Facing the Horror
An Eldritch Horror Strategy Article
"Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth's fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread."
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Dunwich Horror
Yog-Sothoth, the Lurker at the Threshold, is an Ancient One of unfathomable power. In a game of Eldritch Horror, even the most intrepid investigators will need to summon all of their cunning and courage if they wish to prevent this unfathomable being's entry into our world.
In today’s article, we’ll look at some strategies for facing the horror that is the Lurker at the Threshold. From building the perfect team to devising a strategy to save humanity from destruction, read on for a few tips to try in your next game of Eldritch Horror.
The Lurker at the Threshold
Before we look at crafting a team to defeat Yog-Sothoth, let’s first examine what we’re up against.
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- Yog’s Doom Track begins at 14, so right out of the gate, we know that investigators will have longer to prevent Yog from waking than Cthulhu or Shub-Niggurath, but less time than when playing against Azathoth.
- Yog also has a Reckoning effect which forces investigators on a space with a gate to advance Doom unless they discard a Spell.
- Further, two of Yog’s mysteries deal with either discarding Spells, or resolving Spell effects. From this point and the one above, we can conclude that Spells are going to be a vital resource in a game against Yog.
- Yog’s cultists only test Strength during combat encounters, but other monsters will need to be defeated as well, so it will be important to put together a team that focuses on Strength starting out, or has another means of dealing with monsters.
- If Yog wakes up, and investigators have to battle him face to face, it’s important to note that Yog’s special game effects force gates to be placed on the Ancient One sheet each time that Doom would advance due to a gate. If Doom would advance because of any other effect, investigators must take a gate from the gate stack and place it on Yog’s Ancient One sheet. If there are ever three or more gates on Yog’s sheet, investigators lose the game, and fail to save the world.
Now that we have some idea of what must be overcome, it’s time to put together a team to save the world.
Drafting a Dream Team
Using the information above, we can conclude that investigators going up against Yog should be strong (or able to pass Strength checks easily) in order to beat Yog’s cultists and other monsters. Investigators should have high Lore so they can gain and cast spells, and ideally, close gates efficiently to maximize the amount of time the group has to battle Yog should the Ancient One awaken. While there are many combinations of investigators that can be effective, we chose the following four:
Akachi’s ability to know which gates are coming will be vital should Yog awaken. Because she can choose what gate will appear next, she can use the Omen track to her advantage, and choose gates that will not result in Doom advancement. Her ability to close one gate, and immediately move to another (or quickly get to a Clue token) will prove invaluable in keeping the number of gates on the board at a manageable level.
Akachi also has a Lore of three, making her effective at casting spells. While she only has a two Strength, she begins with the Mists of Releh Spell which allows her to avoid combating monsters if she needs to. Also, since she starts with a Spell, she has one to give up to avoid advancing Doom if she gets caught on a gate space during a Reckoning effect.
Norman makes a great addition to this team due to his high Lore (three), and the fact that he begins the game with a Spell. He can also spend Clues to discard monsters on spaces with gates, he has the means to deal with monsters despite his Strength of two. His Feed the Mind Spell boosts his stats and those of other investigators, making him a valuable addition to the team.
Norman is also good at gaining more Spells and casting them effectively - and Lore is frequently used in Other World encounters, so with both Akachi and him in the game, closing gates should not prove as difficult.
Along with a Lore of four, Diana’s ability to discard monsters on a space with cultists make her an obvious choice for this team. Her three Strength will also prove helpful in combat, even when cultists are not present. She also begins the game with a Spell, making three investigators who can potentially discard a Spell to avoid advancing Doom.
The Fourth Investigator
For the fourth investigator, it’s a tough choice between Lily Chen and Lola Hayes.
Lola’s ability to switch which skills she is proficient in makes her a good option, since she can boost her Lore one turn, and make herself stronger in another. Lola also gives investigators on her space (including herself) an extra die once per round during any type of test, which makes her a powerful ally. Plus, Lola has four Influence, which allows her to acquire Assets more easily. Since the rest of the team has lower Lore, this may be a valuable addition, since she can gain Assets and pass them to the rest of the group.
However, Lily’s Strength of four, along with her ability to immediately improve a skill again after improving it once, offers a tempting alternative. Since she begins the game in Shanghai, where an encounter is likely to result in improving Lore, she could boost her Lore early in the game. Plus, her ability coupled with Norman’s Feed the Mind Spell will allow her to pump up her stats considerably in the early game, making her a force to be reckoned with in every task.
Deciding between Lily and Lola comes down to a matter of personal play style, but no matter who you choose, you’ll have a tough team, ready to take on Yog-Sothoth!
Tips and Tricks
As mentioned above, Spells will be precious resources during a game against Yog, so use them wisely. Since Akachi will likely be focusing on gates, and Norman begins on Arkham, he should spend the first few turns attempting to gather Spells This way he can discard some if needed so that he can hold on to his Feed the Mind Spell, and meet up with Akachi to hand them off to her. She is the character most likely to be caught on a gate space during a Reckoning effect, so you want her to have Spells to burn.
Use common sense when dealing with spaces with gates. If you are not going to close a gate on your turn, don’t remain on a space with a gate into the Mythos phase. Even if you have Spells to discard, it is not a good use of resources to discard them unless you absolutely need to, so if you are not using a gate-closing character, try to avoid gate spaces.
In the early game, you’ll need to weigh discarding a Spell versus advancing Doom when a Reckoning effect triggers. Akachi’s Mist of Releh Spell is important for helping her get past monsters if Diana can’t help, so consider waiting to discard a Spell until she has others. Conversely, characters with lower Lore, like Lily, should probably just discard Spells if they can, since their primary focus in the game will not be Spell casting.
Diana, of course, should focus on removing monsters whenever possible. She and Lily or Lola will be your group’s primary fighters, so make sure to acquire some weapons for them in the early game in order to maximize their Strength.
Norman, with his high Observation and Lore will be fairly good at resolving Research encounters, and he makes good use of Clue tokens, so it works well to have him hunting Clues wherever they appear. As mentioned above, he should also be using his Feed the Mind Spell to bolster himself and other characters, especially Lily, if she is in the game. Like Akachi, Norman should keep his Feed the Mind Spell, especially in the early game, even if it means advancing Doom.
One of Yog’s mysteries spawns the Dunwich Horror Epic Monster, which has a Toughness equal to the number of investigators in the game plus two. He has a tough Willpower-minus-one check, along with an even tougher Strength-minus-two check, with three Willpower and three Strength. His Reckoning effect forces investigators to roll one die. If the result is less than or equal to the number of investigators, one gate is spawned. This could be a dire situation late in the game, especially if Yog has woken up. You’ll need an investigator with a high Strength stat to best the Dunwich Horror, and you’ll want your investigator to be packing a weapon to complete the task. It may even be worth having two people tag team the Dunwich Horror to ensure he is wiped off the board as soon as possible.
Join the Discussion
While this article was written about a four investigator team, Eldritch Horror plays one to eight people. For more than four investigators, try adding Charlie Kane, Jaquelline Fine, or Jim Culver to the mix, along with both Lily and Lola.
For less than four, experiment with Diana, Norman, and Akachi, or Lola and Akachi. Of course, the only limit is your imagination. We’ve had success with these combinations, but your mileage may vary. Depending on your play style and personal preference, you may find that other combinations work better for you and your play group.
We’re interested to know what you think! Who is your investigator dream team when battling Yog-Sothoth? What are your tips for successfully saving the world? We’ve started a thread in the forums, so join the discussion there. Keep checking this page for more news and information related to Eldritch Horror!