MM Ezren - Build Options & Review


Pathfinder Society Adventure Card Guild


1 person marked this as a favorite.

On request, I'm writing up my own perspectives on the use of Mummy's Mask Ezren in PFSACG, including how he may interact with legal Class, Character and Add-On Decks, as well as how he may perform in each season of play. This is aimed at intermediate players, but I'm happy to respond to questions or contribute to other discussions in this thread as they come up.

Why Ezren?:
Ezren is a character rather close to my heart, and MM Ezren perhaps especially so, given that I'm nearing completion of a play-by-post playthrough of Season 4 - Faction's Favor, run by MorkXII whilst playing an Ezren using Hell's Vengeance 2 and the Ultimate Magic Class deck. Said Ezren is my second PFSACG character, and will certainly be the first to complete a full (non-Goblin) Season. During said campaign, perhaps the biggest highlight to his great efficiency as a character was creating an effectively 'infinite' move-and-exploration combo on three different occasions, each through different means. Some of these turns went for well over 30 encounters before finally finishing - usually by reaching the end of the scenario.

A combination of about 360 posts with him in Play-by-Post games, plus experience with playing him with the default Mummy's Mask set, have given me a well-rounded understanding of his character, and so I'd like to share how I understand he can be built and utilized in various Organised Play seasons.
==============

Previous Reviews:
For those of you interested in seeing some short reviews of various PACG-related material, I made a short review of most Class Decks in the past (with an even shorter, abridged version linked in that document), as well as a rather longer review of each Base Set character and their strengths and weaknesses, from the perspective of playing the set they're from. Around the forums I've also dropped occasional sort-of reviews too, so this post can be seen, perhaps, as a sequel to analysing how you can use Athnul with Ultimate Add-On decks.

Note that they may be outdated in various ways - I may have acquired new Class Decks that I never reviewed, in particular Ultimate Wilderness, which wasn't out when I made all of those posts/documents.

Sometime in the future, perhaps I'll gather these in a central location - such as a series of Google Docs with an 'Index' doc linking to each. Although if I'm entirely honest, I suspect I will scrap all of my previous reviews and work when the next set of Pathfinder is out with all of its rule-changes.
==============

But onto the actual review. You can skip this first post if you just want to read about Class Deck/Add-On deck suggestions, since this is just describing the strengths and weaknesses of his core character and role cards, and where he normally performs well, agnostic of the specific boons he's using.

Mummy's Mask Ezren - an Overview:
The third printing of the iconic wizard; all printings of Ezren share the following features in common.

  • They all have 1d12 Intelligence, 4 Intelligence skill feats, and Arcane: Intelligence +2.
  • They all features a hand size of 6 by default.
  • They all feature no card slots for blessings.
  • In order to make up for the lack of blessings, they all have some kind of means of exploring with a character power.

    Mummy's Mask's version of Ezren has 4 power and power-like abilities to note.

    MM Ezren wrote:

    Hand Size 6 ☐ 7

    Proficient With: ☐ Light Armors
  • On your turn, you may discard a spell (☐ then you may move). Then explore your location.
  • When you encounter a bane that has the Acid, Cold, Electricity, Fire, or Poison trait, ignore its immunities.
  • You may recharge a spell to add 1 die to your check against a bane that invokes the Acid or Electricity (☐ or Cold, Fire, or Poison) trait.
  • (When building your deck, you may treat any blessings that do not have the Divine trait as items.)
  • First, and most famously, MM Ezren is able to discard spells for movement and explorations; which will most often be the feature that may compel a player to pick this version of Ezren for a PFSACG character over other wizards, as you can stack his deck with spells that give him the flexibility and power to overcome monsters, barriers or even help acquire boons and close locations, whilst allowing them to double as exploration outlets. If you are making heavy use of this power, especially in the early tiers, it's recommended that you play Ezren alongside a dedicated healer, as he can be pretty card-hungry.

    Ezren's remaining powers are closely tied into Mummy's Mask set themes, in particular their focus on "Elemental Traits Matter".

    Second, Ezren may ignore all immunities of banes that have elemental traits, which is a very conditional power without much immediate value - but it does allow him to explore with only one type of attack spell in hand and being far less likely to be stumped by an immune-enemy, particularly if he carries spells with multiple elemental traits like Eruption. Unfortunately, it must be noted that there are no monsters in Rise of the Runelords, Skull and Shackles or Wrath of the Righteous that have these traits (yes, I checked); because giving elemental traits to monsters (as opposed to boons) wasn't done until Mummy's Mask, as part of its theme. As a result, this power is entirely nullified if you're using it outside of Season 3 or 4. (Whether barriers have these traits or not isn't relevant, since they don't have immunities, generally.)

    Third, Ezren may recharge a spell to add a die to his check against a bane that invokes an elemental trait*, which is also relatively rare (though not nonexistent) in RotR, S&S or WotR, but moderately common in all tiers of Mummy's Mask play. This can let him turn a spare spell into a quasi-blessing to help with both combat and noncombat checks against some (MM) monsters and barriers. Even so, the limitation of targeting can hurt it, and the cost of recharging a spell is rather high - if you simply have the right spell on you, it's often more useful to simply cast it for its power if you can.

    In my personal experience, I probably use this power less than once per scenario, on average, in Season 4 (Mummy's Mask) gameplay.

    *It's extremely important to note that a bane invoking a trait is distinct from his checks invoking an elemental trait. Using an Acid spell won't let you add a die with his third character power; you need to be making a check against a bane that has the Acid trait or a bane that would only be dealing Acid damage, for any reason (including a location or scenario power).

    Fourth, Ezren has a special deckbuilding rule that allows him to use non-Divine blessings in his deck... unfortunately, there are precious few ways to take advantage of this in PFSACG unless he uses an Ultimate Add-On deck besides Ultimate Magic and Wilderness (the two most spell-heavy Add-On decks). For most MM Ezrens in PFSACG; the deckbuilding rule is entirely irrelevant.

    Due to the lack of elemental traits on banes, and the relative rarity of banes that only deal one type of damage in all non-Mummy's Mask sets, MM Ezren will find that two thirds of his character powers have virtually no relevance scenario-to-scenario if he's playing in a non-Mummy's Mask set/season, and so I do not recommend his use outside of Seasons 3 and 4, just as I wouldn't recommend Jirelle outside of S&S.
    ==============

  • How you may play him (Pre-Role):
    Like any other Arcane Caster, he's a powerful combatant (if you have a spell to expend), with a general weakness to multi-check monsters and/or summoned banes, which will eat into his supply of methods of combat over time. Everything else that determines his general strengths is largely defined by the spells you give him; whether dealing with barriers, heal, acquire cards, close locations, examine locations, support allies or maintain longer strings of combat checks.

    Expanding his 'exploration' power with the added movement is a significant increase to its effectiveness, particularly in larger teams. Having a movement ability (albeit during his turn) basically on tap allows him to exploit advantageous location powers such as Surgery, or avoid negative effects, or move him into position to handle temp-closures or handing off boons. In the later post-role tiers, being able to move with this power is integral to exploit some very long exploration-combos when combined with certain effects that let him repeatedly reset his hand mid-turn, such as Curse of the Sphinx or Fiendish Sphinx, such as what I linked in the original thread.

    His "add a die" power may not be worth building upon with a Power feat, depending on your planned build and general strategy; as mentioned previously, I didn't find it used all too much. With that said, it does improve him at locations that convert all damage into an elemental type, including (but not limited to), the Windswept Chasm, the Tarworks and (sort of) Chisisek's Tomb, as they effectively render all monsters and barriers capable of doing damage vulnerable the power. Otherwise, that power will generally always be a useful tool against a number of MM banes, particularly barriers, that he'd be hard-pressed (if not impossible) to defeat without support, such as Toxic Geyser, Poison Spiked Pit Trap and Acid Pool, among others.

    In summary, Ezren is a consistent wizard when played with Mummy's Mask, trading out the supporting options and versatility of blessings for a driven capability to deal with most banes that he comes across, and able to turn his spells into numerous benefits if their powers don't suit the situation - dice, explorations and movement. Furthermore, he takes great advantage of Seasons 3 and 4 offering you Traders, so he can trade off even more of his card slots for Spells - his most prized card type.
    ==============

    Ezren has two very distinct roles; one that emphasizes his combat potential and pushes it as far as it can go, whilst the other expands his versatility and capacity for explorations, whilst offering a higher total hand size. By the time you reach Tier 4, you should have a good idea whether you've found his combat to be lacking or not - that is ultimately likely going to be the deciding factor for your choice.

    Arcane Bomber Role:
    MM Ezren, Arcane Bomber wrote:

    Hand Size 6 ☐ 7

    Proficient With: ☐ Light Armors
  • On your turn, you may discard a spell (☐ then you may move). Then explore your location.
  • When you encounter a bane that has the Acid, Cold, Electricity, Fire, or Poison (☐ or Construct) trait, ignore its immunities.
  • You may recharge a spell to add 1 die (☐ or 2 dice) to your check against a bane that invokes the Acid or Electricity (☐ or Cold, Fire, or Poison) trait.
  • ☐ Add 1d4 (☐ 1d6) to your check that has the Attack trait.
  • ☐ When you fail a combat check that has the Attack trait, you may bury (☐ or discard) a card to reroll the dice; take the new result.
  • ☐ You may display a spell that has the Attack trait next to your location. While displayed, add 1d6 (☐ 2d6) and the spell's traits to combat checks by characters at this location. At the end of the turn, discard the spell.
  • Most of the power feats are straightforward, with Power 4 simply adding to your combat checks and Power 5 giving yourself rerolls for good measure.

    I would consider the first power feat of Power 5 to be the best one to start with of these, as a full reroll is the equivalent of squaring your odds of failure, which is far more statistically significant than +1d4. The "Bury a card" cost will only ever come up if you initially fail a check; and as it should be an infrequent cost I wouldn't bother spending another feat to drop it down to a discard.

    Consider a hypothetical; you've cast Eruption to pass a Combat 25 check. You're rolling 1d12+6+4d6, which gives you 65% odds of passing. +1d4 will bump that to 81%, whilst a reroll will increase your effective odds to about 88%.

    Other than the straight combat improvements, the role also allows an Ezren to get around golems standard "immunity to the attack trait" by adding Construct to the list of banes he can pierce the immunities of. Personally, I find it a rare enough situation that I meet Attack-immune enemies that I'd rather just pack a non-mental Evasion effect to get around them, myself, or just take the hit to armor. It can also dramatically improve the effectiveness of his 'recharge a spell to add dice' power, though it too may not come up quite as often as a player would like.

    Finally, an Arcane Bomber can expend spells to add 1d6/2d6 to combat checks for a full turn, which you can stack if you continue getting into combat checks and have a sufficient number of Attack spells to do so. This is most likely best served to support his allies, however: +2d6 to combat checks for a turn at a location is nothing to sneeze at, and allows him to backup exploration-heavy (but combat-light) teammates phenomenally, becoming the best friend of any Olenjacks or Lems in the group. It's a costly power, though, best combined with methods of healing.

    So this role can expand Ezren's options against element-invoking banes (particularly barriers), it lets him deal with Golems and it lets him support allies at his location. If you were bringing Ezren into Wrath of the Rightoues (for some reason) I would probably advise for this role to maximize his combat checks, but otherwise I don't personally feel it's often necessary; wizards usually are some of the stronger combatants as-is.
    ==============

    Spell Sage Role:
    MM Ezren, Spell Sage wrote:

    Hand Size 6 ☐ 7 ☐ 8

    Proficient With: ☐ Light Armors
  • On your turn, you may discard (☐ or recharge) a spell (☐ then you may move). Then explore your location.
    When you encounter a bane that has the Acid, Cold, Electricity, Fire, or Poison (☐ or Undead) trait, ignore its immunities.
  • You may recharge a spell to add 1 die to your check against a bane that invokes the Acid or Electricity (☐ or Cold, Fire, or Poison) trait.
  • ☐ You may play 2 spells on a check; only 1 may determine the skill you use for the check.
  • ☐ While you play or when you would banish a spell, you may recharge a spell to gain the Divine skill equal to your Intelligence skill (☐+2).
  • ☐ When you would discard a spell that has the Arcane trait for its power, you may display it instead. At the end of your turn, recharge all such spells (☐ or shuffle them into your deck).
  • My preferred role for MM Ezren 9 times out of 10, with virtually every power feat greatly enhancing some facet of Ezren, or expanding his options greatly.

