Hi everyone and welcome to a very special article here on Obscure Studies. Today, I have an official preview card for the Edge of the Earth player expansion. Thanks to Fantasy Flight Games for the opportunity to show this card. I think it’s got a lot to talk about and in true Obscure Studies fashion, I will be doing so in this post. Without further ado, meet Protecting the Anirniq.
When I first saw this card, what drew the most attention to me was the name. I didn’t know what it meant but the amazing art by Chris Pritchard led me to believe it was inspired by Native American lore, specifically of the northern part of the continent. This fits perfectly into the theme of The Edge of the Earth campaign as we know it takes place in some of the coldest areas of the world. It also makes me very happy to see more Inuit representation in this game. I love how Arkham takes a genre with some questionable origins and creates a diverse and welcoming environment. I hope it continues to do that both for Native American and other cultures in future cards and stories.
Anirniq (plural: anirniit) is an Inuktitut word that can be translated directly to breath. It refers to the spirit or soul that inhabits all living beings and it is part of the Inuit belief that there is no life without breath. It is also believed that this spirit persists beyond death and angering the anirniq of the deceased can only bring misfortune upon you. Furthermore, while every being has their own anirniq, each one is part of the sila, the breath of life and primary component of everything that exists. Every living thing borrows a part of the living breath and shapes it according to their own personality. In the end though, all breath returns to the sila and becomes a part of the world again.
In Protecting the Anirniq we see a lot of references to the concepts listed above. The breath pictured in the art and referenced in the flavor text is the anirniq itself. According to Inuit mythology, the departed spirit can turn on those that don’t respect it, and the flavor text warns us of that. The card represents a ritual used to protect the anirniq, which can translate directly as saving the ally from being defeated. The other mode, drawing cards, be seen as a way to gain knowledge of this departed spirit even if you aren’t saving its owner. Further, potentially darker interpretations could be drawn, but we’ll choose to ignore any of those. Whatever headcannon you choose for this card, it’s certainly flavorful and potentially very powerful.
While the lore of this card is very interesting, there’s even more to talk about how it can be used. The first characteristic that jump out is the multi-class aspect, being accessible to both Seekers and Mystics. It’s also a level 2 card, which does make it accessible to sub-class mystics of the 5-2 deck building variety such as Patrice Hathaway. This gives the card a lot of potential homes while still putting it just beyond the reach of the Dunwich investigators and others like Mandy, Gloria and even Carolyn.
Taking a deeper look at the wording on this card, we see that the simplest case for it is an ally being defeated to damage or horror. This can happen voluntarily, if you allow the ally to soak more damage/horror purely to play this card, but there are also treacheries that target allies specifically. Thus, an edge use of Protecting the Anirniq is to protect your allies from death, appropriately. This can be useful for both important allies that could be in danger, like the 1-health Dr. Milan Christopher or for replaying allies with powerful “enters play” effects like Research Librarian. The recently previewed Jeremiah Kirby fits well into the second category, allowing you draw potentially more than three cards when he re-enters play as well as soaking up even more damage.
For Mystics, you might also be incentivized to allow your allies to be defeated in order to clear doom off of them. Alyssa Graham, Arcane Initiate and David Renfield can all accumulate a fair share of doom. Dayana Esperence is another case where you might want her to defeated so as to reset the secrets on her as well as the 3 health. Finally, you can use this card purely as fast card draw as you churn through all the allies in your deck. This is especially true if they feature the powerful “enters play” effect or, like Renfield and Initiate, can provide value before they leave play. The flexibility of Protecting the Anirniq is a big advantage of its design. Another is that it’s pure, fast card draw in Mystic, a class that doesn’t get a lot of that effect.
Looking at other classes, we can see some very powerful synergies around allies that discard themselves. Survivor gets Mysterious Raven and Stray Cat that can discard for powerful effects which become even better if they’re tied to drawing three cards. You can even combo these with Miss Doyle‘s suite of cats, which can be discarded to auto-succeed their respective tests. Choose the draw option to get full value out of protecting the Anirniq and the cat’s ability to fish out one of its friend’s after shuffling itself back into your deck.
Beat Cop is another card that discards itself for value, but I think that a lot of the Guardian allies can be good with Protecting the Anirniq. Agency Backup, Grete Wagner and others deal lots of damage to themselves for extra effects. Getting to return these to hand and play them again for more of that can be very powerful. There’s even allies who would like to be defeated like Tetsuo Mori who would benefit from being protected or can just give you a little more value on the way out.
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you enjoyed this preview into the next Arkham Horror expansion. We’ve been getting a lot of awesome community previews, check them all out here. Make sure to give the creators some love and check back over the next few days as more cards get spoiled. Otherwise, feel free to send any comments, thoughts or concerns my way through Facebook, Twitter, Discord, or Nightgaunt Mail. See you next time!