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Playing against Cthulhu with a Syndicate deck

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#1
sparkyUK71

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Hi, I've been playing a friend who has a Cthulhu solo deck with my syndicate deck made up from the denizens of the underworld and 1x core set. This is the deck

Deck Created with CardGameDB.com Call of Cthulhu Deckbuilder
 
 
Total Cards: (50)
 
Character: (27)
 
Support: (6)
 
Event: (17)
 
Conspiracy: (0)
 
I've played it today but still lost 3-2, mainly to having him destroying cards with deep one rising or skill cancellation with Feint, when I would have won the story as I was using Hatchet man to cancel the icons and O'Bannion's Inner Council to limit what can be played. The Inner council card was destroyed with the deep one rising. I did manage to remove other copies of the deep one rising later in the game but the damage was done each time they were played.
So my question really is this, how can I mount a better defence/attack against Cthulhu with a Syndicate deck?
I do have Secrets of Arkham as well which I can use, so should I be combining with another faction? I really like Syndicate so would want them to be the main faction if I did combine?
 
Many thanks
 
sparky


#2
Danigral

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I would recommend adding in more characters, especially cheaper ones Like Jacob Finnegan and a third copy of Lena di Boerio and Henry Knoll. You also need x3 of Inner Council - arguably one of the game's best story-contenders. Having more characters will let you put out characters faster than a Cthulhu player can control them. Yes, he may get your Inner Council with Deep One Rising, but he won't be able to control all of your characters and you can try to rush for the win before he gains control of the board, which is why I recommend more cheaper characters.

 

I have never found Reallocate to be that great and recommend you cut it. Same for Outmaneuvered. You also need some card advantage, so I recommend upping Naomi to x3 (since she is basically card advantage if you have a tactic in the discard), and maybe add in O'Bannion's Office and/or the core Gentleman's Club.



#3
Unnamable

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Danigral has offered some valuable advice. However in this particular match-up shouldn't Reallocate have considerable impact against an opponent who is building a single domain to 4 resources to play Deep One Rising? Not to mention the extra domain that Reallocate fuels Lena, Torch and Hard Case? 



#4
Danigral

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Danigral has offered some valuable advice. However in this particular match-up shouldn't Reallocate have considerable impact against an opponent who is building a single domain to 4 resources to play Deep One Rising? Not to mention the extra domain that Reallocate fuels Lena, Torch and Hard Case? 

 

If and probably only if the Cthulhu player is resources 4-1-1, which would reallocate to 2-2-2. This would be two more turns before he builds up to 4-2-2. Unless the deck is built optimally for that, most decks can still make use of a 3 and 2 domain. And reallocate then costs you the tempo of losing your 2 domain, which could have instead been an extra character. One that you lost to DOR. If you create more threats than he can control, then you can beat him on skill and investigation and get more tokens. I just haven't found Reallocate to be that useful in most normal games.



#5
dboeren

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I tend to side with Danigral here.  To pay off the timing has to be fairly specific and it still may or may not yield as much advantage as simply using some other card that is less situational.  Essentially you're betting on your opponent having a hand that's going to get hosed by the domain reallocation and it's going to be a gamble.  The free 1-domain is a bonus true, but with his current deck there aren't enough "pay 1" characters to leverage it to full effect.  I think that's more viable with a larger pool to build from.

 

More to the point though, regardless of whether it CAN be effective, it hasn't been so far for the OP.  The 4-cost guys are still arriving in a timely fashion so it would make sense to replace it with something that will work better for him.

 

27 characters is a bit low.  Not hugely so, but I would put in a few extras - get to more like the 30-32 range.  Some factions can work OK a bit character-light but I don't feel Syndicate is one of those, they're more suited to rushing out small dudes.

 

The best defense against something like Deep One Rising is simply having more bodies which means you can weather the loss of one of them better.  That, and having enough exhaustion effects that you can avoid an opposing character with strong icons.  If you can't avoid them, then extra bodies will also let you use one to take the Combat hit while the others still get through.

 

btw, for reference I believe this is Tom's deck from the Syndicate box.

