Akachi - Seal Team (Hard Mode, Guide)

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StartWithTheName · 27268

StartWithTheName

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This is an updated version of a "battle mage" style Akachi deck that was the keystone to one a 3 man "Seal Team" blob run experiment which turned out to be one of funniest (and most satisfying) games of arkham ive had in a very long time. We technically played on standard, but this goes so far off the scale Hard or maybe expert would be fine. Ive used similar decks on hard mode a number of times without issue.

THIS WRITE UP IS SPOILER FREE

If i find time i plan to do a second guide with Blob spoilers as a bit of a comic battle report. But ill keep that separate so those who want to see the archetype without spoilers can do so safely. For now all i will say is it was extremely satisfying to play. Much less of a dry experience that you can sometimes have with akachi. It genuinely made seal work (something ive been wanting since seal's release) and was phenomenally effective as a killing machine. Then something very silly happened and made an emotional roller-coaster of a game. But youll have to read about that separately

Anyway - this write up is really just explaining how the deck functions and offering a bit of an overview of the archetype. This isnt quite the same deck as we ran, its been tweaked after seeing how things played out (mainly downgrading 2x Chthonian Stone (3)s to base versions, and dropping some Recall the Futures I didnt need to free up xp for Grotesque Statue (2)s and a spare Seal of the 7th. It turns when theres no in the bag, The Chthonian Stone doent go away easily (who knew!).

This is very much a stand alone build, though I have played enough akachi in the past to be confident about converting to a campaign deck, see last section, though that idea is as yet untested so it with a pinch of salt. In short its mainly about bringing Rite of Seeking in. Dont use Clairvoyance here. I explain why in the clues section below. We had so much fun playing Seal Team were considering it for a blind run of innsmouth so who knows I may find time for the campaign write up in due course.

Right - Onto the guide!

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BRIEFING (TL:DR)

OVERVIEW:

  • CLUEING: ....................... low.
  • ENEMY HANDLING: ...... High
  • ENCOUNTER PROT: ...... High.
  • DRAW CONSISTENCY: .. Moderate
  • CASH ENGINE: ............... Moderate
  • HEALING: ....................... Self only, but good.
  • SPECIAL: ......................... and sealer.

PLAYSTYLE:

  • ROLE: ............................. Hard Hitter & Bag Control
  • COMPLEXITY: ................ Low.
  • JANK FACTOR: ............... Moderate.
  • THEMATIC FEEL: ........... Ritualist Battle Mage

SLOTS:

A battle mage Akachi build focused around token sealing and cancelling for both team support and enabling use of The Big 3 Damage Shriv. This usually cant miss due to attacking at (5 +3 =) 8 , and token cancelling and Grotesque Statues available. Akachis extra charge, occasional restocks, Spirit-Speaker and Twila Katherine Price keep Big Shriv going all game - like having an infinite ammo Lightning Gun. Kills charge up Empty Vessel (which even starts 1/3rd charged) into Wish Eater. This then cancels future s, preventing you taking the horror, and healing back any you took before you had the charges ready.

A token cancelled by Wish Eater will also not remove a charge from Seal of the 7th. This feeds into a wider plan using Grotesque Statues, Eldritch Inspirations, s, and The Chthonian Stone to keep the sealed in play as long as possible. With 2 copies this could viably be all game and its worth noting that this is one less token which can cause 2 horror from Shrivelling. Another can be on The Chthonian Stone, which incidentally cannot be taken out of play by its forced text while the is sealed.

All the while the rest of your team are also benefiting.

Obviously not all the components of this meta sealing machine need to be in play at the same time to work. The more you have the slower those charges on Seal of the 7th will go away. They simply build to a critical mass but no component (even Seal of the 7th) is essential, keeping the deck variance surprisingly low, and its worth noting that the best bit both starts with +1 charge, and is tutorable.

