First just some quick analysis on the card itself:
- It's dirt cheap to play. Run it with Robes of Endless Night and it's free.
- It's a Parley action. Since those are few and far between, here's your obligatory reminder that taking one does not provoke opportunity attacks.
- Option 1 gives you a testless clue and a testless evade at the cost of placing a doom and not being able to damage the enemy that round. That last part kinda bites, but it's good value, especially if played during the "witching hour", moreso on an enemy you can just sweep under the rug and move away from.
- With option 2, the resource cost of the spell is, at minimum, refunded right back to you. Nice! Any doom after the first is profit, which means this card can turn pressure into opportunity. Mysterious Chanting is a card that often translates to "kill this enemy now or lose", but if you've got String of Curses in hand, now there's a nice bounty to collect on that high value target, and it's a guaranteed kill.
- Note as well that option 1 only precludes damaging the enemy. You can still defeat it if you have a way to do that without dealing damage, like, say, playing String of Curses again. More on that later. (Other cards can do this too, and Waylay could be a decent combo. Or leave it to your friend playing Kymani Jones if they don't have VP.)
- The testlessness of both options makes this card worthy of consideration in Expert mode. I have no experience there personally, but going off the theory of wanting to touch the expert chaos bag as little as possible, this seems a decent choice.
Focusing on option 2, this seems like great tech for any scenario that uses the Dark Cult encounter set (quick tip: to date, you'll see it at least once in all but one campaign) to have a way to quickly deal with spiking doom placements. Many campaigns also have their own encounter sets with similar themes of cultists or other doom-oriented enemies (for brevity let's call them "doomers"), often featuring treacheries that place even more doom on enemies. If you've played Midnight Masks, Echoes of the Past, or Threads of Fate, you can probably guess what the peak performance of this card might look like.
Many doomers are weak, like your standard Acolyte, where having a value answer is nice but might be overkill when a simple Fight action would suffice (unless there's profit to be gained). But other doomers can be particularly nasty, and having a way to defeat them automatically in a single action might be just what the doctor ordered. You'll be surprised what you can cuss out, even in the furthest reaches of time and space.
This all comes with the solemn acknowledgment that as an event card, you're limited in the number of times you can actually play it. If you, like me, would like a way to play String of Curses more than once or twice in a game, you've got a few combos to consider:
- Dayana Esperence can cuss on tap, until she runs out of secrets. If you have a way to recharge her, and perhaps also a way to ready her, she's an unstoppable cultist cussing machine.
- If you're leaning into other doom tech, De Vermis Mysteriis allows you to cuss one last time after discarding.
- Recursion options in-faction include Prescient and Quantum Flux. Out-of-faction options include Scrounge for Supplies, Shrine of the Moirai, and I guess also The Council's Coffer.
- The new upgraded Uncage the Soul also allows you to play it from discard, but it will provoke opportunity attacks and the discount is mostly wasted.
- You can use Double, Double and one-two cuss a single target--evade and defeat an enemy AND discover a clue for 1 resource and 1 action! This sounds like the coolest combo to me, but outside of Versatile, the only investigators who can pull this off are Sefina Rousseau and Jenny Barnes.
...and so's your old man!