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old boy

3 decks from a rookie, advice please?

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My friend has bought heavily into CoC recently, picking up 3 of pretty much everything over the last few months. He's got several decks at any given moment, and we've been having a pretty good time slinging cardboard every couple weeks or so (he also apparently  plays with a group at the LGS on Thursdays, though I don't know what level of competition they bring).

Anyway, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at building my own deck, so happily gave me access to his collection. I wanted to make it a quick build so that we could get back to playing, and I've had the feeling that combat is a lot less important than he believes, so I just grabbed all the cheap creatures I could find with investigation symbols and ended up with something like this:



Archaeology Interns (IT) x2
Dr. Carson (TSotS) x3
Focused Art Student (WitD) x3
Government Exorcist (TSotS) x3
Laboratory Assistant (Core) x2
Mad Genius (Core) x2
Paul LeMond (Core) x3
Professor of Folklore (ER) x3
Research Assistant (***) x3
The Terrible Old Man (KD) x3
Undercover Security (Core) x2
Watchful Naturalist (LR) x2
Diseased Sewer Rats (SoA) x3

Forbidden Knowledge (TWC) x2
Rabbit's Foot (TSotS) x3
Scientific Text (SoA) x2
Shotgun (Core) x2

Binding (Core) x1
Shotgun Blast (Core) x3
Small Price to Pay (Core) x3



I'm sure that this is at least a few cards off of what I built, but it's mostly the same (I definitely remember the singleton Binding, just to make him worry about combat when I've got a free resource). Just a bunch of expendable dudes, backed up by the best removal and card draw in the game (omg Rabbit's Foot) to keep things flowing. Every card in the deck costs 2 or less, allowing me to stop burning cards on resources past turn 3.  I've been thinking about adding a couple of copies of Chess Prodigy, Dr. Laban Shrewsbury and/or Whitton Greene, though, as they seem powerful enough to be worthwhile.

I know that this list is probably really loose, but even so his decks were not at all prepared to defend against 2 - 3 fresh characters every turn from turn 1 onward. I'm actually kind of concerned about this deck, because when I left his place last weekend he seemed really bummed that every other deck he has is such an underdog to this one. I'd like advice on this list if you've got any, but what I really need is to be able to show him that ponderous attrition decks are still viable. I really don't want our game sessions to be just a scramble for fast success tokens, and I especially don't want his 3+ cost cards to rot in his box.

Looking through the other factions, I hit upon Things from the Ground, and I figured that it would be a great foil to the nerd cop weenies, and would also really reward playing beefy monsters. My first thought was to go Yog/Hastur, to take advantage of the insane state and further negate the advantage my opponent gainst from Things. I struggled with it for a bit, made up a super sketchy skeleton on cardgamedb, then checked the restricted list (Nyarlathotep nooo… is Things from the Ground the reason why he's restricted? I could see it), and the rules (oh… responses don't trigger when they come into play insane… bummer), which ruined all my plans. There were too many non-character cards from Hastur that I wanted to play anyway, so I switched to Shub for the strong selection of brawlers, and the resource acceleration in case I didn't draw Things.



Black Dog (***) x3
Corrupted Midwife (ER) x2
Degenerate Ghoul (Core) x3
Forest Sister (Core) x3
Grasping Chthonian (IotF) x2
Harvesting Mi-Go (TTB) x3
Hungry Dark Young (Core) x3
One of the Thousand (PT) x3
Priestess of Bubastis (Core) x3
Slavering Gug (Core) x2
The Mother's Hand (SoA) x3
Trampling Dark Young (IotF) x3
Wooden Homunculus (SotM) x3
Y'Golonac (Core) x3
Ya-te-veo (TUP) x3
Blood Magician (CoC) x3
Faceless Abductor (TOotST) x3
Guardian Elder Thing (Core) x1
Intruder from Beyond (TTB) x2
Many-angled Thing (TGS) x3
Spell-bound Shoggoth (Core) x3
The Mage Known as Magnus (TWC) x3

The Three Bells (TUP) x3
Things in the Ground (SoA) x3

Feed Her Young (WaB) x3
Shocking Transformation (Core) x2



This pile is about 70 cards tall, so I mainly need help to make sure I don't cut a bunch of great cards and keep a bunch of trash. How many non-character cards would a Things deck typically be comfortable running, and how reliant on a single card can a deck be without becoming too inconsistent?

