We were discussing in the "Why not a pure deck" thread some different themes for a pure Shub deck and I decided to try building one centered around Monsters supported by the use of Ghoulish Worshipper and Even Here She Dwells.
This is my first draft. It's likely to change a fair bit after I get to test it out (hopefully tonight), but I wanted to get some ideas from you guys too as well as to document the design process as an aid for newer players:
2xOne of the Thousand
3xSlime Covered Dhole
2xThunder in the East
3xEven Here She Dwells
3xIa! Ia! Shudde M'ell
2xThe Black Goat’s Rage
2xAlter of the Blessed
Most of the deck is built around a selection of characters with the Monster keyword, Ghoulish Worshipper to let me play Monsters more cheaply, and Even Here She Dwells, a recently released card that will help me search for Monsters and fill my hand faster. One chief use of it will be to find those Ghoulish Worshippers early.
Then I've added some One of the Thousand as cheap stallers and accelerators if I need them, a couple Chthonians I wanted for support hate, and some variety of events and support cards which can probably be changed around quite a bit as they mostly do not affect the central theme. I do have a good bit of Terror though so I particularly want to see how The Black Goat's Rage works out. Ghoul Taint and Wolf Hunger are purely an experiment - I've never used either card and wanted to try them out to learn what they're good for. If they don't suit me I'll drop them for something else.
The big question for me is how fast I can get those Monsters out there. I don't have Priestess of Bubastis in the deck, and I can add one more One of the Thousand if I need to. More discounts are available, but if this is enough with the Ghoulish Worshippers then I'd rather be drawing more 3-4 cost Monsters than another cost 1 character that's of little use.
Anyway, tonight I am hoping to play some solo games and try it out against some other decks probably including Cthulhu and Syndicate at the least. We'll see how much time I end up having :)
I've got a good amount of extra card draw so I'm hoping to have a hand advantage from that. If it's a big one, I may try to diversify my cards a bit more to have more ability to have "the right tool for the job".
btw, another possibility is to open it up to multiple factions, Shub doesn't have a monopoly on Monsters. Here's the count by faction:
So Shub & Yog have the most, Cthulhu and Hastur have about half as much, and there's a smaller number of Neutrals that anyone can use.
I've just finished playing the Monsters prototype against my Cthulhu deck and so far it's been quite successful.
Game 1 started off great and was utterly brutal. I had One of the Thousand and Ghoulish Worshipper allowing me to get him out super fast and start cranking out Monsters. The Deep Ones never knew what hit them and they just kept coming.
After the first game I was questioning whether Even Here She Dwells was that necessary but keep going...
Game 2 had a much poorer start. I had a Ghoulish Worshipper in my hand (I'll mulligan if I don't) but didn't draw anything cheap and Cthulhu got the drop on me. It was a rough game where they took the first two stories and started churning out Deep Ones supported by Devil's Reef and Shadowed Reef which made them mostly immune to my Terror. We struck back when I finally drew a Grasping Chthonian and took out the Shadowed Reef (it was a hard choice). Then we started building up our forces and holding them off, it was a LONG game. When Telepathic Chthonian came out I had the opportunity to slap Wolf Hunger/Ghoul Taint on things before killing them so I could get an extra kill, or just put them out to immediately destroy w/ Thunder in the East. Eventually, they could no longer stand against us as they were being driven insane too fast to hang on.
I really need to get that 3rd copy of One of the Thousand in there, and I'd like to get the 3rd Telepathic Chthonian as well because it was too much fun killing dudes every time a support was destroyed. The Yeti's were invaluable against Ravager, so they're staying. I think I can trim a couple of cards here and there to make room. I haven't needed Open Graves yet, and maybe I can take out a Slavering Gug.
Next I'm going to try it against some other decks and see how that goes but so far I'm pretty happy with it. I'm considering whether to slip in some more support hate and 1-cost supports so I can drop & destroy them to abuse Telepathic Chthonian but since he costs 4 and *isn't* a monster I don't know about that. I also noticed that Even Here She Dwells draws Cultists as well as Monsters so it can help me find One of the Thousand.
Even Here She Dwells is now my "bad start" protection, as it gives me 2-3 free character draws with each use and came in quite handy against Cthulhu in the second game. I may not need 3 copies though. That bit about opponents having fewer characters than you should only really happen in a bad start situation, after that it's Monsters ahoy all over the place.
I'm wavering a little on Grim Wraith. He was a good defensive character, but I wonder if I should swap him for something else, going to review my options a bit there.
Edit: Possibly Basil Elton or Gibbering Soul? Basil will help bring out bigger monsters or expensive events, and Gibbering Soul will help me find a Ghoulish Worshipper or Telepathic Chthonian if I need one...
A quick question: Could you post the Cthulhu deck you used for play-testing? I gather it's a Deep One deck, but I'd be curious as to the specifics vs your Shub "Monster Mania".
