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Problems at Miskatonic, or Why Humans Are Weak


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#1 Runix

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 09:13 AM

In looking at the preview of the upcoming expansion, it looks like Miskatonic will definitely be getting some help.  This is really going to super-charge my Cthulhu/Miskatonic deck!

OK, just kidding.  But seriously, it's interesting to consider why the "monster" factions have long dominated over the "human" factions.  The answer used to be that the humans were short on Terror and protection against it.  That just isn't the case any more as humans now have a lot of answers to terror, and yet the monsters are still dominant.

I am coming to think that the answer has more to do with cost efficiency.  As I mentioned in another thread, the value of a card is radically different based on cost, with cost 1 and 2 cards being far more useful than cost 4+ cards.  The reason for that has to do with domain resource distribution; players tend to have a primary domain (3+ resources) and two or three secondary domains (1 or 2 resources).  Anything with cost 4+ is going to compete with that primary domain, while anything 1 or 2 cost can be paid for with one of the secondary domains.  Cost 4+ cards will naturally see much less play, and will compete with each other for the one primary domain, while cost 1 and 2 cards will see far more play.

In reviewing decks submitted by some of the best players, they have something in common:  they are heavily skewed toward low-cost cards, with half or more of the deck at cost 2 or less.  That also helps illustrate the enormous popularity of the Khopesh, Master of the Myths, Dreamlands Fanatic, etc.:  they all come in at less than the magic cost 2 barrier.

All that said, I think the main issue with Miskatonic at this point is:  they don't have enough good characters at or below the 2 cost limit.  They actually have some fantastic characters that can handle a wide variety of situations - and they're cost 4 or more, with only a few exceptions.  I realize that the designers have been cautious about giving Misk and the Agency too many solid cheap characters because Misk or Agency flood decks used to be a thing way back in the day, but that hasn't been the case for quite some time now.  Put another way:  the Faculty are great but too expensive, the Students are cheap but too weak.

As such, I'm a little cautious about Seekers of Knowledge.  A couple of the cards they've revealed are showing good synergy with other Miskatonic characters, which is great.  But if the expansion is just more cost 4 characters that will never see play and throwaway cost 1 characters that get knocked out before doing anything of substance, it won't materially change the monster/human metagame.



#2 dboeren

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 09:23 AM

Look at the Board of Trustees, it's a 4 cost character that buffs Students (who are cheap) or Faculty (who may not be).  It seems like this would be a good card in a weenie rush sort of deck and free Willpower certainly makes those cheap characters more worthwhile.

I'd also like to make a distinction.  Cost 4+ characters are fine, as long as you don't have too many of them.  You're typically going to have that one main domain which might as well be used to put out a cost 4 guy rather than a cost 2.  In fact, you're missing out on power if you're under-paying, so you do want some bigger cards in the deck.  It's only when you go over the limit that they become a problem.  So don't avoid them altogether, just keep an eye on what proportion of the deck they're taking up.

Also, Miskatonic is low on cost reducers.  They have some events that put weenies into play free, and of course Anthropology Advisor, but little else.  Perhaps this set will include some ways to drop the cost on more of the big characters?

Actually, Miskatonic hasn't really been too bad off w/ Terror since they have the Treatment and other such cards, it's not being able to fight their way out of a wet paper bag (no Combat) that I think they could use more help on.  But there have been a few cards lately that assist with such things, either letting them fight better or at least patching them up so they don't suffer as much from it.  Things are looking up.



#3 ssjevot

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 09:26 AM

From my experience with Miskatonic they're weak because you either rush hard and win early or you don't win at all. I think new cards like Board of Trustees (which are basically a cost 4 Ancient One) that help strengthen your weak characters could change this dynamic a little. I originally intended to play Miskatonic when I picked the game up as I'm an academic in real life and wanted to play "my team" per se, but I abandoned them because I didn't like their all-in play style. The new expansions seem to be trying to change that and I think it'll be interesting to see how it develops.



#4 Penfold

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 09:36 AM

 A rush deck that uses Board of Trustees if the rush gets beat back, making all those weenie characters a bit more durable letting them push through that midgame is kind of nice. I'm not sure I'd build a tournament deck counting on it, but socially it sounds solid.



