Zidane Headbutts the Doom|Deck Guide

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Valentin1331 · 19157

Zidane Headbutts the Doom

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ba-doom tss

Credit: ba-doom tss


Now that the Scarlet Keys - Investigator Expansion has hit the table, it's time for some deck guides with the new investigators! This deck is meant for multiplayer, with at least one other investigator dedicated to discovering clues.

Doom has always been spooky. It took me a long time and a very positive review of David Renfield to finally dare to bring it to the table. To me, the benefit of playing with doom was never significant enough to compensate for the risk of ruining a whole evening by being the only one responsible for the demise of my group, not even to mention the guilt of leaving the entire world in the hands of a merciless ancient one.

The Scarlet Keys decided to make doom a thing and brought many new cards to make this archetype more accessible. And it's a success! Amina Zidane is not only strong, but she is also exciting to play since there is a whole new resource on the table: the doom clock. To not be hated by the community, I made this deck as foolproof as possible.

Disclaimer: This deck guide was created before the Campaign Expansion was released. Some cards and assumptions in this guide may be made irrelevant later on. I will keep it updated with a changelog if that is the case.

Table of Contents:

  • Overview

  • Main Strategy

  • The Headbutt Part

  • Avoid the Red Card

* Dodge your opponents

  • Other Cards

  • Upgrade Path

  • Make your own Deck!


Difficulty: ★★★☆☆
Enemy Management: ★★★★★
Clue-getting: ★☆☆☆☆
Encounter protection: ★★★☆☆
Survivability: ★★☆☆☆
Economy: ★★★★☆
Card Drawing: ★★★☆☆

Main Strategy:

The Headbutt Part:

Zidane Headbutt

Level 0:

  • Your main weapons at level 0 are the Ceremonial Sickle (0) and the Enchanted Blade (0).

    • Ceremonial Sickle has the advantage of being able to clean its own doom while fighting an odd health enemy (you'll learn to love rats). It may seem weak at first, but dealing with 3-health enemies with 2 actions and no ammo involved is actually quite good for level 0.
  • Enchanted Blade (0) gives a good bonus and has limited charges, which is convenient to play it for free with Amina Zidane's since you can get rid of it and its doom once it's empty.

  • Spectral Razor is always a good backup plan if it takes time to find your main weapons or if it's crunch time and you cannot afford to add doom to the Abyssal Tome or spend 2 actions dealing 3 damage. The addition also makes it a safe test for dangerous situations.

  • String of Curses is perfect for getting rid of doomed enemies. You can wait a little bit to see if the scenario is prone to add doom to enemies to play it. If not, either wait for your or use the 1st ability, which is also really good.

Level 1-5:

  • Abyssal Tome is your primary weapon in this deck. I know it exhausts, but trust me, it is so good. Because Sin-Eater is permanent, you will not need any additional setup to get it running.
    • Store it with 1 doom on Elle Rubash to deal 2 damage.
    • Use Word of Woe to use it without exhausting it for bigger/multiple enemies.
    • Add 1 doom to it to deal 3 damage. If the clock is tight, clean it immediately with the multiple methods available.
    • Against a boss, you can ramp up the doom quickly with Ghastly Possession and Word of Weal to have 3 doom on it (only 2 will count towards the agenda's doom threshold) and deal 4 damage, 8 by readying it with Sin-Eater, 12 with Word of Woe, while testing at 8 with Elle Rubash and Living Ink.
    • With so little xp and setup, this is will make your jealous.

Boost your tests:

  • Elle Rubash gives you +1 skill on every attached asset. It doesn't need to be doomed to get the bonus (but it needs to be when you attach it to her)

  • Living Ink gives you +1 , and up to +2 later in the campaign.

  • Dream Diary upgraded into Dream Diary - Dreams of a Madman gives you 4 per turn for your attacks, parleys or panic evasions. It is a great way to ensure at least one of your tests each turn.

  • Word of Weal comes back regularly and almost assures you of success. If your only weapon in play is Ceremonial Sickle, keep it in your hand for the 1-damage attack that cleanses it.