The rest of the deck are just good mystic stuff and draw. Occasional clues can be obtained via events or via Grotesque Statue and Wish Eater for 2 shroud locations (a cancelled token has no modifier, so you have a LOT of zeros in the bag). The Manual Dexteritys blob tech, but could be swapped for Unexpected Courage or another draw card if you prefer.

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DETAILED PILOTING
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TO ARMS (Muligan)

Your priority is getting shriv into play, but its worth keeping any draw you can find, and one or two of the high impact 1 per decks if you see them.

keep 1x of:

Muligan the rest in hope of finding the above (yes even the Seal stuff and Twila, those are second priority after you set up combat.

If you managed to get a Shrivelling and Guts(2) keep the guts as well as this will almost certainly draw 2 cards. You could also keep the guts if you have good reason to expect will checks on encounter cards or similar. You want the draw from them more than the icons, and if you are confident you can pull them off, then keeping Guts back is similar to having 2 cards back from your muligan.

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WET WORK (Combat)

Combat is focused around using the 3 damage Shrivelling and keeping it in play, while mitigating the chance of taking horror.

  • Priorotise getting Shrivelling into play this sets you up to fight asap. This is why it and Arcane Initiate which can find it are prioritised in the mulligan. With a hard mul, you have about an 80% chance of finding at least 1 of them. You also have 2x Spectral Razor to tide you over in the short term, or to deal with aloofs as it gives you a free engage.

  • Kills charge up Empty Vessel, Wish Eater cancels s This has a few important effects.

    • You treat the game as if No token was revealed. Ie Shrivelling doesnt deal you 2 horror, if you brought Rite of Seeking, you dont lose youre turn, and you dont lose a charge from Seal of the 7th. Infact...
    • Wish Eater will heal back the horror you took from shriv before you got it in play, as well as any damage youve taken. Suddenly one or two trauma from Angered Spirits is probably fine if youre playing in a campaign.
    • For the test you effectively apply no modifier. So you will effectively have a post modified 8 skill after token draws. This will not miss much. which leads us to...
  • You will rarely (if ever) miss even on high difficulties With your base of 5 and +3 built into the action, thats attacking at an 8 so no need for passive supports. You are 4 points above a 4 combat enemy thats usually most of the bag except for the which we are sealing, any really nasty , which we are cancelling and/or sealing, and if you do come accross a brief moment you need to go high, Guts, Uncage the Soul and Prophesy can take you sky high for burst/boss moments wink.

  • Keep 1 charge on Shrivelling as long as you can You need 1 in play to trigger Twila Katherine Price. But once shes down you essentially get one free charge use per turn. Dont forget shriv starts with 5 charges not 4 in Akachi. You can top up anytime you draw an if you need to, or you can use Spirit-Speaker to return it to hand and replay it to reset back to 5.

  • Dont forget Empty Vessel and Wish Eater start with +1 charge each. I initially had this wrong, including when I played the deck, but Akachis ability works when a card enters play so you get 1 charge on Empty Vessel when it is played, and when it returns to play after Wish Eater runs out of charges. Wish Eater itself also adds a charge on entry so it will take you 2 kills (minimum) to be allowed to swap to wish eater, then when you do, you add 1 more charge for wish eater itself entering play. Woo! Massive thanks to @thakaris for raising the matter and @mishkoff for digging up the FAQ entry in the comments below.

  • With Wish Eater down, its often ok to take Attacks of Opportunity. If you have the charges and a decent amount of hp/san spare, you can be confident you will get a heal in due course. Its fine to float a damage or two which lets you do things like use Spirit-Speaker to return an empty shriv back to hand and replay it while engaged if you need to reload on smaller hits.

