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The Ladies in Yellow


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#1 Runix

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 03:21 PM

This is my first "serious" deck, or rather attempt at one, although it ended up being more thematic than competitive.  But I do rather enjoy the theme. :)  Deck description below, with discussion on some specific cards to follow.  Initial playtests indicate that the deck is potentially very strong, but not quite consistent enough to be tournament level.

 

The Ladies in Yellow

The Distinguished Ladies Society of Arkham is proud to sponsor the Carter Memorial Theatre in its upcoming presentation of The King in Yellow!  This noted play has been a sensation in Europe, and all the rage in New York - now it comes to our community, and is sure to thrill audiences, and to be an occasion to remember!

 

Character
Maureen de Garmeaux (LR) x2
Deranged Diva (***) x3
Messenger from Beyond (Core) x3
Victoria Glasser (Core) x2
Alyssa Graham (ER) x3
Bringer of Fire (AH) x3
Danni Devine (LR) x2
Elise Warren (WaB) x2
Master of the Myths (IT) x3
Hastur (TSC) x2


Support
Arkham Asylum (Core) x2
Guardian Beast (TSS) x2
The King In Yellow Folio (LR) x2
Stygian Eye (IT) x2
Victoria's Loft (Core) x3


Event
Political Demonstration (Core) x2
The Greatest Fear… (SoA) x2
Apeirophobia (NN) x3
Horrifying Daydreams (PT) x2
Power Drain (Core) x3
Scotophobia (Core) x2
 

Strategy

As a mono-Hastur deck, the focus is on control.  Specifically, this deck focuses on minimizing the characters available to the opponent, through limiting cards in hand and cards drawn, and through rendering characters insane.  There is not one key card that drives the strategy.  Rather, each of the effects - card discard, removal of Terror icons, insanity - can be achieved through multiple cards, and multiple combinations of cards.  The focus is more on finding synergies across a variety of cards, rather than on relying on one or two cards to drive the whole deck.

That the deck is stacked with lovely ladies is a happy coincidence.

Some cards are certainly powerful in the context of this deck, as follows.

Apeirophobia:  OK, this card is potent in virtually any deck, not just this one.  This has been the topic of recent conversation, and I think the people here are beginning to sense how powerful it is.  This card absolutely shuts down opponents who try and get clever by deploying powerful characters early - e.g., a fast Terror of the Tides.  As such, the very possibility of it being played - an open domain with two resources and a Hastur match - is enough to force defensive play, limiting cards to low-skill characters.  That's game-changing, and important.

This particular deck is very touch-and-go in the first few turns, and relies heavily on dropping the Apeirophobia hammer at just the right time.  As such, this is the one card I would like to see in the opening hand more than any other.  Again, it requires very careful timing, but done right, can dramatically slow down the pace of the game, allowing the insanity and discard "engine" to get set up.

Alyssa Graham:  Again, a topic of recent discussion, and yes, Ms. Graham is indeed very powerful.  I primarily use her for cutting enemy draws from two down to one, which - after losing a good chunk of the hand to Apeirophobia - is critical.  The timing is such that she can only cut draws by one card (there is not a timing window to execute a sanity-restoring action to cut the second draw), but still, one card a turn is really powerful.  With Arkham Asylum, she can be used again during your turn, and specifically to bring back powerful cards from the discard pile - like, you know, Apeirophobia.

Is she balanced as a card?  Absolutely, yes.  One thing to understand is, since her ability requires her to be rendered insane, no attachments are going to protect her.  That means she can be wounded, destroyed, returned to hand, or (ironically) rendered insane before she can use her very powerful ability.  And she is a huge target for all of those.  So how do you keep her in play?  Well, if your opponent has been forced to discard his hand, and he's drawing one card per turn, and his characters are all insane, and you've got a Power Drain in hand, well, it's not too hard to keep her around . . .

Deranged Diva:  One insanity per turn effectively free, and more with Arkham Asylum.  No, it's not targeted, but still, it's very nice.  Again, if you've cut the opponent's card count down, he's not going to have a lot of characters available, so this is very effective.  Combos really well with the Messenger from Beyond, as most characters in the game have either one Terror icon or none.

The King in Yellow Folio:  This is the card I wanted to use, and it's a good one.  The Folio-bearer (I prefer Elise Warren, because, you know, she's nearly indestructible) is absolutely ideal as a defender in the story phase - send her in to whatever story the opponent has committed the most characters to, then drop Scotophobia, crazy stuff happens.  Again, this is a very powerful card for forcing the enemy to play very defensively - if you have an open domain with a Hastur match and The King in Yellow out, they have to consider the possibility that you will play the Folio/Scotophobia combination.

