|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 29 July 2011|
Hello, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game players! Welcome back to another strategy article by guest writer Francesco Zappon. Today, Francesco presents a primer for new players in which he describes each faction, outlining their strengths, weaknesses, special strategies, and a few representative cards. Although Francesco purposely avoids giving advice on the current metagame, we hope that this article is the first step for beginning players wishing to determine their own preferences and play styles. Starting with the mysterious Agency, let’s begin a brief tour of Call of Cthulhu’s eight unique factions. Thanks, Francesco!
The guys from the government do their best to keep strange, otherworldly forces under control. “Wounding” is the word that best describes what they excel at, both with the use of the best event/support cards in the game, and by their mastery of the Combat Struggle. Their characters have a strong number of Combat Icons and a decent amount of Investigation, allowing board control and rush strategies to be effective. Of course, they have a lack of Terror Icons and, less obviously, of Arcane. Even though they have some characters with Willpower, Agency tends to suffer from Insanity. Furthermore, characters with Invulnerability could become a problem if not properly handled.
Additional Notes: In recent releases, government characters are getting some new synergies, as well as some Day cards that can be used to great effect.
The Mob, the Criminals, the Syndicate. They know what’s happening in the underground. These guys have their best shot in the exhaustion department – inexpensive characters with cheap effects can rush at stories with unexpected rapidity! You can also exhaust opponent characters and reduce their skill, giving you an edge over your enemy that will lead you to the victory. Syndicate characters are not generally impressive by themselves, but they offer a bit of everything and a great amount of mini-combo. As with all human factions, they suffer from frequent Insanity (though that can be handled with some Willpower), and they tend to suffer at the hands of big monsters.
Additional Notes: Criminal is a well developed subtype that will continue to grow with future expansions. In addition, some cards seem to work well with a more “control-centered” strategy if used as part of a support faction.
The Students and Professors who study the mysteries of the Universe are strong in Arcane and Investigation Struggles. The problem is surviving through the Terror and Combat! To do that, Miskatonic has some ways to change the order of the struggles (or to completely eliminate them), plus some abilities that cancel icons. In addition, they master the card draw and card filtering area. Miskatonic’s characters are not the strongest (as they tend to go insane or wounded quite easily) and those that have powerful abilities are usually expensive. This faction often does its best when supporting something else.
Additional Notes: Investigators have some synergies, but with the latest Asylum Packs they also received something in the Student/Faculty sector. This modest beginning shows great potential.
These corrupted humans are a bit difficult to describe at the moment, due to the fact that their card pool is so young. For now, two main tendencies can be identified: on one side, they seem to be the “bounce” faction, putting characters into play in order to force other back into their owner’s hand. On the other side, Silver Twilight can also perform interesting tricks, sacrificing characters to obtain some other advantage. Again, these human characters tend to fall prey to Terror, and are quite vulnerable to wounds. Moreover, all their tricks can be a bit slow to activate, and sometimes while trying to setup a synergy you risk being overwhelmed by a quicker opponent.
Additional Notes: The Lodge characters have shown themselves as a natural theme for the grey guys. As I said, the card pool is still a tad limited, but before long a consistent thematic deck will be feasible.
The name of the game we all love to play! Need I say more? The green monsters faction offers strong (but generally expensive) characters and a number of events that aim to destroy everything that will ever reach the board. You can handle pretty much every threat while playing this faction... but be prepared, sometimes, to see your own hard work destroyed in the process. Cthulhu’s main weakness is the time-consuming nature of many of its best cards; they tend to have a powerful effect and a strong impact on the game, but this comes at a high cost. The faction is missing Investigation Icons too, slowing down the process of winning stories.
Additional Notes: Deep One offers a good thematic deck, in conjunction with some powerful events. But be aware that most of them are missing Terror Icons! Serpents are not fully developed, but they offer a couple of inexpensive and effective characters.
The King in Yellow deal mainly with Madness in all its forms, and does it in an effective way. In the early days of the LCG, Hastur was one of THE factions to play...but subsequent balances have evened things out. Hastur is basically a faction that you should play if you like a certain type of control: denial. “You want to play that card? ummm, no. Oh, you want to activate that Action? Sorry!” In addition, Hastur has a potent discard package available and some great support cards. The faction has a lack of really good characters, and basically no destruction elements. You should focus on insanity and terror when playing Hastur, keeping in mind that your worst enemies are other Terror Icons and Willpower.
Additional Notes: There is no theme deck, for now, in Hastur (even though Cultist is a common subtype). A good complement at the general strategy described above, anyway, is given by the possibility of taking control of your opponent characters, be it for the rest of the game or only to the end of the phase.
I have only one word to describe the purple guys: recursion. Do you want to retrieve something from the discard pile? Look to Yog-Sothoth. Be it an event card that you have already used or a character that you would like to have back in play, Yog gives you the tools to do so. In general, this is an event-heavy faction; they may not have really impressive characters, but Yog is one of the top factions to play today. Together with recursion there is a card filtering aspect that is quite powerful. Surprisingly for a Mythos faction, the characters can sometimes have vulnerabilities to Insanity, so keep an eye on this aspect.
Additional Notes: Yog has a good alternative strategy in the form of “discard from deck.” If you don’t care about success tokens and you want to try to win by emptying your opponent’s deck, this is the faction to use. In addiction, some synergy (even though not completely exploited) can be found with the Gug subtype.
The Mother, the Black Goat of Woods and hers sons. If there is something that this faction is good at, it is spitting out a lot of monsters very quickly. Strong characters that combine Terror and Combat icons make this faction a top choice if you like to put big characters into play. Related to this ability is the great acceleration at your disposal; on the event side, the Mother provides the best support destruction of the game. However, a lack of character removal could make games against certain decks very difficult to win.
Additional Notes: Mi-Go is the first sub-faction that comes to mind when talking about Shub. These guys like to share what they have with each other, and even though the individual characters may be manageable, when they band together they can be really dangerous.
I wrote this article with new players in mind, perhaps those who are initially approaching the game and feel disoriented by the great number of unique factions, card types and effects available. I hope that new players found it helpful, and that maybe even veteran players found a few useful points. As always, I welcome your feedback below or in the Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game forums!
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.
Good explanations of the factions :)
I think it will be usefull to talk about some cards you can't forget in a deck.
For example Carl from Cthulhu deck (for invulnerability and low cost), performance artist from Hastur (cancel effect from character or support), Y'Golonac from Shubb (Ancien one, low cost and special ability)
Thanks everyone, I'm happy to see that you think this article is useful! Many new players requested a description of the AP cycles and this is under development...it will take sometime since right now I'm extra-busy at work and in August I'll be on vacation, but you can expect something coming out in September-October!
Thanks Francesco! An updated introduction to the factions was a long time overdue.
thx for this article.
i printed it and take it with the rules and FAQ to show it our new players in our monthly BG-Weekend.
very useful introduction, should help my new-ish partner, thanks!