  • Ghastly Possession will be played in 2 different ways:

    • You can use the dooming ability on Abyssal Tome to add 2 doom in the same attack and go from your base 1 doom to 3 doom and 4 damage in one attack.
    • During the exhaust attack of the Ceremonial Sickle or when adding one doom to the Abyssal Tome, you can commit Ghastly Possession to remove the doom right after. This turns Ghastly Possession into a Vicious Blow as it allows you to deal one extra damage with no consequences (except in case of failure...).
  • Overpower is preferred because the Ceremonial Sickle and the Enchanted Blade prefer . Unexpected Courage supports at the beginning of a campaign.

  • Prophesy is more likely to give you the full bonus with Elle Rubash, storing 2 doom and potentially more in other places around the board.

  • Blood Pact can help with crucial tests or simply pass every test during the witching hour. Now that we have Sin-Eater, we can cleanse it reliably, bringing more uses.

  • Seal of the Elder Sign finally just passes the ploughin' test. No questions asked.

Avoid the Red Card:

Zidane Red Card

No one wants to get red-carded out of their board game group. Avoid that unpleasant situation with the new tools made available in this expansion.

Playing around with the doom:

  • Sin-Eater is the centrepiece of this strategy. Transfer the doom from other cards to it and when you are about to overshoot the doom threshold, spend an to clean it.
    • As it readies an asset when you transfer a doom to it, it is a perfect combination with Abyssal Tome, which exhausts to attack.
  • Elle Rubash is the second doom manager of this deck. Assets attached to her have 1 doom that doesn't count toward the threshold.
    • Ideally, you will want your assets that involve a skill test to benefit from the +1, but you can put any other asset, including permanents like Sin-Eater itself!
    • As said earlier, that is perfect for storing a pumped Abyssal Tome, as it can lay here with 1 doom on it, and if you need to deal 3 damage or more, you simply assign a second doom to it during your attack and then deal with that doom in the many ways detailed right after.
    • Quick tip for doom counts: I turn the doom tokens that do not count towards the agenda's doom threshold to their clue side as a reminder not to count them for the Mythos Phase.

Removing the excess of doom:

Adding doom to your cards will give you game-winning benefits unless... To prevent the oops moment, we pack several safety nets in this deck.

  • First of all, we do not have that many cards involving doom, and it should always be in control. Except for the Ceremonial Sickle and the Abyssal Tome, cards will only have a doom on them if they are played using Amina Zidane's . Not having multiple doom-heavy cards significantly decreases the chances of not being able to clean the doom in time to see the witching hour (the last round before advancing an agenda).

  • We upgrade early to Moonlight Ritual (2), making it . It would be best if you kept it in your hand, and at the end of each turn, you check that you're not overshooting the limit, and in case you do, you can clean a card even without an action left.

  • Sin-Eater is great because it can collect doom from multiple sources and clean it all at once.

  • You can always replace a doomed asset with another one to clear its doom. Note that unique cards cannot replace another copy of themselves. That only matters for Elle Rubash and Summoned Servitor, but it's still worth mentioning.

  • At the end of the campaign, you should be able to afford Seal of the Elder Sign

    • You can use the Seal of the Elder Sign during a treachery test, preferably one that can deal damage, to doom an enemy at your location and get rid of it, especially with String of Curses.
    • If you use the Seal of the Elder Sign on an attack with the Abyssal Tome, transferring the doom from it to an enemy or any other card will, unfortunately, update the skill bonus to 0 and the damage to 1.

Dodge your oponents:

Zidane dodges her weakness

What's better than having to struggle with your inner challenges? Dodging them completely.

  • Scroll of Secrets takes a card from the bottom of your deck. If that card turns out to be your Deafening Silence, or any other weakness for that matter like Overzealous (remember, the headbutt part), congratulations, you saved a whole round for your entire team; if not, then add it to your hand for a draw! In the late campaign, you can upgrade to Scroll of Secrets (3) because it's much more consistent at getting rid of the weaknesses that you found with Parallel Fates (2), as it allows you to check the card on top of your deck.

  • Parallel Fates (2) reorganises your deck so that you can try to manage Deafening Silence and prevent it from hitting too hard.

    • Place a Moonlight Ritual (2) right before Deafening Silence in your deck so that you can clear all the doom in your play area before hitting your weakness and so you just shuffle it back. Another possibility is to place Word of Woe before and use it on a loaded Sin-Eater to clear your play area.
    • If you do not see it, finish the pile of cards you place back with a second copy of Parallel Fates (2) to get another chance. Otherwise, keep at least 3 dooms in between you and the agenda.
  • Best case is to place Foresight just before Deafening Silence or a basic weakness so that you can discard it immediately. If you have Foresight and no weakness, you can still get great value out of it with Parallel Fates.

