A Poor Toy of Jointed Parts Ready to Collapse

accidentallysam · 372

Introduction

For me, building for true solo play is about maximizing the generality of your deck and minimizing its draw uncertainty. I designed this deck to ensure you will have cards in your hand that will help you reliably respond to the largest possible set of game states and tests.

Rita is a joy to play true solo, since she can often elegantly avoid three downfalls of true solo play: (1) having a powerful enemy spawn at your location when you are unprepared for combat, (2) getting mobbed by enemies, typically as a result of unlucky encounter deck draws, and (3) having to efficiently navigate a scenario with a large number of locations.

Note that I playtest all of my solo decks on Hard difficulty.

Getting started

Mulligan to get at least one investigative card (Flashlight, Winging It, or "Look what I found!") and one sanity soaking card (Cherished Keepsake or Peter Sylvestre) in your starting hand. From then on, the cards in your hand should reliably support whatever actions are required of you.

With rare exceptions, always play Peter Sylvestre (or his upgrade) as soon as possible. Rita's greatest weakness is her low sanity. Sylvestre's sanity soak (and eventual willpower boost) crucially offset this weakness.

Avoid spending all of your resources in the first 2-3 rounds, however, as you want to be able to spend them on Flashlight (if it did not make it into your opening hand), Winging It, "Look what I found!", and Lucky! as needed. I often refrain from playing Gravedigger's Shovel until I have evaded an enemy and plan on engaging in combat in the following round. I also sometimes refrain from playing Track Shoes in the early game if there are a small number of locations in play.

General strategy

Use Lucky! and Live and Learn liberally. You can always recur them with Resourceful. Alternatively, commit Resourceful to a test with a high probability of success (likely one that uses your statistic!) in order to recur a Survivor card that is critical to the particular scenario you are playing. (For example, I have used Resourceful to recur Waylay in scenarios that require heavy combat.)

Use Track Shoes liberally to navigate scenarios with a large number of locations.

Remember that attempting a skill test for which your skill value is only 1-2 over the difficulty becomes reasonable even on Hard difficulty, as long as you have Lucky! or Live and Learn in your hand! Do not only treat these cards as contingencies for unexpected failures. Go into skill tests expecting to use them. I often attempt skill tests with this deck that I expect to fail, with the intention of playing Live and Learn upon failure, typically in conjunction with additional committed cards for further skill boosts.

Remember that, when playing Live and Learn, the effects of any costs that you paid to initiate the original skill test still apply when you attempt that test for a second time! So, for example, if you used Flashlight to take an Investigate action, your location still has -2 shroud when you re-try that test with Live and Learn. Or, similarly, if you paid an action to Fight with Gravedigger's Shovel, you still get +2 when you re-try that test. This is not true, however, of anything spent to improve the skill value of the original test (like committed skill cards or resources on a Talent, for example).

Investigation

Remember that if you reduce the shroud of a location to 0 using Flashlight or Winging It, then you succeed at any Investigate skill tests at that location for which you do not reveal the token. Similarly, if you reduce the shroud to 0-2, then you are guaranteed to discover up to 2 clues at your location if you have "Look what I found!" in your hand and at least two resources in your pool. In a pinch, Gravedigger's Shovel can net you a guaranteed clue from a critical high shroud location. And don't forget that Winging It can net you two clues when played from your discard pile!

In the mid to late game, I often play Winging It from my discard pile in conjunction with Lucky! or Live and Learn to get 2 clues from a location with 2 shroud. In the case of 3-4 shroud, I often do the same in conjunction with some skill cards (committed ex ante if I am using Lucky!, or ex post if I am using Live and Learn), and maybe even "Look what I found!" if necessary.