    Spell Sage offers the largest hand size, giving you the most options/explorations/spells for a given turn, and allows you to use Divine spells. Carrying at least one powerful healing spell is often a good use of a spell slot for Ezren; you can use it for an exploration or a die with his powers, or you can act as an emergency healer when needed. Most importantly, perhaps, is that Spell Sage allows Ezren to recharge spells to (move and) explore, allowing for a truly phenomenal exploration and movement rate, particularly alongside the Season 3/4 Trader mechanic to stack himself with even more spells.

    I consider those listed powers to be among the best ways to spend feats. However, beyond all of that, Ezren can also sort-of 'auto-recharge' Arcane spells, as long as they are discarded from his hand (rather than, for example, being displayed). He can ignore the immunities of Undead (not particularly helpful unless you're kitting him out with Mental/Poison spells), and - curiously - gain the ability to doublecast spells on a check, useful for stacking 'supportive' spells (+X to a check) with whatever spell he's using to define his check (such as an Attack spell or Fire Snake).

    How useful his 'doublecast' power will be is greatly dependant upon the Class Decks you're using Ezren with.

    Either way, Spell Sage raises the efficiency of his 'core' power (explorations), expands what he can fill his spell slots with, and allows him to weave spells together in more creative and complete ways without worrying about running out of cards, and it's rare that I wouldn't advise this role.
    ==============

    As a brief summary of this entire post:

  • Like any other caster; Ezren's strengths are largely tuned to his spell selection, but is a strong combatant that can be worn down by damage or sequential combats.
  • Spells are even more useful to Ezren than most casters, as he can turn them into bonus dice against some banes in Mummy's Mask, and turn them into movements and explorations - arguably his key power.
  • I would strongly advise against playing Ezren outside of Mummy's Mask.
  • Be sure to learn the exact definition of a bane invoking a trait if you wish to play as him, and remember it can apply to various noncombat checks.
  • His Spell Sage role greatly expands his options and strengths.
  • His Arcane Bomber role, whilst pushing for a combat-focus, is not a role I would usually advise (outside of specific parties or Wrath of the Righteous playthroughs).


  • Putting in a request for Varril :)


    Awesome post! Much appreciated
    Looking forward to the rest of the analysis


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Bigguyinblack wrote:
    Putting in a request for Varril :)

    Consider it added to my list; an interesting character, there. I'll probably cut down on the length of my future reviews - this is me still learning to focus my analysis down to the relevant chunks.

    ===================================

    Moving on to how Ezren interacts with the Boons of various Class Decks. As a wizard, Ezren has 3 Class Decks available to him, as follows:

  • The Wizard Class Deck is the obvious, iconic deck for wizards, but it sometimes lacks in up-to-date boon designs. It is, however, adequately powerful for standard use, and has some uniquely impressive late-game allies and items.
  • The Pathfinder Tales Character Deck may be played with base set Wizards, and offers a great selection of boons across all card types, and is a safe, flexible and downright fun basis for any Ezren.
  • The Hell's Vengeance 2 Character Deck may also be played with base set Wizards, and offers some individual, very high value boons and spells, but is clumsy to work with due to the numerous downsides of Corrupted cards and the few ways to overcome them if you're not a natural character from the deck. However, an Ultimate Add-On deck can cover that weakness very well.

    I will make a summary analysis on the boons that each Class Deck offers to him. In another post, I'll look at what boons are offered by each Ultimate Add-On Deck, then I'll finish off with my recommended deck combinations and overall strategies. You can largely skip this post if you already know which Class Deck you will use with MM Ezren.

    Ezren - What Boons and Loot does he want?:
    Fundamentally, Ezren wants the best suite of spells that his Class/Ultimate decks are going to offer him - that's a given. But what should these spells be doing?

    In my opinion, Ezren is usually going to be highly capable in combat one way or another, and so whilst it might be tempting to look for the strongest Attack spells, I will usually instead recommend that players keep an eye out for spells that allow Ezren to pass checks he wouldn't normally be able to. Having spells like Fire Snake, Glamour or Disable Mechanism will let him deal with more card types and situations than his party members would, and allows him to create a diverse spellbook with a card for every eventuality.

    Spells can be turned to scenario-long bonuses, like the excellent Steal Soul, or turned to powerful defensive or supporting options, like Stone Skin, Fly or Cauterize. Consider what kinds of checks you often have trouble with, or how you can best assist the specific powers of the players in your party, and use these to determine your 'spellbook' of options.

    Other than spells, Ezren will always carry an Armor slot and a Weapon slot - two slots which are harder for him to make use of than Items or Allies, in general. Try to pick a Class/Ultimate deck that will give you at least one high-value card to slot into here - and I'll give a special mention to the Armor Slot. The Armor slot might be the only type of card that will serve a purpose that a spell could not completely replace - there's some really strong Armor cards out there, as I will be discussing.

    As far as playing Ezren in Seasons 3 and 4, I will stress that Ezren makes excellent use of Traders to expand his spell count. Personally, I even found myself wanting to trade away as many nonspells as possible, as it would allow a bigger ratio of his deck to be of his essential card type.

    As far as Loot Options go - whilst I won't go through all of the possibilities - some key early Spells and Armor loot might include Disable Mechanism, Akhentepi's Armor or Scarab Buckler, providing solid methods of dealing with difficult Barriers, BYAs and/or providing healing.
    ==============

    Ezren + Wizard Class Deck:
    The Wizard Class Deck is a safe, standard bet for a Class Deck. Whilst it has some missteps with underwhelming weapons, armor and lower-tier Items, it does feature more or less everything you need for Ezren to perform well, and a strong variety of spells.

    Let's look at what boons it offers, in order of card type. I will not be linking to each, but you can find them via the Wizard Class Deck page on the wiki.

    Weapons: Ezren will not find much of note in the Weapon slots, given his 1d4 Strength & Dexterity, combined with his lack of proficiency. Thankfully, Seasons 3 and 4 allow him to simply trade away this slot if need be. Otherwise, it has the following boons of note.

    -Spellsword +2 (AD4); which can be recharged to recharge a spell from your discard pile - effectively using your Weapon slot for a psuedo-Staff of Minor Healing.
    -Force Sling (AD5); which can be discarded for a 5d4+1d6+3 (average of 19) combat check for an Ezren without Dexterity skill feats, which is an acceptable filler card, but only that.

    Spells: A strong selection of spells, but primarily anti-monster, movement and deck manipulation spells here - limited means to deal with barriers, boon acquisition and closing checks.

    -Augury (AD1); a staple, powerful location-deck manipulator, invaluable for drawing henchmen/villains to the top of a location or pushing other monsters (or barriers) to the bottom.
    -Sphere of Fire (AD1); An early Arcane+2d6 attack spell... that can be displayed to use Arcane+1d6 for a full turn of combat checks, covering Ezren's weakness to multi-check banes or summoned banes nicely. Note that it lasts until the end of your turn, so it's a great spell to display if you have to encounter a summoned monster off-turn. It remains relevant for more of the Season if you're an Arcane Bomber Ezren, and can make up for the weaker combat checks.
    -Scrying (AD3); an even more powerful location-deck manipulator; so strong that it stopped being printed before AD5/AD6 in later Class Decks.
    -Displacement (AD4); A powerful Mirror-Image like spell that renders you immune to all damage from monsters about 83% of the time; invaluable to deal with BYA and AYA damage incidences.
    -Life Leech (AD5); A weak attack spell, stapled onto a self-Cure. This is a particularly significant card for Arcane Bomber Ezrens, who can get around its weak attack power whilst letting it heal them of the spells they've been discarding to explore.
    -Bewilder (AD6); A great way to deal with any non-henchman, non-villain bane; bypassing BYAs, AYAs and getting a new exploration in the process! If you're using this card, this is a strong reason to actually take the powers allowing MM Ezren to ignore the immunities of Constructs or Undead (especially Undead), since the only weakness of this spell is how often banes are going to be immune to it.
    -Disintegrate (AD6); A powerful attack spell that also can obliterate a variety of barriers; a must-include in ANY Ezren deck with the Wizard Class Deck.

    There's also the unusual Arcane healing spell Safe Harbor, but I personally think that spell's pretty awful, and I wouldn't recommend it unless you were at a party that lacked a Divine caster at all.

    Armors: Possibly the single worst element of this Class Deck; there's virtually none of note. I wouldn't recommend trading away Armor entirely, but you'll probably get better Loot options than these.

    -Blackcloth Armor (AD2); It buffs your combat check by 1 sometimes. That's it. Yay.
    -Lesser Bolstering Armor (AD4); If and only if you are in a scenario where combat damage is being thrown at you from some effect, this is good. Otherwise it's way too hard to even trigger its only relevant power for it to be useful.
    -Robe of Vision (AD5); Certainly the most impressive 'Armor', and Ezren can even use Perception... but the use of the Perception skill (Even in WotR and MM, where it's more common than RotR or S&S) is just not that common, unfortunately. If you find yourself happy leaving it in hand for emergency protection, though, it's alright.

    Items: The Wizard Class deck has some items to cover Ezren's weaknesses (Sapphire of Intelligence and Codex), but they're often of only middling value compared to what other Class Decks can offer - or what he can usually do with his spells. I'm looking to list the items that can benefit Ezren in a way that his spells probably cannot, so his Item Slots aren't just spent on "worse-spells".

    -Ring of Protection (AD2) // Mist Horn (AD3); Perfectly decent way to protect yourself from incidental damage from BYAs, AYAs and (in the case of the Ring) Scenario Rules or damage required to close locations.
    -Staff of Minor Healing (AD2); A classic easy heal every time it's drawn; useful to offset Ezren's card-hungry playstyle a bit.
    -Staff of Heaven and Earth (AD4); Almost certainly the best item of this Class Deck, and the only one that isn't really able to be replaced with a card from an Ultimate Add On deck. At the cost of a spell (Ezren should have plenty) this will get you through normally insurmountable barriers, freeing Ezren's concerns about almost half of the banes he might be facing.
    -Headband of Epic Intelligence (AD5); Pushes your checks in combat, in recharging, and in various other ways besides; a good item, though likely mostly to support your Recharge checks so much.
    -Pearl of Magic (AD6); A high-value self-'heal' item, best for Arcane Bomber Ezrens, as Spell Sage will rarely find their spells being discarded in the first place (and is able to carry actual healing magic), and plays well with Arcane Bomber's ability to discard spells for +2d6 bonuses to combat as well as to explore. Note that you get to choose which spells to heal - it's not random.

    Allies:

    -Lizard (AD4); Similar to Staff of Heaven and Earth, the Lizard gives Ezren a new capacity to autopass checks he'd normally be unable to pass. If you have certain teammates in the party (like a Hunter), you may wish to take this ally just to pass off to someone who's capable of making Stealth or Survival combat checks. The best party member to exploit this with is likely Class Deck Lini, who can use Survival in combat and can draw animals from her discard pile, allowing her to re-use it as an "autopass combat" option every turn.
    -Clockwork Librarian (AD5); An extremely powerful buff to Ezren's core checks; all but guaranteeing a passed Recharge check or massively improving his combat odds even with the weakest of spells. Likely an automatic include for any Ezren.
    -Mountaineer (AD6); A solid armor-like power with a narrow, but incredibly powerful Reveal power. In a party with a Hunter (or a Shifter) that's likely to make Survival combat checks, Mountaineer should be an automatic inclusion. If you're in an S&S campaign, the importance of the Survival skill should also render this an automatic inclusion.

