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Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Overlord Strategies rss

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Alex Bronsky
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Hello there,

first time poster here.

So, there have been a bunch of threads already with really helpful hero strategies, but not so much for Overlord players. Let's gather a few tips for prospective Overlords then.

What's good general advice?

How can Overlords counter certain heroes and hero combinations?

What cards are useful for which scenarios and against which groups?

How does strategy change depending on number of players?


For me this is after a particularly frustrating sessions of the third act I quest (Death on the Wing) and the interlude (The Shadow Vault), both of which I lost terribly.

My group is playing: Syndrael (Knight), Ashrian (Disciple), Tomble (Thief) and by the second or so scenario in the campaign I basically felt that I have no way of winning against that group as Overlord.

Every minion is hacked to bits without a chance of fighting back or (more important) really hinder progress and if I ever manage to get in some damage (when needed, such as in the Shadow Vault Interlude) it fails due to great defence and healing powers.

We haven't started the second act yet, so it might become harder for the heroes for all know, but right now I don't see how.

But I don't want to complain, I want to make the game more fun for the heroes (because, what's the point really of fighting an Overlord that doesn't even give you any real challenge) and for myself as well.

So let's hear some strategies!
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Ken Marley
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Act 2 should be better. All of your monsters are stronger.
 
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Joe Browes
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I've played as the Overlord twice so I don't have tons of experience to share but this is what I've got. I imagine it's spectacularly obvious in the main.

My first session (First Blood and The Masquerade Ball) I got completely battered, the heroes hardly had a scratch on them at the end. Second session (First Blood again and The Cardinal's Plight) was much better, four out of five goblins escaped, and a clear win in both parts of the Cardinal's Plight.

My thoughts so far:

1) Monsters are really for blocking as much, if not more than, they are for attacking. There's bugger all point putting a group of weak monsters in the starting area, heroes will just waltz past or kill them most times.

2) Pay attention to those two-space wide corridor tiles, those are your chokepoints and a master Ettin or similar large monster can potentially hold up heroes for several turns when moved into one.

3) Make the heroes move as much as possible by spreading creatures out and retreating tactically, every action/fatigue they use to move is one they can't use killing your minions.

4) Try to split heroes up. Lots of their abilities depend on them being close to one another. Thieves often dash off to get search tokens for example, plonk a large monster in the corridor between Tomble and his chums and you can take him out at your leisure.

5) Your monsters WILL die, possibly before you get to move them, so don't get too attached.

6) In the race scenarios, monsters with powers that hold up and/or immobilise heroes are invaluable.

7) Shadow Dragons freak new players out when you plonk 'em on the board, don't neglect psychological warfare.

8) Causing heroes lots of damage in the first encounter also has a helpful demoralising effect. Killing them is a bonus, but don't obsess about it.

9) Stand large monsters on search tokens. Cheap but effective.


Card Management

10) If the first encounter isn't going your way, avoid playing cards and stretch it out as long as possible (within the bounds of sportsmanship) to build your hand for the second encounter.

11) Pay attention to heroes attribute values, I'm forever wasting traps on heroes with 4 awareness.

12) Don't waste cards that influence combat (Frenzy, rerolls etc) on minion monsters, use them with creatures that can lay serious hurt on heroes.

13) 'Dash' is critical for winning race scenarios, don't waste it.

14) In the second encounter, play every darn card you have, there's no point hoarding when winner takes all.

15) The card you get for knocking out a hero is nice, but if you spent three cards doing it, you're two cards worse off. Focus on your objective at all times.

And most importantly:

16) Whatever happens, don't forget to (evil) laugh about it afterwards.

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Sonic Hedgehog
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hey there!

do not own the game yet because still waiting for the german version

one thing that should help is to keep you Overlord deck limited to 15 cards. throw out everything that is only minor helpful in the coming scenario and boost your changes to draw valuable and of course cunning cards
 
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R N
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Never pick zombies unless you have to.

