Kim Lindblom
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The ranged monster group Sorcerer itself isn't that impressive combat wise, lower than average health, no surge abilities, although the sorcery 2/3 is a nice boon to damage. However, the Master Sorcerer has the pretty unique ability "Death Wish"

Death Wish: When this master monster would be defeated, the overlord may choose 1 minion monster of the same group to be defeated instead. If he does, this master monster recovers all Heart.

Advantages

The things worth noticing here is that Death Wish has no maximum range, minion sorcerers can be on the other side of the map when they get sacrificed to save the master.

Furthermore, the master never actually dies or gets replaced, which is usually the case of many monster "resurrect" mechanics in Descent. This means any buffs that has been given to the master will remain.

Lastly, the master has 5 health, and whenever a minion dies in his place he gets fully healed. While the minion's health of 3 is pretty poor, if the heroes intend to destroy the monster group though only the master (say, if the Overlord has moved the minions far away), then it's like trying to fight down a group of monsters who have 5 health each. Even better if you are reinforcing them on the other side of the map.

Disadvantages

Any condition inflicted upon the master will stick around, even if he "dies", since his ability ensures that particular master never actually dies.

Synergies

Blood Rage: Play this card at the end of your turn and choose a monster. That monster immediately performs 2 attack actions, and is then defeated.

The synergy here is pretty obvious. You get to unleash two attacks with sorcery 3 against the unsuspecting heroes, and then when the master is "defeated" you can simply pick a poor minion to die instead. Your master also gets fully healed.

Ward Of Peace: Play this card on 1 monster group during your turn and keep it in your play area. Discard all conditions from this monster group. Each monster in this group is immune to all conditions. Discard this card if a monster in this group spends a surge result during an attack.

If heroes are very condition heavy, this can be a very nice card. Since the Master Sorcerer doesn't spend surges, it's pretty much gonna last forever.

Reinforce: Play this card at the end of your turn and choose a master monster on the map. Place minion monsters of that monster’s group in empty spaces adjacent to that monster, up to the group limit.

The usefulness of this card was severely lowered after the FAQ changed the mechanic, but it can still be pretty useful for us if we are going the extra mile with our Master Sorcerer combo. Playing this card on the Master Sorcerer while he is still alive is limited in use, as the minions would appear right next to him and the players could pick off those low health minions without much trouble.

The more useful situation is actually after your Master Sorcerer has died, and you can reinforce him. Simply reinforce the master, and at the end of your turn, play the reinforce card to get all his helpful minions into play on the same turn. Provided that the heroes aren't standing right next to your reinforcement entrance/exit, you can get this group back on it's feet.

Blood Rage is always worthwhile getting, it has synergy with many things in the game, and gives you the utility of being able to kill monsters on command for when a quest has some rules that depend on monsters dying or being dead.

Ward Of Peace is a lifesaver if the heroes are using nasty conditions like Weakened and Doom on you. It's a very reactionary pick though, not worthwhile unless the heroes actually start using conditions against you.

Reinforce is fun, but not very effective for it's cost. I would recommend against it unless you already are pretty committed to the Warlord class, or know you will face some quests that highly benefit from the instant minions.


Plot Deck Twisted Soul - What Doesn't Kill: Exhaust this card when a monster suffers 1 or more hearts. If that monster was not defeated, it recovers 1 heart. Mark that monster with a threat token from the supply. Each marked monster adds 1 brown die to its defense pool.

Plot Deck Twisted Soul - Thick Scars: Exhaust this card at the start of your turn. While this card is exhausted, each monster marked with a threat token applies +2 to its health. This card does not refresh as normal. Refresh this card at the end of each quest.

Plot Deck Twisted Soul - Bitter Rage: Exhaust this card at the start of your turn. While this card is exhausted, each time a monster marked with a threat token performs an attack, that attack gains +2 hearts. This card does not refresh as normal. Refresh this card at the end of each quest.

This is a bit threat costy, but very worthwhile. Once you have marked the Master Sorcerer with "What Doesn't Kill" and activated the two other cards, your Master Sorcerer will have 7 health, and a gray and brown die in defense. And since "Death Wish" fully heals him without killing him, he retains the threat token and his buffed health and defense; The heroes have to hack down this upgraded monster every time until every minion is dead.

He will also deal 2 additional damage, which means that along with his Sorcery he will more often than not have +5 free damage with his attacks. This is especially juicy when you start playing the Blood Rage card, or just plain old Frenzy.

Twisted Soul gives you a lot of bang for the buck. For just 3 threat, you have created quite a predicament for the heroes to deal with. A nice thing about this plot deck is that the effects are incremental, you don't have to get the bonus damage if you don't want to (or don't have the threat to pay for it). Additionally, should your entire monster group die, it only costs 1 threat to get back in action, as the other two cards are still in play.