Taking advantage of Rita's agility

Some things to keep in mind while taking advantage of Rita's high statistic and related abilities, and concomitant aptitude for evasion:

  • You can only evade enemies that are engaged with you.
  • Any time you evade an enemy, that enemy is exhausted and the engagement is broken.
  • You can attack exhausted enemies at your location.
  • Exhausted enemies do not make attacks of opportunity.
  • Exhausted enemies with the Retaliate keyword do not attack you if you fail a skill test while attacking them.
  • Enemies with the Alert keyword (like Hoods) attack you if you fail a skill test while evading them.
  • There do not need to be enemies at your new location to trigger the ability on Track Shoes.
  • Movement caused by the ability on Track Shoes, or Rita's special ability, or Survival Instinct (or its upgrade) do not trigger attacks of opportunity. (Note that any enemies with whom you are still engaged move to your new location and remain in your threat area.)

Keeping the above in mind, here are some helpful strategies:

  • You can trigger the ability on Track Shoes using movement caused by Rita's special ability. You can also trigger it using Survival Instinct (or its upgrade).
  • Combining the ability on Track Shoes with movement caused by Rita's special ability is a great way to put distance between yourself and an enemy with the Hunter keyword.
  • When engaged with a single enemy that you want to defeat, you should typically evade it first, use Rita's special ability to deal it damage, and then attack it, preferably with Gravedigger's Shovel. Taking these actions in this order prevents Retaliate attacks, and minimizes the ex ante probability of attacks during the next Enemy Phase.
  • Do not focus on killing each enemy that engages you. You should typically evade it instead and use Rita's special ability either to costlessly move to another location, or to deal it damage before taking other actions at your current location (like taking an Investigate action or playing Gravedigger's Shovel in preparation for future combat).
  • After you are finished with a location with an enemy on it, simply use Track Shoes to pass through that location without engaging that enemy for the rest of the scenario.
  • If you are engaged with a low evade value enemy and one or more high evade value enemies, commit Survival Instinct (or its upgrade) to an agility test evading the former, in order to easily disengage from (or evade) the latter.
  • Upgraded Survival Instinct combined with "I'm done runnin'!" is rare, but very powerful. For example, it enables you to deal 2 damage to one enemy with whom you are engaged (1 from Rita's special ability and 1 from the effect of "I'm done runnin'!"), to deal 1 damage to each other enemy with whom you are engaged, and then to move to a connecting location, taking all enemies with whom you are engaged with you, without triggering attacks of opportunity. Alternatively, you can selectively deal damage to a subset of the enemies, exhaust and disengage from the rest, and then move to a connecting location, taking all enemies with whom you are still engaged with you, without triggering attacks of opportunity, and leaving all enemies from whom you disengaged at your previous location. In either case, you can forgo the movement if you desire, or even costlessly move a second time using the ability on Track Shoes.
  • Upgraded Survival Instinct combined with Rita's special ability is also rare but very powerful. It allows you to exhaust and disengage from every enemy with whom you are engaged, to deal 1 damage to each of them, and then to move to a connecting location if you desire.
  • In the extremely rare case of upgraded Survival Instinct combined with "I'm done runnin'!" and Rita's special ability, you can deal 2 damage to each enemy with whom you are engaged and then move to a connecting location if you desire, taking all enemies with whom you are engaged with you, without triggering attacks of opportunity. Alternatively, you can selectively deal 2 damage to a subset of the enemies; exhaust, disengage from, and deal 1 damage to the rest; and then move to a connecting location if you desire, taking all enemies with whom you are still engaged with you, without triggering attacks of opportunity, and leaving all enemies from whom you disengaged at your previous location.

Upgrades

Some recommended upgrades, in order of priority: upgraded Survival Instinct, upgraded Peter Sylvestre, Scrapper, and upgraded Rise to the Occasion (replaces Unexpected Courage).

20 comments

Feb 21, 2019 brssnyde · 1

Great write-up! Seems like a really fun deck to play.

Feb 21, 2019 accidentallysam · 372

Thanks, @brssnyde! I love snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with this deck, in true survivor style!

Feb 26, 2019 accidentallysam · 372

Thanks, @PureFlight! I am glad to see others enjoying the glories of Track Shoes + Survival Instinct!

Feb 26, 2019 acotgreave · 4

I can attest that this deck, along with Diana Stanley, successfully completed Lost in Time and Space. Those Track Shoes made it easy to sprint across the extra dimensional locations!