While trying to come up with the Hastur variant, I hit on a lot of great control cards from that faction, as well as from Cthulhu. I threw together this list as well, to try out a more conventional stalling strategy:



The Mage Known as Magnus (TWC) x3
Alyssa Graham (ER) x1
Aspiring Artist (AH) x3
Bloated Leng Spider (IotF) x3
Crazed Arsonist (WitD) x2
Dangerous Inmate (SfW) x2
Deranged Diva (***) x3
The Terror of the Tides (TTotT) x3
Thing from the Stars (Core) x3
Julia Brown (TPtY) x2
Messenger from Beyond (Core) x3
Old Man of the Woods (TOotST) x2
Somnambulant Dreamer (TWC) x3
The Marked (TbtA) x1
Victoria Glasser (Core) x3
Wandering Inmate (THBtS) x3

Arkham Asylum (Core) x3
The Enchanted Wood (IMoD) x2
The Cavern of Flame (ItDoN) x3
Infernal Obsession (TAD) x3
Khopesh of the Abyss (TSS) x3
Scalpel (TGS) x2
Stygian Eye (IT) x3
Y'ha-nthlei Statue (AoA) x2

Dragged into the Deep (***) x2
Feeding Frenzy (TC) x3
Sacrificial Offerings (Core) x3



This deck's also still about 70 cards, so I need to trim it down. It's mainly focused on abusing the various lunatic cards with Arkham Asylum to trigger them multiple times per turn (I originally started looking at Cthulhu thanks to Somnambulant Dreamer). Past that, I'm just trying to keep my opponent's characters insane as much as possible, and due to that strategy I've got a bunch of sketchy do-nothing cards like The Enchanted Wood and Scalpel to get around their mental defenses. Are cards like this typically worthwhile? If not, what does Hastur do about opposing terror symbols (or is insanity as a strategy just not very viable at all)? I shouldn't say do-nothing, I guess, since Scalpel will always help in a fight and The Enchanted Wood helps to keep The Cavern of Flame powered up (which, I strongly believe, is ballin'. Let me know if I'm wrong). Past that, there's just a bunch of generically good control cards, like Stygian Eye, Infernal Obsession and Khopesh of the Abyss. The Khopesh seems to want to be in a Shub deck to take advantage of all of Shub's cheap toughness creatures (could Forest Sister negate the wound from a Khopesh she's wielding?), but I think it's still solid here. It'll at least let me take advantage of my own insane characters, letting me sacrifice one of them for extra value (right? you can attach Khopesh to an insane guy?).

Each of these ideas pack cards specifically to deal with weenie rushes (most notably Spell-bound Shoggoth and the unpronounceable Y'ha-nthlei Statue), so if I draw those I should be good. If I don't, though, how do the decks look? Am I on the right track?

It seems to me now that any card that costs more than three is practically unplayable in this game, unless it gives you an insurmountable advantage like Bloated Leng Spider. I really hope someone tells me I'm wrong, though, because it would be frustrating to never get to play with half of the cards in the game, especially the uber-exciting 6 cost Ancient Ones. Having Cthulhu or Yog-Sothoth in play is something I look forward to in every match, but can you really afford to dump six cards into a single domain? Does the game even last that long most times? 

Anyway, thanks for reading all that! I know that was a lot of questions for one post. Hopefully someone out there is willing to take the time to answer them all. Even if you just want to give me a few words on one of the three lists it would be really appreciated!