So wait, what about Willpower?  Well, yeah, that's a problem.  You can wait for Hastur to take care of that, but in the meantime, there's . . .

Stygian Eye:  Such a good card.  Again, if you've been able to limit the opponent's access to cards, this just adds insult to injury by stealing one of their better characters.  If the opponent is off to a strong start, this can potentially help turn things around for you.  This allows effectively permanent control of a character with a Terror icon or Willpower, which is really nice.  Its only limitation is that it is unique, so you have to pick your target carefully.

Danni Devine:  The veteran players will note that I'm running two copies of several support cards, and this card is one reason why.  Ms. Devine allows Hastur support cards to be brought into play more readily; while Ms. Graham allows the deck to be stacked, Ms. Devine is particularly useful, in that she can potentially increase your draws from two to (effectively) three per turn.  Very handy.  The restriction on needing two or more insane characters in play shouldn't be a problem.  Also note that Maureen de Garmeaux can duplicate Ms. Devine's ability, to really accelerate your access to cards.

One item of note: given the special powers driven by number of insane characters in play, in this type of a deck you don't want too many insanity-proof characters.  Counter-intuitive, but important.

Master of the Myths:  Yes, he is very good, and yes, he (with Hastur and the Bringer of Fire) is crashing the ladies' party.  In playing this card, I am of a mixed mind; he is very good at what he does, but I am reluctantly coming to agree with some others here that he is not quite as game-changing as the Khopesh of the Abyss, or even Apeirophobia.  In this particular deck, he is really handy for holding the line and limiting the damage until immediate threats (read:  the Khopesh) can be dealt with and the insanity/discard "engine" gets set up.  He doesn't win the game for the deck as much as he keeps the player in the game until the real game-winning cards can start doing their thing.  Should he be restricted?  Not sure, but I can see both sides of the argument now.

Speaking of which, how to deal with the dreaded Khopesh of the Abyss with this deck?  Well, obviously, direct insanity effects will work in some case, and Political Demonstration isn't quite impossible to get out as Ms. Warren carrying The King in Yellow Folio should be able to handily win a Terror struggle.  But there is something of a secret weapon in the mix:  Guardian Beast!  It is completely counter-intuitive, but after figuring out that Stygian Eye does not work (the opponent still controls the Khopesh, if not the character), I suddenly realized that Guardian Beast can be played on any character, and works like a charm - can't use the Khopesh, can't bring another one into play, because it's unique, and additional Terror struggles? - bring it on!    The main drawback is you have to wait for your own operations phase - which, yes, can feel like an eternity.  As such, I think an advisable approach would be to use a minimal defense - Master of the Myths, Elise Warren, Stygian Eye - until the Khopesh comes out of the other player's hand, either played out or discarded through Apeirophobia, before deploying your more vulnerable characters.

Anyway, that's the deck.  Again, I don't think it will be winning any tournaments, but it's great fun to play.  I would not be surprised to see some of those cards show up in tournament-winning decks, however - I think Hastur is really coming into its own with this latest cycle.



#2 COCLCG

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 06:10 PM

nice looking deck, and with playtesting / refining, maybe master of myths ( dirty old bearded crasher ) won't be necessary. i like to call this wonderful selection of hastur women 'THE LADIES OF LUNACY'.

perfectly fine as it is, but if you'd like to experiment there are some great gals in shub as well ( mind-eater / karin marley ) and the s.destructions you might need in place of p.demonstration ( not to mention lucas corn - and with such a limited hand, are they really going to discard to get rid of him ?? another good 'delayer' ).

keep it up !!



#3 demonted

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 06:35 PM

I think your use of Victoria's Loft (while of course potent… especially with Things in the Ground), may really slow down some of your lunatic ladies. A lot of the ladies you have selected also hold the "lunatic" sub title, which means even Whisper in the Wind won't be very helpful.

You may want to think about removing Vicky's Loft. I know it would be nice to put your opponents characters in an insanity stasis with the loft, but you are going to trap your own characters as well… regrettably.



#4 ssjevot

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 07:32 PM

demonted said:

I think your use of Victoria's Loft (while of course potent… especially with Things in the Ground), may really slow down some of your lunatic ladies. A lot of the ladies you have selected also hold the "lunatic" sub title, which means even Whisper in the Wind won't be very helpful.

You may want to think about removing Vicky's Loft. I know it would be nice to put your opponents characters in an insanity stasis with the loft, but you are going to trap your own characters as well… regrettably.

