Of all the factions in the Call of Cthulhu LCG, the varsity jackets and tweed coats of the Miskatonic University’s esteemed student body, faculty, and staff have always always appealed to me most. Maybe that’s because I myself am currently a part of the higher education machine, finishing my Masters in Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing here at Michigan State University. Hey… MSU, MU?
Anyway, there’s just something about the crew that really gets me excited. If I had to put my finger on it I think it’s because they don’t really seem formidable. I’ve met my fair share of frail, look like they’d get knocked over by a sneeze from the back of the room, but their minds, that’s where it counts. Miskatonic, they don’t have any horrifying monsters in their corner, they scare easily, they’re not big on the fisticuffs, but man do they have gumption. They’re inquisitive, scrappy, and they don’t know when to quit.
Ever since I busted open the CoC core set I’ve wanted to play solo, or mono, Miskatonic. At first I teamed them up with Hastur, you know, cause they need the terror icons, but I just picked up Seekers of Knowledge and that expansion really changed my outlook on MU. I’ve realized that the academics have their own cool ways to combat the terror struggle that can result in success token combos. Case in point, the Ghost Hunter and Catacombs Docent trigger each other for a couple of success tokes. Awww yeahhh.
The Age of Exploration
Seekers of Knowledge added what is now my favorite class of character: the Explorer. The synergy between these five characters is really compelling, and it’s something that I’d would love to try to build a deck around.
The main card behind the Age of Explorers is the rugged Arctic Ethnologist, who is an absolute beast in a solo MU deck. He’s a cost 2 Explorer/Scientist who enters play with 1 Arcane and Investigation and 2 skill. Relatively blasé to start, but if you’re running a solo MU deck and there are other Explorer cards on the table? Well get ready for awesome! If you control only MU cards he gets a combat icon, and if you control other Explorer cards, they get an extra arcane icon. AWESOME buffs for a cost 2 character.
And while there are only five Explorers right now, they all give awesome additional benefits. Brette Wulffsen? She costs 3, has 1 x combat/investigation, and gives all Explorer cards Toughness +1. Now our Arctic Ethnologist has just become a two 2 tank! Not only that, but while she is in play and one Explorer is committed to a story you choose the way the icon struggles are decided. There’s definitely some synergy here.
Then we get to Matthew Alexander, who honestly may be my absolute favorite Explorer yet. The guy costs 3, has 1 combat/arcane/investigation gives Explorer characters +1 skill, and essentially you should never, ever has to pay his full cost. Why? Because whenever a character leaves play from a card effect, and you control an MU card (solo Miskatonic though so duh), you can put him into play from your hand. You don’t have to call him back at the end of the phase, nothing. He’s out there, boosting your Explorers and doing work.
What’s even more awesome? If you have a copy of him in your hand and a copy of him on the table and he’s targeted by a card effect that would bounce him back to the hand/destroy/sacrifice him? Play him from your hand! You can also do it whenever one of your opponent’s characters enters or leaves play from a card effect, I’m looking at you Yog-Sothoth.
The final Explorer here is Roald Ellsworth, who again is beastly. He costs 3, has 1 arcane/investigation, but once he’s in play all Explorer characters gain Willpower. That means all your rough and tumble Explorers are getting immunity to insanity, booyah! Wait, hold onto your butts, there’s more! Whenever an Explorer card would leave play, you can either draw two cards, or put 1 card from your discard pile into your hand. The fact that it doesn’t say destroyed or something that Roald and Infirmary still nets you cards! Oh my gosh, can you imagine the card draw you could potentially get from this and Ultima Thule?
There are some seriously awesome card draw combos built into Seekers of Knowledge, and the Explorers can really take advantage of this. If you don’t draw any Explorers though… Meh, we’ll worry about that when we come to it. Alternative Historian costs 1, 0 icons, 2 skill, but allows you to draw one card. College Prospect is a 0 cost, 0 icon, 1 skill character built for rushing, and upon his inevitable demise, you get to draw 2 cards. And aside from those two weenies, the Explorers themselves have some fun card draw skillz.
Let’s present an admittedly ridiculous situation (or maybe not) where you’ve got Catacombs Docent, Ghost Hunter, Roald Ellsworth, Atlantis, and the A Voros Hal’l prophecy card out when your opponent kills off an Arctic Ethnologist.
Well first let’s drive the Ghost Hunter insane to net us one success token, and because we sent the Ghost Hunter screwy we can drive Catacombs Docent insane as well, bringing in another success token. So that’s two success tokens off of one dead character, but wait, there’s more! Because Arctic Ethnologist is an Explorer, Roald’s Disrupt triggers and allows us to either draw 2 cards, or pull 1 from our discard. Then A Voros Hal’l Jon triggers because of our dead Ethnologist and you get to draw any 2 cards from your deck. Finally, Atlantis triggers off A Voros Hal’l allowing us to draw another card.
WHEW! So what’s the final score after Arctic Ethnologist bites it? We get 2 success tokens on any story(ies) we want (that have 3 or less success tokens already) and a 5 card draw. This is some very cool stuff here and I really want to try and optimize the deck I’m working with to include more of this stuff, specifically to include Dr. Mya Badry, who would have taken the place of our dearly deceased polar ethnologist in the previous example and helped us pick up more success tokens. And then if you have Matthew Alexander in hand when you throw down the good doctor, you can play him too!
Basically I wanted to talk a little about the potential I see in the Explorers of Call of Cthulhu. I need to get in a few more games with these guys, and grab a few more select asylum packs, but hey, I’m having a blast thus far. Check back in the near future and I’ll have something else for you to consume. PEACE!