Hello everyone, I've read a lot of Descent posts here at FFG Forum and also another forum so I decided to give something back and post something here and there. There are often questions about Overlord strategies so I came up to write my experience as an Overlord player. Some things are common sense and well-known. Other stuff I haven't read so far. 1. Mindset Descent is a resource-game. The two resources are actions and fatigue. In order to win you have to maximize your actions and minimize the actions and fatigue of the heroes (the heroes vice versa). 2. General
read through the description of each setup/stage and understand the winning conditions (discuss with heroes so everything is clear)
first and only goal: fulfill winning conditions!
write down the stats of the heroes to have a little reminder handy for your attribute testing cards/conditions
when playing a attribute testing card/ or giving someone a condition the test-value should be 2 or less
always try to reduce your deck to 15 cards which highly support the winning condition
if there is nothing better to do (like closing doors, get into a good blocking position,sit on search tokens (large monsters) attack the heroes
if the end of stage 1 is near: beat the **** out of the heroes, don't kill one – just weaken them as much as possible (hearts, conditions)
never finish your monster activation next to a melee character so you force the hero to spend fatigue or loose an attack action
if possible/appropriate spread monsters (additional movement points/range to consider for heroes willing to kill them)
if heroes have blast, whirlwind etc try to spread monsters OR chose smaller monster groups
save your cards for the second stage and use them when they have an impact on the game (this comes with experience)
3. Plot Decks
Seeds of Betrayal, Sole Purpose! Don't spent anything – 13 Cards Deck is enough
(there is a really good plot deck guide on the other well known forum, highly recommended)
4. Card selection There are always questions how to combine cards, best overlords classes etc. Remember the mindset: Minimize actions and fatigue of the heroes and maximize your actions. The following cards support that strategy. Basic I
Dark Charm: running in the opposite direction is often much better than attacking,because the hero looses one action to reposition (unless you can kill someone – then go for the kill.)
Dash/Frenzy (2x): you get one extra move/attack. Yay! Dash is always advantageous. Frenzy depends on the scenario/winning conditions
Pit trap: use when fatigue is used for movement
Trip wire (2x): use in an movement action
Blinding Speed (2x): +2 Movement Points // if you have a low knowledge & awareness warrior a total of 6 movement points. Let the shadow dragon walk all over the map (superior to dash IF there is such a low knowledge/awareness hero)
Flurry: get another attack plus green dice with a surge (inferior to frenzy because you need to roll a surge and the added green dice in the next attack doesn't equal this)
Grease Trap: Banana peel anyone? Hero moves in opposite direction and gets some damage or suffers fatigue (stop this Wildlander a bit)? The mage gets stunned? This sounds like a swiss army knife. In the right circumstance you can let the hero slide into the arms of an ravage monster - lets cuddle a bit. (overall a nice trap)
Mimic: kill this reaver if you want to get some gold/items.. Very nice card! This minion also gives you some actions. It's a no brainer. Use it as often as you can. (nice card! I want that in Basic I, maybe two times? )
Overwhelm: get an extra attack (test willpower) on surrounded heroes or the hero gets stunned and immobilized. Sound great at first glance but its situational. I use it on heroes wandering alone in the dark to knock them out or fix them in their position.
Sign of weakness: Get a movement point for every monster in line of sight of a resting hero. situational but nice to reposition.
It is fun to play - Mimic, Mimic, Mimic but for getting extra action/movement points or restrict them
for the heroes I think it's inferior to Basic I
Blood rage (2x 1 XP): two extra attack actions is huge – but your monster is defeated afterwards. In my opinion most beneficial at the end of stage 1 to weaken heroes, if you have to kill someone and it's getting tight with the heroes winning condition or if a monster is on low health and will not survive the next attack. It's also fun to build up a one-trick-pony Act II Master Shadow Dragon with frenzy also add 'Dark Charm' and 'Crushing Blow' to trigger an explosive attack (and 3 'normal' ones). With a bit of luck and bad positioning of the heroes this is devastating. Saboteur
Web trap (2x 1 XP): Immobilize – one of my favorite conditions. Use when at least two low might heroes are adjacent to each other Punisher
No Rest for the Wicked (2x 1 XP): forces the heroes to think twice about fatigue move. If they move, you can move – great. If they decide not to move with fatigue this round – great. You prevented the conversion to movement points. They use an action instead.
Exploit Weakness (2 XP): you can get a whole activation for a monster or at least one movement action. Situational but good Synergies with 'Imploding Rift' and 'Mistrust'. Unfortunately expensive with 2 XP
Imploding Rift (1 XP): a hero looses all of his stamina? Great deal. Play on high stamina, low Willpower heroes
Mistrust (1 XP): loosing fatigue when when the heroes getting cosy with their buddys. Great thing. Use in narrow maps. Overall to situational
Out of Darkness (1 XP): get an attack action when hero is revived. Sounds great but highly situational use 'Exploit Weakness' instead
Treacherous Shadows (3 XP): can be nice if there are at least two low Willpower heroes. But way too expensive.
