Q: My question is whether or not Runic Axe can be used to move into a location without enemies present. The text on the card states that "Inscription of the Hunt" may be used to immediately move to a connecting location. Additionally, the inscriptions are triggered before the attack. So can you use the Runic Axe to just move (and not fight after because there is no valid target for the fight action)? A: When taking a “Fight” action, there must be a valid target for the attack - in most cases, an enemy. To resolve “Inscription of the Hunt” (on Runic Axe) correctly, you must either engage an enemy at your location or move to a location with an enemy you can fight.
Q: Should the +1XP on Inscription of the Hunt be ignored when calculating the card's level in the same manner as chained (thus allowing for a 11 checkbox Runic Axe that counts as a Lv5 card)? A: The +1 experience for the Inscription of the Hunt upgrade translates to an additional checkbox on the upgrade sheet for that upgrade, which should be viewable under AHC’s Printable Taboo Cards, v.2.1. All other rules for Chained and Customizable cards still apply, as much as possible; we agreed that the easiest way to understand the card was if Runic Axe’s level was still dependent on how many checkboxes it had marked. (August 2023)
Przedmiot. Broń. Biała.
Przystosowalny. Zużywalny (4 ładunki). Uzupełnij 1 z tych ładunków na początku każdej rundy.
: Walka. Do tego ataku dostajesz +1 . Przed tym atakiem możesz wydać dowolną liczbę ładunków, aby wzmocnić topór taką samą liczbą różnych inskrypcji -
- Celność - Do tego ataku dostajesz dodatkowe +2 .
- Siła - Ten atak zadaje +1 obrażenie.
Upgrade – Inscription of the Hunt: +1 experience.
□ Dziedzictwo. Ten atut dostaje -1 do kosztu i zyskuje cechę Relikwia.
□ Inskrypcja chwały. Dodaj tę inskrypcję: „- Chwała - Jeśli ten atak pokonał wroga, wybierz jedno: dobierz 1 kartę, wylecz 1 obrażenie lub wylecz 1 punkt przerażenia”.
□ Inskrypcja Starszych Bogów. Dodaj tę inskrypcję: „- Starsi Bogowie - Jeśli ten atak zakończył się sukcesem o liczbę punktów równą lub wyższą od wartości zasłony twojej lokalizacji, odkryj 1 żeton wskazówki w twojej lokalizacji.”
□ Inskrypcja łowów. Dodaj tę inskrypcję: „- Łowy - Natychmiast porusz się do połączonej lokalizacji albo wejdź w zwarcie z wrogiem w twojej lokalizacji.”
□ Inskrypcja furii. Dodaj tę inskrypcję: „- Furia - Jeśli ten atak zakończył się sukcesem, oprócz jego standardowych obrażeń zadaj 1 obrażenie każdemu innemu wrogowi będącemu z tobą w zwarciu”.
□□□ Starożytna moc. Możesz wzmocnić topór tą samą inskrypcją maksymalnie 3 razy.
□□□ Saga. Na początku każdej rundy uzupełnij 2 ładunki Runicznego topora (zamiast tylko 1).
□□□□ Zdwojona siła. Za każdy wydany ładunek możesz wzmocnić topór maksymalnie 2 różnymi inskrypcjami.
Having played with the Runic Axe now I must say do not underestimate the Inscription of the Hunt. I bought it just because my initial plan of Glory, Elders, Ancient Power and Scriptweaver totalled to 9 and I didn't think I'd need the Heirloom discount but it massively overperformed. Free engages on Aloof enemies is obviously nice and getting to move into a location of enemies and still getting to make 3 attacks was great but what surprised me was how often I just wanted to move whilst engaged with an enemy, Walking the enemy to locations with clues on them let the Inscription of Elders proc more often and just let me continue moving towards the current objective whilst enemies tried to bog us down.
Runic Axe is a really weird card. The first thing you have to figure out is who it's intended for. At level 0, that's just anyone who needs to kill things. It's a +1/+1 weapon that has limited but regenerating charges, and which lets you spend them optionally, so you don't need to overkill odd health enemies. That's a machete but with charges, or a .45 that regenerates bullets. The other drawback is it takes a second hand slot, so that's not ideal. But hey, it's competitive with the best level 0 weapons, so yay. Totally normal, reasonable weapon for fighter types, or flexes who don't need their hands.
