Yewstance - Core Character Reviews

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game General Discussion

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Greetings to all forumgoers, veteran and newcomer alike. Since I've had a couple of expressions of interest, I'm trying my hand at producing a review of (or perhaps better described as my subjective "Guide-to-playing") each of the new Core Set characters. This 'review' hopes to serve multiple purposes, including...

  • Provide a high-level overview of their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Assess where they may perform best - such as specific party sizes or with specific parties.
  • Assess their 'build options', weighing up the respective merits of their feat and role choices.
  • Identify some of the ideal boons that these characters might search for, or have unique applications for said characters.
  • Encourage further discussion over the characters, encourage the sharing of opinions and knowledge.

    Of course, everything I write is purely opinion-based. I have a history of other 'reviews' of PACG characters and concepts.

    It must be stated that these character reviews are in the context of the Core Set and the Curse of the Crimson Throne card sets, and their respective Adventure Paths. Characters may perform wildly different with or against boons and banes from other sets, but that's not within the scope of these reviews.


    Each review will aim to keep the following format, more or less...

    Difficulty of Play: X/10 (Difficulty of deckbuilding, character risk appetite, complexity of design and quantity of powers to track.)
    Combat Potential: X/10 (Ability to achieve consistent high combat results and/or general anti-monster capability.)
    Noncombat Potential: X/10 (Ability to acquire varied boons, take advantage of skill-dependant scenario powers, defeat barriers or close locations.)
    Exploration Rate: X/10 (How many times they can explore per turn if they try to explore as much as possible.)
    Survivability: X/10 (General risk of death per scenario, and ability to maintain a hand full of cards even after taking damage.)

    (These are highly subjective overviews, with large overlaps (high survivability correlates with lower difficulty of play) and plenty of grey areas (a character might be great at fighting barriers with a specific power but is otherwise limited outside of combat). Furthermore, these values could change greatly with how you play a character, and which Role you pick.)

    (I will generally try to list these numbers from the perspective of the pre-Role character card, and the numbers given are loosely in reference to other Core/Curse characters - not historic PACG characters.)

    Overview of Character Strengths

  • (List)

    Overview of Character Weaknesses

  • (List)

    Optimal Environment

  • (Local characters, Adventure Path, party size, specific party members...)

    General Writeup:
    What does the character do? How do they stack up to comparable characters?

    How do their roles differ from each other?

    What Advanced Strategies or non-obvious options exist for the character?

    Pre-Role Feat Considerations:
    This is a longer, more in-depth analysis of a character, pre-Role.

    What skill feats work well for this character; how do the character's strengths and build change with different skill feats? Which are recommended?

    What are the pre-Role power feat options for this character; how do each contribute to enabling this character? Are any unusually good or unusually weak?

    How does each type of card feat contribute to this character's playstyle? What will they generally focus on, to what end?

    Role 1 Overview & Builds:
    Similar to Pre-Role Feat Considerations, but instead focusing on the strengths of their first Role option and how they can be leveraged, used or built around.
    Role 2 Overview & Builds:
    Similar to Pre-Role Feat Considerations, but instead focusing on the strengths of their second Role option and how they can be leveraged, used or built around.
    Blackjack Build Options:
    An assessment of the character's suitability for the Blackjack Role included in Curse of the Crimson Throne. Blackjack can provide some unique benefits or new options to almost every Core and Curse character. The question is; can you leverage Blackjack's unique qualities to build a better character than you could with your own Roles?
    Notable Boons:
    What kinds of cards best suit this character? Is there any specific type, role or subset of weapons, items, armor or otherwise which are desirable? For example; do they want display-able armors, shields, helmets or a combination thereof?

    Ideally, I'll also refer to a handful of boons by name to demonstrate specific synergies or options they provide for such a character.


    I will be going through each Core Set character in alphabetic order (as provided in the official Character Sheets), followed by each Curse of the Crimson Throne character in the same fashion.

    Which means we'll be starting with the Barbarian Amiri in my next post. I probably won't post any further reviews until I get some feedback. Are these reviews/guides helpful? Are they interesting? Are they too long?