 

Cards to look at from Secrets of Arkham would be mainly Diseased Sewer Rats and Intimidate.  I suggest maybe swapping in 3x of both of these to replace 3xReallocate, 1xLow Blow, 1xLike a Moth, and whatever other event you feel you aren't getting much use out of.



#6
Danigral

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I didn't see the last sentence in the OP about SoA, until David mentioned it. I agree that the Rats would be nice, and Intimidate is also a good switch out for the 2 cost events. I'd even go closer to 35 characters if possible.



#7
Yipe

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To bolster your characters, I would include x2 copies of Crooked Attorney and cut some of your support cards for La Belle Luna.  Even if you don't get the Day + Bella Luna combo up and running, the Attorney is a powerful card that bonuses the majority of your characters.

 

Anarchist (from SoA) is also quite helpful.  Though his low printed skill hurts I feel he's better than Extortionist, especially when combined with Clover Club Pit Boss (or Martin Herring).  They can provide a nice jump-start in the opening rounds before your opponent's Cthulhu deck can get rolling.

 

Also, I agree with Danigral that a 3rd copy of Lena is a must.  I generally mulligan if I don't see her in my opening hand, and x2 Henry Knoll would compliment her perfectly.

 

Finally, I would drop some of your higher cost events for x3 Intimidate.  It's not as powerful as Low Blow, but you just need soft control to create openings for your characters (like Jacob).  Plus, Intimidate allows you to maximize your domains/card economy while still playing 2 characters per turn, which I find is necessary for the Syndicate.



#8
sparkyUK71

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Wow thanks guys for the responses, will certainly take them on board! Cheers



#9
dboeren

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To bolster your characters, I would include x2 copies of Crooked Attorney and cut some of your support cards for La Bella Luna.  Even if you don't get the Day + Bella Luna combo up and running, the Attorney is a powerful card that bonuses the majority of your characters.

 

I like this combo as well.  It's a significant part of the other Syndicate box deck, but there's no reason not to modify either of them as you see fit or blend concepts from both, either, neither, or other ideas.  If you can't fit (or afford) La Bella Luna, just Crooked Attorney alone gives significant benefits by himself.

 

The point about getting 2 guys out per turn whenever possible is a good one too.  Syndicate thrives on cheap dudes and in your specific instance we've already touched on how this will help you weather Cthulhu's removal effects.  If you want to play a Support that costs more than 1, this likely competes against getting another body out so you have to look at your board situation and decide whether you can afford to pause a moment in return for the longer term benefits the Support will yield.  Typically this means that you have to be at least "OK" with your current characters, but if your position is weak then you probably want to hold off on the Support for the moment unless you at least have some surprise 1-cost event that can make up for your apparent weaker position and help flip it towards advantage.  I say 1-cost because if it was higher it too would be competing for the domain you want to play a character/support from :)



#10
sparkyUK71

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Ok,I think this is what I've got so far

Deck Created with CardGameDB.com Call of Cthulhu Deckbuilder
 
 
Total Cards: (57)
 
Character: (36)
 
Support: (7)
 
Event: (14)
 
Conspiracy: (0)
 
I was thinking of cutting Tommy Malloy and maybe Clover Club Ringer? as you can see I'm still 7 cards above the 50


#11
Yipe

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I've never been too impressed with Clover Club Ringer for the cost, but maybe someone else has found a good use for her?  Cards I would consider cutting to get down to 50 (in order):

 

-1 Sarnath

-1 Extortionist

-3 Clover Club Ringer

-2 The Clover Club

-2 Outmaneuvered

-1 Naomi O'Bannion

 

+1 La Bella Luna

+3 Feint

 

I'm curious why you're not running Feint in this deck?  It's cheap, combos well with your skill reduction theme (Hatchet Man, Henry Knoll), and allows you to surprise your opponent while still playing 3 characters in a turn. Seems like a natural fit to me.

 

I actually like Tommy Malloy.  He's great to bait your opponent when sending in Jacob or Lena without enough back-up.

 

Finally, with Crooked Attorney in the deck, do you really need The Clover Club for the skill manipulation?  I'd much rather draw him than the Clover Club.


