Follow-Up: After Action Report vs Live Opponent
My main Cthulhu adversary and I threw down both last night and this evening. We played a total of 8 games, 5 of which I used my Syndicate/Order deck as requested by my opponent. He's been waiting to see the Order in action, and wanted to give them a full test run on their initial outing.
For our first game I battled his mono-Shub Dark Young deck that spawns large amounts of creatures. It is fairly straightforward in its approach - bring a lot of terror, combat, and skill to as many stories as possible. It has a few tricks, but it's mostly a number cruncher.
This game proved difficult for my Syndicate/Order deck. I had some initial success with Triggerman, Errand Boy, and Protector of Secrets, but after winning 2 story cards my deck started to stall out. By turn 5 (which is at least 1 turn beyond my deck's optimum time table) his characters outnumbered mine 2:1, with the big skill on multiple Twilight Cannibals and an Insect Swarm really causing me trouble. He then brought out a Mind Eater to start using my Investigation against me, and then shut things down completely with The Setting Sun. The game was now tied 2-2.
Fortunately, I caught a lucky break. An unexpected combination of Lord Jeffrey Farrington, Dirk Sharpe and a timely Steal the Soul let me bounce the Insect Swarm back into his hand and plow through the struggles to win a 3rd story. It was a great match that could have gone either way. Playing the Order against such a monstrous horde was quite challenging for me but extremely enjoyable. I had to pay special attention to my resourcing, and squeeze every combo out of my deck to get through his characters during those final turns.
For the next 4 games, my opponent wanted to match up his Agency/Miskatonic deck against the Order and their criminal lackeys. Generally speaking, I like to pit Mythos vs Investigator decks, but I decided it would be a good experiment to see how my deck handled itself being on the short end of the Investigation stick.
The Silver Twilight went 4-0, with 2 games won by turn 3 and the other 2 by turn 4. In all 4 games I don't believe me opponent won a single story card. He simply couldn't keep pace with my character generation (I was averaging 2-3 characters on the first turn), and he couldn't keep his characters on the board. Afterwards we stripped his deck down and found it to be A) too costly for what amounts to a rush deck, and B) have too few characters (26). Having just bought 1.5 Secrets of Arkham sets, he's going back to the drawing board to prepare for a grudge match in a few weeks.
Notable cards: Steal the Soul caused a lot of havoc, as did Intimidate, Bound and Gagged, and Initiate of Huang Hun. Dutch Courage also proved extremely helpful vs Shotgun, Shotgun Blast and his superior combat icons, allowing me to muscle through a story and grab the last few success tokens for a win.
I was never able to play my Adoration of Maahes + Hidden Agenda combo. It's simply too slow and too costly for this deck. I'm going to swap it out for cheaper exhausting cards or skill reducers. Perhaps Low Blow or Forcing the Truth?
More Reporting from the Field
My opponent continues to request that I play my Syndicate/Order deck. After 6 additional games during our last few outings it still remains undefeated. Most wins are happening by turn 4, or turn 5 at the latest. So far it has beat a mono-Shub, mono-Hastur, a multi-combat round mono-Agency, a day-focused mono-Agency, mono-Syndicate, and an Agency-Miskatonic deck.
I'd like to think it's a strong deck, but I'm leery of putting too much stock in these wins. My opponent tends to favor strong, high-cost characters, which works well in our multi-player games but is a disadvantage when facing a rush deck in the standard one-on-one format. Since losing so many games in a row however, he has gone back and made his decks both more streamlined in their strategy and more cost efficient, so that's been a plus for him.
On a final note, I dropped the Hidden Agenda + Adoration of Maahes combo. It was simply too slow to prove effective. I may put it back in when playing multi-player, as rush decks tend to stall out after a bit and I may need a sneaky way to capture my third story card.
In their place I took x3 Fortifying Ouzo to help against terror (and cards that can target my characters to drive them insane outside the terror struggle), and x3 Master of the Myths. This card has proven extremely effective. It can suck up a combat hit, adds more Willpower to my deck (for a total of 9 characters with Willpower + the Young Initiate and Fortifying Ouzo), and gives me the edge in Arcane so I can ready and block if necessary, or to deny my opponent a character to block during my turn.
Honestly, I'm not sure how this deck works as well as it does. Every time I play it I'm convinced I'll lose because I have little in the way of terror or combat defense. Yet somehow I'm able to exhaust, bounce, surprise, or just plain bluff my way through to victory. So far it's been very enjoyable to play.