It’s the Survivors turn. The ones that endure, the ones that suffer, the ones that survive, the ones that have bad times, and the ones that make the other have bad times too, but if they got their timing correctly, they are unstoppable. That’s what we are talking about today. Let’s go!
Epic, nerves, weird and exclusives mechanics, living to the limit, calculate the things to the millimeter, the most absolute failure or the most overwhelming victory. If you’ve played a Survivor, you’ll know what we’re taking about. If not, prepare to feel it in your own body.
What you feel depends particularly about the strategy and mechanic you chose. The Survivor class has a lot and very varied. Now will analyze all of them, but as first advice, pick one and take it to the extreme, squeeze it and take everything out from it. If you mix several mechanics and strategies, you’ll make it and get good results, but in the other way, you’ll freak out.
We tend to associate the Survivors with the most disadvantaged people and the minorities in the society of the 20s. The truth is that it usually is like that, people that have suffered complicated circumstances and have learnt to survive with them. Here we have the “fortunate ones”.
Wendy Adams is the example of survivor by antonomasia. She lost her parents as a child, got locked in an orphanage and decided to escape in order to live her life. Although she’s not the most popular, played in the right way she can be a very good investigator. She has included one of the best Survivor class mechanics, that we’ll talk about later.
“Ashcan” Pete’s name should already give us clues about what issues does this investigator have and where he uses to eat and sleep. Always accompanied by his loyal Duke, which makes him a double-edged weapon: With Duke, he is a top investigator. Without him, he is an outcast. It’s one of the most used investigators for solo gaming.
William Yorick from almost being a Broadway star, to kill ghouls with his shovel in a graveyard. That can’t be called a successful career. Luckily, he is great killing ghouls and with his investigator ability no one gets in front of him. The most lethal survivor of all, he can handle perfectly the Guardian role in any campaign.
Calvin Wright is completely screwed. A black, homosexual person. He has all the tickets for being marginalized in the 20s. Even so, his love for Joao gave him the strength to carry on. First investigator that shook the skills tree, so much that all of them fell and became 0. Have a bad time to have a good time is this investigator life motto.
Rita Young is similar to Calvin. Also, a black person, and being a woman in the 20s didn’t have great benefits. She says herself that she was threatened and was considered inferior. Even so, she discovered her war wasn’t that one, but the war against the chrono, because Rita runs, and runs a lot. Her character is the same, runs a lot. The highest skill in Agility so far gives good faith and makes her an unstoppable investigator.
Patrice Hathaway also has some tickets for being discriminated in the 20s: mental illness. Or something similar. Hearing and feeling things that no one can else see or feel is not well seen. She has some interesting mechanics that are unique from her: Her hand size is reduced by 3 cards, and every turn she discards her hand. That makes her a quite different investigator to play.
And we arrive to the less extended Survivor, since he only has appeared as a promo in the novellas. Silas Marsh. Just reading that surname stirs you, a sailor that has tried to run away from his family legacy since a youngling, but his link with the sea is stronger than he thinks. Quite funny investigator, with an awesome special ability and some deck building requirements that just make it stronger.
Let’s start with 2 mechanics practically exclusive to them, that shape the rules at ease and jump barriers that no other class can do.
Experts in Recycling
One of the best and more powerful mechanics the Survivors have is breaking a basic game rue, specifically the one that says that no more than 2 of the same cards can be added in the deck. This means that in the 90% of the cases, a card can’t be used more than twice in the game. This is like that for all the investigators, except for the Mystics and Diana Stanley starting from the Circle Undone, and for the survivors, or the investigators that can take their cards.
There are survivors that already has it imbued in their mechanics: William Yorick, with his ability, Wendy Adams with her Amulet and Silas Marsh with his arcane symbol effect. But wait, not only these are blessed with this capacity: Through cards that can be taken by any survivor, anyone can opt to rummage their discard pile in search of treasures that can be used in our behalf. Stay tuned!
One of the biggest problems that an investigator that uses firearms can have is to run out of ammo. They are expensive cards, powerful, but with counted uses. That’s why Yorick’s ability is so powerful for the Guardian role that it’s why he usually plays as that. But it doesn’t just work for that. Other cards that generate additional effects by discarding them, like the Knife or the Police Badge, get an amazing quality jump with this investigator.
