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You scout and scout and heal!
Scout, scout, scout,
heal, heal, heal!
It's the Alahazara Show!
...and when you know it's (reasonably) safe, you encounter things.
A starting deck should reflect her major role and awesome power in support: Cures, combat spell (you need one), cards of the other types with the Divine trait, and so on.
|Andrew L Klein|
I love, love, love Alahazra. She can recharge any card with the divine trait to scout, so you load up her deck with divine cards, and then tell everyone where things are. I played 2 scenarios a couple weeks back, and I think I did one combat. In the three player game, we almost always have at least half the blessing deck left because we always know what's coming and don't send anyone somewhere they can't handle.
She can eventually get perception and survival off charisma, and I am all about MOAR SKILLS.
I'm excited for the oracle deck regardless of the characters inside, because it means I can play Alahazra from S&S in OP, and we have yet to see a set that her scouts would not make better.
Some scenarios do render her less effective. (I'm looking at you, Whalebone Pilk. Oh, but what's that second check to defeat? Divine? Have d12+2 to the face.)
I played Alahazra all the way through, and I think she is by far the most powerful S&S toon. One you get the Stargazer role card, she's truly amazing, and she's super solid before that as well.
Before you get the role card:
plan on using most of your hand every turn and then heal it all back, turn after turn. Start by playing three Cures (yes, three), and three attack spells. Play w/ Swab, and try to not use that to explore, but instead to use it to control what you heal back. Old Salt's another good ally, but you're pretty much using the others for their explores. Take blessings card feats first. Pick locations that are light on Monsters. Keep exploring until you run low on explore again cards or you're out of attack spells. Then heal yourself up if you need to, recharge the rest of your divine cards to scout, and draw back up to your hand size at EOT. If you happen to not draw any attack spells, scout a few times before the next player explores to get your hand size down. With three cures in the deck, when I get low on deck size, I opt to not recharge one of the cures so I can also get it back EOT using the divine swap ability.
After you get Stargazer:
Immediately take "may encounter boons when you examine cards". This is super strong. At this point you can drop the third cure, as you'll now be recharging a bunch of diving cards to examine locations rather than discarding them to explore. Focus on locations w/ higher boon counts, though you'll often help out on locations the rest of your party is looking at as well (you'll get a feel for it). I often examine a few times after I reset my hand just to get my cards in hand count down in case something nasty happens unexpectedly. If you draw multiple attack spells, recharge some of them to examine. The best thing about examining is it can never hurt you. You'll even find yourself recharging some of the cures you draw as you'll just have a lot fewer cards in your discard pile than you used to.
Your other big role throughout the entire game is you can bless other people's checks fairly liberally, and that's going to help out a lot. Combining Alahazra and Oloch means there's a slew of checks your party will make that they would otherwise have very little chance of making.
You'll want to get to max handsize (with power feats 1,2,4).
Try and get as many items as possible to be divine. Letter of Marque is also nice for Alahazra, as you get to banish it once you use it so it won't clog up your engine for the rest of the scenario.
Have fun w/ her!
Alahazra doesn't need three cures; she is going to recharge most of her hand scouting decks. Because you are constantly recharging cards from her hand you will get back to the spells you want. If you need a spell two turns in a row then make sure that it doesn't get recharged and discard a Divine spell at the end of your turn to take the spell back into hand.
One of her starting powers gives +2 on attack spells, so you will start the game with d12 + 4 + (2d4 or d6) on attacks. Soon, you will also have various Spheres of Destruction which will allow you to make several combats in one turn, just like a fighter with a weapon.
One of the best spells early on is Find Traps since S&S is full of barriers. Adding two dice to any check against a barrier is awesome and saves Blessings.
Usually I didn't attack monsters until things were well-scouted and there weren't many cards in hand (due to recharging to scout). Once I had Stargazer I would remove all the boons from the tops of decks (sitting at a location with a useful power) and then hit several locations with monsters on top using Pteranodons to move and explore with +d6 to my combat check.
I didn't read Robes of Besmara correctly so I mistakenly thought that an armour slot would be useful. Later, I used it for the Stanching Buckler so that I could turn damage into card draws, getting rid of useless cards in exchange for awesome Divine ones. I would have a massive deck so taking Before You Act damage was pretty much an advantage.
