Mmm, ok. Let me mentalize because this is going to be… curious. Calvin Wright is… an… investigator. Ok, see you next week!
No, no. Now I’m serious, Calvin Wright is probably the most undervalued investigator in the whole game, and with good reason. Let’s see. The first impression may not be good: You found a good number of zeros in the stats, and then you check the health and sanity, and realize they are, well, poor. And you start thinking “Matt Newman, what on earth were you thinking?” But it’s normal, nobody would blame you for thinking that. It’s not until you stop to read his ability that this guy starts making sense, and after that there are 2 possible scenarios:
- You may start thinking what his role can be, how to maintain him alive during a game, how to advance while his stats are low… Basically, how to make him work.
- You’re going to think: “What a truckload of BS!” and throw him to the “INVESTIGATORS I’LL NEVER USE” pile.
Unfortunately, the most common option is the second one. If you continue reading, I won’t promise that you’re going to find the definitive Calvin build, nor I’ll try to convince you that he is the best investigator, but I’ll try to transmit why I like him that much.
Fighting with your life!
What exactly does Calvin do? As you may have read in his investigator bio, this guy is the maximum reference of one of the survivor philosophies: Make the best of the worst. This investigator gets stronger the most difficulties he passes, the most hits he gets; the most he fails. Even when he starts with painful stats, Calvin is potentially the investigator with the higher stats, being naturally capable to achieve a 5 value in each of them. Of course, that would mean that he has received 5 damage and horror points, which means that you are very near dying. But higher stats mean that you’re resistant to whatever gets in front of you. And like that to the infinity and beyond. Do you guys get it? A huge and unfixable puzzle.
While other investigators see their health and sanity as a countdown to their defeat, Calvin see them as other kind of resources that he needs to equilibrate during the game. Of course, you want both your health and sanity as low as possible in order to be more effective, but at the same time you don’t want to be defeated by immediate damage or horror that may come from the encounter deck, some location, etc. It’s this balance what makes this investigator so fun, for me, while I play and it’s because every match it’s going to be the tensest one you’ll have since the beginning.
In other words, Calvin achieves that you see the game in a very different way, and his personal asset and weakness cards do nothing but exaggerate this quality.
His personal asset, Until the End of Time, is quite easy to analyze: It’s the best damage and horror cushion for him. Many players would not care that this card can be assigned direct damage and horror, but the relief expression in the player’s face when this card is played is more than noticeable. It doesn’t just keep you in the game more than deserved, but it also makes you feel incredibly safe being at 1 damage and horror point.
Regarding his weakness, Voice of the Messenger, you can’t deny that it fits amazingly with the character. That is, you receive 1 damage or horror point, but also 1 PHYSICAL OR MENTAL TRAUMA. This weakness is extremely benign at the beginning of the campaign, but if you don’t go carefully, or luck isn’t on your side, it’s possible that at the end of the campaign, this can be the only card that you fear drawing. Traumas are rarely seen when playing in easy or normal difficult (except on that campaign that you know very well). It’s not common to be defeated in those difficulties, so you may receive them as result of very specific decisions or by failing a test in some act or agenda card. But, if you’re Calvin… Ohhhh, my friend! You’ll see them appear game to game. And the best part is it’s not something bad. Think, the more traumas, the stronger he gets. The more traumas, the quicker he gets to an acceptable level for doing tests and being useful to the game.
In fact, this is the best part in Calvin’s magic. You’ll see that during a campaign, his deck will transform from a deck prepared to take advantage from the tests he fails, to a more “normal” deck, with a focus on cushions and damage prevention.
Too much talking, but what can Calvin do? Well, it depends quite a lot. Calvin seems to be more oriented to be “the third player” in a group with specialized monster slayer and clue gatherer roles, but he is actually capable to do a bit of everything. Right now, with the available cards, I wouldn’t recommend specializing him in any role; instead, I would opt to give him tools to defeat monsters and to gather clues, but I think Calvin sparks a lot as a support and advance/patrol character, especially at the beginning of the game.
If you play solo, you don’t have any other option that advancing alone, but if you play in group, you should consider as first choice spending some actions in the first turns entering in unrevealed locations. The more information your group has, the best you can organize and act, and besides, if you find a place that damages you, you become a bit better.
