A card to play: the True Magick

Card draw simulator

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Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
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ethereal64 · 253


Mystics are known for their flexibility, doing anything and everything with their .

Introduced in EotE, True Magick pushed that flexibility to the limit, as they don't even need to play their spells beforehand anymore. This deck aims to push this Relic itself to the limit, and become the ultimate problem solver for any group of any size and composition.

This deck is playtested in a 4P Hard TFA run, and was very successful.

Tip: the missing card of the deck is Cat Mask, it's not in the list because it hasn't been included in ADB's deck creation database.

Table of Contents:
  • Overview

  • Main Strategy

  • An offer you can't refuse

  • Sleight of Hand (but not really)

  • Assemble the pieces

  • Magick gathering

  • Upgrade Path

  • Behind the Scene

Difficulty: ★★★☆☆ (Planning and sequencing)
Enemy Management: ★★★★☆ (9 dmg per turn max, normally 8 in 1 action)
Clue-getting: ★★★★☆ (9 clues per turn max, normally 7 in 1 action)
Flexibility: ★★★★★★★★★★★★ (Why this deck exists)
Encounter protection: ★★★☆☆ (Campaign dependent: more test the better)
Survivability: ★★★☆☆ (6/6, but healing and soak are available)
Economy: ☆☆☆☆☆ (Always starve for cash)
Card Drawing: ★★★☆☆ (Drawing? No. Searching? Yes.)

Main Strategy:

An offer you can't refuse:

The single most important card in this deck (besides True Magick, of course) is a rarly played card: Blood Pact (0); in fact, even with unlimited xp, you never (EVER!) upgrade it to the lvl3 permanent version.

This card has 2 irreplaceable functions:

  • It's a spell, which translates to a +2 / on tap. You might think "add 1 doom" is a serious cost, but is it really?

  • Triggering Blood Pact adds a doom to TM, and this is where Sin-Eater comes in: not only did it gather all the dooms for you to remove them later, but more importantly, it adds 1 charge to TM to be used later (or if the situation demands, ready TM for another exhaust)

But wait, there's more!

Enter Cat Mask, a / booster that replenishes when a card with no doom adds one. Normally, that means occasional recharge after agenda advance or cultist spawn; but with Blood Pact (0) and Sin-Eater, that's 2 reliable replenish for a total of 4 boosts EACH TURN.

Now, tell me again why should I ever consider Blood Pact (3)?

Sleight of Hand (but not really):

Since the deck centers around spells, Sign Magick naturally comes to mind. Because of how True Magick works, it combos exceptionally well with SM: any 2 spells in your hand can be cast for a single action, as long as they are different named.

And keep in mind that Sin-Eater is a Ritual card, so even if you only have 1 usable spell in hand, you can always use SM's extra action to clear the doom on S-E.

Now, with everything fully setup, we generate 3 charges on True Magick every turn (1 from the book itself, 1 from Blood Pact (0) / Sin-Eater, and 1 from Twila). So preferably, we want to use up all of them in 1 action and leave the remaining 2 for utility, this brings us to Haste

When triggering the ability on spell assets, you have performed an Activate action in addition to any other potential actions (i.e. Investigate for Clairvoyance or Fight for Azure Flame). Thus, after the 2nd action you performed via Sign Magick, you have performed 2 Activate actions in a row, so now you can use Haste to do a 3rd (thanks to TM, this can be any spell in your hand.)

Assemble the pieces:

If build properly, Molly Maxwell is the single most efficient asset-searching card in the game, and this deck aims to take full advantage of that.

Each of the important pieces can be searched by Molly via a unique trait:

The above list is ranked by importance of the card IMO. Do note that Twila is nothing more then icing on the cake because Blood Pact (0) can do her job (and then some) for a grand total of 0r and 0 action. 2 charges per turn is enough most of the times (so you find 7 clues / deal 8 dmg each turn instead of 9, big deal).

