Marie Lambeau - Just Take a Look, It's in a Book (er, Atlas)

Card draw simulator

Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
None yet

MonocleMan · 90

Marie Uses the Power of Books to Investigate the Mythos


Introduction

Astronomical Atlas is an incredibly powerful card, giving mystics a way to power draw through their deck and allowing for double-use shenanigans with skills. However, it suffers from what I call the One Investigator Usage Problem (TM), which is when a card performs so well with one investigator that its usage with other investigators goes largely untested. Looking at published decklists for the Atlas there's only three pages, 90% of which are Norman Withers decks, and while recurring deductions over and over is a wild ride, the Atlas is too cool, flexible, and fun to not explore its uses in other investigators.


Overview

So why Marie Lambeau? Well, Marie has a few notable qualities that she can utilize to take advantage of the Atlas's power, such as...

  • Marie's limited off-class deck-building: it gives her access to Research Librarian to tutor out the Atlas along with Seeker skills like Eureka!, Deduction, Inquiring Mind, etc.

  • Marie's statline: In order to pull the cards out of the Atlas you need to be able to commit them to a test and succeed at that test, and Maries's 4 and 4 means that you can always commit a card to a test and likely succeed at it, even if you're just committing a Read the Signs to a basic investigate. This is especially important for the lower-level spell assets since they don't commit for symbols until after they're upgraded, so you'll need to commit them to a basic investigate to get them out. Her 3 is nice as well, allowing you to commit an Unexpected Courage or Research Librarian to random treacheries or evades.

  • Marie's signatures: It's no secret that Baron Samedi is a difficult weakness, but the Atlas helps you with it in a roundabout way. When you use the Atlas to look at the top card of your deck, if it's a weakness, you actually just leave it on top. This gives you a head's up for when the Baron's going to show up and allows you to prepare for his arrival. Mystifying Song is nice little synergy with the Atlas in that it commits for 2 icons. Not huge, but it is an upside.

  • Marie's ability: More actions means more tests taken, which means more time to make use of your skill cards and greater likelihood of being able to take a test relevant to the cards underneath the Atlas.

Keep in mind while reading the rest of this guide that this was played in a two-player game, so a lot of the card and play-pattern choices are taken with that context in mind. I have no real experience at higher player counts, so use your best judgement when adapting this decklist for your games.


Notable Card Choices

Before going into the specific cards choices for this deck, the general theme here is that every card has a relevant skill icon that can be committed to a test from under the Atlas. This means only , , and icons. There are no icons and the only icons are from Eureka! and Research Librarian by necessity. Hard to pull a Shrivelling out of the atlas if you're only testing at 2 total. Also excluded are cards like Emergency Cache or Delve Too Deep. These cards don't have any skill test icons and thus cannot be committed from the Atlas, trapping them forever.

The Book Loan Program

  • Research Librarian is your friendly local library docent that can tutor out the Atlas from your deck. He effectively acts as a second and third copy of Astronomical Atlas to help ensure you can have it within the first few turns of the game.

  • Occult Lexicon is a backup Tome that can be found with your Research Librarian in case you've already found your Atlas. The Blood-Rites that you shuffle into your deck help dilute away from Baron Samedi and have relevant icons that can be committed from under the Atlas. It also gives you the ability to deal with enemies or grab additional resources in a pinch, and the Blood-Rites are spells for Marie's ability.

  • Astronomical Atlas: The star of the show. The deck is built around it, so it would be silly not to include it. I only ran one copy and didn't feel like I needed another. This saved me experience to spend on other things and you draw so much with even with just one copy that I was frequently running into hand size issues. I also very frequently had it in my opening hand thanks to the Research Librarians, so the redundancy of a second copy felt unnecessary. However, there are definite upsides to running two copies so try it out and let me know how it goes!

Spells: The Thinking Man's Clue-Getting

The Skills To Pay the Bills

One of the benefits of Astronomical Atlas is getting multiple uses out of skills, once when you commit them from the Atlas and then a second time after committing them from your hand.

  • Guts and Perception give you a ton of card draw. Between these and the extra draw from the Atlas I decked out in almost every scenario. Eureka! is card draw and additional filtering in the rare case that you didn't end up with the Atlas or Librarians in your opening hand.

  • Ghastly Possession is insane value when played twice because of the Atlas. You can use it to place a doom on a spell asset to enable Marie's ability and then use it later to remove that doom before the agenda advances. Or, use it to replenish charges twice to give you incredible tempo over the game.

Economy: Actually Paying Your Bills

  • Uncage the Soul: Simple discount for your spells and commits for 2 . This is upgraded to Uncage the Soul (3) which, beyond the general usefulness of "recharging" your spells, allows to you discard a spell with doom on it from Ghastly Possession or her effect and then replay it before the agenda advances.

  • Voice of Ra is here in place of Emergency Cache because it has an icon that be committed to tests, ensuring it won't get trapped under the Atlas, and is also a spell to get maximum use out of Marie's ability.

  • David Renfield: A classic ally pairing for Marie. Putting doom on him activates your ability, the extra health is useful for cushioning her 6 health pool, and the extra boost is always useful.

The Weird Stuff

  • Parallel Fates: Similar to Eureka!, this allows you to filter through your deck in case you haven't found your Atlas or Librarians yet. Once you have your Atlas, you can use it to order the top cards of your deck to ensure that your skills are going under the Atlas. It's also useful for finding Baron Samedi and placing him in such a way that he doesn't disrupt your plans.