    Blessings: Not relevant; there are no non-Divine blessings that Ezren may use.

    The Wizard Class Deck trips up in its mediocre Weapons and Armor offerings, but it - oddly - excels best in its late-game Item and Ally offerings. It carries a wide variety of useful spells - Scrying of particular note, as opposed to the other Class Decks you can take - but the spells are not consistently unique or better than what you may find in other Class Decks and Ultimate Add-On decks. The late-game Items and Allies, however, have some genuine treasures to sift through.

    All in all, by using the 'auto-pass X check' allies and items, and taking advantage of the self-healing options it provides, I would be reasonably happy taking the Arcane Bomber role of Ezren's along with this character deck; letting his boons (rather than his character powers) expand his options whilst he just ensures he blitzes any monster he encounters.
    ==============

    Ezren + Pathfinder Tales Character Deck:
    The Pathfinder Tales Character Deck is a fun, well-rounded deck full of creative boons and - in particular - excellent allies. It offers a wealth of creative options and is one of my all-time favorite Class Decks.

    But it doesn't have the same quantity of Spells, nor might it have the same powerful end-game Items or Allies (in particular, they no longer give out "autopass X check" powers on boons, mostly). Is it really worth watering down the spell focus of the Wizard Class Deck for the more generalized - if more 'modern' - Pathfinder Tales Character Deck?

    Let's find out, and once again look at what boons it offers, in order of card type. I will not be linking to each, but you can find them via the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck page on the wiki.

    Weapons: Unlike the Wizard Class Deck, there's actually a decent selection of weapons - several of which allow Ezren to cover checks that he'd normally have a hard time passing, which is a great use for a boon type he may not otherwise be thrilled to use!

    -Captain's Cutlass (AD1); Whilst merely 'okay' overall, and useless in combat without proficiency, the Cutlass does allow you to support Ezren's Dexterity and Charisma checks, assisting him against barriers and allies. As an added benefit, it can sometimes help protect Ezren or a party member from damage.
    -Hrym (AD2); Hrym's actually usable in combat, able to be discarded for a combat check of 1d4+2d8+1+AD# (average of 12.5+AD#) and also skip AYA powers. But in truth, it's actual merits lie in its ability to give Ezren a strong Diplomacy check, and also giving him a special interaction to increase the value of one of the allies in this Class Deck. Hrym is almost certainly Ezren's weapon of choice from this class deck for the entire Adventure Path.
    -Striking Wing Scimitar (AD3); I love this weapon for it's free movement power - admittedly, something that's much weaker for Ezren, who can move freely with his power during his turn anyway. However, it's still a useful off-turn option to set yourself up for Temp-Closures, or get into position to heal an ally or provide them combat support post-role, whichever Role card you took.

    Spells: Pathfinder Tales offers various creative spells covering a variety of uses, with a lot of overlap with the Wizard Class Deck. What it loses in some options of movement and examinations, it gains in a slightly greater emphasis on helping acquire boons.

    -Good Omen (AD0); Whilst it starts out underwhelming, this becomes a pretty useful card around AD3 or so; providing support to checks that Ezren may not be inherently good at. Even in the endgame it maintains relevance, as a +7 to close a location can potentially allow even an untrained party member to close a location automatically, even if they weren't suited for it. It can also help Ezren acquire spells (including Divine-only spells that he's worse at acquiring), as all spells are valuable to stack his hand with.
    -Steal Book (AD0); Speaking of stacking his hand with spells; a safe card to hold onto to automatically acquire an Arcane spell flipped over by anyone at the table - a nice way to stack his deck with more spells over time, even when he's not exploring.
    -Augury (AD1); It's here, same as the Wizard Class Deck.
    -Aqueous Orb (AD2); Same as Sphere of Fire in the Wizard Class Deck, but usually a bit better. As before, it remains relevant for more of the Season if you're an Arcane Bomber Ezren, and can make up for the weaker combat checks.
    -Swipe (AD3); A middle-of-the-road combat spell that can allow you to auto-acquire valuable boons for your allies; practical and flexible, and often will be taken for the full Adventure Path!
    -Elemental Skin (AD4); A corner-case spell, but useful at locations which force all damage to be of a given type, and somewhat supports the use of Hyrm (or support your melee-oriented allies).
    -Safety Bubble (AD5); A display-and-forget spell (my actual favorite types of spell) that helps allay any source of damage for a while, and includes your party members to boot. Particularly valuable for Defensive Stance scenarios that Seasons 3 and 4 throw at you!
    -Disintegrate (AD6); It's here, same as the Wizard Class Deck.
    -Ride the Lightning (AD6); A downright COOL attack spell. It costs you a lot of cards, but it's of an almost unmatched power level and allows you to blast through any opposition for a full turn - whilst throwing immunity to Electricity and free movement atop that. I would strongly prefer this with Spell Sage Ezren, since the Arcane Bomber is less likely to have the cards spare to discard, and doesn't need this level of combat magic anyway.

    Armors: Much like Weapons, Pathfinder Tales has some actually valuable armor slots for an MM Ezren; one of the reasons I find Pathfinder Tales more fun! You may want to take Light Armor proficiency for a Pathfinder Tales Ezren.

    -Red Leathers (AD0); A perfectly acceptable card to hold onto for the Adventure Path, if you'd like - an emergency +1+AD# to any check after the roll is a lifesaver, even (or especially) in AD6, where it's a full +7. It also provides a one-off damage avoidance, and added benefits to Diplomacy along with Hrym, what's not to like?
    -Skyplate Armor (AD5); A pure, versatile, wonderful piece of armor. Reveal to reduce damage, recharge to move at will (even during an encounter, interestingly, which has some curious rules interactions), can add to your Electricity spells for combat or recharging and Ezren can potentially recharge it to reduce damage taken to 0! Wonderful card!

    Items: Sure, Pathfinder Tales won't give you the "Auto-defeat a barrier" item, but it has a suite of versatile, powerful, great item options at all tiers that consistently surpass the Wizard Class Deck's in most areas. Items that can allow you to explore, items that can be revealed to buff your checks against a variety of opponents, items that let you examine location decks, etc. Some of the most interesting items include...

    -Riffle Scrolls (AD1); Riffle Scrolls allows you to more happily utilize Divine spells for healing and the like, as well as enabling recharge checks for your Arcane items. Depending on your Add-On deck, it's a good way to give Ezren more powerful Cure-like spells without worrying about banishing them pre-Role, and whilst they're in your hand you can always use Divine spells for Ezren's other powers perfectly fine.
    -Wand of Flame (AD2) & Necklace of Fireballs (AD4); Actually strong item-based method of Attack, unlike what the Wizard Class Deck offered; allowing you to carry more utility spells instead, if that's your preference.
    -Wayfinder (AD3) & Crystal Ball (AD4); Powerful deck-manipulation-and-explore cards, if you're too protective to spend your spells on explorations. Perhaps a bit better for Arcane Bomber Ezrens, once again.
    -Numerology and Runes (AD5); "Reveal to add 1 to any of your checks" is effectively a free skill feat in every skill - definitely good, and even better when you can also use it help triggering Mummy's Mask overkill consequences. It also provides situational reroll abilities; most likely used on a recharge check, in case you really wanted to avoid discarding a key spell.
    -Ring of Regeneration (AD5); Possibly the best healing item in the game - hold it in your hand to heal 2 cards a turn, every turn. Invaluable, once again, for the more card-hungry (and Divine-less) Arcane Bomber Ezren, where you quickly learn to stop fearing spell discards.
    -Lacuna Codex (AD6); The ultimate item of the deck; +2 to all of your checks against monsters (combat, BYA, noncombat; all are fair game); and when necessary you can use it to selectively draw a new spell into your hand to cover for all sorts of eventualities, as you're Ezren, of course. Certainly another must-have item for any Ezren, regardless of your build!

    Allies: Pathfinder Tales covers a range of allies, with a continued theme of many of these unique, named Allies referencing one another in their powers, usually allowing them to heal each other; often meaning that discarded allies will end up healed one way or another for free. Right down to and including the basics and AD0 allies, the average quality of ally is very high (even if the absolute peak power is pretty standard), but I'll only pick out the absolute most remarkable for reference here so I'm not here all day.

    -Rodrick (AD1); Discard to draw a card from your discard pile. Of your choice. In other words, you can replace it with the best card from your discard pile; and if nothing else you can always intentionally discard a powerful spell (rather than attempt a recharge check) and then use Rodrick to cast it again. Plus, he allows you to automatically recharge Hrym - the excellent weapon - from your discard pile! A great fit for Spell Sage Ezrens with Divine magic, as doublecasting healing spells is particularly powerful.
    -Shy Ratani (AD2); An excellent exploration power; stapling a relevant, helpful bonus whether you encounter a boon or a bane in the process.
    -Isiem (AD6); A great exploration power, and a convenient combat boosting power.
    -Torius Vin (AD6); Synergizes with multiple other allies, can turn any of your allies into a "recharge to add 1d6 to any of your checks", and buffs your explorations with him meaningfully - particularly useful when it buffs both combat and recharge checks.

    Blessings: There is a single Blessing of the Elements, so Ezren can take it as an item if he wants. Not particularly relevant in the long-term, but an excellent use of an Item slot to start with, especially as it's basic.

    The Pathfinder Tales Class deck has no real weak point to speak of, and it's a fine basis for Ezren, regardless as to your role card or Ultimate Add-On deck. If there's a particular strength, it's the powerful item and ally suite from Tiers 1 to 6, with fun decisions to make with every adventure. If there's a particular weakness compared to the Wizard Class Deck, is that you don't get the advantage of certain hyper-specialized items and allies that the Wizard class deck provided - most notably those that allowed their wielders to automatically pass certain checks, or checks against certain banes. Such boons could be leveraged (with some creativity or party compositions) for some incredible results, but ultimately the boon options of Pathfinder Tales will always capture my interest most.

    A strong, rounded recommendation.
    ==============

    Ezren + Hell's Vengeance 2 Character Deck:
    As mentioned, my own triumphant PFSACG MM Ezren character is proudly representing the Hell's Vengeance 2 Character Deck, a deck featuring a wide variety of unique, unusual, powerful boons... many of which come with steep costs for their use, or a higher than average degree of complexity.

    As I hinted at earlier, an issue that may be faced is that MM Ezren may find less overall boons in this Class Deck to be desirable to him compared to the Wizard or Pathfinder Tales decks. This is, in part, because of the deck's emphasis on Corrupted cards (which, unlike its native characters, Ezren cannot take full advantage of), but it's also because the deck is shared with two weapon-oriented characters and a spellcaster that's dedicated to working with drawn monster cards (similar to a Summoner), which are playstyles with limited overlap with MM Ezren's power set.

    So why did I pick this deck, despite it appearing to suit him poorly? Because it has a very specific set of very powerful cards that can completely redefine what he can and can't do - Ultimate Add-On decks can provide the rest of the quality boons that Hell's Vengeance may not be able to inherently provide, after all.

    Let's dig into some of these excellent boons, in order of card type. I will not be linking to each, but you can find them via the Hell's Vengeance 2 Character Deck page on the wiki.

    Weapons: This is a deck themed around an Inquisitor and an Assassin, with little overlap for Ezren. There is, however, one particularly integral weapon which may single-handedly convince players of the incredible power this Character Deck offers.

    -Hungering Staff (AD1); Quite possibly the main reason to consider this Class Deck for any wizard; the Hungering Staff can be revealed to use your Arcane skill in combat, with more power than the +2d4 normally offered by AD0 spells. Feed it a spell, and it starts functioning more in line with an AD3 spell in power.

