This is very probably the best player card in the Dream Eaters deluxe box. That probably doesn't sound like much since a lot of the cards in this deluxe are kind of narrow and wonky, but this, alongside Pendant of the Queen, really make Dream Eaters, in my opinion, a go to box for anyone who loves the Seeker class. Let's talk about why it's so good, what cards it has synergy with, and who should take it. I apologize ahead of time for all of the math.
First off, why I love this card so much. Let's get past the major downside first: If you draw one of these, it's literally just an for committing to a test. There's nothing else you can do with this card except as a sacrifice to discard effects. So then you might ask what's the chance that I open with one of these in my hand? That will depend entirely on your mulligan strategy.
If you only mulligan away Astounding Revelation (in a standard 33 card deck) and nothing else:
- Chance you open with no copies: 96.9%
- With 1 copy: 3.1%
- With 2 or 3 copies: 0%
This is because if you happen to get no copies in that opening hand, you mulligan nothing, staying at 0; if you get all 3, simply mulligan all 3; if you get 1, mulligan that 1 and there's a 7.41% chance you draw one of the other two; if you get 2, mulligan those 2 and there's also a 7.41% chance you draw the other one. This is the best strategy to mitigate opening with Astounding Revelation in your hand. It's not necessarily your ideal mulliganing strategy concerning other cards you may want to open with, but I wanted to first illustrate how low you can possibly make these odds.
The other concern aside from opening is obviously drawing it midgame, so ideally your deck maximizes searches and minimizes draw. Let's assume for right now you can search roughly 3 cards a turn, meaning you draw 1 card for every 3 you search. Starting with 28 cards to search through on the first turn, you've roughly a 29.8% chance of seeing at least one copy (if you elect to throw all three into your deck). Let's assume for now you miss it in the search but draw a card from it, and then you draw a card at the end of your turn (from a deck of now 27 cards). There is a 11.1% chance you draw one of these. Let's assume you don't draw it and draw something else instead. This next turn if you search 3 there is now a 32% chance you find one of these in the search, and then a 12% chance you draw one (in a deck of 25) if you don't find it in that search. You get the picture- you're at any point in the game about three times more likely to find it in a search than you are to draw it. If you use a really deep search on the other hand, like Mr. "Rook", on the opening turn you'd see at least one of these 70.4% of the time. You can use Research Librarian to search your entire deck and guarantee getting a copy of this out, which if you do on the opening turn and you also grab a book will reduce your draw chance to 7.69%. You get the point I'm making: if you include a few really solid deep searches in your deck (like Rook's repeatable 9 per turn or Research Librarian's entire deck search), you can very quickly reduce your chances of drawing this card while still very consistently hitting copies of it. The deeper your searches, the better your ratio will be of finding these in a search to drawing them. All in all you can see that I feel the risks on this card are relatively tame, especially since at worst an for an important investigate test is not terrible.
Enough about the risks, let's get to the exciting parts of this card. Firstly, if you run enough search in your deck, this card will thin your deck for you. As long as you hit all of your copies through searches, you've thinned your deck by 3 cards. That means you have a much higher chance through searches, and later on through draws (once you've taken most or all of them out), of getting your best cards when you need them. You will, on average, get them sooner and more often. There is no doubt the belief among many that a thinner deck in Arkham Horror: The Card Game is not as valuable as articles from Magic: The Gathering and the mechanics of other card games would have us believe. The fact remains however that you have a much better chance of drawing the exact cards you need when you need them the less extraneous cards there are. We'll get to some specific cards and investigators who can really benefit from a thinner deck, but for now understand that this is almost universally a plus in card games, and I don't think Arkham Horror is an exception.
Secondly, it's an amazing economy card. Emergency Cache costs 0 resources, but it costs you a card (in its place you could've drawn any other card) and an action to play. This gets you 2 resources at no action and no card cost. That's insane. Even Crack the Case still costs a card and at most usually gets you 4 resources. Sure, you have to activate a search to get it going, so arguably you're mostly refunding the cost of your deck searches for the first pull, but that's still great. I'd happily play Mr. "Rook" for 1 resource, or Research Librarian for no resources. What's more, it can instead net you a secret to put on a card. We'll look at some cards that use secrets in the following section.
