Clarification on Ilsoari Gandethus please


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion

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So I reveal the card and put him back on the top of my deck in order to look at the top card of the location deck. If it's a monster I "may shuffle that monster back into the location deck". The word "may" is unclear. Does it mean I can just leave the monster on top if I don't want to shuffle it? Presumably I don't encounter it. If it's a boon or a non-monster bane, I assume I just leave it there and not encounter it. Is that correct?

Many thanks for the help.


I don't have the card in front of me to check and never used Ilsoari, but 'may' means that it's a choice.

If it says "you look at the top card and, if it's a monster, you may shuffle it into the location deck" then the shuffling is optional and otherwise you just leave the card you looked at on top of the location deck. (Similar to what you would do with detect magic, spyglass, etc but they all have their own 'special' things you can do with the revealed cards)


h4ppy wrote:

I don't have the card in front of me to check and never used Ilsoari, but 'may' means that it's a choice.

If it says "you look at the top card and, if it's a monster, you may shuffle it into the location deck" then the shuffling is optional and otherwise you just leave the card you looked at on top of the location deck. (Similar to what you would do with detect magic, spyglass, etc but they all have their own 'special' things you can do with the revealed cards)

Thanks h4appy!


Why anyone would want to use him is beyond me though I think that about pretty much every ally from Burnt Offerings. They are basically human potions as almost all of them are Banish... The additional threat of The Sandpoint Devil popping up for such a meager ability is just not worth it.

I sincerely hope that the 2nd Adventure Pack has much better cards in it as the Items and Allies blew in B.O. with only a few exceptions.


I must agree.

I spent sometime thinking about it and I fail to see any advantage to this ally. He doesn't even provide an explore on discard.

His power is very weak, even detrimental.

You reveal it but it become the next card you will draw... so you are sure to got it back in your hand if you are damaged by the Summon. No easy way to get rid of him.

The 8.33% of chance of facing a VERY HARD encounter mean you aren't motivated to use him unless you have a way to easily evade or beat the encounter. But if this is the case you dont need him to show you the next card, you will just encounter it and use another allie to add another exploration.

The power to reveal the top card without providing a way to encouter it is WEAK, very weak. The fact you can shuffle back a monster to the location deck is BAD, you ruin any attempt made by Augury or other spell to control the deck. If at least you could choose to put it at the bottom, it will only be Weak.

I can't see a character that can benefit from this ally.


Can Merisel evade the Sandpoint Devil? Might have some use then...


No use, because as Merisel can evade any card she doesn't need one ally to waste to look at the top card. Cause wathever it is she can just evade it to shuffle it back to the deck.

That the trick, if you can evade the Devil, you dont need the reveal.


Yeah, but if Merisel evades the Villain, he will be shuffled into all locations whereas if you use Ilsoari, you can just choose not to explore the place until you are ready. The same with henchmen and other dangers; if she is not ready for it, she can get someone else to explore who is able to. The fact that he is put on top of your deck means you can do it every turn, sort of a "safe" explore. If you meet the devil, just evade it.


Hum... not convinced. As this is not an explore per see. This is a plain reveal, with no added chance to encounter the card revealed.

And rather than this ally she can have another one ally in hand that she can discard to beat the villain (2D6 + D8 (or D12+weapon) is enough for the vast majority of opponents) or to explore twice in a round increasing the chance to win the game seriously.

Merisel also have access to Spyglass (she have 6 items) which is her favored way to look for something in our game.

Just compare this Ilsoari with the Elven Archer wich permit the same thing AND provide a way to encounter it.

You are wasting 1 ally and 1 spot in your hand for the ability to reveal the top card before exploring it. This isn't worth the trade per see. The Sandpoint Devil chance of encounter just add injury to the insult.


Just to some of the comments here:

- @Nathaniel's comment: Merisiel CAN evade the devil, he's just saying that even this is a bit pointless.

- @glenn3e's comment: if you evade the villain he is shuffled into his (current) location deck. He is not shuffled across ALL the loacation decks!


Spyglass has limited use, while Ilsoary can be used every turn.... Same with the Archer.


h4ppy wrote:

Just to some of the comments here:

- @Nathaniel's comment: Merisiel CAN evade the devil, he's just saying that even this is a bit pointless.

