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Subject: Monster Roundup rss

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Jeremy Lennert
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A given game of Thunderstone uses only a subset of all the possible monsters, and monsters in different categories can have significantly different stats and abilities. This is interesting, but it also means that players need a certain familiarity with the monsters if they're to plan ahead and build a deck capable of overcoming the challenges they present...and it's not like you can look at monster cards still in the dungeon deck while you're playing.

So this thread lists stats and noteworthy abilities of monsters by category, so players can prepare for the challenges ahead. I'll also inject some commentary regarding the best way to handle various monsters, but take that for what it is--the opinion of one guy with relatively little play experience. Further comments are welcome.


Note: Each category contains 10 cards and 5 unique monsters (1-3 copies of each). XP and VP listed for a category is the total of all cards (for an average, just move the decimal point). Remember that players can also get VP from level 3 heroes and 3 from the Thunderstone, and not every monster will necessarily be defeated by the end of the game.


ABYSSAL - 18 XP, 41 VP
3 diseases, 3 monsters where you want magic (any amount), 2 monsters where you want edged weapons, 3 monsters that destroy clerics, 1 breach effect

The Archduke of Pain (8vp) is possibly the most notable monster in the entire game, due having a breach effect (destroys 2 heroes from each village supply pile) and destroying all clerics and wizards in hand when you fight him (he also requires magic to kill). The other high-value monsters are the two Tormentors (6vp), which destroy one cleric and halve your attack without an edged weapon. Other monsters range from 2-4 VP, making this one of the higher-value monster sets overall.


DOOMKNIGHT*HUMANOID - 18 XP, 40 VP
8 points of light penalty, 6 monsters that weaken heroes, 4 monsters that destroy fighters

You want a lot of light and few good heroes (rather than a lot of weak ones) when fighting Doomknights...and preferably not fighters. Monsters can reduce the strength of all heroes, reduce the attack of all heroes, and prevent unarmed heroes from attacking. Cards distributed evenly over the 2-6 VP range (another high-VP set).


DRAGON - 23 XP, 47 VP
3 destroy weapons, 2 destroy militia, 4 destroy any hero, 2 where you want magic, 1 immune to magic, 5 trophies, 2 breach effects

Highest XP and VP totals of any deck; the weakest dragon awards 2xp and 3vp. Dragons aren't hard to fight except for their high health (7-11), and you can use them to dispose of daggers and militia you don't want, but many of them may cost you cards you care about if you don't have a bad card of the right type when you fight them. The breach effects are both the same: each player discards 2 cards.


ENCHANTED - 14 XP, 27 VP
6 trophies, 3 puzzle monsters

Enchanted is one of the lower-value decks, with only 3 cards above 2 VP. Over half the monsters add attack power when used as trophies, and the two Nixies are notable for being the only cards in the game with a gold value of 4 (and yet still may not be worth the trouble of killing at 1xp/1vp). Three cards are really weird, though: there are two Blink Dogs (2vp), which inflict -1 light and can't be attacked at all unless you can negate the entire light penalty, and one Sphinx (7vp), which is only affected by magic attacks, and gives a nice beneficial effect when you fight it even if you don't win (reveal 6 cards from your deck, destroy any you want, discard the rest). The Blink Dogs don't seem to be worth adjusting your deck for, since the points are so low, but it might actually be worth devising a way to amass a large magic attack (you'll need 8) to kill the Sphinx if you get the chance. If you can't kill the Sphinx, consider fighting it for the battle effect (and to stop someone else from getting 7 VP).


HUMANOID - 14 XP, 26 VP
2 diseases, 2 monsters weak to weapons

Humanoid is really simple, and the lowest-value monster set in the game (though it has a larger number of cards worth 3+ VP than Enchanted, despite a lower VP total). Nothing has more than 7 health or any kind of special defense, and two cards actually increase the attack power of your weapons while you're fighting them (but not when used as trophies). The two Bloodskull Orcs are notable for being the only monsters in the game worth zero victory points, and being strictly worse than Nixies from the Enchanted set (identical except for lower gold and VP). I'm...really unclear why the designers thought that was a good idea. The two highest-VP cards (5vp) inflicts diseases, but the 4vp and 3vp cards don't.


OOZE - 18 XP, 30 VP
2 destroy food, 2 destroy weapons, 2 destroy militia, 2 destroy a hero if no weapon attached, 2 immune to edged weapons & half from magic, 2 spoils (food), 2 trophies (light)

The Oozes to look out for are the two Noxious Slags (6vp), the only Ooze cards worth more than 3vp. They have only moderate health (7) but are immune to edged weapons and cut your magic attack in half, which may make them very hard to kill depending on your deck composition. The rest of the Oozes are worth 2-3 vp, and all have the ability to destroy a card, which may make them rather valuable despite the low point values (since fighting them often doesn't increase your deck size). Remember that destroying a weak card from your deck is usually a good thing.