The actual spells you do your jobs with can be searched via Arcane Initiate and Word of Command; or, if the situation demands it, just name the spell trait and see what your deck gives you. Also, note that you can use Sin-Eater on Arcane Initiate to search twice in a turn.

To search for Molly, we have 3 other allies and Calling in Favors. SoS and Black Market provides general card drawing,

Magick Gathering:

True Magick is any of your spell asset in hand, so its flexibility is at peak when you are holding 8 spells. One of those 8 slots goes to Blood Pact (0), which leaves 7 for competition.

  • Azure Flame: Primary Enemy Manage spell. I mostly play on hard, so it's less likely to backfire then Shrivelling. Armageddon is nice before you have the xp to upgrade spells as it won't backfire and have Cursed trait for Molly (also, in very rare cases, it can combo with the curse token thrown in by Faustian Bargain).

  • Clairvoyance: Primary Investigate spell. The backfire is way more manageable then Rite of Seeking. Like the case with Azure Flame, Eye of Chaos is nice in early stage of the campign.

  • Sixth Sense: Secondary Investigate spell. Sign Magick requires a different spell, so each primary needs an addition that preferably don't use charge.

  • Enchanted Bow: Secondary Enemy Manage spell. This is actually a priority upgrade as other fighting spells either use charge or are too lackluster to include.

  • Suggestion: Secondary Enemy Manage spell, for rare cases like when you are engaged with a Pit Viper. You almost always test at 10+ (base 7, tarot +1, cat mask +2) so it could be considered charge-less. Blur has a higher ceiling but need charge, I find the trade (1 charge for 1 utility action) very unattractive.

  • Clarity of Mind and Healing Words: supporting & survival spell. Can be used by TM, but I would prefer play them into the utility slot (the 3rd arcane slot granted by Sign Magick) and activate them with utility actions. 8/8 healing should be more than enough to carry you through the scenario. Also, remeber that you NEVER put lvl0 version of them in to your deck. Just use Leather Jacket and Holy Rosary at the start of the campaign.

Upgrade Path:

Do note the lvl0 cards presented here are only a suggestion. When creating a lvl0 deck, just keep all the the lvl0 cards presented in the main deck (again, don't forget Cat Mask), and the rest is all up to you.

 Cost  Total
   In the Thick of It  →  Charon's Obol 2 XP 2 XP
   In the Thick of It  →  Four of Cups 1 XP 3 XP
Core Pieces
   Fearless  →  True Magick ••••• 5 XP 8 XP
    +  Sin-Eater ••• 6 XP 14 XP
   Dark Prophecy  →  Sign Magick ••• 3 XP 17 XP
   Dark Prophecy  →  Haste •• 2 XP 19 XP
   Fearless  →  Black Market •• 2 XP 21 XP
   Guts  →  Black Market •• 2 XP 23 XP
   Wither  →  Enchanted Bow •• 2 XP 25 XP
Remaining Upgrade
   Sword Cane  →  Suggestion 1 XP 26 XP
   Eye of Chaos  →  Clairvoyance ••••• 5 XP 31 XP
   Armageddon  →  Azure Flame ••••• 5 XP 36 XP
   Sixth Sense    Sixth Sense •••• 4 XP 40 XP
    +  Charisma ••• 3 XP 43 XP
   Promise of Power  →  Word of Command •• 2 XP 45 XP
   Guts  →  Clarity of Mind ••• 3 XP 48 XP
   Leather Jacket  →  Healing Words ••• 3 XP 51 XP
   Emergency Cache    Emergency Cache •• 2 XP 53 XP
   Promise of Power  →  Twila Katherine Price ••• 3 XP 56 XP

(View at arkham-starter.com)

If your campaign is stingy on xp, Azure Flame and Clairvoyance can always be upgrade to lvl3 only. It will be less effective, but doesn't make a huge difference; however, do find the xp for Sixth Sense (4), especially when playing on hard or expert.

If your campaign is handsome on xp... Well, have no shortage of luxury upgrades, don't they.

