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Gustaf Johansen

Gustaf Johansen

Gustaf Johansen

The Harbinger
Type: Character Faction: Cthulhu
Cost: 1 Skill: 1 Icons: (C)
Game Text:
Forced Response: After a Cultist leaves play, draw 1 card. Limit 3 times per turn.
Flavor Text: “There’s no stopping it! We must prepare for the inevitable.”
Set: The Sleeper Below
Number: 003
Illustrator: Julian Kok


The key card for cultist decks. Love this guy.
Just want to double check something on this guy - if an effect causes Gustaf and 2 other cultists to leave play (eg the Plague Stone), then am I right in saying you get to draw no cards because it is a response and not an interrupt, therefore at the time you would trigger it Gustaf is in the discard pile?

That was my interpretation. Others said you could use it to draw cards (assuming you hadn't already hit the 3).

I concur.


FAQ 1.2 states "Support and Character card effects can only be triggered (or affect the game) when the card is in play." As such, by the time you would be on the Response window of the timing structure, he isn't in play to draw.

If he were a Disrupt like you mention, in a similar manner to Roald Ellsworth, then you would draw before they all leave play.


Looking for tricks to get around a Cultist deck drawing a load of cards VonWibble  ;)

    • Danigral, VonWibble and jeckus like this

The FAQ suggests you can draw the card due to the strange exception that exists for being able to trigger a response from a card that just left play if it references it.  I think this card qualifies for that condition:


Responses on Cards Leaving Play
Some cards respond to themselves leaving play, self-referentially, or to effects that may cause that card to leave play. Such responses can be triggered as if the card were still in play. Note that only Response or Forced Response effects can be triggered in this manner, and they must respond to leaving play or the effect that causes them to leave play. Cards may not take “one last Action” before they leave play.

For Example: The “Response:” effect on Professor Nathaniel Peaslee (Core Set F24) can be triggered in response to Professor Nathaniel Peaslee entering the discard pile from play.

Peaslee refers to himself.  It says "After Professor Nathaniel Peaslee enters your discard pile".  That is what they mean by a card responding to itself leaving play.  Gustaf does not specifically refer to himself leaving play so this part of the FAQ does not apply to him.

    • Danigral and RichardPlunkett like this

Looking for tricks to get around a Cultist deck drawing a load of cards VonWibble  ;)

I wasn't involved in the game, just curious on a ruling. Haven't decided if I'm going for cultists or not yet.

Suffice to say if I don't take cultists then Negotium looks very tempting...

So to verify, he has a forced response therefore when he leaves play you draw a card right? if like vonwibble says, plague stone is used on 3 cultists including gustaf, do you draw 3 cards or only 1?

I think the consensus is that you actually don't draw a card when he leaves play, which is incredibly confusing to me, but I'll assume dboeren is right.

In case of the Plague Stone, you wouldn't draw any cards as Gustaf would no longer be in play.


The reason you don't draw a card(s) is due to the timing chart:  Actions must fully resolve before forced responses/responses can be triggered.


With the Plague Stone example, all characters are destroyed as a result of the action.  After all characters are destroyed, the window opens up for responses.  However, there aren't any characters left on the board to trigger their response so nothing happens.  Gustaf would need something self-referential in his triggered text, such as "When Gustaf leaves play..." 

Actually, you can trigger the response from Gustaf for himself as he IS referring to himself as a cultist character (FAQ, Responses on Cards Leaving Play). And you would get to draw three cards for an effect like Plague Stone as the characters are put simultaneously in the discard pile, but you choose the order placing them one by one (FAQ, 1.7 Simultaneous Effects).

P.S. I must confess that up until now, I thought I could draw 1 card with Gustaf.

I don't think referring to subtype counts as self-referential. Don't think there is a precedent for that. I agree with Yipe that Gustaf can't trigger on himself on account of the timing chart.

You can't draw with Gustaf off the Plague Stone.  He has a forced response, which only triggers after the action has been resolved.  At that point he's off the board.  Self-referential refers to the name of the card, not the subtype.


Basically, in order for you to trigger Gustaf's ability he must remain on the board.  This is why you can't sacrifice him + a bunch of other cultists to Fiona Day and get success tokens and card draw for all of them.

I don't think referring to subtype counts as self-referential. Don't think there is a precedent for that. I agree with Yipe that Gustaf can't trigger on himself on account of the timing chart.

Well, its not self referential as Yipe says above, but The Lost City of Pnakatos for example works when Yithians enter play and is itself a Yithian, so gets to trigger when played. So if Gustaf's ability had been an interrupt, you would get a card on leaving play as he is a cultist.

But it isn't an interrupt, so you don't.

Even as a disrupt, I'm not exactly sure how it would work due to the timing structure.  The Plague Stone's action hasn't resolved yet so no characters have left the board when the disrupt triggers.  I feel it would have to be worded quite differently.

I see why he can't trigger himself, as he must be in play for the Forced Response part, and also "self-referential" means stating the card's name. But the part of the simultaneous removal of characters means that you can trigger the forced response for the other characters?

(1.7) Simultaneous Effects
When card effects, passive abilities,
or forced responses would resolve
simultaneously, all cards that are
affected resolve in the order determined
by the active player, one at a time. The
player must fully resolve each effect
before the next effect takes place.
Whenever character or support cards
enter or leave play at the same time, the
controlling player chooses the order in
which they enter or leave play.

So Draconav's rule post means that plague stone would blow up, i get to choose the order of my guys leaving play and i draw up to 3 cards not including gustav leaving himself. 


As long as gustav leaves play last correct?

It seems so, although Rule 1.7 is again not clear. If the active player (with Plague Stone) blows up three opposing clerics (one being Gustav), who actually makes the ordering decisions? The first part of the rule suggests the active player, the second part, the controlling player. Or am I missing something here?

1.7 is being misapplied here. Plague stone's action would fully resolve (i.e. all characters leave play) and then forced responses happen "immediately" after that. The action would be resolved by the time that the forced response would attempt to trigger. It's better to think of timing resolution in CoC as little chunks. A better way to think of it is that everything leaves play "immediately" and "simultaneously" but the controller of the cards leaving play merely decides in what exact order they are put in the discard pile.

    • Draconav likes this

Agreed with Danigral. The use of 1.7 is in resolving multiple effects. Plague Stone's destruction is a single effect that can and does execute with true simultaneity on its multiple victims. The only decision privilege is with respect to the sequence created in the discard pile.

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