Flame Demons
Flame Demons

These fiery spawns of Satan are the last thing you want to see when you bust down a door. Flame Demons are evil grinning jerks who have come to ruin your day. And if you’re playing a 4 person campaign they’ve come with friends. When you and your intrepid crew find yourself in a situation like this you’ll be ready, because we’re going to talk about how to defeat Flame Demons. 

Flame Demons are easily one of the most dreadful and unattractive individuals we will have the displeasure of engaging with during our tenure as mercenaries. They prove to be such a proverbial thorn in the side that they are the very first enemy I’ve decided to write about specifically. I want you to be armed with knowledge, that you may go forth and cleanse the board of their villainy. 

Overview

They are horrendously well-rounded in all respects and that’s what makes them equal parts infuriating and almost respectable. They have a decent attack, they use that attack at range, they have good movement, and they have incredibly high shields. But even Achilles had those dodgy heels. 

Behind that high shield lies a soft underbelly waiting to be exploited, like a mussel plucked from its shell! For all the Flame Demons’ strength, they have very low health. To paint a picture, even at Level 4 a regular Flame Demon still only has 3 health. 

It is this exact weakness that we will look to capitalize on as we discuss how best to defeat flame demons. 

Retaliate

If ever there was a deterrent to laying down some damage on a fool, it’s retaliate. I wouldn’t be writing about our ever-frustrating current subject of discussion, Flame Demons, if they were a mild-mannered adversary. So it should come as no great shock that they have retaliate to a rather extensive degree. As someone playing a melee class, you may be feeling unjustly wronged at the Flame Demons’ access to retaliate, but let me put your mind at ease and assure you they are an equal opportunity source of frustration. 

Their retaliate is ranged. 

Even our squishiest of ranged allies who would normally go to great lengths to avoid receiving retaliation will at some point be susceptible to it (or be forced to idly wait at the back). 

But I haven’t written this article to list off the tribulations that lie before you, but to help you in overcoming them! As far as retaliate goes, it’s an absolute nuisance to try and get around. It persists through Stun, Disarm, Invisibility, and Shield. There are really only two ways to avoid getting hit with retaliate. The first is to kill the enemy and the second is to be out of range of the retaliation. 

In exploring Option #1, you’ll likely find that it is a very viable option on one enemy. The tricky part then becomes the number of Flame Demons you’re facing. If you’re a party of two then you can use a burner card to great effect to snuff out the flaming monstrosity, but in a party of 4 it’ll require more collaboration than just that. Sadly, more collaboration means more opportunity for retaliation. 

Option #2 is much easier to control (you can tell before you attack whether you’re out of retaliate range or not), but will be much less effective in rectifying the root problem (the ugly grinning fire fool). Because their shields are so high (we’ll discuss further in a moment) ranged attacks often aren’t going to do high enough damage to be able kill Flame Demons and avoid their Retaliate effect altogether. 

Cragheart and Spellweaver 3 hexes away from the Flame Demons
Spellweaver & Cragheart can avoid retaliation by attacking from range

Therefore, my advice is to pair these two tactics together as a 1-2 punch to soften up the Flame Demons from range (likely only doing 1-2 damage) and then using the melee characters to cast the decisive blow and therefore be unaffected by the harsh consequences Retaliate can produce. By letting the ranged attacks go first you’re giving your melee allies a better shot at avoiding 3-4 damage after their attack. This will be highly valuable because if they’re up in the fray they will likely have more damage coming their way before the end of the round. 

Cragheart attacking the front flame demon from range
Cragheart softening up the front enemy
Mindthief moving up and finishing off same front enemy
Mindthief moves up for an Attack 5 knowing the weakened enemy is likely to die before it can retaliate

By letting the ranged attack go first we have one dead Flame Demon (my favourite type) and two right behind that have -1 HP without any of them retaliating.

