All Mystic / No Mystic

SlumberIn mid-March, 4 intrepid Investigators set sail from Arkham, Massachusetts to the bustling city of Cairo, where a strange sickness was gripping people. They interviewed some cultists and ventured into the desert in search of darker secrets, but what happened next, no-one knows. Daisy Walker, Wendy Adams and Zoey Samaras were never heard from again. Diana Stanley caught the last train out of Cairo, but refused to speak of what horrors had befallen her comrades. A month or so later, Diana returned with a new team – Agnes Baker, Dexter Drake, and Luke Robinson. They knew that there were still dark forces at work in the city, but Diana brought a darker warning: Magic itself had been corrupted in the sands of Egypt, it was no longer safe to draw upon these powers from beyond. They would each need to fall back on their other skills. Under-prepared, facing impossible odds. Was there really any hope of making it out alive? Having failed miserably at our first Card Game Cooperative 4-player game of Arkham (The Eternal Slumber), we met up online for our second outing, an attempt at Night’s Usurper. Having just acquired Dexter Drake (via his novella), we realised that we now had a Mystic with an off-class for each of the other 4 classes. Because we thought that playing a notoriously long and hard scenario 4-player, via Zoom wasn’t enough of a challenge, we decided to do a no-Mystic cards run! Only neutral and off-class cards for us. Just to add to the theme, we even dressed up as our various Investigators!
Egypt-Mystics
Simon as Agnes, Michael as Dexter, James (me) as Diana, and Will as Luke
UsurperAt first, the investigation made slow, but steady progress. Foul creatures roamed the desert, but they appeared to be susceptible to Dexter’s distractions and suggestions, not to mention the bullets from Diana’s 45 Automatic and Agnes’ Meat Cleaver. Luke had apparently perfected his desert camouflage, and seemed to appear and disappear at will, quickly and quietly gathering clues, and finding the way to the site which, the investigators hoped, would hold the answers. What happened next is unclear. This time none returned, although the following fragments were found. A friend of hers has confirmed the writing to be that of Diana Stanley…
“We have arrived. Although quite where is hard to say. We are assailed on all sides: some of those creatures from the desert seem to have followed us here, along with the Cultists of the Brotherhood who escaped us last time. It is unclear how we proceed from here, what hope there is left.”
A little later
“We spoke with the mysterious warrior. He calls himself Xharah, and claims that he can offer great power if we can prove our worth to him. The Abyss is too strong now, we have no hope of defeating him. Is it worth fighting for a lost cause? Or should we throw our lot in with him?”
And finally
“Luke and Agnes have gone on ahead. Dexter just behind them. I know that this note will be my last – even if I run, I will not get far. This is the fate that has been awaiting me since I abandoned Daisy and Zoey, since I left that orphan girl to her fate. I have earned the death that awaits me…”
XzharahSo, that was the Night’s Usurper. As it was Simon’s blind play-through of the game, we let him make a lot of the decisions, to avoid the other 3 of us meta-gaming it. Unfortunately, we ended up advancing Act and Agenda together, meaning we got the Brotherhood cultists at the same time as Xzharah, and a load of new enemies who we just happened to draw off the encounter deck. In the end, Dexter spent a few rounds evading with Suggestion, whilst Diana tried to fend enemies off, or even kill them, whilst Luke and Agnes explored further. The strength of the Abyss was way too high to try for the “good” ending, so our only hope was the bad one. Sadly, whilst they managed to flip their locations a few times, they didn’t have the stats for the Strength and Agility tests on the other side. Diana, and then Dexter bought them a couple of rounds by dying at the hands of the ever-growing horde of monsters, but all to no avail. In the end, Agnes and Luke were left to throw themselves on Xzharah’s mercy – fortunately, Agnes was at least able to pass the Willpower test (Strength of the Abyss was up to about 7 by this point) and she and Luke were able to resign. Overall, this was an interesting game. Building an all-blue Diana deck definitely made me look at some cards that I hadn’t ever really considered for her before, but I don’t think that there’s any question that the deck was poorer for the absence of cards like Deny existence. BaalshandorAs Mike’s copy of Blood of Baalshandor only arrived on the Saturday, I’d also started building an all-green Dexter deck. He was probably the trickiest to build for, as none of us had ever played him AT ALL, so adapting to a weird, additional constraint only made life harder. That said, I think there’s potential for a really good Dexter succeeds by 2 deck, once you’ve got Shrivelling and 6th Sense to do your basic actions at 5+ Agnes’ deck didn’t fare too badly, as the survivor pool is designed to triumph in the face of adversity, but it definitely felt like she never drew the key cards that she needed. Of all the Investigators, Luke definitely felt like he got the most work done. Dual-wielding Magnifying Glasses from the start, he was investigating pretty comfortably much of the time, and his ability to jump into his pocket dimension meant that he worried about enemies less than the others. Overall, an interesting experiment, but I think that next time I play any of these 4, I’ll make sure I include some Mystic Cards!

Decklists:

Agnes – https://arkhamdb.com/deck/view/720182
Dexter – https://arkhamdb.com/decklist/view/22169/no-mystic-drake-1.0
Diana – https://arkhamdb.com/deck/view/721426
Luke – https://arkhamdb.com/decklist/view/22121/finding-clues-the-old-fashioned-way-cardcooperative-1.0

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