Calvin Wright: Possessed By Great Intelligence

Card draw simulator
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Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
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Lucaxiom · 1723

Most classes have a signature attribute that investigators from that class are expected to have a high value in: for , for , for /, and for . What's less known is that each class has a signature weak attribute as well, and for survivors, it is unquestionably . Excluding Calvin Wright and Wendy Adams, every single survivor up to the release of the investigator starter decks have 2.

This is strange for a class that carries cards like Fortuitous Discovery, Guiding Spirit, and Newspaper, so I have gone into building THIS deck with the objective of creating an focused survivor.

While this is possible with "Ashcan" Pete and Wendy Adams, their signature assets and special abilities make them more suited to hybrid roles than full on cluevers. No, we want an investigator that can regularly and reliably investigate at 5+ , and for that we'll call on the eponymous Calvin Wright, who is going to show the world that having the Drifter trait or a red background doesn't mean you're dumb!

Calvin Will Remember That...

This deck's main strategy will revolve around Fortuitous Discovery, for reasons involving exp that I will spoil now, rather than in the Upgrade Path section, because it's too cool to not mention immediately. Calvin has access to seven xp-costing, out-of-class Spirit cards, of which one caught my attention; Eidetic Memory. Does Calvin have any Insight cards available to him, as of Dream-Eaters? Yes, two; Delay the Inevitable (meh), and Fortuitous Discovery (oh... OH!).

Take a moment to realise the implication of Eidetic Memory played as a copy of Fortuitous Discovery. If you have the three copies in the discard pile, and then play Eidetic Memory as one of said copies, you get a 3-cost event that reads: 'Investigate: You get +3 for this investigation. If you succeed, discover three additional clues at your location.'

This is as amazing as it sounds, and I welcome you to try this deck just to pull off this combo at least once. Sadly, from personal experience trying out this deck in a 4-player, normal difficulty, The Circle Undone campaign, this is likely only to occur late into a campaign (through that's arguably the point at which burst clue-gathering matters the most). Until then, we want to make sure Calvin Wright takes his daily dose of mental trauma while still remaining somewhat relevant and useful early on.

No Pain, No Gain

For that, we turn to another card; Ghastly Revelation. Frankly an auto-include in a Calvin Wright deck (that or "I'll see you in hell!", or both), it's downside is actually an upside for Calvin as one problem that you might encounter while playing him is not taking enough trauma. Ghastly Revelation in that sense, allows you to accelerate your way towards being a useful member of the party earlier on in the campaign, without having to rely on the singleton card that is Voice of the Messenger.

That, plus is solves a suicidal, clue-focused investigator's main issue. That issue being that if you are defeated, all your clues are dropped in the location you were defeated in, which would be very detrimental to your party's progress towards the advancing the act deck, especially if you're the primary clue-grabber. Ghastly Revelation bypasses that problem succinctly (almost as if it was designed with that problem in mind).

BEWARE, getting defeated on certain scenarios leads to your investigator getting killed or driven insane outright. The chance of this happening goes up exponentially the later into the campaign you are. If you're brave enough to play Ghastly Revelation in a blind run, you will be alright 90% of the time getting defeated in the first 4 scenarios, but yeah.. that last 10% exists. Exercise judgement based on the story-line, and you should be rid of Ghastly Revelation by the time you have 3 mental trauma.

On a Knife Edge

With Fortuitous Discovery and Ghastly Revelation squared away, the rest of the deck falls into one of five categories:

Horror incursion gets you to a desirable 4-5, and let's you grab clues with the best of them. Painkillers, Ward of Protection, and Self-Sacrifice are your means to doing this when no other option presents itself.

'Second-Chance' cards is the umbrella term for cards that will keep you from going over the edge of your horror threshold, even while at one remaining sanity. So, Cherished Keepsake, Perseverance, and Stray Cat are your lifelines.

Card-draw is going to be mighty important, due to the need to draw through your deck to have a chance of getting at the third Fortuitous Discovery. This deck is cheap as chips, so we are not so concerned with a matching economy. Take Heart and Self-Sacrifice will have to do for now, but with exp, we will definitely be adding more.

Low attribute exploiting cards that will be better on Calvin than anyone else, since he is always considered to have base attributes at 0. Rise to the Occasion is usable on every difficult 2 or higher test (read, 99% of available tests), Trial by Fire always provides a +5 boost to whichever attribute you wish, and Take Heart is a shoe-in to be triggered, even when you have high /, because you'll be keeping your / low anyway (or you can commit it to someone else's likely-to-fail test).

Finally, investigation and bases cards that have to take into account an investigator that could be at 0 or 5 at any given point. Flashlight and "Look what I found!" are great for this, because they allow any investigator to get clues on shroud 2 locations, and are still useful once higher shroud locations are ready to be tackled. Newspaper is a cheap boost that can kick-start clue gathering earlier that usual, and scavenging can bring back either expended Cherished Keepsakes or Flashlights, or the second copy of Newspaper for its icons.

Upgrade Path

Upgrading Calvin Wright is going to require many judgement calls, mainly about when you swap out the Painkillers, Ward of Protection, and Ghastly Revelation. Once you've reached 3-4 mental trauma, Painkillers should probably go. When you reach 4-5 mental trauma, Ward of Protection should go. Ghastly Revelation will leave either when you've taken 3-4 mental trauma, or when you've reached far enough in whichever campaign you're in that playing it is too great a risk of elimination.

