Welcome back to Additional Clues! It’s been a fair while since an article was posted in this series, but hopefully, we will be back on track for publishing regularly in the coming days. So without further ado, let’s take a look at a very interesting Mystic card from the core set – Forbidden Knowledge.
Forbidden Knowledge (or FK, for short) is a level 0 Mystic card that offers you an interesting choice. For 0 resources, you put Forbidden Knowledge into play with 4 secrets on it. Once per round, you may exhaust Forbidden Knowledge and take one horror to take a secret off the card to use as a resource. Four secrets on this card translates to four resources gained and four horror taken over the course of four rounds. Since the card has a very obvious downside – four horror is more horror than even many encounter cards would ever dish out – it may seem like it wouldn’t be worth it to use this. In my opinion, if you are risk averse, you may just want to play Emergency Cache or Uncage the Soul instead if you are a Mystic concerned about how you will pay for things. However, if we take a closer look, we can see that Forbidden Knowledge is still worthy of a slot in certain decks. Let’s take a look at how we can make the most of this card’s power.
Benefit 1: Four Resources
Not considering the horror, FK is a card that can potentially give you 4 resources at the cost of 1 action and 1 card. Granted, these resources are given to you slowly, over the course of 4 rounds. Furthermore, you will not necessarily use its ability every single round, so it could be more than 4 rounds for you to get all the resources. Still, as far as net gains on resources go, this is a great investment.
Four resources off of one card at level 0 is a high amount of resources. To put this into perspective, there isn’t really another card at level 0 doing this. Emergency Cache, at level 0, gives you three resources. Uncage the Soul reduces the cost of a Spell or Ritual card by 3, effectively saving you three resources. The Rogue skill card “Watch this!” allows you to wager three resources and gives you double what you wagered – ultimately though, apart from Double or Nothing shenanigans, you are still only going to make at most three resources. Burglary requires to pay 1 resource to play it, and then gives you 3 resources on a successful investigate, for a net gain of only 2 resources. You would have to spend 3 actions minimum on Burglary playing and successfully investigating to earn more resources than what FK gives you off of 1 action spent. So as you can see, compared to the rest of the level 0 card pool, Forbidden Knowledge is indeed a stand out in terms of getting resources to the player.
Now, there are cards that give you this many resources or more if you buy them with experience. Emergency Cache level 3 can grant you 4 resources, but again, at the cost of 3 precious experience points. Hot Streak can give you a net gain of 7 resources, but at this point we are comparing a level 4 Rogue card to a level 0 Mystic card. Not exactly a fair comparison. However, I hope the point I am trying to make is clear. The potential boost this card can have to your economy is significant, especially considering the card pool as a whole.
Benefit 2: Mystics Need Money To Do Things
Mystics are not the most cash-strapped faction in the game. I would give that honour to the Guardian class. However, I would say that Mystics are perhaps in the most desperate need of having money, because out all the investigators, they are by far the most useless while having nothing in play. Unlike Guardians who can throw down a Machete and be moderately useful or a Seeker who can still potentially investigate with 0 cards in play, a Mystic will typically want a full suite of things out before they become powerful – it’s not uncommon to fill both arcane slots, one or two hand slots, the ally slot, and the accessory slot, if not 2 accessory slots with Relic Hunter. The reason for this is Mystics usually are reliant on their Will skill value to be useful, but the Will skill value doesn’t particularly do anything to help you move the game forward, barring player card effects in the form of Assets and Events. All of this stuff will cost resources. And, just to make things worse, a lot of the core Mystic cards are obnoxiously expensive.
Alyssa Graham, a popular ally choice for Mystics, costs 4 resources, and unlike Dr. Milan Christopher, will not be paying for herself over time. Rite of Seeking costs 4 resources and actually becomes more expensive if you upgrade it to its level 4 version, to an astounding 5 resource cost. St. Hubert’s Key, another hugely popular Mystic card for the passive stats it grants, costs 4 resources. Not to mention a ton of Mystic spells – Shrivelling, Astral Travel, Storm of Spirits, Hypnotic Gaze, Bind Monster – all cost 3 resources if you want to play them.
All this to say, if you are a Mystic, you have to seriously consider how you are going to pay for all the stuff you will be putting into your deck. With a potential swing of 4 resources over the course of the game, Forbidden Knowledge is something worth considering, as it can reliably pay for one, if not two cards just by itself.
Benefit 3: Horror Can Be Managed (Or Turned Into a Positive)
Since you’re going to be taking 4 horror, you may as well as turn into a good thing. Thankfully, there are ways to do this, which I will list below.
- FK has long been used in Agnes Baker decks to deal damage on demand through her unique investigator ability. While you will want to exercise caution doing this, as you drive her nearer to being eliminated if you take all four horror this way, being able to deal 4 damage in addition to gaining 4 resources is great value off of 1 card.
- Peter Sylvestre is a great ally for any deck that can run both him and FK. If the damage on FK is assigned to Peter, he can just heal it at the end of the round. Of course, if this is the combo you are using, you should be aware that you in essence spent most of the resources from FK to pay for putting Peter Sylvestre into play. However, this is not a problem, as Peter is a great ally anyway and is practically always worth the resource cost investment.
- Building off the Peter/FK combo, Carolyn Fern can use this combo to double the amount of money she makes off of FK. This is because Carolyn will get a resource from FK, as per normal, but she will also gain a resource when Peter heals the horror that FK dished out. Effectively, Carolyn can gain 8 resources through clever use of FK. This is more money than Hot Streak gives out, and she spent 0 xp to have access to this combo.
- You can use the horror from FK to defeat Ally assets with doom on them. This combo can work especially well with David Renfield, who only takes one horror to defeat. Adding doom to Mystic allies is a strong balancing mechanic for their powerful effects; being able to work around the doom mechanics helps mitigate the risk of playing them.
- FK can be used to power up Key of Ys. Key of Ys is widely recognized as a very powerful card; however, if you aren’t able to put horror on it, it just sits there and doesn’t do anything. Being able to choose to pump it with horror gives it so much more synergy with your deck.
- FK can be used to get your sanity to the point where you can play Desperate skill cards. This is not the most optimal use of FK, but I feel it bears mentioning.
Barring all of these suggestions, most Mystics have a high sanity pool anyway and can take most, if not all, the horror right on their investigator card and potentially do okay. However, there are so many other potential ways to navigate the horror from this card, that you really should never have to do that.
Don’t Include If…
While Forbidden Knowledge offers you a lot of things, it’s not right for every deck. Here are some signs that FK is not a good fit for your deck. One of these signs alone is not enough to decide to outright not include this card. However, if your deck has 3 or more of these signs, I’d say definitely do not include Forbidden Knowledge.
Don’t include if…
1 – Your deck is inexpensive to play.
2 – You are playing an investigator who does not synergize with horror.
3 – Your investigator has low sanity.
4 – You have no plan on how your deck will handle the horror output of FK.
5 – You hope to keep your Allies alive as long as possible.
6 – You have already chosen other player cards to help with your resource generation.
Basically, if you are not prepared to work with the benefits of this card, don’t include it. It’s a good card in the right deck, but certainly not an auto-include.
Through this guide, I hope the benefits of this card have been made a little bit clearer. Forbidden Knowledge is a card I have loved playing, as it greatly exemplifies the Mystic motif of power at a price. It is also a card I am keeping an eye on, as the expanding card pool will doubtlessly allow for new combos to pop up for this card. If you’ve always avoided this card, I’d recommend giving it a shot, should you feel it warrants a space in your deck.
Thank you for reading this guide, and we hope to see you on your next adventure!