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Overlord Tactics in Descent (vanilla)

by Ezhaeu

So the heroes are slashing your minions to pieces, running down the corridors with their pockets full of potions and pulling all sorts of tricks and combos with their skill cards and feats? Let's see what we can do about it with a few basic tips.

Before the game

Study the quest before playing it. You can but the heroes can’t. Knowing what type of monsters can be found, where you can place strategic traps and such is a definitive advantage. Knowledge is power!

Customize your overlord deck carefully. If you have either the Well of Darkness or the Altar of Despair expansion, you need to spend your Treachery points wisely. Treachery cards are more powerful than the ones in the core deck.

Check carefully which heroes the players have picked, which skills they have and which equipment they bought before starting the game. There’s nothing more annoying than wasting a trap on someone with Cautious or realizing too late that Landrec just killed 5 of your monsters with the Blast ability of a shop item.

During the game

Show no mercy! Descent is not a roleplaying game. You are the overlord and your goal is to win, even if it means having all monsters attacking the weakest hero.

Fill the dungeon! Spawn monsters whenever you can, even if they are out of reach. You are limited to 1 spawn card per turn, so it is not worth keeping six spawn cards in your hand for a final battle.

Leave no free candy! Place monsters on top of chests and glyphs that are not activated yet. It is perfectly legal to do so and will make it a lot more difficult for heroes with high speed to run past your minions and collect conquest tokens. Shades are wonderful for blocking glyphs and chests since they are immune to melee attacks made by adjacent figures and also have the Stealth ability. Creatures with Undying can also be frustrating if luck is on your side.

Remember that every hero has its weakness. Use traps that ignore armor and monsters with the Pierce ability against heroes with high armor rating. Use other monsters against weaker characters.

Slow down the heroes as much as you can; time is on your side. Remember that the heroes lose 3 conquest tokens each time you shuffle your deck. Use monsters with grapple to hinder their progress, use stun, web, spawn monsters behind them. The basic deck of Overlord cards contains 36 cards. That means that the hero will lose 3 conquest tokens every 18 turns since you draw 2 cards per turn. If you play the Evil Genius power card, they will lose 3 conquest tokens every 12 turns!

Final Word of Advice

Never give up! I have seen many games where the heroes had the upper hand at the beginning but got crushed later on. You need to build that power. And if you lose, learn from your mistakes. Being a cruel overlord is an art.

There was also an article written in the news of Fanstasy Flight Games' website in October 2008. You might want to read this article called Descent Decrees for an Aspiring Overlord.

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