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    BARBARIAN: Amiri
    Difficulty of Play: 3/10
    Combat Potential: 9/10
    Noncombat Potential: 3/10
    Exploration Rate: 3/10
    Survivability: 7/10

    Character Strengths...

  • High mobility, enabling her or her party to...
  • Take full advantage of positive location powers.
  • Avoid penalties of negative Start-of-Turn/End-of-Turn location powers.
  • Gain benefits from positive Start-of-Turn/End-of-Turn location powers.
  • Set self or others up to provide local support and avenging opportunities.

  • Phenomenal melee skill; high average combat checks.
  • Uniquely capable of encountering or avenging against any monster, including passing Before Acting and After Acting checks or noncombat checks to defeat. Consistently strong against most Story Banes and Dangers.
  • Card efficient - unlikely to run out of cards in deck even with heavy use of discard/bury powers, unless playing in small parties.

    Character Weaknesses...

  • Low exploration potential.
  • Low skill variety.
  • Inconsistent at acquiring any type of boon.
  • Poor anti-barrier skills.
  • Limited ability to support friendly checks.

    Optimal Environment

  • Medium size party (3-4 players).
  • Party members that can support her noncombat checks. (eg. Lem, Seelah, Quinn.)
  • Above-average capability to handle Wildcards, due to unusually strong card efficiency and combat checks.

    General Writeup:
    Amiri is one of the the three best examples of a 'pure' martial character in the Core Set, along with Valeros and Harsk. All three of them share a common ability to achieve high combat results just by revealing a weapon, enabling them to consistently handle monsters (regular and story bane) without necessarily expending any actual cards, which also sets them up to act as good Avenging characters.

    Of these three characters, Amiri is the most single-minded in her desire to stick to the most monster-heavy of locations due to her ability to add 1d8+1(+X) to any check against a monster, allowing her to single-handedly deal with monsters like the Boggart that might be treacherous for other martial combatants. Her supportive abilities, however, are weaker than those of Valeros or Harsk (the only explicitly team-assisting power she has pre-Role is the ability to move other characters around with her) and her skill variety is distinctly lesser by most metrics, leaving her less well suited to acquiring cards or closing locations that don't provide a Strength, Melee or monster encounter option.

    Both of Amiri's Role options have a lot in common; both can manipulate how her combat checks can be blessed, both provide means of mitigating or redirecting damage she takes, and both have a hand size of 6. Further assessment of their differences can be seen in the related spoilers below.

    Advanced Strategies
    * Amiri's Survival skill gives her the ability to leverage Hide Armors (and variants) which reference that skill, though it's not a significant strength of hers. Some of the most efficient check-affecting armors post-Core can be acquired in Curse of the Crimson Throne playthroughs, which she is a natural fit for if the party doesn't already include a Druid or Ranger.

    * To offset her normally low exploration rate; Amiri can bury cards from her hand or discard pile for her powers, which can ensure that she buries cards that she doesn't want to be accidentally healed back into her deck later. By burying spare/acquired weapons and items, for example, she can be certain that she'll keep redrawing and reusing blessings and allies when combined with a steady source of healing.
    * Amiri's ability to bury cards from her discard pile in particular is a valuable trait, both for its aforementioned ability to increase the 'precision' and value of healing effects, but also to make use of cards that are of no help to anyone else. If Amiri acquires or is given cards that are otherwise unhelpful; she can always discard them at the end-of-turn and then for the rest of the game she can still earn value from these discarded cards by turning them into bonuses against monsters.

    * Amiri's movement power makes her well-suited to intentionally setting herself into positions to Give cards to other party members or to accept them. Some particularly tightly-knit party strategies can involve her carrying cards solely to hand off to other characters (like giving Melee Weapons to Kess), and she makes great use of what I refer to as the "Hot-Potato" strategy.
    * (The "Hot Potato" strategy is when two characters pass a boon back and forth that is useful at any time, like a Blessing, which allows one of the characters to consistently draw an extra card at the end-of-turn without giving up the party's access to that boon, whilst the other character suffers no downside at all as they return the boon before they get to their own hand reset.)
    * Additionally, Amiri is a fine character to hand extra exploration boons to, stacking her hand with allies and blessings before she starts her turn. She is one of the best monster-killers Post-Core, any cards she discards can continue to fuel one of her powers, and her turn doesn't end if she closes a location.