    The Hungering Staff gives Ezren a card which he can hold onto in hand and reveal to deal with the simpler combat checks over and over, effectively overcoming his weakness to series of summoned banes (or multi-check monsters). Even in later Tiers, keeping the Staff around allows Ezren to deal with lower-AD# banes without expending precious spells, effectively giving you more explorations and more freedom to fill your spells with utility, defensive, supportive or healing magics.

    You can easily augment it's limited combat potential by stacking buffing effects. Create Mindscape, Steal Soul, Elemental Skin. Yes, Elemental Skin works as using the spell technically means that you're making a Melee check, as the staff has the Melee trait. Furthermore, the Staff lacks the Attack trait - this might not play well with Arcane Bomber's powers or Ezren's Favored Card Type, but it does mean it ALSO provides an easy method of dealing with golems and other Attack-immune enemies. It doesn't count as using a spell, so feel free to use it along with some kind of buffing spell, too!

    This weapon is a perfect card to fill Ezren's weapon slot, and I happily kept it with me for the entirety of Season 4, without regrets.

    -Staff of the Hooded Cobra (AD5); Not as impressive as the Hungering Staff, but this Staff can be discarded for an okay combat check (1d4+1d6+1d12+6, or an average of 18.5), whilst also allowing you to discard spells to ignore Combat or Poison damage - not bad.
    -Master's Lash (AD6); A fine card to discard for a decent combat check (1d4+4d6+8, or an average of 24.5), and can be revealed to provide a small buff when you (or a party member at your location) are using spells for combat in a more traditional fashion. I'd still look to Hungering Staff first, though.

    Spells: There are less spells here than the Wizard or Pathfinder Tales decks offer, and a few of them are either Divine-only or unlikely to fit with Ezren's playstyle, such as Channel Corruption, Brand of Hobbling and Blasphemy. However, it has at least two pretty much must-have spells, one of which is completely unique to this deck in all of PACG, and these will greatly expand the effectiveness of an Ezren player.

    -Glamour (AD2); Unique to this Class Deck, and incredibly powerful - especially in 5/6 man parties. Glamour allows Ezren to clone another character's skillset (in addition to his own) for a full turn. Clone a cleric to cast Divine spells, acquire Divine spells and acquire blessings. Clone a Rogue to get past various barriers. Clone a Fighter to make use of that weapon you picked up (without proficiency). One way or another, Glamour massively expands Ezrens options for dealing with barriers, closing locations and acquiring boons of any type, and in conjunction with a spell like Steal Soul may ensure that he actually becomes better than the best member of your party at completing any given task,
    -Animate Dead (AD3); Unique to this Class Deck, and highly exploitable, as a spell that may draw anywhere from 1 to 5 (usually 2) monsters from the box to your hand. I personally did not make use of this spell, but you can use it to draw up monsters to expend to powers (such as combat rerolls by Arcane Bomber Ezren) or damage, or use in conjunction with the monsters-matter theme of this character deck. Note that Ezren is not going to be as proficient as Nyctessa with exploiting Monsters-Matter effects, of course... with one exception (which will be discussed in the "Items" section).
    -Stunning Barrier (AD3); A powerful, non-Mental evasion spell. Whilst it's unfortunately unable to be used against villains, Stunning Barrier is a brilliant spell to deal with standard monsters; throwing them to the bottom of a location deck without triggering their BYA/AYA powers. But it also is a good way of dealing with henchmen that you're unable to defeat, or whilst at a location you're unable to close; since you can just evade them and leave them on top (or as far down the location deck as you want, in case you want to spend some more explorations to acquire boons). Flexible and consistent; one of the better non-AD6 evasion spells printed.
    -Life Leech (AD5); It's here, same as the Wizard Class Deck. Once again advised for use with Arcane Bomber Ezren, rather than Spell Sage.
    -Steal Soul (AD5); Along with Glamour, likely the best spell here; Steal Soul allows you to boost all of your checks by 1d4 for an entire scenario. Combat, noncombat, recharge checks, closing checks, boon acquisitions, barriers - everything. An average of +2.5 to every check you make, without even having to dedicate a hand slot to holding something up, is a phenomenal virtue that pushes Ezren to even more remarkable heights (whilst also allowing him to surpass any other party member in a given skill check, often, along with Glamour). A must-have in any Ezren deck.
    -Canopic Conversion (AD6); I love Canopic Conversion, in principle. It's a powerful combat spell which can then 'seal' a monster away to provide a straight-up bonus to anyone's check of any kind when it's most needed, and I've had the personal joy of being able to add a flat +12 to integral checks thanks to it a couple of times. Unfortunately, I've expressed the opinion that MM Ezren should stick to Mummy's Mask... and AD6 Mummy's Mask is overwhelmingly populated by the Undead, so be wary of relying on it, and never leave it as your only method of combat.
    Sadly, piercing the immunities of Undead (via Spell Sage) will still not allow you to use Canopic Conversion against undead.

    Armors: Glamour and Steal Soul are great, don't get me wrong; but probably the most compelling reasons to take Hell's Vengeance 2 is actually for its Hungering Staff weapon and, curiously, some of its Armor. You may want to take Light Armor proficiency for a Hell's Vengeance 2 Ezren.

    -Advocate's Armor (AD4); In my opinion, probably the best armor in PACG, or at least close to it. Good damage resistance, useful passive benefit and, best of all, it can be recharged to replace itself with an ally from your discard pile, providing both a self-heal and a card draw at the same time. When combined with one particular Ally of Hell's Vengeance 2, this can lead to some very impressive turns by Ezren!
    -Aegis of Recovery (AD6); Much like Ring of Regeneration from Pathfinder Tales, Aegis of Recovery offers a powerful, consistent method of self-healing which will be invaluable for Arcane Bomber Ezrens; trading off a bit of healing-over-time a suite of powerful defensive and utility effects.

    Items: Likely the weakest facet of this Character Deck, for Ezren. The majority of the 'good' Hell's Vengeance 2 items are locked behind punishing Corrupted-trait associated consequences, which are difficult (though not impossible) for Ezren to work around. In the unlikely event you wish to use MM Ezren in a Season of the Righteous/WotR playthrough (or if you're using him alongside a Hell's Vengeance 1 character), the items will become far better by enabling the use of the Redemption mechanic. Instead of looking at all of the items constrained by the Corrupted trait, I'll instead highlight a couple of monster-themed ones, but it's entirely likely you'd fill your Item slots exclusively with Ultimate Add-On deck boons instead.

    -Sanguine Talisman (AD2); Some situational merits; this item lets you stack your hand with monsters over time (useful discard fodder for powers or damage), and can buff your combat checks if you can manage or avoid the downside. You'd need to build-around this card to have it pay off, but if you want to go for a Monster-themed Ezren you will likely want this card.
    -Robe of Bones (AD4); The most infamous card in this deck, and the most exploitable. The primary purpose of Robe of Bones is to allow you to banish monsters in place of discarding spells to their power, letting you turn any monster into effectively an extra copy/cast of your favourite spell. One of the premier spells to use with this power is Channel the Gift, which, when re-cast, lets you bring your entire spellbook to mind for use as you see fit.

    However, it must be noted that Robe of Bones also allows MM Ezren to banish a monster in place of discarding a spell for his (movement and) exploration power. Should you choose to pursue a monster-based playstyle for MM Ezren, this card (and this card alone, for the most part) is the key payoff, as spells such as Animate Dead* and items such as Sanguine Talisman start offering you suites of new explorations.

    In my playthrough, I did not make a monster-themed Ezren, and such a build would be almost entirely reliant on this single Item to function well, but I'm recognising the power of it. Note that a Spell Sage Ezren's "Recharge a spell to explore" and "auto-recharge Arcane spells" power feats both become weaker in the face of what Robe of Bones offers, so such a build may prefer to pursue Arcane Bomber.

    (*Do note that Animate Dead and Robe of Bones can create a hugely exploitable infinite loop, which trivially allows Ezren to move and explore infinite times whilst being able to take virtually any amount of damage without consequence, by being able to draw every monster from the box with ease. I recommend against this exploit, at the very minimum by having Animate Dead display itself until the end-of-turn, preventing it from being used with Robe of Bones.)

    Allies: Much like the suite of Items, many of the "best" allies in this class deck are inhibited by being closely tied into the 'Monsters-Matter' or 'Corruption-Matters' themes of the deck. Instead of discussing cards such as Animated Skeleton, Animated Zombie, Animated Horde or Unfettered Imp, however, I'll look at a couple of gems that any MM Ezren may find invaluable.

    -Ukobach (AD0); Believe it or not, I consider Ukobach to be one of the best Basic cards in all of PACG, and I happily considered him my best ally even in the finishing stretch of Season 4. He replaces himself and explores, which (combined with the fact that most of Ezren's deck can provide explorations) will often mean he's worth 2 explorations by being in your hand. Combine that with Advocate's Armor drawing him back out of the discard pile, and Ezren can achieve some very, very long turns, if he desires. Plus, you can use various items in the deck to search Ukobach out, if you so desire.
    -Crimson Assassin (AD4); Crimson Assassin offers a decent edge when exploring with her, but also can be buried to add the AD# to your combat check post-roll; a valuable safety net which you can hold onto until you choose to discard her for an exploration.

    Blessings: Not relevant; there are no non-Divine blessings that Ezren may use. There is a blessing that does not list the Divine trait (Blessing of the Prince of Lies), but it's a certain misprint, as it oddly lists the blessing trait, when it clearly should be the divine trait, as it's symbolic of Asmodeus.

    Hell's Vengeance 2 is a glorious mess of some of the greatest boons you will ever give to Ezren (starting from AD0), some of the greatest build opportunities and exploration rates... and also coming with a glut of awkward, self-punishing and non-relevant cards. This Character Deck offers the highest complexity ceiling of an MM Ezren, but - along with the right Ultimate Add-On deck - also unique, exploration-rapid, resilient and flexible options for Ezren builds that consistently perform best in large party sizes.

    When considering this Character Deck, confirm to yourself whether you want to skip the monsters-matter theme (as I did) or delve into it entirely. If you choose to delve into it; do you want to be playing as MM Ezren, or would you rather Nyctessa, or even Darago (if you have the correct player boon)?
    ==============

    As a bonus - since it's very relevant to the discussion on Hell's Vengeance - I'll have a brief (if sort of spoilery) observation on relevant Player/Convention Boons that you may utilise with MM Ezren, if you're interested. Keep in mind that these, by their very nature, will not be available to all players, nor should they be pursued just for the sake of using an MM Ezren with them.

    Ezren + Some Player Boons of Note:
    Unconventional Firepower: As given out as a part of Gameday VII (for example), the Unconventional Firepower boon allows a character to use a gun and a piece of ammunition from the Gunslinger Class Deck. Most of it is wasted on Ezren, except for the AD6 Enervating Pistol, which is a fine way to fill his weapon slot if you're not playing a Hell's Vengeance Ezren, which offers a powerful supporting power as well as a way to easily shuffle your deck, on a weapon that doesn't require Proficiency.

    Season 3 Adventure Path Reward: For those who have already completed Season 3, the special Blessing of the Sages Loot Blessing is a non-Divine blessing which can be given to Ezren, and greatly benefits two skills he does have. I would encourage it's use with an Occult Adventures 1 or 2 character first, however, due to the high significance of Knowledge and Perception in those decks.

    Season 3-P (Capstone): For those who have already completed Season 4 in addition to the extra "Capstone" challenge, this reward will allow Ezren to go to the Sunburst Market Trader in addition to another Trader choice. This allows him to trade 2 nonspells for more spells, bringing his effective max spell count to 11, rather than 9. This can greatly push his character, given how much more valuable spells are expected to be over any other card type, and he should always be happy to take a Cure or Remove Curse spell.