Here's the Cthulhu deck:
I have in my notes to replace Giving Thanks with something, possibly Somnambulent Dreamer, but for now I kept it as it was.
If the timing was right, In the Wake of the Sleeper could be a strong card against the monster deck if you could take out multiple Ghoulish Worshippers at once but the opportunity didn't come up. First game I only drew one very early and it got resourced to preserve characters. Second game I drew two, taking out one Ghoulish Worshipper the first time and two Jaguar Warriors the second.
3xBrood of Yig
2xKeeper of the Golden Path
3xLurking Deep One
2xYoung Deep One
3xBackwater Deep One
3xDeep One Stowaway
2xLord of Y'ha-nthlei
2xDeep One Rising
2xMature Deep One
2xRavager from the Deep
2xTouched by the Sleeper
1xGet it Off!
2xIn the Wake of the Sleeper
2xDeep One Assault
2xSword of Y'ha-tallo
I would think Burrowing Beneath would be an ideal card to combo with Telepathic Chthonian. Under the Porch might also be a nice way to use the Telepathic Chthonian's ability. Use Under the Porch to bring out Grasping Chthonian after your opponent's Operations Phase to destroy a support card, bounce him back into your hand, and then play him on your turn. That's 2 characters your opponent has to sacrifice in what basically amounts to a single turn. If you toss in a Burrowing Beneath for good measure, you've just sent 3 characters to the grave yard. Fun!
With sacrificing where your opponent chooses the target, I've found the more you can do on the same turn the more it hurts. Your opponent won't be able to bring out some worthless scrub to sacrifice the following turn, and may have to dig into their more valuable characters.
Other random thoughts:
If you're thinking about replacing the Grim Wraith or Slavering Gug, you might want to consider Binding Worm. This could help stall vs a rush deck until you can overwhelm your opponent with characters (though I guess Grim Wraith is doing something similar already, just not at all the stories), or to provide another layer of defense against the likes of Ravager of the Deep. I also think Feasting Ghouls would pair nicely with the Telepathic Chthonian.
Burrowing Beneath would indeed be a good card to add if I can find room. I think what I need to do is run some test games and see how many opportunities actually come up and tailor the number of card copies to that. WIth Thunder in the East and Grasping Chthonian I wonder if 3xBurrowing Beneath is overkill and maybe I don't need that many. We'll see what the balancing point ends up being. Also, there might not be enough supports out to do multiples at once like that, so I might be better off with Sinkhole instead?
Good ideas w/ Binding Worm and Feasting Ghouls. I'll try those out and see what I like better. The drawback to Slavering Gug is the expense and his expensive ability (although it's a good one). The drawback to Grim Wraith is poor icons, he's mainly a staller. Binding Worm does some stalling, and his icons are a bit better, but I'm not sure if just one extra Terror is worth the loss of Grim Wraith's ability. Feasting Ghouls on the other hand can be a powerhouse but you've got to have spare domains to activate his ability. But, he also prevents those cards from coming back out of the enemy discard pile which can be very useful. I'll have to think about them and do some tests.
Thunder in the East is a great card, though it's not as flexible as Burrowing Beneath which can be used after your opponent commits their characters to a story. Either way, you probably have enough Support card removal.
I actually wasn't familiar with Thunder in the East as I haven't purchased any of the reprinted Forgotten Lore cycle. I heard the editing/proofreading was sloppy and that stuff just bugs me, especially for reprinted material. It also appears they didn't fix Displaced Chthonian's subtype? Argh. Oh well.
I'm not convinced about using Sinkhole. You only have 6 Chthonians to draw and activate the card's sacrifice effect. Otherwise, you're stuck with destroying a location (as opposed to a generic Support card), which your opponent might not even have in their deck. If given the option of the two, I would go with Burrowing Beneath, but that's probably because I would feel more comfortable resourcing it early if I also had Thunder in the East in my deck (or vice versa).
Keep the play-test reports coming, they're a lot of fun to read!
What I like about Thunder in the East is the free card draw, and the lower cost isn't bad either. Taken together I'm willing to tradeoff the flexibility of not being able to use it outside of the operations phase.
You're right on Sinkhole of course, that was my error - I'd somehow misread it as working on Support instead of Location. With that cleared up it's not as good a choice as Locations are significantly rarer than general Supports.
Tonight I'll be at the game club but my usual Cthulhu opponent isn't going to be able to make it so it'll probably be another day or two before I can run any more tests. I'll be sure to post them though, I like getting the feedback and hopefully it's useful to other players as well.
The next opponent will be my Syndicate Criminals deck.
I wish I could build your deck to do further play-testing, but I'm missing a few key cards as I don't own any Dreamlands or Forgotten Lore APs.