I think we just have a different play styles. For the way I played her, three cures was helpful as she didn't do too much scouting before AD4; she just heavily explored locations and blessed everyone. All the better to take advantage of those sphere's you mentioned. She's a solid early nuker. I ran with two cures for awhile and was having to hold back a turn or two on most scenarios, and with the third one that problem evaporated (and it was easier to heal others, which allowed everyone to play a bit more aggressively).
She'd scout as more of a last resort for cards she couldn't use before hand reset or if we were particularly scared of hitting something at a particular moment (which wasn't common). The problem with scouting pre-stargazer is it doesn't actually advance your position.
Scouting means that the right people go to the right locations and you don't waste cards blessing people so that they survive traps. Every explore counted. She could also scout on other characters' turns. Three Cures is just too many when she can pick them out of her discard pile. It also means you don't have space for spells like Find Traps. What did you do when exploring hit a barrier for which Alahazra didn't have the right stats?
Our group went through S&S without losing a single scenario.
I hadn't thought of her scouting ability as a way to rapidly cycle through the deck ... that's pretty brilliant.
One hitch is that I'd be the only healing in the group, outside of Feiya's Safe Harbor spell, so Cures probably need to take a somewhat higher priority, scouting or not.
(Rest of Group - Swashbuckler, Magus, Gunslinger, Witch. I'm presently playing the Alchemist, and do the lion's share of the group's healing.)
There are many ways to help Alahazra survive. She is a support character, so you should expect that she won't be exploring on her own a lot at first. Some possible tactics:
- Have another character give her a dex-based weapon.
- Give her the Noxious Bomb, if Damiel isn't around. It'll save her bacon one time, at least.
- The Amulet of Life is a good proxy for armor, at least when it comes to starting cards.
- Load her up with attack spells. Her starting deck has 1/3 spells, so it should be rare that she won't pull at least one.
You can use her scouting ability BEFORE moving [either on your own or other player turns] so during early AP's [B-3] you can pretty much ensure that you know what you [or others in your party] will encounter on EVERY explore!
That knowledge should reduce amount of damage taken and you'll mostly need cures to "heal" cards discarded for additional explores.
And once you get the ability to encounter boons... well, you'll pretty much stop exploring with her. I think our record was removing 12 boons during 1 turn without Alahazra doing single explore action [that was in 6 player game... and 4 out of 5 players knew what they'll face on first explore!].
The downside of Alahazra is that you rarely need anyone to explore blindly, particularly with low player counts. Usually we found the villain through scouting and left it on top of its location until the final encounter; henchmen could sit around until the right character was ready to fight and close. Barriers were similarly avoided. If we didn't like the bane on top of a deck, I would use Slip (?) to 'reveal' the top card and then I would 'fail' the Knowledge check to put the card on the bottom.
Pretty much the only reason we had for reckless blind explores were abilities to get free explores.
Pretty much the only reason we had for reckless blind explores were abilities to get free explores.
We didn't have Alahazra scout everything because then she would have to kinda sit on her turn and then draw back up. Especially when she got the Stargazer role, being able to explore on her turn seems pretty important.
But yeah, we usually would try to find the villain and just let him stew for a bit until we were ready. At that point, Alahazra could spend more of her own cards.
If anyone took the other role and built her to blow things up, I would like to hear that went ...
As I mentioned earlier, I still blew things up. You can't scout with your allies, so after hoovering up the boons (or trashing them) and getting free explores because I had acquired an ally or whatever (using the power of the location where I stood) I would use my free explore and allies (including Pteranodons) to take out banes using a Sphere. Once you are a Stargazer your blessings are like souped-up versions of Detect Magic, so you don't want to discard them to explore. Most spells also meet that fate.
I also liked Blazing Servant for when I needed extra flare to my checks. I made sure that I had high-level cards when necessary, otherwise it was a good way to cycle non-Divine cards out of my hand.
I believe that I maxed out items and allies. There were too many good items to let them go away. (You want an attack item in case you are prevented from using spells, Besmara's Tricorn, then healing crystal if the other characters don't keep you from ever seeing it, ... if nothing else, there is alway Token of Remembrance for being Divine.)