In no particular order (and these are hard choices for me because I typically prefer to multiclass rather than consider an archetype for an entire long-haul)....
1. Yojimbo (Samurai/Cavalier) — Toshiro Mifune approves. Trade that horse out for good stuff.
2. Viking (Fighter) — Imagine you're both a fighter and a barbarian in a gesalt campaign, but better that that, and are following up your free swift-action Intimidates with the Hurtful feat. Yes, these guys layeth the smack-down aplenty. (Quite nice with the
3. Eldritch Scoundrel and Investigator (Rogue) — I'm listing these two together because they stack, and very well indeed. The idea here, see, is to spam Ki for nearly unlimited Ninja tricks with a pocketful of Pearls of Power.
4. Freebooter and Skirmisher (Ranger) — More kosher stacking action, because who wouldn't want to play Aragorn as a pirate bard who doesn't need performance checks or animal sidekicks, and isn't a slave to the GM's choice of terrains and monster types?
5. Monk of the Four Winds (Monk) — By mid-level, you’re Uncle Iroh from "The Last Airbender"; at 20th level, you’re Sun Wukong the Monkey King. (And you could probably stack in two or three other monk archetypes as well.)
1) Monk - Serpentfire AdeptOne thing that's always stood out to me about monk in pathfinder is that, while the original core class was weak, the variety of archetypes that it played with without damaging the "what it means to be a monk" that's expressed not just in the original class features, but explored through these new archetype features. I had a hard time just picking one, so I went with one that's not spectacular, but one I want to see a new and improved shot at.
You know, this Archetype is really underappreciated. My Monk was able to one round a pit fiend, fight a Jabberwock, and go head to head with a friend possessed by a god (the DM was tempted to ban Monks after this game, lol).
When you can full round ten attacks at a great distance (either Flying Kick or Pummeling Charge) with advantage on your attacks, skill checks, saves, anything with a d20, all while having ridiculously high AC (second only to the tank proper)...it's amazing. Yeah, at low levels, it's not impressive, but end game? Just death.
Too many great archetypes. I like many of the popular ones, but I've also overplayed some so they don't seem as fresh or interesting.
If we're just limiting this to Core + Alchemist, my top 5 in no order are:
1. tortured crusader (paladin)
2. wyrmwitch (witch
3. cardinal (cleric)
4. cad (fighter)
5. martial artist (monk)
All of these change lots of fundamentals about how I play the character. They also aren't just reskinned. I hope that the PF2 archetypes are unique and not just reskins.