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i dont have time for a long response at the moment. just popping in and out. but i will answer what seems to be your pressing concern, with a single card that is used quite a lot and requires players to have a more balanced approach to deckbuilding :


check it out on cardgameDB or similar deckbuilder ( it translates in latin to 'the thing that walketh in darkness' from memory ).

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So if your Miskatonic/Agency deck is beating him pretty hard there are several main explanations:

1.  Your deck is really good

2.  His deck(s) are not so good

3.  It's not the decks, it's the players


Looking at your deck, I don't see anything particularly unstoppable about it so I'm pretty sure we're looking at some combination of #2 and #3.  Can you tell us anything about what sort of deck he's playing?

Your deck consists (as you described) mainly of cheap characters with Investigation.  It can put out a goodly number of characters, and they can grab tokens quickly if they aren't opposed.  It's your opponent's job to make sure they ARE opposed, and for whatever reason he isn't doing that.

Your deck is very low on Combat and has little Willpower - I would think that nearly any deck with significant amounts of Terror and Combat should be taking a big toll on your characters.  You've got some anti-insanity, but not a huge amount.

He may be leaving stories undefended, it's a common beginner problem to fail to leave some guys on defense because you want them all to go to stories on your own turn.  Have you seen this sort of thing a lot in your games?

Without seeing the game it's hard to know what he's doing wrong.  I assume he's gotta be playing some cards, what sort of things are you usually seeing on his side of the table?

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Thanks for the responses!

It's certainly a problem with the decks we have available right now. Like I said, we're both really new, so our grasp of deck building isn't very developed yet. This is why I'm trying to construct the other two decks in my post, so that we have decks that can compete that aren't all the same strategy.

The decks he's been building, I've realized, are waaaay too slow, way too many 4 and 5 cost characters with not enough early defense to support them. Even though Miskatonic has been winning a lot of stories uncontested, the problems he's been having aren't tactical, I think. It's just that, especially when I go first, I've been able to pump out a few cheap guys, then clear his side of the board using Rats, Small Price to Pay and various shotguns. Also, due to cards like Rabbit's Foot and Forbidden Knowledge, I'm out drawing him by a lot, and I'm able to regularly sacrifice a character or two to continue to gather successes without falling behind on resources. Finally, his decks stumble when I hit him with cards like Rabbit's Foot, Terrible Old Man and Goddamn Paul LeMond (as he has come to be known) which blank any defenses he does manage to keep on the table.

In conclusion, his decks are bad (awful, actually), and so I want to help him build a new stable. I'm worried that our enjoyment of the game will die out of we can't find a way to make slower, interactive decks viable again, so I need advice on the two attempts that I've made, above. We don't need Cthulhu in play to have fun, but a good amount of splashy plays among the cheap, efficient stuff would be nice.

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It's perfectly valid to have expensive characters that cost 4+ in a deck, but you can't have a deck where ALL the characters are expensive.  That's just the nature of the game, if you don't have any characters out your opponent will rack up a lot of success tokens by running stories unopposed and it only takes 2-3 turns (two if investigation is involved) to win a story if nobody's defending it.

There's no change in playstyle or better deckbuilding that can let you take all high-priced guys and win, it's just not how the game works.  What he needs is to put some lower cost character in there to support his high priced guys.  Also, try to speed the deck up by including cards that will provide discounts for the high-cost characters.  Most factions have something available for this purpose.

Just one rules thing I want to check with you….   Some of your special ability cards like Paul LeMond, Shotgun, etc… cost a domain to use.  You're also talking about dropping a couple of characters a turn.  At some point, you've got to pay for these so you're not getting more than 3 total domain uses per turn.  If you're using all three to pay for putting new cards into play - then your opponent needs to realize that you don't have any left to pay for a Shotgun or whatever and he needs to take advantage of these chances.  Conversely, if you're saving domains to pay for these, then you're not able to play as many cards.

Rabbit's Food and The Terrible Old Man are unreliable, he needs to take advantage of it when their protection fails.

He may want to look into putting some targeted character destruction (or insanity) into his deck to kill off your characters that are causing a problem, that's one easy way around it.