    Pre-Role Feat Considerations:
    Skills (Strength, Constitution or Wisdom?)
    * Strength: In smaller parties (where avoiding spending resources to pass combat is a higher priority), or parties where Amiri finds herself frequently Avenging encounters, Amiri can take the obvious Strength skill feats to best add consistency to her combat checks.
    * However, it is my opinion that Amiri (with the right weapons) is unlikely to have much trouble with Combat at any stage of the game, and even non-combat Strength checks can be enhanced with her power when it's important to do so, and so I would generally advise against focusing too strongly on Strength at first.

    * Constitution: In many cases, a preferred skill feat option. By increasing Constitution, Amiri fills a niche that is often under-developed in most parties, which also allows her to shrug off more negative effects, acquire more Armor and - most importantly - enhances her primary power to assist in any of her checks against a monster or any of her Strength checks.
    * This is especially potent in large parties: if Amiri is only going to have 5 turns in a scenario (the most you can expect to take in a 6 player party) then she should have absolutely no issue burying cards to her power as often as possible without fear of running out of cards in her deck, so enhancing that power is invaluable.
    * Focusing on Constitution skill feats is particularly recommended if you are going to take the Smashmouth role.

    * Wisdom: For parties without a Survival (or Wisdom) specialist, Wisdom skill feats will allow Amiri to better round out a party. Wisdom helps Amiri acquire Animals (among other cards), tackle more closing checks and have better odds against more barriers.
    * If you intend to hold onto some of the strong Survival-based armors for much of the game then Wisdom skill feats become a must, but either way it serves to diversify Amiri's capabilities - at least in the early game.

    * Hand Size 5: Hand size feats are always good. They give you more chances to draw the right cards and they give you more chances to expend cards to help yourself or your party per turn. If you have the right boons in your deck; the value a given card (like a Blessing) can add to your check will often be bigger than what your character powers are, so it's a no-brainer to treat Hand Size as the 'default' option. However, it does carry a risk in smaller parties, where the possibility of losing more cards to damage can force you to play more cautiously and slowly.
    * In parties larger than 2 players; this will be taken at some point for certain. In parties larger than 4 players, this should be your first feat in order to enable you to explore enough to help your team beat the hourglass.
    * Hand Size gets better if you plan to take Armor card feats.

    * Armor Proficiency: Never a requirement, but obviously allows Amiri to use better Armor cards to resist damage. Conditional.
    * Becomes better as you take Constitution skill feats (so you can recharge some of the Heavy Armors). Becomes worse as you take Wisdom skill feats (which encourage you to use the Survival-based armors, which don't require Proficiency).
    * Becomes better in small parties; highly recommended for party sizes less than 3, where damage avoidance (and card efficiency) is more important.

    * Bury from discards: A strong recommendation, and I believe that almost any Amiri should take this as one of her two pre-Role power feats (the other will be dependant primarily on your party size; see above). This allows Amiri to further specialise in her primary anti-Monster role, and turns her discards into a resource on its own: discarding any card for any reason is further enabling Amiri to buff her checks in the long term, without costing more cards from her hand.
    * This can also be used to cull 'weaker' cards from your discards, increasing the value of healing effects targeting Amiri.
    * Obviously, Constitution skill feats make this power feat better; but you should probably be taking this feat pre-Role no matter what.

    * Draw on location close: I do not recommend this power in most situations, and I consider it one of the weakest pre-Role power feat options in all of Core and Curse. To be brief, it simply provides too small of a benefit, too rarely, in almost all situations.
    * To see a more in-depth explanation, click the spoiler below.