When you level it up, it gets weirder. Either you leave it as a 2 damage weapon and you never get combat upgrades, or you want to do 3+ damage and take Ancient Power. Ancient Power, however, just pushes the limitation slightly upstream. Now you can do 4 damage attack with it, but only once, and then again once next turn (assuming you take Saga), and then you have a dead round before you can do it again. Meanwhile, no other swing you take can spend any charges. The practical implication of this is that your 10 xp pair of weapons only give you 2 bonus damage every round, and you paid 3 xp to compress that damage into a single action (and having the option to frontload 4 damage in one action, if you're full of charges) instead of two actions. If you take Scriptweaver, you get crazy accuracy in addition to your damage, but that's it. If you don't, you'll find yourself never having the charges to do anything but +damage.
If you're interesting in frontloading damage, or in getting a lot of bonus damage on one card you'd be better off with a Flamethrower. That grants 3 bonus damage per attack for 4 attacks, and the Axe won't catch up in total damage for 4 rounds. If you just want sustainable damage, Cyclopean Hammer offers a moderate hit bonus and a change of 3 damage (1/round) as well as the chance to "solve" an enemy by just bonking it to a location you don't care about. So the fully upgraded combat Axe is for someone who wants to be really good at combat like one swing every other round, will spend 10 xp for it, and doesn't need their hands. I don't know who that is. Crazy accuracy and 4 damage is equivalent to like 2 swings from a decent level 0 weapon with some discards to make sure you hit. That's not a lot of bang for your 10 xp.
So let's not build the Axe as a pure combat tool. Let's see what else we can do with it. Fury is a really neat, repeatable AOE damage effect apparently designed to counter swarms in Dream Eaters, so that's one thing we could do. Glory is a way to make yourself more sustainable. If you're Mark Harrigan, you can even take the heal, use Sophie on something, and get both the +2 to a test and the extra card. Carolyn Fern could use the horror option, but she's not allowed to use xp weapons so forget that. Glory is probably a situational, niche imbue. Elders lets you get a clue if you beat an enemy by the shroud, so you could be like Roland-lite. The issue you then run into is that even with Scriptweaver, you can only pick 2 of: try to get clues, do 2 damage to efficiently eliminate the enemy, get a bonus to have a reasonable chance at succeeding by shroud. If the only enemy you need to deal with is Swarm of Rats, you could just go Elders/Accuracy a couple of times and beat multiple clues out of them, but that's another niche use, not your Plan A.
So where does that leave us? Hunt. Hunt is really good. Fighters' typical gameplan is do incredible amounts of damage in order to defeat monsters before they inflict damage to the investigators, and they typically pay through the nose for it, in terms of xp, resources, support cards, and often ammo. Atomizing monsters is often the sole thing they're good at. As such, any action spent NOT atomizing monsters is the worst feeling in the game for them, especially moving to the next monster, or engaging that aloof enemy, or the one eating the Seeker who will otherwise die if you draw the auto-fail. Axe users with Hunt don't care about that. They can pull enemies to a connecting location, or move to an enemy at a connecting location, or engage an aloof enemy, and then do their murdering. It solves a couple different problems that otherwise would require a combination of things like Fang of Tyr'thrha, Telescopic Sight, Safeguard, and for some fighters, Shortcut. Free movement, free engages come at hefty premiums. The Runic Axe solves that for you. It also solves the problem of concealed enemies fairly handily, since they all spawn in a tight radius, would be impractical to expose with ammo, and you can spend your second imbue on Accuracy for those high shroud locations.
I dunno, there might be a better use for the Axe, but it seems fairly narrowly tailored for Scarlet Keys, and for fighters who want to be equally good at movement instead of just outrageously good at fighting, so also campaigns that incentivize movement pretty hard (but still fighting, because the axe is no faster than walking yourself, it just lets you combine the move and attack actions).
This card is doing some good work with Lily Chen. No longer are we stuck with Dragon Pole or Cyclopean Hammer. Lily and Zoey are prime candidates for HUNT and FURY. To start, I recommend getting SCRIPTWEAVER as soon as possible. HUNT and HEIRLOOM next. If you want a lvl5 axe, finish it off with SAGA and GLORY. The cool thing is you have upgrade path options as well; ELDERS for Roland Banks, FURY for Zoey Samaras etc.