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STEERING AN EMPTY VESSEL (Sealing)

Dont start sealing things until you have set up the combat stuff unless you have a lot of resources. You are a fighter first. The seal tools simply augment this and offer some secondary team support. A lot of this should be obvious but a few notes:

  • Seal of the Seventh Sign is a spell so you can find it with Arcane Initiate, and you can spend one or two of its charges to fuel Angered Spirits later in the game if its still well stocked. You can even ditch it to get a lot of cash from Spirit-Speaker, not least if you have found the other copy (though you cant return it to hand as leaving play in anyway removes it from the game).

  • While Seal of the Seventh Sign is in play, The Chthonian Stone cant get bumped back to hand by drawing an Its just not in the bag to be drawn. Also note that The Chthonian Stone only returns to hand if YOU yourself draw the not just anyone in the team (as I have been playing it for years apparently).

  • Wish Eater and Eldritch Inspiration can stop charges being taken off Seal of the 7th Wish Eater only works on tokens you drew, but Eldritch Inspiration works on tokens drawn by other investigators as it interacts with the card not the token.

  • Grotesque Statue can be used to fish for s (more charges) and keep draws down This both helps keep charges on Seal of the 7th, and helps restock them. Or with Wish Eater down you can fish for tokens to cancel which will give you an effective 0 modifier on a test. You can now evade/punch and clue a little on low strength tests.

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DEFENSIVE MANOUVOURS (Encounter Protection)

You have quite a lot of defences, not least the absence of bad tokens in the bag.

  • Your base is plenty for most encounter checks not least since the odd horror here and there from effects which give horror per point you fail by are usually will based, and losing 1 here and there just gives you something to heal back with Wish Eater. At a push you also have a lot of will icons. Feel free to use Guts (2) overshoot an encounter check. It is there for the draw mainly.

  • Your is actually decent A base of 3 with Grotesque Statue, Prophesy and Manual Dexteritys around can pass agi tests quite reliably. This build is slightly over teched into agi for the Blob, so the man dex`s could be some other draw tool if you are playing a different map/campaign.

  • You have 2 Ward of Protections Because they are just so flexible use them as needed. Note that you can put the horror on allies if needed, and you can heal it back later.

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INTEL (Clues)

You are not doing much cluing, but it would be rude not to at least be available to pitch in while you wait for enemies to fry and some scenarios specifically need all players to get clues so we have a few tricks:

  • Drawn to the Flame & Read the Signs will do most of the work Not a lot to say here. Thats upto 8 pretty much guarenteed clues with the sealed away.

  • You can also clue with Grotesque Statue and Wish Eater on low shrouds Just use your base int of 2 vs a 2 shroud and fish for a token to cancel, a 0, +1 or . That is actually likely to be about 1/3rd or 1/2 of the bag and you are taking 2 tokens.

  • If you are using a campaign variant, bring Rite of Seeking not Clairvoyance. This is counter intuitive until you play it or look at the rest of the deck. While you have ways to recover the horror, and generally speaking the horror tends to be less taxing than needing to use Rite of Seeking last action or risk action loss, shriv and clarvoyance combined is quite a lot of horror. You are also shrinking the bag making +1s, 0s, and s more common, so that horror will start coming in pretty fast from Clairvoyance, unless you are actively choosing the s which will burn your Wish Eater or Seal of the Seventh Sign charges faster. Better to lean into the cancelling side of the seal mechanic rather than the fishing side of it.

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OVERWATCH (Team Combo Potential)

When the deck ran the blob, it was paired up with 2 other decks running 2x Protective Incantation, with a view to each having 1 in play at late game. Across the whole party this allows you to seal an additional and whatever the worst non symbol token is (so the -6, -7, -8 or whatever). There are a few IDs and archtypes which can pull this off, some obvious choices being:

The key is to find IDs which can also benefit from cancelling, and are defiantly not fishing for them for say Sixth Sense. Some general thoughts that might help people plan fun games:

  • The combo has a lot of synergy with rogue exceed by 2 stuff since the wider flattening the bag strategy removes the swingyier tokens which can occasionally break an exceed by 2 decks draw and economy engine.

