Beast Thralls

Set Size6
Number of unique Cards3
RoleEnemy, Horror
Threat LevelHigh
# of scenarios2
Appears in: Undimensioned and Unseen, Where Doom Awaits

My take on this set: I feel cheated out of my victory points. This kind of creature usually only appears as a one-of Elite in some sets or as a two-of Elite in the Agents of <Old One> sets. This set has the audacity to throw four (4!) Hunter enemies with 4 or 5 fight at us and won’t even give us some hard earned XP for it. I suppose we should be glad that they don’t punish us for killing them like TFA’s Basilisk and Boa Constrictor…
All joking aside, these enemies are quite significant, this set alone adds enough pressure from Hunters on the players to last for a whole scenario. But the real kicker comes from which scenarios they are in. Undimensioned and Unseen already has the players dance around the Broods, having these big enemies in the mix only adds to that. And the short distances between locations in Where Doom Awaits leads to these buggers having no trouble at all to keep up with the investigators.
Beast Thralls is a great set and one that i am thankful is not used too often. It is only used in two back to back scenarios in the second half of the campaign and a big part of cranking up the difficulty there. Basically it’s the stepping stone to the use of Hideous Abominations in Lost in Time and Space.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Lupine Thrall is a Hunter enemy with all around decent stats and Retaliate just to spice it up a bit. It spawns at the other side of the map and starts its pursuit of the investigators from there.

My take: This is pretty much the archetypical Hunter enemy. From its above average health to the combination of high fight with Retaliate, this is just a neat little bundle of problems. Spawning far away is the one saving grace that it offers the players. For an enemy that is in the deck multiple times and does not offer any rewards, this is above the curve for sure.

Threat level: Mid to High. If a player is able to deal three damage with one attack, this can be dealt with somewhat effectively, but otherwise it will hog actions and make whatever else is going on a lot more dangerous.

Dealing with it: The achilles heel of this enemy is its three health. The difference between three and four is huge, and investigators that held onto a way to deal three in one swoop will have a much easier time in killing this beast.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: This Hunter enemy shows up with an imposing 5 fight, 4 health and 3 evade, a stat line that is worthy of an elite enemy. Unlike the Lupine Thrall, this one spawns right on the investigator that drew it. If the player uses either a ranged weapon, a firearm or a spell to attack the Avian Thrall, its fight is reduced to a much more sensible 2.

My take: Incredibly dangerous for a non-Elite. Even if one of the required asset types is available, the Avian Thrall will usually require at least two charges or ammo before it goes down. If none of them are available, the high fight value will lead to missed attacks and thus more actions needed to kill it. The saving grace here is the lack of Retaliation, so missed attacks translate “only” to lost actions and not further damage and horror. It can be evaded reasonably well, but how many Hunter enemies can you really juggle at the same time? This set already has four. Undimensioned and Unseen has the Broods on top of that. And Where Doom Awaits location layout doesn’t really lend itself well for running away from Hunters. Once Altered Beast attaches to an Avian Thrall, evading won’t even prevent being hurt by the beast.

Threat level: High. This is on par with many elite enemies.

Dealing with it: Conveniently, it says right on the card how to defeat it. So if you do have the asset types available to kill the thing, just do that. If not, prepare for a relatively difficult fight that may just take more than one turns worth of attacks. Hope to not draw another big threat or Altered Beast while still engaged. Personally, i don’t think that evading these for the rest of the scenario is sustainable, although when you are near the end of the scenario it might just be the preferrable option.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Altered Beast attaches to an Abomination enemy and heals all damage from it. Whenever an investigator moves into the same location as that abomination, they are dealt a horror. The same happens if the creature moves into the investigator’s location due to the Hunter keyword. Should there be no Abomination in play, Altered Beast surges.

My take: So… the Brood of Yog-Sothoth are abominations. This of course makes Altered Beast a huge pain during Undimensioned and Unseen where you might enter and leave the location of the Broods multiple times and thus getting hit for one horror more than once. Without them, Altered Beast will usually either find a Lupine Thrall that is still on the move towards the players or surge because i don’t have a habit of letting Avian Thralls live for longer than absolutely necessary. If it does attach to a Bestial Thrall, it probably will only trigger once, which is relatively harmless. During Where Doom Awaits, you might also get lucky and be able to attach it to a Thrall from the Bishop’s Thralls set who lack the Hunter keyword. If you are really, really, really unlucky, there is one more Abomination set this could attach to: As part of some story text, the Hideous Abomination set can appear during Where Doom Awaits. Having Altered Beast attach the Conglomeration, and thus undo the damage you already did to it, would be a bad beat indeed.

Threat level: High in Undimensioned and Unseen. Low in Where Doom Awaits. It makes a huge difference whether you get to attach this to some 2/2/2 chump or an invulnerable story monster.

Dealing with it: Dealing with Altered Beast requires dealing with the enemy it attaches to. If you manage to evade and leave behind a Thrall during Where Doom Awaits, this card becomes a freebie. If you can attach it to an enemy already engaged with you will heal the creature, but at least that won’t trigger the horror.

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