After playing with and upgrading this card, I've really grown to hate it. Not because it's a bad card (it's great, honestly) but because it's so flexible that it will stifle competitive design for other Guardian weapons, especially the low level ones.
Think of it this way: for level 1, its "competition" is The Hungering Blade, which is already...not great. But let's think about future designs, and review what they have to compete with.
With 1 XP invested, Runic Axe is a 4cost 2-handed weapon with 4 charges, recharging one charge per round (and can still attack for +1 Fight with zero charges, giving it a flexibility edge over anything that needs charges or ammo). In addition, Runic Axe will have either
Spend 1 Charge: Get +2 Fight on attack Spend 1 Charge: Deal +1 damage on attack Is a Relic and only costs 3 instead of 4 (nice for Guardians who often struggle to scrounge cash)
Spend 1 Charge: Get +2 Fight on attack Spend 1 Charge: Deal +1 damage on attack Spend 1 Charge: If this attack defeats an enemy, either heal 1 horror, heal 1 damage, or draw 1 card
Spend 1 Charge: Get +2 Fight on attack Spend 1 Charge: Deal +1 damage on attack Spend 1 Charge: If this attack succeeds by the location's shroud or greater, discover 1 clue at location
Spend 1 Charge: Get +2 Fight on attack Spend 1 Charge: Deal +1 damage on attack Spend 1 Charge: Get a free move (that doesn't trigger AoO) or a free engage
Spend 1 Charge: Get +2 Fight on attack Spend 1 Charge: Deal +1 damage on attack Spend 1 Charge: If this attack is successful, deal 1 damage to each other enemy engaged with you
Any future 1 XP Guardian weapon has to compete with that, and compete with the fact that you get 2 copies of it for 1 XP, and compete with the growth over time, and compete with the not-so-unlikely chance that you'll Refine it to make it stronger without even getting charged XP. That basically boils down to forcing "good" future 1 XP Guardian weapons to be one-handed, and even then, they'll feel extremely lackluster unless they come with either guaranteed bonus damage and some kind of reactive ability (for things with ammo), or conditional bonus damage that you can reliably build your deck around, unlike Hungering Blade and some kind of reactive ability (for things you don't have to reload). Whatever the bonus or condition is probably needs to be good in multiples, too, to make spending 2 XP on a pair of copies not feel worse than spending 1 XP on 2 copies of Axe.
Tl;dr: Runic Axe is great, impactful, and incredibly flexible. Everything that makes it a worthwhile inclusion as a card also forces power creep into future 1 or 2 XP Guardian weapons to be worth including in any deck. It's also hard to nerf, and the weakest thing about it is that it takes 2 hands.
With Ancient Power, this could do solid work in an Old Shotgun deck. Sleight of Hand it out, one shot a 4 health enemy and do it again next turn after playing it normally. Skids, Leo and Zoey are the options there. Other cards can outpreform it in one way or another but the axe can be a solid low-level solution until you have 10 XP for 2xLupara and 2xOld Shotgun. Even your mystic or survivor might not mind you pawning it off on them, as it can serve any 3 investigator reasonably well when the big bad needs a single 8 , 3-damage bonk. It might be tempting to pimp your axe, but keeping it cheap and semi-disposable might be wise if you have any other forms of enemy management.
If your party is good at evading things and/or you have 3-4 players, an Ancient Power + Fury combo could be like a safe, rechargeable Dynamite Blast.
A little bit of interaction gotchas of □□□ Ancient Power and □□□□ Scriptweaver to note. Scriptweaver says different and Ancient Power says same. They are not against each other and can take effect at the same time. For example if you have both customs :
- You cannot spend 1 charge and choose the damage twice to get +2 damage since Scriptweaver prevents it, even though Ancient Power allows it.
- You can spend 2 charges to get (+1 damage and +2 ) + (+1 damage and +2 ) since Ancient Power allows it.
Also you may think □ Inscription of the Hunt can "walk in and fight" similar to Duke's move-and-Investigate but it is different. You need to perform Fight to something at your location, only then you get to decide between moving or engaging using the charge. (EDIT: See comments)