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The Sleeper Below Review, Part 2

The Sleeper Below Deluxe Fhtagn! Call of Cthulhu

Our staff has put together a first blush analysis of the newly released The Sleeper Below, the deluxe expansion featuring the mighty Cthulhu himself. This is the second of three parts: the Cthulhu supports, events, and conspiracy.

We’ve used a one through five scale; five being the best. The cards are listed in numeric order. Our reviewers are listed in alphabetical order. Let us know in the comments how you feel about the cards in this set!

Cthulhu Supports

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  • Danigral - 4 out of 5 - A great card to turn useless struggles into useful ones, and one of the only ways that Cthulhu can get investigation in faction. It can also really cause problems for your opponent’s struggle math since the later struggles can be turned into terror or combat, wherever your opponent is weakest.
  • dboeren - 4 out of 5. Any icon you want is a pretty nice effect for 1. Your opponent will be wary to commit, which then lets you go Investigation for extra tokens or Arcane to re-ready a much bigger partner character.
  • WWDrakey & Ire - 3 out of 5 - This is one of those curious cards, which will have a large effect on the board, without... really doing all that much. The threat of an extra Combat, Horror or Investigate will force your opponent to overcommit or let something pass unopposed, which of course is good. The largest importance will likely be to push even more speed to Cultists via Investigation.
  • Wilbur - 3 out of 5 - An above average card, but one that will be hard to fit in a cultist deck that wants tons of characters.
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  • Danigral - 1 out of 5 - First, it’s an attachment. Second it goes away when you win it and this will likely force your opponent to not defend it or make sure he wins it. This will be fun (and janky) to use it with things that force committing, but that’s a 2 for 1 at best.
  • dboeren - 2 out of 5. May or may not do anything, and if you pair with another faction that has better skill you incur a risk yourself. Not my cup of tea.
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 3 out of 5 - Losing skill checks means committing to the Story in the first place… but with Dormant to further make your opponents committing choices difficult, this can add another hurdle to the process. To get some real value, one needs to combine it with some Syndicate or Hastur skill manipulation tricks. Still, a Story they’re not committing to, is a Story you can win at your leisure.
  • Wilbur - 2 out of 5 - At the end of the day, the card doesn’t justify inclusion on the merits of what impact it might make in a game.
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  • Danigral - 2 out of 5. This is looking like a 3-4+ combo card: you need a character to sacrifice, a way to sacrifice him, a cultist in hand, and Twisted Acropolis on the table...oh yeah, and a domain free. All that to not have a loss in board position and maybe, just maybe, an expensive cultist. It might be fun to try it with Temple of R’lyeh or Harbinger of Insanity, but then reality will set in and you’ll cut it for something more efficient.
  • dboeren - 3 out of 5. Looks spicy for playing expensive Cultists but it costs 2 and sacrificing isn’t always easy on demand. Will take a bit of work to really pay off.
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 3 out of 5 - While enticing, especially for putting high-cost Cultists into play, one needs to do quite a bit of building to get there… And additionally, you will need to combine this with a solid sacrifice-engine, to really start profiting. That said, if you do get it working, it does provide both resource advantage and surprise deployment.
  • Wilbur - 2 out of 5 - A bit too expensive for multi-conditional (character sacrificed, cultist in hand, open 1-resource domain) utility. Still, if you want to play any of the monster faction societies before you’ve already lost 2 stories, here’s your chance.
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  • Danigral - 1 out of 5. Another combo card. It’s easier to trigger than the Acropolis, but for what? To see what you’ll draw for the next 2 turns? Bah. Oh, you can use this with Unaussprelichen [sic] Kulten to get for sure a successful hit on a cultist to play.
  • dboeren - 2 out of 5. Kind of helps you dig up the cards you need, but not well enough to justify the cost. Still, it’s a Tome which can give some synergy.
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 1 out of 5 - There was once a card in another game called “Sensei’s Divining Top”, and it was unparalleled… in it’s ability to slow down the game without really doing anything. These seven books? They’re like that, but even worse, as they will genuinely do almost nothing.