- @glenn3e's comment: if you evade the villain he is shuffled into his (current) location deck. He is not shuffled across ALL the loacation decks!

Really? Then Merisel's ability just got a lot more useful. My point is the ability to have the chance to know where exactly the Villain is is pretty useful. Especially on a card that lets you use it every turn whereas other cards require discard or recharge.


For an heavy hitter like Merisiel this isn't such a usefull knowledge. And the difference between having a vilain on top or an evaded villain into the deck isn't that massive usually.

Harsk, Lem or Lini could benefit from that information far much... except they all have way to do so more easily or have another use for their allies and they dont want to face the Devil.

Anyway, my point stand, this ally could very circumstancialy provide a minor help to ONE character at the cost of one more usefull ally or 1 spot in your hand.

The more I play the more I like a Recharge rather than a Reveal, especially on cards dependant decks like Merisiel.


For me, it's the lack of a "discard to explore again" that kills Ilsoari and many of the other Burnt Offering Allies. Without this option, their main effect has to be awesome to make it worthwhile - and most of them don't cut the grade.


The point of Ilsoari is that every turn he functions as a way to peek at the top card of the deck every turn and get rid of monsters. Even Amiri and Valeros, who have no problem killing monsters, would rather see boons over banes. He might as well be worded "When you explore, draw two cards. Encounter the one that's not a monster, or the one you drew first if there isn't a monster".

Yeah, he doesn't play nice with Augury, but in that case either just don't use him, or switch locations, or simply choose to not shuffle monsters back in and treat him like a ghetto Harsk.

The problem with sticking him with Merisiel is that her evade anything ability simultaneously negates the drawback while also significantly overlapping with the benefit Ilsoari provides.

Silver Crusade

Possibly encountering the Sandpoint Devil adds a bit of excitement, at least until our Seoni player nukes him from orbit...


I wouldn't claim he's the most useful ally in the game, but he's far from useless, particularly on Merisiel.

Consider doing this:

Play the ally to peak at the top card. Now you know what's coming. It may be a foe better handled by another player (i.e. an Undead foe when someone else is playing Kyra) or it may be a boon which is far easier to acquire with someone else (i.e. you encounter a great spell that Ezren would love, but Merisiel has no chance whatsoever of actually acquiring it).

Or, perhaps you flip over the card at a place like the academy and find the villain/henchmen, but you want to actually acquire the boons present below him? Having control over shuffling/not shuffling the location deck is something you should not underestimate, especially in conjunction with cards that let you scout (augury, detect magic, etc.) without exploring. On Merisiel, the downside of this ally's power (summoning the devil) is completely negated, letting you effectively have the power to explore the top card EVERY turn. That something most characters only get with a power, or that you'd normally have to spend spells on to do. Sure, the scouting doesn't always make much difference, but the point is that there are plenty of cases where is makes a big difference.


It make a tiny différence.

The lack of an ally that provide for extra exploration is a large difference.

And If someone shuffle an henchman or villain back into the deck during Burnt Offering because he want a go at more boon during a 4 players + game I will probably stop playing with him. This is a recipe for disaster and a useless selfish move. 33 scenario to go, every 5 scenario new cards better than the previous ones... No point in grinding in this game.


We'll have to agree to disagree here that the difference is "tiny". As for your assertion that that every adventure will involve new and better cards than what came before, I don't doubt this will be true in some cases, but as many have stated even in this thread, the new cards from adventure 1 in many cases are not preferable to some in the base set. Its entirely possible that cards will become more specialized rather than more powerful across the board, especially to help characters develop a certain roll (as the specialization professions hint at).

But either way, if you don't see the card as being useful, don't use it. I personally think it has potential.


The question is concisely stated thus: will seeing the top card of 1 exploration a turn and the optional shuffle usually save you 1 exploration? If yes, it's a good card (because it could also save you 2). It means Lini can dodge a Hill Giant, or Amiri can avoid a Satyr. It also lets you perform the "oops, the villain is here" location closing dance. Now, maybe you have a character who effortlessly beats more than ~92% of encounters, which means the Sandpoint Devil is worse than the benefit, but every character has at least one bullet they can dodge.