He has Arkham Asylum, so they won't be trapped for long.



#5 demonted

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 02:32 AM

I'm not so sure 2x  Arkham Asylum (AA) in that deck is really going to be sufficient. I have never play tested such a deck… is two copies enough to ensure that you will see AA in time to unlock your characters? I really like the idea of using Devine effect to search for support cards, unfortunately, you won't be able to go searching after AA, since it is not a Hastur card.



#6 COCLCG

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 03:03 AM

a shub deck with just 2 copies of thunder in the east would be a problem too, if victorias loft is already on the board. oops. didn't notice that at first glance, though power drain might help, but then you'd have to waste holding a domain.

on an unrelated hastur topic, i love playing the terror characters with event insanity and poltergiest. just having her lurking on the board really freaks people out in using their last domain.



#7 Penfold

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 08:21 AM

 I would definitely replace Victoria's (Secret) Loft with The Parlor. The ability to choose which card is going to get discarded by Alyssa is potent, and the added information boosts your use of Power Drain and Stygian Eye.

It is pretty similar to a deckI've built but have not had the opportunity to play yet.



#8 COCLCG

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 09:01 AM

***************************DELETED***********************************



#9 Hellfury

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 09:22 AM

COCLCG said:

Penfold said:

 

It is pretty similar to a deckI've built but have not had the opportunity to play yet.

 

 

with no immediate reference to the above statement, just an observation in general:

yes, its a problem i'm finding the more i play. everyone's 'competative decks' are all looking eerily similar. i've only played 16 games now and i can already immediately name nearly every single card in the deck as soon as i see the resourced's colour and engine defining cards. someone resourced hastur and yog the other day and straight away i asked if it was a hand / deck miller and proceeded to name the majority of his deck. serpent decks are even worse.

the problem is the quick / successful / powerful combos are limited to a few standard cards. the best ( and most fun and unpredictable ) matches i've had were really tense battles between very original deck ideas that tried out some less 'common and unimaginative' combos and themes that weren't immediately apparent like glowing neon cards that say 'play me'. they were hugely fun and had both of us on the edge of our seats, instead of, ok, ill play this and now i know you'll play either this or this depending on what's in your hand, and i'll lose because it's not one of 'those' decks and yours is.

not that i mind losing. it's just that it can be very quick and dull, but at the same time it's good practice though because i know that's what everyone is playing and i actually enjoy seeing how far i can get with my 'non standard' deck before it's all over. its a problem for me that i cannot find playing with these decks challenging or exciting enough, and the times i come aross something intelligently built with some style that sometimes sits me back thinking 'hey, i hadnt thought of that one', is when i have the most fun.

I think that comes down to what each player is looking for.

There are games I play to be as competitive as possible (Go) and games that I play for the the thematic experience without regard for winning (Heroclix) and games where I like a combination of the two (CoC kind of fits that bill for me).

If you communicate before a game takes place if your opponent has a nifty "Johnny" deck that they might want to try out for the nifty combinations, etc, instead of breaking out the 4th turn win "Spike" deck, you might find that common ground.

Communication before each game is the key to resolve expectations and for both players to mutually benefit from the experience.



#10 COCLCG

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 09:25 AM

DAMN IT.

haha. i deleted it while you were writing because i didn't want to sound 'ranty' and thats not how i wish to be percieved anymore. i was just going to leave it as it is and continue in my own way. oh. well, its there now. unless you want to delete it for me.

if it is staying, i will add that the mentioned hastur / yog deck was one of the best games i've had as my deck unconciously was a great match against it. also the player was a nice gentlemen and we both had lots of fun. it came down to my last card and my last needed success in the same turn.

great article and thanks for the link !! everyone should read it. i'm definately a 'JOHNNY' player in a majority of 'SPIKE' players. just like i will never understand why 'consumers' are 'consumers', i'll never understand how people can enjoy playing this way. but each to their own !! and like i said, i do enjoy 'spike' decks to see how far my 'johnny' decks can go, and when they do win, its such a rush.

the best analogy for 'spike' decks i can think of is reading the same choose your own adventure book over and over again. it changes a bit in the way it plays out, but the end is always the same, and you know all the paths already.



#11 dboeren

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 10:08 AM

Hellfury said:

Communication before each game is the key to resolve expectations and for both players to mutually benefit from the experience.

This.  Plus, I'm not sure it's accurate to characterize a deck someone made but hasn't played yet as a "competitive" deck.  Most likely it needs tuning like any brand new deck would.

