Spreading Corruption

Set Size6
Number of unique Cards3
RoleAction Tax, Doom
Threat LevelHigh
# of scenarios5
Appears in: Dead Heat, Dogs of War (all versions), Shades of Suffering, Without a Trace, Congress of the Keys (all versions)

My take on this set: This set puts the “Suffering” into “Shades of Suffering”. It has high impact throughout all of its cards and attacks from an angle that every investigator is vulnerable to: The action economy. Spreading Corruption is a big part of why Dead Heat and Shades are so difficult to deal with, as those are both scenarios where the players are required to get a lot of stuff done against a tight doom clock without much of a setup period. Randomly losing a couple actions or even turns can quickly become devastating under that sort of pressure. Oh, and those two scenarios have Frozen in Fear as well, which just stacks up in a ghastly way with the two curses from this set. Spreading Corruption is a bit milder in the other three scenarios, but still ranks among the more awful things you can draw from the encounter deck.
That being said, this set is well designed and puts new and fun spins on basic effects that we have seen before. All three of these offer ways to play around them and are just interesting. My only gripe with this set is that this should never be in the same encounter deck as Striking Fear because… ugh. And certainly not three times in one campaign! Have some mercy, MJ.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Compulsion enters the player’s threat area and stays there until it is discarded through a double action. While active, it doesn’t do anything … however, the player needs to draw a token from the bag each turn and on skull, cultist, tablet or Elder Thing they must activate the double action at the start of their turn.

My take: This is the rare card that actually made me laugh out loud when i saw it the first time. In spite of the slightly hilarious way how it works, it is a treachery that will cost two actions to deal with which isn’t great. If you are forced to activate this while engaged with an enemy or while required to do something important, this card can really screw up your plans in a painful way. You might not always be forced to use this double action all the time, but you will want to do so as early as possible anyways. Because when you are staring down Amaranth, the Beast or are trying to banish some Geist, this is going to be just awful.

Threat level: Mid to High. It’s two actions to discard without a test, so you know what you get. But there’s also only few ways around it and the timing will often bite you and provoke and Attack of Opportunity to add some injury to your insult.

Dealing with it: This whole set is a great reason to include Alter Fate in your Survivor decklists. Depending on how you are able to handle Distorted Reasoning and Touch of the Beyond, Compulsion can easily be the worst out of the three for you.
Don’t fall for the trap of letting this stay on the table for longer than absolutely necessary. Alter Fate aside you *are* going to lose two actions to it, do it while you are still somewhat in the clear.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: While Distorted Reasoning is in your threat area, you are no longer able to use the same type of action twice in a row. At the end of each of your turns, you get one chance to discard this curse by passing a willpower test.

My take: Ah, there’s the obligatory treachery with Frozen in Fear’s dreadful timing for discarding it. Can’t make it too easy for those rogues with their 1 and 2 willpower, am i right? Personal trauma aside, this is a great effect for a treachery. It is quite impactful though. At its most basic, it stops you from attacking or investigating twice in a row, limiting how good you are at your primary job. It can also stop you from moving around efficiently, something you will feel especially hard in Shades of Suffering and Without a Trace.
This card does require a bit more attention to detail as usual, as you will need to keep close track of what type of actions you are performing. Especially the “Activate” action can trip you up here. As an example, after using Shrivelling to fight you obviously aren’t allowed to use a Spectral Razor as both would be fighting. However, you also wouldn’t be able to discard Compulsion after using Shrivelling, because both are of type “Activate”. Another example, you would be able to play Shortcut(0) after taking a move action because Shortcut is fast, so it doesn’t count as a an action and also it doesn’t have a bold Move designator. You wouldn’t be allowed to play Astral Travel or activate Sled Dogs afterwards though, as both of them do have the Move designator and count as an action.
Oh, also here’s a “fun fact”: Shades, Dead Heat and Congress of Keys all have both this set and Striking Fear, so if you don’t have at least 3 willpower you better get used to being tied down by Frozen in Fear, Distorted Reasoning, Compulsion or any combination of the three.

Threat level: High. If you aren’t able to pass that willpower test, this will severely hinder you from taking your actions in an efficient manner.

Dealing with it: Well, the line of treacheries with this particular timing for their willpower test are notoriously hard to get rid of for some investigators. And even if you hold an answer like Alter Fate or Logical Reasoning (this is a Terror… being able to discard Distorted Reasoning with Logical Reasoning makes me unreasonably happy) you might be tempted to hold onto that for Frozen in Fear. At least you can play around this card somewhat. Worst case, you’ll have to weave in a resource or draw action inbetween your investigations and moves or an evade between your fights.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Touch of the Beyond places a doom token on your most expensive asset. If you have no valid targets, it surges.

My take: As far as variants on Ancient Evils go, this isn’t the worst. It doesn’t advance the agenda as part of its effect, so if you draw it during the “Witching Hour” (the turn before you’d advance anyways) it’s basically free. If the doom is put on an asset that you might want to get rid of before the doom threshold is met, you also get off easy.
That being said, it is still a doom effect that comes bundled with other high impact treacheries that are already slowing you down and in scenarios that are already among the more difficult ones. It’s a weaker Ancient Evils, but you still won’t be happy to see this most of the time.
As a rules note, as far as i am aware an asset with cost “-” can not be considered highest (or lowest) cost because it simply doesn’t have a cost. So if all you have in play while drawing it is a couple Permanent cards (Charisma, Charon’s Obol, Short Supply, etc) then those won’t be getting a doom and Touch of the Beyond will surge instead. Let’s all be thankful for the little things.

Threat level: High. There’s some scenarios with nasty doom clocks using this set, so this card is high impact.

Dealing with it: If you are playing high cost assets with limited charges, you might be in luck and be able to get rid of the offending asset without it costing you much. Otherwise you might have to decide if for example overwriting your doomed asset with a fresh one from your hand is worth it. In Without a Trace and Congress of the Keys, you might even be able to use the asset with the doom token as a hollow when forced to sacrifice something.
Finally, there are of course a couple cards in the Mystic card pool that remove doom or mask it from the agenda threshold. Touch of the Beyond isn’t enough of a reason to play those cards, but if you are already doing so for other reasons, you certainly are well equipped to safely defuse this treachery in many cases.

2 Replies to “Spreading Corruption”

  1. You could not directly overwrite unique allies like your doomed Dr. Christopher with the other copy from your hand. You would first need to discard him in another way, like defeating him or playing some other ally.

    1. True. I do know this (although i probably played it wrong before – i blame M:tG) but i somehow forgot about it here. An ally is a bad example there anyways because there’s easy ways to get rid of them (just take a point of damage and Milan is gone…). I edited that part, thanks for the heads-up.

Leave a Reply