  • Foresight: I added this one pretty late in the campaign so I'm not sure how useful it is. Ideally, once the Atlas or Parallel Fates tells you where Baron Samedi is you can use it to cancel his revelation effect and just discard him. Very strong way to deal with her signature weakness, but I only had one scenario to try it and it never fired, but in theory if it works it saves a ton of stress.

  • Grounded: A nice one-of to give you a little extra soak and extra skill value for no action cost. Especially while Baron Samedi is out, the extra 2 health soak is really useful. Plus, it commits for 2 symbols!


Notable Card Exceptions

  • Promise of Power: Getting double use out of 4 symbols is insane value, so why did I not include it? Honestly, unless I'm running a curse deck I just prefer not to run Promise of Power. I know, logically, that the chances of the curse token impacting a test are really low but I've had enough important tests failed by a random curse token that I just prefer not to run it. If you have no hangups on using it, feel free to swap it out with the Prophesy.

  • Charisma: Charisma is the usual go-to answer to Baron Samedi in most Marie lists to protect your ally from being discarded when Baron Samedi is drawn. However, both allies in this list are expendable. Once the Research Librarian has found the Atlas you can sacrifice him to the next damage or horror you take, and once David has given you some resources you actually want him to be discarded so that he doesn't advance the agenda. Besides, with the amount of draw this deck has you'll find another soon enough. Not only that, but sometimes I was actually happy to see the Baron because placing doom on him enabled Marie's ability for an extra action a turn.

  • Holy Rosary/St. Hubert's Key/Living Ink: While some form of a stat boost is usually a staple for 4 mystics, I opted not to include one because the Atlas functionally behaves as a "stat boost" asset, since you'll be committing a card from it to a relevant test every turn, which translates as a +1 or a +2 skill value to one or two tests each turn. Living Ink also doesn't have any skill test icons, so it has anti-synergy with the Atlas.

  • Moonlight Ritual: This was included in the original list that I played as an emergency release valve for the doom cards in case we were in danger of advancing the agenda too soon, but I never actually had a need for it. Perhaps that was just the luck of the draw, so use your judgement for inclusion into your deck.


Main Strategy

This deck largely plays like a standard Mystic cluever deck; play David Renfield, play your spells, get clues. However, the addition of the Astronomical Atlas and the associated card draw, as well as a focus on skills and committing cards from the Atlas, leans it more towards a tempo-oriented playstyle than your typical Mystic deck. Here I'll detail some of the tips and tricks of playing this deck.

Mulligan

  • You have two cards that you'll want to hard mulligan for: Astronomical Atlas and Research Librarian. If you don't see them, pitch it away.

  • If you do see one of those cards in your opening hand, your second priority becomes the spells and David Renfield.

  • Even if you aren't able to find your Atlas or Librarian in your opening hand, Marie's 4 means that she can still progress the game while using cards like Perception, Eureka!, and Parallel Fates to search for the Atlas. While the Atlas is a very strong card, this isn't a deck that sinks or swims on the whims of finding one particular card.

Maintaining Tempo

  • This deck doesn't have many assets that it needs to get into play to be set up. Once you have the Atlas and a spell in play you're pretty much good to go.

  • Marie's 4 and the number of card commits from both hand and Atlas means that she's not reliant upon using spells exclusively to gain clues. You can basic investigate a low shroud location a couple times, move to a new location, and then use your Clairvoyance on the higher shroud location. This ability to sprinkle in basic investigations means she rarely has dead turns while she waits to find new spells to play.

  • Be aggressive with your card commits from the Atlas. There's always more cards to draw and more fuel for the fire.

Gaining Value

  • Once you have a doom on a card you control, make sure that you actually use that additional action to either play a spell or activate one. Important to note, that Uncage the Soul does not benefit from her additional action.

  • Remember that Read the Signs, Voice of Ra, and Blood-Rite are all spells that count for her additional action.

  • Use Parallel Fates to order the cards on the top of your deck such that every other card is a skill so that the Atlas can get the maximum value from double committing.

Flexibility and Teamwork

  • This deck's high amount of card commits and four actions in a turn meant that when a , , or even treachery entered play, I could easily clear them out without feeling like I was wasting actions. This gives the deck a huge amount of flexibility to combat whatever the mythos throws your way.

  • If you already have your Atlas and dealt with the Baron, you can use spare actions for Parallel Fates and Foresight on your team-mate, or even the encounter deck if they don't need the help.


Upgrade Path

When upgrading cards in a deck I put them into three broad categories - Core, Secondary, and Luxury - and prioritize upgrading in that order. Core cards are necessary for the functionality of the deck. Secondary cards support the Core cards but are not key to the deck's function. Luxury cards are nice upgrades but the deck can function without them.


Conclusion

While I have played other Marie decks that attempted to lean into the doom archetype that she's more associated with, they've never really clicked with me. They often feel too slow and clunky for my taste, and required that I play within a very rigid framework dictated by the doom clock. This deck, however, leans just enough into it to activate her ability while utilizing other cards, primarily the Atlas, to play a much faster and more versatile deck than a Doom deck, or even a typical Mystic deck, which has made it my favorite Marie deck and one of my favorite overall decks. I also think there's a lot of room to try out other cards within this shell. I'm particularly interested in building a more curse-focused build when Hemlock Vale comes out. If this deck interested you, I hope you try it out for yourself!

1 comments

Feb 10, 2024 RyanMuQ · 199

Happy to see a Mystic as a clue-getter! Atlas is a real reliable card-draw machine for Mystics. I tried to include it in my deck but found it constrains my deck building for the card must have proper skill icons otherwise it will be locked into the tome (byebye Living Ink). Marie could be another good fit as she can investigate with her 4.

What are your fellows or you just investigate alone?