How To Defeat Flame Demons

The Flame Demons’ signature feature is their crazy high shields. This makes attacking a Flame Demon anything but predictable, even an Attack 4 can be nerve wracking! Go to flip an attack modifier like, “Please 2x, please 2x, please 2x *flip* … -1. How much shield do Flame Demons have?”
Then your friend replies “Three.”
“Okay, so it does… yeah, no damage.”
And as the spark of joy fades from your eyes you’re hit in the side of the head with Retaliate 3. You move your HP dial down by 3 and the Flame Demon grins. 

Steel yourself. For we will go through the options that will enable us to wipe that grin off its face. 

Large, Single-Target Attacks

One way to get around that shield is to simply go through it. There are some classes that will have a high enough attack to still do some damage to the fiery fool even after the shield has been accounted for. With a favourable attack modifier you may even be able to land a one-hit-KO, just because their health pools are so low. The Scoundrel and the Mindthief are usually the two of the Starting 6 that are going to be able to pull off this technique. The Mindthief, though he may be a small rodent and in all likelihood would be flambéed by a Fire Demon, has a wonderfully thematic card for addressing the Flame Demon problem in Frigid Apparition. It’s an Attack 5 (with The Mind’s Weakness), so any positive modifier will likely spell the end for our flaming foe. What is usually a fool-proof and ever-trusted aspect to this attack, Stun, is in this case no more effective at preventing Retaliation than if the Mindthief was to cordially ask the Flame Demon not to retaliate and explain the merits therein. Stun doesn’t stop retaliation, and it doesn’t prevent shield. It’s nice that Stun will prevent the next attack from happening, but for the moment the Retaliate 4 next to a small picture of a fist is what’s off-putting. My advice is to put everything you’ve got behind one attack and try to despatch your adversary in one go. A stunned Flame Demon can still retaliate, but a dead one sure can’t. 

As for our sticky-fingered friend, the Scoundrel, a class that I confess has received far too little attention thus far on the website (a wrong which I am keen to rectify over time), there are a plethora of different options you have that will scratch this proverbial itch. Many of them are dependent on your allies’ position and your enemies position, but they’ll provide lots of opportunity to do enough damage to get past the shield. The card I feel compelled to highlight in this scenario is Trickster’s Reversal. As an X card, it will always be available to you and it was designed for this exact type of enemy. It’s a burner card, so you’ll want to use it on the healthiest, highest-shielded Flame demon you can lay eyes on and seize the opportunity. An Elite Flame demon with Shield 4 and Health 5 will allow you to use Trickster’s Reversal as Attack 10. Even with a -1 that’s a one-hit-KO and you needn’t cast that retaliate a second thought. 

The Piercing Bow

Let me introduce you to the Flame Demon Extinguisher 9000. You want to know how to defeat Flame Demons? This is it, my friend!

If they want to play games, then let’s dance! The Piercing bow is designed to counteract Shield, so I would be entirely remiss if I didn’t mention this wonderful piece of equipment for vanquishing these hot heads. Available at Prosperity 1, usually I’d sell it for 40 gold, but for you I’ll do a special price of only 30. 

While we are discussing this lovely bit of equipment I must call to the stage a dear teammate of ours who struggles gravely with Flame Demons… the Spellweaver. On her own she is the mistress of many talents, and groups of enemies tremble as her elementally-fueled ranged attacks come flying their way. AOEs, range, debuffs, she is a formidable ally, and one that you definitely want in the crypts with you. Heavily shielded enemies however, don’t quite quiver in the same way as the smaller foes. Once you’ve leveled up, and the difficulty is higher you’ll face Flame Demons that have Shield 4 or 5, and the Spellweaver is seriously going to struggle to land any damage on them. The shield is going to absorb pretty much everything. In that instance you literally don’t even need to bother doing an Attack 2. What are you gonna draw as your modifier? +2? Shield blocks it… 2x? Shield still blocks it. That is why if you’re playing as the Spellweaver and you’re heading to a scenario called something like “The Plain Of Eternal Fire” or “Massive Lava Pit” or even if there’s a speck of orange on the location’s illustration that you think could be a bit of lava or a freaking campfire bring the Piercing Bow with you! Cough up the 30 gold, it will be worth every penny, I promise. 