    * In a solo scenario, there is usually 3 locations to close (with the 3rd one ending the game); meaning in 30 turns Amiri will draw, at most, 2 extra cards during the scenario. A hand size increase, meanwhile, will allow you to draw about 30 extra cards.
    * In the other extreme; a 6-player scenario will usually have 8 locations to close, with each player (on average) needing to close 1.3 locations even if there was no Guarding whatsoever. Worse, Amiri is unlikely to close more locations than the average character, as her small hand size limits her number of explorations-per-turn more severely than most other Core/Curse characters, and her lack of skill diversity often limits how easily she can close locations in the first place. The likelihood of it drawing you more than 1-2 cards in a 6 player scenario is remote, whilst the hand size will draw you up to 5 consistently.
    * This power only has 3 silver linings. One; it's an optional draw, so unlike a Hand Size increase it can never be a 'bad' thing, no matter the situation. Two; if you've taken hand size feats and you still want to be drawing more cards, this is the only power feat that could let you do so. Three; if you can somehow ensure that you're closing locations unusually frequently, it can become... okay. See the "Blackjack Build Options" spoiler below for an example of this.

    * There's pretty much no 'wrong' Card Feats for Amiri, and they will be highly dependant upon your party composition and your personal playstyle. My considerations are as follows, but they should be taken with an especially large pinch of salt.

    * Weapons: Usually the weakest Card Feat. Amiri only needs 1 weapon to fight effectively, and its her Favored Card Type so she really shouldn't be lacking in them. However, Core/Curse weapons are more likely to serve more purposes, including anti-barrier, examination or movement effects, and you can always bury them (from hand or discards) to your main power.

    * Armors: The new design of Display-able Armors means that they're much better card feats than they have been in the past. Once an armor is displayed, they're potentially adding value to you turn after turn without taking up a hand slot that could be used for something else.
    * Armor-proficient OR Wisdom-based Amiris are both more likely to take an Armor card feat.
    * Amiris taking hand size increases are more likely to take an Armor card feat.

    * Item: Varies widely in practicality. Better with larger hand sizes (as items tend to be more niche than other card types, so you want to have more cards in hand to increase the likelihood that they'll be relevant). Curse provides the "Paint" cards which can be displayed indefinitely to support Amiri in various ways, however.

    * Ally, Blessing: Both are better in larger party sizes, as they provide more means of both supporting your team off-turn as well as exploring faster on-turn.
    * Highly encouraged for 5+ player parties.
    * Blessings become better with Curse of the Crimson Throne, due to the wide variety of Harrow blessings.

    Resistance Fighter Overview & Builds:
    * Compared to Smashmouth, Resistance Fighter encourages a more exploration-heavy Amiri that actively races to find and defeat story banes as frequently as possible. It's a more complex role, and much harder to make full use of - though that doesn't mean it's worse.
    * I would argue that the key function of this role is the ability to redirect the 'cost' of suffering damage - detailed further in "Powers" below.
    * I only encourage the use of this role in parties of 4 or more players (preferably 5-6); its a much less card-efficient role than Smashmouth, with almost every one of its provided power feats requiring or encouraging Amiri to discard or bury cards.

    Noteworthy New Power Feats
    * When you suffer damage [...]: This chain of powers is one of the most peculiar powers available in Core or Curse, and is highly worthy of analysis.
    * Your 'deck' is not a resource in the sense that your hand is (or even your discards, for Amiri). Having cards in your deck does not directly help you explore faster, achieve higher check results or win games - it simply is something you have to make sure never empties entirely, lest you die.
    * With that in mind, this is a highly important power. Every bit of damage you take (whether from a location, from an off-turn area of effect hit, from an unfortunate BA or AA power or otherwise) normally interferes with your turn by robbing cards from your hand that you need to pass checks or explore further, but this power completely prevents that. By letting your deck take the hit, each of your turns (in the short term) are rendered virtually unable to be slowed or stopped by circumstance... in fact, you actually get a bit more powerful as you discard cards from your deck, because that fills your discards with more cards to bury to your main power.
    * By enhancing this power, you can also use it to help dig for cards you specifically want to draw, or avoid discarding cards you don't want to lose. But the first feat is the most important, and even if you don't intend to use it often it can still save you time and heartache on the rare occasion that you choose to discard from your deck rather than let your hand (and your weapon) be wiped by a BA effect right before you attempt a Combat check.
    * Overall, this power helps ensure that your turns are as long and as uninterrupted as possible... which, among other things, does actually support the likelihood of Amiri closing more locations than the average character.

