The Scarlet Keys preview: Salvage

Hi everyone, it’s that time of year again, which means another very special article here on Obscure Studies. Today, I have an official preview card for The Scarlet Keys 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 Salvage.

Theme

This might already be obvious for anyone who has read the card and played a decent amount of Survivor decks, but this card fits perfectly into the Scavenger archetype of that class. Thematically, it resembles red staples like Scavenging and Scrounge for Supplies while still taking a slightly different direction. Like the former, it’s also focused around items, which works well with the theme, while reigning in the power level. Lastly, while not entirely relevant to the theme of the card, the flavor text on it is simply amazing and deserves a shoutout.

The most thematic aspect of the card presents itself in the main choice. Differently than Scavenging, you are not forced into the option of retrieving the lost item, as powerful as that can be. That is merely the first choice, represented by the ability to play the discarded item again. Alternatively, you can break it down for parts, represented by the second option, removing the asset from the game to gain resources equal to its cost. The themes of this card might not be very deep, but they do hint at some powerful synergies which we’ll look at in the next section.

Mechanics

Discarding and recurring cards is already an established mechanical identity in Survivor. They have some discard outlets already; from investigators like Wendy Adams and “Ashcan” Pete, to cards themselves like Cornered. Failing that, you can almost always commit an asset for its icons and then Salvage it back later on or you can start with it in your discard via Short Supply. In Arkham Horror, getting assets in the discard is the easy part and Salvage does the hard part for you: taking advantage of assets in that zone.

Despite all the synergies, I think this card works pretty well on its own, for Survivors who might not have an innate recursion ability like Yorick‘s or who can’t make good use of Scavenging. If you’re already grabbing cards out of discard, Salvage competes with those cards, and the Remove From Game mode even detracts from them. The flexibility on our spotlight cards lends itself well as a utility option to bring back self-discard assets like Backpack (which can even find other items) or Gravedigger’s Shovel or grab some extra resources when necessary.

With all that in mind, what are some other fun assets we can combine with Salvage? First off, the most expensive, IE lucrative, assets are the .45 Thompson and Lightning Gun at a whopping 6 resources. There are many cheap assets that might be worth bringing back like Grotesque Statue or the very powerful Necronomicon, basically anything that’s worth getting back with Scavenging. Keep an eye out of anything that you can Act of Desperation away to double up on the resource gain while dealing some damage along the way.

Lastly, I’d like to list some of the investigators I’d most like to play this card with, but I’ll exclude the ones that already make good use of other recursion tools like Minh Thi Phan. Patrice Hathaway has a very easy time putting cards in the discard and her signature Violin is a very important Item card. Since this is a level 2 Survivor card, Tommy Muldoon can make good use of it alongside Short Supply and A Chance Encounter to return plenty of assets to the table as well as having access to the higher cost weapons mentioned previously. Special shoutout to Parallel Roland Banks who can also run this combo, and even make it fast with his Directive. Wendy Adams can do some particularly fun tricks with her ability and signature Amulet to replay Salvage. Just watch out for that nasty weakness!

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you enjoyed another preview into The Scarlet Keys investigator expansion and be on the lookout for more from us over the coming months. We’ve received a couple more previews here at Obscure Studies headquarters, but apparently it was a mistake to put the fax machine right above the shredder…

We’ve been getting a lot of awesome community previews, check them all out in this document, made by Frank from the Drawn to the Flame podcast. Make sure to give the creators some love and check back 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!

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