Winifred Unstoppable Action Machine | Hard | Deck Guide

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BerserkCatshew · 341

Winifred is an Unstoppable Action Machine | a.k.a. Foot is All You Need


Credit: fantasy flight games


TL;DR: This might be the most fun and broken non-infinite deck I've seen and in my personal (biased) opinion single-handly makes Winifred an A+ investigator.

is my favorite class in AHLCG, and Winifred Habbamock is my favorite rogue. However, while I absolutely loved her ability and unique playstyle, I had never quite figured out her deckbuilding.

Despite having access to some exciting big guns, building her as a main fighter seems like a trap since there are very few good rogue cards with icons. Furthermore, the nature of Wini's ability rewards you for commiting cards to tests, and a fighter only takes tests when there are enemies to fight, which is sub-optimal for her strategy.

So how about cluever-ing? Well, Lockpicks is a staple, Breaking and Entering is great and you can also use Lola Santiago and Intel Report to just buy clues if you're rich, except...

... I realized that Winifred doesn't need any of these.

Table of Contents:
  • Overview

  • Main Strategy

  • Synergies, Synergies, Synergies

  • Bad Cards are Good and Good Cards are Bad

  • Team Synergy -- Why Guardians Are Your Best Friends

  • Tips on Piloting

  • Upgrade Path

Difficulty: ★★★★☆
Enemy Management: ★★★★☆
Clue-getting: ★★★★☆
Encounter protection: ★★☆☆☆ (improves after future upgrades)
Survivability: ★★★☆☆
Economy: ★★★★★
Card Drawing: ★★★★★
Team Support: ★★★☆☆ (improves after future upgrades)

Main Strategy:

After you are fully set up (Leather Jacket + Hidden Pocket + Thieves' Kit + Ornate Bow + Crystallizer of Dreams + Leo De Luca), you should be commiting two cards to your every action, which means that you will be constantly testing at 7+ for investigate actions (8+ if you're using the upgraded Thieves' Kit), and 9+ for fight actions.

Even with the hard chaos bag (which is the difficulty we played in), this means oversuccess effects like Honed Instinct and Quick Thinking are very easy to trigger, giving you more actions to take more tests and draw more cards.

Later on in the campaign, you will be getting Ace in the Hole. Given how fast you will be cycling your deck, you will naturally be playing this card 2-3 times in a game, which brings a huge amount of value. During our playthrough of Innsmouth, I moved to an adjacent location, engaged and evaded spoilers, and then proceeded to shoot him for 12 damage with the rest of my turn :)

Synergies, Synergies, Synergies:
  • Crystallizer of Dreams is the centerpiece of your strategy. While what it does in this deck is pretty obvious, one important thing to note is that you can use its effect to keep one-off cards from looping in your deck. For example cards like Emergency Cache, Pay Day and Contraband that don't have icons and are less valuable after you are fully set up.

  • Underworld Market is a cornerstone for your set up. It will guarentee you seeing your Thieves' Kit, the Hidden Pocket to put it in, and the cash to pay for everything in at most 5 turns.

    • Underworld Market is such a great card for rogues that it reminds me of Stick to the Plan, an auto-include for any who can afford it. One of the reasons why this card is less good is that you'll often times find yourself putting random garbage in your deck just to satisfy the 10-illicit requirement.
    • In this deck, however, all of the cards in the market deck serve a purpose. Apart from the cards already discussed, Contraband doubles the supplies on your Thieves' Kit so you never run out, and Embezzled Treasure is a great way to save all of the extra cash you earned at the end of a game and share it with your teammates (or not).
  • This deck also has a somewhat interesting use for Friends in Low Places. In the early parts of the scenario, we need it to help us find our Crystallizer of Dreams, Leather Jacket and Ornate Bow. After we're fully set up, the versatile upgrade allows us to search for gambit cards: Swift Reflexes, Honed Instinct, "Watch this!" and Calculated Risk, which gives us more actions, resources and skill values.

Bad Cards are Good and Good Cards are Bad:

One of the reasons why I love this deck so much is how unintuitive some of the card choices can seem, and yet it becomes so obvious once you realize the core logic of how the deck works.

Bad cards are good:

  • Contraband is not usually considered an amazing card because of how expensive and situational it is. However things are much different if you can draw it and Thieves' Kit reliably with Underworld Market, and using it on Thieves' Kit essentially pays back the cost (or more with the upgraded version).

  • Swift Reflexes is basically the card version of "Skids" O'Toole's ability, the second worst investigator ability in the game. However this card with icons gets much better with Wini's ability and signature asset, not to mention that you will practically be swimming in resources for most of the game. It is also a gambit and is not limited to once per turn.

  • Versatile is a really fun and cool card, but most of the times putting in one card in your deck that you wouldn't even draw is not really worth the decrease in consistency of the +5 decksize. However, I managed to convince myself that smuggling a pair of Track Shoes is definitely worth it because:

    • It is slotless and increases your , which you will be testing ALL the time.
    • Its ability gives you more tests (= more card cycling...!) and free move actions.
    • It has both item and clothing traits, meaning you can find it with Friends in Low Places and even put a Hidden Pocket in it...!? On top of accelerating your setup, it frees you up to cycle your Leather Jacket for more damage soak.
    • Wini doesn't really care about the increase in decksize. The extra cards can even speed up her cycling more.
  • Alright, Narrow Escape is definitely not a bad card, but some might criticize it for being too situational. Well, in this deck Narrow Escape is basically two Unexpected Courages that draws you half a card. Also, as a Ornate Bow user, getting to ignore one AoO is huge.

