Q: Regarding Divination and Brand of Cthugha, if the charge on the card is already zero, can I still trigger their abilities? If so, and I succeed, how do I resolve the card effect? Will I discover 0 clues or attack deals deal 0 damage because it has no charge? If I use the or skill type of test, and Deduction or Vicious Blow has been committed to the corresponding skill type of test, and the card does not have a charge, how do I resolve the effect of the skill card? I want to be clear, does the word "additional" mean that you have to discover at least 1 clue to get "discover 1 additional clue (Deduction)"? And, you have to attack deals at least 1 damage to get "deals +1 damage (Vicious Blow)"? A: Yes, as long as spending a charge isn’t part of the cost to activate the indicated action (and it isn’t, for those cards.) You can fight with Brand of Cthugha and end up spending 0 charges to deal 0 damage (but increase the amount with Vicious Blow, for example). Similarly, activating Divination, spending 0 charges, then using Deduction can still allow you to discover 1 clue at your location. (Note, this interaction would not work if you “investigated” with Divination but replaced the discovering of clues with something like Burglary.)
Q: Brand of Cthugha states " ...If you succeed, spend 1 or 2 charges. Instead of its standard damage, this attack deals 1 damage for each charge spent..." If I miss an attack and play Oops!, how much damage does that deal? 0 because I couldn't spend a charge? What happens if I miss against an enemy engaged with another investigator, do I deal 0 or 1 damage to the engaged investigator? Other cards like the Shotgun specify the damage in case of failure, but does that apply to Oops? If I fail by 4 and the enemy is engaged with another investigator and play Oops (2), how much damage is dealt to the enemy? A: You have to be able to spend charges from Brand of Cthugha to deal damage with it. If you fail the Fight test on Brand, you cannot deal any damage—you wouldn’t deal damage to the attacked enemy, or the investigator engaged with that enemy, even if you played an Oops card.
Uses (6 charges).
: Fight. For this attack, you may use instead of , and you get +1 skill value. If you succeed, spend 1 or 2 charges. Instead of its standard damage, this attack deals 1 damage for each charge spent. If you succeed by 0, lose 1 action.
When I look at this my first thought is a backup 'weapon' for Nathaniel Cho with Boxing Gloves. Sometimes he needs to swing twice in a round for bonus damage, or he's run out of fight events later in a scenario. Brand of Cthugha gives a good backup in an uncontested slot and it can make use of the bonus fight from Boxing Gloves. All-in-all there's a lot to like here for 1xp and Brand of Cthugha(4) is just even more of it later on.
A new fight spell, but also one that is much more flexible than Shrivelling. Shrivelling costs 3, and does a total of 8 damage, and has a horror downside to picking the wrong token. For 1 XP, Brand of Cthugha costs a bit less, gives a skill boost (necessary for avoiding the 'succeed by 0 clause'), but only does 6 damage. But you get to spend those charges as you need them, and none at all if you fail. Mystic spells that do 2 damage have always been in an awkward spot dealing with 3 HP enemies -- how do you do that last point of damage? Guardians with 2 damage guns generally have dealt with this issue with taking a basic fight action, maybe boosted with Overpower. Mystics can use Wither or Sword Cane, or worse, spend another charge of Shrivelling and waste the extra damage. Here you just need this one card, and only spend one charge. Granted, you will run out of charges quickly, but there are more and more ways to add charges these days or pickup Spells from the discard pile once you've pushed it out.
For Diana Stanley, this card's flexibility comes right in the "you MAY use" clause -- use your combat skill at the beginning of the game. You'll be fighting at 4 right out of the gate. Once you've cancelled a few more cards, switch to using your Willpower instead, without needing to switch Spells.
The "lose 1 action" penalty is a real bummer, though. If you're engaged with an enemy, you have to fight it right away, unlike waiting until your last action with Rite of Seeking. If you have another weapon or fighting spell in play, use that first to do one damage and finish the enemy off with this; if you don't, you'll need to get lucky. This is even more the case with the upgraded version, which has a penalty of losing TWO actions. Another good idea is to pack a few events or assets that deal testless damage, like Beat Cop, or powerful fighting spells, and use this card to do the last point or two of damage.