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#12
sparkyUK71

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I didn't realise about feint until my oppo played it against me last game, it's from secrets of arkham isn't it? Hope so as I only have the core set, denizens and arkam boxes

#13
NuFenix

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It is indeed from Secrets of Arkham.


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#14
Yipe

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I didn't realise about feint until my oppo played it against me last game, it's from secrets of arkham isn't it? Hope so as I only have the core set, denizens and arkam boxes

 

That's the main reason I suggested it.  Feint is both something you own and a great fit in your deck.



#15
sparkyUK71

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Great thanks 😊 a couple of people have suggested 3x Naomi but I suppose having two plus the benefits from the other cards outweighs only having two Naomi's?

#16
Yipe

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I think having 2-3 copies of Naomi in the deck is something you have to experiment with during play testing.  This is more art than science (i.e. the fun part), but to help you decide I suggest asking yourself the following questions:

 

1.  How central is she to your deck's success vs the other characters/cards you've chosen?  Does the deck lose if you don't get Naomi into play by turn X?

 

For example, do you absolutely want to see her in your staring hand?  If you resource 1 copy early on do you need to see another copy of her before the game is over in order to win/utilize a good portion of other cards in your deck?

 

2.  Is the ability to trigger a free tactic the deck's primary strategy for victory or can it win other ways?

 

3.  How easily can your opponent remove your critical characters from play?

 

For example, if you have 2 copies of her and the Clover Club Pit Boss in hand, would you rather resource the Pit Boss and hold onto your back-up Naomi (and potentially clog your hand) because you want to replay her in case the first Naomi is destroyed, or resource your second Naomi so you can play her and the Pit Boss this turn?

 

Certain decks definitely want to run x3 of a unique character.  A have a few Syndicate decks where x3 Mr. David Pan is a must, and others where he's nice but not essential, so I only take 2 copies.



#17
dboeren

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Often I will run 2x of a Unique 3-cost character.  Smaller ones will more likely be 3x, as I want to draw them earlier.  Cost 3's I have a little bit more time so I can likely get away with 2x and the chance of drawing a dead card (extra copies are unplayable since they are Unique) is lower.

 

However, if they are central to your deck, or maybe just your best character, then I wouldn't hesitate to put in 3x.

 

In the case of Naomi, I would consider her central if the deck is planned around having lots of Tactics cards for her to trigger off of.  If you don't have that many Tactics, or you have other cost 3's that the deck is built around more, then she becomes less important.


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#18
sparkyUK71

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Ok thanks I'll rejig and post again 😊

#19
sparkyUK71

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Ok,is this better?

 

Deck Created with CardGameDB.com Call of Cthulhu Deckbuilder
 
 
Total Cards: (50)
 
Character: (31)
3x O'Bannion's Inner Council (DotU) 
2x Naomi O'Bannion (DotU) 
3x Clover Club Pit Boss (DotU) 
1x Clover Club Torch Singer (Core) 
1x Clover Club Bouncer (Core) 
1x Hard Case (Core) 
3x Hatchet Man (DotU) 
2x Jacob Finnegan (DotU) 
3x Lena Di Boerio (DotU) 
2x Henry Knoll (DotU) 
2x Tommy Malloy (DotU) 
2x Martin Herring (DotU) 
2x Crooked Attorney (DotU) 
1x Anarchist (SoA) 
3x Diseased Sewer Rats (SoA) 
 
Support: (4)
2x Danny O'Bannion's Office (DotU) 
1x Dutch Courage (Core) 
1x La Bella Luna (DotU) 
 
Event: (15)
3x Immurement (DotU) 
3x On the Lam (DotU) 
3x Pay Tribute (DotU) 
3x Intimidate (SoA) 
3x Feint (SoA) 
 
Conspiracy: (0)
 
Can I just ask about how On the Lam works? does it work for me in that one of my cards can't be exhausted and against my oppo to stop a card being readied? 
and just wonder if immurement is worth keeping?

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#20
dboeren

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It would be helpful to include a list of what's been changed, otherwise each reader has to try to compare a long list of cards on their own.  However, it looks pretty good to me.

 

On the Lam is something you play on your opponent's characters typically.  You have to exhaust to commit to a story, so being unable to exhaust prevents them from committing.