Blurpy The RABID

Tooth And Claw 101: How To Play As The Invader... And WIN!

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Greetings all,


I figured it would be worthwhile to post my write-up on general Invader strategies for the new Doom boardgame.  I originally wrote this up on another boardgame forum, so my apologies if you've read this before.

I've come to a point as an Invader player where I seem to win.  A lot.  It's kinda scary, actually.  I've even tried playing against myself without bias, but to no avail (I'm starting to wonder if an advanced set of rules should be applied to this game when dealing with experienced Invader players...).  I got this good by using the strategies listed below.

So you’ve bought the newest Doom board game and have played it with friends a few times. Each time you decide to burden yourself by playing as the invader so that you can entice your buddies to give the game a try. And they do. Being new to the game yourself, you may have lost as the invader your first 1-2 times playing this game as the invader. But that’s all good, for good times were had by all…

But then the more you play, the more callous the marine players become. Trampling all over your fragile demon horde while laughing maniacally. Rubbing salt & vinegar into the fresh wounds that they keep ripping into your ego as they make a joke of your attempts to take them down. You grow spiteful with a thirst that can only be quenched with the blood of their marine characters.

Welcome to Tooth And Claw 101, my write-up on how to play as the invader and have a good chance of winning against 4 marines. Note that this write-up isn’t geared towards the near-impossible-to-stop Solo Operative 1v1 match-up; only use these guidelines when dealing with 3-4 marines at a time. Also, this is gonna be a looooooooong post, as there's so many moving parts for the invader to manage. You have been warned.

-= General Strategies =-

- Rule #1: BE RUTHLESS. Any time that you have an opportunity to attack a marine, take it. Any time that you have a damage-enhancing or “+1 extra attack” event card to play, play it. If you ever get that rare opportunity to play a Cyberdemon’s Rail Cannon twice in one round (read on to find out how), TAKE IT! Don’t hold anything back when dishing out the pain to the marines, or they’ll hit you back twice as hard!

- Rule #2: BE RELENTLESS. Never let up on your constant barrage of attacks to let the marines collect themselves. The moment that you let them catch your breath will be the moment that the marines turn the battle against you, so never EVER stop attacking them!

- Rule #3: BE PREPARED. Seriously, playing as an effective invader takes a lot of preparation, planning, strategy and a decent amount of good luck. Play some of the missions on your own ahead of time to figure out what strategies work and which ones don’t. Each mission is a different scenario, and a strategy that works well on one mission won’t necessarily work well on another. I’ll need to write up another strategy guide for each of the Operation Guide’s 12 missions, so keep your eyes peeled.

Your victory stands upon a four-legged stool; the four legs of this stool are your demons, Argent Power, your event deck, and strategy. If you're missing any one of these four elements, your stool is gonna fall over and your victory will shatter all over the floor. Victory sucks when it gets smashed due to your lack of preparation. Seriously, it's like a broken fluorescent bulb - just jagged painful shards everywhere. Ugh, it sucks... yuk

-= The Demon Horde =-

Your demon horde is the firepower that you’ll use to shred the marines to kibble, so it really pays to know how to use each of them effectively. Please refer to my write-up on Demon Strategies below to learn the basics on how to use each demon type to its fullest potential:

As a rule of thumb, the fastest way to victory is to focus on killing the weakest marine on the field before focusing on another marine. Focus your horde’s attacks on the bleeder and crush him under your heel! Then focus on the next wounded marine. If you spread out your attacks among the marines evenly, they’ll stand a better chance of surviving your onslaught. Remember - what you lack in defensive ability can be made up for in sheer demonic quantities. Keep the horde well-fed with reinforcements so that the marines can never catch a break. OVERWHELM AND CRUSH THEM!!!

- Summoning Guidelines
Always, Always, ALWAYS have demons on the board whenever you can help it. Aim to have multiple figures of each active demon type on the board so that you have more options available whenever an invader initiative card gets flipped from the initiative deck. You need to keep the pressure on at all times, as that is your sole path to victory!