    * [...] then examine the top card of your location: Remember that you HAVE to move to use this power (however, you're allowed to move to your own location if it's the last location remaining). A small, but pleasant benefit if a party doesn't already have some examination-centric characters, but I would generally treat this as relatively low priority power feat; certainly lower than a hand size increase (which can let you draw and use much more powerful examination cards anyway if you want).

    * [...] remove a scourge when using your power: In my opinion, one of the most powerful de-scourging character powers in Core and Curse combined, rendering Amiri virtually immune to most scourges due to the incredible ease of clearing them off. That said, how often you were suffering from Scourges, and how much they actually impacted you, may vary depending upon your playstyle and party.
    * Naturally, this gets better with Constitution feats, the power feat that lets you bury from your discards, and in larger parties (where burying cards is less of an issue).

    * Free discards to bless your combat: This is a power that does 'remove the limiters' from Amiri, in a sense, letting her reach combat results that are virtually unmatched by any Core or Curse character. But really; with the powers she has she shouldn't have an issue passing any combat check she comes across, and intentionally burning numerous cards to bless a combat check seems wasteful to me - but it does let you go all-out to guarantee a villain defeat if that is a problem.

    * Heal on closing locations: Because this role lets you completely 'ignore' damage (sort of), it's certainly more likely to be able to manage longer exploration-chains than the other role option, so it's not infeasible that you could build around this. However, I would argue that a single heal is too small a payoff and, as mentioned before, even if you really push yourself it's statistically unlikely that Amiri will end up closing many locations a game. Is 1-3 healed cards over the course of the game (the value of a single Cure spell cast on you) really worth your power feat?

    Other Feat Tips
    As mentioned, this role tends to favour larger party sizes and taking longer, more exploration-heavy turns. After all, if you're not planning to explore many times a turn, then losing cards from your hand or suffering Scourges should be less impactful, and thus you have little compelling reason to pick this Role.

    * Skills: This role doesn't strongly impact any strategies on which skills are good, but it gives a small edge to Wisdom skill feats for the small added diversity to Amiri's noncombat checks (such as closing or even fighting barriers).
    * Other than that, I continue to advise Constitution feats to be valued higher than Strength for Amiri (as it can literally be used to enhance the same checks, plus many others), and burying cards (especially from your discards) shouldn't be a high cost if you're in a large party and you won't be taking many turns.
    * If you are in a smaller party with this role, however, then Strength skill feats do more to increase your card efficiency.

    * Cards: Make the most of your ability to barrel through locations - max your Ally and Blessing counts early!

    Smashmouth Overview & Builds:
    * Compared to Resistance Fighter, Smashmouth provides a more efficient Amiri that can accomplish more things with less card expenditure.
    * In my mind, the key component of Smashmouth is the ability for Amiri to leverage her Fortitude-based power against barriers. In doing so, Smashmouth can cover one of Amiri's most notable weaknesses and ensure that she becomes a powerful party member at fighting all kinds of banes and story banes, no matter the scenario or location.
    * Additionally, Smashmouth is a more weapon-oriented Amiri. If you plan to take weapon card feats to give her more weapons to throw at enemies or to use for their other powers, then Smashmouth will give you more benefits to carrying them.
    * Because Smashmouth is a bit more reliant on spending cards from your hand and carrying extra weapons, it won't necessarily provide the same exploration rate as Resistance Fighter, which may slightly impact its performance in large party sizes (which, incidentally, don't value its card efficiency as highly either). However, the powerful anti-barrier abilities and general practicality of the power feats of Smash Mouth can be rewarding in all party sizes, in my opinion, and the role in general is a 'safe' bet.

    Noteworthy New Power Feats
    * [...] or a barrier: This should generally be your first power feat with this role, and usually your very reason to take this role. This allows Amiri to consistently fight any barrier she encounters that would normally be out of her reach without extensive card support (which is... well, most barriers, to be frank). Dexterity 11 checks, Charisma 10 checks, Wisdom 13 checks... these are things that become a lot more tolerable for Amiri when you can hit them with an extra 1d8+4 or so.
    * Naturally, maxing Constitution early and being able to bury from your discards are both desirable qualities here.

