Welcome to Additional Clues. In this series, I will be zeroing in on specific cards and explaining why they are good (or not), why you should run them (or not), and when you should be playing these in game (or not).
For our first article, we will be talking about a card that I am
only mildly very obsessed with. With the arrival of the player cards from Black Stars Rise, this little gem slipped into my deck and soon afterwards slipped into my heart when I realized On The Hunt is the queen of combos in Arkham Horror and unquestionably god-tier among the strongest cards in the game. Those are big words, to be sure, but I will back up my opinion with some solid evidence.
First let’s talk about what On The Hunt is. On The Hunt, or OTH for short, is a 1 resource cost, fast Tactic event, with 1 book icon and 1 fight icon. This card is played during the Mythos phase, before you draw your regular encounter card. Instead, you search the top 9 cards of the encounter deck for an enemy, spawn it engaged with you, and shuffle the encounter deck.
That’s all it does. And to be honest, that’s all it needs to do.
If you read my article on Encounter Hate, you know that Encounter Hate is a mechanic that allows you to protect yourself from the dangers of the encounter deck, and as a mechanic, it is fairly rare within the overall card pool. Ward of Protection is probably known as the King of Encounter Hate. It outright nullifies an effect for the small price of 1 horror. If you are Agnes, you deal 1 damage to an enemy in your location as a bonus and call it a day. In contrast, On The Hunt is the Queen of Encounter Hate whose chauffeur just pulled up in a private limousine with a one way ticket to XP Town. You see, most of the time with Encounter Hate, the general philosophy is the Encounter Deck is bad, and the best we can do is prevent a bad thing from happening. If you build your deck around OTH, you don’t agree with that sentiment. No, you use OTH to subvert the encounter deck to the point that, for one beautiful window of time, it makes things good for you. How?
Encounter Deck Control
First, let’s take a step back and talk about the ability to choose what from the encounter deck you are going to draw. Guardians, especially a Guardian who is fully set-up with their weapons and allies in play, are typically battle-ready and hungry for a fight. They do not want to be drawing Frozen in Fear, or Crypt Chill, or Ancient Evils. They want to be drawing something they can handle, which usually means something they can kill in 1 or 2 actions. On The Hunt grants them that opportunity.
Furthermore, spawning enemies on yourself and dispatching them to the discard pile will slightly thin out the herd of enemies for everyone else. This is a mild impact, but in some cases where only 1 copy of a harder monster is in a set, it is notable. Note that there is a slight amount of foreknowledge about the amount of cards in each encounter set required to fully benefit from this. That all being said, how much better would it be to know that you are spawning the 1 copy of a difficult enemy in a scenario on your Zoey instead of your Daisy?
Victory Point Fishing
Now, if your Guardian is fully armed and absolutely chomping at the bit for a fight, you can be even more gutsy and search for a Victory Point enemy. One of the greatest parts about this card is that OTH can take a Victory Point enemy and spawn it engaged with you instead of where it would normally spawn. This is brilliant because it guarantees you will have the opportunity to fight the enemy, and, since you decided you could handle it in the first place, very likely kill it. Furthermore, as was touched on earlier, it guarantees that the enemy won’t be spawning on your fragile Seeker friend instead. When the Victory Point enemy is defeated, it goes into the Victory Display instead of the discard pile, guaranteeing that you will never see it ever again*, a welcome thought for your weaker team members.
Basically, if your Guardian is battle-ready, OTH can function somewhat similarly to a Delve Too Deep, except only the Guardian draws the card.
Now, let’s begin with some basic On The Hunt combos, and look at even more of the power of this card. I’m not even going to pretend I have identified every possible OTH combo, because there are frankly so many and as the card pool grows there will be more added. But here are a few I have found so far.
OTH + Roland or Evidence! – Kill the enemy you draw, and discover a clue on your location.
OTH + Roland and Evidence! – Kill the enemy you draw, and discover two clues on your location.
OTH + Roland and 2 Evidence! – Kill the enemy you draw, and discover three clues on your location.
As Evidence! combos pile up, you can start wiping locations clean in solo or two player games, and [spoiler for The Dunwich Legacy] very notably a certain location in Dunwich which also gives you a victory point.
OTH + “If it bleeds…” – Search for a monster with a horror value, kill it, and heal the horror value.
This is anticipated to be a very strong combo on Carolyn especially, as she would give every investigator in her location 1 resource for pulling this off.
OTH + Zoey – Gain 1 resource.