Behind the Scene:

Piloting the deck is not too difficult, just don't forget your abilities (not a small ask, I must admit). Here's an example action, assuming you are alone and want to investigate a location:

After going through all this, you have net 7 clues in 1 action, with 1 more charge remaining on True Magick and 2 more actions to be spent. The same can be apply to combat situation (Flame - Bow - Flame), or any combination thereof.

Pro tip:

  • Try to use as many offerings on Cat Mask as possible before using Blood Pact(0) or Sin-Eater, as the thing replenish instead of place charges on itself (which means you can't go over the 2 offering maximum)
  • Even if you don't have the spells in hand, it's still a good idea to use Blood Pact (0) for Mytho protection. You can always horde the charges for later; however, do remeber to manage the doom coming form it. Using SM's extra action on Sin-Eater's is a good idea most of the time.
  • I said it before and I'll say it again: Twila is a very low priority, don't waste your resources and actions on her unless you are fully set up otherwise. Remeber she's only here to fill some niche row.
  • Like any doom manipulating deck, make good use of the witching hour (the turn before agenda advance) to play Arcane Initiate and (ab)use Blood Pact(0).

Below are some cards that was cut during the evolve of the deck:

  • Underworld Support: a very tempting choice, since we only take 1 copy of all the key cards. However, this deck straves for resource (TM + SM + Haste is 10r already, without counting any card used to search them), and go Highlander reduces our chance to draw economy card (2 in 25 vs 3~4 in 30).
  • Living Ink: competes with Haste as a Ritual assest. This card used to have some attraction, but with the reveal of Cat Mask. it's instantly cut from the upgrade list. Of course, you can always be greedy and take this alongside Haste, but that's a very huge risk: Molly has 4 searches per use, in worst case scenario that's TM, BP (0), SM and Haste; adding another Ritual asset in the deck risks not seeing Haste until way too late, since there's always a chance that Haste is the 7th bottom card of the deck.
  • Geas: competes with Blood Pact (0) as a Pact asset. Again, used to have some attraction, but was instantly cut after seeing Cat Mask. We don't run skills because we are making too much test each turn and there won't be enough slots for skills to cover them all, not because we want to use this.
  • Four of Cups is the basline of secondary boosters in this deck, anything that's makes a similar or better deal could be considered (i.e. Grounded) if you have xp to spend.
  • Elle Rubash: meh. Since this deck borrows some idea from doom manipulation archtype, Elle could always be included as a failsafe (and another booster since she can hold doomed TM). That said, she is a VERY expensive one at 3r and 5xp (you will need 1 Charisma to use her properly), so my thought is no thanks.
  • Recharge: meh. BP (0) provides enough charges 95% of the time, Twila covers another 3~4%. Is it woth it to include a card only to deal with 1%? I don't think so.
  • Lucky Cigarette Case and Holy Rosary: both are good accessory, sadly we don't have the deck space for them.
  • Blurse system is getting another release in FHV. If you are interested in the idea, I think a variation of this deck that focus on Eye of Chaos and Armageddon is doable, but with questionable effectiveness: TM system leaves only 1 Arcane slot open, which means no Ritual Candles or other support card.
  • Investigator choice: yes, anyone with 5 can run the core of this build, but Dexter Drake leads the pack thanks to his splash (which translates to eco, draw, and action) and more importantly his efficient card search, 5 is an added bonus. with access (Luke, Jim, etc.) can search TM with Research Librarian, but they can't reliably search for the support cards. It's very different playing TM as a single card or playing it in a system.
  • However, if you are doing a TM deck with splash, do consider Eldritch Sophist for charge. He could in theory replace Twila if you have a reliable charge generator.

To create your own guides, find the template that @Valentin1331 have created here


Mar 22, 2024 RyanMuQ · 277

The True Magick + Blood Pact synergy came to my mind as soon as the Cat Mask releases. Finally I see someone actually tested it. Good job!