    Season 4-P7 (Capstone) - Deal: For those who have already completed Season 4 in addition to the extra "Capstone" challenge (note that there's some funky business currently going on with getting your hands on the 4-P7 PDF, which is supposed to be free, to my understanding), you may allow a character to pick out some boons from a Hell's Vengeance Character Deck to add to their Class Deck, and allow them to ignore the Corrupted trait on a boon once per turn. This is an incredibly powerful Player Boon, and not to be used lightly - it enables a whole suite of new builds, strategies and terrifyingly powerful combos (for example, Book of the Damned with Mother Myrtle), and the MM Ezren options are not necessarily the strongest use of it.

    However, it does completely change how Ezren may approach the use of Hell's Vengeance 2 boons, when he can consistently ignore the Corrupted trait on its cards. Furthermore, it allows him to pick out a Hell's Vengeance 1 boon to throw into the mix, which might include The Asmodean Disciplines to permanently Redeem his cards, or plenty of other powerful options. If you somehow own two Hell's Vengeance 2 Character decks, you can also double-up on a Corrupted boon of your choice.

    Now that's a scary thought.
    ==============

    As a brief summary of this entire post:

  • The Wizard Class Deck is a perfectly sufficient Class deck, featuring a strong Spell lineup with some remarkably potent end-game items and allies... but lacking in impressive Weapons or Armor. It supports an Arcane Bomber role, even though my general recommendation remains Spell Sage, and can particularly support Survival-based party members in the lategame.
  • The Pathfinder Tales Character Deck features a highly comparable spell lineup, but promises more diverse and interesting boons, better early-game items and allies, strong armor, at least 1 decent weapon, and even a non-Divine blessing. The Pathfinder Tales Class Deck is my general recommendation for MM Ezren, regardless of the Season or his role choice. (In fact, it interacts quite positively with both Seasons 3 and 4, which is where I recommend Ezren be used.)
  • The Hell's Vengeance 2 Character Deck features a small suite of extremely powerful boons, most of which will not be found in any Ultimate Add-On Deck, which provide Ezren with some extremely powerful, even build-defining, new options. Despite the very high power level, a large number of its boons may be difficult or undesirable for Ezren's use due to their strict theming, and so it should only be selected by the adventurous players - ideally those who also have an Ultimate Add-On deck to be used with it.
  • Hell's Vengeance 2 has some very interesting build options - certainly worth a read.
  • Your spells will fundamentally define what your MM Ezren can do, but consider how he's going to use his Armor and Weapon slots! Furthermore, consider how much effort you want to put into keeping him healed up (such as Pathfinder Tales is well-suited to ensuring with its self-healing allies and relevant items) or whether you want to emphasise his exploration rate or check power.

    Hope you found something thought-provoking in the post. Next up; Ultimate Add-On decks with Ezren!


  • Thanks Yewstance. I remember trying to do this but could never find enough focus (because you could write literally pages on pages on pages. I feel like this type of thing needs to be focused to be useful)

    You've given me some inspiration on the focus part.

    Also, this could be a useful blog series for Paizo, if they want to have more content.


    zeroth_hour2 wrote:

    Thanks Yewstance. I remember trying to do this but could never find enough focus (because you could write literally pages on pages on pages. I feel like this type of thing needs to be focused to be useful)

    You've given me some inspiration on the focus part.

    Also, this could be a useful blog series for Paizo, if they want to have more content.

    Yeah, I'm not sure my focus is great - I have written pages and pages, I've just carefully put them into spoilers. Practice makes perfect, though - the linked Google Docs reviews I did showed that I did a good job compressing/abridging down longer reviews on a second attempt.

    I'd happily volunteer my time for a Paizo blog series - in particular, I'd love to do so when the Core Set comes out and I can look at the new characters and how they may perform with pre-existing Class Deck boons. For the time being, I'll look to continue improving my style and readability; and to that end, I'm happy to take requests!

    (Also I made an error in my last post; I referred to a Season 4 capstone reward when I meant to type 3, but it was clear in-context what I was referring to.)


    I like this level of detail.
    Gave me a few Aha! moments, particularly in your process of analysing boon functions to prioritise for different characters
    Much appreciated


    Yewstance, that is just perfect. Is there any chance of getting something like this for Enora?

    Occularium Arcanist seems just so much better than the other options that it makes me wonder if I'm missing something.


    Gelarshie wrote:

    Yewstance, that is just perfect. Is there any chance of getting something like this for Enora?

    Occularium Arcanist seems just so much better than the other options that it makes me wonder if I'm missing something.

    Thanks for the positive feedback! I'll happily add her to the list!


    Yewstance wrote:
    Gelarshie wrote:

    Yewstance, that is just perfect. Is there any chance of getting something like this for Enora?

    Occularium Arcanist seems just so much better than the other options that it makes me wonder if I'm missing something.

    Thanks for the positive feedback! I'll happily add her to the list!

    Was this still something you were interested in doing, Yewstance? I got to Tier 3 for Enora with a combination of the Ultimate Magic / Occult Heroes 1 Character Deck and I'm not as satisfied with this combination as I thought I'd be. Most of the OH goodness seems to be high level.


    Absolutely! Unfortunately, these just take a lot more time than I expected, and I'm not someone with a lot of free time between my own Play-by-Post commitments and work. ^^'


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    (Sorry for the delay; busy few weeks for me. Only one more post to go after this for the Ezren review!)

    Moving onto my favourite part; the Ultimate Add-On Deck analyses. Thankfully, a lot of these can be skimmed over because they won't inherently support Ezren much.

    This is likely the 3rd of my 4 posts making up my Ezren review. Again, I intend for future reviews (if I make them) to be way shorter, and I'll work on reformatting them better.

    You can largely skip this post if you already know which Ultimate Add-On Deck you will use with MM Ezren. (Spoiler: Ultimate Magic is a very safe bet no matter what.)

    Ezren + Ultimate Combat:
    Ultimate Combat is, in my opinion, the single weakest Ultimate Add-On deck. Whilst it features a variety of top-quality weapons, it fundamentally provides very little to do anything besides support the Combat checks of its users... but it wants to be used by Ranged, Melee and Heavy Armor wielding characters, who tend towards having strong Combat checks already.

    How often do you see your Fighter fail combat in the first place? They don't need better weapons - they usually need more ways of dealing with barriers and other noncombat checks or accelerating their explorations, and Ultimate Combat offers relatively few ways of doing those. As a result, I usually encourage fighter-style characters to pick Ultimate Intrigue before Ultimate Combat, but there are going to be exceptions.

    As for Ezren... there's a small handful of things here to make use of, especially Spells and Armor, but it's not going to provide a wealth of options.

    As usual, you can see the referenced cards via the Ultimate Combat Add-On Deck page on the wiki..

    Weapons: There's basically little to nothing for Ezren, besides some weapons which might be enough to pass a combat check if you discard/bury them. For the sake of argument, a small quantity of weapons of note are...

    -Spirit Sword (AD3); Useless to Ezren as a weapon, but it can be recharged to auto-defeat a non-Henchman, non-Villain Undead monster. It's a decent sword to give to Ezren in Seasons 3 and 4, to be traded out some of the time and sometimes taken into scenarios - particularly those that feature locations that give all monsters the Undead trait!
    -Flaming Longsword +3 (AD5); Largely useless as a weapon, again, but it's a decent bonus to a nearby character's combat check on recharge. Some
    -Celestial Crossbow +3 (AD5) & Mace of Smiting (AD6); Two end-game weapons which are okay in combat against specific (but common) bane types - about an average of 20+ even in Ezren's hands. Not great, but sometimes alright filler, particularly in the Undead-heavy MM set.

    Spells: So whilst the Ultimate Combat add-on deck won't single-handedly fill your Spell slots, it will provide plenty of Attack spells and a few spells of specific note, such as...

    -Stone Skin (AD1); Possibly the main appeal of the deck; a remarkably powerful spell that can be dropped onto any member of the party in a pinch to render them virtually immune to all damage save for situations where they fail combat badly. It's extremely rare for any out-of-combat effect to ever do more than 4 damage to a character, after all.
    -Aqueous Orb (AD2); It's here, same as the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck.
    -Burst of Glory (AD5); A solid spell for Spell Sage Ezrens with parties that stick together; add 1d6 to checks to defeat both monsters and - more importantly, in my opinion - barriers at Ezren's location, and give a bit of healing to other players as a bonus.
    -Summon Infernal Host (AD6); An average of combat 27 is pretty solid, though it does prohibit added support from being provided. The main selling point of this spell to a dedicated spellcaster is that it lacks the Attack trait, and so it can deal with Attack-immune enemies. Recommended for Spell Sage Ezrens only.

    Armor: Most of Ultimate Combat is themed around Heavy Armor, but there's a couple of Armor that will suit an Ezren player well.

    -Gambeson (AD0); A wonderful display-and-forget Light Armor; taking a full hit for you without having to fill your hand in the process. A viable card to fill your Armor slot with even in the late-game.
    -Skyplate Armor (AD6); It's here, same as the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck.

    Items: Virtually all items in Ultimate Combat are themed around melee or ranged checks, or anticipates that the user is proficient with Heavy Armor. As a result, there's precious little here for Ezren in most cases, but for a couple of exceptions.

    -Belt of Charging (AD4) & Ring of Stony Flesh (AD5); I'd consider these with a Hell's Vengeance 2 Ezren, since your Hungering Staff Arcane checks are also Melee checks. Ring of Stone Flesh is a decent, versatile item, in particular.

    Allies: Ultimate Combat's allies are almost exclusively themed around bolstering your combat checks, moving and healing. Moving is not a big concern for Ezren (on account of his core power), the healing is usually decent and the options to support combat may vary in usefulness depending on your specific strategy. Ezrens that make heavy use of Hungering Staff might appreciate the combat boost, whilst Arcane Bomber Ezrens would likely never need to waste a card slot just to buff their combat checks.

    -Surgeon (AD1) and Legionnaire Chaplain (AD3); Allies that provide a small degree of healing, that also shuffle your deck; they help recover your spells (both discarded and recharged), but don't fundamentally expand Ezren's abilities.
    -Swiftshooter (AD4); Worth noting that it's an ally - like Ukobach - that will let you draw a card and explore, effectively giving you an exploration at no cost to your resources (assuming you're able to heal yourself easily enough). Since the other power is useless to Ezren, it's actually a little worse than Hell's Vengeance's Ukobach, despite it's high AD#.

    Blessings: Ultimate Combat features 3 Blessings of the Samurai, a non-Divine blessing that is perfectly suitable for Ezren's starting item slots. However, they are not as immediately helpful to him as Blessing of the Elements, and their limitation to only adding a single die renders them weak options in the end game.

    Summary: There's cool things to make use of, but nothing that allows Ezren to do anything entirely new (except, perhaps, the Stone Skin spell, and a trio of non-Divine blessings). The Ultimate Combat deck - surprising nobody - is not the best fit for a dedicated Wizard.
    ==============

    Ezren + Ultimate Magic:
    Let's be frank; Ultimate Magic was designed for characters like Ezren. It gives, by far, the widest variety and (in many cases) the absolute highest quality of spells, as well as items and allies to support spellcasters.

    Ultimate Magic is always going to be the safest bet for Ezren, especially along with Hell's Vengeance 2 (where Ezren may want a second deck to offer more usable spells to fill out his spellbook), but let's still identify where particular strengths may lie.

    As usual, you can see the referenced cards via the Ultimate Magic Add-On Deck page on the wiki..

    Weapons: Honestly, I'm not sure there's any weapons of compelling note for Ezren here - none that will pass a realistic combat check based on a 1d4 Melee/Ranged, without proficiency, without expending multiple cards (like the requirement of Wandcaster Bow). Probably the only one I'd consider worth noting would be Iceblade Spelldagger (AD5), but even then it pales compared to what any non-Wizard Class Deck would probably offer.

    Spells: Ultimate Magic's primary focus is to provide spellcasters with a range of spells - many of which haven't been seen before in PACG. Of particular note is the excellent variety of spells that support you in methods besides simple combat, and it's these that tend to my particular interests in my attempt to build an Ezren that can handle any situation that he stumbles into with his numerous explorations. All in all, some of the most noteworthy spells for Ezren, to my perspective, include...

