Are you the kind of player who likes
- Playing expensive cards?
- Getting a wide array of assets into play?
- Playing something a little bit combo-oriented?
If so, do I have a deck for you! Say hello to Ross & Robes decks. Inspired by Discount Diamond, a very similar deck, Ross & Robes has you put out powerful, expensive assets into play by allowing you to consistently play them with a nice discount.
The core of Ross & Robes is Charles Ross, Esq. (from The Unspeakable Oath) and Robes of Endless Night (from Jacqueline Fine’s starter pack). You can use either the level 0 or level 2 version of Robes to make this combo work.
Ross allows you to reduce the cost of the next Item asset played by an investigator at your location by 1. And, guess what kind of asset Robes of Endless Night is? That’s right, Robes is an Item. That means Ross can put Robes into play at a discount, and Robes then discounts your spells. This basically gives you a chain reaction of discounts that start to add up over time.
Not only do you get discounts, it’s worth mentioning that you also get a good amount of soak. Together, these cards provide you an additional 3 health and 2 sanity to work with. While the soak is not the main reason to play this combo, it certainly is a nice bonus!
The rest of your deck is constructed around the idea that you will be discounting two things, Items and Spells. From there, you basically go two routes. You can now stock up on powerful and expensive Items and Spells you normally would not combine together due to cost issues. Alternatively, you can also stock up on Items and Spells that cost 1 resource and begin tossing them out for 0, then use your resources for something else (such as pumping Arcane Studies, Higher Education, etc. or paying for other investigators’ Items with Ross’ ability).
If you go for the expensive Spell route, you may want to add in Uncage the Soul. This is optional, but can help you out further with your expensive Spells. Worst case scenario, you just commit Uncage the Soul for 2 Will icons. Note that Robes can help you discount Fast spells such as Ward of Protection and Hypnotic Gaze, which is something Uncage the Soul cannot do. Therefore, there is still value in taking both – it is not necessarily overkill to do this depending on how you built the deck.
If you go for the expensive Item route, you can go for Emergency Cache, Crack the Case, or another economy card instead of Uncage if you want some backup on ensuring you can pay for your cards. However, this is not completely necessary and is just an option if you are still worried about being able to pay for your deck. Keep in mind that the main draw of discount tools is that you don’t have to use the rest of your deck space on additional economy tools. Also note that Ross’ bonus can stack with itself as there is no deadline for when the “next” Item has to come out. That means if you were to say exhaust Ross over 3 rounds and no one played an Item, the next Item played at your location now costs -3. This is why extra economy for your Items is less beneficial than extra economy for your Spells.
Here are some good cards for Ross & Robes in Seeker/Mystic:
–Fingerprint Kit. Fingerprint Kit is a powerful card when in play, allowing you to pick up clues reliably 2 at a time. The main knock against it is that 4 resources is a steep cost, especially when Seekers have so many other options for their hand slots. Being able to knock the cost of Fingerprint Kit down makes it way more attractive.
-Cryptographic Cipher. If you’re unable to make use of the free trigger Investigate on Cipher, then it’s basically a more expensive Flashlight – not great. However, Ross can drop the cost of Cipher down, making it much more attractive to include in your deck.
–St. Hubert’s Key. This card feels amazing when it is in play, giving you two stats that your investigator likely really benefits from if they are running Ross & Robes in the first place. However, this card tends to get cut from decks in favour of less expensive accessories. Ross can help you make this card more playable.
-Seal of the Seventh Sign. This level 5 Spell card is very strong, but at 4 resources, it is too much to even be out for free with Uncage the Soul. I play a lot of Seal of the Seventh Sign, and it’s very common that playing it wipes out your economy. However, Robes combined with Uncage the Soul can put it out for NO resources! That’s right, you can seal the Autofail token for FREE.
–Ineffable Truth. If you are going the spell route with Robes and especially Uncage, then Ineffable Truth is easily a top tier spell card for your deck. This card gives you evasion and damage, and while the backlash effect causes you to lose resources, if you have your discount tools ready to go, you can have 0 resources and still put cards into play! Basically, the backlash effect of losing 1 or 2 resources doesn’t hurt you too badly if you are set up.
-Ward of Protection. Who can say no to a free Ward of Protection? This is a perfect use of Robes, as Ward cannot be discounted by Uncage the Soul. In addition, the 1 horror can go on Ross if needed.
–Shining Trapezohedron. This card can work great for Ross & Robes. Not only can Ross put this out for 0 resources, but afterwards Robes can reduce the difficulty of the Shining Trapezohedron tests by 1. This may be a bit overkill on economy, but if you are going big into Spells, then you may want to consider it.
-Magnifying Glass (level 0). This is a pretty great use of Ross as being able to play the level 0 Magnifying Glass for no resources makes it very similar to the level 1 Magnifying Glass.
–Sword Cane. It’s no secret that Sword Cane is incredibly powerful. Ross can make it cost 1 resource or even free, making it even better.
–Scrying (level 0 or 3). Scrying has a bit of a bad reputation for being slow, but being able to play it for no resources makes it feel a little bit faster. In addition, since Ross & Robes is an excellent multiplayer deck anyway, you could still see some value out of doing some Scrying for your team.
–Scroll of Secrets (level 0 or 3). Scroll of Secrets got way better with Taboo, and Ross lets you play it for 0 resources!
