News for May 2012
Can Ebla Restored Restore Miskatonic Rush?
A Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game Spotlight by Guest Writer Marius Hartland
Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 11 May 2012

When he and I obtained our degrees at the medical school of Miskatonic University, and sought to relieve our poverty by setting up as general practitioners, we took great care not to say that we chose our house because it was fairly well isolated, and as near as possible to the potter's field. Reticence such as this is seldom without a cause, nor indeed was ours; for our requirements were those resulting from a life-work distinctly unpopular. Outwardly we were doctors only, but beneath the surface were aims of far greater and more terrible moment…
  –H.P. Lovecraft, Herbert West: Reanimator

The way things are shaking up right now, it looks like this will be the Summer of Miskatonic. As more Revelations come to light over the course of the current cycle of Asylum Packs for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, it becomes more and more evident that the University’s scientists are adding some “awe” to their shock-and-awe strategy. The faction is well suited for two types of strategy. The first focuses on combo decks, utilizing card draw and deck manipulation to find missing pieces to unravel shocking puzzles. The second is their “Rush” strategy, their “awe” move, which seeks to win the game before other factions can mount a decent defense.

The latter strategy seems a rather mindless pursuit for those clever students and brilliant scientists, but taking full advantage of the early game’s very small window of opportunity takes careful planning and quick, on-your-feet thinking to execute. Ideally, you’ll want to have two or three success tokens on every story after your first run. The turn after, win a story or two. And then, the real challenge begins: sleuthing for those final tokens to win the game. This is where Miskatonic rush too often starts running out of steam.

CSI: Arkham

Miskatonic often finds that, after that glorious early game, things start to go wrong. Destruction is a common thing in Arkham. This is where Dr. Mya Badry (Ebla Restored, 49) comes in. After the terror and combat struggle had their effects, she swoops in for the Investigation struggle and skill test. And she’ll be doing overtime. Note that the victim doesn’t have to be a Miskatonic character. It doesn’t even have to be your character to send her in; cut down a committed character with the Khopesh of the Abyss (The Shifting Sands, 16), or simply win the Combat struggle, and she’s there, on your side, finding clues, then quickly moving out of the way, waiting for someone to drop at another player’s turn. She works with anyone, so I expect to see her a lot, even without her Miskatonic buddies.

Aside from making sure someone is always committed somewhere, it’s also excellent for some bait-and-switch tactics. When your lone investigator is exploring a story, an opponent’s monster may see this as a chance to grab some lunch. Suddenly, some Black Dogs (Words of Power, 29) come out of nowhere, and maul the varmint. This gives Dr. Badry the chance to show up and win some tokens on the story, and the future threat of her sudden appearance should be enough to scare away other lone creatures, forcing them to team up and, potentially, leave some stories unguarded.

The Deck

Today, we’re going to explore how Dr. Mya Badry fits into such a Miskatonic rush strategy. We’ll do so by making a deck that keeps the cost as low as possible and uses a number of other characters that can also come into play by alternative means. This allows us to skimp on resources, and field as many characters as possible. One recent entry of note is the humble Research Assistant (Words of Power, 27), who is easy to play, adds Investigation icons to your side, and even presents the opportunity to draw extra cards and ready in the Arcane struggle. This allows us to use her both offensively and defensively, doubling the effectiveness of her Investigation icon, while also doubling the chance to run into trouble and drawing Dr. Badry to the scene.

Some of the deck’s cards cost a little more to play, but these may come in handy when the board is starting to stagnate, and you need a little edge to push through your opponent’s defense for the win. Kitab Al-Azif (Conspiracies of Chaos, 58) and Whateley's Diary (Dunwich Denizens, 77) serve as a way to complete the final story, as well as to fuel the Research Assistants. The deck is very low on ways to remove opposing characters, but The Necronomicon (Secrets of Arkham, 9) can help to even the odds, even if it is in a slow and unwieldy way.

3x Alaskan Sledge Dog
3x Black Dogs
3x Chess Prodigy
3x Descendant of Eibon
3x Dr. Carson, Fringe Psychologist
3x Dr. Carson's Treatment
3x Dr. Mya Badry
3x Eldritch Nexus
3x Hapless Graduate Student
3x Infirmary (Words of Power, 28)
1x Kitab Al-Azif
3x Laboratory Assistant
3x Medical Student
3x Museum Curator
3x Pnakotic Manuscripts
1x Professor Armitage, Venerable Librarian
1x Professor Nathaniel Peaslee, Scholar of the Arcane
3x Research Assistant
1x The Necronomicon
1x Whateley's Diary, Cryptic Text

Just remember to keep playing aggressively. You can spend excess success tokens to drive some of your best tricks, and going insane or losing combat is often just part of the plan. You’ll be able to recover quickly. Don’t relent. Keep your opponent off balance, and remember that whatever horrors you face, they will all soon be over, one way or another. But as you race to the end, the deck – just like Miskatonic University – should always have some surprises in store.

Thanks, Marius!

Rush decks may have taken a hit during the Ancient Relics cycle of Asylum Packs, but does Dr. Mya Badry herald a new age of scientific inquiry and reckless investigation? Stay tuned for more previews of Ebla Restored, and find out!

Based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and his literary circle, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game takes two players deep into the Cthulhu Mythos where investigators clash with the Ancient Ones and Elder Gods for the fate of the world. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Asylum Pack expansions to the core game.

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