Anyway, I misunderstood your initial post - I thought the other decks were your attempt to make less good decks because your first deck was too dominating.  Now I see that wasn't the main goal after all, you want to make more decks that will be competitive with your first deck.  I'm at work right now and I've got to finish up some stuff before the end of the day, but I'll drop back by to provide some feedback on the other two decks later on…

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Yeah, making bad decks would be easy, but I don't want to do that. Tweaking deck lists, trying to get the upper hand between games, is at least half the fun of customizable card games.

I have been paying for my actions, of course. The swarms of dorks come out only if I've got nothing better to do with my resources (and I may have been exaggerating the sheer numbers, just a li'l). You bring up a good point, though; there's no real reason to think that we've got all the rules down perfectly. We're both new, and self-taught. Let me run you through a sample game, to see if we're making any mistakes, and to illustrate my average experience with the rush deck.


(skip this whole part of my post, it's probably boring)

I'm going first. I draw my 8 and lay my 3 domains, leaving me with 5 cards in hand. Draw for turn.

I've got 34 characters, over a dozen of which cost one. I've drawn almost a fifth of my deck, so it wouldn't be unreasonable for me to regularly be able to play three characters on turn 1. Let's say I get only slightly unlucky, and play Archeology Interns, Laboratory Assistant and equip the Interns with a Shotgun (both characters are functionally identical when in play, so it doesn't matter).

I can't commit to stories since I went first. I pass the turn with 2 cards in hand.

He draws two cards.

He gets a decent defensive start. Plays Cursed Skull and One of the Thousand, leaving one domain free to activate the Skull later (tactics check: he wants to leave the skull for my turn, not just activate it right away, right? Keeps his options open, represents a variety of Events he might have, and forcing me to sacrifice later might kill a stronger character?).

Pass, 4 cards in hand.

I draw two cards (4).

I play Diseased Sewer Rats to clear out One of the Thousand. I then play Goddamn Paul LeMond, and commit characters to each of the stories. He could use the Cursed Skull now, but I would just sacrifice my Rats and wouldn't change how many success tokens I get, so he probably saves it for later unless he has a lot of cards to play. Two of my characters have investigation icons and earn 1 extra at each of their stories, and Paul and the Rats are at the third. Since all are uncontested, I get two on each of them at the skill check.

Pass, 1 card in hand.

He draws two (6).

Since his decks don't have access to the strong weenie hosers like Spell-bound Shoggoth, Y'ha-nthlei Statue or the aforementioned Negotium Perambulans in Tenebris (sweet card), there's not much relevant he can do. If he plays one of those I'm probably hooped, but let's assume that he doesn't have them, or simply didn't draw them. Let's give him a transient resource to give him the maximum amount to play with.

He plays Hungry Dark Young, returning One of the Thousand to play, then plays a Harvesting Mi-go that he's been holding back. Nothing in his discard pile to attach, but he needs defenders. He's still got one ready to activate the Skull. I have no ready characters, so Harvesting Mi-go is free to earn two success tokens on any story and stay ready.

Pass, 3 cards in hand.

I draw 2 cards (3).

I have four characters, he has three. I have 0 terror and 1 combat icons, he has 2 terror and 2 combat. It doesn't really matter, though, and I probably don't have to play any more cards for the rest of the game. At this point, I'm probably going to send my Shotgun Assistant to take care of the story that I've got two success tokens on (or any story that I'd really like to trigger), and send Paul, the Rats and the Archeology Interns at whichever story he put tokens on. As far as I can tell, he doesn't really have any options. He can't stop Lab Assistant, because even if he committed all three of his characters she can shoot them all and earn the last three successes needed. If he sends all three of his defenders at the other story, I can pump all three of my resources into Paul, giving him 3 combat and 3 terror. Mi-go would go insane, Paul would beat them up and One of the Thousand would die again, and I'd earn a success from Intern's investigation. This line of play would let him deny me the last success I need to win the story, at the cost of one insane character and one dead one. I get to activate whichever story ability was most appealing at the time and pass the turn.