  • Wilbur - 1 out of 5 - Ugh… Well, as long as you can keep destroying things, you can at least ensure that you won’t draw another one of these.
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  • Danigral - 3 out of 5. I may be rating it too high, but with the abundance of cheap cultists, you could realistically trigger this on turn 2 just by committing 5 cultists to stories. This can get you dormant Cthulhu pretty quickly.
  • dboeren - 2 out of 5. Too much trouble and too slow. Maybe in a Cthulhu/Silver Twilight deck that can monkey with Rituals.
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 2 out of 5 - Let’s see… 2 cost for a delayed tutor for a Cultist-heavy deck, which only searches for Ancient Ones and Servitors. Harbinger of Insanity sends his regards, and welcomes you to the altar? Do you think there’s something Underneath the Surface? Clearly there are specific targets for this, but getting enough tokens on it for an actual Ancient One tutor will be a bit too slow.. and there are other ways to find them. In the end it’s too slow and gives too much of a window for your opponent to get rid of it.
  • Wilbur - 2 out of 5 - Like most ritual supports, it sits around waiting for triggers to build up to an effect that is not all that terrific. It’s not actually glacial in tempo, but it isn’t changing the board state (apart from its own sacrifice) when it goes.
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  • Danigral - 3 out of 5. “Unspeable Cults” lol. Lottery-style, niche, psuedo card advantage. It gets a 3 just because it is potential card advantage, but it’s unreliable and if you don’t get it the first time you’ve wasted the effect until you actually draw again (unless you're wasting more card slots for deck manipulation). I’d play this only in a deck that is 47 0-cost cultists.
  • dboeren - 4 out of 5. Awesome card for Cultist decks, shame that the card is misspelled. But yeah, this goes into every Cultist deck now.
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 4 out of 5 - Now this… this is what you really want for fueling your endless Cultist sacrifices. Naturally the title is all wrong, but that’s just an attempt at FFG to do some really dark humour by linking Essex with the original Bridewall translation… right?
  • Wilbur - 2 out of 5 - I’m in the minority here, but I just don’t think this card is good at all. If these are cheap cultists to sacrifice, Gustaf just completely outclasses this card in every way. And what other kind of cultists are there, really? This card isn’t going to net you enough extra characters to justify the deck space, there is no element of surprise, and it’s not cheap.
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  • Danigral - 3 out of 5. If you are playing cultists, or not depending on events, this card will be pretty annoying for your opponent to play around, but it will still be just an annoyance.
  • dboeren - 3 out of 5. A nice suppression effect, but it costs 2 and a lot of decks can just switch to resourcing their events and playing other cards.
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 4 out of 5 - Exactly what another FFG game would need. Well, I guess it’s fitting that the Elder Gods grace us ardent sacrificers with it, rather than that Westeros place. An interesting way to skew the game to your liking… while providing some thematic support for Cultists.
  • Wilbur - 3 out of 5 - Ideally a lopsided global effect, but match-up dependent, unique, and a bit pricey.
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  • Danigral - 3 out of 5. The best (only?) way to make good use of this is to tease it into play, either through dormant or Jamburg or Museum Curator or Elder Thing Scavenger or Archaeological Society. There are some interesting ways that Cthulhu can get around this location such as Naaginn and Fanatic, quickly turning the tables on your opponent’s turn.
  • dboeren - 3 of 5. If it wasn’t Dormant it would be unusable, but if your opponent just won a story where this was hiding you can blow away most of his resistance for a nice comeback and hopefully get some bonuses for sacrificing guys.
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 2 out of 5 - If anything is difficult to rate, then this would be it. Having both people sacrifice down to 2 is a brilliant concept… but with the main avenue for this being through Dormant, it is far from being reliable. It may swing some games, but honestly, there are more reliable ways in-faction for keeping the board thin enough for your liking.
  • Wilbur - 2 out of 5 - Lost Civilization is interesting (a use for that turn 1 US Archaeological Society!), dormant is interesting, but this is still a card that may or may not do something useful. Far more often than not, I just don’t want to draw this.
Cthulhu Events

