Guardian Mystic
Asset. Arcane

Spell.

Cost: 2. XP: 4.
Test Icons:

Uses (9 charges).

: Fight. For this attack, you may use instead of , and you get +2 skill value. If you succeed, spend 1, 2, or 3 charges. Instead of its standard damage, this attack deals 1 damage for each charge spent. If you succeed by 0, lose 2 actions.

Michele Giorgi
Edge of the Earth Investigator Expansion #92.
Brand of Cthugha
Reviews

I love this spell, and I think it outclasses most other high level combat spells for general use.

For Mystics, one less XP than either Shrivelling (5) or Azure Flame (5), gets you three less total damage and one less +skill value. You also get a downside that is both less likely to trigger on its own and is completely mitigateable by spending other actions first.

But the real upside here is choosing how much of that 9 damage to spend on every attack. No more wasting a three damage charge on an enemy with only one or two health. Charges are also only spent when you succeed, so bad luck with the chaos bag doesn't waste charges. You will get the full nine damage out of this every time.

Nearly every other mystic combat spell demands you combine it with some sort of chaos bag manipulation to get the best results, either to find or avoid specific tokens. Brand of Cthugha works at full effectiveness straight out of the box.

The one downside is that Brand of Cthugha does not get as much benefit out of charge reloading cards as its higher level peers. Each charge is only worth one damage, so you wouldn't waste time reloading it with a Recharge or Book of Shadows. This is the ultimate Mystic sidearm, not a god slayer, so plan accordingly.

But let's not forget that this card is dual class, too! Most Guardians aren't doing much with their arcane slots, so Brand of Cthugha slots in nicely as a sidearm that doesn't take up a hand slot. This works well for any Guardian who would rather not dedicate their body slot to a Bandolier to hold a sidearm. Tommy Muldoon and his Leather Coat come to mind, along with anyone running Flamethrower looking to save supplies while picking off runts.

clarionx · 181
Does the brand user deal the standard damage to a investigator if he failed the fight roll? — FateACG · 1
I believe so. The "instead of" clause only triggers on success. So that's one more reason to love this card - less risk to your teammates! — clarionx · 181
While I think that is the intended ruling, I think it is entirely readible to interpret it as separate, and since you didn't spend any charges on a fail, it deals 0 instead of it's standard damage. — Death by Chocolate · 1170
Not dealing Standard damage is if you succeed, so you still deal 1 dmg to another player on a miss. — Django · 4207
I think that both opinion are acceptable. When I check Strange Solution, it seems that 1 dmg is applied. However, when I check Ancient Stone, Hypnotic Therapy, and Banish, it seems that no dmg is applied. — elkeinkrad · 320
It lets you use sniper rifles reasonably. — MrGoldbee · 1248

I'm pretty sure this spell has the best "charges-to-price" ratio at 10-2 for Akachi which makes it sort of a Swiss Army Knife for her:

Better than Hot Streak with Spirit-Speaker: For the same 4 xp, Akachi nets 8 resources for 2 cost up front.

Cheapest way to pay off Angered Spirits: Each charge paid is "worth" only 1 damage, compared to 3 damage for Shrivelling (5), plus you still have 6 charges left afterwards.

For the same reason, you don't feel as bad sacrificing charges for Torrent of Power.

Of course you can still attack with it. Finish off whatever health remains after a Shrivelling attack (especially with Sign Magick (3)). Or if you've loaded up with Shrivelling (5), use this to pick off 1-2 health enemies.

Mix-and-match the above. Pay off Angered Spirits, pick off an annoying 2 health enemy, then convert the rest for a 2 resource gain. Or better yet, use up all the charges, then recall to your hand with Spirit Speaker and play it again to reload 10 more charges.

This probably shouldn't be Akachi's main combat spell as the extra charge from her innate is worth less than Shrivelling (not to mention the action loss risk). But it's a great "side arm" to Shrivelling or its equivalents, and is more efficient to use for the other purposes above. In this way, there's a natural upgrade pathway from Obfuscation to Brand of Cthugha (1) to Brand of Cthugha (4) for her "jank spell" slot.

Brand of Cthugha is good fight spell for mystics, and great alternative of Shrivelling. In my opinion, it's fine to get BoC only if your role is flexible, or BoC + Shrivelling if your role is fighter.

Then, what's difference between Shrivelling and Brand of Cthugha?

  • Net-damage is similar in most case: Shrivelling(5) has 12 net-damage as maximum, and BoC(4) has 9 net-damage. However, you can control charge for BoC; if you attack 2-health enemies or 4-health enemies, BoC is better. In most case, net-damage is almost same except boss raid case.
  • Backfire effect is controllable: BoC has terrible backfire effect, which make you lose 2 action which cannot be prevented by Deny Existence. However, you can control backfire unlike Shrivelling. For standard difficulty, chaos bag contains lots of -1 and -2, and single -3, -4, or -5. To avoid backfire effect, you just boost your skill value as "failure only if " or 4 more which only 1 token generates backfire. If you perform attack as last action, you don't need to consider backfire since you have no action to lose.
  • Failure penalty is really small: When you fail a skill test, you have no backfire effect of spell and no charge is spent. Moreover, it's burdenless to attack the enemy engaged with another investigator unlike Shrivelling because they take only 1 damage(or zero? it's arguable) even if you fail the attack test.
  • No synergy with charge-based card, so durability is not good: Since BoC(4) spend lots of charges, it's bad to use charge-based combo such as Book of Shadows, Recharge, Twila Katherine Price, or True Magick. Additionally, it's not good to choose BoC as the target of Knowledge is Power, since you should spend charge even if you play KiP. Thus, if you want to use BoC continual, you should find another method like Spirit-Speaker, Prescient or cycling your deck.
elkeinkrad · 320

This seems like a great combat spell for a lot of characters, mostly of the mystic-guardian typing.

Works well in...
-willpower focused Sister Mary.
-Diana Stanley before she gets her willpower up.
-secondary weapon/dragon pole/willpower focused Lily Chen
-works with Boxing Gloves and Nathaniel Cho.

It's slightly less good for straight mystics since it can't take as much advantage of Arcane Research and Down the Rabbit Hole (but no worse the Armageddon and Eye of Chaos which also only have 1 upgrade step). For this reason Norman Withers might be interested in this he has less Incentive to take arcane research.

Sefina Rousseau, Patrice Hathaway and to a lesser extent Daisy Walker and Carolyn Fern can use the lower level one for a bit of offense (since there is no level 2 attack spell aside from the awful Song of the Dead

Edit: someone pointed out this spell is somewhat similar to the M1918 BAR. This costs way less, does more total damage (by 1), spends no ammo on fail, is safer when attacking enemies engaged to other investigators, and doesn't use your hand slots.

To compensate, Brand doesn't synergize well with ammo stuff, has less potential accuracy (i.e. if you spend 4 ammo at once you can get +4 strength) and less damage per shot (can do 5 damage in a shot vs only 3 on brand).

I think both are good, but brand is slightly better in most combat decks. You have to build around the m1918 bar a bit more.

fates · 18
It was extremely effective in Norman during a 2 player Standard playthough of EotE. — LivefromBenefitSt · 908