Curious how Suggestion performs. The DOOM comes when TM acts as Suggestion with its last charge and reveals token and then you have to discard TM due to Suggestion's constant ability and can hardly bring it back.

Deny Existence (0) is a good pick as it can protect you from randomly discarding cards from hand which is horrible for TM deck. While in this situation, the lv-5 version will force you to draw cards, which may not be as expected. Just a trivial but funny problem :)

Mar 22, 2024 Valentin1331 · 56175

Super cool deck, creative and seems really efficient, congratulations!

About In the Thick of It + Charon's Obol, wouldn't it be just as efficient and far less risky to get 2 Arcane Research?

Other than that, I'm happy to see for the first time a deck with Healing Words (3) and Clarity of Mind (3)!!

Mar 22, 2024 ethereal64 · 253

@RyanMuQ Suggestion did very little in the run as one of my teammate is playing Kynami, often when I have snake on me I just call him to my side to discard it lol; as for its constant ability, there's not really much things you can do other then pair BP (0) with it (sadly Twila can't help with the problem).

@Valentin1331 Arcane Research only apply to spell upgrading, which means the core part (and the most exp-heavy part) of the deck does not benefit from it (TM, S-E, SM, Haste, Bow), thus I opt for Obol here to buy the important pieces ASAP.

Mar 22, 2024 Drostt · 26

That's the first Dexter Drake deck that I want to play.

Mar 25, 2024 Mr.Bottle · 1

So, the purpose of the deck is to play true magic, mask and sin eater to have the 7 spells in hand and be able to take advantage of them? Another thing, why Drake and not another researcher?

Mar 25, 2024 ethereal64 · 253

@Mr.Bottle Yes, play the TM system (TM, SM, haste, mask) and make full use of spells in hand. The reason to use Dexter is explained in the final 2 points of Behind the Scene section; in short, Dexter leads the pack because of his precise card search (Molly Maxwell), cash (Faustian Bargain), draw (Black Market) and action (Haste), 5 is an added bonus; other maybe have ways to search TM, but not its support cards

Mar 25, 2024 RyanMuQ · 277

@Mr.Bottle Deck building around True Magick requires a powerful card-draw engine to make sure TM, Twila and other high-exp spells in hand at very early stage with high possibility, otherwise it makes 0 contribution to the game (TM cannot work without spells, and spells cannot work without TM). That is why only a few Mystics can make good use of it (Mystic has no good engines).

In my mind, there are only 2 mystics matching the requirement: one is Dexter Drake (i.e. this deck), the other one is Luke Robinson with access to Seeker. For Luke, you may take a look at my deck here :)

Mar 25, 2024 Mr.Bottle · 1

Nice! Thank u all!

Mar 30, 2024 Drantee · 1

Guys this always confuses me, so please help. When I have true magick already played on my board, and then I want to use it's text to reveal a spell from my hand. First; do I have to pay the cost of the card that I revealed (resource cost)? Then do I always use the charge on True Magick no matter what?

Mar 31, 2024 ethereal64 · 253

@Drantee No you don't, and then yes you do.

When you use TM to play a spell in your hand, you reveal that spell from your hand, then just go through with its effect, paying any cost (charge, exhaust, etc.) from TM.

Note that since TM only has charge, you can't use it to copy any spell assest that requires a Secret as a cost; also, note that only assests are allowed to be copy by TM, so no events (you need Dayana Esperence to replay events)

Apr 03, 2024 Drantee · 1

Btw I just wanted to say thank you for creating such a great and fun deck! I've been playing TGA with this deck for the first time and it's been a blast! I've already upgraded all the way up to azure flames so I can't wait to see the full capability of the deck once fully upgraded.

Apr 03, 2024 dapamdg · 1

@ethereal64 To clarify for Drantee, you use the charge on TM only if the spell being used by TM has a charge cost. Thus, if you use Sixth Sense or Wither through TM, you do not use the charge from TM. If you use Enchanted Bow, you exhaust TM, but only use a charge if you would use a charge on Enchanted Bow, i.e., shoot a connected location.