Call of the Ravens (1 XP): get an extra monster on the map – nice. Two actions each round and one more monster to kill/disturb the plans of the heroes can add up a lot over the course of a campaign. Also good synergies with Bloodlust (call raven on at least 5HP monster, let the monster die with Bloodlust) and reinforcements at start of OL turn Enchanter
Wristlet Of Wind (1 XP): underestimated this card for a long time. It's huge on a group of 4 or 5 monsters. Even better if they are ranged. It's just one additional movement point - but that's the one which leads to extra fatigue movement, splitting groups up, lay distractions, etc. and on top of all the heroes can't discard it like Elixir of Stone (except they can dish out immobilize...). Like nearly all Enchanter Cards it's best played on groups which are reinforced every round. On top of that, once played it thins out the OL deck for the scene.
Elixir of Stone (1 XP): +1 shield for every monster in group. Can lead to more actions to kill one. I want that. Kobolds, Reanimates, Archers and such really benefit from it and become even nastier. Unfortunately the heroes can discard it. ALso thins out the OL deck for the played scene
Airborne (1 XP): Well this is a nice card. Comes silently "I play airborne", heroes exhale in relief - nothing happens. But on the long run it can be an Elixir of Stone for every monster on the table. Well - a bit exaggerated. But it's powerful: The blue X or out of range? - ok, you get an infection token. A little bit less to be annoyed Can make the difference between a dead monster or a monster with 1 HP. That's annoying and another action for the heroes. On top of that it thins out your deck for the whole quest! I like! Universal
Plan Ahead (1 XP): Look up the next five OL cards and put them back in your desired order? Yes please! Very important to get critical cards like Dash or get this Enchanter Card to play.
Dark Resilience (1 XP): First aid for your lieutenant, boss or whatever you like. Very good in quest with "kill xy" as an hero winning condition. Diverse Means is another option but it costs 2XP... I prefer Dark Resilience.
Dark Remedy (2 x 1XP): discard one chosen condition from a monster group. It's a very defensive card - but can help to keep Wristlet of Wind. Would Consider it if heroes are quite condition happy
So if I want an hardcore campaign for the heroes I always pick a set out of these cards. They are cheap and highly effective. If there are two low might heroes I get Web Trap first. Afterwards I adjust to the heroes and course of the campaign. 5. Monster Selection I distinguish my monsters in different types
“Kill me if you want to pass”
good conditions for bad heroes
move that **** hero
Blow things up: AoE
DIE, DIE, DIE! (...my darling)
Remember the resources: actions, fatigue Remember the winning conditions. If your heroes have high single target damage try to avoid small monster groups and vice versa (blast, etc - small monster groups) So first of all I ask myself: is blocking a good Idea? Will the heroes loose a good amount of actions? If yes – let's find a monster with two defense dices (grey-brown, grey-grey, …) and a good amount of life. That's a simple one. Nothing more to say here. Next question: Conditions
I distinguish between the good ones (listed here) and 'bad' ones (left out). The good ones are those which need an action to remove or Immobilize ;-) Diseased is an exception because it directly attacks the fatigue resource.
If possible always try to get immobilize and/or stun (Medusa anyone?) because they restrict movement (immobilize) or directly take away an action without a choice (stun).
My personal top 5 are:
Immobilize: restricts tactical movement/ repositioning
Stunned: “Have fun with your 1 action next round” :-p Terrified: Force the heroes to do crazy movements just to lose this card at the end of their round. On top of that – no surges which nicely transfers in less damage/ no fatigue gain Bleeding: action loss for discarding this card – otherwise fatigue loss/action. Really nice. Weakened: one rest action to lose this card? Yes please. On top of that this hero is easier to knock out and is fighting with cotton balls.
The other conditions are also good and can transition into the longer life of monsters or less fatigue/recovery of fatigue. But those just mentioned are universal for every hero (no attributes test) and have IMO the strongest effects.