  • Untested, but reasonably thinning the deck should wok well with blessed mechanics Which would also lean into Father Mateo since he should in principal have good blessed token generation access when the cards are released, and he likes a leaner bag as you will simply be drawing s more often, or Sister Mary.

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THE ONLY EASY DAY WAS YESTERDAY (Possible Campaign Variant)

As I elude to this is untested and somewhat speculative, but i have played enough Akachi decks in the past to be confident it works since well, it at least starts in a similar shape. A few things.

You`ll also want to pick up a little xp boosting from Arcane Research x2 since you will be able to heal anyhow and maybe a Delve Too Deep or two depending whether you consider delve to be too strong or not (and whether you care! - just do what you find fun).

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*As ever, thanks for reading and if anyone tries this i would love to hear how it went. Sorry the puns are a bit naff this time. Im not big on Special opps lingo. If people have better suggestions I would happilly swap a few out!*
21 comments

Aug 31, 2020 lulu.the.hexapus · 1

Thanks for the writeup - the deck looks quite interesting, I would like to try it in the upcoming (blind) campaign of The Return to The Forgotten Age. I've heard it is advisable to have more Evade cards/spells for this campaign, so I guess Mysts of R'lyeh could prove useful. Would you have any useful suggestions for that? Thanks in advance :)

Aug 31, 2020 Judge_pohl · 1

Very interesting deck, thanks for sharing. I got a question though. Wouldn't Wish Eater loose charges constantly when you reveal 2 tokens with Grotesque Statue? For example you reveal a 0 and a skull with GS. The skull cause the Siegel des Siebten Zeichens to lose a charge because you reveal a skull (or you then cancel it with Wish Eater). Or does reveal in this case mean: the token you finally chose from the two available via GS?

Aug 31, 2020 StartWithTheName · 27268

Thanks @szaretrilby and @Judge_pohl

To answer your questions, for TFA, think you are right. Mists should work here. You also should be ok for Agi shocks if you keep the Man Dex and prophesy in. You can also Ward things like that, and you have sacrifical Allies if needed so as mystic decks go for TFA this has a decent amount of Agi access thankfully. You can also use the statues to improve odds where needed. Or if you want the hand slots open those could be recall the futures, As before take this with a pinch of salt, and maybe look at a little extra econ if you can find the space as TFA tends to have some of the shorter more time pressured scenarios but thats my best guess until I can test.

For the effects of Grotesque Statue on things which count as "revealed" there is a ruling on the FAQ on the level 4 version of Grotesque Statue. In short only the token which is ultimately applied counts as revealed for the impact other effects. Really the game could use a second term for "implimented tokens" rather than calling taking a token out of the bag as revealed and acting on a token as also being called revealed. Im not the best at the logic behind these rulings but I think it may be to do with timing of effects not being nested (i could be wrong). But basically the statues work as you might want them to from a design perspective.

Aug 31, 2020 StartWithTheName · 27268

Basically a token that gets cancelled or ignored when it is revealed doenst count as ever having been revealed.

Aug 31, 2020 Susumu · 1

Very interesting deck, but don't you think, Jackie's Robe might be a slightly better economy card than "Uncage the Soul"? You have 8 spells with resource costs in the deck, but only "Shrivelling" would get the full discount from UtS. Of course, the pips are better on UtS, but the Robe's foot could also contribute, since you have "Manual Dexterity" and the extra soak is also nice. You have upgraded "Guts" in the deck, so excess to Jacqueline's cards, that's why I'm asking.

Aug 31, 2020 mattastrophic · 1667

@StartWithTheNameMaybe a game term for a "resolved" token versus a "revealed" token? Doesn't Dark Prophecy kinda do this?

