A Watchful Peace

The most powerful card in the game

The payoff for playing this card is gigantic, especially in higher player counts. In a 4 player game it skips a minimum of 4 encounter cards, and sometimes more because of surge effects. It works no matter the type of encounter card either, so perils and enemies are indiscriminately blasted from existence.

You could argue that you don't get to choose the encounter cards you want to cancel, and that you're not really cancelling them but instead delaying them. Both those points are true, but ultimately every time you play this card in a 4 player game you're seeing 4+ less encounter cards during the scenario.

When played early you get incredible tempo setting up and getting ahead of the game. Played late you get certainty in closing out the scenario or pushing for more victory points.

What's the cost of this incredibly powerful effect you ask?

  • 1 resource
  • 5 bless tokens

Now Survivors might not have the most powerful economy but 1 resource is a pitiful amount even for them!

Ah, but it costs 5 tokens, those must be difficult to come by at least? Nope, turns out blessing generation is incredibly easy. Even in class Survivors have great access to easy low cost generation with:

and also the neutral:

It's fairly trivial to keep the chaos bug stuffed full of tokens all game with very little investment.

But wait, this card is in Survivor , a class with a primary mechanic of card recursion. Even with a simple 0xp investment of 2x Resourceful and 2 x Scrounge for Supplies, both already commonly played cards, you can play this 6 x per deck rotation. With further Survivor shenanigans you'll be able to replay it much more than that.

Not only is the effect incredibly powerful it's also very un-fun, Arkham is a game of fighting against the odds and battling against adversity. You'll occasionally be able to breath a sigh of relief as your Mystic plays a Ward of Protection against an Ancient Evils. However, this card allows you to pretty much skip the challenges that game would try and throw at you.

It's so powerful that if you're only aim is to win then I can't see any Survivor deck not spending their first 6xp on 2 copies of this. I don't know what happened in the balance meeting when this card was discussed. I can only assume that it was thought that generation would be much harder than it actually is, as a number of bless based card in this cycle seem way overtuned. Once you realise bless generation is trivial this card is obviously busted just by reading the text box.

Summary:

  • Incredibly powerful effect
  • Very low setup and cost to play
  • No downsides
  • Easily recurred

Absolutely needs taboo, completely game breaking.

bobblenator · 96
Ancient Covenant

As a card on it's own it's great. A 2xp permanent with pure upside is unlikely to be bad. As long as you have some bless token generation in your team pulling one during a test will almost always result in a success and you'll never need to use up more bless tokens than necessary.

However, alongside Favor of the Sun this card becomes game breaking.

This mini combo is available for just 4xp and is currently available to all Survivors , Agnes Baker, Father Mateo, Tommy Muldoon, Preston Fairmont and Minh Thi Phan.

With a single fast action and +1 resource play of Favor of the Sun you get 3 turns with a guaranteed +2 skill test.

This is a hugely powerful affect, +2 should usually translate into an auto success for most attempted skill tests. However, even if +2 isn't enough you'll know exactly how much you'll need to boost/commit.

It's also immensely flexible. You can pick the exact tests you want to succeed and the test doesn't even have to be on your turn:

  • Guarantee success against dangerous and difficult tests in the mythos phase
  • Guarantee success on an important investigate/fight/evade
  • Guarantee avoiding a disastrous cultist, skull or elder thing token in the last turns of the scenario
  • Guarantee a big combo/commitment play (less relevant in Survivor but huge for the Survivor secondaries)

Survivor has great access to easy generation with:

and also the neutral:

This combo is incredibly easy to pull off and requires no slots or build around, 2 x Tempt Fate is more than enough to keep the chaos bag stuffed full of bless tokens. With some reasonable card draw you can keep up Favor of the Sun the entire game.

I've play tested this in Preston Fairmont and it's degenerate and triviliazes the game even at expert difficulty. Comboed with the success / over succeed mechanics in Rogue this effect is far too powerful. While occasionally being able to cheat the bag is fun, being able to reliably do it once every turn takes away a lot of what makes Arkham the experience it is (the chance of drawing the ).

Rogue is the most able to abuse this with big all in plays, see my Preston - The Favoured Sun Over Succeeds deck for an example of what's possible.

Survivor is the only class that has a somewhat hard time abusing it and even then it's way overtuned. I would suggest that Ancient Covenant needs to be tabooed to only be usable on natural bless token draws from the chaos bag.

Between this and A Watchful Peace I think the Innsmouth playtesters forgot to turn up to the Survivor balance meeting!

Summary

  • Great on its own
  • In combination with Favor of the Sun absolutely game breaking and deserving of taboo, especially in Survivor secondary classes
bobblenator · 96
It can even affect other investigators at your location, too. So you can run Winifred with Favor of the Sun and Sawn-off Shotgun and partner up with any survivor. — OrionJA · 1
Favor of the Sun

This card requires:

  • 3 tokens generated (although can be used with less, for less payout)
  • 2 resources

In return it gives:

Not a huge cost but a fairly mediocre pay off for the investment. For similar affect you could just run Unexpected Courage without the need for the setup.