UNDEAD*DOOM - 14 XP, 30 VP
9 diseases, 2 destroy spells, 2 reduce heroes' strength by 2

By far the most disease-ridden monster set, fighting Undead*Doom monsters makes clerics (with their disease-destroying abilities) a lot more appealing than usual, but there's not much else to watch out for. The notable monster is the Lord of Death (7vp), with 9 health the ability to inflict two diseases at once; the rest of the monsters range evenly from 1 to 4 VPs each. And yes, the ones that destroy spells instead of inflicting diseases are the weakest and least valuable (1xp/1vp).


UNDEAD*SPIRIT - 14 XP, 36 VP
4 destroy militia, 2 destroy heroes with low strength, 3 where you want magic (any amount), 4 that weaken heroes, 2 where one hero can't attack

Undead*Spirit monsters are spread nicely from 2 to 5 VPs, but the 5 VP monsters (two Revenants) are rather nasty for their value, reducing the strength of all heroes by 4 and then destroying any heroes reduced to 0 strength or less (they also require a magic attack). The two Haunts (2vp) are also kind of puzzle monsters, stopping one hero from attacking, but at 2 VPs each, it's probably not worth worrying if you can't kill them. The other monsters are fairly unremarkable, apart from being a good way of removing militia from your deck.



Victory Points

The average monster is worth a little under 3.5 victory points, so I'd suggest as a rule of thumb that anything worth 4 or more is "important" and anything worth 2 or less is "minor". You may need to adjust this depending on the monster sets being used.


Gold Value

All monsters generate gold when drawn in your hand; most give 1 or 2. The ones that give 3 gold are the Archduke of Pain (Abyssal), the weaker five Dragons, and the two Bloodskull Orcs (Humanoid). The two Nixies (Enchanted) are worth 4 gold apiece.

All Doomknights, and all Oozes other than the Red Jelly, give only 1 gold, so you may need to adjust your economy to compensate when playing with them.


Attack Thresholds
I was wondering what sort of attack power you typically need to muster in order to justify a trip to the dungeon. This gets a little complicated, what with light penalties and monsters that reduce strength and so forth, but most of the really specific ones are rare powerful monsters, so I figured I could at least get some vaguely useful results by equating 1 light = 2 attack (true when your total light is small) and making rough estimates for some others. I'll also assume you're fighting at rank 1; each further rank requires either another light or another 2 attack, naturally.

In my estimation, there are only 8 monsters you can reasonably expect to kill in rank 1 with 5-6 attack power (or 1 light and 3-4 attack power), and half of them are in the Undead*Doom set. That doesn't include the Haunts, which can be killed with 6, but only if you still have 6 after throwing out one hero.

After that, though, the floodgates open, with about 15-20 monsters for each +1 attack up to 9. With 9 total attack (or 1 light and 7 attack), of which at least 1 point is magical, you can kill 78% of monsters if they're in rank 1. (Even if none of it is magical, you can still take 70% of monsters in the game.) So this is pretty clearly the critical threshold that will usually determine whether you can kill something or not.

This means you need an average of about 1.5 attack per card in your hand (counting at least the first light as +2 attack) in order to be reasonably effective in the dungeon. Therefore, anything that only gives you +1 attack (e.g. Militia) probably hurts you more than it helps you, by taking up space in your hand without pulling its weight, but that any card with +2 attack or more is probably better to have than not have.

Things get more specialized after that. You've still got most of the Dragons with their enormous health, some things that require very specialized attacks like the Sphinx and the Noxious Slags, the Knightmares with their 8 health and -2 light penalty, and some unique monsters like the Archduke of Pain and the Lord of Death. This includes a lot of the monsters with the most VPs, so they're certainly worth considering, but you've got to tailor your build to the particular monster sets you're fighting.

Keep in mind that this distribution may change a lot depending on which monster sets you're using. Nine attack is the requirement to defeat the strongest Humanoid or the weakest Dragon. These are just rules-of-thumb.
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Alex Rockwell
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Excellent article! Thanks.
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Scott Schneider
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Keen!

A nice trick is to take a dive to a Revenant, if one comes out early in the game and you have a couple militia in your hand. Both the thinning and the higher average gold value of your draws will get you a great deck much faster.

That sphinx dive you suggest is also a great move. In our first game, we all missed that the reveal/discard effect happens even if you lose.
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Bwian, just
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scottsch wrote:
That sphinx dive you suggest is also a great move. In our first game, we all missed that the reveal/discard effect happens even if you lose.

Too good a move, it seems. They decided to errata the card: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4580792#4580792
 
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Scott Schneider
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Bwian wrote:
scottsch wrote:
That sphinx dive you suggest is also a great move. In our first game, we all missed that the reveal/discard effect happens even if you lose.

Too good a move, it seems. They decided to errata the card: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4580792#4580792


aha, thanks!
 
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