As for "tiny difference", would you ever play Harsk without his scouting power?


@Jaunt ...um yes, I have played Harsk through a complete 6-character solitaire campaign (8 scenarios) without his scouting power because I forgot he had it (and there was nobody else around to remind me)!

Harsk still rocks.


+1 with happy, I also very often forgot Hask power.

And 8.3% chance to wipe your hand for the chance to avoid one monster who could only make you lose half of it ? Lini and Amiri doesn't need that. It is even criminal to suggesti 'Lini use this clown rather than one of her few animals allies.

Revealing top card is mildly usefull, not a true advantage. Revealing and encountering is far better and provided with allies without the drawback.

Silver Crusade

Something tells me this guy will see more use at higher levels, when the Sandpoint Devil isn't as frightening, and people can have more cards/allies in their decks.

But this is definitely the worst scouting card in the game.


Seriously, use him with Merisiel and the threat of the Sandpoint devil is completely negated. Even if you roll that 1 on a d12, Merisiel can evade him. As he's summoned from the box, the whole encounter is negated. It makes the ally a free scout for the entire game. Is it a crazy powerful card? No, just as Harsk's power to scout isn't overpowered. But to claim that its of little to no use is just flat out wrong. I'll grant you, using him in a solo setting is kind of pointless. Using him with multiple characters, on the other hand is quite handy.

There's also a subtle point here about the fact that putting a card on TOP of your deck has advantages as well. For example, no matter what your hand size, it decreases the damage you can take by 1 EVERY turn. You also know what's on top of your deck, so cards that let you draw a card of a certain type or trigger a power for a certain card type are affected (though I'll grant you, at the moment I don't see a major use for having an ally as the top card of your deck).


Again, if you're playing a low-character game that single situation might make him useful, but in a 4+ character game, you simply have to have characters that give you an extra explore. Heck, even the Basic allies that let you recharge to add a d6-10 to a specific check or discard to explore again is way more valuable than knowing what the top card of the location deck is. Plus, I loaded Merisiel with 2 Spyglasses pretty quickly so that ally was never going to be needed with her.


In your opinion, of course. I disagree.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

You guys just aren't getting it. The Sandpoint Devil is a rare Pokemon...you have to use this ally to encounter it. Getting to this rare monster is a "capstone" event that doughty adventurers will attempt to encounter merely for bragging rights. It's not all about what's useful, it's about what's fun. Sometimes, having something that's rarely encountered and difficult to find through the game is just fun. There are lots of items, spells, and monsters like this - The Sandpoint Devil just happens to be the only villain like this.

Also, think of this: encountering and defeating this villain will automatically close a location deck. This is the kind of event / encounter that, as characters get more powerful, becomes more useful than scary / difficult.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I didn't think of using him with Merisiel, but that is actually really quite strong, particularly in a larger game where extra explorations are important, and you have a choice of locations.

This kind of optional reshuffle is about 50% as good as an extra exploration, since half the time the monster will get shuffled under the henchman / villain and therefore won't need to be encountered. So, if during a game you can reliably find 2 monsters and shuffle them back under, he is equivalent to a discard for an extra exploration type ally.

Combined with the scouting power (i.e. finding a villain without having to encounter it straight away, etc) makes it pretty useful if you can nullify the downside.

His power goes down the later you draw him though, since you have less opportunities to use him. I'd have to do some maths to figure out the break even point, which I don't feel like attempting right now :-).

Not sure I would use him on other characters but definitely can't just write him off as useless like I did previously.


Calthaer wrote:

You guys just aren't getting it. The Sandpoint Devil is a rare Pokemon...you have to use this ally to encounter it. Getting to this rare monster is a "capstone" event that doughty adventurers will attempt to encounter merely for bragging rights. It's not all about what's useful, it's about what's fun. Sometimes, having something that's rarely encountered and difficult to find through the game is just fun. There are lots of items, spells, and monsters like this - The Sandpoint Devil just happens to be the only villain like this.

Also, think of this: encountering and defeating this villain will automatically close a location deck. This is the kind of event / encounter that, as characters get more powerful, becomes more useful than scary / difficult.