In the next turn he has to find removal for at least one of Shotgun Assistant or Paul, and kill the other the turn after that. Either of them can guarantee me a story win each turn they stay active, unless he produces a seriously large army. All that is assuming that nothing I draw in future turns is relevant, and the story I triggered didn't prevent him from getting back in the game somehow.

I tried really hard to make this a story about an average or below average game. I saw 13 cards, just over a quarter of my deck. I've got 11 kill cards and, counting the shotgun, drew 2, so it would have been totally reasonable to be able to target another of his guys. I only drew one of my 11 draw cards, so I definitely could have had more resources at my disposal. I only played four characters, so an average game would have had way more of those in play. His hand was pretty average, too, though I'm not nearly as familiar with the contents of the decks he's made.

(end worthless droning)


That's it. I know that I can't rely on Rabbit's Foot or Old Man to save my bacon in every situation, but Rabbit's Foot is primarily in there to generate more card draw anyway (during games I actually kept forgetting that it lets me skip the combat struggle), and Old Man is just to keep my guys alive for the first two or three turns. After that he's just a body.

Oh yeah, I also wanted to mention that I found this article, which made me really happy. Not only is it an entertaining read, it showed quite clearly that Ancient Ones are viable even at the highest levels of play. Dude actually had Yig and Cthulhu in play, at the same time, at the World Championships.  Nice. Also, the Hastur/Cthulhu deck I've got in the first post is kind of like a gimmicky, trash version of the deck he used, suggesting that I'm not way off base. I'd still really like to hear comments on my deck ideas, though, if you've got any! Thanks.

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"He draws two cards.

He gets a decent defensive start. Plays Cursed Skull and One of the Thousand, leaving one domain free to activate the Skull later (tactics check: he wants to leave the skull for my turn, not just activate it right away, right? Keeps his options open, represents a variety of Events he might have, and forcing me to sacrifice later might kill a stronger character?).

Pass, 4 cards in hand."

Seems like kind of a weak start to me here.  He's drawn 8 cards, resourced, and drawn 2 more so he's seen 10 cards out of his deck.  But all he can play is this?

No cost-2 characters available?  No cost 3 Shub characters he can play with One of the Thousand?  Not even another cost 1?  If his starting eight didn't have something more he could have mulliganed as well.

Does he have any support removal?  Shub's got more of that than any faction, he may just be able to destroy your Shotgun with Burrowing Beneath, Thunder in the East, Grasping Cthonian, etc…  Or shrug it off with Bred to Survive, Regeneration, etc…

I don't know what all is in his deck, but I feel like he should have something better than just One of the Thousand.

On the Cursed Skull question… The opposing player chooses who to sacrifice, so it's hard to get a better character, it's pretty much always going to be someone weak.  So, the best thing to do is try to time it for a moment when some of the weak guys just got wiped out or there are very few characters in play.  Sometimes good characters will be exhausted and they'll be forced to decide between killing a weak ready character and an exhausted better one.  It's just up to the situation.

In your specific situation, you'd just kill the weenie without the shotgun which hurts you but not that bad.  It's if he can get a second sacrifice that it gets significantly better because he can then clear the chaff with the first one, and then hit a more important character with the second.


Now it may just be that his deck is poor and has way too many high cost characters.  Nothing wrong with high cost characters, but you need someone for the early game too or you'll lose before you can build your domains up to where you can play the high cost ones.

Second turn he has six cards in hand but still only plays two cards.  Does he think Cursed Skull is that big?  It's useful at times to leave an open domain for some sort of surprise but he should know it will only kill the guy you want it to, it's not worth giving up that domain turn after turn.  Use it or do something else with the domain.  He's got 4 more cards, perhaps one of them can help?