  • 21 or Bust is ... still not very good, but at least it's a gambit event that has an icon for your level 0 deck. More importantly it brings a lot of happiness to the table :)

Good cards are bad:

  • Lockpicks A test only once per turn? And it doesn't give me anything but a clue? Ewww.

  • Faustian Bargain adds curses in the bag, which definitely will be drawn by you because you take tests like crazy. Also no icons.

  • Momentum's effect is negligible given the sheer amount of tests you are taking.

  • Lucky Cigarette Case is no competition with the accessory slot with Crystallizer of Dreams in this deck. Even if I get Relic Hunter, I would be playing my second copy of Crystallizer of Dreams just to get more low value cards out of the deck cycle.

Team Synergy -- Why Guardians Are Your Best Friends:

While this deck functions perfectly well on it own, I will admit that part of the reason it seemed broken to me was that I paired up with a Carson Sinclair and a Leo Anderson with a sniper rifle.

What your can do for you:

  • FIght enemies! While this is a deck with excellent damage output, it is essential that someone can take care of the enemies in the early game before you play your Ornate Bow.
  • Encounter protection! This deck is very weak against tests, and I'm too greedy to run "You handle this one!" because having situational cards in the deck would slow you down. This is why cards like "Let me handle this!". First Watch and horror tanking is so helpful for Winifred.
  • More supplies! Guardians run Stick to the Plan, which means they can have on-demand access to Emergency Cache, a great card for your Thieves' Kit you won't take because you're out of xp and deck slots ... and there's no icon. Guardians can also take Venturer which allows you to shoot 2 arrows consecutively.

What you can do for your :

  • Cash...! Most guardians are so very desperate for resources, and you've got just the right thing! After a few scenarios it's not hard to save up the full 10 resources on your Embezzled Treasure. Opening with an extra 5 resources is definitely going to make a guardian's day.
  • Ammo...! With a little coordination, you should be able to play Contraband right after they play their Extra Ammunition on a big gun, which probably means they don't need to play anything else for the rest of the game :)
  • Passing important tests! Later in the campaign you can pick up Money Talks, which can help your old man Leo Anderson to pass any test from anywhere on the map.

Tips on Piloting:

(Get it?? Okay sorry...)

  • Weaknesses: This is probably the highest-variance aspect of this deck. Like with most decks that cycle heavily, some weaknesses are very easy to deal with, while others will just completely screw you over.

    • Weaknesses like Indebted, The Devil • XV or The Tower • XVI are mild since you won't be drawing them multiple times. Others like the three Unspeakable Oath's you can also just keep in your hand until the last cycle.
    • On the other end of the spectrum, cards like Amnesia or Paranoia that stays in your deck and hit you hard every time you draw them would be super painful to play with. Of course, dealing with Doomed is very simple: you just aggressively cycle your deck until it kills you in the first scenario, and then you switch to another investigator :)
    • The weaknesses that stays in play for a while like Guardian of the Crystallizer and Haunted are the most interesting to deal with. Basically you want to deal with these after you've just shuffled your deck if possible, so that they don't show up again before the next cycle.
  • Setting up and taking flight: Given the many pieces for the full setup, this deck is a little tricky to get going. Leo De Luca and Crystallizer of Dreams are the targets you should mulligan for.

    • Before you have the extra hand slot, you might consider prioritizing playing Thieves' Kit over Ornate Bow if there's another capable fighter on your team. Thieves' Kit can help you cycle your deck faster and refund its own cost while you search for the rest of your setup.
    • Don't feel bad to draw cards or take resources with your actions in the early game. You will make up the lost tempo when you are fully set up (also it is faster than you'd expect, since many of the cards are fast and you have so many actions each turn).
    • Don't save your strongest cards! While it might make sense to save Ace in the Hole for the boss or Anything You Can Do, Better for a really bad treachery, remember that you lose out on value if you don't use these cards before you shuffle your deck!
    • Keep cards out of the cycle! Sometimes it can be really tempting to just commit your second copy of Leo De Luca or Crystallizer of Dreams to your teammate's tests, but you should be aware that doing so would slow you down in the next deck cycle.

Upgrade Path:

Here I've provided the link to the 0xp deck. Upgrading from this version of the deck should be fairly self-evident.

In terms of further upgrades, apart from Ace in the Hole and Versatile-ing a pair of Track Shoes, Haste gives you your fifth action (most of your actions are activate actions), and Money Talks is a fast-draw-gambit-event that helps your teammates pass important tests.

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Aug 30, 2023 knoxb · 1

In a higher xp game would you ever consider replacing ornate bow with sharpshooter + beretta?

Aug 30, 2023 sevento · 1

Thumbs up and a like just for the piloting pun alone. Great deck.

Aug 31, 2023 BerserkCatshew · 341

@sevento Thanks! ;)

@knoxb I would probably advice against it. Beretta M1918 is not a bad card, and it wouldn't be terrible even in a focused deck like this one. Unfortunately though, Sharpshooter is ultimately a pretty bad card (although I also love the design and would love to see it work). Exp aside, it takes up an extra deck slot and an additional combo piece, but only gives you one (almost) guaranteed success per turn. This is not that good, especially considering that you will be testing at 9+ for your Ornate Bow actions anyways. Yes you will have to evade and reload and all that, but that wouldn't really be an issue with all of the actions you are getting. I understand that 1.5 damage/action doesn't look that good on paper, but you'll be amazed at what you can do in a turn with all your extra actions after picking up Ace in the Hole later in the campaign.