    -Fire Snake (AD0); Basic or not, this spell was used by my Ezren through the entirety of Season 4; Fire Snake lets Ezren take on barriers, closing checks, boon acquisitions or BYAs that would normally require expensive expenditures of blessing. It's particularly valuable for Ezren, who has two 1d4 skills and explores a lot, and so it liable to get into all sorts of checks without the skill to complete them.
    -Steal Book (AD0); It's here, same as the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck.
    -Pyrotechnic Blast (AD1); Note that this card has the Attack trait as per a FAQ, though it's not printed. A combat spell that can often spell basically an automatic pass against certain barriers? Like Fire Snake, this expands Ezren's options in checks - though I consider Fire Snake a little better, at least in the late-game.
    -Sphere of Fire (AD1); It's here, same as the Wizard Class Deck.
    -Fly (AD2); Whilst it's a bit weaker for Ezren than some other characters, due to his ability to move around easily regardless, Fly is a powerful utility spell for any caster. For coordinated teams, moving characters into desirable positions whilst also giving a decent examination power is no small feat. Also, I've already mentioned achieving an infinite-exploration combo with it and specific banes.
    -Coordinated Blast (AD3); If you have another dedicated spellcaster in your party, this is a good reason to start at locations with them and pass this spell back-and-forth during your "Give a Card" step. Not so much because it lets them buff your combat checks, but because it lets them buff your checks against barriers by so much. If party positioning makes that impossible; you can always feed it to Ezren's powers.
    -Create Mindscape (AD3); It's no Steal Soul, but I love turning spells into long-term bonuses. In particular, it assists with all of your recharge checks, and assists allies. (Note that it still works against Mental-immune enemies, as long as it was displayed before encountering them - I can share evidence of the ruling if desired.)
    -Cloudburst (AD4); A strong combat spell for any caster - BYA nullifying, decent power level, optional movement (though, once again, less relevant for Ezren). It must be stressed that end-game MM BYA powers of AD4-6 monsters are often the most harmful effects you'll see in the set.
    -Channel the Gift (AD4); Possibly the best spell in the game... because it replaces itself with whatever spell you need, whenever you need. Tricky to recharge, but invaluable to act as an effective second copy of your 'best' spell. Fire Snake? Glamour? Disintegrate? Cure?
    -Arcane Cannonade (AD6); Arcane Cannonade is yet another potentially super-long term bonus, since passing its "recharge" check simply allows you to keep it displayed, buffing all of your teammates and yourself. Spell Sage Ezren will appreciate the boost more.
    -Rejuvenation (AD6); One of the most powerful healing spells in the game, and a strong pick for a Spell Sage Ezren. Even an Arcane Bomber Ezren may pick it up if there are no other Deck Upgrades to pick in AD6. Use it for explorations or dice with your powers, but when it's absolutely necessary it provides a colossal heal and a complete purification of all curses - absolutely game-changing in some cases and scenarios!

    Armor: Ultimate Magic should ensure you can fill one or both of Ezren's armor slots with genuinely valuable cards that can't necessarily be replaced by something a spell would let you do.

    -Shroud Cloak (AD3); A nice mid-game Armor that lets you draw a spell from your discard pile, under limited circumstances.
    -Helm of Electric Radiance (AD5); An armor with a strong damage reduction on reveal, but can also be recharged to add +1d8+1d4 to your combat check - objectively better than adding a die, even a d12!
    -Phoenix Cloak (AD6); One of the all-time great end-game Armors, it can add 3d4 to a combat check - again, better than adding 1d12 - or protect you from Fire damage, then hangs around until you would die. At which point, it heals you 10 cards, straight-up. For Ezren (particularly Arcane Bombers), this armor allows him to burn his boons to explore or provide bonuses again and again with no fear of death, and end up suddenly back to full health (effectively) when he finally runs out of steam - 10 cards is worth about 3 Cure spells targeted straight on you, on average, after all.

    Items: Ultimate Magic has one of my all-time favorite Items, the combo-riffic Codex of Conversations card... which I won't talk about further, because it's little use for Ezren. It does, however, have a small number of other top-quality items to fill your deck with, such as the following.

    -Binder's Tome (AD1); Add 1d4 to all combat and charisma checks at your location is an incredible boon - especially in multiples, and especially for Charisma-based casters. Furthermore, Ezren is a little more likely to be able to use it more by ignoring some monsters' immunities to Mental. It will likely drop out of favour in the late-game, but it's a versatile, powerful tool for virtually any user of this Add-On deck.
    -Wand of Flying (AD3); The Flying spell in nonspell form - but harder to recharge and of a higher AD# as a consequence. It's a worse-Fly, but of a less competitive card type.
    -Magnetic Grimoire (AD4); The best item in the Class Deck for most casters - the Grimoire can often buff both your combat and recharge checks, but also assist you against a variety of banes and boons with elemental traits. Possibly more important than both, however, is that - like Advocate's Armor (see "Hell's Vengeance 2") - it can let you double-up on a spell and heal you at the same time; recharging it to redraw a spell that was cast or used for Ezren's powers, such as Fire Snake. Grimoire is likely going to be one of the best cards in Ezren's deck, because it'll both self-heal and clone plenty of his other 'best cards', rendering it probably better than Channel the Gift (which is strong for similar reasons, but certainly doesn't 'heal' you in the process).
    -Evocation Staff (AD5); A useful tool for Ezrens who are carrying few Attack spells, since you can turn any spell into a half-decent combat check, plus throw it away for a very powerful combat check, and have a relevant evasion option tacked on. It's otherwise not too impressive, and can be left on the sidelines if you never have a problem facing a bane.
    -Wand of Thunder (AD6); A desirable way to use your Item slot for a means of combat, again freeing up more spell slots to utility, healing, support and anti-barrier options. Note that it will also ignore villain AYAs, which can be particularly potent at times.

    Allies: Ultimate Magic has relatively few allies of critical value for Ezren, but the overall value is still higher than Ultimate Combat's.

    -Bound Lantern Archon (AD2); In my opinion, the best ally of the deck - it will usually recharge itself in order to draw from the top 3 cards of your deck, consistently replacing itself with one of your best or better cards. This continues the trend of cards like Channel the Gift and Magnetic Grimoire allowing you to find or re-use your best spells over and over, which greatly smooths Ezren's gameplan and strategy.
    -Cleric of Nethys (AD2); A highly efficient ally for any given character; a very effective exploration power that competes even with end-game allies in quality, plus the ability to add 2 to any check after the roll (which is very similar to saying "Reveal to add 2 to every one of your checks", because you can work the +2 into your mental calculations safely until it actually ends up as being used). Top notch.
    -Sand Elemental (AD5); As mentioned before; ignoring BYAs is no small matter, and this ally can also protect you or your allies entirely from certain types of damage - particularly relevant at locations that force damage to be Fire or Cold. A solid late-game option that protects Ezren's entire turn from being messed up by a particularly nasty BYA power, such as from Elemental Arachnid or Sard.

    Blessings: Not relevant; there are no non-Divine blessings that Ezren may use.

    Summary: Ultimate Magic is a very, very safe bet - and honestly I'd be surprised if any less than 90% of PFSACG MM Ezrens used any other Ultimate Add-On Deck. It has the most cohesive, rounded suite of spells - some great supporting items and armor, and could single-handedly fill every one of Ezren's card slots happily (except, perhaps, Weapon).

    In particular Ultimate Magic best supports a Hell's Vengeance 2 Ezren, since it gives you cards like Arcane Cannonade, Binder's Tome and Create Mindscape that can passively buff your combat checks with Hungering Staff - allowing you to almost completely do away with Attack cards and rely on a simple "Reveal to defeat most monsters" weapon save your spells for noncombat uses or explorations.
    ==============

    Ezren + Ultimate Intrigue:
    Can't say there's that much here for Ezren; this is a Diplomacy/Stealth oriented deck, with tools for ally or mental-centric characters; none of which really describes Ezren.

    But this is a class deck that rewards getting creative, so lets see what the best options are for Ezren.

    As usual, you can see the referenced cards via the Ultimate Intrigue Add-On Deck page on the wiki..

    Weapons: Intrigue gives you some options for weapons that will support you in non-combat, but they are pretty tightly aimed at fighters and rogues. Even so, options include...

    -Captain's Cutlass (AD1); It's here, same as the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck.
    -Menacing Backsword +1 (AD2); It brings Ezren's checks against Charisma/Diplomacy allies from an average of 3.5 to an average of 7 - or 10.5/12 when discarded. Its valuable use for fighters (allowing them to virtually auto-acquire many allies just by being held) makes it a reasonable contender just to have in your deck to hand off to a melee-oriented character early in the game.
    -Shadowless Sword (AD3); Having it around adds to all of your Perception checks, plus checks against summoned banes - note that also includes noncombat checks, so it also helps against summoned barriers. It's an acceptable card to hold onto, but it's going to be mediocre in combat due to the proficiency requirement.

    Spells: Ultimate Intrigue almost purely provides noncombat spells, and even then not often to the standard of Ultimate Magic. That said, it has more than enough quality spells for Ezren.

    -Invisibility (AD0); A non-Mental evasion spell that can also auto-pass Stealth checks; an acceptable two-purpose spell.
    -Object Reading (AD2); A variant of Augury - a little worse, in my opinion, but not objectively so. Under some circumstances, you might even find it easier to recharge with its Perception check (such as with the Shadowless Sword).
    -Mistform (AD3); An anti-barrier spell that occasionally serves as an evade - I'd prefer Find Traps or Disable Mechanism, but those are either not Arcane or not in any available Class Deck, or both. A decent utility card, though.
    -Scrying (AD4); It's here, same as the Wizard Class Deck.
    -Symbol of Fortune (AD5); A deceptively potent spell, which Spell Sage Ezrens can automatically recharge anyway. Much like I pointed out for Cleric of Nethys earlier; being able to add +X after a roll is basically the same as having +3 for every single check made until it's actually needed, and this supports the whole party.
    -Bewilder (AD6); It's here, same as the Wizard Class Deck.

    Armor: The suite of armor in Ultimate Intrigue really aren't bad. Besides the lack of Phoenix Cloak, they're probably on par with the Ultimate Magic ones for Ezren, all things considered.

    -Gambeson (AD0); It's here, same as Ultimate Combat.
    -Lockpick Shield (AD1); Whilst it won't protect you from most damage; Lockpick Shield will cover you against various barriers really well.
    -Diviner's Blight (AD3); Ignore the first power - it's virtually worthless. The second power, however, covers you sufficiently from any damage whilst also refilling your hand and then some. A valuable choice for Ezrens capable of self-healing and/or consistently recharge their cards, such as Spell Sage Ezrens.
    -Armor of Skulls (AD5); A potent damage-resistance armor that can provide a monster evade to any character at your location - in some cases, even moving it, which can be useful for stuffing problem locations with double the henchmen or just clear away monsters that you won't be able to deal with at all. Note that if Ezren's power pierces a monster's immunity, it will also allow you to treat it as if it's not immune to the Mental trait for the second power.

    Items: This is an awkward one for me, because whilst they may not be specifically good for Ezren I strongly feel like a lot of items from this class deck - particularly some of the AD0 cards - are unusually or remarkably potent in many situations. A particular reference to the odd Signal Whistle, as rules-savvy players may note that "Before You Act" is a phase independent to any given player, which actually means it can (amongst other things) move other players during their encounters... which effectively acts like a free evade against boons and can kind of allow players to evade villains. (The "if you move during an encounter" corner-case has pretty specific rules tied to it.)

    To avoid going on too many tangents, such as above, I'm going to try to focus on items that are specifically potent for Ezren, rather than gushing about the weird and wonderful world of some Ultimate Intrigue items.