Be mindful, however, of how many of each demon type you have on the board as you’re plotting out your summoning sequence! For example, if you’ve got a Mancubus on the board now, and you see an opportunity to summon two additional Mancubi next round from a single red portal token, you won’t be able to summon those two extra Mancubi ‘cuz the game only comes with two Mancubus figures. Summon some lesser demons from a blue portal until the marines kill off your active Mancubus.

- Know Your Demons
Demon types can be broken down into two tiers - the lesser demons, and the greater demons. Each demonic tier is made up of four demon types; take note of their Special Defense bonuses:

Lesser Demons:
Demon Type Special Defense Bonus Avg. Damage Output Per Activation
- Imp Dodge 2 damage (~3-4 damage Charged Fireball)
- Possessed Soldier +2 Shields 3-4 damage
- Cacodemon +1 Shield ~3-4 damage (5 damage Chomp)
- Pinky +3 Shields 3-4 damage (~4-5 damage Bullrush)

Greater Demons:
Demon Type Special Defense Bonus Avg. Damage Output Per Activation
- Revenant Dodge ~8-9 damage (~4-5 damage x2)
- Mancubus +1 Shield ~4-6 damage (+2 damage Flamethrower)
- Baron of Hell +2 Shields 4 damage (+~4-6 damage Grand Fireball)
- Cyberdemon +3 Shields ~5-6 damage (+2 damage Missile Barrage x 3; +8 damage Rail Cannon)

- Attack Strategy
In general, lesser demons should use “peek-a-boo” hit & run tactics - they should hide behind cover and stay out of the marines’ attack range. When they attack, they should move just within attack range to strike and then retreat back to safety. If they’re not mindful, they’ll become health piñatas for the Glory Kill-hungry marine who comes moshing into your horde with the frakkin’ Chainsaw.

The greater demons (with some exception to the Revenant, who should also play hide & seek to increase its longevity) are generally the largest high-priority targets on the field. They’re easier to hit (the Large Figures ignore the rules for Cover), and most of them have Toughness, which automatically applies +1 Shield whenever they’re defending. Being large and in charge, they’re designed to absorb damage while they move into the battle. Once they’re in the fray, they use their powerful attacks to wipe the floor with the marines. Get in there and do some damage!

- Regarding The Fc#kin' Gauss Cannon
A special note about the Special Defense bonuses on your event cards - NONE of them have a Dodge icon in their upper-right corner. Some event card sets have more Special Defense icons in their upper-right corners than other event card sets; these card sets are invaluable when it comes to dealing with a marine toting the dreaded Gauss Cannon.

Only two demon types stand any chance against the formidable Gauss Cannon - the Imps, and the Revenants; note that these two demon types are the weakest of their respective tiers. All of the other demon types are generally screwed whenever a marine targets them with a Precision Bolt attack. The marine who wields the Gauss Cannon will most likely focus his Gauss Cannon attacks on the most problematic demons on the board. Use your dodgy demons to do your dirtiest work, as they’ve the best chance of actually avoiding the damned thing.

-= Argent Power =-

Where your demons are your firepower, Argent Power is the ammunition that you load into your demons to wreak havoc on the marines. Argent Power is absolutely vital to getting the biggest bang out of your demons, and thus should be taken into high regard when carrying out your plans to eradicate the marine nuisance.

You NEED Argent Power, and you need it all the time. Sometimes demons come with Argent Power tokens when you summon them; more often than not, however, you’ll usually be forced to discard event cards to acquire Argent Power. Since you’re forced to give up your valuable event cards for Argent Power, you’ll want to manage this expensive resource responsibly.

As a quick guideline, here’s a list of the demon types in the order from low to high regarding their need for Argent Power, and how much they typically need per round:

Demon Type Argent Power Priority (Amount Per Round Req’d.)
- Imp Low (0-1 Argent Power per figure)
*- Possessed Soldier Low-Medium (1 Argent Power per figure)
- Cacodemon Low (0-1 Argent Power per figure)
*- Pinky Medium (1-3 Argent Power for all figures on board to share)
*- Revenant Medium-High (1-2 Argent Power per figure)
- Mancubus Low-Medium (1 Argent Power per figure)
- Baron of Hell Low-Medium (1 Argent Power per figure)
*- Cyberdemon High (3+ Argent Power per figure)

* = Demon types that should take priority over others when assigning Argent Power tokens.

