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Subject: Are Agents worth playing? rss

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Ondrej Kocnar
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It seems to me now that Summon plot cards is too expensive in all requirements and not worth plaing in most situations.
Can I ask you for your opinions and experience?
 
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Vespino Robert
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I summoned Baron Zachareth into a quest just the other day. In Let the Truth Be Buried (Labyrinth of Ruin, Act II - in this case, the first quest of Act II) the heroes' goal is to kill all members of the open group (and then knock out Splig), so I chose the available open group with the most figures (cave spiders) and spent the 2 threat to replace the master and a minion with Baron Z. Since it was a 4 hero game, his health was 20 and his defense pool was Black Grey Grey - the heroes never even landed a single damage on him.

In retrospect, I should have summoned him into Pilgrimage, as his attacks would have made lighter work of the guardians and actually given me a shot at winning. Although, that would have been a much riskier play.

I'm definitely not going to hesitate summoning Baron Z into future quests now that I've bought the card and don't lack the threat, although his usefulness will diminish as the heroes get stronger. I think immediately after the interlude is when agents have the most value.
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alex
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rebuying the card when the agent is killed is a too much cost. If not this rules, they are usefull for sure.
 
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Alexander Einich
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If you have the Conversion Kit and use Kobolds, summoning an Agent seems worth it to me. With seven Kobolds instead of nine, you won't notice much of a difference, so it's almost like putting him into play for free (except for the cost in threat).
 
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David Hladky
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I asked the same question to me as well and I think it depends on how many players are in your group. I play with two and in this case agents are too expensive, because they replace the whole open group. With four players it may make sense. Especially if you are able to heal your monsters or have some cards, that harden your agent, i.e. Valyndra with hard scale. Your agent should survive even if the quest is a failure for you.
 
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Ondrej Kocnar
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Ispher wrote:
If you have the Conversion Kit and use Kobolds, summoning an Agent seems worth it to me. With seven Kobolds instead of nine, you won't notice much of a difference, so it's almost like putting him into play for free (except for the cost in threat).


Yeah, but Kobolds are very uncommon type of monster group.
It would be nice if Agents worked well even with very small groups.
 
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Ondrej Kocnar
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Vespinito wrote:
I summoned Baron Zachareth into a quest just the other day. In Let the Truth Be Buried (Labyrinth of Ruin, Act II - in this case, the first quest of Act II) the heroes' goal is to kill all members of the open group (and then knock out Splig), so I chose the available open group with the most figures (cave spiders) and spent the 2 threat to replace the master and a minion with Baron Z. Since it was a 4 hero game, his health was 20 and his defense pool was Black Grey Grey - the heroes never even landed a single damage on him.

In retrospect, I should have summoned him into Pilgrimage, as his attacks would have made lighter work of the guardians and actually given me a shot at winning. Although, that would have been a much riskier play.

I'm definitely not going to hesitate summoning Baron Z into future quests now that I've bought the card and don't lack the threat, although his usefulness will diminish as the heroes get stronger. I think immediately after the interlude is when agents have the most value.


But after Interlude just every monster is a challenge for heroes. Are you sure that Boron Z made it a bigger challenge for them or it would be hard for them in any case?
 
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JH
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My thinking is that you want to summon agents when there's a specific purpose for them, and only when you're prepared to lose them. They're not your bread and butter but keep them in mind as one-shot monsters that you might not use again, and plenty of uses become apparent.

Valyndra (especially with Iron-Hard Scales) and Bol'Goreth (paired with Affliction Aura), for instance, seem like they'd be useful in hampering the heroes in the reworked Castle Daerion long enough to give the OL a better chance of winning — and if summoning an agent helps ensure a win, isn't it worth it? But you don't want to summon, say, Eliza into the open group on the Sewer tile in The Dawnblade. She's just going to die and squander the threat you spent.
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Darren Nakamura
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okocnar wrote:
Ispher wrote:
If you have the Conversion Kit and use Kobolds, summoning an Agent seems worth it to me. With seven Kobolds instead of nine, you won't notice much of a difference, so it's almost like putting him into play for free (except for the cost in threat).


Yeah, but Kobolds are very uncommon type of monster group.
It would be nice if Agents worked well even with very small groups.


I think part of the design was to give another reason to use small monsters with large group limits. Goblin Archers are now more viable since they don't suffer a lot from losing a Master and a Minion, compared to, say, Ettins.
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Jeremy N
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Sarcasmorator wrote:
My thinking is that you want to summon agents when there's a specific purpose for them, and only when you're prepared to lose them.

This.

Each Agent has a clear situation to use them. That said, I do agree that some agents are utterly useless, due to their extremely low survivability.

Agents like Eliza/Merrick Farrow. While Merrick's a glass cannon and ranged, you still have to bring him close enough to land a ranged attack, by then Heroes can swarm in and take him out easily in a single turn.