    -Lasso (AD0); An undervalued card by most. Lasso lets you basically ignore a failed check against a monster, by just letting anyone at your location evade an encounter after the roll - pretty useful if you're stuck against an enemy immune to the attack trait, or if anyone at your location just gets unlucky.
    -Harrow Deck (AD1); An Object Reading that can hit any location, but is going to be buried for sure unless you're buffing your Perception check in some way. It's not infeasible that Ezren can recharge it with the help of cards like Steal Soul too, note, but even a one-use better-Object Reading might be a worthy use of an item.
    -Cockroach Coat (AD1); Ignoring its other effects, this is an item that you can display as soon as you draw it, then recharge whenever you need an evade - a potent card in case you're left in a position where you are left unable to cast spells or you don't want to deal with a hazardous BYA effect. A good alternative to armor that provides an increase in survivability at no real cost to your hand size.
    -Candle of Comity (AD2); Whilst it provides certain bonuses, at worst it's a bury to buy the table one extra turn. A lot can be done in a turn, all thanks to one item, and that alone seems worth the card slot.
    -Shadow Victim Ring (AD4); An efficient "Recharge to (let someone else) explore" card, as long as you're sticking by your teammates. You can always hand it to another character at the start of your turn, too.

    Allies: For Ezren, the single strongest aspect of Ultimate Intrigue has to be the top-quality allies, and in large quantities - more than adequate justification to max out your Ally card feats and be grateful for it. In particular, most Ultimate Intrigue allies attach added bonuses to their explorations, which ensures that they're not completely overshadowed by spells in Ezren's hands. Hell's Vengeance Ezrens will love to re-use these allies with Advocate's Armor, in particular.

    -Masque (AD0); A solid ally with a relevant benefit attached to its exploration power, and - if you're in a party that sticks together - can help cover your weaknesses well.
    -Fencer (AD0); In my opinion, the best use of this ally for a caster is to hand it off to a fighter (or similar) at your location at the start of your turn, then move on. The Fencer lets you save an attack spell by letting a weapon user kill a troublesome (or attack-immune, or BYA effect carrying) monster without threatening the wizard. If it's not needed - hey, you draw an extra card at the end of your turn, and then the other player can just hand it back. Good card!
    -Slip (AD2); A top-tier exploration ally along with Ezren's strong Knowledge skill. Slip will often be similar to a double-exploration, since it's very capable of moving a bane (or an undesirable boon) to the bottom of the location deck and exploring atop of that.
    -Evangelist (AD3); Holding onto it is basically +1 skill feat to every skill (actually a little better, even), right up to when you need to recharge it for a somewhat larger bonus or discard it for an exploration. A serviceable ally for any Ezren, particularly since it also supports your recharge checks.
    -Vizier (AD4); Whilst Ezren isn't the optimal user for the Vizer (that's left for Charisma-based casters), the Vizier will usually allow Ezren to easily pass a Charisma or Diplomacy check forced upon him, provide a bonus to his noncombat Arcane checks, and have a perfectly decent upside to his 'exploration' power.
    -Heister (AD5); An absolutely incredible anti-barrier ally, with one of the best exploration powers in the game - able to both automatically bypass a barrier and give you a bonus exploration on top of that (extremely powerful alongside examination effects).
    -Secret Broker (AD5); Can basically acquire a variety of boons for Ezren, which is particularly useful for acquiring Divine spells to then be used for explorations. The exploration power is powerful, especially with how exceptionally common it is for checks of all kinds to invoke the "Magic" trait, which you should always be able to support.
    -Isiem (AD6); It's here, same as the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck.

    Blessings: Another thing Ultimate Intrigue has going for it is two copies of the Blessing of the Spy, a non-Divine blessing that, when used to explore, will outright add a full die to any check you make during the exploration, which - of course - includes recharge checks for spells. A very potent use of an item slot for Ezren, even if there's no way to support a check in a 'standard' method with it.

    Summary: The real winning points for Ultimate Intrigue is most likely in the very high value early-game items (including the Blessings of the Spy, which will fill Ezren's item slots) and the very high value allies across the entire swathe of adventures - resulting in a large amount of value added to item and ally card feats that few other Add-On decks can match. Plus, it also has a small suite of strong Armors and Spells.

    That said, the overall value that the Add-On deck provides to Ezren won't necessarily match Ultimate Magic's top-notch items, armors and (of course) spells. That doesn't mean that Ultimate Intrigue is worthless to an Ezren build, however.

    If your base class deck provides every spell you could want, and ideally at least one good weapon and some strong end-game items, then Ultimate Intrigue will shore up your Ally quality greatly; enabling an emphasis on providing bonus explorations, examinations and team support - all things that are more important in larger parties. In particular, I think Ultimate Intrigue would be relatively most valuable to Wizard Class Deck Ezrens, and relatively least valuable to Pathfinder Tales Ezrens (who already have a strong ally and item suite). Additionally, I will generally recommend the Spell Sage role card with Ultimate Intrigue, due to it's light use of Attack spells and almost complete lack of self-healing.
    ==============

    Ezren + Ultimate Equipment:
    Ultimate Equipment has a very small quantity of boons of virtually unmatched quality. It (arguably) has the best blessing for Ezren, the best item for Ezren and maybe - just maybe - one of the best spells for Ezren. But the complete package does not align with a typical MM Ezren playstyle; there are relatively few spells worth picking up and the weapons and armors aren't great to fill Ezrens card slots with.

    If you wish to leverage Ezren's large item count, though, this is your deck.

    As usual, you can see the referenced cards via the Ultimate Equipment Add-On Deck page on the wiki..

    Weapons: Honestly... whilst Ultimate Equipment has a sweet suite (ha ha) of weapons, they're virtually useless to a non-proficient, 1d4 statted wizard that lacks Acrobatics or Stealth. The only possible inclusion is the AD6 Razorglass Knife, which can support another weapon-based combat check at your location with +2d4 on recharge.

    Spells: So it must be said that Ultimate Equipment does not have many spells; it has about the same amount as Ultimate Combat, and several are themed around mechanics that Ezren cannot really make use of. However, they can often provide unique utility benefits and the average power level of them tends to be quite high.

    -Good Omen (AD); It's here, same as the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck.
    -Materialize (AD1); Depending on your party, there's merits for any wizard taking this spell - allowing you to step in for any other encounter with a bane. In Mummy's Mask, this is likely best suited to allowing Ezren to jump in to deal with an Arcane/Intelligence/Knowledge oriented barrier (or even a Wisdom oriented barrier) when someone else encounters one that they're poorly suited to defeating, which can be particularly potent against banes which Ezren can recharge a spell to add a die to his checks. It can also allow Ezren to cover for combat-weak characters.
    -Delve (AD2); Depending on your item suite, this may be excellent, a spell serving as a second copy of your best item whilst also acting as fuel for the rest of Ezren's powers.
    -Swipe (AD3); It's here, same as the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck.
    -Steal Soul (AD5); It's here, same as the Hell's Vengeance Character Deck, and possibly the best spell Ultimate Equipment has to offer. Potentially, an Ezren with Ultimate Equipment could stack 2 of these, getting an average of +5 to every single check he makes - absolutely phenomenal.
    -Dominate (AD6); Amazingly, despite being a semi-iconic spell, this is the only way for MM Ezren to get it in his deck. Whether it's better than Bewilder or not may be a matter of opinion - it'll give you a view of your entire location deck and your pick of a boon, but it doesn't provide the extra exploration or the invaluable bottom-deck of Bewilder, so you may just hit the same monster again anyway. Remember that Ezren can ignore the immunities of Constructs or Undead post-role.

    Armor: Not the best suite of Armor for Ezren, but you'll find something to keep you interested in the early game, at least.

    -Explorer's Pith Helmet (AD0); If you really don't care to carry Armor, here's an armor that can just be used to explore with.
    -Bronzed Leather (AD0); If you're proficient with Light Armors, this is comparable to Diviner's Blight (mentioned under Ultimate Intrigue) - a nice piece of damage resistance that replaces itself.
    -Writhing Armor (AD5); Usually not too useful for Ezren, but a Hell's Vengeance Ezren may want this because it can add 1d8 to combat checks with Hungering Staff, as well as provide some damage resistance.
    -Elemental Brass Mail (AD6); A great suite of damage resistance, shouldn't ever be discarded or buried, and can add a die to most of your combat checks with spells due to its elemental theme. A solid piece of armor for Ezren!

    Items: I won't go over every viable item, because Ultimate Equipment is the Ultimate deck for awesome items. If there's any weakness to the item suite for Ezren, its that it competes with its excellent non-Divine blessings, at least for the first few adventures. That will be the main reason why I'll skim over a lot of the early-game items.

    -Staff of Minor Healing (AD0); A bit of healing works well early on for the card-burning Ezren. Works well alongside Board Game for free deck shuffles for your recharged spells and Staff, too.
    -Sacred Candle (AD1); Often an auto-include for a lot of characters for an entire season - swap a item slot for a blessing, with the added bonus of making it much easier to grab new blessing deck upgrades for the team!
    -Wayfinder (AD3); It's here, same as in the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck. Note that Pathfinder Tales even provides an ally that becomes better with Wayfinders, so this Add-On deck allows you to double-up on that synergy.
    -Ring of Maniacal Devices (AD3); A somewhat forgettable item for most characters, but potentially worthwhile for a character who is certain to soon have a 1d12+4 Intelligence Skill. Giving Ezren the Craft and Disable skills provides him new options for dealing with a variety of barriers or acquiring a variety of boons... just remember it's pretty much objectively worse than the basic Fire Snake spell from Ultimate Magic in almost every conceivable way.
    -Dryad Sandals (AD4); Some of the rough MM barriers getting you down? Dump them to the bottom of the location deck! Plus, the full location-deck examine is useful for finding villains, setting off triggers or finding good boons. Note that this card has an errata listed in a forum thread, but not the FAQ.
    -Robe of Items (AD5); Quite possibly the best item in the entirety of PACG, and a must-have for any character playing Ultimate Equipment and at least 3-4 item slots. Robe of Items serves to draw you cards, heal you and serve virtually every purpose of a boon simultaneously. Fill your deck with items that let you explore, move, examine, heal, examine, gain skills? Whatever you have in your deck or discard pile, Robe of Items ensures it's now in your hand! Quite possibly best with Pathfinder Tales, which also carries top-quality end-game items that can be searched out with this.
    -Ring of Regeneration (AD5); It's here, same as the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck. (And, like virtually every item, searchable with Robe of Items.)

    Allies: Whilst Ultimate Equipment's focus is the items, it actually carries a wide suite of excellent allies, very closely matched with Ultimate Intrigue. Like with Ultimate Intrigue, Hell's Vengeance Ezrens will have fun re-using many of these allies with Advocate's Armor, and any Ezren will find Ally Card Feats a compelling option once they've maxed their spells out.

    -Fencer (AD0); It's here, same as the Ultimate Intrigue Add-On Deck.
    -Shy Ratani (AD2); It's here, same as the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck.
    -The Viper (AD3); Not too impressive except with Robe of Items - then it's hilarious. Use Robe of Items to grab 3 items, use 2 of the items for their powers (such as to explore), then use Viper to switch the remaining one with Robe of Items, then use Robe of Items to grab all 3 items from your discard pile again. Perfection.
    -Forensic Physician (AD4); An excellent ally that can serve as a Cure or a heal-and-explore. Heals and deck shuffles make Ezren a happy wizard!
    -Wayfarer (AD5); Ignore the first power; it's an ally that adds 2d6 to all checks you make during an exploration with her - a virtually unmatched, incredible bonus that ensures any exploration with her will be a productive one.

    Blessings: Ultimate Equipment features another usable blessing; three copies of the Blessing of the Quartermaster, a non-Divine blessing that will recharge if ever used on a noncombat check. This is, realistically, a strict improvement over Ultimate Combat's Blessing of the Samurai, and will recharge far more often and is more immediately relevant for Ezren's playstyle. The biggest weakness is that competition for Ezren's Item Slots is going to be rough with Ultimate Equipment as your Add-On deck - which isn't a bad thing!