    * Heal a Weapon on closing locations: Not recommended. As per Resistance Fighter's similar power, detailed in the last spoiler; you have to spend time, turns or luck to get relatively minimal results out of this power. Do you even care about getting weapons specifically healed from your discards? Shouldn't you have another perfectly good one in hand already?

    * Reload a weapon to support Melee Combat: If you've been taking my advice and focusing on Constitution skill feats instead of Strength, this is a nice power feat to help off-set your slightly lower-than-expected Melee checks (when you're not expending cards). Amiri doesn't tend to explore many times per turn, so there's usually no problem with reloading a weapon to add 4 or so to your check (the weapon you'd just immediately redraw, anyway) if you're not happy burying a card. Alternatively, combining it with your other powers lets you reach exceptional combat results easily.
    * Whether you'd ever want to enhance it to support a friendly character is entirely party-dependant, but I will generally advise caution. Reloading weapons off-turn can be tricky (because it'll take some time before you get to redraw it), and how many Melee combatants tend to exist in the same party anyway - let alone ones that need your help to pass combat? Probably best with a Charisma-oriented Seelah party member, or a Varian or Lem party member actively using acrobatics swords (which use the Melee trait even if they're not using his Melee skill), since they are more likely to need the help and also more likely to want to remain Local to you anyway.

    * Recharge to bless your combat: As mentioned for her other role; I don't necessarily think Amiri often needs the support. But as long as you find people frequently blessing her combat checks, this can certainly add efficiency to the table. All-in-all, I prefer this to Resistance Fighter's equivalent (how many times do you really need multiple blessings to let the Barbarian pass a combat check?) but it's still not mind-blowing to save a card discard a couple of times a scenario or so.

    * Recharge Weapons to reduce BA/AA damage: Fortunately, this can both protect you on-turn and off-turn, and turns weapons into quasi-shields (in my experience, most forms of damage resistance on armors tend to be used to protect against damage outside of combat - BA and AA effects make up a large bulk of such examples). A viable way to lessen reliance on armors; particularly good if you don't want to spend feats on increasing your armor count or gaining armor proficiency, or you prefer to pick armors that provide benefits other than damage avoidance (like Hide Armor variants).
    * In general, I consider this a decent power, but only if you're willing to sink 2 power feats into protecting against both BA and AA damage. AA damage alone just doesn't strike me as a common enough situation to merit a power feat to solve a problem that one or two Armors should already solve.

    Other Feat Tips
    * Skills: Maxing Constitution is a strong recommendation, to ensure that Smashmouth Amiri can break barriers apart on command. There's not many other role components impacting your skill choices.

    * Cards: General recommendations still apply, but Smashmouth does let you do more with spare Weapons in hand, and so taking some Weapon card feats becomes much more viable. They can act a bit like armor, buff your checks or - in the worst case - always be buried to your main power.
    * If you're taking Weapon card feats, be sure to make the most of weapons that provide additional abilities for Amiri to use. Using hammer-style weapons that assist you against barriers is a strong suggestion - using weapons that ignore AA effects is generally only desirable IF you're not spending the power feat to be able to protect yourself against that kind of damage anyway. Using weapons that effectively increase your skillset (like Quarterstaff of Vaulting) is also powerful.
    * (With that said, there's non-damage AA effects that are desirable to ignore... but 'ignoring' AA effects is a lot weaker than many players realize, because you can't let other characters ignore effects. This means a power that says "After Acting, a local character buries a blsesing" is impossible to ignore if there's someone else at your location with a blessing, for example. "After acting, a local character suffers 1d4 combat damage" can also not be ignored if you're not the only character.)

    Blackjack Builds:
    *Amiri is an ideal example of a "surprisingly potent" carrier of the Blackjack role. She doesn't have good Dexterity or Charisma, she doesn't use Stealth or Acrobatics... but she does have 'bury' costs that the Blackjack role lets her replace, and she's phenomenal at taking other characters encounters against monsters.
    * Additionally, a Blackjack Amiri can reach a larger hand size (7 in total) and usually encounter Henchmen/Villains in place of other party members. This means she can close locations off-turn somewhat frequently, potentially justifying her "draw a card when you close a location" power.
    * I would go so far as to say that Amiri is the 3rd or 4th most desirable Blackjack of the 16 Core+Curse characters.