Zachareth is a tank, great for surviving the "kill all monsters" missions. Belthir with Fly is great for "race to the objective" quests", and has DPS in act 2 with Cry Havoc potentially attacking all 4 heroes.
 
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Ondrej Kocnar
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Thanks for answers so far.

So did somebody find some use for Elisa or Merrick?
 
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Jeremy N
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okocnar wrote:
Thanks for answers so far.

So did somebody find some use for Elisa or Merrick?

Eliza is mainly useful for her plot deck. From what I gather, she's widely regarded to be the worst Lieutenant. She can Dark to any monster card (which is only useful in Encounters that have Dark). Mostly devious if you have the Conversion Kit, as it allows you to add some of the most powerful monsters to Dark encounters. Overall she's regarded as the worst due to her low survivability and me-centric abilities. She'd be more useful if she had the ability to transfer damage from one monster to another.


Merrick's plot deck actually is pretty useful. Mystic Might supercharge the damage dealing of any monster (+2 dmg after dice are rolled), to land that killing blow to a Hero. And it synergizes incredibly well with the Magnus deck upgrades (underrated deck, IMO). Thaumaturgy lets you search for Unholy Ritual on Turn 1, when its most useful, and basically draw half your deck (unfortunately only keeping 2....). And using Masques to cancel an entire hero attack can be devastating in undoing the most carefully laid hero plans.

And Act 2 4-player Merrick is fairly survivable. But his other 1-gray versions most certainly are not. As heroes it's pretty easy to kill something with 1 gray / 12 health after 2-4 attacks with the damage dealers (Runemaster + Knight/Berserker).
 
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JH
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Even Eliza (the 4-hero version) is a definite improvement over a master goblin archer, cave spider, zombie, barghest or flesh moulder, if you have the threat to spare and she has a purpose (and she has lots of ways to regain health, if you can keep the good guys from ganging up on her). If I was using her deck I might have her replace a master kobold or fire imp — plenty of the normal monsters left, plus an agent with much more health and unique abilities.

You can't add non-Dark monsters to Dark encounters, though. You select monster groups during setup, and Night's Embrace is activated after setup. It's solely for the purpose of enabling non-Dark monsters to benefit from her plot cards that key off the Dark trait.
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Zachary Mott
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Sarcasmorator wrote:
My thinking is that you want to summon agents when there's a specific purpose for them, and only when you're prepared to lose them. They're not your bread and butter but keep them in mind as one-shot monsters that you might not use again, and plenty of uses become apparent.


Yep. Summoning an agent is a carefully considered tactical choice. Because you have to repurchase the plot card if the agent dies, your heroes will almost certainly try to single out and defeat your agent. In my last campaign, I summoned Zachareth exactly once, and I basically sacrificed him to win the quest. It was worth it.

In my current campaign, I have have absolutely no intention of summoning Eliza ever -- her plot cards, on the other hand, are generally cheap to purchase and trigger, so I'll be trying to use The Taste of Suffering/Nighttime Hunt/Scent of Blood to turn Shadow Dragons into unstoppable killing machines.

Vespinito wrote:
In retrospect, I should have summoned him into Pilgrimage, as his attacks would have made lighter work of the guardians and actually given me a shot at winning. Although, that would have been a much riskier play.


If you read the lieutenant pack rules carefully, they state that you can't summon an Agent into an Interlude or Finale. It's kind of a bummer.
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JH
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I wonder if, given the right quest, Eliza might work as a distraction or a lure (given her skill set, that's apropos). A strategy based on goading the heroes into wasting actions killing an agent you don't care about keeping while they let the quest goal get away from them might be fun, if not reliable.

Guess I kind of want to figure out some use for the Eliza agent herself, because she's definitely the weakest of the lot.
 
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Jeremy N
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Sarcasmorator wrote:
Even Eliza (the 4-hero version) is a definite improvement over a master goblin archer, cave spider, zombie, barghest or flesh moulder, if you have the threat to spare


That is the main crux.


Killing Eliza sets the overlord back by 5 threat (you have to re-buy the card).

If the OL spends XP on threat, the heroes can easily set the OL back a lot by killing the Agent. Killing the Agent would be a quest secondary goal for me, as it is easy to kill Eliza and gives the Heroes an advantage for the rest of the game. That's the problem.

And the Eliza plot deck has no Threat-gaining mechanism, other than the standard methods of downing Heroes or winning quests.


Sarcasmorator wrote:
A strategy based on goading the heroes into wasting actions killing an agent you don't care about keeping while they let the quest goal get away from them might be fun, if not reliable.

I wouldn't let it become an obsession to kill the Agent.