On the subject of Go…  That's a game I like reading about but can almost never find opponents for.  Yes, I know there are online servers but it's not the same and really the gameplay itself isn't as valuable as the teaching insights which are much easier to get in person, at least at this stage.  Not to mention the feel isn't really the same anyway.  Doesn't stop me from re-reading Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go (my favorite Go book) every once in a while or from watching Hikaru no Go, but on a basic level it's a lot easier to find games of chess so I've migrated in that direction recently.

In most games I want a mix.  I like trying out an idea, but I also want the idea to work at least reasonably well.  Sometimes that might mean bending the theme a little to fit in a key card that makes the whole thing operate better.  I'm OK with that.  Call of Cthulhu definitely falls in this category for me, the theme is such a big draw of why I got into the game to begin with. It's just FUN running a horde of ravenous Dark Young or creepy fish-men or half insane researchers of forbidden knowledge.



#12 COCLCG

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 10:18 AM

haha. thats why i said 'with no immediate reference to above statement'. see how diplomatic i've become !!

sounds like you're a hybrid 'johnny / spike' player dboeren. will use the popular and apparent strength of the 'spike' deck, but likes to tweak it a bit to make it different.

i'm loving these terms.



#13 Hellfury

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 10:21 AM

I hate to continue to use Magic The Gathering analogies for this game (rush, weenies, mill, etc. etc.) but the analogies are still relevant despite the precise game being played. The commonality of the constructed deck formats binds them forever.  Not detailed in that article are the Melvin and the Vorthos player archetype.

I prefer johnny style myself, but still like to dabble as frequently as possible every strata. There is nothing wrong with preferring a specific type over another, it is just about expectations.

"the best analogy for 'spike' decks i can think of is reading the same choose your own adventure book over and over again. it changes a bit in the way it plays out, but the end is always the same, and you know all the paths already".

Kind of. The decks you face offer ample opportunity to not feel so repetitive. Two mill decks facing each other is a much different game than mill facing destruction, for example. You just cannot play the deck exactly the same against different deck types and expect a win. You have to change the strategy. It is not only about the deck you construct, but equally about the deck you face and how you choose to play against it with the deck you have constructed..

Streamlined decks are going to look similar just because of recognizing efficiency of a card, and because the card pool is still somewhat shallow in comparison to games such as M:tG which allows a vast variety of styles to be played. It can seem bland sometimes, granted, but that will slowly change with time as the pool gets deeper.



#14 COCLCG

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 10:29 AM

that's what i meant, and i meant playing AGAINST spike decks. the same story. different ways ( strategies ) that still use the same cards ( pages ). perhaps i should have said 'spikes' are like a series of CYOA books that you've all read over and over, but each time you pick one up its randomly from a box. 'oh, im reading ( playing against ) this one again'.

do tell about MELVIN and VORTHOS !! im really liking these 'brand names'.

and its relevant to all styles of life. some people prefer to work on their own projects ( johnny ) and some people prefer to work for somebody elses project ( spike ), and then others who'll do anything as long as it gets them the big bucks !! ( timmy ).



#15 Hellfury

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 11:20 AM

My apologies to Runix for taking this so far off of the topic of his deck as this stuff really needs a thread of its own, but to finish the thought behind player archetypes:

Vorthos could best be characterized by a true thematic player. Someone who wants to take the theme to the extreme and will build a deck for the theme above all else. Like a Dunwich Horror Yog deck that revolves around the monstrous characters of the story and would like to see their opponent build a deck revolving around the investigator protagonists of that story so that both player can immerse themselves in the theme as much as possible within the mechanics of the game. It is a good archetype that is under valued and under used in this game. More than any other, I appreciate this archetype the most personally, as it was the theme that drew me to the game (as most of you did I would hazard to wage).

Melvin is the guy who likes the mechanical side of things. He appreciates the delicate interaction of the combinations to be found but doesnt ignore the more obvious and strong interactions to use in his whirling cogs brain. For CoC, that likely means being pointed towards the direction of The Hermetic Order of the Silver Twilight as their interactions can be less than obvious, but as the pool grows, so too does the possibilities and potential of subtle and not so subtle interactions of his beloved Rube Goldberg mechanism. Melvin can often be seen as the opposite of Vorthos as theme is at best a tertiary concern.

That's a nutshell summary but here is a rather long article for further perusal of the topic.

Apologies again for the off topic stuff. No matter how far I run from M:tG, all the years of highly competitive play has ingrained so much of it into me something fierce.

 



#16 COCLCG

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 11:34 AM

my apologies also, as i started it all. i will end by saying that it appears that 'johnny' is at the peak of the pyramid - hahahaha.