Aug 31, 2020 StartWithTheName · 27268

Thanks @Susumu

Earlier versions of the deck tried to use the robes. However they turned out not to be much use. If you arnt getting much value from the soak (and you dont need it as much when Wish Eater can heal you and you have agi on tap - which is commonly associated with encounter cards that deal damage), then the pure cash returns are problematic. The lvl0 Robes cost 3, so you need to have played 4 spells before you even break even on them since you could have used the action to play them to take a penny. Whereas Uncage the Soul gives 3 pennies upfront. Making it 6 or 7 spells (some spells in here cost 2) played before theyre on par. The bigger issue however was the timing differential between the two. 3 resources up front is MUCH better than 3 slowly trickled out. Usually I just want to spend the 3 pennies I would have to spend on the Robe to get a spell in play and start using it asap. The robes look like they shine where your either playing a lot of spell events, getting value from the soak as well, or you have ways of making them fast or cheaper like Dexter Drakes ability. They probably combo with the other spell event suite stuff like [Shining Trapezohedron](/card/06329, but thats a different play style than i was using here basically. If you want more Econ (and you might in a campaign) then something like David Renfield that is more upfront would probably be better (with the usual caveat that this is speculative). hope that helps clarify?

Aug 31, 2020 Lethal_Laitue · 262

Super nice deck here. Seems fun to play.

Basically a token that gets cancelled or ignored when it is revealed doenst count as ever having been revealed.

If you're right, maybe Jacqueline Fine would be a good investigator to play this deck

Aug 31, 2020 Lord Triloth · 249

Cool that you shared this. I myself also allot of fun playing Wish Eater, Shrivelling(5) & Akachi Onyele combo. I'd also be very interested in the session report of the Blob game.

@SusumuI kinda agree with SWTN here on the Robes vs. Unquiche the soul question. The big advantage, and the main reason to play them, in my opinion, is that the Robes make the spells fast. So, giving you a faster pace at playing them. As a fighter, and someone willing to take AoO, I think a direct discount via Unquiche is better.

Aug 31, 2020 Lethal_Laitue · 262

@StartWithTheName Why no Counterspell? Too much XP to gain?

Aug 31, 2020 Lord Triloth · 249

I think Wish Eater is a Counterspell on a stick.

Aug 31, 2020 Lethal_Laitue · 262

@Lord Triloth Being greedy

Aug 31, 2020 Death by Chocolate · 58

@StartWithTheNameHow are your teammates sealing 6 other tokens with Protective Incantation? It has a 'Group limit 2 copies of Protective Incantation in play.' so you could only seal another 2 tokens total no matter how many friends brought copies.

Aug 31, 2020 Death by Chocolate · 58

Err, ignore my previous comment. I misread "this allows you to seal an additional and whatever the worst non symbol token is (so the -6, -7, -8 or whatever)" 'an additional 4 spooky tokens (i.e. one of each, not one total) and the worst token'.

Relatedly, I just finished a campaign run of Return to the Dunwich Legacy with a 'Seal Team'. I used Norman Withers because he can run all of the pieces: Seal of the Seventh Sign, Grotesque Statue, Protective Incantation (x2), and Sign Magick for the slot. Of course the downside is that this takes up ALL of the hand and arcane slot, which would be a problem for any Purple mystic, but Norman's 5 means he can get by just fine with skills (if even). This was run alongside a Preston Fairmont using Henry Wan to get 12 cards/resources in an action and William Yorick using Old Hunting Rifle.

Sep 02, 2020 StartWithTheName · 27268

Sorry - i managed to get behind on comments.

I think youre right @Lethal_Laitue, Jacqueline Fines statline and token control will probably enable a similar deck (which looks exciting for new players as seal is an easy mechanic to understand). You loose access to Empty Vessel for the healing, but she starts with 1 more sanity, and you can bring Fearlesss or use allies to soak more. You lose access to some of her better tricks like Dark Prophecy (it clears her weakness well and can trigger her eldersign ;) but thats a discussion for another day), which would naturally push her towards fishing for bad tokens rather than avoiding them. Though perhaps that just means theres just multiple archtypes - which is a good thing.

