Hey everyone! Today we’re going to be talking about the neutral Great Old One, Byatis!
Byatis comes from the Great Old One Pack 4.
Byatis the serpent-bearded is a creation of Robert Bloch, but we don’t really get to know the full story until Ramsey Campbell describes him in The Room in the Castle.
The concept is that Byatis was captured and kept beneath a Norman castle, ultimately being used by a warlock as a source of power. At night, the warlock would allow Byatis to roam the nearby village where it would grow more powerful by consuming townsfolk, gaining part of their vitality (and size).
That’s the origin, lets see how Sandy has represented Byatis in the game.
First of all, to awaken Byatis, you must have a controlled gate in an area with your Great Old One.
Second, pay 4 power and place Byatis in the area containing the Gate. You’re going to want to be careful “where” you summon Byatis, more on that in a moment.
A quick caveat, as an Independent Great Old one, if Byatis dies, you lose control of it and allow someone else to take control of it. This is a bit different from Terrors or Neutral monsters who are permanently controlled once acquired.
So what do you get for your efforts?
A 4 combat iGoo with a very interesting ongoing ability.
Toad of Berkeley (Ongoing): Byatis may neither move nor can he be moved with movement-type abilities (such as Arctic Winds or Submerge). He can still be Pained. If no enemy Units are in Byatis’s Area during the Doom Phase, earn 1 Elder Sign.
Effectively, if you can hold onto this iGOO and keep enemy units out of his space, you’re going to be getting 1.5 doom points each turn.
Like all iGOOs, Byatis has a spellbook, in this case, The God of Forgetfulness, an action cost 1 ability that makes all enemy cultists in an adjacent selected area move into Byatis’ area.
So how did Sandy do in representing Byatis in Cthulhu Wars? According to the source material, those who look upon its cyclopean eye are forced to walk into its clutches, and since the thing can’t move elsewhere, it does need help bringing victims to itself. Being unable to move except by being Pained can be frustrating to try and force combat, but since it’ll be generating Elder Signs if its left alone, it probably won’t be left alone for too long.
So how do you use this thing? Well it depends on which rules you have access to.
If you’re using the Azathoth neutral spellbooks, there are two spellbooks that can help you out.
If you get the Shriveling spellbook, you can help insure that Byatis won’t easily be sniped. Remember, shriveling acts as a pre-battle action to remove a targeted unit from the battle and give the owner power equal to the cost of the unit shriveled. You always need to be cautious about giving more power to the owner, but the net result is going to be negative since they would have had to spend power to move the unit towards Byatis, then power to initiate combat.
Another spell book that can be useful is Stars Are Right. Stars Are Right makes it so that when you redeem elder signs for doom points, you also gain that many power points. Since Byatis will be giving you extra elder signs, this can be a good way to use those extra elder signs for an immediate advantage.
What about Factions?
When choosing to get Byatis, you’re going to want to look for whether your faction helps move cultists near Byatis and those who are more able to defend Byatis.
Black Goat is a great fit for Byatis. Using Avatar can give you an excellent opportunity to send victims to Byatis. Similarly, you can use Ghouls to move Byatis by giving yourself Pains. Be cautious if fighting Crawling Chaos however as their ability to control Pains could ruin your day.
While Byatis is a decent combatant, I’m not a fan of Crawling Chaos “with” Byatis. Personally, as a Crawling Chaos player, I’d rather my enemy get Byatis because as a target, he’s an excellent way for me to activate Harbinger.
Byatis is pretty nice with Great Cthulhu for the same reason that nearly all iGoos are good with Cthulhu. Immortal. A 4 cost iGoo is another great source of Elder Signs. The fact that then you can gain still more elder signs via Toad of Berkeley is just icing on the cake.
Opener of the Way
There isn’t really any great synergy to Byatis and Opener. However, there “is” a good aspect of this combo, which might be worthwhile summoning Byatis once. One of Opener’s spellbook requirements is to lose 1 unit in battle. Since Byatis generally has a big target on its back, this can be a great way to get your enemies to come to you instead of what Opener normally has to do, which is chase after people.
Similar to Opener of the Way, Sleeper sometimes wants to be attacked. Using Byatis to encourage people to attack you can be an excellent way to take advantage of Demand Sacrifice, which says that as a pre-battle action, your opponents must choose to either grant you an elder sign or count your kills as Pains. If they’re trying to kill Byatis they’ll always choose to give you an elder Sign, and if they fail, you’re likely to get an elder sign anyways from Toad of Berkely.
The Tcho Tcho
Tcho Tcho is a good defensive faction that can benefit from Byatis, but otherwise they don’t particularly benefit since unlike some of the other factions, Tcho doesn’t “want” to be attacked. If you grew Ubbo Sathla to a point that people are afraid to attack him, it might be good to put him with Byatis, but still I’m hestitate recommending him.
Byatis isn’t particularly a good match other than that it is yet another way to get elder signs. 2 GOOs combined with Byatis could be 3 elder signs each round, which is pretty nice, but Byatis is a bit contrary to Windwalker’s normal advantage in mobility.
The Yellow Sign
Typically, if you play Yellow Sign and play Byatis, you’re going to end up abandoning Byatis as you travel around desecrating. However, as a guardian of one of your desecrate tokens, it can help you retain the extra power of having a unit in the same area as your desecrate. For the most part though, The Yellow Sign doesn’t have any need for Byatis.
Overall, Byatis is a good addition to your game. He adds a target that encourages players to interact with each other, and in my opnion that’s a good thing.
So tell me, what do you think of Byatis? Did I miss something, or get something wrong? Comment down below!
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Thanks everyone, and Game on!