As it turned out, the first time anyone in my group used this ally, he rolled a one on the d12 and met the devil ;) Even with a pretty heart Harsk, he ended up losing his hand.

As for defeating the devil... as a summoned card, wouldn't this NOT close the location? I hadn't considered this until now. Has there been an actual ruling on this? I thought the rule book says something to the affect of, if you encounter a summoned villain/henchmen you can't close a location that way....


There has been a ruling. Summoned villains do NOT close the location.


Shuffling the deck give you 50% chance of the monster getting under the villain/henchman ? You REALLY believe that ?

Ok, now I understand why you find this card usefull. You didn't thought the mathematics of cards drawing enough.

First of all, even if I contest the 50% analyse I will point out that you have the same odds of : Putting back the villain/henchman down the location deck while he could have been the next card, put the monster back as the top card, dont change the order of the cards stack in anyway.

And you are still short one explore versus using another ally.

Do you guys only play solo ? You sound like losing a turn not confronting a card is low deal but it is not. And if I found the vilain, especially early in the game I will encounter it because it will auto close one location PLUS make a second location far easier to close (vilain + henchman), that is massive number of turn gained.

This game is a race, every card played, every move made should be aimed at lowering the card count in the location deck or, more specificaly, lowering the number of locations cards avaliable as a refuge to the vilain.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I did actually think through the mathematics, which is why it's 50%. You can look at all the permutations of the deck if you don't believe me. After shuffling a 10 card deck, there are 90 possible pairs of positions for the monster and the villain and in exactly 45 of them, the villain is above the monster. The number of positions is different if you have a deck smaller than 10 cards, but the 50% figure doesn't change.

In short, you go from a guarantee of having to encounter the monster to reach the villain, to a 50% chance of having to encounter the monster which saves you half an exploration.

If you do this for multiple turns and encounter multiple monsters, then you end up, on average, with the same benefit as an extra exploration. It's a little more complicated than this since you don't shuffle the monsters simultaneously, but it works out pretty much the same.

Now its true that there are a couple of drawbacks. Firstly it's only on average, so you can still get unlucky or lucky which may not be desirable. It is also useless if there is no villain / henchman left in the deck (if you failed the roll to close the location for example).

The upside of it though is extra knowledge of the location deck, and the fact that if you find the villain, you don't have to encounter it straight away. If you know where the villain is, the party can setup in such a way as to temporarily close all other locations ensuring the villain has no where to run to.

I agree that the game is a race, since I play almost exclusively in 6 character games. I wrote this guy off before due to his drawback, but on Merisiel he might just end up being useful.


Oroniss, I agree with your math (I didn't even have to dust off my PhD in theoretical mathematics to do so) but there's more to it than that. First of all, while you're correct about the number of pairings, their relative position in the deck is quite relevant. For example, even if the monster ends up below the villain/henchmen, there's no guarantee that the very act of shuffling doesn't COST you explorations (since the henchmen/villain could end up lower in the deck than he was before the shuffle). Luckily it works both ways, and he could end up closer than he was before, but this all depends on how many cards are in the deck, as well as where the card was to start with (which in general we wouldn't know).

For a sheer odds perspective, its ALWAYS better to explore rather than scout, except in the case where you fail a check. The point about why this ally is so good is that it allows you to do BOTH every turn, which (if you play smartly) will significantly decrease your odds of failing a check. Combined with the fringe benefits of making it easier to obtain loot, reducing the damage you can take and not having to lose/recharge a card to do all this, the result is card that when used well can make a big difference.


Hi All,

We actually acquired Ilsoari Gandethus in our lunch game today! What a rush. I am in one million percent agreement with Captain Bulldozer that this is nearly the best ally in the game (and I think the spirited debate on this topic was fun to read).

Still, we had some mechanic questions with this ally card that I would like to bounce off you guys.

First off - here's the text on the card:
"During your turn, reveal this card and put it on the top of your deck to examine the top card of your location deck; if it's a monster, you may shuffle that monster back into the location deck. After you play this card, roll 1d12; on a 1, summon and encounter the villain The Sandpoint Devil."