Assuming you don't need to kill a specific target for the quest, inflicting damage on the heroes is best done ASAP. There is no healing between the two encounters and once a hero falls he is more likely to fall again (and again). Target the healer first, if possible, if/when you get them down they will be exhausted and unable to heal right away. Disciples have a lot of nice bonus effects for their heal that they usually want on another target as well.

Large monsters are faster than they appear on the card due to funky movement rules.

 
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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Lots of great ideas so far. I will write the ones that come to the top of my head, and then go back and see if some are duplicated.

- buy the expansion! Having fifty monsters to choose from as your options mean that, for every scenario, you will find open groups that fill whatever role you want them to. The heroes get some options for character creation, but *you* get options that open up at the start of each and every scenario, and *that* is invaluable! (and just use proxies, or the current miniatures, for whatever monster is actually hitting the table.)

- Don't get sidetracked killing heroes. Remember what the objectives are, at all times.

- Winning the second half of the quest is the point, so if you have to save resources (cards) for the second half, just be patient. Sometimes the first-half gains just aren't worth the investment necessary to win the first half, so simply delay that gratification until the end. For that matter.

- Heroes have roles (tank, DPS, healer, etc.) and so do monsters. Try to arrange it so that you have different monsters that compliment each other.

- double-grey defense dice are better than single-black defense dice, so try to get a "tank" group of monsters that has these. Putting up blocking monsters that can take hits is extremely useful while you attempt to gain the scenario-objective

- fast monsters are better than slow monsters. Large monsters have slow listed speeds, but learn to look at their movement options properly, so you can factor in the "contract-move-expand" facet and see the possibilities they present!

- If you wish to take out a hero, attack the one with the weakest defenses. Then the party wastes precious time coordinating their efforts to raise and defend that hero, buying you time to continue the objective

- Note when a hero is out of fatigue. Exhausted heroes have fewer options, and are vulnerable.

- Sorcery is awesome! Monsters with Sorcery are very versatile.

- Plan your development early. Remember, you must have two level one cards in a category to buy a level two card, so that means you have to map out your growth ahead of time.

- Know your reinforcement rules for a scenario. Sometimes they change, and it is important to factor in how the board will look at the beginning, and at the end, of your turn.Sacrificing a minion which is going to reinforce back onto the board in a few seconds isn't much of a sacrifice!

- Know your cards -- it really hurts to realize you missed a triggering opportunity, or to have a plan foiled because you failed to play the card at the beginning of your turn.

- Large monster bases can be difficult to squeeze into small hallways crowded with heroes and other monsters. Don't get caught being unable to move your crypt dragon into play simply because there is no place for them to "expand" into at the end of the move!

- Movement-triggered cards are spotty. Doing one damage to a strong hero is weaksauce compared to stopping their movement action, so don't be afraid to wean out those pit traps and other useless cards and get your deck down to a lean, mean fighting fifteen!

- Dash and Frenzy are solid, useful cards, but save them for when you really need them (i.e. when they are definitely going to advance the 2nd-half objective!)

- Don't give up! I screwed up royally as OL in my last game (I over-extended, and miscounted my movement points, leaving myself extremely weak and unable to catch the heroes with my slow-moving zombies). It was the heroes' game to lose at that point, and ... that's what they did! They got distracted for one minor round, and that was enough for me to exploit a mistake and take control again.

- Don't forget to draw a card if you defeat a hero! Cardflow is everything!

- Hit-and-Hide is a perfectly valid tactic, especially for critters who can't take it on the chin. I'm looking at *you*, skeleton archers!

- Enjoy the scenario! Each scenario has a cool story to tell, along with a cast of characters, and ties into the main storyline in a fun way. So enjoy the moment, have fun with the silliness of it, and ham it up! It makes bringing in that character in a future scenario just that much more fun for everybody!