However, alongside Ancient Covenant this card becomes a powerhouse.

This mini combo is available for just 4xp and is currently available to all Survivors , Agnes Baker, Father Mateo, Tommy Muldoon, Preston Fairmont and Minh Thi Phan.

With Ancient Covenant instead of 3 x Unexpected Courage you get 3 x guaranteed +2 tests.

This is a hugely powerful affect, +2 should usually translate into an auto success for most attempted skill tests. However, even if +2 isn't enough you'll know exactly how much you'll need to boost/commit.

It's also immensely flexible. You can pick the exact tests you want to succeed and the test doesn't even have to be on your turn:

  • Guarantee success against dangerous and difficult tests in the mythos phase
  • Guarantee success on an important investigate/fight/evade
  • Guarantee avoiding a disastrous cultist, skull or elder thing token in the last turns of the scenario
  • Guarantee a big combo/commitment play (less relevant in Survivor but huge for the Surivor secondaries Minh Thi Phan or Preston Fairmont)

For more power combine with Unrelenting (1) to seal the good tokens to get the draw 2 card effect knowing you're going to pass.

The only real limit is the exhaust stipulation so you'll have to pace out your successes over several turns.

Survivor has great access to easy generation with:

and also the neutral:

Summary:

  • Underwhelming card in isolation
  • Alongside Ancient Covenant and even a modicum of generation this card is a monster in almost any deck and is worthy of a taboo

P.S. I've now play tested this in Preston Fairmont and it's as degenerate as I expected it to be. Comboed with the success / over succeed mechanics in Rogue this effect is far too powerful. While occasionally being able to cheat the bag is fun, being able to reliably do it once every turn takes away a lot of what makes Arkham the experience it is (the chance of drawing the ).

Rogue is the most able to abuse this with big all in play, see my Preston - The Favoured Sun Over Succeeds deck for an example of what's possible.

However, it's way overtuned in any class and needs to be tabooed. I would suggest that Ancient Covenant needs to be only be usable on natural chaos bag draws.

bobblenator · 96
It's fast, no action required. — SSW · 90
yorick can replay this card after using this card to pass a test to guarantee playing this card to use it pass a test to guarantee playing.... — Zerogrim · 171
@SSW thank you, corrected — bobblenator · 96
Preston Fairmont isn’t on your list, but I’ve found him to be able to make pretty good use of the “Favor of the Sun/Ancient Covenant” combo. Keep Faith is also fast, so I like to wait until I have both Favor of the Sun and Keep Faith in my hand, then play both using Preston’s inheritance since they’re both fast. As a 3 card combo, it takes some effort. However, being able to guarantee a success is pretty nice, and Preston can get the cards out quickly. — ArkhamInvestigator · 249
@ArkhamInvestigator thanks for the heads up, I completely missed Preston. Or maybe I blocked the thought because the combo potential in Rogue when you've got regular guaranteed successes seems absolutely busted! — bobblenator · 96
The card is extra monster when paired with taboo'd .35 Winchester or with Shotgun and Ancient Covenant. — Death by Chocolate · 730
@Death by Chocolate Nice suggestion! Very powerful with Tommy, it turns the 0xp .35 Winchester into a much higher XP weapon. For Shotgun even wth the guaranteed +2 it's still hard to see Shotgun outperforming Lightning Gun or Flamethrower as it still suffers from limited ammo, but certainly brings it up to being a competitive option. — bobblenator · 96
@bobblenator Shotgun is very much a build-around weapon, and between Venturers, Extra Ammunition, and 1x Custom Ammunition, I usually end the scenario with TOO much ammo on the Shotgun even though I used it on cultists several times just because. If you’re using 4-5xp weapons, the reload cards are all high value, and once you start reloading, the extra 1-2 ammo on other weapons disappears unless you are using Rogue reloads (Swift Reload and Contraband) that synergize with higher starting ammo. — Death by Chocolate · 730
Favor of the sun, this ancient covenant and sacred covenant has worked wonders so far for Silas and Mary in their endeavours to thwart the Innsmouth Conspiracy!!! — gazzagames · 1
Crystal Pendulum

Holy Rosary is a true classic, easily one of the best Mystic cards in the Core Set and still a top performer many years later. So when Crystal Pendulum came out, I was initially a bit resistant to switching over to this. Sure, for Jacqueline Fine with her built-in token manipulation and 9 Sanity, the Pendulum seemed like a slam dunk. But elsewhere, was it really worth giving up the concrete benefit of 2 Sanity soak for unreliable card draw? Most of my Mystics don't run a lot of token manipulation at lower XP levels. And this is the same class that must start every single campaign with 2 mental trauma (it's in the rulebook.)

