Fantasy Flight Games recently announced the upcoming release of the first six Lieutenant Packs for Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition . Each introduces a detailed lieutenant figurine at the same 28mm scale as the game’s heroes, with which players can replace one of the lieutenant tokens from the game’s Core Set .

Additionally, each Lieutenant Pack contains a ten-card Plot deck that offers the overlord all-new strategic choices. As he considers the different paths that may lead to his ultimate victory, one of his most important decisions is likely to be which Plot deck will best suit his devious designs.

Choosing Your Plot Deck

At the start of any campaign, the overlord can select any one Plot deck to use throughout the course of that campaign. He starts in possession of the deck’s basic card – the card without a purchase cost – and he can choose to purchase other cards to use throughout the campaign by spending threat tokens.

Once he’s purchased a Plot card, the overlord can use it throughout the remainder of the campaign. Because the overlord has access to all his purchased Plot cards at the beginning of each quest, he can choose precisely when he wants to trigger them for maximum impact.

While Plot cards don’t replace the Overlord deck, they certainly do open a wide range of alternate tactics and strategies, and they give the overlord player meaningful decisions to make throughout the course of a campaign that mirror those made by the heroes. Will he focus on his Overlord deck? Will he supplement it with a range of inexpensive Plot cards that he can use each encounter, or even each turn? Or will he invest heavily in the specific talents and abilities of one of his agents, buying multiple cards from his Plot deck and even summoning that agent to combat?

Today, we’ll look at the different tactical and strategic options made possible by three of the game’s first six Plot decks.

Splig – Goblin Uprising

Splig is a coward. The self-proclaimed “King of All Goblins,” Splig excels at running away, and while you might think the overlord would prefer minions who can stand and fight Terrinoth’s heroes toe-to-toe, the truth is that every minion has its uses.

Splig’s Plot deck, Goblin Uprising , is a great choice for any overlord interested in enhancing his monsters’ hit-and-run tactics. Using Plot cards such as Spirited Retreat and Dive into Cover , the overlord can swarm the heroes or retreat en masse. Perhaps more importantly, the extra movement he can grant his monsters may allow the overlord to meet his victory conditions in a quest, even when his monsters can’t hold their ground long against a band of heroes bent on their destruction.

Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that each Plot deck includes at least one Plot card that offers the overlord new means to gain threat tokens. In Splig’s Plot deck, that card is Scavenge , which can net the overlord up to five threat tokens to save for a future quest. Thus, Lieutenant Packs and their Plot decks may encourage new strategies in which the overlord sacrifices early quests in order to focus on the acquisition of threat tokens to use later in the campaign.

That’s the point of using a coward: If he runs away, he lives to fight another day.

Alric – The Fallen Elite

Of course, not every overlord player wants to rely upon the diversionary tactics provided by a cowardly agent. Some will prefer to force the heroes into difficult, tactical decisions in each quest by battering them with well-trained master monsters.

The Fallen Elite , the Plot deck from the Alric Farrow Lieutenant Pack , can turn a master monster into an Unkillable foe. Plot cards like Armor of Darkness and Fight in Formation greatly enhance a monster’s staying power, and the longer the overlord’s master monsters stay in play, the more they add to his strength. Veteran Council adds up to three threat tokens at the end of an encounter if the overlord can keep that many master monsters in the fight.

Because the game’s agents also count as master monsters, any overlord player who uses the Summon - Alric card to bring the dark knight to battle can also bolster him with cards like Dark Champions and Refuse to Die .

While The Fallen Elite may provide fewer tactical options for groups of monsters than the Splig deck, it may force players to adjust their strategies. If they find themselves in a race to defeat a master monster before a host of minions dash away with stolen goods, will they pursue their standard strategy of uniting in battle against the master? Or will they turn away from the stand-up fight to secure the goods as quickly as possible?

Zachareth – Seeds of Betrayal

Not all Plot decks are as tactically focused as those belonging to Splig and Alric. The Zachareth Lieutenant Pack provides the overlord with the means to attack the heroes in the places they least expect it: outside of combat.

Zachareth’s Plot deck, Seeds of Betrayal , is geared toward winning a campaign in the end game. It doesn’t provide the immediate punch of Goblin Uprising or The Fallen Elite , but its effects – such as those on the cards False Friends , Trouble on the Road , and Meticulous Planning – may build over the course of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Sole Purpose allows the overlord to trim the Overlord deck from fifteen cards down to thirteen, granting greater control over which cards he’ll draw at any given point, and several other cards from Zacareth’s Plot deck work hand-in-hand with the Overlord deck to enhance its effectiveness. Scrying and Plotting is an expensive effect to trigger, but there’s no denying the value of a hand of Overlord cards chosen specifically to defeat the heroes. Likewise, Rush of Power and Always Prepared help the overlord get the cards he wants when he needs them most.

Summon Your Agents Today

Each of the first six Descent Lieutenant Packs introduces a unique set of abilities and enhances a different style of play. This means the overlord gains more options than ever as you and your friends begin your campaigns, and we’ll look at more of those options in our next preview.

In the meantime, head to your local retailer today to pre-order your Lieutenant Packs , and keep your eyes open for more news about these and other expansions for Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition !

Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition is a story-driven board game for 2-5 players that takes a party of adventurers deep into the dungeons of Terrinoth for adventure, treasure, and glory. Players will embark on a campaign of linked quests as they develop characters based on four fantasy archetypes.

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