As to what you'll replace them with, we're looking for horror soak, and fortunately, we've have three options to replace three cards:

  • Five of Pentacles will take Calvin's attributes even further beyond, making 6 within the realm of possibility.
  • Guiding Spirit provides everything we want in a card for this deck; an boost, and extra sanity soak for good measure. Just be sure to play it after reaching 4-5 horror, not before, since once it's down, your will likely be capped at its current value for a while.
  • Devil's Luck is the ultimate preventative measure of untimely defeat by damage/horror. Hopefully never used, but you really should be prepared for the eventuality.

Once Guiding Spirit is in your deck, Stray Cat, Ward of Protection and Self-Sacrifice should start making their way out, as they either compete for the same slot, or hasten Guiding Spirit's exile. Self-Sacrifice, despite boasting much card-draw, is actually very hard to pull off (a lot of conditions have to be met simultaneously). Because of this, swapping it out with Stand Together is probably the very first upgrade you go for; far easier card to get value out of, and you will ingratiate yourself to your teammate even more!

So, when you're fine for the horror problem, you can look into upgrading Newspaper into Newspaper (2), and Scavenging into Scavenging (2). When cards do need replacing though, you'll want one very specific card: Lucid Dreaming.

Lucid Dreaming is to be used to fast-track to the third Fortuitous Discovery post-haste, so don't play your first copy just yet! Once that's in your deck, you're finally ready for the capstone card Eidetic Memory, and thus it all comes together.

At this point, you'll have spent 28xp on cards. Sharp Vision rounds that out to 30xp, and doesn't have a specific window of when it enters the deck; just take it when you need an obsolete card replaced but don't have the exp for some of the previously mentioned cards.

Everything after 30xp is gravy. "Look what I found!" and Trial by Fire can be done away with at this point; their usefulness will have waned by now. As for what to replace them with, consider any of the following:

  • Blood Eclipse is an emergency card for when enemies come your way and your resident Guardian is over-whelmed. If you're playing the deck correctly and have managed trauma well, you should have an abundance of health to lose and high to Fight with. Plus is then gets your to a decent point to deal with future threats. With the absence of Stray Cat, do heavily consider it.

  • Nothing Left to Lose is even more card-draw as needed, and can bankroll the Eidetic Memory 3-cost version of Fortuitous Discovery. Consider this card if even the current iteration of the deck is too slow for your tastes.

  • Against All Odds, in the same vein as Rise to the Occasion and Trial by Fire, is universally good on Calvin. But more than that, since you're putting a lot of eggs into one skill-test with the aforementioned combo, this protects you from the infernal Tentacles token that hit my third Fortuitous Discovery in my own campaign.

DON'T consider Rise to the Occasion (3); he really doesn't need it.

Theming and Conclusion

If you're familiar with the video game Shadow of Mordor, you'll know what I'm interpreting from this deck. A spirit has possessed Calvin; sometimes it's guides his path, other times they fight side-by-side. And as said spirit grows more powerful and wilful (represented by the accumulating mental trauma that I choose to re-interpret as the progress towards the spirit's complete overtaking of poor Calvin's personality and identity), he gains mental prowess that he simply did not have before; sharper vision, a flawless memory, and the devil's own luck.

Will Calvin eventually proceed as if he has nothing left to lose. Will you witness the spirit eclipse Calvin? Or maybe, against all odds, Calvin will persevere over this trial by fire through self-sacrifice and taking solace that he'll stay alive, until the end of time.

6 comments

Jul 03, 2020 DSLCactus · 2

I have always struggled with Calvin to build a deck that does something that actually takes advantage of his abilities and deck building rules in a way that isn't just a worse, riskier version of another Survivor deck. But this is an inspired idea that looks like so much fun to try! And it's super flavorful too! I have a three-player Circle Undone game coming up that I feel like I'll have to try this deck with. Thank you for sharing!

Jul 04, 2020 Lucaxiom · 1723

@DSLCactus glad I could be of help. If you're willing do let me know how the deck fared in your campaign.

Jul 04, 2020 Vstene · 29

Looks great. I'd try to fit in Winging It as it provides an additional source of clue acceleration to Calvin that keeps recycling into your deck.

Jul 04, 2020 DjMiniboss · 21

In my experience, in a four player game, you don't need the self-defeating cards to get more trauma; I think grabbing three Solemn Vows and taking damage from your other players can usually be enough.

Jul 04, 2020 Lucaxiom · 1723

@Vstene Unlike Flashlight and "Look what I found!", Winging It doesn't have quite the same early ulitily for an un-wounded Calvin Wright. While it also reduces shroud, it only does so by one, and cannot stack with other shround reduction, and 1 shroud locations are very rare. Even if you come across such a location, most investigators can have a crack at it, so Winging It doesn't give you much of an edge.

And the recycling effect is actually a detriment; if your gunning for specific cards in your deck, cards that get shuffled back in dilute your deck further, and makes it less likely to draw that crucial third Fortuitous Discovery.

@DjMiniboss That's a cool strategy that I hadn't thought of, but it won't work in this particular Calvin deck. As stated, being a suicidal clue-grabber runs the risk for dropping your clues at in inopportune moment; onto a cleared victory point location, for example, or just losing the clues that were needed to advance. You have to be very particular about when, where and how you're defeated.

Jul 04, 2020 DjMiniboss · 21

This is fair; I went a Peter Sylvester + Jessica Hyde strategy that meant that I constantly could be clearing damage and horror, and had places to put it if I was feeling threatened. I feel like that's a bit stronger than going Guiding Spirit, even if the two allies don't give an intelligence.