“Binder Fodder”: a cruel reality for poor cards, or are they just misunderstood?
All LCGs have cards which people love to hate. Which are the worst on Arkhamdb.com, the deck building site for our beloved Arkham Horror Living Card Game?
And if we built some decks with these cards, what would they look like? Let’s see by looking at Guardians and Seekers. I’m also going to only include 0 XP cards, because comparing popularity of XP cards gets really hard.
How do we measure popularity?
First of all we need a useful metric. I’m going to measure cards according to Decks Per Day (dpd). To make this easy to understand, we’ll start with the most popular cards on ArkhamDb:
Not many surprises here, but what does it mean? Check out Emergency Cache’s DPD of 5.27. That means 5.27 decks per day are published with Emergency Cache in it. 4,424 decks currently contain this card.
Emergency Cache has been around forever, so we’d expect lots of decks with it. Let’s restrict the data and look at non-core, non-neutral cards. The chart below are the most popular of those. I’ve highlighted Deny Existence (dpd=1).
Deny Existence has only been available since January 2019, yet its DPD is 1: one deck per day is being published with this card. Not surprising really: it kicks ass! It’s great to see this in the Top 20. Track Shoes has also appeared in the Top 20.
DPD is not perfect, of course: as the card pool gets more crowded, amazing cards like Deny Existence will be used less, because there are plenty of other amazing cards. Also new cards might be suffering the Lure of the New: lots of us are trying them out. Over time, we may become disillusioned with them.
I do think DPD is better than the raw numbers, though, which is the metric I used in my first ArkhamDB post a few weeks ago.
If anyone can come up with a better metric, please let me know.
So what are the least popular cards?
It’s the poor old Knuckleduster. It’s DPD is just 0.08. Ouch. But really, is this a surprise? Why would you include a weapon that isn’t just weak, it actually gives more power to your enemy by adding more traits? If you want to try this card, I recommend this deck, built in response to Drawn in the Flame’s discussion of the card. Let us know how it goes!
The Guardians’ least popular cards
Trench Knife is the least popular Guardian card, followed by Intrepid. Both are far too situational to get much love. What if we built a deck around these cards? Crazy right? Well, here it is (and on ArkhamDB.com)
I chose Roland, a pretty stable investigator, and built a solo deck; I excluded any team-based cards from the top 20. The deck is here.
In this deck, Roland does get 3 weapons to play with, along with his own signature weapon. But Trench Knife is conditional on you managing multiple enemies. Blackjack is simply not powerful enough. And the .32 Colt is too weak. As the card pool has grown, players seek weapons that boost fight and damage. The Colt does at least pack a lot of ammo, but it like a pea-shooter compared to other weapons.
Handcuffs might get you out of the way of two enemies.
Trusted and Inspiring Presence are good cards to keep Allies around, but this deck only gives you one (Venturer). Once the supplies are used up, he’s nothing more than a Damage/Horror soak.
Conclusion? Playable, but will have really slow tempo. It might succeed in Scenario 1 of Dunwich Legacy, I think.
The Seekers’ Least Popular Cards
Persuasion: the least popular Seeker card? I’ll be honest, I like Persuasion. I’ve used it a couple of times, and it surprises me it’s the least popular Seeker card. But the data doesn’t lie: the community of deck publishers clearly doesn’t like it.
The least popular seeker deck looks something like this:
This deck is pretty broken. There aren’t any weapons and there are far too many Allies. It looks to me like Rex has just taken his buddies along to try and translate some Archaic Glyphs. I’m not sure this would be playable.
Summary and interactive links
This exercise has been fun. It makes me look at some cards in a new light. Maybe we should give some of those underused cards a go in a future deck. Just going for the popular cards all the time might make for efficient math, but probably doesn’t make for as much variety.
How would you develop this idea? How could we take the least popular cards and build workable decks from them?
I’m sure you now want to explore the data yourself. Be my guest:
- Explore the most popular cards here
- Explore the least popular cards here
Finally, check out all my other Arkham Horror postshttp://gravyanecdote.com/category/arkhamhorror/.