#5 Penfold

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 09:41 AM

 I'm interested in that Explorer, Roald Ellsworth. Side note: is that a real explorer? That name seems a little familiar.

There currently aren't any explorers in the game, but if this set has 5 or 6 that can all get willpower and I get either to draw two cards or return my best card in my discard pile to hand I'm not going to mind to much when they get Khopesh'd out of existence (and as a disrupt, pretty much nothing but a cancel can interfere with you getting the card(s).

Actually These guys would do really well against a Silver Twilight deck as well, all their bouncing my Explorers to hand just gets me more cards to hit them with… Admittedly Initiates is a 1 resource advantage to them, but I think in the end my card advantage and recycling would take the day.

Things are looking up for Miskatonic.



#6 dboeren

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 09:53 AM

Penfold said:

 I'm interested in that Explorer, Roald Ellsworth. Side note: is that a real explorer? That name seems a little familiar.

You're thinking of this guy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roald_Amundsen
 



#7 Penfold

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:17 AM

 First Tiziano secrets in easter eggs in his art and Damon sneaks in characters based on real people or movie characters. This game is geek-tastic. I may have to start looking at cards more carefully to see if there is anything else I missed. Professor Samuel Campbell, Mr. David Pan, Roald Ellsworth. Hm…



#8 Penfold

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:25 AM

 I just checked out the minisite for Seekers and ran across this .

Brette Wulffsen, I don't care what the other fellas say, I think you beautiful and well worth any trouble you may cause.



#9 Penfold

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:28 AM

 

Oh WOW! Combo-rific! You destroy my guy, I go find two more of him, or even better, two pieces to the combo I've been sitting on. Thankyouverymuch.



#10 ssjevot

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:50 AM

Explorers seem like Mi-Go, but better.  Will be interesting to see how this develops.



#11 piszcadz

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:22 AM

Penfold said:

I just checked out the minisite for Seekers and ran across this

 

how did you find those?

i noticed the naming conventions are self-explanatory and was trying to figure out the card names from the box art graphic at the top of the page, but couldn't quite make it out…

 



#12 ssjevot

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:29 AM

They're on the site here:

http://fantasyflightgames.com/edge_npm_sec.asp?eidm=151&esem=1&epmi=s



#13 piszcadz

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:32 AM

indeed they are.

here's another…



#14 Penfold

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:16 PM

 Another of the gang in red? But this one is totally new one not in the Congress of keys story card.

So the benefit of conspiracy cards, beyond whatever effect you've probably built your deck to take advantage of, is that you get first crack at them. With Amaranth, you also get a "free" defender who may let you keep bringing those conspiracy cards into play one after another. I like.



#15 Hellfury

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:24 PM

piszcadz said:

indeed they are.

here's another…

This card is so sexy for sooo many different reasons.  Wonderful effect and Icon array at a price that is quite attractive.

I think Tiziano may have some serious competition now. That is great art right there.



#16 Hellfury

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 02:09 PM

Runix said:

All that said, I think the main issue with Miskatonic at this point is:  they don't have enough good characters at or below the 2 cost limit.  They actually have some fantastic characters that can handle a wide variety of situations - and they're cost 4 or more, with only a few exceptions.  

 

[snip]

But if the expansion is just more cost 4 characters that will never see play and throwaway cost 1 characters that get knocked out before doing anything of substance, it won't materially change the monster/human metagame.

 

(bolded emphasis mine)

I agree. The vast majority of Nerd characters are 3 cost or less, but very few have a good synergy amongst themselves.

The characters that cost 4 or more I find to be extremely lackluster. In order for their use to be considered, they have to be a lot better than what they are. I know of very very few nerd characters of 4 or higher that pique my interest or even see any use.

That said, I get the feeling that nerds are likely getting a huge boost with this next expansion. Boost might not be the right word. Rocketship is probably closer to the truth. 

In case nobody has seen this yet, look closely at the numbering for the previewed expansion.

They usually lump factions together numerically within each expansion/asylum pack, do they not?

Note that Board of Trustees (Miskatonic) is card #1. And that A Voros Hal'l Jon (Miskatonic) is card #29 of a 55 card expansion. Hanyatl's 12:3 (syndicate) is card # 52 Umr at-Tawil (Yog) is card #55.

Rocketship indeed. I will leave you to fill in the blank spaces…..

*cue Indiana Jones music*






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