Plot Deck Unstable Forces - Power And Sacrifice: Exhaust this when a master monster performs an attack, before dice are rolled. That monster may suffer up to 2 hearts. If it does, that attack deals additional hearts equal to the hearts suffered. That monster cannot do this if suffering the hearts would defeat it.

More damage is always nice, and it's especially nice for our Master Sorcerer, since if we use this twice to it's full effect, he is left at 1 health, which means the heroes have to waste an entire attack just to do that one damage, so that a minion can die and the Master Sorcerer is fully healed.

Plot Deck Unstable Forces - Mortal Coil: Exhaust this card when a master monster is defeated to play 1 fatigue token in it's place. At the start of your next turn, replace the fatigue token with a master monster in the same group as the defeated monster, respecting group limits.

Should the heroes overly commit to defeating your Master Sorcerer, maybe they decide that the only way to get rid of him is to all gang up on him and beat him down until there are no minions left. If that happens, you can simply decide to invoke Mortal Coil instead of Death Wish on the master, leaving a fatigue token and some helpless heroes kicking a can. They can either wait around until the next turn, giving you time to do the quest objective, or move on, leaving your Master Sorcerer to rise from the ashes and continue his dirty work.

Unstable Forces isn't quite as powerful as Twisted Soul, but the advantage here is that Power And Sacrifice doesn't cost threat, meaning you can use this as a sort of minimalistic free boost to the group, giving you a boost without committing your threat tokens.

Plot Deck The Fallen Elite - Dark Champions: Exhaust this card after setup of an encounter. While this card is exhausted, each master monster gains +2 Health and adds 1 additional brown die to it's defense pool. Each of it's attacks gains "Surge: +2 damage". This card does not refresh as normal. Refresh this card at the end of each encounter.

Just like the Twisted Soul plot deck combo, this gives your master exactly the sort of upgrade he needs. More health, more defense, and something to spend those surges on. Unlike Twisted Soul though, this effect doesn't disappear if the Master Monster dies, but it's still nice to keep him alive to keep doing that damage.

Plot Deck The Fallen Elite - Refuse To Die: Exhaust this card at the start of your turn to choose a monster. Place a threat token on that mosnter's base as a reminder. While this card is exhausted, the chosen monster applies +2 to its Health. The monster also recovers 2 health at the start of each overlord turn. This card is not refresh as normal. It refreshes when the chosen monster is defeated or at the end of the encounter.

This is where things get crazy. If you combine this and Dark Champions (pretty expensive in threat), you have 9 health on your Master Sorcerer, a gray and brown defense die, and you recover 2 health every turn. Even if you roll blank on every armor dice, and the heroes never waste any "spill damage", you still have 9 + 9 * 3 = 36 health they need to work though.

Plot Deck The Fallen Elite - Vengeful Resolve: After each setup of each encounter, chose a monster group of small monsters and place this card near the chosen group's monster card. Exhaust the card at the end of your turn. While the card is exhausted, each time a hero performs an attack that deals at least 1 heart to a monster of that group, this hero suffers 1 heart.

With the above effects, the heroes have so much health to go though. So there are a lot of chances of returning damage with this!

Plot Deck The Fallen Elite - Knight Training: After setup of each encounter, choose a monster group of small monsters and place this card near the chosen group's monster card. Exhaust this card when a monster of the chosen group is attacked, after dice are rolled, to reroll 1 defense dice. While this card is exhausted, each time a monster of that group is attacked, after dice are rolled, you may reroll 1 defense die.

Need I explain why this is awesome combined with the other things?

The Fallen Elite is by far the strongest plot deck for the Sorcerer, but also the most costy. There is such a thing as too many buffs, because at some point the heroes might decide that attacking the Master Sorcerer is simply not worth it, and that they should just ignore him and run ahead. It's highly quest dependent, but be careful you don't commit a lot of threat to create a big scary monster if it doesn't actually end up helping you that much. A 1x1 monster cannot block the entire party, so you need to be on the lookout for situations where the heroes feel compelled to attack him (maybe they need to guard some NPC that you can attack with your Master?)
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It seems a bit odd that you focus on Death Wish, which is a pretty unimpressive ability. (Although I do like the Death Wish/Reinforce combo you point out.) If the Master was actually significantly stronger, that would be one thing - but the only difference between a master and minion in either act is +1 to sorcery. No heroes with even fractionally working brains are going to waste time pounding on the master while minions are just as dangerous and much easier to kill.