You seem to be relying on the Shotgun a lot to conclude that there's nothing he can do.  It's certainly a good card, but it can't be everywhere, and he should have something in his deck to help deal with it so he can start killing and driving insane some of your guys.  If he doesn't, that's an easy tune-up to make.  He also has access to a lot of characters with good skill to start blocking your tokens for skill.  Just getting 1 for investigation (after possibly losing someone in the first two icon struggles) will slow you down a lot compared to letting you get 2-3 in unopposed stories.

My guess at this point is that he just doesn't have enough lower cost cards in the deck, possibly combined with not taking anything that can either deal with supports or deal with the characters holding them (in the case of attachments).  It's also possible that he is lacking in Events in general.  If you don't have something you can play during story phase that your opponent doesn't know about, it's harder to lure characters into traps where you can kill them :)


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 His turn - he plays

Ya-te-veo - see: http://www.cardgamedb.com/index.php/CoC/CoCCards.html/_/revelations/the-unspeakable-pages/ya-te-veo-tup
Negotium - see: http://www.cardgamedb.com/index.php/CoC/CoCCards.html/_/forgotten-lore/dunwich-denizens/negotium-perambulans-in-tenebris-dd
and has Black Dog waiting in hand - see http://www.cardgamedb.com/index.php/CoC/CoCCards.html/_/revelations/words-of-power/black-dog-***

other version
he plays Priestess of bubastis - http://www.cardgamedb.com/index.php/CoC/CoCCards.html/_/core-set/Priestess-of-Bubastis-Core
and another priestess
one exhausts, 2nd one ehxousts Golonac comes

(both possible starting hands from my Yog-Shoulb hacker journalist deck that might not be the strongest but has its tricks)

You need to work on this shoulb;

One of thousand is quite week, i love shoubs reduction but one time reduction that puts rubbish back into deck for late geme…, and has 0 skill… this T icon alone is not enough, unless you really need thet reduction or have some interesting card interaction that benefits from her effect;

same with Cursed Scull - scull targets the weakest guy on the table, it makes sense only if your opponent has little characters or you can kill many more and use skull to reduce numbers a bit more; for cost of 1+1 getting a character might be worth it, but definitely not game changing; and use it as soon as you can unless your deck can guarantee it will get better, if you wait only insane guys waiting to be killed will remain, especialy against cheap characters rush deck and you've basically wasted a domain and a card

Deseased rats are really good for destroying early defense, either ban rats (choose some other card) or make stronger early game for the other deck

And seriously, you have no one that can stop him - no domains = no shotgun, and your guys have no T nor C, why not attack, especialy with some guys with A who will also defend. In my deck i have Blood magican who could attack and then respond based on what happens. Wooden homunculus who wants to die and Ya-te-veo - and my deck runs Shocking Transformation+RedGlovedMan + Negotium so i dont have much guys with cost below 3 unless they can do something more even after negotium enters play.

More than lets say 10 guys with 4+ cost seems unplayable unless you have some tricks to get them. I tried Things/reduction based hi cost deck but its unreliable - never know if youll get your gest guys or opponents, and it has really hard early game. Its probably doable but really hard, focus on 1-3 cost cards, especially 1 cost are important and not to many 3 cost as they will be fighting for main domains and it will be impossible to play them fast enough.

Just some general tips form someone who really likes the game here, big guys are fun, but often not worth the trouble to get them, but soem specyfic guys can be really nice, especially with cost reduction or bypassing like shocking trnsformation.


My decklist: http://www.cardgamedb.com/index.php/CoC/cocdecks.html/_/coc-decks/we-will-hack-you-r92
ancient ones are gone as doing big enough domains was too much of a pain, deck focuses on cheating with hack yournalist so unless you save your Small price to pay to get him your sucesses will change sides :P

The problem might be too small card pool for shoub, Dreamlnads have nice ghouls for early game, and some other cards are in different packs. If your pooll is not enough to make good enough early game for shoulb try other fraction mixes or dont play with rats. (Shotgun is nice but you can destroy it or its wielder, Lemond is nice but you need to have free domains to even use him; and if opponents plays fast enough it is a problem; also when Golonac comes wounds are not that important)

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