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  • Danigral - 2 out of 5. Interesting. You can splash one character, but that might mean having a bad deck. Might be fun to try to splash some AOs from other factions in a slower deck.
  • dboeren - 2 out of 5. Tricky card to rate. It lets you pull some really unexpected tricks even if it is a little odd. Kind of makes me want to build a polar rainbow deck with Realm of Ice and Death :)
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 1 out of 5 - Cute. However… only cute. Especially with that steadfast requirement.
  • Wilbur - 1 out of 5 - Well, it lets you splash into a mono deck that one card you always thought should have been in Cthulhu but wasn’t, but you’ll have to have them both in hand to profit. This is going to be a backbreaking top-deck almost every time.
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  • Danigral - 3 out of 5. The best part of this card is its synergy with Watcher of the Signs. It’s okay, but certainly there are more useful events.
  • dboeren - 4 out of 5. Nasty card for shutting down surprises you don’t want to see.
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 5 out of 5 - So… A Disaster to fuel that Watcher of the Signs and meddle with domains, for free, with the timing also allowing to play it on your opponents Story phase and get two Story phases free of most meddling. That’ll teach even The Black Dog and Master of Myths to stay in their places.
  • Wilbur - 3 out of 5 - Cheap, maybe useful, and tricky, but very dependent upon the board state for any value. Still, free is free, and it’s a disaster.
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  • Danigral - 1 out of 5. So I’m losing a card to let my opponent decide which hurts him less, discarding a card or a success token. The best choice is not to play it at all.
  • dboeren - 2 out of 5. The effect is rather disappointing, most of the time you won’t get anything of real value as your opponent gets to choose.
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 3 out of 5 - And another cheap Disaster. This one is not quite on par with the Black Seas, but it can force your opponent into some difficult choices… especially with a thin hand. However, the usefulness will generally be a bit flaky, and probably works best when combined with larger-scale Hastur hand destruction, some card advantage and perhaps return to hand effects for further attrition.
  • Wilbur - 3 out of 5 - Very good early (when your opponent was no choice but to lose a card), but only with Watcher of the Signs out. Otherwise, kind of crappy.
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  • Danigral - 4 out of 5. Any time I can get more than 1 character into play for 1 card, that’s good.There can be some great tricks with this card, such as sacrificing your board and putting them back into play - or if your opponent does it you can put all those sac’ed characters back into play, comboing with the Plague Stone for one sided board wipes. Cultists may be the deck du jour and this card will be a key part of it.
  • dboeren - 4 out of 5. Great card for Cultist decks or to recover after board wipes, etc...
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 4 out of 5 - This sounds just like just the kind of thing to start combining a bit of self-mill with either mass-removal via Plague Stone or a sacrifice engine such as Harbinger of Insanity and then having your Cultists, especially the cheap ones, start a macabre dance between the realms of the living and deceased.
  • Wilbur - 4 out of 5 - Obviously not for every deck, but absolutely essential for the decks that support it. Initiate of Dagon looks better and better!
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  • Danigral - 4 out of 5. This can lock the board state in you’re ahead, and if you find a way to consistently recur this card, then it can easily be abused, especially if you can find a way to refresh one or more of your domains.
  • dboeren - 2 out of 5. Do you have a character advantage? Go ahead, keep it a while longer. Goes up in decks that can recur it and create a longer lockdown.
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 3 out of 5 - Hmm, this is a troublesome card. It can either wind up being a complete dud, or create some kind of lockdown deck which will first create a strong board presence, then lock it’s opponent out for enough time to close out the game. Our rating here really only tries to reflect the ‘average’ of the two possibilities… if someone discovers the motions for the exact ritual required to create said lockdown deck, then this will be a 5, until then it will languish in binders as a 1. The important part to realize here is that it also locks down resource-usage… which really does not leave much wriggle room.
  • Wilbur - 3 out of 5 - It’s very powerful, so I’m sure it can be abused. On the face of it, it looks equally bad for everyone, but it also looks like a card worth breaking. I can think of several directions a deck might go to take full advantage of this card.
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  • Danigral - 1 out of 5. Only mono-Cthulhu, and mid to late game. You can probably get your dormant characters into play via dormant as easily.
  • dboeren - 2 out of 5. Only really good if the Dormant card had a strong “enter play” effect which of course they don’t. Too expensive for what you get.
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 2 out of 5 - 4 cost is a *lot* from an Event. Not to mention an event that requires a particular other card in your hand… and which does not trigger the ‘play’ effects on those Dormant characters. We wouldn’t trust the Stars.
  • Wilbur - 1 out of 5 - As others have said, this card is just too expensive. If even the ‘no success tokens’ restriction were lifted, this might be usable in a mono green deck, but this card… basically sucks.
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  • Danigral - 5 out of 5. Another lottery card, but this time the payout is MUCH bigger if you can rig it. Your opponent will really have to think about triggering this if he tries to rush a story.
  • dboeren - 4 out of 5. That’s a scary card right there. The only things stopping it from being a 5 is that you can pretty much only trigger it from Dormant and that it can occasionally fizzle.
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 4 out of 5 - Now here’s another Dormant card that will cause you some sleepless Nights… Best case? Lucking into putting several Ancient Ones into play for free. Worst Case? Getting at least 1-2 cheap characters… or not having the Dormant trigger before it’s too late. As you will most often be playing your Dormant cards for free, this seems like a bargain. Don’t expect to actually be able to pay for it, however…
  • Wilbur - 5 out of 5 - Having played this card at the Gencon side event and hit 4 characters with it three times, I can vouch for the strength of this card. This is a card that has the potential to dramatically alter the way the game is played (don’t win that story too fast!) and the way that decks are built (Flux Stabilizer never looked so sexy).
Cthulhu Conspiracies