IMO Sorcerers are worth playing because their first ability - Summon - is almost unique in the game, and gives the overlord a massive advantage in boards where there's any kind of race condition. Being able to move a monster carrying a victory condition halfway across the board in one turn is usually a game winner.
 
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Charmy 004
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Death Wish is actually very impressive. It's even better than the sorcs' original ability of Undying, as in a way as the OP stated it can make your group of sorcs essentially a bunch of masters. And sorcery 3 is VERY good damage at close range. You're essentially hitting like a master ettin without using a surge!!

And yes, obviously heroes will gun for your minion sorcs. But as the OP pointed out, keep your minions safe. Keep them back. Use sorcery to take some pot shots from long range. If the heroes ignore the master then you can make them suffer for it. If you buff the master with enchanter cards, it's even worse for them.

Really nice post. Definitely agree. I've always loved sorcs since I first got the CK versions, and these ideas make me like them even more :-)

Here is another combo: use the master sorc to summon Ravens with call of the Ravens. Essentially you're getting even more hard hitting critters right in the thick of things and only hurting your master who will heal up if killed anyway. Later, in Act II your minion sorcs can survive a raven summon and then be sacrificed to Death Wish later for completely free ravens!
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Charmy wrote:
Death Wish is actually very impressive. It's even better than the sorcs' original ability of Undying, as in a way as the OP stated it can make your group of sorcs essentially a bunch of masters. And sorcery 3 is VERY good damage at close range. You're essentially hitting like a master ettin without using a surge!!

And yes, obviously heroes will gun for your minion sorcs. But as the OP pointed out, keep your minions safe. Keep them back. Use sorcery to take some pot shots from long range. If the heroes ignore the master then you can make them suffer for it. If you buff the master with enchanter cards, it's even worse for them.


I honestly don't understand how people can think this. This is literally a best case scenario, and it assumes the heroes let your minions sit safely in the corner, group up around the master, and just sit there. Now don't get me wrong - in that scenario, the Master essentially becomes a 20 HP monster, rolling BY and getting a decent +damage on all attacks - not bad at all. (actually way better, because the heroes will waste a lot of damage - if they do 4 and 4, they've wasted 3 damage.) (Also remember that even in melee range, the Sorc needs to have at least 1 range - so that it's not a flat +3 to all attacks, even if you're right next to the heroes.)

Using Sorcery 2 to poke heroes at long range is not really viable, though - the most damage BY rolls is 3 and the sorcs have no surge abilities. BY vs. Grey defense does less than 1 damage on average - that means if you have to spend even 1 point on sorcery your average damage will be below zero.

But more importantly, you have to count on the heroes to follow your plan and pound away at your Master - which is kind of a dumb plan for them. Instead, they're probably going to take a hit or two, run past him, and complete the mission - while the rest of your models are way out of position because you wanted to keep them safe. A 4-movement, 1x1 monster - even if he is a moderately heavy hitter - isn't going to have a ton of impact on the game. And if the heroes can immobilize him (for instance), they've essentially just wiped out an entire group with one status effect.


Charmy wrote:
Here is another combo: use the master sorc to summon Ravens with call of the Ravens. Essentially you're getting even more hard hitting critters right in the thick of things and only hurting your master who will heal up if killed anyway. Later, in Act II your minion sorcs can survive a raven summon and then be sacrificed to Death Wish later for completely free ravens!


Depends - don't think of them as hit points, think of them as hero actions. If the heroes are doing 4 points of damage per hit, this doesn't help at all; you're getting a monster who the heroes will kill in one action, and in return giving them one action worth of damage on a different monster. OTOH, if they're at the point (in act 1, for instance) where they're 1-shotting the master, then yes, you're getting a free raven.

Looking at it that way also tells you a lot about how generally good this "death wish" strategy will be. Your hope, from the strategy you're laying out, is that the heroes are doing 3-4 damage per hit - so each minion sorc would die in one action, but they're soaking up two actions worth of damage. But if the heroes can 1-shot the master, this plan becomes even worse. You're hiding minions (IE making them worthless, wasting their attacks) in exchange for essentially nothing. One attack would kill one minion; it also kills the master, which kills one minion. You're trading your minions for one or two attacks with +1 point of sorcery. Not that exciting.

All in all, I think you guys are trying to jump through a lot of hoops to do something that - in the end - is not super strong, and is easily avoidable by the heroes. I'll stand by what I said before - I think the sorcerers are an amazing monster choice, but it's all about Summon.
 
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Kim Lindblom
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amoshias wrote:
All in all, I think you guys are trying to jump through a lot of hoops to do something that - in the end - is not super strong, and is easily avoidable by the heroes. I'll stand by what I said before - I think the sorcerers are an amazing monster choice, but it's all about Summon.