- General Guidelines To Managing Your Argent Stash
- Unless you’ve got the perfect set of cards in-hand, aim to discard 2-3 event cards every round to acquire Argent Power.

- It really pays to invest Argent Power for the next round by placing 1-2 Argent Power tokens on your invasion card. Do this every round so that your demons are always receiving some Argent Power.

- Don’t stress over how you can’t supply every demon figure with Argent Power; unless you’re playing with the Infernal Sorcery event card set, you’ll always be starved for Argent Power. Use the lump three feet above your ass to figure out which demon types are most deserving of Argent Power (hint: give it to the demon(s) that will bring you victory!).

- When appropriate, choose the summoning options on your invasion card that come with additional Argent Power tokens. These summoning options usually involve you having to summon fewer/weaker demons in order to gain that bonus Argent Power. Use these summoning options to supplement your already-active demon types with more reinforcements; since they also come with Argent Power, they’ll be a very welcome addition to your active horde!

-= The Event Deck =-

Your event deck compliments your demon horde’s efforts to bring down the marines through indirect effects. It’s what allows you to strengthen your demon’s attacks, boost your demons’ chance of survival, and generally make life harder for the marines. It’s also your primary source of Argent Power, which is essential to maximizing your demons’ potential.

The key strategy with your event deck is to only keep event cards in-hand that you plan on using for the current round, and play EVERY in-hand event card EVERY round. Cycle through your event deck as rapidly as possible to ensure that you’re always applying pressure to the marines!

The following section will give an overview of each event card set (as I’ve interpreted them). Each event card set will be ranked based on the following criteria:

- Purpose: What the intended purpose of this card set is designed to fulfill (at least, what I think it is; this is a how-to guide, not a board game design document =P).
- Defensive Value: How much defensive value this event card set will bring to your event deck. I provide a range because Special Defense bonuses will vary depending on the demon that’s defending during any given attack. The higher the value, the better.
- Composition: Which cards make up this card set, and how many of each there will be.
- Throw-Away Cards: My suggestions on which cards to generally discard (unless you can foresee a situation where these cards can immediately help you).
- Tactics: When & how to use each card in this card set; this section will also recommend when it’s best to discard a certain event card for Argent Power rather than hold onto it, when applicable.

NOTE: When it comes to Defensive Value, I’m referring to how valuable the event card set is in providing decent defensive bonuses when you’re defending a demon. The potential results are +0 (blank), +1 shields, +2 shields, +3 shields (yeah Iron Skin!), and Special Defense (Sp. Def.). Since Special Defense varies depending on which demon is defending, I’ve listed each card set’s Defensive Value as a range.

In general, the higher the Defensive Value, the better your chances of flipping a non-blank event card whilst defending a demon from an attack.

-= Armored Offensive =-

- Purpose: To assist in defending your demons from attacks & Glory Kills.
- Composition: Demonic Resilience (x2), Iron Skin (x1), Unbreakable (x2), Unstoppable (x1).
- Defensive Value: SOLID (+9 Shields total; avg. +1.5 Shields per card).
- Throw-Away Cards: Any duplicate cards, and Iron Skin if you don’t have any Large Figures on the board.
- Tactics: 
Demonic Resilience: Play this card to help keep any demon from suffering more damage.
Unbreakable: It’s generally a good idea to play this one every chance you get it.
Iron Skin: An invaluable defense card, but only useful if you’ve a Large Figure on the board. Discard it whenever you don’t have Large Figures in play.
Unstoppable: Play this card whenever your tougher demons (i.e. Pinkies, Barons & the Cyberdemon) or your Revenants are attacked. It’s not really worth using on Cacodemons & Mancubi, though it can occasionally help you get out of a pinch.