Altogether, you will be sorting your weakness out of approx 18 cards, which is 62% of your deck. It will still go through sometimes, but even in that case, Parallel Fates (2), Foresight, and Scroll of Secrets will bring a lot of value, in terms of draw and accessing your high-value cards faster.

Other Cards:

Zidane scores with her deck

A good deck is not only some combos, it is also strong supporting cards.

  • In the Thick of It allows you to get some key cards during the 1st scenario and gets them out of the additional cost of Down the Rabbit Hole

  • Down the Rabbit Hole is on par early and mid-campaign and brings a good discount at the end of the campaign.
    Disclaimer: It is not 100% sure that Down the Rabbit Hole's bonus counts Customizable as 1 or 2 cards while upgrading. I went with what made more sense to me, waiting for an FAQ.

  • Dream Diary - Dreams of a Madman helps pass at least one test per turn easily, guaranteeing one card each turn with Lucky Cigarette Case.

  • Speaking of the devil, Lucky Cigarette Case (lucky because it is empty and it reminds Amina that it is terrible for her) helps Amina find her key components faster.

  • Astral Mirror is an excellent way to open more hand slots and give us free actions to fill them up. Because we still want the Living Ink, we need to assign it an arcane slot, which means only 3 hand slots.

  • Because Living Ink can go up to 10xp!

    • The first upgrade is Imbued Ink which gives you 2 additional charges for taking an arcane slot.
    • Next, we can take a second and third skill with Eldritch Ink. We will choose first to protect our 5 health better against the mythos and second.
    • Finally, we can add Vibrancy for a whopping 5-2-5-5 statline, 10 turns in each scenario.
  • Summoned Servitor is a great addition to the card pool! With only 2xp (Armored Carapace and Wings of Night), we have 3 additional health and a free move almost every turn! You just need to ask your teammates to reveal locations first.

    • We can add Dominance later to free up the arcane slot, giving us another hand slot through Astral Mirror.
    • Finally Dreaming Call is a great way to bring back an empty Scroll of Secrets or Living Ink to our hands instead of discarding it.
  • Delve Too Deep is interesting in this deck because early on, we have good encounter mitigation with Deny Existence and Ward of Protection, and we are not afraid of enemies. But most importantly, we want a lot of xp. It is more interesting than to slot in a useless Parallel Fates (0), especially because your whole team benefits from the additional experience!

  • Prophesy will often be a 3 as we tend to maintain a high amount of doom on the table. It helps, especially with treacheries that threaten our health.

  • We start the campaign with the Arcane Initiate; given that we have 10 Spells, it is an excellent way to add consistency.


For the Mulligan, here are the cards that I will keep in my hand if I find them:

  1. Parallel Fates (2)
  2. Elle Rubash
  3. Abyssal Tome
  4. Scroll of Secrets

I would shuffle any other card than these.

Upgrade Path:

Zidane levels up the game

Link to the 0xp Deck

For this deck, in particular, I will give upgrade priorities grouped because there is a looot of it, and we'll have to take decisions.

Core upgrades:

In the Thick of It Elle Rubash x1 + Ghastly Possession x1 - 0xp - Total 0xp

Arcane Initiate x1 Elle Rubash x1 - 3xp - Total 3xp

Moonlight Ritual x2 Moonlight Ritual (2) x2 - 2xp - Total 5xp

Sin-Eater x1 - 7xp - Total 12xp

Enchanted Blade x2 Abyssal Tome x2 - 6xp - Total 18xp

Good to have upgrades:

Delve Too Deep x2 Parallel Fates (2) x2 - 4xp - Total 22xp

Spectral Razor x2 Foresight x2 - 4xp - Total 26xp

Ward of Protection x2 Ward of Protection x2 - 2xp - Total 28xp

Overpower x1 Ghastly Possession x1 - 2xp - Total 30xp

Dream Diary x1 Dream Diary - Dreams of a Madman x1 - 2xp - Total 32xp

Deny Existence x2 Summoned Servitor x2 + Armored Carapace + Wings of Night + Charisma x1 - 6xp - Total 38xp

