? I've always been scared of playing Patrice true-solo because of the risk of drawing the autofail when dealing with the Watcher. (which I actually have done multiple times in multiplayer... it's a big crisis, heh)

May 06, 2021 LeFricC'estChic · 80

I want to put it everywhere now, but I think you can add 1-2 Sword Cane before and probably even after adding the Mind's Eyes. It's cheap, versatile, useful against you weakness and almost fast.