So here are the mechanic questions: We played this ally and flipped the top card of the location deck. It's an Ogre.

Q1: What do we do with the Ogre? I believe it's shuffled the monster back into that location deck or left him as the top card. No encountering/explore is occurring.

Q2: When do we roll the d12? I assume it's after the Ogre is shuffled back into the location deck or left as the top card.

Q3: Wouldn't you know it, my co-player rolls a 1 on that d12. So now it's time to fight that pesky Devil. Ezren has an Invisibility spell. If he's not at the same location as Sajan, can Ezren still play that spell so Sajan can evade the devil? The Invisibility spell says, "Discard this card to evade a Monster." It doesn't say anything in terms of "your location" or "your combat" or "your turn." This isn't one of those "You" situations is it? On the flip side, if Ezren is at the same location as Sajan can that spell be cast by Ezren for Sajan so he can evade the encounter? Looking to confirm an answer on that as it would be a big strategy in our game.

And for fun, I agree on the pro Gandethus points because:
1. Using evade makes it a FREE explore on a simple reveal every turn.
2. Allows you to scout for a monster, villain/henchman, item.
3. 1 on a d12 are good odds.

So we would do our normal explore and do those steps. And then after that explore, we would play this ally to scout the next card. Accidentally summoning the devil with Sajan's small hand size doesn't matter too much as he's probably down to 1-2 cards by the end of his turn anyways. Also, he'll use blessings in his fight and those get recharged before combat damage is taken. If Ezren or Merisiel play the ally, they can use evade powers to shrug it off.

We love scouting in our games. Ezren has two Detect Magics and is still trying to get an Augury (or two). Sajan has a Spyglass. Ezren also has the Andosana ally. Knowing what's coming next just gives us massive flexibility in our current and next turns.

Thanks in advance for the clarifications here,

Ben (and Jason)


Some quick answers for you...

A1: There's no explore/encounter. You choose to put the monster back on top of the deck or shuffle it into the location. (Note that you can play Ilsoari before you explore if you wish, or even before you move - which would then give you a chance to encounter the card you looked at)

A2: Roll the d12 after you deal with the card you looked at and after you put Ilsoari on top of your deck.

A3: This is one of those 'you' things :) Only the spell-caster can evade using that spell - see Vic's post here: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2q51g&page=2?Question-about-Thieves-Tools#6 0

As for your pro-points...

1) it's only half an explore, what some of us call a 'scout' since you can't do much with the card you look at

2) yes, you can scout the deck but it should be weighed against other allies which let you actually explore

3) 1 in 12 is reasonable odds, but the penalty can be severe. And any cards played to defend against the Devil are ones you could have played on the location decks themselves.

On balance, I'm still not in favour of him (I'd rather have an extra crow!) but I'm funny like that.

Silver Crusade

Agreed with h4ppy on all counts, including not liking this guy that much. A scouting card is still a good thing, but he's among the worse scouting cards in the game.

Bonus points for being flavorful, though. If you do use him, face the Sandpoint Devil, and win, you've got serious bragging rights. :)


I'd use him on Merisel at the end of the turn like Harsk's ability and let the next player take advantage of the knowledge he offers. If Devil spawns, evade. Reusable scouting every turn is valuable, as Harsk's ability is nothing to scoff at.


Re-usable scouting is nice, but it still cost you one card from your limited hand.

I can see some people playing it with Merisel, I wont but I can see that. But playing it with Sajan ? A hero notorious for his lack of cards in hand ? What is the point ? Playing with a hand of 3 cards ?


The point is, I believe, getting a free reveal every turn. Plus there are feats for hand size.

Oh, wait, sorry. Was that rhetorical?

And to Fromper - why so much hate (well, lack of love) for Ilsoari but no similar trashing of Spyglass? I could talk about how items are probably more valuable slots than allies. Burglars are bad compared to thieves' tools after all. I could point out that if Ilsoari saves you a single explore (and doesn't screw you with SPD), he's earned his slot. I could also point out that in order for Spyglass to do you any real favors, you either have to find the henchman/villain with it, or you're in such a tight spot that it makes a difference whether you get card A or card B this very turn rather than next. Otherwise, you've spent one fifteenth of your HP to be Harsk twice. The manipulation powers of spyglass are so, so limited I can't see it providing much marginal utility over using Ilsoari twice.