Overpower x1 Astral Mirror x1 + Living Ink Imbued Ink + Summoned Servitor Dominance, choosing to keep Ally - 5xp - Total 43xp

Luxury purchase:

Scroll of Secrets x2 Scroll of Secrets x2 - 4xp - Total 47xp

Prophesy x2 Seal of the Elder Sign x2 - 12xp - Total 59xp

Living Ink + _Eldritch Ink + Eldritch Ink + Vibrancy - 6xp - Total 65xp

Summoned Servitor Dreaming Call - 1xp - Total 66xp

Blood Pact x1 - 4xp - Total 70xp

Ceremonial Sickle x2 Ceremonial Sickle (4) x2 - 6xp - Total 76xp

Summoned Servitor Jaws that Snatch - 0xp - Total 76xp

Link to the full xp Deck

Make your own Deck!

Zidane finds his own way

  • If you need a solid clue-getter, Amina Zidane can also be what you're looking for!
    • This 0xp deck and fully upgraded version is a proposal on how I would approach this build.
    • The advantage of this build is that there are quite some spells, which is good to benefit from Arcane Research
    • Sign Magick (3) brings the great synergy of cleaning Sin-Eater after using one of your investigating spell.
    • The Dowsing Rod is not really praised so far, but realistically, moving and investigating once using Rite of Seeking or Clairvoyance is the same efficiency as adding a doom to Dowsing Rod to move and investigate, and then take a second action to investigate again and clean the doom. 2 actions, 1 move and 2 clues. Even better, the Dowsing Rod doesn't involve negative consequences on symbol tokens and doesn't use charges.
    • Better than the above is to combine them! Move + investigate with Dowsing Rod, investigate with Clairvoyance/Divination and then clean the doom with Dowsing Rod for 3 actions turned into 1 move and 4 clues! This becomes even better with Sign Magick activating your other investigating spell or Sin-Eater.

To create your own guides, find the template I have created here


Oct 18, 2022 alexalansmith14 · 625

Like for the theme :D

Oct 18, 2022 mythosmeeple · 407

You've Zine-done a great job with this.

Oct 18, 2022 Magma · 1

@Valentin1331 Any chance you will be doing a "Beginner Deck" series for the Scarlet Keys investigators for those of us who got in with the Revised set and have been purchasing the new format?

Oct 18, 2022 Oghma · 1

I feel like you're overlooking the ability to add charges. For instance, playing living ink for free with Amina's free action adds a doom to it and when you suck the doom off of it, another charge is added since it's not exhausted allowing it to function for 6 turns. Additionally it only removes at the start of your turn but functions the turn you play it effectively making it 7 turns

Oct 18, 2022 Chappykinz · 1

Awesome! Thank you for this deck! Does Down the Rabbit Hole really apply to the first cards you get with the 5 experience from In the Thick Of It? I am not sure assembling the starting deck counts as "purchasing new cards"

Oct 19, 2022 Wittebaard · 234

Very cool deck! Looking forward to trying this out soon!

@Chappykinz I don't think it applies to In the Thick of It, but it gives you 3 XP instead of 5, so he's not interpreting it in that way.

Oct 19, 2022 Wittebaard · 234

I haven't done the exact math, but it looks as if Down the Rabbit Hole is making this deck more expensive than it would've been without it. Have you considered a version with and without it?

Oct 19, 2022 Valentin1331 · 19157

Thanks everyone for the comments!!

@Magma I didn't plan on doing so, but now you mentioned it, I will work out some alternate decks only using the repackaged boxes and place them in the Make your own deck! area. I'll comment here when I do it, so stay tuned!

@Chappykinz, In the Thick of It gives you 3xp to start with that you can use to build your initial deck, the same way as Father Mateo and Kymani Jones have 5xp to start with. So it doesn't count as "purchasing" a new card with Down the Rabbit Hole.

@Wittebaard I have done the math indeed, and it was in par, meaning you gain as much as you lose, both in Core upgrades and Good to have upgrades. But when it comes to Luxury upgrades, you get a bonus for almost every upgrade. So it is only here because it helps in the very late game.