But as Heroes if it were deemed safe I'd probably prolong the quest and not finish it just because it's so damaging to the OL. For example, on escort missions, stop 1 space short of the edge and go send a guy to kill her.

Eliza can be downed in 2 attacks by virtually any Runemaster/Knight. 4 damage isn't hard with a plethora of surge abilities or upgraded weapons.
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Zachary Mott
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Sarcasmorator wrote:
I wonder if, given the right quest, Eliza might work as a distraction or a lure (given her skill set, that's apropos). A strategy based on goading the heroes into wasting actions killing an agent you don't care about keeping while they let the quest goal get away from them might be fun, if not reliable.

Guess I kind of want to figure out some use for the Eliza agent herself, because she's definitely the weakest of the lot.


Her allure ability is pretty money for busting up blockades, so she's good on pretty much any quest where the heroes have to stop the Overlord from getting somewhere. I can attest that seduce won Masquerade Ball for me the last time I played it. Why you'd spend 5 threat to use her agent when you might conceivably pick Plague Worms is beyond me, though.

As for her other abilities, I think Blood Call and Sacrifice are useless because her Health is too low -- I never get a chance to heal her because she dies too damn quick. A cool, interesting, and useful twist on those abilities might happen if she could use them to gain temporary hit points, but that's a topic for the variant fora.

And then there's wail, which is just a more powerful version of Howl. There's an idea, actually. What if you summoned her into a group of Barghests, and used their 2x1 footprint to keep her safe from line of sight and melee attacks, and then just wailed and howled all the time? You could probably buy yourself a turn or two, since the heroes would have to engage Eliza and her Barghests or spend too much time resting.
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Zachary Mott
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jnad83 wrote:
And the Eliza plot deck has no Threat-gaining mechanism, other than the standard methods of downing Heroes or winning quests.


True, but she's also got probably the cheapest plot cards to purchase and trigger. The most expensive purchase price is three threat, and the most expensive trigger cost (excepting Summon - Eliza) is one threat. My Endless Thirst campaign is two quests in (First Blood + Masquerade Ball) and I've already racked up 11 threat (1 from completing First Blood, 2 for winning Masquerade Ball, 2 for playing rumor cards, and 6 from defeating each hero twice). As long as you play for it, I don't think you'll have trouble with threat using her deck.
 
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JH
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Another thought on Eliza: She's very fast. Might be suited to snagging objectives that need to be taken off the map and just hightailing it. She doesn't have that much extra health compared to a regular monster, but maybe enough to make a difference. And if she leaves the map, she's safe!

Plus the idea of a vampiress furiously running off to gather crops is amusing. Probably not worth the threat in that quest, though.
 
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David Hladky
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If you mean the Fat Goblin encounter 1, I do not think she can be used to gather the crops. But it is amusing idea indeed. Also she does not count as a master monster even if she replaces one (goblin archers will not fight properly near her, unless there is any other master monster near).
 
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Ondrej Kocnar
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mrakomor wrote:
If you mean the Fat Goblin encounter 1, I do not think she can be used to gather the crops. But it is amusing idea indeed. Also she does not count as a master monster even if she replaces one (goblin archers will not fight properly near her, unless there is any other master monster near).


Is it true? I thought that she does count as a master monster.
 
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JH
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You're right, only the archers can gather crops. So much for that idea. But agents are treated as masters, per the rulesheet. She couldn't replace a goblin in any case, since they're not an open group.
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Jeremy N
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Sarcasmorator wrote:
You're right, only the archers can gather crops. So much for that idea. But agents are treated as masters, per the rulesheet. She couldn't replace a goblin in any case, since they're not an open group.


I think this might need to be asked to FFG.

The rules say:
Quote:
An agent is treated as a master monster within its open monster group with the following exceptions:



So does that mean the Agent is a Goblin Archer and can participate in picking up plot tokens? This affects other quests too....
 
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I think she would be treated as a master goblin if she was in that group, but for A Fat Goblin that's academic — an agent can only be summoned into an open group, and the goblin archers aren't an open group. So, in quests where a particular, set monster type has to do something, an agent can't do it for them. But if ANY monster can do something, and you summon an agent, then they can act as a normal monster in their group would.
 
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Jeremy N
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Sarcasmorator wrote:
I think she would be treated as a master goblin if she was in that group, but for A Fat Goblin that's academic — an agent can only be summoned into an open group, and the goblin archers aren't an open group. So, in quests where a particular, set monster type has to do something, an agent can't do it for them. But if ANY monster can do something, and you summon an agent, then they can act as a normal monster in their group would.


You are correct, I forgot the open group restriction.

Though FFG ruled Splig can pick up prisoners since he's a Goblin, if you had the Goblin Witchers from Labyrinth of Ruin could they pick up the prisoners? If so then could a substituted Agent pick them up?
 
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