One of the most exciting parts of this game is seeing what new playstyles emerge as the card pool grows. With that in mind, I would like to start talking about some of the theorizing that has been going on with some of the more recent releases, as well as some of the spoiled card from the FFG articles. The goal is to start to glimpse the future of what kind of decks, combos, and playstyles might evolve as more cards and scenarios come down the pipe.
“Freeze! Don’t move!”
Right now, the most interesting playstyle being discussed is something I am christening “Bunkering”. It has also been discussed as the Stationary Seeker, but since it’s possible investigators other than Seekers will be able to pull this off with varying degrees of success, I decided to make a name that was less class specific.
The main concept of Bunkering is you pick a location, play a Barricade (although really it should be Barricade (3) from RNotZ), and just stay there in relative safety for as long as you can. Literally, just stay there and don’t move. The Bunkering investigator is usually a fragile Seeker, so the big draw to this strategy is your Seeker gets to sit in a safe haven and do Seeker things with near impunity.
The location for the Bunker is hugely important. Here are three good ideas for where to Bunker (links contain spoilers for scenarios):
- Terminal locations, i.e, locations that are the last place you have to go in a scenario.
- Locations that punish you for sharing a location with enemies.
- Locations with a lot of clues.
Bunkering at any of these locations can help you be safe while you either wipe the location of all the clues on it or just stay safe while you get other stuff done, such as play assets or heal.
There are two major downsides to Bunkering at this point. The first is most scenarios demand you move from place to place or you just can’t win, so you have to be mindful of how long you Bunker for. The doom timer is vicious, so you have to make sure that you are balancing your need to be safe with your need to be efficient. The second issue is Elite enemies can still get in to your Barricade (3). You may want to have a friend nearby to defend you, or at least, have some kind of backup plan in case this happens.
While the current card pool doesn’t necessarily support this strategy quite yet, there are certainly a number of cards in a few different colours that make this an interesting design space for decks already.
- Looking to kill from behind your Barricade? Well, now you can. Dynamite Blast and the fresh out of the blister pack Marksmanship will help you deal damage without leaving the safety of your chair fortress.
- If you’re not the damage-dealing type, don’t worry. You can play Hiding Spot, attach it anywhere from inside your fortress, and suddenly all those big bad enemies get aloof. Hopefully, your compatriots can handle themselves from there.
- Need to gather clues at other locations from behind your Barricade? Oh boy, do we ever have that. Deciphered Reality will allow you to get a clue from every revealed location. In the Know will let you investigate other locations as well. Seeking Answers can let you investigate connecting locations form your location.
- Looking to get Hunter enemies to stop running at everyone else from behind your Barricade? Play Lure on yourself from behind your Barricade! Every enemy will move towards you, except, oh wait, they can’t get actually come in to your location. Laugh uproariously as Hunters stop chasing your other friends and claw helplessly at your Barricade instead. Be careful, though, because this effect can cause Elites to move towards you and Elites can enter a Barricade (3).
- Are you Minh Thi Phan? Congratulations, you can commit skill cards to other investigators from inside your Bunker. Play your signature asset, Analytical Mind, and be the Bunker Queen you were born to be.
While those cards let you affect other locations, it’s good to think about what cards are going to help you get work done once you are in your Bunker location. Here are some good ones.
- You probably picked the spot you did because you want to scoop up clues as fast as possible. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to do this that are more interesting that just picking Rex. Archaic Glyphs (Guiding Stones) and Deduction can help speed up your clearing speed, especially if combined with a well timed Double or Nothing.
- Cards that turn on when there are clues on your location will do very well in a Bunker situation. This includes Inquiring Mind, Preposterous Sketches, and Roland’s .38 Special. Now, at this point you may be thinking, if you’re in a Barricade (3), why mention Roland’s .38 Special at all? A few things. First, Marksmanship with this card will let you deal 3 damage with a +4 fight bonus to an enemy in a connecting location, because of the clues on your Bunker. That’s a powerful shot. Second, you will be able to deal with Elites slipping in to your Barricade extremely easily using Roland as your Bunker buddy. Third, if you had enemies in your desired Bunker location prior to setting up your Barricade, Roland can dispatch them easily with his gun.
