Delve Too Deep File I: Roland Banks

Welcome to the inaugural archive entry of Delve Too Deep, the start of what will hopefully be a great source of information for all Arkham Horror LCG lovers! In this entry, we’re going to be looking as deep as we can into Roland Banks and what he has to offer. Every single option that is available to him, his potential builds and his usefulness in all situations, not a single stone will be left unturned. Let’s get straight into it.

Roland.jpg

Overview

Some things we can note about Roland immediately is that he is geared towards combat. With an Agility of 2 and a Combat of 4, as well as a whopping 9 Health, Roland would much rather roll with the punches than run away from them. His key ability also triggers off of him defeating enemies, and lends him into his next strength: clue collection.

Both of his abilities, as well as his signature card (and weakness, in fact) all key him towards wanting to be where the action is; that is, where the clues and the monsters are. Rather than being off on his lonesome exploring locations on the side, Roland thrives when there are horrors to fend off and clues to find. 3 Intellect means he’ll be able to occasionally discover clues without help, while 3 Willpower means that he’ll likely need some assistance in overcoming the terrors he encounters.

Roland is far better in higher player counts than on solo adventures. Basically guaranteeing that there will be a monster to fight means his ability is going to trigger more often than not, and the higher clue count means his Elder Sign ability is much stronger (though this is only relevant occasionally, but it’s nice to have anyway). That’s not to say that he can’t hold his own on solo adventures, however, merely that he’s able to shine more when his ability is more consistently useful.

Notable Strengths of Roland

Roland has the virtue of currently being the only investigator to have access to skill boosters for all four stats. Physical Training and Hyperawareness allow him to cover all bases, meaning you can do all that you need to as long as you have the resources available to you. This in turn makes cards like Emergency Cache much more attractive.

Having access to the Guardian class also allows Roland to access all of the damage boosting cards he needs; between any of the weapons or allies available to him, as well as Dynamite Blast and Vicious Blow, it’s very easy for Roland to dish out all the damage he needs to to fell any monster.

The Seeker class compliments Roland’s secondary role fairly well, just as it should. Dr Milan Christopher, Deduction and Working a Hunch, as well as the aforementioned Hyperawareness, are the real standouts here. Coupled with Evidence! in the Guardian class, Roland can have more than enough ways to quickly discover clues and vacuum them up, even in the absence of monsters.

Notable Weaknesses of Roland

One thing Roland suffers from incredibly is his lack of hands. Yes, you heard me. Roland needs more hands. The various tomes on offer, as well as the Magnifying Glass, all compete with Roland’s hands for weapons. Generally, one weapon (I’m of the strong opinion that the Machete is the best on offer) and one support card, whether it be a Magnifying Glass or Old Book of Lore, is probably his optimal setup. If you unlock the Shotgun, though, this becomes a prominent issue.

The problem is not only his hands, though. The Ally slot is tight too, and Beat Cop, Guard Dog and Dr Milan Christopher are all great options that compete with each other. To make matters worse, Roland is an incredibly poor character. These assets all cost a great deal of coin, and if you’re trying to go the Physical Training + Hyperawareness route, this problem is exacerbated further.

Roland is also incredibly susceptible to large hits to his sanity. With only five sanity and a weakness that can cause him to start with Mental Trauma, he can quickly run into issues with creatures that cause multiple horror, or even surprise treacheries which quickly terrify him.

Build Path 1: Knight (2 Cores)

Investigator
Roland Banks

Assets
Roland’s .38 Special
2 Physical Training
2 Machete
2 Flashlight
2 Guard Dog
2 Old Book of Lore
2 Knife

Skills
2 Vicious Blow
2 Overpower
2 Unexpected Courage
2 Perception

Events
2 Evidence!
2 Working a Hunch
2 Dodge
2 Emergency Cache
2 Dynamite Blast

Weaknesses
Cover Up

This build eschews focus on the the investigation side of things, instead relying on one off tricks and combat in order to discover the clues he needs to succeed. This build is also much more successful in multiplayer games, as the other investigators can help cover for Roland’s dedication to combat.