But the more I weigh the Rosary and the Pendulum, the more I've found myself swinging in the latter direction, if you know what I mean. Practically speaking, even without any support, the Pendulum represents something in the neighborhood of 25-30% of a card every round. And the thing is... that's good! That does add up over time. I think it's at the least highly competitive with 2 Sanity. And that's just the floor for the Pendulum. Factor in the random token manipulation effects you may have wanted to run anyway (Diana likes her Dark Prophecies, for instance), and the Pendulum does better.

Moreover, the Pendulum tends to scale really well into the late campaign. Most Mystics want to pick up the really powerful token manipulation effects like Grotesque Statue and Seal of the Elder Sign because, well, those are great cards. And they certainly lead to more draws from the Pendulum. And in the mid-to-late campaign, you'll miss the 2 Sanity from the Rosary a lot less, because you'll have options like Deny Existence V, soak-heavy Charisma builds, etc.

So I think it's very close between the Rosary and Pendulum in the early campaign, and then as the campaign progresses, the Pendulum tends to get better and better. So I've found myself tilting that way recently, and I've been happy with the results.

A final note. The Pendulum is a fiddly card and does have the potential to seriously slow down the game in multiplayer. If you're going to run this, I recommend memorizing the contents of the chaos bag (which is helpful for good gameplay in any case), so you can be quick in making your predictions. Be mindful of your pace of play here. No amount of extra draw is worth dragging the game to a halt!

CaiusDrewart · 2381
I have not played this card outside of Jaqueline yet. But I would probably use it with "Scrying Mirror". Have you tried this combo? I would say, the horror you can take from mid- to late campaign due to DE (5) and all also scale with the horror you have to take, when upgrading Shrivelling (3) to (5). Unless, if you are Akachi, who has her Shriv-DE on a stick with "Wish Eater", or Diana, who rather takes "Azur Flame". That let me apreciate the horror soak of the Rosary even then. But I sure should give the Pendulum more of a try! — Susumu · 127
If you play it early without support, it's on average 2 extra cards, which IMO is a wash to 2 Sanity. But you play it late though, the value drops drastically compared to the Rosary. And in the late game playing Shriv 5 or Clairvoyance 5, I'd definitely still appreciate the additional buffer from Rosary. — suika · 7580
It works better if you're less dependent on horror soak, for example if you're playing Azure Flame instead of Shriveling, as you might choose to do on a Diana build anyway given her unimpressive sanity to begin with. — Achire · 1
Worth remembering that 2 Sanity might matter more if you’re taking two copies of Arcane Research, which almost every Mystic does. Personally I dont like the pendulum outside of a token focused build where you can consistently predict the outcome. — StyxTBeuford · 12433
Yes, I'm not trying to say the Pendulum has completely obsoleted the Rosary. I don't think that's the case, I think it's pretty close between them and it's certainly more than valid to take the Rosary. But I did want to make the point that I think the Pendulum is quite playable even you don't really build around it. You can still expect to draw multiple cards on average which is very good. — CaiusDrewart · 2381
And one more little point I want to add is that the Pendulum has really impressed me in multiplayer because of how it works on any skill test at your location. If you have a Survivor teammate who's failing to win, or who is spamming Eucatastrophe, or a Rogue teammate who's playing Three Aces, and so on, all this kind of stuff works really well with the Pendulum. I've been really surprised by how often my Pendulum users have picked up free cards with things like this. — CaiusDrewart · 2381
The Pendulum can also be quite Expert-friendly because the negative slant of the Expert bag, combined with the rule that limits your test result to a minimum value of 0. This means that the Pendulum odds may be heavily weighted in your favor. Like, say Daisy is at your location and draws On Wings of Darkness on Expert. Well, assuming she doesn't bother trying to boost and pass this test, which she generally won't as it would usually be a huge waste of resources, then there's something like a 3 in 4 chance she's going to get a modified result of 0 and fail by exactly 4. (And what could be more fun than auguring the failure of your friends for profit?) — CaiusDrewart · 2381
Yeah, it sounds like it's a lot stronger in multiplayer harder difficulties. On lower player counts I think I'll still swing more the way of Rosary, but I'll definitely be giving the Pendulum a shot next time in 4p. — suika · 7580
If you or a friend is running ancient covenant/favor of the sun, that's 3 guaranteed cards from this — NarkasisBroon · 1
@NarkasisBroon that reads almost like the tag of a prescription drug commercial. "If you or a friend is running ancient covenant/favor of the sun, ask your doctor about Crystal Pendulum" — StyxTBeuford · 12433
Sealed Passage

As far as I know, this is the best place to identify your Ancient Stone! How you pass a difficulty 12 intellect test on scenario 2 (which doesn't even have any clues on it, so you're truly just swinging for the fences) is left as an exercise for the reader.

KasaiAisu · 37
Favor of the sun is a start. — MrGoldbee · 1042