Mar 01, 2019 Mcpunchababy · 1

Is Cheap Shot not worth playing in Rita?

Mar 01, 2019 accidentallysam · 372

@Mcpunchababy I took Cheap Shot out because the high in this deck (especially once you have Peter Sylvestre and Track Shoes in play) combined Rita's special ability gets you 1 damage and an evade for free, whereas Cheap Shot gets you a similar outcome for 2 resources.

Mar 01, 2019 accidentallysam · 372

*combined with

Mar 04, 2019 FractalMind · 11

ex ante...concomitant...feels like I'm studying for SAT vocabulary questions!

Mar 14, 2019 Sdanner · 1

I am playing forgotten age with Preston who now has streetwise and is leaving towards investigation. What are your thoughts on Ornate Bow as my first upgrade?

Mar 15, 2019 accidentallysam · 372

I would probably prioritize upgrading at least Survival Instinct or Peter Sylvestre before investing in Ornate Bow, but it's mostly a matter of personal preference. I prefer reliability in my deck, so I tend to invest in two copies of a low-XP upgrade for a key card before investing in a single, high-XP card that is less likely to be drawn.

That being said, I do like the prospect of Ornate Bow for Rita. I have several times speculated about how fun it would be to Evade and trigger Rita's special ability/nock/Attack to deal 4 damage on a single turn.

If you do decide to go for Ornate Bow, I recommend replacing either a Flashlight or a Perception with it. XP allowing, You might also consider replacing one or both copies of Winging It with Emergency Cache to make sure you can afford Ornate Bow when you draw it, especially since you can rely on your play partner for investigation.

Mar 15, 2019 accidentallysam · 372

@Sdanner ^ ^

Mar 16, 2019 Sdanner · 1

So I did go with Ornate Bow. I removed Cherished keepsake since I have Peter. We went through the second campaign of Forgotten Age. We did well.We did not kill the Harbinger but did inflict a good amount of damage. I am so impressed how well Preston ans Rita work together. Thanks

Mar 17, 2019 Swee8320 · 1

Just wanted to say that this deck is a lot of fun and very effective. Playing through TCU and I've been really surprised how good she is at investigating : ).

Mar 18, 2019 accidentallysam · 372

Thanks so much for your kind words, @Swee8320! It was a fun challenge to put together a survivor deck with 2 that could handle investigation, and I am glad to hear that that effort is paying off!

Apr 02, 2019 AlbillyExpress · 1

Would you change anything if this was for multiplayer?

Apr 03, 2019 accidentallysam · 372

@AlbillyExpress If you have a player that is decent at combat, I would probably swap out Waylay for "You handle this one!". Waylay is expensive and I included it mainly as a card of last resort when heavy combat cannot be avoided. You could also swap out Waylay for any other event or asset that appeals to you.

I doubt I would make many other changes. The core competencies of this deck are evasion and investigation, and those are as useful in a multiplayer setting as they are in a solo one. Moreover, the action compression in "Look what I found!" and Winging It become even more useful in multiplayer.

Apr 24, 2019 Malgox · 4

HI @accidentallysam--this is a really impressive deck! I'm contemplated a run on Return to Dunwich with Roland Banks. I thought of trading out some investigating for damage and swapped out for Meat Cleaver instead of Gravedigger's shovel... do you think that's justifiable?

Apr 24, 2019 accidentallysam · 372

Thank you for your kind words, @Malgox! I would definitely feel comfortable swapping out some investigative cards when pairing this deck with Roland Banks. I would probably start by swapping out Perception for Overpower…and maybe Winging It for Fight or Flight or Bait and Switch? I also really like your idea of swapping out Gravedigger's Shovel for Meat Cleaver. I have not yet tested this deck with Meat Cleaver but I definitely want to, and I would like to hear about your experience using it with Rita!

Apr 25, 2019 Malgox · 4

Thanks so much, @accidentallysam! I tinkered with a build that still tries to wear many hats, but has more ways to directly damage enemies. It's over here if you want to take a look arkhamdb.com