    Inherent Blackjack Powers:
    * The Kit: A benefit for ANY character, since it gives you a better opening hand as well as providing somewhere to 'pocket' certain boons that you don't want to use at the moment.
    * It doesn't critically enable any great strategy for Amiri, but it is somewhere to stockpile spare weapons at least. If your hand gets wiped (or a random discard goes badly) you can pull a spare weapon out of your Kit later.

    * Blackjack Boons: So, the three Blackjack boons are, of course, not really ideal for Amiri. They can all be used with Melee, however, and you can always throw them in your Kit if they're not immediately helpful.
    * Blackjack's Daggers, in particular, are a great boon to hold in hand if you plan to mostly reload these cards to your Character/Role powers rather than use them. It can be used as a backup weapon if you need it and it has a powerful local combat assistance option - one that both adds to a check and completely negates any real penalty from failure. It can also be used to forcibly evade a monster you don't WANT to defeat, like a villain when you haven't got them cornered yet.

    * Weapon Proficiency: Not relevant.

    Noteworthy New Power Feats
    * [...] reload a Blackjack boon instead: Amiri is the only post-Core character, besides Quinn, who can consistently replace a bury cost with a mere reload; allowing her to maximise her Strength and anti-Monster checks at absolute minimum cost to herself. Once you have 2 Blackjack boons in hand (or 1 in hand and 1 in your Kit) that should usually be enough to 'fuel' your character power for most of the scenario by repeatedly reloading and redrawing them.
    * Naturally, emphasise Constitution to make the most of this.
    * Curiously, this option greatly decreases your need to take the pre-role power feat to bury cards from your discards. Not worthless, but weaker.

    * Steal other character's encounters against banes: Amiri - Blackjack or not - will rarely be potent against barriers, but the initial option to steal monster encounters is ideal for her. If you have 'combat-weak' party members like Lem, this power becomes optimal, but even with combat-capable characters it has a variety of benefits. Take on encounters against Attack-Immune enemies for a wizard, for example; take on Story Bane encounters at locations Amiri is suited to closing, or take on encounters with a rough BA/AA effect that Amiri can allay by adding to any of her checks against a monster.
    * As mentioned above, this can be leveraged to close locations off-turn quite easily, which might justify the 'draw a card' power on Amiri's character card. If you have this power; your entire party can happily explore at a location that Amiri is suited to closing with the knowledge that she can always take on the story bane and close the location on their behalf!
    * This synergizes powerfully with Amiri's inherent ability to move at end-of-turn, easily jumping to a party member's location to prepare to take their monster encounters for them. You can also use it to jump to a location which she's capable of closing with the knowledge that any party member can encounter a henchman there and it will promptly give her the chance to steal the encounter and close chance, no matter who's turn it is.
    * Don't forget, with the previously-listed power you can reload a Blackjack boon instead of discarding a card to use this power.

    * Avenge any encounter on a discard: A neat benefit, particularly for parties that spread out (though this isn't a huge problem for Amiri in general thanks to her end-of-turn movement); and it does mean that the party can stay in Guarding positions whilst also providing the safety net of Amiri avenging an unlucky Villain/Henchman encounter.
    * Once again, with the right Blackjack power you can reload a Blackjack boon to power this.

    * Gain Acrobatics, Stealth and Diplomacy: So Amiri is one of the single worst carriers of this power, with a mere 1d6 Dexterity and 1d4 Charisma. Even so, if you've a spare power feat and nothing else you really want this is still a worthwhile feat because of how generous it is. It will give you an effective +3 against a variety of barriers and boons and may even help you out for a variety of scenario powers or location closes.

    Other Feat Tips
    * Skills: Naturally, Constitution skill feats let Amiri make the most of her bury reload a Blackjack boon power.
    * A Blackjack Amiri may or may not choose to skip Wisdom skill feats, since they don't directly really interact positively with any of Blackjack's powers, and stick with Strength. Even Dexterity would be acceptable, since Blackjack's "Gain Acrobatics, Stealth and Diplomacy" power is so potent and generous, even if your base Dexterity and Charisma dice are bad.

