To address the issue of making tournament level decks and Cthulhu's "meta", I'll say this:
There is no meta.
The Call of Cthulhu player base is small and scattered. It's definitely not like Magic where the top tier decks are known and copied. I've organized 4 tournaments, including 2 Regional Championships, and the biggest thing I've learned is that you can't predict what decks will show up.
Sure, cards come along that everyone online chats about. Right now it's Interstellar Migration, last year it was Glimpse of the Void, and before that Khopesh of the Abyss. While it's nice to be aware of these cards, I wouldn't overly worry about any particular card or deck. Instead, make a deck you like and understand how to play.
For some generic advice, I recommend the following basic principles for your first tournament:
Your deck's purpose should be focused. 50 cards of win. Cards that seem cool but don't reinforce your overall strategy shouldn't make the cut. Also consider having a back-up avenue of attack/end game in case you need to switch gears vs a particular type of deck, or are struggling to grab that 3rd story (for example, see Beneath the Surface).
Your deck should be fast, and be able to either establish your board position or disrupt your opponent's rhythm starting on turn 1.
What is the cost of your deck and how will you resource? Can you use all 3 domains every turn (whether on your turn or holding some for defense), or will 1 or 2 domains sit unused for awhile until you build them up? In other words, how many resources do you need under all 3 domains before your deck is firing at 100%, and what is the best road to get there so you can use all 3 domains each turn? Is it 2-1-1 then 3-1-1 and done? Or is 2-2-2 better?
This is key. When creating my decks I lay out all the cards in a "cost pyramid." If my card cost is evenly distributed between 1-4 for example, then that's a problem. It means I'll need to build up at least 2 domains simultaneously to maximize playing my hand. Conversely, if I have a lot of 0-1 cost cards and then some 3-6 cost cards, it means I can focus on 1 domain to get out my high-cost cards faster, while still using the others for cheap characters and events to stall/attack my opponent.
You'll need ways to control your opponent's characters (for example, by killing them, stealing them, or moving them out of the way). And it doesn't hurt to have some support card destruction either.
Know what cards you need in your opening hand to win. In my decks I identify 3 cards that are essential to controlling the first few rounds, and if I control the match right from the start, I have a much better chance of winning the entire game.
Know when to Mulligan. If I don't see 2 of these 3 key cards then I draw a new hand. I firmly believe that taking a Mulligan at the right time wins games. My philosophy here is "when in doubt take a Mulligan because it can't get worse."
I'll say it again because it's worth repeating - like your deck. Pick a faction or factions that inspire you. Do you like combos? Great! Are theme decks more your speed? Go for it. In the end, it's nearly impossible to predict what you'll be facing so make a deck that you're comfortable playing, has at least 1 clear path to victory, is fast, has some defense, and then call it good.
I go into every Cthulhu tournament hoping to win but expecting to lose. If I've taken a deck that I enjoy playing - as opposed to some soulless thing that I don't find interesting - then losing doesn't sting quite as much. Just a little
Edited by Yipe, 08 November 2013 - 12:06 PM.