-= Blood Rush =-

- Purpose: To make it harder for the marines to get the jump on your demons.
- Composition: Ambush (x2), Darkness (x2), Demonic Speed (x2).
- Defensive Value: Low - Medium (+6 - +10 Shields total; avg.+1-1.67 per card).
- Throw-Away Cards: Extra copies of Darkness & Ambush.
- Tactics:
Ambush: Play whenever you can! This helps to let you get the first turn(s) of the round, ensuring that you can do your damage before the marines put an end to your fun!
Darkness: This effectively turns the terrifying Super Shotgun into a melee weapon by reducing its range to 1. This also changes most marine attacks (which usually sport a range of 5) to a range of 3 or less. This’ll make it much harder for marines to land their attacks effectively.
Demonic Speed: Get your demons where they need to be NOW! Whether it be giving your Pinky enough movement points to do a drive-by skewering, or whether you need to hustle your chubby Mancubus into the fray, Demonic Speed will get you there. Discard extras of this card only if you don't have a need to hustle your demons along, or if you're desperate for Argent Power.

-= Infernal Sorcery =-

- Purpose: To supplement the invader with additional Argent Power & event cards.
- Defensive Value: Medium to High (+8 - 11 Shields total; avg. +1.33-1.83 Shields per card).
- Composition: Dark Pact (x1), Death Curse (x1), Devious Schemes (x2), Soul Harvest (x2).
- Throw-Away Cards: Extra copies of Devious Schemes & Soul Harvest. You’ll want to keep damage-enhancing & defense-boosting cards in-hand, so feel free to dump extras of these cards.
- Tactics: 
Dark Pact: Play Dark Pact whenever you need extra event cards. Play this card right after playing Devious Schemes to get the cards you really want! Just don’t make a Dark Pact with a marine who’s toting heavy weapons like the Gauss Cannon or Chainsaw. Note that once the Activation Phase begins, you can’t discard anymore cards in exchange for Argent Power; use Dark Pact to get yourself some more cards in-hand to do some more damage this round!
Death Curse: Play this whenever ANY demon dies, and stick it to the marine with the most injuries. Make that marine your priority target, and punish them for letting their buddy kill one of your minions.
Devious Schemes: Play this card before you play Dark Pact to set yourself up with event cards that you actually want in-hand for this round. If the next 3 event cards are not what you’re looking for, stick ‘em on the bottom of your deck. Then play Dark Pact and fetch your cards (the marines almost always accept your sinister deal >=D).
Soul Harvest: Did something die? Profit from it!!! Note that you can play this card when a marine dies, as well! Gaining 2 Argent Power when anything dies can only help your cause!

-= Power Overwhelming =-

- Purpose: To hit the multiple marines HARD all in one go!
- Composition: Hellish Power (x3), Explosive Blast (x2), Onslaught (x1).
- Defensive Value: Low - Medium (+7 - +9 Shields total; avg. +1.17-1.5 per card).
- Throw-Away Cards: Explosive Blast, and maybe Hellish Power.
- Tactics:
Explosive Blast: This card should only be played if the marines are foolish enough to stand adjacent to one another. Otherwise, discard it for Argent Power. This card is also completely useless if you’re playing against the Solo Operative.
Hellish Power: Use this card whenever you see that you have a clear shot at the healthiest marine(s) on the board. Discard any duplicates ONLY if you don’t foresee any opportunities to play this card more than once per round.
Onslaught: This is a safer variant to Ferocity in that it doesn’t involve one of your demons having to get close to a marine, and it doesn’t involve your demon becoming stunned. You must, however, target a different marine with your additional attack. This additional attack can be used against an adjacent marine, and you can move in between these attacks if you’ve the movement points to spare. This card is ideal for use with Revenants. Wreak havoc on the marines! This card is useless, however, if you’re playing against the Solo Operative.