- Cards that feature putting clues back on your location as a cost to use them are excellent for a Bunker. You aren’t leaving that location anyway and can pick up the clues again easy-peasy, especially since you were planning on vacuuming up clues with your deckbuild anyway. Forewarned is a clear example, but Dr. William T. Maleson in particular is nigh busted in a Barricade (3) Bunker. Why? Let’s say you draw a non-Elite enemy. It doesn’t spawn on you anyway, so you are fairly safe. Let’s say you draw an Elite enemy or a treachery that you don’t want to deal with. Dr. Maleson will let you draw a new encounter card, and, here’s the big part, if your new card is a non-Elite enemy it, again, doesn’t spawn on you. So, in essence, nothing really happens outside of a mob of monster forming outside your wall, which may or may not matter, as we will see a bit later.
- “Let me handle this!” can take non-Elite monster spawns away from an investigator and have them spawn on top of you. Unless you are in a Barricade (3). Then the enemy spawns in a connecting location. So potentially the monster now spawns on top of nobody at all because you played this from your Bunker. “You handle this one!” results in the same effect from the other direction.
- At some point you will have to leave your sweet, sweet home. If you are able to, you can do it in style with Astral Travel. Did a ton of monsters sit outside your Barricade? Hitch a ride on the Elusive express by walking into all of them and and just reappearing somewhere else. “I’m outta here!” is also great if you are playing a “resign-to-win” scenario (or otherwise just actually need to resign to not get totally wrecked). Or, if you don’t have access to these tools, Dynamite Blast, Cunning Distraction, or Survival Instinct should be enough to buy you enough of what you need to get out of your monster mob successfully.
Who Can Run a Bunker Deck?
The key to being able to run a Bunker strat is you need the person who is actually running the Bunker, the “Bunkergator” and people who are going to be “Bunker buddies” who are going to back up the main Bunker person.
The main Bunkergators are Minh, Rex, and Lola. Minh has access to Seeker cards, plus Survivor cards such as Hiding Spot, Lure, Cunning Distraction and so on. She also has Analytical Mind to help from across the map. Rex can wipe locations extremely fast, and take things like Dynamite Blast or Hiding Spot in his 5 out-of-class selections. Lola can take any of the cards mentioned here. Barricade also doesn’t require her to be a Seeker for it to stay useful, so this strategy is really not hindered by her role restrictions. (Be advised though, that Crisis of Identity can cause Lola to discard Barricade.)
The best Bunker Buddies are Roland and Mark. Roland’s gun and his ability to run Seeker cards 0-2 gives him access to most Bunkering possibilities. In fact, Roland is basically a secondary Bunkergator once he gets into the Bunker. Mark has access to the previously mentioned Guardian cards, but crucially can also run Barricade (0) and Hiding Spot. He also likes to run True Grit and Brother Xavier, which is great because he can shift damage and horror away from his Seeker and onto his assets (and then pray you don’t draw [spoiler]). For Roland and Mark neither of their signature weaknesses are challenging if they are confined to the bunker. In fact, Roland’s Cover Up becomes easier to deal with, because you are likely safely camped out on a location full of clues. The Dirge of Reason is also not a problem on a Bunker because you are safe enough where you are that picking the clues back up should be no problem.
The worst Bunkergator is Ursula. Don’t run Bunker on Ursula. Not only will you not get to make use of her special ability, you also will get destroyed by your signature weakness.
There are a lot of bad Bunker Buddies. The main ones to mention here are Zoey, Jenny, and “Ashcan” Pete. Zoey wants things to spawn on top of her to activate her ability and her signature weakness can go off easily if she’s not able to reach her Smite the Wicked target. Jenny has the same problem due to Searching for Izzie and frankly, Sacrifical Beast is not an improvement since it spawns as far away from you as possible, i.e, not on your Bunker. While Pete can take a lot of great Bunkering cards, he really wants to make use of the mobility afforded to him by Duke‘s investigate ability, so again, not a great partner.
Is Bunkering a viable strategy? On some scenarios, it very well could be! Still I think we are just beginning to explore Bunkering as a potential playstyle and the card pool doesn’t quite support it just yet, although it’s certainly getting close. We will have to see what new cards come out that help take this strategy to the next level. All in all, give Bunkering a try some time, and see if you have fun with it!