    * Cards: Items may actually be a bit better with Blackjack Amiri; Items tend towards having more specific, but potent abilities, and thus may often be good to store in your Kit until such a time as they're needed.
    * Spare Weapons increases the odds that you'll draw a non-Blackjack weapon in your starting hand (+3), for better or worse; and extra weapons can also go in your Kit when needed.

    Notable Boons:
    * Amiri is (tied for) the most weapon-heavy character post-Core, and it's her favored card type. You can (usually) only use one weapon for combat, though; so look to filling most of your weapon slots with weapons that have meaningful, desirable benefits outside of straight combat odds.
    * Quarterstaff of Vaulting, Wyrmsmite and Earthbreaker are all great examples of melee weapons that give you more advantages outside of combat, but you shouldn't be too afraid to keep a single non-typical weapon if they give you new ways to use your weapon slots to contribute to the party. Dancing Dagger, or even Vindicator, may be worthwhile to keep if another party member doesn't want them.
    * For the weapons you keep purely for their combat effectiveness; remember to value rerolls very highly. Rerolling all of the dice on your check is equivalent to squaring your odds of failure: a 50% chance check becomes 75%, an 80% chance check becomes 96%, and a 90% chance check becomes 99%. For the checks you're not certain you'll win, it's more impactful - for the checks you've already got good odds on, it's a fantastic preventative measure from rolling all 1s.

    Spells: Not relevant.

    * Displayable Armors are usually preferred over Shields and Helms. Amiri will be forced to suffer BA/AA damage less frequently thanks to being able to buff any of her checks against a monster, and her ability to continue exploring after closing a location means she's a bit better at carrying hands full of non-armor cards that may let her explore. Furthermore, she can't recharge or reload them for benefits like Valeros or Seelah can, and has no role powers relevant to them at all.
    * Amiri can have excellent Fortitude checks, making her perfectly suited to recharge-able heavy armors if she takes proficiency.
    * If she doesn't take Armor proficiency, her Survival skill means she's capable of leveraging Hide Armor, Magic Hide Armor, Sable Company Hide and Shoanti Barbarian Hide. It also makes Bearskin Armor a bit better, if indirectly.

    * Highly versatile; depends on your specific goals as a character.
    * You can take cards like the Gem of Physical Prowess and The Lost Harrows[/url] to help cover Amiri's weaknesses, giving her better chances to close locations or defeat barriers.
    * You can take cards like Compass, Wayfinder or Helpful Haversack, letting you discard cards for benefits; which can then be buried to Amiri's Fortitude-adding power.
    * Items that are displayed for long periods of time, like the "War Paint" cards, help avoid filling Amiri's hand whilst providing long-term benefits.
    * Items that exacerbate her strengths (like cards to improve her combat) usually aren't required; but some are sufficiently efficient or flexible to still be viable (like Crowbar).

    * I would generally encourage the use of allies that help you make checks to defeat (or avoid) barriers or acquire boons, like Gentleman Explorer and Raccoon.
    * Your allies can also be used for self-healing, if needed.

    * Play to her strengths or cover her weaknesses as needed. Some specific Harrow blessing examples are listed below.
    * The Avalanche is good at avoiding pesky boons to ensure Amiri finds combat faster.
    * The Sickness risks a scourge that Amiri can easily handle.
    * The Wanderer's benefits can easily be reached with the movement-heavy Amiri, and she can always return to her original location at the end of her turn. Similar with The Lucky Drunk.
    * She is the best carrier of The Bear, due to her d12 Strength.
    * The Twin and The Marriage help Amiri handle noncombat checks based on her party members.

  • Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

    Great post! Very useful!
    More please :-)

    Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

    Oh, this is very nice, Yew! I love the layout and all the info!

    I'm one of those players that just doesn't 'see' combos and synergies by reading the text. I have to get the character on the table and play in a group for a few sessions before things start to click. (And sometimes that's several levels/Adventure Decks in when I realize I don't really like this character, and then you're kind of stuck with them...)

    So something like this would be a HUGE boon for me. I can already see how I would use Amiri with my group! I had actually kind of already written her off cause I was thinking "All she can do is hit stuff with a sword..." Definitely looking forward to more profiles!

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