Detect Magic and exploration allies are, of course, awesome, and Augury is even better. I just think that Spyglass is overrated.


I have to agree with @Fromper that I think Spyglass is awesome :) I like it because you can tailor what it does depending on your situation.

But that's part of the beauty of this game. There are lots of ways to play it (and have fun doing so) - some people will get great use from Ilsoari and others won't.

Personally I'd rather have an ally I can discard to explore then heal it back into my deck later - but that's just my way of playing. Others will prefer Ilsoari (with or without the bragging rights from the Devil) and his auto-recharge to the top of your deck.

Speaking of which - @Cheez mentioned Ilsoari travelling with Ezren. That's a really bad idea IMHO since it means he's NEVER going to have a spell on top of his deck!


Agreed with glenn3e. There's no reason not to use it at the end of every turn with Merisiel.
If you find a nice boon, you can have the right character go pick it up. If you find a monster, just shuffle him back into the deck and you get the (already explained) 50% of closing the location before encountering said monster, effectively gaining an exploration (since every non-henchman/non-villain barrier and monster encounter is a wasted exploration).


h4ppy wrote:
Speaking of which - @Cheez mentioned Ilsoari travelling with Ezren. That's a really bad idea IMHO since it means he's NEVER going to have a spell on top of his deck!

Oh you lost me here a little. Can you explain that last point in more detail? I think you're saying after we reveal him, he goes face down on the top of the character deck. Then the next time you reset your hand, he'll be the first card to flip up.

Hmmm - the hand size points are making more sense. We'll have to test him in some games to see how it plays. Fascinating.

Thanks,

Ben


Just meant that, if you play Ilsoari before you play a spell then Ezren will never be able to activate his 'if the top card of your deck is a spell draw it when you play a spell' power.

If you play Ilsoari at the end of your turn then it's less of an issue, of course!


Ohhhhhhhh - excellent point. I totally forgot about that Ezren power feat. Yep...I'll have to make sure Ezren does that ally play at the end of his turn.

Thanks,

Ben


Cheez wrote:

Hi All,

We actually acquired Ilsoari Gandethus in our lunch game today! What a rush. I am in one million percent agreement with Captain Bulldozer that this is nearly the best ally in the game (and I think the spirited debate on this topic was fun to read).

For the record, two things: 1) I never said I though he was the best ally in the game. I actually wouldn't even use him on any character besides Merisiel. I do think that on Merisiel, though, he's quite good.

2) one million percent is far more than you can actually agree with me on anything ;)

It seems to me that quite a few cards in the game are almost worthless on most characters, but really quite good on a certain one. I think this ally is such a card. Much of the debate here is not fundamentally different from people saying that a longsword+1 would be awful on Seoni, and those people would be right. That's just not a good card when Seoni is using it. Similarly, the people saying this guy is bad are basically right, except when it comes to Merisiel.


Ok, I agree with you Captain Bulldozer, you convinced me that this ally could be interesting with Merisiel. Now I have to convince our Merisiel that it is so ;) but I dont think she will like it as she really is on ally that explore.

What is the name of the Elven Archer ally wich Reveal card than recharge or discard to explore ?


Now, that named archer, on the other hand, is a truly awesome card!


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Shalelu Andosana, yeah, she is friggin awesome too.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

She's great! We didn't even know she existed until we happened to see her on the bottom of the ally deck. That very game, we got her as a scenario reward. Replaced one of my generic archers perfectly.

I'm really enjoying playing the game without having read all the cards. Still getting surprises.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I actually think the whole use of the wizard guy and merisiel is useful, I know its no real major card advantage, but its looting possibilities are quite amazing, too often turns are wasted on the monsters in the location decks, she could use the ally to peek, and if its a monster, shuffle it in, and then when she gets to explore, the monster may not be there, and there is the possibility of finding a cool boon, or finding the villain or henchman to defeat, so whether your goal is to end the scenario by winning, or finding good loot, the guy does seem useful , its not groundbreaking but its not useless by any means, cause either way, its potentially better than finding the monster and wasting the turn on it

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