Over this winter break I got a chance to wrangle my brother into a few games of Call of Cthulhu. I’ve always had a ton of fun playing the game casually and my brother, after he learned the basics, enjoyed himself, especially when he was able to surprise me, win stories, and destroy my characters. Now I’m not a pro by any stretch of the imagination, but I understand how the game is played (if not all the subtle intricacies of each card) and I wanted to give Hastur and Yog a shot. Together, I think they have some fun synergy that I attempted to exploit and I kinda want to talk about what I was thinking while I played these dudes.
My goal while I was running the Hastur/Yog deck was simple: use spells to decrease Yog-Sothoth’s cost and call him from beyond time and space that much quicker. For each spell card that enters your discard pile, you knock one from Yog’s play cost, turning him from a nigh unreachable eight, to something much more manageable. In the core set there’s only so much that you can work with, but between the two factions we get: 1) A Single Glimpse, 2) Unspeakable Resurrection, 3) Opening the Limbo Gate, 4) Journey to the Other Side, 5) Dampen Light, and 6) Power Drain.
Journey to the Other Side is a one cost, as is Dampen Light and it seems like both are great early if you feel the need to play them. A Single Glimpse is a two cost that forces your opponent to sacrifice a character if able, which can be awesome if they’ve been building resources for that one big character instead of playing some low cost guys. Not likely to happen, but hey, still cool that they lose a character. Unspeakable Resurrection is an X cost, where you must drain a domain of equal or lesser value to revive a character from your discard pile and put it directly into play. Sick stuff there. Power Drain is two cost disrupt which can be used to cancel out an action or a response, also very handy.
So we notice that we’ve got some pretty useful spells here, and if we manage to play all of them before summoning Yog, we only need to pay two for the monstrous entity. Unlikely, absolutely, but the possibility is there and if you decide not to resource the Ancient One, you could be calling upon him sooner rather than later.
Son of Yeb (SoY) turns out to be a pretty fun card in this combination. He’s a cost two Yog character with one skull. I know, what’s so special about that? Well he’s a cultist, and for each cultist character in play, he gains one more combat icon. So, if I understand this right, immediately when Son of Yeb enters play he gets another combat icon, because you control one (SoY) cultist. He starts at two combat icons. And there are a total of nine cultist characters (including Yeb) in this combination! If you play your cards right you’re always going to be winning those combat struggles.
The downside is that SoY is a variable strength character. He relies on other characters to make him more powerful, and getting rid of other cultists, or heck getting rid of SoY ends that little problem right there. Luckily, Yog has two cards that can bring SoY back to the land of the living, the aforementioned Unspeakable Resurrection, and Gathering at the Stones, both of which will cost you two. Not only that but sacrificing Hastur’s Performance Artist cultist will cancel the effects of a character or support card ability, at the cost of a cultist, which further protects your Son of Yeb.
Hastur and Insanity
While Yog is a little light on terror icons here, Hastur picks up the slack in icon struggles and in just straight dropping madness on characters. Demon Lover, Victoria Glasser, and Bearer of the Yellow Sign are nice, have terror icons, and the latter two allow you to choose a character to go insane. Byakhee Servant isn’t half bad either. Messenger from Beyond, if you exhaust it, gets rid of one of an opposing character’s terror icons, allowing you to terrify characters who otherwise would have walked away with their sanity intact.
Then again, if you’re facing a deck chalk full of willpower, well you’re gonna have a bad time. Again, neither of these bad boys are huge on combat, though Agoraphobia can help get those strong willed characters out of there, forcing a character without a terror icon back into its owner’s hand. Also, quite a few Hastur cards sport arcane icons, which can help to keep you safer while committing to stories.
I really enjoy playing Yog and Hastur. I think they’re very cool factions, and from what I’ve read it seems that Hastur is probably the most powerful set of cards out right now, so pairing it with anyone is a pretty good idea. I’ve just ordered the Secrets of Arkham and Seekers of Knowledge sets, so I’m probably going to be talking about some other stuff in the near future. I REALLY want to design a solo Miskatonic deck, and that’ll probably be my next entry in the Call of Cthulhu vein. Check back soon folks!