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I played a game of Lords of Waterdeep and received The Xanathar as my lord, who in my opinion is the worst of them all. My question is are there any viable strategies to win with the Xanathar, knowing that my opponents will avoid having minimal if any corruption tokens at the end of the game? When playing this lord I always seem to end up in dead last, due to not having access to any bonus points.

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As a general rule, you should be looking to take more actions that give you corruption than the other players. For all players, these actions give more resources than other actions in exchange for an end-game penalty. For The Xanathar, this end-game penalty is less than it is for other players. If you end the game with no corruption tokens with The Xanathar, then you haven't taken any advantage of his strategy, and you have just played the way you would have with any other Lord.

If you end the game with 10 corruption tokens, and no one else has any, then you will get -40 from the penalty, and 40 from The Xanathar's bonus. It is NOT accurate in this case to say that you got no bonus from The Xanathar. Rather, you got a 40 point bonus. The -40 that you got is theoretically offset by the extra-powerful actions and quests that you had throughout the game.

While other players will be taking those extra powerful actions and quests sometimes, they will also be spending other actions to get rid of corruption. Either way, this means that the player who ends with the most corruption should have gotten more out of their actions throughout the game than other players.

This doesn't mean that you should go crazy with taking corruption. If you have 19 corruption tiles, for -7 each, then the bonus isn't going to be enough to save you from that.

Finally, keep in mind that The Xanathar is more difficult to play than the other Lords, and it very well may be weaker in general.

Here are a few threads where this is discussed in depth:

How to win with the Xanathar

Xanathar, Halaster, Sangalor: New lord cards broken?

The Xanathar

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I play on the iPad and I've been having to exclude the whole expansion, because there doesn't seem to be a way to just remove The Xanathar.

The problem is that there is really only one, very specific scenario where the bonus is of any real value: If you end the game with little or no corruption and all of your opponents also have at least that much. If everyone else has no corruption (or at least less than you), your bonus is effectively negated.

Since the strategy for this ecpansion seems to be ridding yourself of as much corruption as possible by round 8 (given that there are quite a few ways to do that), most games seem to end up where The Xanathar's bonus is basically worthless.

If there weren't ways to get rid of corruption and/or there were more ways to force your opponents to take corruption, it might be worthwhile, but as it is, it relies way too much on your opponents playing badly.

Cheers, cScott

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    This doesn't make sense to me... If corruption hurts you less than it hurts any other player, then you should be ok with ending up with more corruption than the other players. If you have less corruption than the other players, then you aren't taking advantage of the fact that your corruption doesn't hurt as much.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 4:18
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I just played the Xanathar on the PC version and I was able to win, which is why I came to this thread because I was also looking for strategies to win as the Xanathar. I was nervous the game because I didn't think I was playing the lord correctly. But my plan worked out. Basically, I tried to gather as much points as possible. I completed quests that were in the mid level reward range (12-18 points). I bought buildings that were popular and gave me good rewards. I ended up with no corruption at the end, because the level was up to -9 and I would have lost points. I feel breaking even is better than losing points.

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  • "I tried to gather as many points as possible" - good plan! Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 12:22

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