In his same class, there are quite a few cards that Calvin may want. As you may guess by the class name, his cards pool is full of cards dedicated to keep him in the game. Cards like Leather Coat, Cherished Keepsake and the well-known Peter Sylvestre can be key pieces to hardly maintain you alive.
Regarding damage cushions, these will be his best options, but unless you know you’re going to receive a lot of horror or you’re really afraid to be defeated by horror, I’d ignore the Cherished Keepsake if you’re taking Peter Sylvestre (and vice versa). The idea is filling your deck with useful things, not just cushions, but if you are still have some reservations about the horror you’re going to receive, there are alternative options that will give you less pity to assign, like Stray Cat, Perseverance, and… I’d never thought I’d say this but Hiding Spot is also an interesting choice (I actually love Hiding Spot, but it’s difficult to recommend it to anyone given the situational it is).
In general, survivors not only dedicate themselves to survive, and we need to take advantage of everything the class offers us. One of the advantages of being a loser is that you get used to shit everything you do and start to see the good side to your disgraces. Can’t you get a clue? “Look what I found!” Have you screwed your attack? “Oops!” I would totally recommend that you take a look to the improved version of the latter. In a very specific build I’ll talk about later, it will shine. But coming back to the failure, don’t forget Take Heart, possibly the best double drawing engine, both thematically as mechanically.
Playing as Calvin, it’s quite normal that at the beginning of the match, especially in the first scenarios of a campaign, nothing will work out for you, so you’ll fail a lot of skill tests. And although the previous cards are going to help you advancing and keeping your tempo, you’ll need to include in your deck cards that help you to be better actively, even if it’s only temporary. Right now, there are 2 options for investigators like Calvin or Preston (and it seems they can be useful also for Patrice) to become in the f*ing masters of something. I’m talking, of course, about Fight or Flight and Trial by Fire.
These 2 cards shine a lot on Calvin’s decks because their buffs get added to the ones received from his ability. And even when Calvin doesn’t have the pile of resources Preston has for using cards lie Trial by Fire, he can gather these resources, because he is also a good candidate for Drawing Thin, the most abusable drawing engine in the whole game. It can be so potent that stops being funny, really. Depending on your deck, I’d take only one of the options. Fight or Flight fits better in a normal Calvin deck, especially in those that try to use Dark Horse.
And with his spirit
As you may have read on the reverse of his card, Calvin has access to 0-3 level Spirit cards. Thematically, Spirit cards use to have effects related to self-sacrifice in exchange to some benefit. You can’t deny that these cards are a perfect fit for Calvin. And it doesn’t stop there: Mechanically, they are great for him.
There are several interesting options out of his class, specially Guardian, but there’s something they have in common, and it is that they can make Calvin take a more tan decent support role. Let me handle this! will give a partner a breath, and you could take some damage and/or horror instead of someone else, which is great for him. Ward of Protection will deal you 1 horror and let you cancel a non-weakness treachery card you draw. What else can you ask for? Ohh, of course the upgraded version, in order to cancel a card from a partner. Another option, more situational and extreme, is Delay the Inevitable, which I wouldn’t recommend outside a deck that includes Drawing Thin, but it could be good if you know the scenario well.
I would recommend substituting that last card, if you’re playing in group: Stand Together when you get some experience: 4 cards and 4 resources in exchange of 1 action is amazing.
Curiously, the Spirit cards can help to smash the bad guys. For miracles, you can go to the church, but in a character that has that stats that limited, you can’t be picky. 2 interesting options are Heroic Rescue and Mano a Mano, 2 cards that I’ve only seen working on opium dreams.
Heroic Rescue by itself can leave you in a precarious situation if you don’t have any way to defeat or evade the enemy, but together with Mano a mano you are able to save a hit to a partner, take it yourself (getting better in the process), disengage an enemy from a partner and deal 2 automatic damage points. It’s not the strongest combo, but it’s not bad for 2 cards and 1 action.
The crazy option for dealing damage can be found on Blood Eclipse, a spell with the potential of inflicting 4 damage points… in exchange of leaving you half dead. I would never recommend said card since at the end of the campaign you’ll be so full of traumas that you may never use it in its full potential, but it won’t be me the one that says that it won’t work very well once Jessica Hyde makes her appearance in The Search for Kadath.
