Creatures of the Deep

Set Size6
Number of unique Cards3
RoleEnemies, Damage, Discard (Hand)
Threat LevelMid
# of scenarios5
Appears in: The Pit of Despair, In Too Deep, Devil Reef, A Light in the Fog, Into the Maelstrom

My take on this set: The Deep Ones are one of the most iconic creatures of the Mythos and are of course central to anything that happens in Innsmouth in particular. Creatures of the Deep is thus a very important set, laying the foundation for any Deep Ones in scenario specific encounter sets. I’d argue that this set manages to both make them relevant and unique.
The Deep Ones are united by having effects that are triggered whenever players engage them. A central decision that players will have to make when facing these enemies is whether to defeat them or to evade them and all of these cards have arguments for at least one of those options: The Lurkers are easy to kill, but hard to evade. On the other hand, the Bull is easy to evade and not only is it hard to kill, it also punishes players for killing other Deep Ones. Then again, Assault punishes those who evade the creatures, but also keeps the Deep Ones coming for players who are killing a lot of them. The Young Deep One from the Agents of Cthulhu set slots right in the middle as a neutral option whose 3/3/3 statline provides some challenge no matter what your plan is.
The result is an interesting array of decisions to make, making the Deep Ones more than just your generic cannon fodder. This is something i appreciate a lot.

Number in the encounter deck: 3

What it does: Lurking Deep Ones are easy to defeat, having only low fight and stamina values. They do immediately deal a point of damage whenever they engage an investigator, however. Their evade value is high enough that evading them is basically a non-option unless the investigator is really specialized towards it, considering that they are much easier to beat in combat and that they will deal another point of damage whenever they get to re-engage.

My take: The main feature of this enemy is its ability to deal a guaranteed point of damage on engagement, including when the player draws the card from the encounter deck for the first time. Aside from that, getting rid of it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I found that i often default to finding these in the encounter deck when Deep One Assaults makes me grab a Deep One because they are fairly painless to defeat.

Threat level: Low. Mostly translates to a point of damage and an action spent on an attack. It can be more of an issue if the player is unprepared, without a weapon. But that’s going to be the case very rarely.

Dealing with it: Smack it over the head. While it doesn’t have Hunter, evading it is still more effort than just killing it. The damage ability stacks up well with other damage sources from encounter cards, so that’s something to look out for. Having three sources of testless damage in the encounter deck can mean that low stamina investigators like Sefina or Mary may want to plan on bringing some extra soak.

Number in the encounter deck: 1

What it does: Mirroring the Lurking Deep Ones, the Bull has impressive combat stats but is weak to evasion. Their engage ability causes investigators to discard one of their cards each time they enter combat with a Bull. While it doesn’t have outright Hunter, it does have a similar ability: Whenever an investigator kills another Deep One traited enemy, the Bull moves one location towards them.

My take: This is a pretty beefy enemy for something that is just shuffled into the encounter deck and can come out any time. Its statline points players towards evasion as the primary way to deal with it and the movement ability further encourages using evasion against other Deep Ones as well. While it’s easy to evade the Bull, that isn’t necessarily true for others. The Lurking Deep Ones do have enough evasion that they aren’t easy to be handled that way at all. A noteworthy difference between the Bull’s movement trigger and regular Hunter is that it isn’t immediately followed by an attack. So you can kill a Lurking Deep One, have the Bull move over to your location and then evade it before it gets to attack in the enemy phase. Of course, that will trigger the engage discard, but at least you are not hit for damage right away. As another relevant difference, the Bull is readied when it triggers. So it can’t be completely locked down by cards like Slip Away or Handcuffs. Finally, the ability also triggers while the Bull is already engaged. It will then disengage and move towards whoever else just killed something. Potentially this can lead to further engagement triggers down the line.

Threat level: High. This is a big chunky enemy that can occupy a lot of your time.

Dealing with it: Can your Guardian reliably kill it in two or three actions? If so, that can solve a lot of your problems as you will otherwise have to dedicate more actions and effort towards dodging this guy. Evading it isn’t difficult but it will drain an action and a card every time.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: This treachery will disengage every Deep Ones in the threat area of the investigator, then immediately re-engage them. Additionally, any Deep Ones on connecting locations also engage them. While this doesn’t immediately trigger attacks, it will cause each of the enemies engaged this way to trigger their “on engage” abilities which are present on (almost) all Deep Ones. If no enemies were engaged this way, Deep One Assault will find a Deep One in the encounter deck and engage that one with the investigator.

My take: Potentially a dangerous card, but in practice a lot of things have to come together before it does a whole lot. If it only re-engages a single enemy or simply finds a Lurking Deep One from the encounter deck, this card is not terrible. For it to scale higher than that, the players would have to run an evasion strategy, leaving Deep Ones behind on the board. In those situations, the threat of this card goes up as it will potentially cause multiple enemies to trigger their engage effects and also will allow those enemies to catch up with the players again. The card also gets extra power in big player groups where enemies are more plentiful and Deep One Assault could also trigger enemies that were drawn before in that same mythos phase.

Threat level: Mid to High. Often, this will be equivalent to drawing a Lurking Deep One, but there is the potential for the card to be more troubling.

Dealing with it: Groups that focus on killing their enemies instead of evading them have a much easier time when facing this treachery as it will merely deliver just another body to defeat. Evasion focused groups will have to be more conscious about the existence of this card, as it can potentially lead to multiple creatures ganging up on one investigator, even if those enemies were previously engaged with a different player.
Note that the search effect can either be used to minimize the effect, searching for the enemy that is easiest to handle for you right now. Or it can be used to fish for enemies with victory points, if there are any in the scenario. Finally, it can be used to intentionally grab more powerful enemies like the Bull while you can afford spending time to kill it, preventing it from showing up at a later, more inconvenient time.

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