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When you would fail a skill test on a card by 1 or less, exhaust Lab Coat: You succeed by 0, instead.

It makes you feel like you know what you're doing, even when you're in way over your head.
Pixoloid Studios
The Scarlet Keys Investigator Expansion #50.
Lab Coat


(from the official FAQ or responses to the official rules question form)
  • Q: I would like to know how the automatic failure and the Lab Coat interact. We have some doubts about what happens if the test's difficulty is 1 or 0. Example: - I have Lab Coat and Alchemical Distillation in play. - I activate the Alchemical Distillation and make an Intellect test with difficulty 1. - I draw the automatic failure. What would happen in this case, can I activate the Lab Coat and succeed by 0? Or since I drew the automatic failure, would I fail anyway? A: If you failed the Alchemical Distillation test by pulling the Autofail token, you could exhaust Lab Coat to instead succeed by 0. (Rules Form, December 2023)
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This can be read to be a +1 on any skill tests performed on Seeker cards which is solid since there are a lot of seeker events and assets that request skill checks. It doesn't help with any of the "For each point you succeed by" effects though.

Also, while an FAQ entry is yet to come out, I believe that assuming the difficulty of the test is 1 or 0 this will protect against even the autofail token. The autofail token sets your result to 0 and says you fail. Then this reaction kicks in and you succeed instead. Probably best use of that would be it means guaranteed success on Alchemical Distillation.

kamiidude · 35
Are there many Seeker assets with skill checks, though? I like this card but I feel like the tricky part is that many Seekers' most common action is to investigate with a basic action with a couple static boosts from Mag Glass or whatever. — housh · 164
#Cryptographic Cypher, #Fingerprint Kit, #In the Know, #Otherworldly compass, #Pocket Telescope — kamiidude · 35
This does not save you from auto-fails. In fact, even if you perform a difficulty 0 test, an auto-fail will still result in failure. — Novenae · 1
(that was my first comment on a review, I accidentally posted it without finishing my message, so here goes) An auto-fail token makes you fail. It then *also* sets your value to 0, for the purposes of calculating how much you failed by, in case the test cares about that. IT's not like an auto-fail causes you to fail by setting your value to 0, which then *probably* fails, except if the difficulty is 0. You just fail. The 'set-to-zero' part is only sometimes relevant. — Novenae · 1
I agree, the autofail says you fail regardless of skill value. This card says when you would fail (so after the autofail token has already resolved) you succeed instead. — kamiidude · 35
In my opinion, I think Lab Coat may work with auto fail. According to Eucatastrophe, the triggering condition of Lab Coat is satisfied; I want to note that the timining of Eucatastrophe is earlier than this, so that our skill value is already zero. — elkeinkrad · 473
Also, "instead" may replace the failure from the auto-fail. Of course, it is possible that Lab Coat cannot replace the failure from auto-failure effect, but I think it can do. — elkeinkrad · 473

I have to say, to release Lab Coat in the same expansion as Research Notes, Gray's Anatomy, and Grim Memoir is a cruel joke. Clearly Lab Coat is better at serving cards from older expansions, but that's penalizing players getting into Arkham Horror LCG starting at Scarlet Keys.

Anyway, here are the 21 cards that Lab Coat makes a difference on (19 if you don't count the non-recommended options):

Now, the positive effect that Lab Coat has on most of these card amounts to a +1 boost, which given that it affects neither basic actions nor non- cards, is just inferior to a simple +1 boost. The truly unique to Lab Coat benefit is the ability to succeed tests on an draw. However, this requires your test to be difficulty 1 (or less), which at which point that extra protection is mostly for peace of mind; at best your Lab Coat protects you against a 1 in 14 chance.

In conclusion... I don't ever want to consign a card to binder fodder, but man is this card trying it's absolute best to be worthless. It's useless by itself (unless you count soak but once used as soak, it cannot be used for it intended purpose), and when in a combo, either the test is too trivial to warrant its use, or too high to make it anything other that a worse +1 . It should've cost 0. I like that now has a body slot asset, and a flavorful one too, but the card pool does not exist to make taking it worthwhile.

Lucaxiom · 4064
You're right, it's not very good, but some players in my group like it just because now the body slot has a boost; they love just getting a giant base intellect stat with hands, allies, accessory, and tarot, and can now add body to the list. It's suboptimal, but will make some players happy. — Hylianpuffball · 26
Not saying, this makes it a good card, I think, it is still too restrictive, working only on seeker cards. But it's still interacting with one card, you have not mentioned in your review: The 13th Vision. — Susumu · 351
A conditional tappable +1 is in some ways outright better than a +1 in a stat, since it can save you from spending resources or skills on each test until you hit the point where you need it. The Seeker restriction making this almost exclusively an int test is fairly restrictive compared to something like Granny Orne. I expect some future cards to make this look a lot more appealing, though. — SSW · 206
I think we need to wait for Kate Winthrop to really see the use of this card. Alchemical Distillation is probably the most interesting. With it, you will always succeed the tests. It is possible that there will be more science cards with this archetype. — Valentin1331 · 60811
It’s strange because it felt like Kate might be a seeker who likes doing tests on seeker cards that’s not where they went with her. I tried it with a microscope Luke build but soon realised Mouse Mask does a way better job, as it recharges every time he goes in his gate box and helps boost will tests to boot. Maybe some future investor will make the most of it. — Snakesfighting · 94

Limited applications, but say Darrell Simmons fails a skills test on a Seeker Asset by 2. Granny Orne intercedes and he’s down only one. He immediately triggers the reaction on his Lab Coat to pass by zero. Could be worth the setup if you’re already recurring Fingerprint Kit, on a higher difficulty, for example.

PJFrigate · 313
How about Granny Orne (0), instead of Granny Orne (3)? With Granny Orne (0), regardless of the value of token except auto-fail currently arguable ruling, the test can be succeed by 0 whenever the difficulty of the test is equal or less than 2. — elkeinkrad · 473
Rex can do the same thing if you're using Granny 0, and given his deckbuilding is arguably *more* likely than Darrell to fail Seeker-based skill tests by simple dint of having more Seeker cards in his deck. Though, Darrell can more easily get tests to difficulty 1 or 2, so... swings and roundabouts? They both sound at least plausible takers? — Prinny_wizzard · 251
I meant to add - Rex can also treat his Elder Sign as the autofail to draw 3 cards. Getting to pass the skill test *as well* seems pretty fun. — Prinny_wizzard · 251
I don't think Granny Orne 0 would work here -- she doesn't change your skill value, only your margine of failure. — OrionAnderson · 48
Oops, nevermind, I'm being silly — OrionAnderson · 48