After all these cards, they make their appearance cards that takes you out of a game while your partners give you death stares. I’m Outta Here is, frankly, a very good option for a Calvin deck, especially if you know the scenario and campaign you’re playing. On the other hand, we have I’ll See You In Hell, and Ghastly Revelation, both very useful card if you want to get a couple of traumas quickly in order to be better at the beginning of the campaign. I won’t tell you how they work since I’m cowardly enough to add more sources of trauma to Calvin’s deck. Anyway, none of these cards are 100% useless: the double commitment icons make them good choices for skill tests in case you feel capable to finish a scenario.
Don’t be a Calvin Wrong
As I have already mentioned, you can’t just wait to be prepared in order to act. I’ll try to do a small summary with small cards packs that, in my opinion, go well in a Calvin deck to be useful in general areas of a match.
With Dark Horse
Being a horse rider Calvin, the best weapon you can take is the Fire Axe. It only occupies 1 hand slot, so you can focus your deck a bit more to combat. Meat Cleaver can be a good replacement weapon for Calvin. Every time I use Dark Horse, I like to take 2 specific allies: Peter Sylvestre and Madame Lebranche. So, because of that, I always aim to get Charisma as soon as possible. Another good choice is to use Smoking Pipe, in order to transform the horror from Cleaver into damage in specific moments.
Without Dark Horse
Ok, ok. I know this card isn’t very popular, but Baseball Bat is an amazing option for getting a combat buff and a fixed +1 damage… Until it stops being it: of course it has the risk of breaking and that isn’t nice, but you can use cards like Resourceful to get it back from the discard pile. Live and Learn is a good option in general for Calvin, but it is even more here in the case you get an auto-fail from the chaos bag when attacking with the Bat. Even if it’s going to be discarded, you get to repeat the test as it gets described in the card before saying good bye to it.
Playing this way, it’s recommended to include in the deck either a couple of Heroic Rescue or Mano a Mano, in order to do an automatic 1 damage point to the enemies with 3 health and minimize the needed attacks to defeat them with the Bat.
If you feel playful, upgrade the Bat to the Old Hunting Rifle and add a couple of upgraded Oops! to your deck so you can convert Calvin in a killing machine… sometimes. The downside of this deck build is that it doesn’t leave free hand slots for other useful assets, like Lantern.
Unfortunately, there’s not much stuff I can recommend right now for Calvin to discover on a regular manner, he simply doesn’t fit in the role. However, he is indeed capable to get his part of the clues once he has received horror enough. Cards like Ward of Protection, Meat Cleaver, or Painkillers increase the horror you receive through the match. If you feel your deck can maintain a goo level, feel free to add Winging it, the improved Newspaper or, as mentioned before, Lantern. Besides, Look What I found! and Trial by Fire are the best candidates for Calvin to investigate.
Drawing cards with Calvin can be frightening at the end of a campaign, when you have that much trauma accumulation that you’re playing at the edge of death in every scenario… On the other side, you’re playing with “one less weakness”! Yaaaay! As you may have seen, Calvin has several very good options for drawing cards, being among them Drawing Thin, Take Heart and Stand Together. But if you think your deck needs a bit more tools to endure, there are some Spirit cards that could help you.
Second Win works especially with Let Me Handle This!, even when it’s not the best option. Remember that if you heal damage/horror, you will also lose precious stats. Because of that, I like to change Second Win for a level 2 I’ve Had Worse… capable of preventing both damage and horror in exchange for no actions, and besides that can give you up to 2 resources. Very nice, isn’t it?
Calvin is a difficult investigator to play with, and no matter how much you play with him, you won’t get him better than other investigators on a constant basis. With time, we’ll be getting more and more investigators, so it’s impossible that some of them don’t have design similarities, AKA that they look like other investigators “with a small twist”. However, characters this extreme and that break our expectative that much, are always going to be unique and special.
And that’s what Calvin is. He’s unique. Using Calvin doesn’t have nothing to do with using Mark or Agnes. Even Preston, who may seem the more similar in stats. Calvin makes you see the game different, the damage and horror is not more than another resource you have and that you will need to learn to manage, and this design makes your deck to evolve in strange ways, giving you an abrupt ride at the beginning and end of a campaign.
Again, Calvin is not an investigator for everyone, but by no means he’s an investigator for no one.
Original: Vida y muerte de Calvin Wright.