Wendy, with her amulet, has access to the first event located in her discard pile. After using it, it’s placed in the bottom of her deck. If you play it correctly, this means that an event can be used to the infinity and beyond. You play an event, it goes to the bottom, and then you can use again at some point. So, where others only use an event once, you’re playing it twice or more. And if you mix it with cards that lower the cost, as On Your Own or rogue events, some of them very powerful, you’ll love it. It’s also true that this effect, being associated to her personal asset card, loses some punch compared to William or Silas.
Silas doesn’t have enough with having a personal ability, which is basically taking a Lucky! always in your hand. His arcane symbol effect allows him to recover skill cards from the discard pile giving them an extra use in the way. This combo is extremely powerful, and if it gets together with his deck building rules, with the possibility of taking 0-2 Innate cards, which means Silas is going to be a powerful and funny investigator to use. But it doesn’t end like that. The following cards we are going to talk about, besides helping any survivor in their tasks, make Silas even better, if possible.
Resourceful, that card usually used to get back our Lucky! to our hand, or if you’re having issues with health/sanity, to pick our Cherished Keepsake or the Leather Coat, or for what you feel like, because this card can do that and more. And it’s Innate, which make it a good coupled with True Survivor, which as its name say, it’s indicated for all Survivors. And we finish with Try and Try Again and Grisly Totem, that recover your skill cards if you fail. This is the perfect mix for 2 signature Survivor mechanics: recycling cards and getting good things when you fail tests. But don’t anticipate, everything at its time. These 4 cards, even when Silas is already good by himself, are the cake cherry for his decks.
We have also, scattered somewhere, very good options to reuse cards: Scavenging is a very nice bastard alternative for Yorick’s ability. A Chance Encounter allows you to recover Allies, even from other investigators discard pile. Improvised Weapon and Winging It are recyclable cards by default, that can be used at any time is necessary.
Minimum Effort Law
Another nice Survivor mechanic is to lose skill tests in order to get benefits from them. Written like that can sound a bit strange (and it is), but it’s the antithesis of the Rogue mechanic of being successful by X or more in order to get additional effects.
The queens for this mechanic are Look What I Found! and Lucky! The first one is a great card, that unlike other ones that need you to have success by C or more, rewards you the failing of a test with 2 nice clues. This makes it possible for both designed clue gatherers and other ones to take advantage from it. The second one, as I’ve mentioned it a thousand times, as far as I know is one of the best cards in the game. The peacefulness card, the insurance in your deck. For 1 squalid resource, you can go to the skill tests with stunning tranquility, knowing that if you get a -4 or -5, you’ll be able to beat the skill easily. And Take Heart, a card that cherishes your hand and pocket. I consider this the solution for many decks: Just by failing a skill test, you get a good drawing and resource generation engine.
In the second league for this mechanic we have these 3 cards: Live and Learn is the second chance we all need at some point. Although it costs 0, for my taste it’s not that powerful as Lucky!, because you still get affected by the failure, and you lose the cards you committed. Dumb Luck is the equivalent of Look What I Found! but the fact that Elite enemies are not affected and that the enemy is placed on top of the deck instead of below, makes it lose some points. And Rabbit’s Foot started being an amazing drawing engine when the game started, but as we got better cards and better accessories, it has lost some momentum.
Closing our shop
Despite having a lot of powerful cards in the Survivor class, that can synergize with the previous mechanics, both increasing skills difficulties tests or generating powerful effects by being discarded, we could spend days talking about them and that’s not the objective of a class initiation article. The only card that deserves a special mention and that creates a mechanic by itself is Dark Horse.
Dark Horse is a card that modifies decks and play styles wherever it goes, mutating completely the resource gathering engines, forcing to the inclusion of cards for being able to spend those resources at any moment, definitely a play style in itself. Any investigator that can take 0 level Survivor cards can access this play style, austere and dule, but like the good catenaccio, can make you the World Cup champion. But definitely, the kings of Dark Horse are the Survivors, tight rope experts, taking from where there is not and always ready to endure a final blow without collapsing.
I hope you like the article. If yes, please share it and leave us a comment. I add a bit of thematic music for your enjoyment.
See you later, David.
Original: I Will Survive