I guess I had overspent on xp already so didnt look at Counterspell. Slots and cash are also a little tight here. The Vessel basically does more than counterspell, for cheaper and is reusable. But if youre taking the concpet out of akachi (who is the only ID with all 4 parts of the combo (cstone, shriv5, vessle, seal) it might fit well. Its basically doing the same thing as Eldritch Inspiration - and theyre both cancels, so maybe diana likes this.

Good to hear your experiences too @Death by Chocolate. Our first attempts at seal decks had 1 ID sealing as much as possible for everyone else. We had a Dexter doing this using rogue cash, but it basically took up almost all of his time leaving him essentially as support for other IDs rather than an active player in his own right (which might not be as fun for the player, great for everyone else). Even just maintaining 2x Protective Incantation in particular can be draining. This is in part why we split out the seal functions to different players, basically spread the costs thin. I think overall the 1 penny a turn from incantation is perhaps the heaviest burden, hence pairing c Stone and Seal into one deck seemed to work well, though we did this for the extra charge on The Chthonian Stone (3) - which turned out to be irrelevant as I say. It just so happens that akachi can also spare hand slots fairly easilly too.

Sep 04, 2020 Zinjanthropus · 90

This deck would probably work well with Shards of the Void, especially in a a bag with a lot of 0s like TFA. If you kept the 0s sealed you'd probably have a pretty high chance of draws, as well, with some token filtering.

Sep 07, 2020 thakaris · 47

@StartWithTheName: Regarding the „Dont forget Empty Vessel starts with 1 charge“ part of you article, are you really sure about that? Akachi‘s ability doesn‘t state anything about playing a card but it says „ Your assets with "uses (charges)" enter play with 1 additional charge on them.“. How I would interpret this text is, that the Empty Vessel enters play from an out of play area (by swapping in this case, but it was clearly out of play). Is my interpretation wrong?

Sep 08, 2020 StartWithTheName · 27268

Cheers @Zinjanthropus and @thakaris

Re Shards of the Void, I actually expect it to be more counter productive simply on the basis that there will still be more than 1 skull or other token still in the bag, so even if you are drawing more s to top up charges, you will also increase the odds of drawing something that will lose charges. In general when ive tried seal and fishing stuff, ive found that there are basically sets of cards which want to either dig out bad stuff tokens or avoid them. For example Shards feels like it fits along side Sixth Sense. But dont let me discourage you if you want to give it a bash.

Re Wish Eater "entering play" I am far from a rules guru. I forget where I heard it so sadly i cant check it to clarify, but I thought i had heard somewhere that cards which are swapped into play dont count as moving into play. My understanding was that it was treating the two cards as if they were two sides of the same card. I am ofc more than happy to be corrected if anyone can explain.

Sep 08, 2020 thakaris · 47

Cheers@StartWithTheName, It is kind of hard to proof you wrong here :-) well, the point is, that as far as I can tell the word „swap“ is not an official keyword, I cannot find it in the rules or errata. The closest similarity I can find is Pendant of the Queen. Here the Cards move back and forth as well if there are charges on the Pendant or not. The Pendant though clearly states it is put into play or out of play. We have to wait for an official ruling I assume. Until then I don’t know what I will do if this Situation ever happens. Maybe it will not :-)

Sep 18, 2020 mishkoff · 1

@thakarisActually it is explained that when you swap Empty Vessel you can add another token. In FAQ page 8 point 2.7 Taking Control of set aside cards. It states explicitly that such card is put in play, so Akachi can trigger, making her even better with Empty Vessel :) Empty Vessel is Bonded, and bonded puts car aside, so that is why I'm almost sure it works :)

Sep 18, 2020 StartWithTheName · 27268

Oh fantastic - thanks for digging that out @mishkoff, and raising it @thakaris. Im hoping to have a little time over the weekend to work on some arkham guide stuff, so ill sort out the blurb above when I do and link to the FAQ.