- Know the rules, and watch the book-keeping. The heroes get distracted, and they will speed through the activation of their abilities, and it is always fair to ask them to slow down, pay the proper cost, activate the cards in order, etc. Occasionally you all discover that certain combinations can't be linked this time around, or that there actually *isn't* any fatigue to pay for that skill, etc.

- If a specific hero tactic is frustrating you, plan around it for next game. My one hero has an ability that requires that monsters have a surge in order to have an attack count as a hit, so I save an appropriate card *just* for when I really need it.

- crowding a choke-point in a hallway with hordes of little monsters can buy you a round to catch your breath.

- Spending a useless attack action from a weak monster is sometimes less effective than simply using that monster to close a door, forcing the heroes to burn an action to get it open again!

- don't forget the special abilities of each monster. Nothing frustrates me more than picking up the card again after a scenario is over, flipping it over, and reading about an ability that I should've been using all along! Plus, it makes the game more fun when each monster has their own playstyle and unique feel.

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Asger Kreiner-Møller
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Interociter wrote:

11) Pay attention to heroes attribute values, I'm forever wasting traps on heroes with 4 awareness.


I did the calculations in this thread and a skill level of 4 has 70% chance of suceeding. I would not play a trap card against such a hero unless I am very desperate. Even a skill level has a succesrate of approximatedly 50%. Have this in mind when using OL cards.

Edit: remember that your reroll cards can also be used for your attribute tests - like the interrogation with Splig.
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Joe Browes
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Nanokae wrote:
remember that your reroll cards can also be used for your attribute tests - like the interrogation with Splig.


This is a great tip, very easy to overlook this way of using reroll.
 
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Alex Bronsky
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Those are great tips!

Especially the saving up cards bit. I tend to try and use lots of cards even in the first scenario when I think it might make sense, though know that it probably isn't going my way anyways.

So, yes, I think calculating risk/reward is very useful

And using monsters to not attack but do other stuff is also a good idea.

What about the Overlord Skills?

So far, I found Unholy Ritual very helpful for card draw and Schemes to find that one card that you might really need right now.

What about the different skill trees? What do you find useful? Warlord didn't seem as useful to me as blocking movement with Saboteur stuff, but then again Frenzy+*that one double attack and die-card* (sorry) seem like a very potent combination to bring down some heroes real quick.
 
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Thijs Schipper
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slacks wrote:
Never pick zombies unless you have to.


I'll disagree on that point. I picked zombies as my open group in encounter 1 of Fat Goblin, and they almost singlehandedly won me that map. The two heroes I was playing against had particularly low Strength/Might/Power/whatever attribute, so I was able to immobilize one of the two heroes for almost three turns straight (with a little help of a healing OL card). I got the other one once or twice as well. Basically, I had two crops stolen and a third one on the way before they ever moved into the waterfall area.

I will admit that they (along with the Flesh Moulders) scale badly as the number of players goes up. In a two-player game, I was able to Immobilize half the hero party each turn. In a 4-hero game, it's only going to be a quarter of them, and the rest are free to kill the master Zombie and/or rush onwards.
 
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R N
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I stand by my earlier rule, there are so many ways that your players could have avoided that situation.
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Joe Browes
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One more bitter lesson from last night's session:

Pay attention to the scenario's reinforcements rules, sometimes they are placed at the start of the OL turn and other times at the end. I missed out on about three monsters by getting myself in a muddle over when I was supposed to be doing this.

Short version: be less dumb than me.
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Kent Trustrup
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I'm OL, and the heroes was beyond the first bend, 1 hero next to a stack.

They made a move, used all fatigue for move, and then rested. That was on average 8 move, more from two of them.
So can't see how to use zombies, they would never catch up to the players.
 
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Mike Davey
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I do stuff like this all the time.

The best method I've found to combat it is to make sure at least one of the heroes reads all the way through the encounter as well, then everyone discusses how objectives are achieved, reinforcements, special rules, NPCs, etc.
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