Under the Magnifying Glass - Ravager from the Deep, UT C 61

This is the first short article in a series of articles where we will discuss a particular card. Ill try to explain the card from a rules perspective, then discuss it from a gamers point of view. Some of the cards you'll see in these UtMGs are familiar power cards, others might be hidden gems you'll find useful in the right deck...

How does it work?

First off, lets explain exactly how today's card work, which is the loved/hated Ravager. Lets read the card:

Ravager from the Deep (UT C 61)
cost 4
skill 2

Deep One.
Villainous. Toughness +1.
Forced Response: after Ravager from the Deep is committed to a story, wound all other characters at that story.

Now a lot of players find it hard to understand when this Forced Response triggers. I've lost count of how often this card comes up on the Rules board, so lets pop on those rules lawyer glasses and take a ride down word picking lane.

First we look at the back of the rules sheet. You know the small flimsy sheet that comes with the starter (also available at the Support page). There you find the Detailed Turn Sequence which is just oh so useful.

5. Story Phase

Actions may be taken. [white box]

You (active player) commits characters to stories. [grey box]

Actions may be taken. [white box]

Opponent (non-active player) commits characters to oppose yours. [grey box]

Actions may be taken. [white box]

.... the phase continue ....

What happens in the above grey boxes is all done "at once" or "at the same time". This means that when one player commits his characters, they are all commited at the same time. You cannot commit the Ravager as an attacker at story A and then after that commit another character to story A. Thats not how it works. All characters go at the same time to their destinations at the same time.

Immediately after the grey box in which you commited the Ravager, its ability kick in.

So now you've committed your characters and the Ravager's Forced Response is triggered. The Ravager will now proceed to wound everyone but himself who is committed to the same story. If you are the active player, that means only your characters (because your opponent hasn't committed yet). If you're the defending player, that means both players' characters.

Say that again?

If that doesn't make any sense to you, just remember that Forced Responses trigger as soon as their requirement is met. As you see from the Detailed Turn Sequence quoted above, there is an action sequence between the active player committing and the defending player committing. As soon as the active player commits his characters any appropriate Forced Responses are triggered, including the Ravager's.

Is that any good?

Thats the obvious next question. Im sure you have first hand experience of the Ravagers nasty ability, but in case you dont, Ill spell it out:

When you have a Ravager in play, your opponent doesn't want to attack. Because when he does, you'll defend with a lone Ravager and it will wound all his attackers. Unless he has a few characters with Toughness that survives the wave of wounds from the Ravager, he will probably chicken out and sit and wait.

This is the first strength of the Ravager, its strong defense. An opponent that doesn't attack is an opponent that doesn't grab tokens. You are buying time, which is what lots of monster decks want. Time that lets you build your domains and board position, and drawing into more nasty stuff that lurks in the deep of your deck...

Just one more thing is worth pointing out here: The Ravager is even more nasty if its a surprise. Either play Shocking Transformation or perhaps Unspeakable Resurrection to get it into play when it isn't expected.

So how do I stop it?

First off, don't let the card scare you, instead come prepared to the battle. You want to have answers in your deck that makes the Ravagers ability a liability for your opponent. With time you'll see how its done. Some suggestions:

Lots of Toughness is good. It will give you a chance to actually make it to the story resolution and take your pound of flesh out of that mean Deep One. Toughness is never bad since it negates all the pesky direct wound cards (mainly Agency) and pretty much nullify the Combat struggle.

Speaking of combat. The fastest way to kill the Ravager isn't by winning combat. He's tough too. The better idea is scaring it. Remember that the Ravager doesn't have the Terror icon, which mean you can turn it insane (also with direct effects when least expected). If you have characters with Terror and Toughness then the Ravager isn't a problem. All of a sudden it becomes an expensive character that your opponent can't attack with nor defend with. Its dead weight and instead of being a card that swings the game in your opponent's favor, it is now a card that slows your opponent down.

Another option is destroying it. It has low skill so its not impossible to wound it enough to kill it either with multiple wounding cards or cards like Taking No Chances and Short Fuse that does the job in one go. If playing Yog, simply Call Down the Ancients on it. And if you're playing Cthulhu without the guy, Great Old One Rises should help a lot. You're going to lose your characters anyway, so who cares? Bait him to come to the story and then watch him get eaten by things beyond his comprehension.

Other ways of making it useless for your opponent isnt necessarily killing it. Invulnerable characters can still run for stories, perhaps protected by Crafting the Elder Sign or by hiding Under the Cloak of Darkness.

Then there is exhausting it. Syndicate has the market cornered on that, with any number of events that will do the trick. This is especially good because if your opponent has a Ravager in play, they are generally using that as their major defense, and so will be left without resources to stop you if suddenly the Ravager is out of the picture. Or perhaps lock it up in the O'Bannion Warehouse to keep it off the street while you do your thing. Some Deep Ones will probably Assault your Warehouse soon, but by then you might have had the chance to run at a couple of stories and thus turn the table.

Sometimes your Ravager might not find itself in a warehouse, but instead on a Forgotten Isle. That can be turned against your opponent though, since now your Ravager can safely attack together with your characters...

Last but not least. If you can't beat it, cancel it. Hastur has a ton of cancellation effects, almost all of which work on the Ravager. My personal favorite is the Performance Artist. Take her to the story and then cancel the Ravager to give you the chance to win the Terror struggle and turn it crazy.

(Note: Whatever method you decide to implement in order to deal with the Ravager, remember that it should be something that you also can use on other nasty monsters you might face)

Hopefully you see that there are lots of ways to deal with the Ravager. Though strong it be, its not the safest bet to place since everyone and his brother is expecting it and is prepared for it. So don't be overconfident in this little beauty from Unspeakable Tales...

Thats all for this UtMG! I hope you found this short article enlightening in one way or another. If you have any questions or just want to discuss this article, go to the official message boards. See you out there! =)

- xedric