#17 Penfold

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 11:42 AM

 I get what you are talking about. I definitely prefer to play weird decks. I loathe and avoid destruction based decks. Just not interesting to me… unless it does its destruction in new or novel  ways.

I pointed out the Parlor because… well she and Alyssa go together, thematically and mechanically, and they do what you said you wanted her in your deck for more efficiently.

I don't have a problem with creating a fun out of the box deck and playing with it and slowly making it as efficient as I can without abandoning my theme or core mechanic. Just trying to make the most killer deck to play socially… well if I am not gearing up for a serious tournament why bother? Finding ways to win under the gun makes me a better player, and stopping and really examining every card in the card pool with an open mind and evaluating the efficiency and synergy of the cards will help me be  abetter deck building. Looking at cards and mechanics dismissed by everyone else in my building social decks actually makes this easier for me.

But everyone does  what they like. More power to them.



#18 Runix

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 01:28 PM

I don't mind the diversion at all.  Thanks for the articles, they were very interesting!  Turns out I am probably a Melvin, although I do have some Johnny to me.

To COCLCG's concerns, the problem with the win-at-all-costs approach is that it tends to revolve around finding the most overpowered cards and stacking your deck with them.  That produces lots of wins - but I'm fairly convinced that it's not the best approach to winning tournaments.  This game has some very strong, very deep synergies (Voice of the Jungle/Dreamlands Messenger, for instance), but you don't get there by taking a what's-the-best-cards approach that your average Spike takes.  Beyond that, there are some very significant scissors/paper/rock interactions in the game.  Direct damage can wreak havoc on flooding strategies, but bouncing arguably beats direct damage, but a bouncing deck could have a hard time with a super-fast flooding deck.

Consequently, the most competitive decks may not be decks that simply throw in the strongest cards from the faction that happens to have the most of them, but rather one with a clear concept that works against many other decks, but which also has built-in options for dealing with unusual strategies.  That's more of a Johnny deck than a Spike deck.  A deck that stomps most other decks (because it's loaded with overpowered cards) but falls apart against a few decks (that have direct counters to those overpowered cards) isn't going to get as far as a balanced deck that has a solid but not overwhelming strategy, but lots of options to deal with whatever comes up.

Anyway, back to the original deck.  I cut Victoria's Loft as noted, and replaced it with Enchanted Wood and The Rays of Dawn.  I only have one of the Wood, and Rays of Dawn - while a surprising choice - actual works like a charm, as most characters have only one [Terror] (and Messenger from Beyond can remove a second one if needed), and most of my characters are unique and so unaffected.  Take *that*, Degenerate Serpent Cultists!

My general experience with this deck is that it is very weak the first few turns - it is not at all unusual to lose one or two Stories right off the bat, although Master of the Myths can really help limit the damage.  But once it gets up and running with the critical characters and attachments out, it's really solid and just consistently shuts down nearly anything that gets thrown at it.



#19 COCLCG

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 02:14 PM

I love rays of dawn. This is my deck . more a fun one than competative but great against terror decks. all non uniques have 2 terror except messenger but folio helps this and it never sees story phases anyway.


FEAR TO THE FEARLESS


Lucas corn x 2
Granny orne x 2
Victoria glasser x 2
Poltergeist x 2
Messenger from beyond x 3
Black dog x 2
Keeper of dreams x 3
Danni devine x 2
Nightstalker x 2
Corrupted midwife x 3
Ghoulish worshipper x 3
Y’Golonac x 2

Final note x 2
Even here she dwells x 2
Burrowing beneath x 3

Scalpel x 3
Rays of dawn x 3
King in yellow folio x 3
Unknown kadath x 2
Vale of pnath x 2
Guardian pillar x 2

( if you're wondering about poltergiest, it just sits there, threatening the use of an opponents last domain before the end of your turn. ).
 

i like your changes and looks like a good deck now !! and yes, you're right. these 'spike' decks aren't always successful. what i don't like is the predictability of them when you're playing a non competition fun deck and the 'spike' players insist on 'getting that win' and using the same boring old seen it before strategy. but like Hellfury pointed out, it should probably be established pre game what the style will be to determine compatibility. like - "hi, i'm spike" and "hi, im johnny " - hahaha.



#20 Runix

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 09:53 AM

Looks like a fun deck.  I considered including Granny in my deck, but eventually decided not to use her, as I have two cards that rely on number of insane characters in play, and three others that go insane for their special abilities - not particularly good synergy!  But in most Hastur decks, I think she's a solid addition, and can really help put away the other player when you have them on the ropes.






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