    Summary: If there's one surprising merit to Ultimate Equipment for an MM Ezren, it may be that it can perform well with Hell's Vengeance 2. It has high-value allies (like Forensic Physician and Wayfarer) to use with Advocate's Armor, and it might even support monster-oriented HV2 decks by giving Ezren some methods of searching out monster-matters items like Sanguine Talisman and Robe of Bones. On top of that, the emphasis on non-combat spells can be allayed by the use of Hungering Staff, and you are in the unusual position of being able to hypothetically double-up on Steal Souls.

    However, such a deck will have very limited means of end-game combat. Balanced with the right healing magic, perhaps a monster-oriented Arcane Bomber MM Ezren could be a viable build, but even then it's limited by the Arcane Bomber relying on his "display a spell" power for support, as the Hungering Staff lacks the needed Attack trait.

    Alternatively, both Ultimate Equipment and Pathfinder Tales feature a cross-section of synergistic, powerful items (and allies) that work back and forth incredible efficiently, providing healing, explorations and check buffs over and over when combining cards like Robe of Items, Lacuna Codex, Wayfinder, The Viper and Eando Kline.
    ==============

    Ezren + Ultimate Wilderness:
    Ultimate Wilderness is technically the second most spell-oriented Ultimate Deck of the bunch, but with a focus on Divine Spells that are often outside of the range of Ezren's capabilities. Instead, it provides a powerful plants-matter theme that Ezren can put his item and ally slots to work exploiting (admittedly, his lack of the Survival or Craft skill limits his overall power in such a theme), a small selection of unique spells or even weapons that he'd like, and an overall powerful and varied ally suite.

    What other diamonds appear in the rough of the Divine-and-Animals matter deck for Ezren to use?

    As usual, you can see the referenced cards via the Ultimate Wilderness Add-On Deck page on the wiki..

    Weapons: Out of nowhere, Ultimate Wilderness may well provide the single best weapon for MM Ezren, after Hungering Staff. Most of the remainder of the weapons have no real value for him, however.

    -Javelin of Lightning (AD2); An ideal weapon for Ezren, allowing you to roll 1d4+6d6+3 (average 26.5) for combat checks from as early as AD2! It gets around attack-immune enemies, it can be recharged like any other spell, with the only weakness being the difficulty in recharging it in the first place; necessitating some kind of buff to ensure you can consistently keep it around. Of course, even if you banish it, you can automatically refill it from AD4 onwards.
    -Chakram of Ruin (AD6); Not the best weapon for Ezren, but it can provide an average roll of 14.5 when discarded against Obstacle barriers, and it can protect you from BYAs - probably playable, and becomes excellent if you can Glamour a rogue or ranger as a HV2 Ezren.

    Spells: As mentioned, Ultimate Wilderness' emphasis on Divine spells hurts the overall variety of options it can give to Ezren. But it does have some excellent options for any MM Ezren regardless, such as....

    -Primal Attunement (AD1); Certainly this is a weird spell to consider, but it will let you ignore immunities of banes (including the Attack trait) as well as exploit any weakness of a bane, which are two mechanics which come up quite often in Mummy's Mask (which is the only real time you should be playing Ezren, in my opinion). On the other hand, Ezren's moderately capable of ignoring immunities anyway, and the spell only lasts a turn so you'd better be exploring a lot to make it worth it.
    -Cauterize (AD2); One of the more important spells in the deck! Cauterize is a combat spell or an Arcane healing spell. But it hides a secret; it never specifies that you shuffle random cards from a discard pile when you heal with it. You can argue whether that's the intent or not, but in every printing of Cauterize it heals non-random cards, which makes it far better than virtually any other Cure spell in the game, enabling you to selectively heal out optimal cards from characters' discard piles, such as blessings and allies.
    -Aspect of the Bull (AD4); It may be a divine-only spell, but Aspect of the Bull provides a scenario-long bonus which is comparable to Steal Soul in power (even if I would personally prefer Steal Soul). Pathfinder Tales Ezrens can capture it from being banished with Riffle Scrolls; Spell Sage Ezrens can just gain the Divine skill, and anyone else can always just refill it in AD6 after its banished.
    -Eruption (AD4); Top-quality attack spell, with its numerous traits less likely to bother the immunity-piercing Ezren.

    Armor: Frankly, the Ultimate Wilderness armors are - for the most part - not good, for virtually anyone. There's some very middling pieces of armor, none of which are likely to noticeably outpace options in the other Add-On, Character or Class Decks Ezren might be using.

    Items: One of the key themes of Ultimate Wilderness is the use of "Plants", a series of extremely powerful cards. Whilst Ezren is not suited to recharging them, they're still cards that can be held onto without impacting your effective hand size, before being buried for sometimes powerful effects (cards like Glamour or Mountaineer may assist Ezrens who wish to recharge their Plant items). On top of that, there's some strong allies in the deck that become even better with more plants in your deck.

    -Cloud Puff (AD0); Some say, that it's the most powerful card in the game; all I know is, it's called the Stig Cloud Puff. Whatever your thoughts on Cloud Puff, it is just about objectively the single best method in PACG to ignore BYAs and AYAs, enabling any player at any location to avoid both, even against villains, and also not taking up a hand size until you end up using it. By default, Ezren only has a 25% chance of recharging it (and will otherwise bury it), but many would say that's still better than taking 1d4 damage or summoning a monster that someone's not suited to fighting as part of a bane's power!
    -Angelstep (AD2); Along with Cloud Puff, almost certainly the best Plant item in the set, at least for characters who may not be able to recharge them. Angelstep is a Cure spell that doesn't fill up your hand and buries itself, whilst filling the rather less valuable Item slot, and also has a relevant trait. A beautiful item to see at any point in the game, whether late or in your opening hand!
    -Dryad Sandals (AD4); It's here, same as the Ultimate Equipment Add-On Deck.

    Allies: You can approach the allies from two perspectives; the excellent plants-matter theme - which largely demands that you build your deck with at least 4 plant cards to fully exploit - or just take advantage of the straight-up "Good" allies. It's up to you to determine which is a better option, but either way you won't be disappointed with what Ultimate Wilderness allies offer either way, and the deck provides great way to use Ezren's large potential ally count.

    -Fire Gecko (AD1); Whilst it was an AD0 card in Mummy's Mask, that doesn't stop this from being an almost suspiciously good ally in the hands of any character in the early game. Effectively a bonus 1d4 to all of your combat checks, plus an advantage on explore, is no small benefit for an ally!
    -Verdant Rager (AD2); An advantage when exploring, and doesn't use up your hand size if you don't end up using it on your turn.
    -Snapping Flytrap (AD3); The 'key' plants-matter ally; an exploration card that doesn't take up your hand, but can also provide a triple heal-or-draw and search out basically the rest of the plants that are likely in your deck. A tremendous effect that provides basically a huge boost to any of your turns.
    -Druid of the Green Faith (AD4); If you're playing the plants-matter, try to fit this non-plant into your deck. It's like Ukobach (from Hell's Vengeance), but it's also healing you. This, Advocate's Armor, and a plant or animal ally in hand represent 5 explorations (plant->druid->plant->Armor into Druid->plant); crazy!
    -Archaeopteryx (AD5); Hey, at worst it replaces itself with another card in your deck; but it can also provide a shuffle to bring your spells back up. Comparable to Ultimate Magic's Bound Lantern Archon, in my eyes.
    -Shaman (AD5); A solid team-based heal, great for larger parties and works well with Ezren's ability to move around by discarding or recharging spells.
    -Hippopotamus Mud Elemental (AD6); Awesome for Hell's Vengeance 2 Ezrens, since Hungering Staff invokes the Bludgeoning trait. Potentially, this ally serves a triple purpose of check support, damage resistance, and a big benefit on an exploration - definitely solid if you're not pushing for Plant synergy over it.
    -Shadowcat (AD6); In the end game, most Ezrens are likely to have 1d8+3 Wisdom, so the Shadowcat's support power is pretty solid. But it also has an extremely powerful exploration power highly comparable to Ultimate Intrigue's Heister; enabling you to potentially automatically bottomdeck a monster and explore again. Though, again, if you're pushing for a Plant synergy you may not have the ally slots to spare.

    Blessings: Just like the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck, there's a single Blessing of the Elements in here for Ezren's use; a potent use of an item slot, but probably not optimal in the end-game.

    Summary: The capability to use Survival as a means of recharging cards or even in combat opens up the possibility of Wizard Class Deck Ezrens playing with Ultimate Wilderness, using Lizard and Mountaineer to recharge your Plant Items, and the former to auto-pass Survival checks with weapons, then potentially re-using Druid of the Green Faith to do it all again. Its emphasis on excellent ally powers and lack of good Armor options means that it slots in nicely with Hell's Vengeance Ezrens - though Pathfinder Tales offers comparable quality in armors and a greater quantity of spells to make up for the lack of Arcane spells in Ultimate Wilderness.

    It is important to note, as inferred above, that Ultimate Wilderness may actually have the smallest number of genuinely playable spells for a dedicated Arcane caster of any of the Ultimate Decks, which is the biggest mark against it of all of the Add-On decks. In my opinion, you should probably pick a different Add-On deck than this unless you are intending to pull together a plants-matter deck, intending to include the Lizard from the Wizard class deck and/or really want to use Javelin of Lightning and/or Cauterize, which are likely the most appealing aspects of the Class Deck aside from the plants.
    ==============

    As a brief summary of this entire post:

  • Ultimate Combat: Every Card type has at least one or two notable options for Ezren, but nothing particularly remarkable. The only valuable thing this deck offers that another deck can't surpass is likely the Stone Skin spell.
  • Ultimate Magic: Unsurprisingly, the obvious pick. Excellent spells, a couple of excellent items, solid allies and some excellent Armor. However, there's no relevant blessings, and other Add-On decks may provide better items, allies and weapons overall, so it's not worth entirely ignoring the rest of the Add-On decks, even if this is (rightfully) going to be the pick for most Ezrens.
  • Ultimate Intrigue: Compared to Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Intrigue offers a strong (if smaller) range of supporting options in terms of spells, a wider array of quality armors (with perhaps a slightly weaker top-end), a great array of early-game items (and the Blessing of the Spy to use in Item slots) and a phenomenal list of allies. Intrigue won't cover all of your Spell needs like Ultimate Magic will, and you'll be giving up the excellent Magnetic Grimoire, but it still may provide for an even faster-exploring variant of an MM Ezren who will happily max out Ally Card Feats after Spells.
  • Ultimate Equipment: One of the best spells in the game (Steal Soul), a couple of the best items in the game (including Robe of Items), an amazing suite of allies, and another example of a usable, powerful non-Divine blessing. Ultimate Equipment may provide some extra consistency for Monsters-Matter Hell's Vengeance 2 Ezrens, or some added synergy to the items and allies available in Pathfinder Tales.
  • Ultimate Wilderness: Like Ultimate Combat, Wilderness may be one of the weaker options in general; unless you intend to push the hand-expanding, card efficient "Plants" strategy for as much as you can manage. Other than the Plants, key, unique cards from Ultimate Wilderness include Javelin of Lightning, Cauterize and arguably Aspect of the Bull.

    Hope you found something thought-provoking in the post. Next up, I'll be ending with a post describing some example decklists of a few MM Ezren "builds" and how they may play!


  • Thanks! Awesome post again.
    Makes me relook at cards I had completely ignored
    I had no idea Signal Wistle was actually playable!

    Love to see a post on underrated / overlooked cards like that

    Community / Forums / Organized Play / Pathfinder Society Adventure Card Guild / MM Ezren - Build Options & Review All Messageboards

    Want to post a reply? Sign in.
    Recent threads in Pathfinder Society Adventure Card Guild