–Strange Solution (level 0 or 4). Strange Solution is already one of the most ridiculous Seeker cards in the game, and now you can play it for no resources. What more could you ask for?
Pros and Cons
-Putting out a wide tableau of powerful Assets that you normally would not be putting in a deck together due to cost. For example, my Ross & Robes Norman deck had Charles Ross, Esq., Fingerprint Kit, Cryptographic Cipher, and St. Hubert’s Key in play all at the same time. Also, the Fingerprint Kit I had at the end of the game was the second copy of Fingerprint Kit, so I had played it twice. Altogether, that’s 17 resources to play all those assets. However, thanks to my discounts, I was able to get them all in play without issue. With all of these strong assets in play, I had no problem absorbing clues wherever I went.
–Multiplayer support. Ross lets you pay for and discount your teammates’ Items. In addition, some of the discounted spells, such as Ward of Protection level 2, Time Warp, and Scrying, can be used to help out your allies.
-Taboo compliant. If you are looking for a new deck that not only works with the Taboo rules, but can take advantage of the new Scroll of Secrets, this deck could be for you!
–Minor soak. Ross and Robes gives you some helpful soak. For example, Ross & Robes Daisy gives you 8 health and 11 sanity.
–Flexible build paths. The core of the deck is designed to give you a lot of economy. From there, you can decide what you use that economy to do. You don’t have to be playing Fingerprint and Cipher; if you wanted to, you could put out combat-oriented assets instead. The key though is you do need a critical mass of both Items and Spells to make it all worth it.
–Good for a few investigators. I’ll feature 3 in particular who can make really good use of Ross & Robes, but definitely more than these 3 can use it. This is in contrast to Discount Diamond, which was specific to just Joe.
-Demands you have a good number of Asset & Event cards in hand. If you don’t have any cards to play, then your discounts aren’t going to help! Neither Ross nor Robes helps you draw cards at all, so you’ll need to figure out a way to get some extra cards in hand. For my deck, I solve this by adding cantrip skills like Guts and Perception but other options are possible.
–Your cards need to come up in a certain order to be helpful. If you don’t get Ross or Robes out early on, then you’re going to be left with a bunch of expensive cards that you can’t pay for at all. Make sure your Ross & Robes deck has a back up plan for how the deck functions if you don’t get Ross or Robes. Also, make sure you mulligan hard for cards that you need.
-You will spend a lot of actions playing Assets. Playing assets is great! The assets you play may help you speed up throughout the scenario. However, depending on what’s going on, you may not have the time to put all these assets into play – especially if you can’t pay for them when you need them. Make sure you are still using your actions wisely!
Who runs Ross & Robes?
Ross & Robes Norman is incredible, and I would say the main home for Ross & Robes in general. Both Ross and Robes are able to provide an additional discount to the top card of Norman’s deck, meaning you can easily be playing cards at -2 cost. That can let you do ridiculous things like play St. Hubert’s Key for 2 resources or Sword Cane for 0 off the top of the deck. In addition, playing with the top card of your deck revealed gives you an additional target for a card to play, helping minimize the problem of needing a certain size of hand to make the discounts useful. Finally, Robes can discount Norman’s signature Spell, if you want to play it.
You’re probably worried about Robes taking up Norman’s level 0 Mystic slots. To that I say, they absolutely deserve to be there. However, if this truly bothers you and you have something else you want in those slots, you can choose to purchase level 2 Robes with experience points.
With Harvey’s starter pack, there are also a few extra Seeker cards to help you get a critical mass of Spell cards at level 0. I use Feed the Mind and Occult Invocation to help ensure that Robes has targets without having to use up too many level 0 Mystic slots.
Tomes are Items. That’s it. Play this deck.
Okay, okay, I’ll say a little more! Aside from getting tomes into play that range from cheap to free, Daisy has plenty of targets for Spells because she has full Mystic level 0-2 access. The health and sanity soak can be quite useful to Daisy between her 5 health and a signature weakness that threatens to place 3 horror on Daisy. Finally, Daisy can reduce the cost of her Tote Bag with Ross, making it much more attractive to play. If Daisy goes for Strange Solution or just Shrewd Analysis upgradable assets in general, Ross can make them range from 0 to 1 resource cost. Additionally, Robes can discount upgraded Archaic Glyphs.
But yeah, anyway, Tomes are Items, play this deck.
Luke’s experience with Ross & Robes is a little bit different. The Robes part makes a lot of sense, especially level 2 Robes to avoid the attacks of opportunity when playing spells as if you were somewhere else and engaged with enemies. However, Luke is very event-centric, meaning that Item assets are a little less desirable. That doesn’t mean though that Luke can’t make use of Ross! Luke still has plenty of Item choices. Hawk-Eye Camera, St. Hubert’s Key, Occult Lexicon, Magnifying Glass, and of course Robes itself – all of these items are quite good for Luke. Another side note is that Luke is highly mobile. This means that if Luke wants to discount or pay for his teammates’ Items, he can easily organize moving to their location to make that happen.
Ross & Robes is a super fun and flexible archetype that enables a tableau of powerful cards to get into play, and the world is really your oyster once you get all these powerful and expensive assets out at the same time. There are many directions you can go with this archetype so I look forward to seeing how people develop it in the future. This is my Norman deck which I used to clear The Witching Hour in The Circle Undone teamed with Nathaniel Cho. Thank you for reading!