I don't think we disagree as much as you think. The Sorcerer like all monsters is situational. My post wasn't meant to be "this is the best combo use it every time", but rather, just to show that there is more to Sorcerer than the very awesome Summon ability, and that he benefits more than most from various overlord and plot card buffs.

And in a few quests, you might be able to force the heroes to deal with your buffed Master Sorcerer while your minion sorcerers are on the other side of the map. Some quests feature things the player cannot ignore (such as protecting an NPC) and some quests have really big map layouts, allowing you to have your minion sorcerers safely far away, perhaps using their Summon ability for great advantage to bring your other monsters to the front line (or to complete some mission objective).
 
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Rafal Areinu
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Sure, it's obvious heroes will want to kill minions first. That means they probably won't have enough attacks to kill master. And then minions will reinforce at the entrance and heroes will still be in the middle of the stage. Impossible to kill them now, without going back for 2 turns. This means they are stuck with master which is in center of the fight healing fully every turn. This is in situation where you completely can't avoid your minions getting killed, so pretty much the worst case scenario. Obviously you could use AOE effects, but if you kill master faster than minions then he still can sacrifice them!
 
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I think we disagree more than you think, Kim :-) Because even if all these incredibly situational, unlikely things work out perfectly for you, all you have is a single, moderately hard-hitting monster who cannot block anything and will have little to no impact on the game situation. It is a cute combo, and it is interesting to think about, but in the end even your best-case scenario requires the heroes to be absolute idiots in order for your "super sorcerer" to have any significant game impact.

Think about it this way. Let's say you could decide to give up an open group for a free attack on the heroes at the end of every turn that did BY+3. That's VASTLY better than this "sorcerer combo". Yet most of the time, the overlord would be a fool to do it unless he was tired of winning games. This isn't Warhammer - it's not about building an invulnerable minion. It's about completing objectives, and by giving up an entire group in return for one hit per turn, in virtually every scenario you're just giving up the game.

And remember, the "super master" isn't going to do even a FRACTION of what a free BY+3 hit per turn would do. This combo is cute to think about and a fun thought experiment, but against real players will only lose you games.
 
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Rafal Areinu
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That's funny, because sorcerers, even with Undying ability which was worse, won me many games with real players. And good ones at that. The only important thing is to use that cute combo when it will really sting.

For example in quests where monsters pick up tokens and heroes need to knock down those monsters to reclaim tokens... Well, it's not easy to get rid of 20+HP monster, that probably is blocked off by another group.

Why would you give up an open group to get gain from Death Wish? On contrary, you get safe monster in the middle of the action that can't be gotten rid off unless heroes focus a lot of resources. The minions are still free to complete objectives. They are not frozen, unable to act or anything. Yes, you would be a fool to choose Sorcerers in order to block a corridor, but for every monster there are situations that only a fool would choose them.

I don't know what abstract math you use to count that BY+3 is that much worse than BY+~2.5(assuming both can miss). But regardless of that math free BY+3 attack can't Frenzy or Dash, while super master can Dash to complete objectives. Can hurt twice when it will really hurt. Can't block alone, but can help others block. Can summon minions into blocking position that otherwise wouldn't be able to get there. Can summon minions to make them move a bit faster while completing objectives.

Also, even if super master was doing 0,01 damage per round on average it would still be a fraction of what BY+3 does.
 
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Hey, Rafel - I'm not really sure what you're arguing, but I think you might be misunderstanding what I said. Can you put quotes in?
 
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Kim Lindblom
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But as you said earlier:

amoshias wrote:
IMO Sorcerers are worth playing because their first ability - Summon - is almost unique in the game, and gives the overlord a massive advantage in boards where there's any kind of race condition. Being able to move a monster carrying a victory condition halfway across the board in one turn is usually a game winner.


Nothing prevents you from using the Summon ability to gain a good advantage towards the mission objective, while the Master Summoner is fighting the heroes (preferably with some other monsters to back him up).

I realize my first post is blasting the wonders of Death Wish, but I didn't intend to present it as an end-all wonder combo that will win you the game. I totally understand the folly of attempting cute "all the stars are aligned" combos that can crash and burn with a single unlucky roll or misstep.

But I think you are going in the opposite direction too far. You almost seem to be saying that all the Sorcerers should do is use their Summon ability to propel some important monster forward, and then just go die in a corner because that's all they are useful for. In my opinion, Death Wish gives you a pretty great opportunity to send out the Master on his own to give the heroes some pain. Perhaps together with one of those annoying zombie groups that the quest forces you to take.
 
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Joel Tamburo
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Picture Rune Golems with this capability.....
 
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