-= Savage Strength =-

- Purpose: To bring the Pain Train to the station situated right up the marines’ nacho chutes! WOO-WOOOOOO!!!
- Composition: Demonic Strength (x3), Execution (x1), Ferocity (x2).
- Defensive Value: LOW (+4-+6 Shields total; avg. +0.67-1 per card)!
- Throw-Away Cards: Extra copies of Demonic Strength, and Execution (usually).
- Tactics:
Demonic Strength: This card is a damage-enhancing card, and you should use it often. Combine it with Hellish Power to make for a really mean opening attack against the healthiest marine! Whee!!!
Execution: This card lets you kill ANY marine (even the feared and hated Solo Operative) if they’ve suffered 8+ damage, AND it rewards the lucky demon with some Argent Power! It’s tough to use this card unless you’re able to corner the most injured marine, but MAN is this card satisfying to play!!! Discard it if you draw it in the first round, as you usually won’t be able to dish out that much damage so early in the game (unless you play your cards right).
Ferocity: This card is arguably one of the NASTIEST event cards you can play! But it comes at a risk - the attacking demon will become stunned after it performs its additional attack. This makes Ferocity the “balls to the walls” attack card; use it when you’re willing to risk losing a demon to ensure that a marine dies! Note that you CAN move in between these attacks if you’ve got movement points to spare, so be creative in how you plan to use this event card.
Play Ferocity with a demon that can dish out a lot of damage - especially if it’s near death. If it’s gonna die, you may as well let it go out in a glorious flurry of swipes and kicks!
Ferocity is just like Onslaught except that you’ve the option to attack the same marine again! Use it as your “double-tap” to make sure the wounded marine dies!
Like Onslaught, you can also attack another marine after playing Ferocity. Ferocity doesn’t say that the additional attack must target an adjacent marine figure, so let your Cacodemon belch a stunning Plasma Tether attack at another marine after you gobbled up his buddy!
Use Ferocity to let your Revenant squeeze off a THIRD attack! Just be sure to get your Revenant out of harm’s way before its activation ends!
Use Ferocity to let your Pinky strike a target twice with its Bull Rush damage (it’s legal as long as the target wasn’t adjacent to your Pinky when it activates!).
Use Ferocity to get an extra melee attack out of your Baron of Hell when it’s moving in for the kill.
The nastiest thing you can do with Ferocity is allow the Cyberdemon to fire its Rail Cannon TWICE in one round! If your Cyberdemon has at least 4 Argent Power, then do everything in your power to end its activation adjacent to another marine. At the end of the round, target the adjacent marine with its Rail Cannon attack, and THEN play Ferocity!!! You’ll be able to fire the Rail Cannon again, most likely targeting another marine (Rail Cannon is VERY difficult to survive!).

-= Seek And Destroy =-

- Purpose: To make hitting marines with your attacks easier (and to get the Metallica song of the same name stuck in your head).
- Composition: Crippling Strike (x2), Demonic Precision (x3), Paranoia (x1).
- Defensive Value: Low - Medium (+6 - +10 Shields total; +1-1.67 Shields per card).
- Throw-Away Cards: Demonic Precision.
- Tactics: 
Crippling Strike: This card will serve you well when using your demons' weaker attacks (including the Cyberdemon's Missile Barrage). Use this whenever an Imp attacks a marine! Imp attacks are pretty negligible in most circumstances, so turn them into your ranged tazer units! Also, use this card when you have no Cacodemons with Argent Power on the board.
Demonic Precision: Only really useful if you’re having bad luck with your dice rolls today. Otherwise, discard them for Argent Power whenever possible.
Paranoia: Use this card to hide a marine’s action card on the bottom of their deck if it’s got a high defense bonus, or if it’s something you really don’t want them to have in-hand when they activate again.

-= In Conclusion =-

Well, there you have it - my long-winded set of recommendations and general strategies for playing as the invader. Granted, I could never hope to think of every possible scenario and come up with a strategy for this post (it'd also take me forever to write it up). So experiment with these ideas and combine them with the things you've already learned on your own. This is by no means the end-all be-all of how to play an invader; I'm sure some of you have probably thought of better strategies than what I've written here. Feel free to post your favorite strategies here for others to learn from!