Immobilized [discard end of turn, cannot move]
Elementals (action, test awareness)
[C] Zombies (action, test strength)
[C] Bane Spider (action, adjacent test awareness)
[C] Broodwalker (surge)
Stunned [1 action]
Troll (test awareness after attack)
[C] Medusa (surge)
[C] Razorwing (surge)
Terrified [no LOS enemy figures at end of hero turn, cannot spend surges]
Broodwalker (surge) Bleeding [1 action, each action 1 fatigue]
Rat Swarm (action, test strength)
Weakened [rest action, -1 shield & heart p. attack]
Plague Worms (surge) Next question: Move Is it beneficial to move heroes because they block the exit? They protect your target? There are hazard fields like pits? So here we have some bad guys who can do it:
Ynfernal Hulk (surge, 3 fields)
Hellhound (surge, place on field adjacent to monster)
Plague Worm (action, 1 field + suffer 1 fatigue)
Changeling (action, test willpower, 1 field)
Ogre (surge, 3 fields)
[C] Bone Horror (surge)
[C] Ettin (action, test strength, 3 fields + suffer 1 heart)
[C] Goblin witcher (when cursed, 2 fields)
[C] Crypt Dragon (action, test willpower, 2 fields straight away)
[C] Hell Hound (surge, field adjacent to monster)
Next question: AoE Heroes often stay near each other? Narrow map? Get some AoE which is like (an) extra action(s)
Lava Beetle (surge, [C] always, blast)
Arachyura (attack adjacent max 2 fields)
Elemental (attack adjacent / test willpower, 2 fatigue / test awareness, immobilize adjacent)
Plague Worm (action, 2 fields fatigue AoE, 1 fatigue)
Barghest (action, 3 fields radius fatigue AoE, test willpower, 1 fatigue)
Crypt Dragon (surge, blast)
Dark Priest (action, 5 field radius, test willpower, 1 fatigue)
[C] Fire Imp (when defeated, adjacent, 1 heart)
[C] Merriod (attack, 2 fields)
[C] Shadow Dragon (surge, 4 fields)
[C] Hybrid Sentinel (surge, 4 fields)
[C] Hellhound (surge, 4 fields)
[C] Giant (action, every figure in 2 spaces and LoS)
[C] Ogre (action, each figure 2 fields)
[C] Hell Hound (surge, 4 fields)
Last Question: Kill what is in your way.
So the task is to kill an objective? Knock out that heroes? Do damage?
Well the blue-red die is your friend (act II: blue-red-red). Also numbers are beneficial (more monsters - more actions for you) so it can be better to choose larger monster groups (4 or even 5 monsters) Here are (sometimes underestimated) little fuckers I really like and just want to mention:
Goblin Archer: annoying little fuckers and numerous. With Wristlet of Wind a nightmare with hit and run tactic. Also good surges with damage and range. Downside: Cowardly and very fragile but would be OP otherwise.
Sorcerer: numerous and sorcery give them just what they need (range or damage). I use them in close combat and with hit and run tactics. Good Damage.
Bandits. Blue-Red dice and ranged. Nice! Often classified as OP.
Rat Swarm: Glass cannons. Fragile but can do good damage.
Hell Hound: numerous, high pierce, BR dice, move hero, maybe a firebreath…
Changeling: I love these buddies – staying power, numerous, fast, some nice surges. Not the highest damage though.
Cave Spider: don't like them in Act I – but ACT 2 is awesome with BYY and good damage surges.
Lava Beetle: Boom and good dice
There are many different types of monster which can fulfil more than one task:
Elementals (Condition, AoE, fatigue-AoE, with Air nice blocking)
Plague Worm (Condition, fatigue AoE, Move)
Arachyura (Condition, AoE, blocking to an lesser extent)
Giant (Condition, massive AoE if positioned correctly)
Merriod (Condition, AoE)
Changeling (Condition, Move, fatigue)
Medusa (Yo Dawg. I heard you like conditions? So I put a condition into a condition so you give conditions while giving a condition)
Hell Hound (AoE, Move)
Shadow Dragon (AoE, Blocking, good looking )
Ettin (Blocking, Move)
Whenever possible I'll choose such 'multi-purpose' monsters.
With all this in mind I'm quite successful as the Overlord and the heroes have a really hard time. 7. Hints for the heroes So what can heroes do to make me feel at least a bit uncomfortable?
The group hast to be balanced in their attributes (a whole low willpower group? Wet dream of mine)
FOCUS. ON. THE. WINNING. CONDITION(s). Oh cool you killed this Sentinel behind your Team? Nice. You just lost one round of coming closer to the winning condition.
every character has at least 4 movement points
get a condition remover & healer
get skills that give you extra actions (Advance, Whirlwind, Fleet of Foot, Blast, familiar, ...you get the point ;-)
get items which boost movement, stamina, fatigue, surges
Lindel (really - that's a ******. Even without a class he's nearly unstoppable movement wise. He is also nice to have for attribute tests in quests)
Mess with my cards (Marshal, Wildlander)
Search as much as possible
So that was a long one. Hope you enjoyed and got something out of it. If this post starts a discussion or something comes to my mind to add I'll edit it in this post. Cheers Thalim
€1 spelling // added another hero hint
€2 General: blast/whirlwind
€3 added basic II cards
€4 reworked OL classes, reworked conditions, added monsters and another monster selection paragraph
€5 a bit polishing here and there