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  • Danigral - 1 out of 5. Is it weird that this is a conspiracy I want to actually lose at? I’d send my terror-proof characters here just to die to combat. In all reality, you opponent will likely just let you go it unopposed, or defend late game when domains may not matter as much.
  • dboeren - 2 out of 5. You can probably expect to win this eventually as your opponent will be reluctant to oppose you here in most cases but I don’t really like giving my opponent the chance to get resources.
  • Ire & WWDrakey - 2 out of 5 - Sadly, the wording does seem to allow Horror and Willpower to protect from being destroyed via loss in Horror struggles… which is probably a bit of a loss, with regard to the power of the Conspiracy. Similarly, the first thought of adding destroyed characters to a domain instead of destroying them is to use it for some kind of resource ramping, but that would require co-operation from your opponent… which probably will not be forthcoming. The only way to really start profiting from this, is through cards which force your opponent to commit to a particular place, like Silver Twilight Temptress. Barring that, it’s probably not worth the effort.
  • Wilbur - 1 out of 5 - Like most conspiracies, a card that wants building around, but doesn’t merit the decision. Willpower/terror characters your opponent controls just become resource ramp, which is a lot to offer to take a story without a resolution effect. Lacking any arcane struggle, it also guarantees that your attackers won’t be able to play defense. Dormant cards attached here might be more readily triggerable on offense if your opponent cannot handle terror at all, but I doubt most decks are worried about that match-up anyway.

  • 1161, Cumber, Yuggoth and 2 others like this


Cool! Thanks for the review, guys!

What happened to Tom for this part?

He already dropped out in the first part - he didn't review the last seven cards. I suppose he just didn't find the time.