3 coins in front of the Spellweaver where Flame Demons used to be
Picture of Flame Demons after meeting Fire Orbs + Piercing Bow

I shall continue no further before saying that this item is useful to absolutely any character that has ranged attacks. Removing a Shield 4+ (or any shield, really) holds equal, regardless of the attack strength. The reasons I highlight the Spellweaver specifically is because she has very few other options available to her, and she has ranged attacks that can target multiple enemies. Looking at you, Fire Orbs (That is the name of a Spellweaver card, not a derogatory term for the Flame Demons). The Piercing Bow ignores shield values for the entire attack action, so all 3 attacks will be unmitigated by the Flame Demons’ shields.

I’d highly recommend Piercing Bow for the Cragheart for all the same reasons. Turns ranged attacks into Flame Demon killers. Make sure you’re bringing that Backup Ammunition to get the most out of Piercing Bow. You get one shot with it, resting isn’t going to bring it back. 

The Brute already has Pierce baked into one of his cards, and is available with the consumption of Wind on another (Trample and Skewer). The trouble here is that those actions only have Pierce 2 and Pierce 1, so they’ll be useful at the start, but won’t scale very well as the Flame Demons become higher level. You don’t need to fret really because the Brute will also level up and higher powered attacks become available, but the tactics will shift from using Pierce to using large, single-target attacks. 

Direct Damage

This section is a shout out to our rocky humanoid comrade, the Cragheart. There may be other unlockable classes that do direct damage, but it’ll have the same effect, so we’ll just use Craggy for now. 

I won’t rattle off all the cards that are available that have direct damage, but any damage that goes “All adjacent enemies suffer X damage” means the shield has no effect in preventing it. 

So when the Cragheart lumbers through a crowd and crashes to an abrupt halt doing 1 damage to everything around it that is 1/3 of the Flame Demon’s health gone! 

They’re all shield! So bring that slow stoney lump (it’s all in jest, the Cragheart is lovely) along with you and he’ll soften up Flame Demons like he’s tenderizing a pork chop. Then your Spellweaver comes in with the Piercing Bow and you’ll be left with a smouldering empty room of dropped coins. 

Poison

Admittedly, it’s not the flashiest of solutions, but poison will increase the impact of all the other punishment the Flame Demon has coming its way. If the Tinkerer can get that Toxic Bolt on the enemy quickly then that’ll expedite the thwarting process. Sadly, there’s not a heck of a lot else Tink is gonna be able to do as the shields get higher, but again, that’s a prime candidate for using the Piercing Bow (there are only two) if Cragheart is nice enough to let you have it and focus on direct damage. Don’t sympathize for our Tinkerer friend, there’s a certain Level 5 card that will bring Tink to the fore. 

Toxic Bolt is Attack 2, Range 3, + Poison and Earth element. Tinkerer uses it on the elite flame demon at the back of the group
Tink hucks a Toxic Bolt at the elite in the back
Rumbling Advance does Move 2, all adjacent allies and enemies suffer 1 damage. Cragheart moves up next to the enemies
Cragheart lays down the direct damage with Rumbling Advance
Spellweaver uses fire orbs on the flame demons
Spellweaver drops some Fire Orbs on them

In that example it was the Fire Orbs that brought the hammer down, but because the front 2 Flame Demons already had one damage off of them, and the elite was poisoned you’re making it much more likely that they’ll be dead by the end of the round.

Flame Demon Speed

I hope you packed your Prosperity 10 Running Shoes, because these guys are fast. Like fire spreading through a building, you’re gonna have to be Johnny-on-the-spot when you smell smoke. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and where there’s fire there are these flaming lunatics. 

The Flame Demons have 8 potential actions that could come up. Six of them are below initiative 50, so although quick, it’ll also be pretty easy to predict. Of those 6, there are 2 that are below 10, 2 between 20-30 and 2 in the 40s. 