AHC01_20.jpg
You call that a knife?

The lack of guns in this deck means that you don’t need to focus on picking up Extra Ammunition during level up, nor do you have to worry about spending extra resources to restock your weapons. Knife and Machete are both cheap and infinitely usable, allowing you to be more than capable of fending off most enemies with your combat value of 5.

The deck also features a few tricks to pick up clues outside of investigating, as well as a Flashlight just in case you need to investigate a few times. You can opt for Magnifying Glass if you wish for a cheaper alternative, but I think the extra bonus of the Flashlight means you’ll be making more consistent checks and not wasting precious actions.

During level up, look at picking up Level 2 Beat Cop and swapping out Guard Dog, as well as grabbing Police Badge and swapping out a Knife and possibly a Flashlight. If you have excess experience, you can also pick up Level 1 Magnifying Glass and swap out Flashlight for it. All you’re looking to do is be as action efficient as possible, and to cut down swathes of foes with your trusty swords (and, occasionally, your special gun).

Build Path 2: Lone Wolf (2 Cores)

Investigator
Roland Banks

Assets
Roland’s .38 Special
2 Physical Training
2 Magnifying Glass
2 Dr Milan Christopher
2 Hyperawareness
2 Machete
2 .45 Automatic
Knife

Skills
2 Deduction
2 Vicious Blow
2 Perception
2 Overpower
2 Unexpected Courage

Events
2 Emergency Cache
2 Working a Hunch
2 Evidence!
Dynamite Blast

Weaknesses
Cover Up

This deck goes slightly heavier on the weapons as it lacks the draw offered by Old Book of Lore. Dr Milan Christopher, Magnifying Glass and Hyperawareness allow you to investigate like you’re Daisy while also gaining the resources needed to fund your deck. This build really just tries to build up have a weapon and both Physical Training + Hyperawareness on the board, allowing you to just resource up and ride your superior stats to victory.

AHC01_33.jpg
A crucial card in making the Lone Wolf amazing; action economy and more consistent investigation.

Again, Police Badge is your friend; the card is just amazing, and considering it has no competition for your accessory slot, it’s even better. Trying to get a Shotgun early is neat as well, especially if you can use it to one shot a powerful enemy. It’s probably not worth it to get Extra Ammunition unless you really want to go all in on the Shotgun strategy, in which case I’d get rid of Knife and Magnifying Glass, just to free up your hands. Alternatively, you could upgrade Magnifying Glass and bring it back to hand to free yourself up to hold a Shotgun.

Conclusion on Roland

Roland is far and away the best warrior in the Core Set, and if your party is lacking the ability to fight, then there’s nobody better you could include. He’s not trying to do anything fancy, nor is he reliant on combinations of cards, or even any individual card. He’s strong from the get-go, and slowly builds up to be a powerful fighter as the game progresses. If you’re playing the Knight build, it’s probably a good idea to wander around with Agnes or Daisy just so they can help you out with those Willpower checks you’ll always fail.

While powerful, Roland tends to be a bit sluggish, with his only real ways of gaining action economy either in the one off boost from Police Badge, or by going the investigation path. If Roland is able to get one of his many stat boosters in play and manage his economy, he will face little opposition in combat. That said, if you get caught off guard by Rotting Remains or other horror inducing cards, you’ll find your mighty warrior cowering in the corner quickly.

*all images are courtesy of cardgamedb.com and fantasyflightgames.com

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4 thoughts on “Delve Too Deep File I: Roland Banks

  1. So is Roland as the starter character suggested just to have players focus on combat, and having to use your hand to assist in investigating and stuff? Kind of makes sense. Had lots of fun with him in the first scenario but want to try the others now too.

    Like

    1. I think Roland makes for the best starter character because he’s far and away the most straightforward. He fights, he investigates, and as I mentioned, he doesn’t need any cards in play to do his thing (though they certainly help)!

      Like

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