By the way, I think a Deep One deck still has a chance if you paired it with Serpents and possibly Yig or Cthulhu, making it less dependent on locations to provide defense against terror (this would also open up Pulled Under as a viable card). Ocean Crawlers is a nice low-cost character with terror that fits with the overall Deep One theme, too.
I've also thought about replacing Innsmouth Troublemaker with Degenerate Serpent Cultist (a card I didn't have yet when I made the deck).
I don't have any Dreamlands either, so it's just the Forgotten Lore cycle you'd be missing. But you can probably find some reasonable substitutes for those few cards like Thunder in the East -> Burrowing Beneath, etc... If you do try some variant let me know how it works out and what you went up against.
Pulled Under actually works well in the Cthulhu deck already thanks to Brood of Yig, Keeper of the Golden Path, and Touched by the Sleeper being able to grant 2 additional Terror to anyone. That seems to make enough fodder - I used Pulled Under a couple times in the second test game but it just wasn't quite enough to stem the tide of Monsters long enough to grab that last Story.
This is very interesting... good food for thought... I'll have to try that Cthulhu deck! Need some more key cards for it though!
Have you made "pure" decks of all the different types of cards?
Have you made "pure" decks of all the different types of cards?
No, not yet. The main pure decks I've used are Syndicate, Cthulhu, Agency, Shub, and Yog.
I haven't made a pure Miskatonic deck yet, although it's on my list. I ended up having a bit of trouble making a pure Hastur deck and turned it into Hastur/Yog, need to retry that someday. And while I've played a pure Silver Twilight deck, it was one I downloaded so it doesn't count because I don't really understand it or that faction in general, all that well yet.
I managed to get in one test game last night of the Monster deck against my mono-Syndicate deck.
It was an "ideal start" game, where I started with Ghoulish Worshipper, One of the Thousand, and Albino Goat-Spawn in my starting hand - no mulligan required. That means the turn 1 sequence goes like this:
1. Resource something (now at 2-1-1)
2. Play One of the Thousand, then shuffle her back into my deck
3. Play Ghoulish Worshipper for 2 (discount from One of the Thousand)
4. Play Albino Goat-Spawn for 1 (discount from Ghoulish Worshipper)
That's some pretty good muscle to drop before the other guy has anything on the board. The mobsters did their best and managed to take home one story, but the deck generally relies on using Exhaustion, Kidnapping, etc... to run unopposed and soon there were just too many monsters. I never got my Johnny V's Dame for my own discount and honestly it felt off-balance from the start. I realize now I should have tried a mulligan hoping for a second chance at drawing her but I was too focused on the Monster side. My error.
Anyway, I'm going to need a couple more games to see how things go when the Monsters *don't* get a golden start like that as well as the Syndicate having a better one. My suspicion though is that since Syndicate doesn't have a good way to kill Ghoulish Worshipper they're going to need to win it fast if they're going to win it at all.
First "external" test last night when I went up against Lee's Serpent deck (as it turned out to be). I thought at first it was mainly a Cthulhu-summoning plan because he dropped a Lord of the Silver Twilight and a Seeker of Mysteries on turn 1 for a double discount on the big guy.
On turn two, Cthulhu himself showed up when he dropped another cheap Cultist and played Underneath the Surface. This gave us a bit of pause but at least he only had one character in play so we could do some stories around him.
I continued bringing out monsters as fast as I could aided by Ghoulish Worshipper. We had a pretty quick start on our side too starting with one Ghoulish Worshipper and a One of the Thousand in hand but unfortunately no cost-2 characters like Albino Goat-Spawn which I actually never drew any of all game.
The high skill and Fast of Insect Swarm was very valuable in getting through the next couple of turns while still making some slow story progress. Soon we'd built up a decent group of characters that could match his Combat icons and all of them had Terror so I had no insanity worries.
I finally won Seventh Gate and that was pretty much game when I selected the story effect that each side can name a card and their opponent has to return one card of that type back to their hand. He ONLY had Cthulhu on the table, no cheap characters to soak the hit, and his biggest domain wasn't going to be able to replay him for a couple more turns in which time we could run unopposed.
He started to make some comeback with Feathered Serpent, Yig, and River of Serpents - and then finally getting Cthulhu out again, but by that time we'd managed to find an Antarctic Yeti which gave his big guys big problems, and then a second one.
After we'd taken the second story and were routinely blanking both his big guys he conceded the game.
I think I will drop the Even Here She Dwells and look for something else to go in that slot, it's just been so rare that I've needed it so far.
Thanks for the AAR, it's always interesting to read about other groups that play CoC and what decks they use. It sounds like you had a fun game and your "Here There be Monsters" deck did exactly what you designed it to do. I think you're right to drop Even Here She Dwells. With so much character acceleration, it will be rare to have fewer characters in play than your opponent.
Assuming you want to replace it with an Event, what about Shocking Transformation? That could combo nicely with Grasping Chthonian, or allow you to get your Yetis in play right when you need them.