Good luck out there, and GIVE 'EM HELL!!! devil

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Big thanks for putting this together. I got beat so badly last time as the Invader it killed my morale. 


In your experience, are there any demons you avoid when building your crew, or demon sets you think work better in some scenarios than others?

For instance, I played with the imps and just felt like I couldn't really damage those marines very well at all. Granted I probably wasn't maximizing them as well as a veteran player. Either way, I attacked with like a dozen and just couldn't do enough damage to kill one Marine.

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4 hours ago, centralx said:

Big thanks for putting this together. I got beat so badly last time as the Invader it killed my morale. 


In your experience, are there any demons you avoid when building your crew, or demon sets you think work better in some scenarios than others?

For instance, I played with the imps and just felt like I couldn't really damage those marines very well at all. Granted I probably wasn't maximizing them as well as a veteran player. Either way, I attacked with like a dozen and just couldn't do enough damage to kill one Marine.

I reclmmend checking out my general demon strategies for pointers on how to use each demon type effectively.  There's no one all-around perfect demon type; each demon type has its strengths and weaknesses, and need to be used together in a coordinated attack to ensure victory.

Imps are terrible if used only by themselves; they serve much better as a harrassing nuisance that compliments stronger demons' attacks.  Imps require too many resources to dish out any real damage on their own.  A charged fireball combined with Hellish Power and Demonic Strength can be as nasty as a Gauss Cannon attack (except in range and its ability to ignore Shields), but those event cards would be better spent on a larger demon's attacks.

Imps are better used for delivering Crippling Strikes right before a larger demon activates.  Imps' attacks generally do lousy damage already, so dropping one red dice to stun a marine won't really make a big difference in regard to the expected damage output.

What you want to do is make the marines fear when the Imp horde goes into motion.  The Imps are like a swarm of wasps - they're easy to swat down if they get within reach, but they're evasive little bastards that distract the marines while the big boys move in to beat some ass!  >=D


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Love your post man.... Great work... And nothing put fear in the marines soul like seeing a buddy fragged with a execution card...

Regards from Buenos Aires, Juan.

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5 minutes ago, Juan8173 said:

Love your post man.... Great work... And nothing put fear in the marines soul like seeing a buddy fragged with a execution card...

Regards from Buenos Aires, Juan.

Heh heh heh!!!  The good ol' Execution card!  It's a pain sometimes to get things set up so that you can actually play that card.  But when things work out in your favor, it's soooooo satisfying!!  >=)

I'm glad that you enjoyed the post!  I hope to hear of more of your endeavors in wreaking havoc on the Marines.  Rip and tear, good sir!  >=D

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Some months ago, about playing the invader,  i posted:


f you are playing infestation mode, you don't have much options. In the other play modes, your better strategy is to stall de the game and have the rounds pass without engaging, That allows you to you build a big argent pool and gain threat tokens. When you finally engage in combat you'll have a 5:1 shooting ratio.


In mission 2 i let the marines gaint the first token unchecked. They never got their hands on the second. (2 marines play).



Remember that time it's on your side.


Stun a marine whenever posible (cacodemon ability is great for that).



Use the cards "Crippling blow" "Ferocity" "Darkness" "Ambush" "Onslaught" and my favourite "execution". Glory kill a marine with 8 damage and the'll start to respect you!



Get at least 2 argent power every round. Shoot and run with the imps. Overwatch with possesed soldiers. Go to melee atack with cacodemons (2 cacodemos with 1 ferocity card and 2 argent alows you to 1"normal 2 black 1 red atack and 2 stuned attacks). The homing rocket argent ability is great too.


Today i still think its vital not to rush into de fight (only fools rush in says an old VH song), build a big pool of argent power and summon as much figures as you can before you unleash hell.... it's important not no aloud the marines to activate de portals, they gain a lot of options for re spawn.... better if they are forced to move to the actual fighting position from the back, they'll be more spread and you can focus your fire on less figures... making it easier to fragg them.... and not risking retalliation...



My two cents...


Regards from Buenos Aires, Juan Pablo.


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