Criminals vs Cultists

So I played a few games with my new Syndicate criminals deck against the Cthulhu cultists deck.

The Syndicate did quite well with a great combo using Lena Di Boerio and Henry Knoll.

Lena reduces skill and messes with icons, and Henry reduces skill and can kill characters if they have skill 0.

Lena can mess with icons and also reduce skill.

Lena can steal other people’s icons..

Henry can cripple an opposing character or even kill them if they are weak enough.

Henry can cripple an opposing character or even kill them if they are weak enough. He does this when he readies, so this can be at the beginning of your turn or after winning and arcane struggle, or both..

Together, Lena and Henry can destroy characters of up to 2 skill, which is an awful lot. Especially since most of the cultists are weenies with skill 1.

They both have all sorts of neat plays:

  • Lena can choose a character not at her story, or even not at any story. So can Henry.
  • Henry can ready after the arcane struggle to kill a character before the investigation struggle. This can even be on an opponent’s turn.
  • Lena can choose a character even if she is exhausted and not at a story.
  • Lena can choose several characters if you have enough undrained domains.
  • Lena can steal investigation to get extra success tokens.
  • Lena and Horrific Statuette can have quite a battle. Horrific Statuette only works if the cultist has at least one icon. It can’t add an icon, it only changes an existing icon. If Lena has removed a cultist’s only icon, the Statuette can’t help. If the Statuette acts first, it can affect which icon Lena can steal.
  • Lena can wait until after all characters are committed to stories before acting.

It is a bit of pain having to keep a domain open to pay for Lena’s ability. This slows down your development. Adding an extra domain really helps, e.g. with Reallocate (which can be searched for with a City Map).

Overall they are a very powerful pair. As an example, on one turn Henry killed the mad sailor cultist Gustav then readied to kill a Watcher of the Signs (all before investigation!).

The next turn Cthulhu played another copy of Gustav, but then Tommy Malloy sprang into play to kill Gustav again. (Note: Tommy isn’t free when you do this, he still costs 2). Then Henry killed an Initiate. Henry was killing one cultist per turn. Finally Melisande LeBeau destroyed the Statuette. The Cthulhu player was wiped out completely.

Melisande has some great support destruction.

Melisande has some great support destruction. Also great icons and skill.

The criminals are weak against insanity, not having much willpower, but they bumped off most of the Cthulhu characters that have terror.

Fiona Day did manage to emerge from her dormant state, but had no cultists left to sacrifice and so her ability was wasted. At least she and Asuilaak have 3 skill and couldn’t be killed by Lena and Henry.

The Inner Council is absolutely huge. It can get a super-high skill (in one game it was 9, even rivalling Cthulhu) and it wipes all other characters’ icons.


The Inner Council is a great finisher.

I also played a game against the Yog sorcerers deck. This was actually more balanced. Lena and Henry couldn’t just kill everything they saw.

Yog did have one great combo using Henry, of all people:

  1. Professor Peaslee switches sides with Henry Knoll. Yog gets control of Henry.
  2. Yog uses Henry to kill Peaslee.
  3. Rite of the Silver Key gets Peaslee back.
  4. Peaslee steals someone else.
  5. Henry kills Peaslee.
  6. Rite gets Peaslee back.
  7. Repeat.

Peaslee switches places with one of the opponent’s characters. If he dies, you still keep the character you stole.