Here are some cards that work well with Astounding Revelation:
- Mr. "Rook". Not only does he search 9 up to three times for you, he can also have his life extended per copy played (since he uses 1 secret per search). You could elect to take resources and play a second one of him (refunded for the cost of both in the process), or you could choose instead to forgo drawing another Rook with one of your searches and forgo the action needed to play another copy of him, instead taking 3 more searches with the Rook you started with.
- Research Librarian. You will be guaranteed to trigger Astounding Revelation to help pay for that Occult Lexicon or Old Book of Lore.
- Archaic Glyphs. You can either feed the Astounding Revelations you do draw into this thing because of their icon, or you could find one in a search and just skip the secret placing action entirely.
- Pnakotic Manuscripts. A secret on this thing is incredibly valuable, especially on higher difficulties. Now you can test up to 6 times without pulling any tokens with one copy. That's crazy good value.
- Either upgrade of Ancient Stone. Not as nice of an interaction as some others, but testless damage and horror healing are definitely not nothing. Search cards work well with these already.
- Arcane Initiate. Grab spells, then pay for them.
- Calling in Favors, Dr. Elli Horowitz, Flare, Prepared for the Worst, Smuggled Goods. These are all one shot searches of 9. Again, that's around 70% on a turn 1 search with all 3 copies still lying in your deck. Note that Finn's signature card can be used more than once if you find it again.
Stick to the Plan. This one is really exciting. Already this is a card that heavily increases deck consistency by tutoring 3 useful but usually timing dependent cards. Now you've essentially Another Day, Another Dollar'd yourself into two extra starting resources, and you've thinned your deck by 1 more card.
- Segment of Onyx. Yes, the other myriad Seeker card this cycle.
A thinner deck means you can break and reassemble the Pendant of the Queen even faster, as you're shuffling the segments into a smaller deck. The more testless clues, the better.(EDIT: Can only assemble this once a game now, but that's okay! Still good to find them and just have the Pendant ready for when you need it.)
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I do not think it's helpful to list out every card with "secret" or "search" in its text. Obviously any cards that help you search that you would have run without Astounding Revelation, like Eureka! or No Stone Unturned, become just that much better if they accidentally net you 2 resources in the process.
Finally, let's look at some investigators who really love this card:
- Mandy Thompson. Alright, maybe a bit of an obvious pick, but it's an important one. She searches even deeper than anyone else, so her odds are strictly better than everyone else's. (EDIT: A bit trickier now with 50 card Mandy, but come on, you're gonna be searching anyway right?)
* Roland Banks. Roland loves this card so much. This with Stick to the Plan gives him one of the strongest openings any Guardian could ask for.
- Carolyn Fern. Slightly more limited Seeker access, but Mr. "Rook" + this card could be a great way to get the rest of your healing engine going.
- Daisy Walker. Really most Seekers can benefit from this card, but I'll single out Daisy as she's likely to want Research Librarian and Old Book of Lore. I'll quickly mention that really only Minh Thi Phan, who runs cheaply and tends to favor lots of card draw, is probably the one Seeker who really does not want this card.
These picks are more left field, but could be cool for the right brew:
- Marie Lambeau. She likes Arcane Initiate and Calling in Favors, so the only big downside for her is the slots it will take up. However, this may be well worth it, as not only will Revelations help pay for all those allies and spells Marie likes to run, but the might actually be put to good use in the worst case, especially if you take Archaic Glyphs.
- Finn Edwards. Like Marie, Finn's slots are limited, so 3 of these is a big ask. Finn after all still wants Track Shoes. If you find a way to reliably dart between Mr. "Rook" and Leo De Luca or Lola Santiago via Calling in Favors, this could lead to some interesting shenanigans. Smuggled Goods works well with this.
- Jenny Barnes. Big money Jenny decks may want these both for deck thinning and for quick resources. Often Jenny runs Mr. "Rook" anyway, so these are a solid choice for her other 3 slots.
I hope I've thoroughly covered what I think are the reasons you should seriously look at this card. I only caution that you use it in a deck that doesn't try to draw too many cards. Perception for example hurts this card. Don't be afraid of Astounding Revelation: take all 3 copies and see how it works for you!