OTH + Zoey + Zoey’s Cross – Deal 1 damage to the enemy engaged with you.
With Zoey’s Cross out, you can sometimes outright kill the thing you drew, which allows you to easily snowball into tossing Evidence! onto your location.
OTH + Mano a Mano – Deal 1 damage to the enemy engaged with you.
This combo is very similar to Zoey’s, but is no longer locked to her. Zoey can add Mano a Mano to her Cross combo to deal 2 damage to the enemy engaged with her, for zero tests.
OTH + Ambush – Spawn an enemy and immediately deal two damage to it.
This will outright kill a lot of monsters in the game. It will allow you to immediately toss out your “If it bleeds…” or your Evidence! or whatever else you may have.
Zoey with Cross sitting on Ambush, can play Mano a Mano to deal 4 damage to a spawned enemy, having done 0 tests. She can then throw out Evidence! to gain a clue and “If it bleeds…” if allowed to heal horror. Again, you have tested absolutely nothing at this point. A good number of 4 health enemies also are worth a Victory Point, so she may have gained a Victory Point for her not any troubles as well.
OTH + Stick To The Plan – Choose when you would like to play OTH.
Because OTH is the catalyst to every combo here, being able to choose when to play it is a huge benefit. This effectively allows OTH to be in your hand at all times.
OTH + Think On Your Feet – Move 1 space over.
Skids can do this. Skids’ approach to OTH combos is slightly different from everyone else’s, but he can pull them off, as the majority of the cards involved in OTH combos are Level 0 to 2 Guardian cards. There are not as many Rogue-heavy OTH combos at the moment, but that may change as the card pool increases.
OTH + Bind Monster – Spawn an enemy, evade it, and leave it exhausted indefinitely.
The only people who can run this right now within one deck are Jim and Lola, and this is by far more sensibly done in a Jim deck. This is not the most spectacular OTH combo, but as there are so few Mystic combos of note, I felt it was worth inclusion.
OTH + Disc of Itzamna – Spawn an enemy and immediately discard it.
This combo will likely see OTH and Disc within two separate decks, a Seeker deck and a Guardian deck. The best possible outcome is a very difficult, non Victory Point enemy is removed with this card. Seekers typically use Disc to prevent themselves having to do combat tests, so be careful using this combo. Rex can run both cards, although whether Rex should be running OTH is questionable.
OTH + Snare Trap – Spawn an enemy and immediately exhaust it.
OTH + Snare Trap + Waylay – Spawn an enemy and immediately exhaust it and kill it outright.
OTH + Snare Trap + Hiding Spot – Spawn an enemy, exhaust it, and when it readies during the Upkeep phase, it gains Aloof.
You are now entering the Survivor OTH Combos. Only Yorick can run Snare Trap and OTH but Mark can run Hiding Spot too. Hiding Spot is a difficult piece to slide in to an OTH combo because the enemy spawned from OTH will be engaged with you. Whether or not they are Aloof will not change that first engagement. However, if you can evade the enemy or use Snare Trap, Hiding Spot will ensure the enemy will then be fairly useless, allowing the rest of your team to run past it easily. The OTH into Snare Trap into Waylay combo is not super practical. It’s just hilarious.
OTH + Bury Them Deep – Spawn an enemy, kill it, add it to the Victory Display, get a Victory Point.
I have saved the best for last. Yorick can run almost every combo already described here, and get a Victory Point out of the deal. Spawn a Victory Point monster on top of your Ambush, hit it once or twice with your Machete, play this card, and watch the XP flow like a river.
Hopefully by now, I have shown that OTH can setup numerous, numerous combos which will allow your investigators opportunities to do some pretty amazing plays. As the card pool grows, I’m sure more OTH combos will come to light. I’m sure there are a few I missed. While I enjoy singing the praises of this card, I will caution any would be OTH enthusiasts that this is still a situational card. It can whiff in finding a monster, and it can whiff on finding a monster you can defeat easily. The combo potential shines far more for Roland and Zoey than it does for Mark, as Mark lacks the innate combo of Roland’s passive ability and the free damage signature asset of Zoey. Finally, you need other elements lined up – assets in play, cards in hand, resources to commit to combos – for it to really shine. But if you have those things, this card can make some outrageous plays happen. Give it a shot on your next adventure, and let me know how it goes.
What card would you like to see next on Additional Clues? Please suggest a card you would like to see reviewed next and I may write on that card!