Chart of initiatives mapped out between 1-100
Flame Demon Initiatives

Even though they’re fast you’re almost always going to have an opportunity to beat them to the punch. The actions where they go really fast aren’t too much to worry about because the 03 action has a -1 attack and the 08 action they aren’t attacking. They are, however, laying down traps, and that can seriously screw up your plans if you wanted to get up close and personal. This brings us to our next section…

Flame Demon Traps

Flame Demons are completely unphased by traps. Don’t care about them one bit. If your thought process has led you to the conclusion that traps (especially at higher levels) are going to be a wonderful tactic to deploy against our engulfed enemies then I must first commend you for your proactive planning (shields don’t stop/mitigate trap damage after all), and also direct your attention to the top of the Flame Demons character sheet. There you will find a set of wings. No amount of Push/Pull will get our flying flaming foes into a trap. 

card that creates a trap at initiative 8

When Flame Demons lay traps they have a -1 Move, which means (even though they have ranged attacks by default) they’re going to move closer to you and your allies as if they were performing a melee attack. Then they put the trap down, and I must remind you that the hex has to be empty. Even coins will block it. They do this on initiative 08, so it could mess up a Cragheart charge, or any melee allies like Scoundrel, Brute, and Mindthief. 

Flame Demon lays a trap down in front of the Cragheart
Classic Cragheart charge for 2 damage is ruined

Clarifications

The best way to defeat your enemy is to know your enemy, so I’m going to clear up a few commonly asked questions around the Flame Demons so you can understand what tricks they have up their scorched sleeves. This way when you smash them into a thousand smouldering embers you’ll have the peace of mind knowing you did it fair and square. 

Card 633 “Target All Adjacent Enemies”

Flame Demon Card 633 Attack +0 all adjacent enemies

On Card 633 the Flame Demons do Attack +0 and Target all adjacent enemies, but because they have a ranged attack as default, the question then becomes, is it adjacent to the target of the attack, or adjacent to the Flame Demon? 

The answer is the latter. When a monster with an attack has a range (or lack thereof) specified on the attack card it overrides whatever the character sheet says. The creator himself explained that Card 633 turns the Flame Demons’ regularly ranged attack into a melee attack. The tradeoff is they lose range but gain multiple targets. 

Card 631

Flame Demon card 631 saying Attack +0 two hexes in a straight line

Card 631 has Attack +0 going in a straight line. Seems easy enough, but the reason for clarification is that you can be within Range 2 of the Flame Demon and not get hit by this attack. It all depends on how the hexes line up. 

There’s no movement on this action, so wherever the red hot fool is standing, that’s where it’s attacking from. Sometimes this means the original focus of the Flame Demon can’t be attacked, and it will move on to whomever the next closest (or next lowest initiative) character is. 

Cragheart and Mindthief standing two hexes away from the Flame Demon. Cragheart can be targeted, Mindthied can't
Example Time

In the example above, Mindthief has the faster initiative so it is the primary target, but because of the arrangement it can’t be hit by Card 631. Cragheart gets attacked even though he equidistant from the Flame Demon with a slower initiative (and is not the primary focus). This is because a monster will try to attack its main focus as it’s #1 priority, but if the main focus can’t be attacked it moves on to the next enemy until it can attack.

Flame Demon Hot Coals

People were wondering how in the name of the Great Oak, does it work out thematically that Flame Demons would be impacted by hazardous terrain such as hot coals. They’re made of fire, how does that make any sense at all?
It doesn’t, and they aren’t. They fly. They are completely unaffected by hot coals, or any other terrain. 

Flame demons flying over hot coals
They don’t care

You now have the skills you need to go forth and defeat Flame Demons. Where once they were a source of frustration they will now be an opportunity to relish the vanquishing of a very worthy adversary. Get past that shield and it’ll be as satisfying as the hisssss when you pour a bucket of water onto a campfire. And don’t forget, a dead demon can’t retaliate!

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