@Oghma thanks! It took me a little while to understand it, but you're right; there is more to Living Ink than I've seen so far. And the beauty is that a scenario is an average of 14 turns, which means that we can have it up during the whole game! I will put a little sentence about it in the guide, thanks :)

Oct 19, 2022 Chappykinz · 1

One more question! How do you recommend getting rid of the enchanted blade when its charges are out? You say "You can always replace a doomed asset with another one to clear its doom." Are you saying that if I have an enchanted blade out with no charges, but my other hand slot is empty, that when I play a second one I can choose to discard the one I have already instead of just adding it to my free hand slot?

Oct 20, 2022 Mkayni · 1

Hey Valentin, thanks for the write up and the amazing deck! Can't wait to play it in paper!

It is very close to my first draft of the deck :)

I opted drop the Foresight / Parallel Fates combo for Explosive Ward and Promise of Power for more skill icon support, which also helps the Summoned Servitor investigating and fighting. Also I wanted to try out an Hallowed Chalice in the deck. I am not sure how cruciable Moonlight Ritual is if you have Sin-Eater, Elle Rubash, Summoned Servitor play requirement and in this case Explosive Ward for arcane slot assets.

What do you think of this card choices for Amina?

Oct 21, 2022 PanicMoon · 2

You've got a lot of handslot assets in here

Oct 22, 2022 Valentin1331 · 19157

@Chappykinz, you will have to fill your other hand slot before you discard the blade. But as pointed out by @PanicMoon, the deck runs quite heavy in hand slots, so it shouldn't be such an issue. In the specific case of the Enchanted Blade, this also helps that it takes an arcane slot, and so if you play a 2nd Living Ink (once you upgrade it to take the arcane slot) will also work!

@PanicMoon it is true, and one reason is to replace them to get rid of the doom on it, and remember that Astral Mirror helps with hands slots and gives actions to play all these cards!

@Mkayni happy to know we had the same intuition! I started out more like you with the Explosive Ward, and the reason why I went for Foresight/Parallel Fates is because during my testing, I once went over the threshold with the objective of emptying my Sin-Eater before the end of my turn, and then Lucky Cigarette Case drew the Deafening Silence making me loose 3 rounds.
I was testing Amina Zidane by myself, luckily, but if I had been with a group, that would have probably ruined the whole evening...

To me, Moonlight Ritual (2) is really the strongest safety net of this deck; I am happy playing with fire, but I don't want a simple math mistake to ruin it all, so because it is fast, it helps a lot with silly mistakes. It just made me more comfortable taking risks with doom and pushing it a bit further.

Other than that, all your other choices seem solid, except maybe for the Hallowed Chalice, which I am really unimpressed by, but if you want to try it out, your call!

Nov 04, 2022 Phaed · 90

@Valentin1331 deck looks good but I am still too nervous about volunteering to add doom :/ question for you. I’m introducing a friend to the game and she asked if she could be a crazy cat lady.. any suggestions on how to build this?

Nov 14, 2022 Valentin1331 · 19157

Hey @Phaed, don't be nervous anymore, this deck is full of safety net, and playing with doom will revive the real horror back to Arkham ahah

When it comes to the crazy cat lady, I don't have a particular deck for you, but you should definitely look at Patrice Hathaway and Miss Doyle!

Nov 21, 2022 SmokedRWA · 1

@Valentin1331 have we been able to clarify if Down the Rabbit Hole interacts with Customizables how I desperately hope? I've seen conflicting answers on reddit and here.

Nov 24, 2022 Valentin1331 · 19157

Hey @SmokedRWA, I am not sure I understand your question. There are some shenanigans like exile + re-purchase customizable, which are not 100% clear yet. But in this deck, I am not using any.

It is not ruled yet, but as MJ said, customizable works "as you want it to", so we can assume that Down the Rabbit Hole can be used on each copy of a Living Ink as if it was 2 Rite of Seeking for instance allowing us to gain 2xp between each scenario to upgrade it.

For my upgrade of Summoned Servitor, it is a bit more of a corner case. I pay 3xp to add 2 Summoned Servitor lvl 1 to my deck (1xp for the upgrade and 2xp for the Down the Rabbit Hole tax), and then Down the Rabbit Hole allows me to upgrade it immediately with a discount if I haven't used it yet.
In this case, I use the discount to tick one box, making a total of 3xp and using the xp reduction of 1 out of 2 cards.

I hope that all makes more sense.

Nov 29, 2022 tinynanami · 8

Do you think you could feasibly run Zidane as a flex/solo investigator?